Paris winter sales

"Be prepared" is not only a good motto for Boy Scouts but also for shoppers heading to the annual Paris winter sales beginning Jan. 6 and ending Feb. 10.

It is one of only two authorized sales the French capital has each year, the other one is in the summer. Shoppers take the discounted prices of 20 percent to 70 percent very seriously, hunting the well-known stores in St. Germain to the smaller shops in the Alésia district. The city takes the sales seriously as well, and is gearing up for the annual event with its "Soldes by Paris 2010" operation. The game plan includes:

• The "Paris Shopping Book 2010." This is a free guide put out by the tourist board with information from all participating shops and hotels and all Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau welcome centers. It has a list of 300 shops, restaurants, hotels and cultural sites divided into themed itineraries in "his" and "her" versions. The printed copy will be available Jan. 2, and there also will be an online version.

• Many of the larger shops will extend their hours from the usual 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be open on Sundays. Many also will hold special events.

• Many hotels and restaurants are offering reduced rates and packages for shoppers.

For the full program, go to

Cannes shopping festival

If you’re interested in an upscale fashion well as warmer weather, head to Cannes’ annual shopping festival Jan. 7 to 10. Fashion shows in the Palais des Festivals et Congres, shopping discounts in the big-name stores and gala events make up this high-end event. For details and video previews of the jet-set life and fashions, see; there is an English version.

Discounted cruises

EasyCruise, a cruise line based in Athens, Greece, is offering a 20 percent discount on 2010 trips if you reserve before Dec. 31.

At the discounted price, its three-day trip of the Greek Islands and Turkey costs 246 euros per person, double occupancy. It leaves from either Piraeus or Kusadasi and follows a route that includes Mykonos, Patmos, Iraklion and Santorini for cruises beginning between April 2 and Oct. 22.

The same itinerary over four days, including a stop in Rhodes, costs 377 euros with the discount. The cruises sail between April 5 and Oct. 25.

More details and online reservations are available at

Greatest places on Earth

Have you been to the greatest place on Earth, and do you have a picture of yourself standing there? That’s what wants to know. The site allows you to submit photos of the best places you’ve visited and see others’ snapshots of where they’ve been.

When you add a picture, you’re required to connect it to a place. You can add photos, create favorite places, make up a list and get other users to add their own to the theme. Photos need not be "award-winning" — half the fun is that they’re cheesy and posed.

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