This year’s Festival de Lumières at the Jardin des Plantes is the first time the event has been held in Paris and the region. Called Especes en Voie d’Illumination, ‘Species in the Process of Enlightenment’, it’s an incredible visual feast for adults and children alike that takes the form of a nocturnal walk along the paths and lawns, spread out over most of the park.
The history of Versailles is inextricably linked with Louis VIV, although there had been a residence there for centuries before he ascended the throne. As Dauphin, Louis XIV had loved to hunt in the forests surrounding the small chateau that his father Louis XIII had rebuilt from the original brick and stone hunting lodge. These works were ongoing until 1634, which laid the basis for the chateau we know today.
This year was the 96th season of opera to be held in the spectacular Roman Arena at Verona. A little older than Rome’s Coliseum, it was built around 30AD during the reign of the Emperor Caligula, and was said to be capable of holding more than 30,000 spectators. Its outstanding acoustics has ensured its popularity for centuries, with the first operatic performances taking place in the 1850s.
The season’s opening on 27 September this year marked the 350th anniversary of the Paris Opéra Ballet. Over the next 16 months, there will be ample opportunity for Champagne-popping as it celebrates its founding by Louis XlV on 28 June 1669.
‘The pearl of islands!’ wrote the Roman poet Catullus in the 1st century BCE, describing the town of Sirmione, on the southern shore of beautiful Lake Garda in northern Italy. Less than 40 kms from Verona and 150 kms from Venice, Lake Garda is ideally placed to visit one of the loveliest parts of northern Italy.