What to do in France in February

I had the pleasure of knocking Paris off my bucket list about 12 (oh wow) years ago. It was so long ago; I think it’s time to put it back on the list. While the regions of France have so much to offer a traveler, on my next trip, I want to explore more of the communes of Paris, as well as the Parisian Coast.

Boulogne Billancourt, France

I love photographing my world. I take a picture randomly of a tree or a sunset and capture it on my phone to share on Instagram or Twitter. I believe Albert Khan (a French banker and philanthropist who lived in Paris in the early 1900s) would have loved social media. He created the Archives of the Planet, a photographic endeavor where he wished to document buildings and cultures. He would travel around with his chauffeur and photographer and document the world. He even commissioned and sent out photographers to every continent to record images and film of the planet.

Albert-Kahn Musee et Jardin houses these photos and films in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. During a winter month, I can’t think of a better way to fill the day than by looking at images of our world.


Image via Trover.com by Manuel Villanueva

Chessy, France

Chessy, France is in eastern Paris. The city isn’t much these days; oh, except for being the site of the Disneyland Paris Amusement Park. Even the cool temperatures in February shouldn’t stop you from visiting the happiest place on earth … in France.

The park offers many new experiences for the family during this time of year. It’s open for the Half Term in February, but the winter temperatures keep the crowds away. It is an ideal time to visit the Magic Kingdom to avoid the lines and the usual chaos of the amusement park. I’m ready to dress for the occasion, and after the first ride and a photo-op with Mickey, I’m sure I won’t notice the temperature.


Image via Trover.com by Snappy David

Courbevoie, France

Courbevoie, Frances is the densest populated region of France. It’s situated in the business district and houses tall buildings, great hotels, and is an amazing shopping district. Furthermore, it has my favorite place on earth, the Eiffel Tower. Chances are the top floor observation deck will be closed in February, and if open, it won’t be the best view. However, I’m going to visit anyway. You will avoid long lines during this time of year and the structure itself is impressive enough. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You will warm right up. Plus the tower has four restaurants, so grab a seat and enjoy a meal in the most iconic landmark in the world.


Photo via Trover.com by Noe Correia

Avignon, France

Avignon, France is in southern France, but not quite next to the Mediterranean Sea. It is a city steeped in rich history, especially Catholic history. The commune housed the original residency of the Pope back in the 1300s. You could spend days exploring the Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace). It is the most impressive example of Gothic architecture in Europe. I can imagine spending a day by soaking up the rich  and at times — tumultuous history of Catholicism during this period.


Image via Trover.com by Marta Logan

Antibes, France

The art fan in me would love to visit Antibes, France, located further down south on the Mediterranean coast. It is a beautiful coastal town. Many artists and writers used Antibes as a retreat in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It houses a Picasso museum, which holds some of his beautiful, albeit confusing, works of landscapes from the time he called this French commune his home. It also houses the Absinthe museum. This infamous drink has a crazy history, and I would love to explore it and maybe have a taste.


Image via Trover.com by Michelle DuQuette

Have you been to any of these cities? What’s on your travel bucket list?

What do do in Italy in Winter

My travel bucket list is heading across the Atlantic Ocean once again. I love traveling in the winter, so I did some research on Europe in the wintertime. I found that Italy had many cool and inexpensive options in the off-season, especially near the coast.

Genoa, Italy

Genoa, Italy is the sixth largest city in Italy. Its sprawling landscape reaches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Apennine Mountains. The varying landscape and proximity to water makes it a great place for outdoor activities. However, during the winter months, the temperature, while mild, will drive you indoors. Since that is the case, I have to check out the Genoa Aquarium. It is one of the largest aquariums in Europe. You can learn all about aquatic life in the Mediterranean Sea without getting wet.


Image via Trover.com by Diana Meier

Como, Italy

For a quiet retreat, I would book a stay at one of Como, Italy’s famous resorts. In the off-season, the hotels are all but deserted, and while the restaurants and the palazzo are quiet and empty, they still do business. The setting, full of Romanesque cathedrals and Baroque monuments, offers you the opportunity to enjoy the scenery without the tourists distracting you. Located on the southern tip of Lake Como, the town borders Switzerland, which is only a short drive from enjoying winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

Sant Agnello, Italy

Located 25 kilometers southeast of Naples, Sant’Agnello, Italy is a coastal town on the Amalfi Coast. The town features several castles, tombs, churches, and abbeys, so even with the winter weather quite balmy, there is no need to stay indoors. If sightseeing old buildings isn’t your things, then book a group tour of the Amalfi coast and sit back to let the change in landscape on the west coast of Italy amaze you.

Moreover, while you’re there, check out the exhibit of the lost city of Pompeii. The movie scared me to death; I’d love to see where it all took place.

Turin, Italy

The beautiful city of Turin, Italy is next on my stop. It is not a coastal town, as it’s in the northwest part of Italy. It’s colder here in the winters, so I would suggest indoor activities. One attraction I can’t wait to check out is the Museo Nazional Del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema). It is an entire museum dedicated to the cinema.

I love movies and enjoy foreign films, including Italian films. I could spend hours enjoying the exhibits about the famous Italian filmmaker, Fellini, and The Godfather. They also have memorabilia from some of America’s famous filmmakers and film franchises, such as a tribute to Woody Allen and masks from the Star Wars films.

For the movie production geek, the museum also offers exhibits about the movie-making process as well.


Image via Trover.com by Clapis_93

Stresa, Italy

If you are missing the water, a trip to Stresa, Italy on Lago Maggiore is a must. This beautiful lake offers spectacular views from the balcony of your hotel room at the Grand Hotel. Go and pamper yourself at the Grand Hotel Stresa Spas. Full of old world Italian elegance, you can really get away and be pampered. The winter months are the off-season, so the staff focuses only on you. Enjoy the opulent setting with treatments and finish it off by trying an Italian hot chocolate by the fire.

StresaImage via Trover.com by Alice Barale

Have you been to any of these cities in Italy? What’s on your Italian Travel Bucket List?