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Wednesday, 03 April 2019

Night at the Louvre Contest

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Airbnb is having an unbelievable contest where the prize is a night at the Louvre! 

You'll have drinks at a lounge set up in front of the Mona Lisa, a wander through the art galleries with an art historian, dinner at a dining room set up in front of Venus di Milo (prepared by a private chef), and a private concert at Napolean III's opulent apartments before sleeping at a bedroom that's set up in the pyramid (with breakfast in bed when you rise). This is a priceless experience! 

Flights to Paris are included as well as a night before and after to complete the experience.

Good Luck!

Read more about it here and check out the pictures:

You must enter by April 12th.

This is a guest post by the owner of the bookstore holding the competition:


My name is Isabel Dréan, I’m a filmmaker. Years ago, I came to Laos for 2 days and ended up staying for 10 years by opening the first licensed bookstore following the communist era. L'Étranger, Books and Tea has been listed in Lonely Planet's guide and the blue list one year (I think it was 2004).

Now time has come to close this chapter of my life. But instead of selling the traditional way, I launched an international competition to find the right person to take over this dream life I’ve created in Laos. I'm playing matchmaker for my bookshop.

I believe with the current political climate in the world that many people would be inspired by my story and who knows, maybe the person I’m looking for is amongst them.

Hopeful applicants can submit their audition-video and tell me why they are the one. A lucky winner will get my two businesses: bookstore & café and gallery, free rent for the first year, a motorcycle, a foreign investor resident visa and $10,000 in cash. Everything to start a new life in the heart of South-East Asia. The competition will run until August 31st. Submission fee is $100. It is a really great story about someone building a dream life and giving the chance to someone else to benefit from it.

I would love to share my story with as many people as possible to find the right person for this adventure. I hope you find my story inspiring.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Have a great day,

Isabel Dréan


Ultra-modern. Diverse. These are just a few words travelers have used to describe the city of Toronto. Located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, the area of Toronto was actually the byproduct of post-glacial deposits. Europeans first arrived here in the 1700s and soon set up a major trading post. The city boomed during the days of the Industrial Revolution, and in the 1960s Toronto opened itself to the world with extremely liberal immigration policies. Indeed, over half of the residents in this huge megalopolis are foreign-born. Travelers are impressed with the wide variety of cultures on display in this major North American city. Below, you'll find five reasons why you should put Toronto on your vacation list for 2017.


1. Tons Of Museums


As with any great city, Toronto is full of world-class museums. History buffs can take a trip back to 19th century Ontario at the Black Creek Pioneer Village. Numerous actors go through a typical farming day in this re-created village from the 1860s. If farming isn't your thing, you can check out the finest in opulent living at Casa Loma. Casa Loma was the former estate of financier Sir Henry Pellat, and it's complete with European grandeur and intrigue. In addition to fine decorations and towers, this estate has secret passageways and a wondrous 5-acre garden. Art lovers must check out the Art Gallery of Ontario (which features Ruben's stunning Massacre of the Innocents) and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. Finally, for those looking for an odd museum experience, check out Napoleon Bonaparte's sock collection (yes, you read that right!) at the Bata Shoe Museum.


2. Iconic Landmarks


Toronto has one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Canada: the CN Tower. After this 553-meter tower was completed in 1976, it was officially the tallest tower in the world. Although CN Tower lost that distinction when Dubai completed its Burj Khalifa in 2007, visitors to Toronto just love taking a trip to the top of this stunning free-standing structure. Visitors to CN Tower get to take a wonderful glass elevator ride to the glass observation area. There's also a restaurant called 360 on the main deck of this tower.


In addition to CN Tower, sports fans like to take in a game at Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. And, for those into historical Canadian structures, a visit to Toronto City Hall is well worth your time.


3. Toronto For Kids


Traveling with children? No worries. Toronto has plenty of amazing attractions to keep kids amused for hours on end. First off, visit Legoland, which is just 30-minutes north of Toronto's city center. In addition to housing "Miniland," a miniature lego replica of Toronto made up of half a million lego bricks, Legoland Toronto hosts Lego 4D Cinema, the Kingdom Quest ride, and the Merlin's Apprentice ride. Close to Legoland is the 330-acre Canada's Wonderland theme park, which is complete with thrilling roller coasters and a water park. For those only staying within Toronto's city center, a few popular attractions for children include the Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Center.


4. A Film Lover's Paradise


Toronto hosts two of cinema's most famous film festivals each and every year. First off, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) starts up on the Thursday following Labor Day and usually lasts for about ten days. This festival, which has been held annually since 1976, shows around 300 films to well over 480,000 film lovers. Some people just visit this festival to try and get a glimpse of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Many of the films premiered in Toronto actually go on to earn Oscar nominations, so definitely check this film festival out if you're into award-winning movies.


The second most popular film festival held in Toronto is the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF). Held every February, the TBFF hosts some of the major films made for and by black people. Most of the films showcased here are concerned with cultural and social issues surrounding the black community.


