Simon's top tip for a Paris visit? First, find a great hotel deal
£80 & up -- Paris 4-Star Hotels This Summer, up to 45% Off
Oh, I do like Paris in the summertime. Scratch that. I like Paris anytime: the much sung-about spring, the steely, intellectual winter, the hopelessly romantic autumn. I may have notched up around 35 countries in my travel writing career but the top contender for me-magnet remains the boringly predictable French capital. I return there again and again and always seem to find character-filled quarters, time-travel alleyways and utterly idiosyncratic shops that I haven't explored before.
My top tip for a Parisian jaunt? An excursion to the surreal Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the gritty 19th arrondissement? A 2-hour stroll through the boutiques and bistros lining the stylish and refreshingly tourist-free Canal St-Martin? A Metro ride to the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, with just a few, ultra-provocative conversation pieces? All recommended but, no, my top tip for a Paris trip is, first, to find a good hotel: somewhere that sets the right, sophisticated mood when you set out in the morning, but also provides a warm retreat on your return. That's why I recommend you look at the cluster of hotels we feature in the Top 20 this week. They not only stake out some of the best strategic locations for a Paris visit, but are also stylish inside and out and such good value they're bound to make you look at this undoubtedly expensive city with a far kindlier eye.
£145 -- Dublin: 3 Nights & Flights, Save up to 42%
And so to another highly charismatic capital. It being only a few days after Bloomsday, the celebration of his life enacted in the Irish capital and elsewhere, we can't help but invoke that great Dubliner James Joyce here. What, in short, might the 20th-century literary titan have made of our travel deal? I hope he would have admired our tight, rhyming little headline but I think he certainly would have admired the value. Favouring 11am starts for much of his life, the experimental novelist was chronically broke and would no doubt have known a deal when he saw one. And three days (working out at under £50 a day) is the perfect period to get acquainted with a city such as this. Why, you could even start writing a story about it.
£1699 -- Hawaii 12-Night Island Cruise & Stay, over £640 Off
But enough already with this literary travel and Parisian sophistication! Here's what sounds like a real holiday. Hawaii at its balmiest is at about as calming as you can get, and the way this deal is set out promises even further sophistication. You're introduced to island life with a 3-night stay in Honolulu, before boarding the substantial cruise ship Pride of America (is there a Pride of Britain? If not, why not?) to float around these seductive tropical isles for a week. Snorkelling and rainforest trips are possible en route, along with one hell of a lot of deck-lounging. With a quarter lopped off the usual price, this is a very sweet version of press ganging.