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Image of the Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower is a sight to be seen in the springtime

When asked to associate a color with the city of Paris, what springs to mind first? Perhaps gray, represented in the victorious icon of the Arc de Triomphe or the neoclassical apartments curved along its streets? Or maybe red, the chosen hue of passion and romance — after all, Paris is known as the City of Love. What about green? It may not be the first color you’d think of, but it’s certainly true: Paris abounds not only with world-famous museums and eateries, but with bountiful parklands as well. Here we’ve assembled a list of our ten favorite greeneries throughout the French capital.

1. Jardin des Tuileries

Image of the Jardin des Tuileries The famous and centrally located Jardin des Tuileries is a must-see slice of Parisian parkland

Sporting an illustrious history (it was created by Catherine de’ Medici, Queen of France), Paris’s largest and oldest garden sprawls between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. (The art museum, in fact, runs the parkland; Jardin des Tuileries does not belong to the Parisian government.) Aside from the best people watching you’ll find anywhere in Paris, the expanse offers countless activities: a collection of sculptures to browse underneath the wide open sky; Fête des Tuileries, which transforms the park into a summertime fairground with games, a Ferris wheel, and other attractions; scale-model boat sailing to delight the youngest members of your party; and the Musée de l’Orangerie, which displays impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces – think Monet and Matisse – to the public. Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of the Staten Island Ferry  The Staten Island Ferry in the Harbor

Welcome to the third installment of our new series, New York City Boroughs! In the first article we introduced the Bronx, and the second offered insight into Queens. Now it’s time to talk about an often overlooked NYC borough: Staten Island. Sure, this borough might not be as conventionally urban as the others (the south shore is right next to New Jersey), but locals know its unique environment is what makes it special. The gems of Staten Island (beaches, a botanical garden, a waterside museum) remain unknown to most tourists and even most New Yorkers – and that’s the way Staten Islanders like it.

Welcome to Staten Island

Staten Island is the least populated of the five boroughs but the third-largest at 59sqmi (153sqkm), making it feel more suburban than the others. From the north shore islanders can get to Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens; New Jersey is reachable from the south shore. Locals consider the two sides to be very different; individuals take pride in their side while occasionally scoffing at the other side. But both offer attractive features: the parks of the south are some of the best in the city, and the Northern urban setting is definitively more city-like (not to mention closer to Manhattan). Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of Tower Bridge The sun sets behind Tower Bridge

Sunsets are as unique as snowflakes – you’ll never watch the same one twice. A vibrant sunset between the towers of New York City or a soft sunset over the banks of Paris is are all well and good, but nothing beats the restrained glory of a red London sunset. Fortunately, London also has some of the best places in the European Union from which to see the sunset. From the towering Shard to the Victorian glamour of Primrose Hill, you simply can’t beat these top 5 spots to watch the sunset in London.

1. Primrose Hill at Regent’s Park

Picture of Primrose Hill The sunset from Primrose Hill is a riot of color. Photo: Matt Brock.

There’s a reason this area is home to some of the most exclusive and expensive residences in London. From the top of Primrose Hill you can see all of central London splayed at your feet. With the sky above you and the city below, it’s no wonder that those who visit feel as if they’ve reached the top of Mount Olympus. Turn northward for an unrivalled view of Belsize Park and Hampstead, or explore the seven English Heritage blue plaques in the park itself commemorating famous residents. Or go for a stroll around the lovely Victorian neighborhood and pick out your future furnished rental apartment. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Greenwich Village street corner This is the kind of charming street corner you’ll often see in Greenwich Village

Jack Kerouac wrote here. Jackson Pollock painted here. Odetta sang here. Greenwich Village – referred to by locals as simply “the Village” – and the West Village have traditionally stood as refuge for New York’s misfits – beatniks, bohemians, artists and the LGBTQ community, to name a few. For decades these enclaves in Lower Manhattan stood at the forefront of the city’s cultural heart: a place where folk music and avant-garde art could thrive. Today, you’ll find many designer boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and very few bohemians – but the historical impact of these artistic iconoclasts’ lives on.

Welcome to Greenwich Village and the West Village:

Resting in downtown Manhattan, the Greenwich and West Villages are north of Soho, south of Chelsea, west of the Hudson River, and east of the East Village (take a look at our guide to this district here). Once a site of industry, the neighborhood was claimed by New York’s nonconformist crowd and fostered the talents of some of America’s greatest artists. Due to the district’s upscale makeover, most of the remaining artists have been priced out of the Village, but the neighborhood has never forgotten its roots. You’ll find a mix of artsy businesses, concert venues and designer fashions, which sit wedged between beautifully preserved brownstones. Upper class residents – think movie stars and Wall Street businessmen – rub shoulders with hip NYU students. And as with elsewhere in Manhattan, the districts are served by multiple subway lines and bus routes, which means shuttling over to other parts of New York will be a breeze. Our video tour of Greenwich Village will help you visualize the bustling district. Read the entire story here…»

 

It probably comes as no surprise: New York City has the world’s best pizza. It’s one of the many things the Big Apple is famous for; a staple in the diet of every New Yorker. With so many variations (fresh mozz, grandma pies, and would you like some veggies on that?) there is surely a flavor to appease everyone in the family. Pizza is a relatively cheap meal, and an easy way to make your time in the city truly authentic. The streets are brimming with pizzerias to choose from; and though we swear, they’re all good, we’ve managed to pick ten favorites. Here is our list of the top pizza spots in NYC:

Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza

Picture of a fresh pie at Lombardi’s. Lombardi’s pizza pie.

