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    Few places bring to mind thoughts of romance and love more than France. A table for two at a quiet café, stealing a kiss on a bridge overlooking the Seine river in Paris - these are the intimate moments that abound throughout France. While Paris is the most well-known romantic destination, France has plenty of other hideaways to enjoy. Whether for Valentine's Day, a honeymoon, anniversary, or just because, explore these lesser known areas of France with a loved one and you can be sure there will be romance and amour in the air.

    St. Paul de Vence
    Located in the South of France, St. Paul de Vence is a picturesque village full of art galleries, boutiques, and sidewalk cafés. Many artists began frequenting St. Paul de Vence in the early 1920's for its brilliantly colored flowers and landscapes, leaving the village with exquisite paintings that still decorate city walls today[1]. The streets are winding and narrow, hiding treasures around every corner. You can find gorgeous fountains like the Place de la Grande Fontaine and endless breathtaking views of the mountains and the sea.

    Loire Valley
    Escape to a land of royalty. The Loire Valley is a real life fairytale with famous castles like Chambord and Chenonceau dotting the countryside. The Loire Valley is also known for its magical gardens. The Chateau du Rivau boasts 12 gardens all with a fairy-tale theme; you could run into a life size gnome sculpture or visit the garden of love potions [2]. The Loire Valley serves as the perfect setting for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.

    A wine lover's paradise, Bordeaux, France produces some of the most exquisite wines in the world. Bordeaux produces both red and white wines, but is certainly known for its reds which comprise about 80% of total production[3]. Tours of wine cellars are popular allowing you to taste several of the world's finest wines at once. A cozy port city, Bordeaux can be found on the Atlantic coast and was recently named by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site under the name Port de la Lune or Port of the Moon[4].

    Known as the Isle of Beauty, Corsica possesses incredible weather, picturesque beaches, mountain scenery and more. Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean off the south-east of France with over 600 miles of coastline and more than 200 beaches. While you may come for the beaches, Corsica also offers ancient hill villages to explore and lively port towns to discover.

    Located in the most northern region in Provence, the Hautes-Alpes region is mountainous and brimming with outdoor activities. A year round destination, Hautes-Alpes is perfect for hiking, canoeing, and cycling, but is probably best known for its winter skiing opportunities. With several well-known ski resorts and reliable snow fall, the Hautes-Alpes is an enchanting winter getaway.

    [1]: http://www.saint-pauldevence.com
    [2]: http://www.loirevalleytourism.com/
    [3]: http://wine.lovetoknow.com/
    [4]: http://wine.lovetoknow.com/

    Celebrating Valentine's Day in Japan

    Story 2 Image February

    February 14th, Valentine's Day, is a day for all ages to celebrate love and friendship. Grade-schoolers traditionally deliver cartoon embellished valentines to their classmates, while grown-ups carefully select a meaningful Valentine for that special someone. No matter your age, Valentine's Day has always been about exchanging cards, gifts and chocolates between friends and loved ones. In Japan, though, they've taken a whole new twist on Valentine's Day and even created a new holiday to go along with it!

    In Japan, it's tradition for only women to give gifts to men, most commonly chocolate, on Valentine's Day. The gifts of chocolate fall into two categories: Giri-choko (which means obligation chocolate) is given to male friends and acquaintances; Honmei-choko is a gift of chocolate reserved for a woman's true love. It's not uncommon for a woman to buy more than a dozen chocolate gifts for Valentine's Day for all the men in her life[1].

    The tables turn one month later on March 14th when women get their day. The Japanese created White Day as a day for men to reciprocate the gift giving. It's now customary for Japanese men to buy a gift for each of the women whom they received gifts from on February 14th. White Day was originally called Marshmallow Day and was all about the giving of marshmallows[2]. It was quickly realized that chocolate sold better than marshmallows, so while the color scheme and name stayed the same, white chocolate became one of the most popular gifts on White Day.

    [1]: http://chuck.hubpages.com/
    [2]: http://www.tofugu.com//

    Where in the World?

    Where in the World February

    Where in the world can you find this beautiful stone balcony?

    You can find this balcony in Verona, Italy. It is said to be the balcony of Juliet Capulet, where her love Romeo Montague called out to her. 

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