Paris

12 Divine Chocolate Shops

Is chocolate good for you? Researchers, conducting highly scientific studies, have found chocolate beneficial in preventing a plethora of ailments including cancer, stroke and heart disease. But Spot Cool Stuff has a more simple theory:

If it makes you smile, it’s health food.

In honor of National Smile Month—and to the dismay of dentists everywhere—here’s our look at 12 wonderful chocolate shops. We hesitate calling them the “best” chocolate shops given how there are easily 60 or more stores that we could have included on this list. All the shops we did include are superlative in some way.

Note that this overview is a companion piece to our equally dentist-horrifying review of the world’s best candy shops.

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The World’s Best Bakeries

Spot Cool Stuff loves finding good bakeries on our travels. Spontaneously coming across one while exploring a village or city neighborhood can make an ordinary walk special. But some bakeries are special in their own right and worth purposefully seeking out — either for the quality of their baked goods or for their interior design or for the atmosphere of being there or for some combination of all those.

Below is our review of eight such bakeries. We hesitate calling them the “best,” since the world has many bakeries and we’ve only been to a relatively small handful. But each of our selections has some superlative feature that’s well worth a detour when traveling nearby.

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The Levitating Beds, James Bond Stylings of Hotel 7

From the creative force behind The Five Hotel, a funky boutique property in the Latin Quarter of Paris, comes accommodations that are two better: The Seven Hotel.

Like it’s two-poorer cousin, each room and suite at The Seven Hotel is individually designed. What’s new is the level funkiness, the unusualness room features—and the levitating beds.

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Lodge Luxuriously Like King Louis

If there’s one thing you can say about King Louis XIV of France it’s that he knew how to live in style. From the ornate Hall of Mirrors to the massive gardens of Versailles, King Louis surrounded himself with grandeur, beauty and luxury at every turn.

Although the French monarchy and its over-the-top extravagance has been abolished, it’s still possible to stay in similar luxury all over the country of France. Here are four castle-hotels in France where you can stay in the style of King Louis XIV.

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The Restaurant (and Cooking School) Above Paris

Location, location, location is the repetitive mantra of many a real estate agents. And the Palais de Tokyo has one of the best in Paris. Not only does is this museum of contemporary art located in the heart of the city, its rooftop boasts some of the best views from anywhere in the French capital.

Until May 2009 the roof of the Palais de Tokyo was the home to the Hotel Everland. Spot Cool Stuff regulars might remember our review of the Everland, the improbable, portable, pod-like hotel that was as well traveled as some of its guests.

When the Hotel Everland moved away from its museum perch it seemed only a matter of time until another tenant moved in. That time has come. Today a hip and cool restaurant—the Art Home—sits atop the Palais de Tokyo.

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Dine In The Sky

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! it’s . . . dinner?

For an experience that brings cuisine to new heights check out Dinner In The Sky. The Belgium-based company will hoist you and 21 guests up in a dinning platform for a gourmet meal. The hoisting is done by a giant crane!

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The Best Pedicure in Paris

In Paris, a pedicure entails something entirely different than your typical scrub and polish.

Monsieur Ho is to feet as Yves Saint Laurent was to fashion—worshipped by his fans and envied by his rivals as a master of his medium. For the last three decades his name has been passed from one glamorous Parisienne to another as the best pedicurist in town. His most fervent supporter? None other than La Deneuve, France’s most famous and demanding diva.

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The World’s 6 Coolest-Looking Bookstores

So how do you create a three-story bookstore in a cathedral when you can’t drill any holes into the building or attach anything load-bearing to its walls?

Usually a store is just a store. But a few stores are attractions in and of themselves. So it is with these six incredibly cool-looking bookstores. Next you are in Maastricht, Beijing, Porto, Buenos Aires, Paris or Mexico City, add these stores to your list of must-see attractions—even if you don’t plan on buying a book.

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