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Venice, Los Angeles

Venice is a beachfront neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, United States. It is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only promenade...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What to see in Paris

Paris is the city of romance, culture and all things wonderful. It’s a city that appears on many people’s travel wish lists and around 27 million people visit Paris each year.

Everyone is so familiar with the French capital and what there is to see there that you almost don’t need to bother taking a guide book with you. The most visited tourist attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre, the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées.

The great thing about Paris is that the main tourist sites are all within walking distance of each other, and although the city is busy at any time of the year, it’s a beautiful city to walk around. When you want a break from pounding the boulevards, though, you can always hop on the easy-to-use Metro.

There’s always something big happening in Paris, a little like any of the other major capital cities in the world. If you’re in Paris during May and June this year, you could get tickets to the French Open and potentially witness history being made. Rafael Nadal is currently the favourite at Betfair and other betting sites to win this, one of the four biggest tennis Grand Slams. If he does, he will have improved on his own record for the number of times a single player has won the same competition. Currently, Nadal is the only player to have won a single Grand Slam eight times, and this year, if all goes to plan, he will get his ninth victory at Roland Garros. Keep track on the latest odds at as the tournament gets underway.

Another big sporting event coming up in July is the finish of the Tour de France, the gruelling cycle race that covers much of France every year but always finishes on the Champs-Elysées.

Music lovers might want to time their visit to be part of Rock en Seine, one of the biggest music festivals in France. It takes place from 22-24 August this year and will feature groups such as The Prodigy, Arctic Monkeys and Lana del Ray. And cinema buffs could book their trip to coincide with the International Paris Film Festival that takes place from 5-12 July. You may not get into the premieres but there’s the all night movie marathon at the Forum des Images or the Cine Karaoke where the audience is encouraged to join in and sing along to memorable movie scenes.

Whenever you go to Paris, you’ll be able to see some of the greatest sights in the world as well as participate in live events such as these.

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris

Musée d’Orsay and the Seine, Paris, France

Rolland Garros tennis match

Tour de France on Champs-Elysées

Friday, May 23, 2014

Watching the Brazil World Cup at a distance

It’s hard to imagine any destination in the world being quite so exciting as Brazil next month. The World Cup beckons and thousands of football fans from around the world will be making their way there soon.

It’s estimated that about 10,000 England football fans will be there, about half of them with tickets for the opening group games. While other nations may not have quite so many fans travelling to see their matches, it gives some indication of the influx of football tourists Brazil will see during the tournament. The promise is that this will be a World Cup with a party atmosphere and there are few nations who are so completely wrapped up in football as Brazil.

But anyone who’s not a big football fan would be sensible to have postpone any travel plans for Brazil until the World Cup has been and gone, because prices on everything from food and drinks to accommodation will rocket during the World Cup.

It’s also not going to be the easiest of places for the footie fans to move around to watch the various matches. With 12 different cities hosting the different games, there’s going to be a lot of travelling for fans to do within the country. Many of the venues are at least a two-day drive from the others, most notably the rainforest city of Manaus, where England has its first match against Italy at the Arena Amazonia on 14 June.

Added to the distances that fans will be travelling there are other potential hazards to overcome. Sensible travellers will have already been immunised against yellow fever and be taking anti-malarial medication, but there’s also a risk of contracting dengue fever while in Brazil. This is a disease carried by mosquitoes and symptoms include muscular aches, headaches and fever. Unfortunately there is no vaccination for dengue fever; the best protection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Three of the 12 World Cup venues are currently carrying a high alert for dengue fever.

All in all, unless you are absolutely passionate about the beautiful game, you’re probably far better off staying home and watching the World Cup on TV. The host nation is also tipped to win the tournament and most bookmakers are offering odds of about 3/1 for Brazil to win. Keep up to date on how the different nations’ chances are rated throughout the tournament at There are plenty of other bets to choose from, of course. For example, you could back the player you think will win the Golden Boot, or the one you think you will score the most goals during the tournament. And then there’s live in-play betting which always makes watching the games that little bit more exciting.

While a part of you may wish you were going to see the World Cup in person, it certainly won’t be the most relaxing of trips for those fans who are going, and one thing that’s always guaranteed when watching the games on TV is a great view of the action.

Arena Amazonia in Manaus
Arena Amazonia in Manaus

Houses on the outskirts of Manaus , Brazil
Houses on the outskirts of Manaus , Brazil

The Opera in Manaus, Brazil
The Opera in Manaus, Brazil

Manaus city centre, Brazil
Manaus city centre, Brazil