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What in the world:
Calais Fine Arts and Lace Museum, Calais, France
Why go: "Lace evokes those incomparable designs which the branches and leaves of trees embroider across the sky." So said fashion goddess Coco Chanel, who would be chuffed to see that same sky embroidery glimmering in the glass-and-steel facade of the Calais Fine Arts and Lace Museum, an homage to the millions of yards of frills and tulles threaded in Calais since the early 1800s. With an exterior that looks screen printed by a Jacquard loom's punch cards, the undulating L-shaped construction references the northeastern French town's industrial past, when Calais reigned as the world's lace capital. Inside, the sunlit space is filled with fashion magazines, costumes, and lacefrom the seventeenth-century trim trendy with Louis XIV and the like to the traditional, flowery fabric in this photo's foreground. "We wanted to pay tribute to the generations of men and women who worked this difficult and mysterious trade," said Alain Moatti of the French architectural firm Moatti et Rivière. "The structure is an homage to laceto its sensuality, its lightness, its movement."
Where to stay: The Hôtel Meurice is old-fashioned and affordable, with red-carpeted rooms and a wraparound mahogany lobby bar (doubles, $116$206).
Where to eat: At the quaint bistro Au Coq d'Or, where the specialty is cockerel au vin (entrées, $23$40).