The Louvre Offers Nintendo Consoles For Better Viewing Experience

The Louvre Museum, in Paris, France, is partnering with Nintendo, the Japan-based electronics company, to offer its visitors a new viewing experience at the museum.

The world’s most visited art museum and former main residence of the French monarchy is offering a new set of computer consoles – in place of handheld audio devices – to its visitors for a more entertaining art viewing experience. Made by Nintendo, these portable handsets offer a small screen and around 35 hours of audio content in 700 different commentaries, including art lectures and interviews with museum curators. The devices will be offering additional high-resolution images of the famous artwork on display at the museum, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the ancient Greek sculpture the Venus de Milo.

The devices will also offer various tours, guiding visitors and art enthusiasts through the museum’s labyrinth of hallways, rooms and chambers, to the most important of the artworks on display. The Masterpieces trail will take visitors through around 35,000 works of art, and a second trail will guide them through a collection of ancient Egyptian antiques and artefacts.

Nintendo’s chief games designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, said in a visit to the museum, ‘I was here for a few hours and by the end I had no idea where I was.’ He feels that designing the software for the new electronic console has given him a much better understanding of the museum floors.

The consoles are not part of the museum’s admission ticket, but may be rented additionally, for a fee of €5.00 per person.

Disneyland Paris: The resort that survivied

Disney know how to celebrate an anniversary of any kind, let alone a 20th birthday – which it will be celebrating in April.

The key feature of the celebration will be a night-time spectaular parade in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and will also feature a new parade beginning in April.

However look back to the mid-Nineties and this celebration looked like it might never happen. This milestone will no doubt be met with mixed emotions, however any regrets that EuroDisney did not reach the original expectations will be outweighed by the fact it has made it to the 20 year mark.

Construction began in 1988 and the 5,000 acre site was open on April 12, 1992, and had gone massivley over budget. Visitor numbers did not meet expectations and after just two years, many wondered if the themepark was heading for bankruptcy.

But EuroDisney was thrown a lifeline in 1994 as banks agreed to restructure the parks debt. This was followed by a name change tp Disneyland Paris, and by the end of the year the park had started to bring in money.

New rides were added, including the the popular Space Mountain in 1995 and to mark the 10th birthday, Walt Disney Studios Park was opened. As the park headed into its 10th year it was going from strength to strength.

The 20th birthday celebrations will see the Disney Dreams show, which will include fireworks, lasers, foutains and a film projected onto the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

To get to across the Channel, a ferry will take you from Diver to Calais in 90 minutes with P&O, with upto 23 crossings a day, then DisneyLand Paris is only a 3 hour drive from Calais.

Walt Disney (www.disneylandparis.com) offers three nights with return crossings for a car and passengers from £276 per adult, £112 per child aged seven to 11 and under sevens free, including accommodation at Hotel Santa Fe and tickets to both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios

Eurostar trains disrupted by faulty power cable during one of its busiest weeks

A faulty overhead power cable has left thousands of passengers stranded on trains for up to nine hours overnight, during one of Paris’ busiest weeks. 

Eurostar were forced to cancel services leaving thousands of passengers – including catwalk models that are trying to get to the French capital for Paris Fashion Week – with major disruptions to their travels. 

Yesterday four trains services were cancelled during the disruptions, and delays were expected throughout the day on other services. 

Angry passengers took to Twitter to rant about their disrupted journeys. 

Model Poppy Delevingne, tweeted that she was ‘deliriously tired’ following an eight-hour journey. 

In a response to fellow model Laura Bailey she said: ‘cheese and ham toasties are better on the Eurostar LB. The only plus. Been sitting on the track for four hours #cabinfashionfever’. 

She then continued: “Blew a kiss to the receptionist at my hotel as he gave me my key. He looked scared. So would I be. Deliriously tired. Snore #8houreurostar’. 

The former face of Marks and Spencers: Laura Bailey wrote: 

Less conspiracy theories. More wine and cheese… and Paris before breakfast please. #eurostar’. 

However designer Henry Holland was less impressed by Eurostar after tweeting: ‘Eurostar DISASTER’. 

Eurostar, in a message to travellers apologised for ‘any inconvenience caused’ and announced that passengers who were on cancelled Eurostar services have now been reallocated onto other services. 

The company have advised passengers to check the website for any updates.

