Travel: Giants bring party onto the streets
Published 30/06/2014 | 02:30
The town of Douai is home to one of the most extraordinary summer festivals in France - a parade of giants during which huge human effigies are carried through the northern French town, much to the delight of tens of thousands of locals and visitors.
In keeping with French tradition, each of these figures has its own name and personality.
Douai's six giants are the 'Gayant family', and their first recorded appearance was almost 500 years ago. The most prominent family member, Monsieur Gayant, is 8.5m (28ft) tall, weighs 370kg (815lb). Running from Monday July 7 to Thursday July 10, this parading of giants is accompanied by parties and a festival atmosphere, and local life spills out onto the streets.
Why Dickens so adored the auld sod
IN 1858 Charles Dickens visited Ireland, and wrote: "Everything looks prosperous; the railway ride from Dublin is quite amazing; every cottage looking as if it had been white-washed the day before; and many with charming gardens, pretty kept with bright flowers."
He wrote of Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight: "Of all the places I ever have been in, I have never been in one so difficult to exist in, pleasantly. Naples is hot and dirty, New York feverish, Washington bilious, Genoa exciting, Paris rainy-but Bonchurch, smashing. I am quite convinced that I should die here, in a year."
Dickens missed his calling as a travel writer. Washington was the "City of Magnificent Distances", but should be called "City of Magnificent Intentions."
Jessica and Julia in NYC
You can't throw a stone in some parts of New York without it being in danger of landing on a celebrity.
Famous faces who have homes in Manhattan include Cameron Diaz, below, Kate Winslet, Katie Holmes, Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban, and actress Amanda Seyfried and photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Walk through Greenwich Village and you may well spot Tom Cruise, actress of the moment Jessica Chastain, Leonardo DiCaprio or Julia Roberts.
Celebrities who have set up residence in Brooklyn include creator of hit TV show Girls, Lena Dunham, big screen stars Anne Hathaway, John Turturro, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and singer-songwriter Norah Jones.
Summer in New York is now in full swing, and while everyone knows about the city's main tourist attractions like Central Park, be sure to keep an eye out for your favourite celebs while hanging out in the Big Apple.
Track down lost goods on hols
Two disasters we all want to avoid on holidays are losing our phone or our wallet. Now, thanks to modern technology, the days of panic attacks on foreign shores could be a thing of the past.
TrackR allows you to easily keep track of items such as your keys or purse - a small TrackR device can be attached to commonly misplaced objects, and once you step too far away from them, you'll be alerted to the potential of losing them.
The TrackR app runs on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device- and is connected to a small TrackR device which can be attached to any holiday essential such as a passport.
Prices start at around €22.
Sunday IndependentFollow @Indo_Travel_