Few cities provide so many ways to spend an agreeable day out than Paris. The Parisian spirit is found in its style, cuisine, art and an exuberant attitude to socializing found in its cafes and bistros. A trip to Paris can be a film-like sequence of iconic, unforgettable experiences. Heading out at night to Montmartre for the theaters and cabaret shows. Or strolling beside the elegant showrooms and cafes of the Champs Elysees. Browsing E...

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Friendly, life-loving Madrid was once the capital of a huge empire extending across the Americas and Europe. Its city center is an exciting place to explore, a treasure-trove of art, architecture and artifacts from that extraordinary period. It's also a buzzing, honking-tonking, cosmopolitan, modern city with a wealth of cutting edge new sights and attractions, and an exceptional dining scene. Each day, the tapas bars fill up to the raf...

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Rome has an unparalleled wealth of art and architecture and delicious food. From the ruined arches of the Colosseum to the granite Corinthian columns of the Pantheon and the eery Catacombs, Rome's ancient history is astonishing. Checking out Michelangelo's Piazza del Campidoglio is a must. As is a visit to the city within a city, the Vatican. St Peter's is the greatest church in all Christendom, with its 448-foot dome by Michelangelo. The...

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Granada offers a fascinating glimpse of what Spain was like during Moorish rule. You can see the ghost of Moorish culture come to life in the Albayzin and the tumble of busy backstreet bazars full of djellabas, perfumes and alfombras (rugs). But most of all it's there in the hulking ruins of the fortress-palace looking out over the city, the Alhambra. Granada is dominated by the romance of the Alhambra and I find I can't help peeking it at i...

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Human statues and mime artists under the dappled plane trees of Las Ramblas. The eery lamplight along the medieval avenues of the Barri Gotic. Barcelona conjures up so many unforgettable images. In the old town I love the layers upon layers of history. The pillars of a Roman temple hiding in the patio of a renaissance palace. The spires of a Gothic church looming over a graffiti-painted square. Barcelona is different. It's Spanish, but i...

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Easter is the time to experience Seville's religious passion, when the Basilica of La Macarena - the Weeping Virgin - is swamped by devotees and hundreds of decorated floats. On May, June and September afternoons, crowds flock to one of Spain's finest finest bullfighting arenas, the Plaza de Toros, for the corridas. And by midnight on weekends all year round, clicking heels, clapping hands and castanets fill the bars along the riverfront in...

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Florence is synonymous with the Renaissance. It has more art museums packed into a kilometer of its north bank than anywhere else in Italy. Major cultural highlights include Boticelli's Birth of Venus, and works by Leonardo, Raphael, Carvaggio and Titian at the Uffizi gallery, the tombs of the Medici Palace, carved by Michelangelo, early maps, clocks, telescopes and pioneering devices at Galileo's Science Museum and a pantheon of heavenly sculpt...

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Citrus fruit orchards, fountains and Moorish architecture lend an Arabian feel to this ancient city on the banks of the Guadalqivir, once a rival to Baghdad and Damascus as a center of Islamic learning and culture. Cordoba's mosque-cathedral is one of the wonders of Spain, and the sight of its striped horseshoe arches delicately tapering off into the shadows is a joy to behold.  Equally delightful are the tiled, typically Andalusian patios, fil...

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Paris Madrid Rome Granada Barcelona Seville Florence Cordoba