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Inspiration for your Luxury Getaway New

2024-02-01T08:34:10.633Z

HIDDEN GEMS: THE BEST OF ART AND CULTURE

 

Top travel bloggers from both sides of the pond have contributed to this list of top cultural hidden gems that intrepid travellers can discover all over the world. 

Do any of these arty hideaways or immersive cultural experiences catch your eye? You can vote for your favourite pitch below – the winner will be put into a draw to receive a £100 Amazon Voucher courtesy of Teletext Holidays.

RUE DENOYEZ, STREET ART ALLEY, PARIS, FRANCE

Jo Middleton, Slummy Single Mummy

 

If you’re a fan of street art then the tucked-away Rue Dénoyez, just a few minutes’ walk from the Belleville metro station, is a must. Once just a row of abandoned shops in the arty district of Belleville, it’s now an ever-changing open-air gallery, with fascinating street art covering the closed-up buildings, running the whole length of the street. At one end of Rue Dénoyez is a lovely cafe that doubles as a bookshop – Le Barbouquin – and at the other is the famous red neon-lit Aux Folies cafe and bar, where the young Édith Piaf used to sing.

THE VIETNAMESE LADIES OF TAM COC, VIETNAM

Samantha Buss, Yoko Meshi

 

In Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, it is not unusual to see Vietnamese ladies of all ages working from traditional wooden boats. They often row the boats with their feet and wear traditional non la hats. During the height of the day hundreds of boats can be seen moving across the water with the limestone rocks of Trang An in the background.

FENDIKA, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

Stephanie Parker, Big World Small Pockets

 

Fendika is a quirky community and artistic centre that sits at the heart of a growing contemporary cultural scene in Ethiopia. It's a grassroots organisation that hosts twice weekly live performances from local Ethiopian performing artists, bringing the diversity of this country's culture to the forefront. The space also regularly hosts international artists; some years ago they welcomed the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

As well as creating a community space for local artists, Fendika also hosts workshops and supports a school for migrant children that aims to prevent youth homelessness and child labour. This incredible place was founded by Ethiopian performer Melaku Belay, who was once an orphan on the streets of Addis Ababa and who taught himself to dance. He has now been awarded the Alliance Ethio-Francaise award for dance excellence by l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and is an international touring star.

Not knowing any of this, I serendipitously met Melaku on a flight during my first trip to Ethiopia. We sat next to each other on the plane and chatted enthusiastically for the duration of the journey, exchanging contact information at the end. When I returned to Addis, I met Melaku again and went to see what his work at Fendika was all about. From then on I was hooked and now recommend visiting this incredible place to anyone in Addis Ababa.

NISSHINKAN SAMURAI SCHOOL, AIZUWAKAMATSU, JAPAN

Emily Luxton, Emily Luxton Travels

 

Imagine stepping back in time to the days of the Edo Period in Japan. Discovering your inner Samurai spirit as you test your skills with the bow or the sword. Delving into the fascinating true history of Japan’s Samurai culture.

At the Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan in the city of Aizuwakamatsu, visitors can do exactly that. Established in 1803, the Nisshinkan was once the highest-level learning institution of its time, training the children of Samurai families during the late Edo Period.

Today, the lovingly reconstructed grounds and buildings of the school have become an interactive museum. Visitors can try their hands at archery or horseback riding, as well as quieter activities like meditation or a tea ceremony. It’s the perfect glimpse into one of the most enticing aspects of Japan’s culture!

MOINHOS DE GAVINHOS, CENTRAL PORTUGAL

Amy Blyth, Our Big Fat Travel Adventure

 

While road-tripping through central Portugal, we stumbled across a battered, local sign for the Moinhos de Gavinhos. After travelling up a mountain road, we arrived at this collection of 14 crumbling windmills, which overlook the stunning Portuguese countryside just a few miles outside of Penacova. As well as making a fantastic, arty Instagram shot, these Don Quixote-esque windmills speak to Portugal’s traditional farming culture. In fact, a miller from the Gavinhos village still comes up to the one remaining mill to grind corn, wheat and rye, so you can catch a glimpse of authentic rural Portuguese life.

ESSOYES, FRANCE

Becky Moore, Global Grasshopper

 

Essoyes is an impossibly picturesque, suspended-in-time village in the Aube department of north-central France. I discovered this idyllic place on a summer road trip I took to France with my rescue dog. The village is centred around a gently flowing river that is spanned by colourful wrought iron bridges and flanked by a collection of pastel shutter board houses. All of this is enveloped by miles of pristine countryside.

From 1896 until 1907, the famous impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted here in a beautiful house just on the village outskirts. The legendary painter loved the place so much he made it his final resting place. Today the village is home to several restaurants and cafes, an excellent Renoir Museum, clearly marked ‘Renoir trails’, his perfectly preserved house (which you are allowed to visit), several wall-sized murals that serve as reminders of just how striking his art was and a smattering of cultured tourists who have made the pilgrimage to visit the place that inspired their artistic hero.

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