Paris: Vintage Shopping

Marche aux Puces de Montreuil

If you’re looking for a ‘certain something’ that doesn’t cost anything more than what you’d pay in the High Street (and in some cases, considerably less), then a wander through the Marais district in Paris might just be what the money doctor ordered.

Themed Hotels

Hotel Puerta America

What happens when you tire of the standard type of hotel – the tasteful wall art, the magnolia décor and the pastel shades? As we know from experience, there are too many bland hotels to choose from, a fact that has been addressed by adventurous hotel designers in recent years.

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

The taxi driver on the journey from Inverness train station to our hotel just outside the Scottish town was obviously a measured and reflective type. Instead of an AA roadmap, a well-thumbed copy of the collected works of Shakespeare lay in his open glove compartment.

(Music) City Break: Berlin

Brandenburg Gate

“The city is crazy, the people are crazy – Berlin makes its own rules.” These words are spoken by Gabrielle, my guide for a night crawl around a selection of some of Berlin’s hipper bars and clubs. Of course, she explained in perfect English, there’s no way you could see everything in one weekend, let alone one month, so the night guide was simply going to be a taster of what makes Berlin tick.

Renting A Villa – Loves & Hates

Nice villa, eh?

For the next two or more weeks, the place is yours. No handing in keys at reception (or mistaking your flexi key for your Visa card), no fake ‘good morning’ smiles, no queues checking in or out, no fire alarms going off at inopportune times, no maids knocking on your door just as you’re stepping out of or into the shower.

City Break: Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

Marseille is an intriguing, heady mix of melting pot cultures and extremely hip scene setting. With a population of 1.5 million, the city – France’s oldest and the largest after Paris – thrums and throbs to the beat of neighbouring North Africa.

Budapest: Coffee House Hunting

Szimpla Kertmozi

Here’s a question for you: given the choice between the carefully crafted, historically imbued and Viennese-style elegance of Café Gerbeaud and the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink, Mad Max, punk rock-style demeanor of Szimpla Kertmozi Café, in which one would you choose to nurse a coffee while either gazing into the distance, avoiding eye contact, reading a magazine or tapping away at a laptop?

City Break: San Francisco

San Francisco  Back in 1776, when Spanish conquistadors established a mission on the West Coast of California – naming it after St Francis of Assisi – little did they know what they were founding. It took quite a while for people to discover the place, anyway – early explorers sailed up and down the length of the California coast in the 16th century but failed to notice anything interesting about it.