Due to the delays passenger Ryan Armstrong missed his connecting flight to Amsterdam. 

He said: “We were basically on the train for nine hours. We hardly moved; there was a lot of standing still. At one point the power was cut so we couldn’t see anything or get any information”.

Article by Charlee Greenhalgh

Top places for women to propose this leap year

It’s a leap year, when, according to tradition, women can get down on bended knee and ask their dithering partner to take their hand in marriage.

With February 29, 2012 fast approaching, the top ten most romantic spots on Earth have been revealed for the fairer sex to pop the question:

1. Taj Mahal, India
2. Lewa Downs, Kenya
3. Antarctica
4. Rialto Bridge, Venice
5. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
6. Roseberry Topping, Yorkshire
7. Sahara Desert, Morocco
8. The Pitons, St. Lucia
9. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
10. Snowshill, Cotswolds, UK

The results compiled by the World Travel Organisation, revealed that top of the most romantic spots was the iconic Taj Mahal followed by the natural beauty of the Lewa Downs in Kenya.

The day comes round just once every four years, and is the only day traditionally that women can pop the life changing question to men.

Manon Han, Executive Vice President, WTA, said: “Proposing to your loved one is always going to be a nerve-wracking moment, especially with the added pressure of being a lady. But choosing a fitting location can go a long way in swaying the outcome favourably.”

“We have chosen destinations that range from the fail-safe classics to some off-beat surprises. For the traditionalists, the Taj Mahal or the Sahara should bag your man. Meanwhile, the Prince William and Catherine effect has led to Lewa Downs making it into our hot list. If he’s an adrenaline junky, you could always try popping the question underwater at the Great Barrier Reef,” she added.

For couples that have left it to the last minute to get away for the extra day, there’s always the Eurostar which can take you to Paris, where you can visit one of the most romantic places in the world the top of the Eiffel Tower. Or Bruges, Belgiums picturesque town and pop the question on the famous bridge over the Lake of Love.

The leap year also coincides with the submission deadline for WTA’s 2012 Grand Tour, a global search for the best travel organizations in the world.

Travel organizations that aspire to be the best in their sector are invited to apply for WTA’s 2012 program by February 29, 2012. Entry forms can completed online or downloaded from: www.worldtravelawards.com/nominate.

Disneyland Paris overcharges British tourists

British families are being charged 60 per cent more than the French for Disneyland Paris park tickets.

The park’s French site offers special discount offers which aren’t available to customers on the English version.

British customers who try and buy tickets via the French site are blocked from purchasing them, if their credit card is not registered to a French address.

A French family of four (two adults and two child) for 142 euros (£119) could get day passes to Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios, taking advantage of an offer allowing children under 12 free entry.

However British families are unable to access this offer and are made to pay £192 for the same tickets, a massive 62 per cent more.

Another offer allows French customers to buy a one-day ticket allowing them entry to one park for 44 euros (£37) each, and the price remains the same for both adults and children.

But for British customers similar tickets would cost £50 for adults and £35 for children.

This means that a French family of two adults and a child would only pay 132 euros (£111) whereas the same British family would pay £145, 30 per cent more.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at price comparison site moneysupermarket.com, said that British families expect to access the same deals as the French.

“It is understandable that Disney is marketing itself in different markets, but consumers will be scratching their heads and asking why they cannot buy these cheaper tickets when if they had a friend in France they could get the same thing for much less”.

A spokesman for Disneyland Paris said: “We strive to offer all our visitors the best value and flexibility when booking a trip to Disneyland Paris, with a wide range of promotions available to suit visitors’ different needs.

“A variety of promotions are offered at different times of the year to each market to reflect the local needs. In the case of the UK market the most popular promotions are those combining accommodation and/or travel plus park tickets”.

He revealed that a recent UK exclusive promotion offered customers up to 50 per cent off hotel and park tickets, and children under 12 received free accommodation and park tickets.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

Paris gets tough on beggars in popular tourist areas

Paris is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, throughout all seasons and nonetheless at Christmas.

 

Luxury designer stores make up much of Paris’ famous Champs Elysées, along with lavish restaurants and theatres.

 

However, stop for more than a minute to admire a glamorous window display and you cannot fail to notice a homeless person, asking for money or simply displaying a sign saying ‘hungry’. This stark visual contrast highlights the very real issue of the disparity between the rich and poor.

