The lavish lifestyles and warring ways of kings and courtiers of old left behind the extravagantly decorated Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, the undoubtedly haunted fortress of the Tower of London, and the majestic Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris for you to explore. There is also a new Europe, as many cities are experiencing a burst of architectural creativity that is adding excitement to the scene. Not to be outdone, Mother Nature offers the splendors of the far north, in the breathtaking majesty of the Norwegian fjords, and the unique landscapes of Iceland, realm of fire and ice.
Port Combination (change selection): Paris (Rouen), France to Stockholm, Sweden
The first thing you will notice as you approach Rouen is the Cathedral of Notre Dame, towering high above the city, its 490-foot cast-iron spire the tallest in France. Get lost in the old town where half-timbered houses line a labyrinth of lanes, and stop for a moment at the Rehabilitation Cross, marking the spot where in 1431 Joan of Arc was consigned to the flames. Paris, City of Light, arbiter of fashion, food and wine, and radiating romance, is within easy reach. Stroll along the Champs Elysées, the most beautiful avenue in the world, take in the view from the Eiffel Tower, or immerse yourself in that nirvana for art lovers - the Louvre.
Lively, cosmopolitan Stockholm sports an appealing mix of modern Scandinavian architecture and fairy tale palaces, watched over by a Board of Beauty, responsible for preserving the city. One third of its area is devoted to green space, and another third to waterways, providing lots of room to breathe. Gamla Stan is the oldest section, retaining the medieval layout of narrow meandering paths. For the contemporary take there's Sodermalm, known trendily as SoFo, with welcoming restaurants and pubs, specialty shops and boutiques. Stieg Larson fans hang out here, as it is the area of the city where most action in the Millennium novels takes place.
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