Few hotels define an urban skyline like the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. This grande dame, which lords over Quebec City from a cliff overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, is one of the most photographed hotels in the world, and it’s easy to see why. It’s hard to take a picture of the city without the formidable property creeping into the frame. Here’s a look at the icon’s past and present.
From hiking in the Laurentian Mountains and biking along the St. Lawrence River to being front row, center, at their city’s huge summer festivals, here’s what locals love about Quebec City.
With 7,500 residents scattered across six parishes on a rural wonderland twice the size of Manhattan, the Île d’Orléans is an absolute must-see, especially in the summer, when it’s bursting with treasures from small-scale farms, wineries, and culinary artisans. Here are my favorite discoveries, parish by parish, on the island oasis that is known as the “Garden of Quebec.”
You wouldn’t have wanted to be my dining companion in Quebec City. I was completely inappropriate, struggling to stop chocolate from dribbling out of a crepe or digging out the soft parts of olive bread to pair with local cheeses, leaving the hapless crust. I don’t regret any of it—not even an unfortunate oil-dripping, finger-licking incident involving a crazy delicious croustillant at the Marché du Vieux-Port. The food is that good.
From the always-changing city center to sleepy vineyard-filled valleys, here’s the scoop on what locals love about Cape Town.
I recently spent nine days in Lisbon, which felt downright decadent. The whole time I was there, I kept meaning to visit Castelo de São Jorge. It’s a guidebook must-see and I definitely had time. But the castle on the hill started to feel less and less important as I roamed the city’s colorful neighborhoods and joined the rhythm of everyday life. Here’s why I returned home an ambassador for the Portuguese capital.
I spend a lot of time exploring big, dynamic cities. But these isolated islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador grew on me in such a way that when I left, I felt as though I was taking some of the characteristics of the landscape and animals—fearlessness, energy, equilibrium—home with me. Here are a few other things I learned about the Galápagos along the way.
London isn’t high on many people’s travel lists past early fall, but I happen to love London when it’s cold outside. “You get to see the city for what it really is in the winter,” my friend Lauren Bryan Knight told me. “It’s London with her hair down, devoid of anything other than the quiet rhythm of Londoners living out their daily routines.” Here’s why the English capital should be on your winter travel list—and how to make the most of your time while you’re there.
Last week, I enjoyed two completely different dinners out in the French capital’s 11th arrondissement. The contrasting experiences in the so-called “Brooklyn of Paris” reminded me why right now is a wonderful time to be in the city that casts a magical spell, whether it’s your first or fifteenth visit.
Love exploring new cities around the world? Join @NatGeoTravel’s Urban Insider and Orbitz travel editor Sarah Gorenstein for a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, November 5.
On a recent visit to San Francisco, I was fortunate to have Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow as a companion and guide. As we explored the city in her zippy convertible, we made a point to venture across the bridge to Marin County, where Catherine makes her home. Here’s a list of ten of our favorite places experiences–on both sides of the bay.
Oakland is enjoying a moment in the sun right now, as evidenced by a recent spate of media hits and amorous outpourings on social networks. But after Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow and I spent time there on assignment, we both left convinced that the city’s ascent isn’t fleeting, but one that will have a long tail, bolstered by a steady stream of colorful shop and restaurant openings and an influx of equally colorful characters seeking lower rents and a less stressful lifestyle.