Paris: the city of lights, and the city of endless romanticizing from Americans who have heard that it’s a magical land of baguettes and artistic freedom. Americans have been traveling to Paris to be appreciated for their poetic struggle for years, and a whole Seine’s worth of books have come along to share the story of Americans in Paris, from the Lost Generation to Henry James to James Baldwin. In this list we’re looking at some of the best and most crucial memoirs and biographies featuring some of America’s best artists and most interesting… Read More
Sure, Halloween is today, but autumn is just generally the best time of year to walk through a beautiful cemetery and appreciate not only the serenity, but also the landscape, intricate tombstones, and sometimes even the final resting places of famous historical figures. Some people find them creepy, while others purposely seek out graveyards when they go out of town. For those of the latter persuasion, here are 20 cemeteries you absolutely must visit — before you, well, end up in one… Read More
If you hadn’t noticed, Flavorwire isn’t just your home for cultural criticism and commentary; we’re also your online travel agent for pop pilgrimages. After the enthusiastic responses to our lists of must-see literary and music places, it seemed only appropriate to compile a similar guide to film places of note: museums, tours, theaters, but most of all the locations where your favorite movies were… Read More
Today Guy Fieri released his new book Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: The Funky Finds in Flavortown. This travel guide/recipe book is more or less what you’d expect from the human embodiment of an Ed Hardy shirt: it’s full of bad jokes and backhanded compliments (he calls a favorite milkshake in Chicago “[a] poor man’s milk shake”), and a major theme is the Food Network personality’s strange fixation on Kid Rock. Fieri’s usual flamboyance is a bit muted in this book, however, and there are a couple of occasions where it seems like he almost wants you to take him seriously. He frequently refers to his time studying in Chantilly, France, and reveals he “was raised in a really big art community” on the same page where he commissions the owner of a Kansas City pizza place to construct “a twenty-five-gallon margarita machine.” It’s clearly only a matter of time before Michelin takes notice, but until then, enjoy the rest of book’s most ridiculous passages. … Read More
We always want to make the most of a hallowed day off, and so out comes the offbeat travel guide we got at an office white elephant party, and then — inevitably — the New York Times Travel section. Be it a colorful festival of birds in a Minnesota bog or battling nature-deficit disorder in a more hands-on way by attending a work song workshop and then putting the results to practice in the fields of a historic plantation, we crave unusual adventures. In honor of rip-roaring excursions, we’ve rounded up some of the most intriguing but bizarre tourist attractions of a bygone roadside era. From alligator farms and ostrich racetracks to meteorite museums, click through to check out lost roadside attractions we’d love to visit. … Read More
“I just went on a state tour of North Korea, one of the first since Kim Jong Un ascended to power, and I made a film about it.” So begins a fascinating Reddit AMA with questions ranging from “Was there anything that you really wanted to see, but that they wouldn’t let you check out?” (answer: “the poor rural areas of the country, but good luck with that”) to “Does [Kim Jong Un] like looking at things just as much as his father did?” (“ohhhhh yes”). But the truly remarkable stuff is in the video, In the Land of Paradise, which finds the travelers bringing flowers to statues of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, captures an eerily militaristic musical performance by schoolchildren, and — perhaps most interesting of all — records tour guides’ speeches and propaganda films that give North Korea’s official, misinformation-filled perspective on history. Watch the 25-minute travelogue after the jump. … Read More
“One of the things that makes the location so unique and so amazing is that you can be there in broad daylight, out in the open, and still feel very vulnerable,” Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli told Vulture about the location of his new film Chernobyl Diaries.
He produced the supernatural tale that takes place in Prypiat — an abandoned Ukrainian city near the location of the deadly Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster that devastated residents in 1986. Peli described how the threat of radiation and the location’s eerie, remote atmosphere made it the perfect place to set his new found footage horror film. In the movie, a group of tourists venture to the city on an extreme vacation, but soon discover they’re not alone.
These bizarre vacation destinations aren’t just hot spots in cinema. People travel to Pripyat in real life for adventurous and surreal experiences. We discovered other unusual vacation getaways for your perusal past the break. Feel free to mention your favorite strange destination below. … Read More
Not that we need another excuse to daydream our digital day away, but thanks to travel writer Francisca Mattéoli’s new book Escape Hotel Stories: Retreat and Refuge in Nature, we have one that’s valid. Combining two of our favorite escapist pleasures — travel and really good books — the stunning tome available this month from the great curator of culture, Assouline, explores environmentally sensitive retreats around the world through the lens of literature and art.
After previewing the stunning travel book, we thought we’d share some of the goodness with you, dear readers, by paying a virtual visit to a few of the author’s top destinations. From a village of fifteen tents on land that shares an ancient history with Bruce Chatwin’s poetic account of the Australian outback’s aboriginal Dreamtime mythology in The Songlines to a converted limestone refinery on the Swedish island of Gotland and The Magic Lantern, the autobiography of its most famous neighbor, Ingmar Bergman, to a luxurious hideaway in Big Sur, California and longtime resident, Henry Miller’s masterpiece, Tropic of Cancer, click through to check out our favorite pairings from Escape Hotel Stories. For more wonderful pairings and an in-depth look at each retreat, head over to Assouline’s online book boutique and order your copy today. Tell us about your favorite holiday reading material in the comments below! … Read More
One of the most stunning — albeit weird — examples of design in nature, tourist caves are a fascinating hybrid of kitschy roadside Americana and wondrous natural splendor. These unconventional attractions combine things like stalagtite ballrooms and underground wedding chapels with faux-Tudor architecture, patriotic son-et-lumière shows and awesome retro View-Masters for stereoscopic sightseeing that beat anything James Cameron could ever do.
We first discovered this subgenre of odd tourist destinations in the The Center for Land Use Interpretation’s comprehensive online database. A self-proclaimed “research and education organization interested in understanding the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth’s surface,” or, in layman’s terms, an offbeat cultural CIA tracking the many wacky things we humans put on this earth, CLUI is our newest learned obsession.
Starting with Howe Caverns, New York’s second-most-visited natural attraction, complete with a guided boat tour on an underground lake, and ending with a cave in New Mexico that’s famous for its bat amphitheater, we invite you to take a minute out of your day and join us on a virtual trip across our great nation to check out some of the most original natural design inspiration we’ve ever seen. Then (because we’re dying to know more), tell us about any real-world cave experiences you’ve had in the comments below! … Read More