 

Campaigners have demanded action to change France’s dire housing situation but Sarkozy chooses to ignore the problem and declare war on the beggars.

 

A number of decrees have been issued banning beggars from pestering shoppers and tourists in many popular spots around Christmas. Critics have said that this is Sarkozy’s way of getting rid of Roma and Gypsies but Sarkozy argues that this is just his way of dealing with begging ‘delinquents’ linked to criminal gangs.

 

Beggars can now face arrest and ironically, fines if they are found to be loitering or begging along the Champs Elysées or around the famous Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, as well as the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens.

 

Article by Lauren Probert

Get tired sightseeing – a nap in Paris could cost you £10

If you find climbing the Eiffel Tower leaving you feeling sleepy, the French have come up with the perfect place for a quick nap… but it’ll cost you £10.

 

It’s thought to be the first city to create a ‘siesta venue’ where the tired out tourists can have a quick power nap.

 

The Zen bar allows people to have either a 15-minute power nap for 12 Euros (£10), or up to 45 minutes is 27 Euros (£23) if you fancy a snooze before dinner.

 

Large vibrating beds are provided that massage as you slumber, or try out a ‘zero gravity’ chair.

 

Also available are beauty treatments, not forgetting the fish spa.

 

Former banker and owner Christophe Chanhsavang said his brainwave came when thinking about the common practice of napping at work in Asia.

 

He said: ‘The greatest reward is to see stressed out workers relaxing. This siesta bar nap is to give people a chance to be better with themselves.’

Spotlight on chic Parisian hotels

The French capital has always been a fashionable destination. While some world cities fall in and out of favor, Paris’s blend of history, art, architecture, and bohemian culture keeps it eternally in style.Accommodation in Paris reflects centuries of changing trends. Beyond the old-fashioned opulence of the Ritz and the George V, there’s a new generation of hotels bringing fun and modernity to a Parisian trip. Historic Haussmann-era buildings sport designer refits complete with high-tech gadgets and sleek new furnishings, at a fraction the price of their elite counterparts.

In time for Paris Fashion Week 2011, agoda.com rounds up the chicest urban hotels in Paris.

Seven
This boutique four-star hotel in the fifth arrondissement has standard guest rooms in three bold styles, plus seven individually-styled suites. Neon lighting, transparent showers, and Swarovski crystals are some of the more subtle design points, with levitating beds, suspended tubs, and a bathroom chessboard covering the more whimsical end of the design spectrum. From US$457 per night.

Pershing Hall
A block from the Champs-Élysées is the four-star Pershing Hall. Though guest rooms are muted in design, an illuminated atrium brings color and drama to the dining patio. A vertical garden creates a “living wall” that changes hue throughout the day, creating an ambient space for the restaurant and a favorite night spot for locals. From US$622 per night.

Le Secret de Paris
Convenient to the Saint Lazare station, this 29-room four-star hotel offers six different themes. These include “Eiffel,” which features wall murals depicting the view from the Eiffel Tower, and “Atelier d’Artiste,” which emulates living in an artist’s Parisian loft. Mod-cons include free Internet, flatscreen TV, music system, multi-function shower, and boutique toiletries. From US$469 per night.

Le Vignon
Smart white rooms with pretty country accents feature in this four-star property next to the Church of Madeleine in central Paris. Modernized loft rooms, bespoke art, and plush beds make this a comfortable and stylish stay with excellent access to Paris’s main sights. From US$315 per night.

Hotel Élysées Mermoz
A short stroll from the Arc de Triomphe, this newly-renovated four-star boutique features contemporary classic design in warm tones. Juliette balconies give guests quaint Parisian street views, while flatscreen TVs, iPod docks, light-blocking curtains, and L’Occitane bath products ensure all modern requirements are met. From US$343 per night.

Hotel Cambon
Next to the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre Museum, this four-star property has one of the best positions in Paris for sightseeing. Paintings, vases, rich fabrics, and trompe l’oeil murals create whimsical living spaces, with some guest rooms featuring private terraces and French windows. From US$290 per night.Best Western Opera Diamond Hotel
Close to Saint Lazare railway terminal, this is stylish monochrome property diverges from the conventional Best Western design. With only 30 rooms, guests can enjoy a boutique experience plus a long list of in-room conveniences like iPod docks, Nespresso machines, and WiFi. Guests can retreat to an immaculate French garden in the courtyard. From US$251 per night.