5. Authentic And Eclectic Dining Options


If you're a foodie, you'll find no shortage of dining options in Toronto. Conde Nast Traveler officially named Toronto as one of the best food cities in the world, and it's clear to see why once you get here. Since Toronto is such a melting pot, there are literally thousands of restaurants from all around the world to take in. Skip the tourist traps and dine with the Toronto locals. A few of the more popular luxury restaurants include ALO Restaurant, Scaramouche Restaurant, and George Restaurant, all of which are French/Canadian. People looking for Asian cuisine can head on over to Chinatown, and people who just want to relax at a local cafe can check out either the Distillery District or the University District. No matter what cuisine you're into, you'll definitely find something to satisfy your palate in this cosmopolitan city.



For hiking enthusiasts, finding that “one place” can be a daunting task with so many beautiful destinations. Here’s a list of 10 hikes located across the globe where any one of them could be your “one place”.

10. Kalalau Trail: Kauai, Hawaii

This 11-mile (one way) trail is located along the amazing Na Pali Coast. The rugged trail is quite popular and you need a camping permit to stay. But the hike and final destination are well worth the steep trail and heat. Kalalau beach is a mile-long beauty with the Kalalau Valley offering amazing waterfalls and scenery.

9. Everest Base Camp: Nepal

The 70-mile round trip Everest Base Camp venture is becoming one of the world’s most popular treks. Hikers, though, should take their time acclimating themselves to the intense high-altitude climb while viewing three of the highest peaks in the world.

8. Inca Trail: Peru

By far one of the most popular hikes in the world. The 26-mile trip allows one to roll through jungles and beautiful mountain scenery while ending at the world-famous Machu Picchu.

7. Tour du Mont Blanc: France, Italy, Switzerland

Traversing three countries, this trail offers beautiful vistas, snow-covered mountains, ancient cobblestone, wild geraniums and even grazing cattle along its 105-mile journey.

6. The Narrows: Utah

This amazing “river” trail is located in Zion National Park and is its most popular. The trail itself pretty much is the Virgin River, meaning you will be wet for most of the 16 miles, with wading and swimming a must during this gorgeous hike. 

5. Sentiero Azzurro: Cinque Terre, Italy

This picturesque and very popular cliffside trail located in Italy actually connects five villages, offering breathtaking views as well as a trail for every level of hiker. This is not a long hike, perhaps five hours total, but with so much to see, one can make this adventure as long as they wish.

4. Appalachian Trail: Georgia to Maine

This 2,180-mile trail ventures through 14 states and is the longest in the world. The views offered can be quite stunning and even with its distance, this trail is extremely popular, as it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in America.

3. Torres Del Paine: Patagonia, Chile

The trail offers gorgeous lakes, massive glaciers and volcanic peaks along its 37-miles. One of its highlights is Heilo Sur, which is the second largest non-polar icefield on earth.

2. Desert Trek to Petra – Jordan

This 50-mile round trip trek offers so much in spite of its desert surrounding. Jordan’s mountain peaks and gorges are a hikers dream but the true marvel is the ancient setting and amazing history the journey to Petra offers.

1. Santa Cruz Trek: Peru

The Santa Cruz trek is considered by many hikers as one of the best hiking routes in the world. It offers snow-covered mountain peaks and lush open valleys as you also journey along rivers and brightly colored lagoons.

I never thought summer would arrive. And quite frankly I’m not sure it has in my small world but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to travel. At night when the cool air approaches and the stars come out I think of all the beaches I’d like to be sunbathing on. However, I can’t say that’s what I think about during the day. One place that has drawn my attention is Phuket, Thailand. I have always been fascinated with the Asian lands and Thailand is no exception. Phuket is one of Thailand’s largest islands and one of the most beautiful. 


Just like most islands you can do all those fantastic activities like snorkeling in the blue lagoons, or if you want to get certified - scuba diving: getting up close and personal to a leopard shark, lion fish or an octopus. Don’t want to get wet? Charter a boat and go sailing on the waters. Check out the bays with rock formations jetting out of the water covered in greenery. Spend the day on a yacht with a hot tub drinking wine while watching the sunset over the water. The next day, rent out bikes and travel around the island. When you’re done, switch out your bicycle for an elephant and go on a safari.


Some of my personal favorites to do on this magnificent island is sky diving and if you’re daring, rent a motorbike and do some serious riding. Still not daring enough? Well. Put on some gear and get ready to climb some very high trees. After you get to the top, look over your shoulder. It’s time to climb across to the next tree using only ropes. Maybe that yacht with champagne is looking better? You’re on vacation. Get wild! While you’re climbing the sky using only cables you are harnessed in. The only thing to fear is….Well, you know the saying.  After you try all the extreme adventures you and your stomach can handle, make your way to a spa and relax with a massage. At night visit a cabaret or a dinner theater.  As the night unwinds, make your way back to your resort when you can sleep in and do it all over again in the morning. 



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