Are copies ever as good as the original? No, and that’s why Lombardi’s pizza is still on top. Boasting the title of the first pizzeria in America, it has been on the same street for over 100 years and has more recently expanded the shop to fit its crowds of followers. You can’t miss this place – just look for the business with Mona Lisa eating a slice of pizza in the window! Each pie here is made in a coal brick oven and served with smoky thin-crusts that are crisped to perfection. Thanks to its now-larger interior, the long lines have been cut down, more tables are available for dining and a bar serves beer and cocktails. Lombardi’s is located on 32 Spring Street in Nolita and is accessible via the 4 and 6 trains at Spring Street. We love the White Pizza pie priced at $18.50 (small), served with mozzarella, ricotta, romano cheese, oregano, basil, black pepper and garlic infused oil and without sauce.

Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sun: 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat: 11:30am-12am.

Fun Fact: This establishment is cash only. Don’t have any dollar bills in your pocket? That’s okay; there is an ATM on the premise. Read the entire story here…»

 

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” This quote, by the illustrious 18th century writer Samuel Johnson, may seem like a hyperbole. But to the more than eight million people who call it home (not to mention the millions who make it their vacation destination each year), London is a life force – spanning thousands of years of culture, history, and architecture. Whether you’ve paid a visit to the city known as the Smoke many times or are eyeing your inaugural trip, here is our list of the Top 10 Must-See Sites in London: classic, modern, multicultural, and everything in between.

1. London Eye

Image of the London Eye The London Eye provides spectacular views of the city

Open to the public since March 2000, the London Eye – also known as the Millennium Wheel — is the UK’s most-frequented paid attraction. And it’s no wonder: with 360 degree views from each of the 32 capsules, the Eye provides what many consider to be the best panorama of London. Unlike most Ferris wheel structures, all of the glass pods are attached to the metal frame; in other words, you won’t feel the swinging sensation associated with most observation wheels. Additionally, each rotation lasts about 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in (and photograph) the scenery, which stretches up to 40 kilometers away.

The Eye is a hugely popular attraction, especially for tourists, so be prepared for a long queue. Each cabin (which can fit roughly two dozen people) has air conditioning, heating, and bench seating. Although the Eye maintains its slow pace for passengers boarding and disembarking, it will stop for elderly or disabled guests. General tickets are £20.95 for adults, £15 for children 4 to 15 years of age, and £17.50 for seniors (discounts are available if you book your tickets online) as of July 2014. We recommend you spend a little extra and spring for the day and night experience, which allows you to view the heart of the city in the midday and nighttime hours. The Eye is open from 10am to roughly 8:30pm year round (extended summer hours apply), with closings for Christmas Day and a week in January. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the attraction is accessible via bus, boat or Tube. Take the Bakerloo, Jubilee or Northern trains to the Waterloo Underground station for a short walk to the wheel. Interested in seeing the views from the London Eye before you go? Take a look at the London Eye! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of a bagel and coffee New York is known for its bagels. Coffee? Not as much!

There are two types of foods New Yorkers take extra pride in: pizza and bagels. You’ll find lots of delis, cafes and even restaurants offering the latter across the city, but which should you put at the top of your list? Here at New York Habitat, we have a few suggestions – so when you’re searching for the perfect breakfast treat, this collection of our ten favorite bagel spots should give you plenty of food for thought.

1. Absolute Bagels

Image of an assortment of bagels Absolute Bagels takes pride in its authentic products

New Yorkers love Absolute Bagels for their authentic baked goods and delicious spreads. Another bonus? Its location on the northern end of Broadway keeps it hidden from tourist traffic. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s unpopular: between flocks of local Columbia University students and Manhattanites looking for quality food, Absolute Bagels is never short on crowds. Be mindful of overcapacity as you visit the shop – only a handful of tables sit inside the small interior, and lines can wrap around the sidewalk. Unique spreads – including the highly recommended lox – are reason enough to go, as are the main attraction themselves (we suggest ordering whichever bagel is fresh out of the oven).