Pavillon Nation
This modern three-star hotel in the 11th arrondissement features sleek contemporary décor and full meeting facilities. Close to the metro, it’s one of the few budget-friendly chic hotels in Paris, offering fully renovated rooms, free WiFi, and cable channels. From US$149 per night.

Ares Eiffel
Versace tile and Bang&Olufsen sound systems feature in this elegant four-star boutique close to the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. Baroque fabrics and rich textures create luxurious living spaces, complemented by free WiFi and flatscreen TVs with movies on demand. From US$256 per night.

Le Bellechasse
With every square inch designed by Christian Lacroix, this four-star boutique is a super stylish retreat – just a block from the Seine River and a few steps from Orsay Museum. There are three categories of room – “Discovery,” “Original,” and “Privilege” – each with a range of color and design themes. From US$273 per night.

 www.agoda.com

Panic as caller warns Eiffel Tower will be blown up

France’s capital city was thrown into panic last week when a package was found beneath the Eiffel Tower.

An anonymous caller rang the police to warn the landmark was going to be blown up, leading police to evacuated over 4,000 people from the tower itself and its surrounding area.

The iconic tower which stands 1,063ft high in the centre of Paris, was blocked off by police officers following the bomb threat.

The impressive building has been noted as a target for terrorism by extremists from Al Qaeda and those who oppose Libyan bombings.

However the tower was not closed for too long, following checks no explosives were found.

Only two hours later tourists were allowed to wonder beneath the tower around the plaza and the ticket office reopened.

The suspect package was found on the plaza in-between large groups of tourists. Police and soldiers were brought in and could be seen scouring the 1,063ft high tower for suspect packages and the surrounding area was also blocked of for searching.

An anonymous caller warned the police that the tower was going to be blown up at 1700 GMT, a police official stated almost 4,000 tourists were removed from the area for their saftey.

The site has been threatened and evacuated before, if a bomb attack were to take place on the 81-storey landmark it would cause huge devastation with thousands of tourists from around the world visiting the site everyday.

An Unforgettable Experience: Cruising On The River Seine

Boat tours along the river are offered during the day, and also during the evening. Paris is well known for its splendid lights, which captivate all visitors, but especially those romance seeking couples. Cruising in the evening is indeed an opportunity to see this wonderful “city of light”, and, if you chose to, dine in a tasteful and select setting. The dishes served are bound to leave you impressed with the world-renowned French cuisine, but be warned, there is a high price tag on such pleasures.

There are a great number of companies that offer tours on Paris’ enchanting river, the Seine. Of course, you can visit Paris “by foot”, or use all kinds of transportations to get from your hotel room to all the famous attractions, but why not choose to have a truly unique experience? You can view a considerable number of the city’s landmarks and architecture from aboard your own paris boat that is rented! The calm, relaxing flow of the river Seine will be your guide, in a trip that you are guaranteed never to forget! There are also a great number of magnificent bridges which traverse the river Seine, and among these the most notable are Pont des Arts, Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf (the oldest brdge, built in 1607).

Get to know the schedules of tours and boat rides and include this in your set plan so you can enjoy your day and not have to worry about not knowing where to go next. Enjoy Paris it is one of the most enchanting cities to be in. A place surely you will not regret on visiting the historical and mythical Paris Cruise. Even Children could catch up easily and manage to ride past the waves. . At the same time from monetary point of view as well. Boat hiring and boat business is not an easy business at all. Here you can make business in the extra time of your Paris visit while boating alone. For moving around Paris with them, you have to purchase a full day ticket. Within boat, you can easily enjoy the beauty of this place. Buttes Chaumont Park should be your next destination. You don’t really have to seek for long to find one. Also the hiring rates are lower than tourism companies.

Good luck to your Paris visit with glorious and gorgeous boats where you can have your wedding reception Paris.  What you call luxury and lavish lifestyle enjoyed and admired by a segment of the society alone is just made available to one and all. Guest house facilities with complete security and safety are ensured around these areas. There are so many other attractions as-well; like the napoleon’s tempest, the arch built in courtesy to all those brave soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War – definitely worth a visit while in Paris.