Prices start around $1 for a plain bagel and increase with added fillings and cream cheese. The cash only establishment is located at 2788 Broadway in a neighborhood now known as Manhattan Valley (or the northern section of the Upper West Side to some) and operates from 6am to 9pm. Take the 1 subway train to the Cathedral Parkway station or the A, B or C to the Cathedral Parkway at 110th Street station. Absolute Bagels is also accessible via public bus. While you’re there, tour the Upper Manhattan districts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights using our handy guide! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of South Kensington row houses Brick row houses make South Kensington a picturesque neighborhood

Chic, educational, vibrant: these are just some of the ways you might describe London’s South Kensington district. The neighborhood – part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – has long been associated with culture and luxury, spurned by the extensive building of museums and real estate following the Great Exhibition of 1851. You’d be hard pressed to find another enclave of the city with such a dense cluster of cultural and academic institutions, from world-class galleries to prestigious universities. It’s also an elegant residential area, attracting the attentions of visitors and residents alike.

Welcome to South Kensington

Map of the points of interest and our selection of discounted Vacation Rentals in the neighborhood of South Kensington, London.

South Kensington is bordered by equally stylish neighborhoods; it lies north of Chelsea, south of Hyde Park, west of Knightsbridge, and east of Earls Court. Its positioning in London places it in a prime location and near the center of all the action! An abundance of shops, museums, parks, restaurants, and the theatre arts give the area its dynamic character – and make it one of the most popular visitor spots and real estate markets in London. Here abound upscale boutiques, art galleries, antique dealers, and designer furnishing retailers. Any Francophiles in your party? They’ll love South Kensington for its influence française. As well as the many French expats living here, you’ll find the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle secondary school, the French Institute, and the Consulate General of France in London. Needing a visual to picture the scenery? Our video guide of Kensington covers the region, as well as the bordering neighborhood of Chelsea. Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of the Manhattan skyline New York City Skyline

Close your eyes and imagine you are waking up from a long, restful sleep in New York City. Not just in any borough, but in a central neighborhood of Manhattan itself. You rub your eyes and stand up, stretching to prepare for another exciting adventure in the Big Apple. When you look through your window, you see an amazing scene in front of you: perhaps it is of the famous towering skyscrapers of Midtown, the iconic Statue of Liberty and the glistening harbor surrounding it or even the Empire State Building! Open your eyes. This is a dream that can come true! There are all types of apartment options available in NYC that offer inspiring views of the city. This assures you the best experience possible – and the best photo ops!

We’d love to help you find the perfect accommodation with our long list of New York City apartments. Take a short break from the stress of daily life with our short-term vacation rentals, or get the full taste of the Big Apple by renting a furnished apartment! With a destination as exciting as Manhattan it’s important to ensure comfort and happiness by choosing the right home. What is more “right” than waking up to a bird’s eye view of famous high-rises, rivers and parks?

Studio Vacation Rental in Midtown West, Manhattan

of a studio with king bed in Midtown West Studio apartment in Midtown West, Manhattan

Live in the center of the city with this studio vacation rental in Midtown West, Manhattan! Located on broadway, a busy street filled with shops, restaurants and theaters, this charming home boasts floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. From the spacious king-sized bed, tenants will awake to the picturesque view of Central Park and towering midtown buildings. Don’t worry about too much sunshine. The midday sun is sure to illuminate the apartment, while long blue curtains offer coverage and privacy for when you want a more restful atmosphere. The apartment sits in a luxury elevator building with 24-hour doorman, allowing tenants more perks than the usual traveler. A shared laundry facility, fitness center, bar with outdoor terrace and a café bistro are provided in the same building for your convenience. Personal amenities in the studio include a flat-screen cable television, desk with chair and a fully-equipped open kitchen featuring black tiled floors, cabinetry and a dishwasher. There are a wealth of must-see attractions within walking distance, including Rockefeller Center, the Museum of Modern Art and the always-bustling streets of Times Square. Don’t get overwhelmed by the high energy of Times Square. Instead, read our tips on how to make the most of your time at the Crossroads of the World! Read the entire story here…»

 

Most people travel to escape from the daily grind or to open their eyes to different cultures, geology and scenic views that will be remembered forever. According to search engine reports, searches involving the phrase “best things to do in ___” skyrockets during peak holiday seasons. With London standing at the forefront of the world’s best travel destinations, is it any wonder people want to know what’s happening in the Smoke City? Fear not! Through a careful selection process we have narrowed down the list of London’s best events to the truly exceptional top 10. These events are always internationally renowned, frequently attended by A-List celebrities, and often free or low-cost . If you’re heading to London this season, mark your calendars with these great events, and don’t forget to brush up on your London etiquette!

London Marathon

Photo of the London Marathon finish line Runners cover the final stretch in the London Marathon

Founded by previous Olympic Champions, the London marathon is a long-distance running event spanning over 26 miles (42+ kilometers). The majority of the route is over level ground along the Thames River. The course begins at three different points – the “red start” in southern Greenwich Park, the “green start” in St. John’s Park, and the “blue start” on Shooter’s Hill Road. All three routes converge in Woolwich and the finish line is on Birdcage Walk in Westminster. The London marathon is one of the top six world marathons that form the World Marathon Majors (for which there is a $1 million dollar prize). As such, it regularly attracts world-famous athletes and Olympic champions. The event is free and is usually held on a Sunday in April. Read the entire story here…»