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Château Les Carrasses, Languedoc, France

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, June 10 07:00 AM

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Provence, we love you, but after a New York Times best seller and a Russell Crowe movie extolling your beauty, it's time to bid you adieu. We've been seduced by the lesser-known Languedoc and its charming new hotel, Château Les Carrasses.

There are 28 new suites and villas (10 with heated private pools) within this 19th-century château complex. The modernized interiors have a country-chic charm, with traditional French furniture and a sand and cream palette, while the private gardens and terraces (complete with barbecues) give the whole place an air of self-contained luxury.

The original winery is up and running once again, with the first bottles ready to uncork this fall. In the meantime, you can sip other local vintages in the Orangerie, rumored to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel himself. Book now before the writers and movie stars get wind of it!

Photo: Courtesy of Chic Retreats

Compagnie du Ponant Antarctica Sailings

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 09 07:00 AM

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Sometimes one megayacht just isn't enough. At least that's Compagnie du Ponant's take on the matter. Come November, the luxury cruise company will launch two new ships, L'Austral and Le Boréal, on nine round trips from Ushuaia, Argentina, through the Drake Passage to Antarctica.

The 132-cabin twin vessels double your chance to chill out with Champagne as you sail past whales, penguins, and sea elephants. After a long day of exploring glaciers with experts in hydrobiology and polar wildlife, you can retire to the marble tub in your luxury suite or get a massage in the spa. Because who wouldn't want a little extravagance on an Antarctic expedition?

Sailings from November 2011 through February 2012, from $4,860

Photo: Courtesy of Philip Plisson, Compagnie du Ponant

Shanghai Museum of Glass

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 08 11:31 AM

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China isn't exactly known for transparency, but the country is making one thing clear with the opening of a new museum dedicated entirely to glass.

Housed in a former factory in Shanghai's Baoshan industrial district, the 53,000-square-foot institution explores the production, history, and applications of glass in the worlds of science, art, architecture, and astronomy. The collection and visiting exhibits include Han dynasty earrings made of glass and contemporary art by international and Chinese glass sculptors, all reflected in the striking black crystal interior. There's a space for glass-blowing demonstrations, too.

But you could just focus on the building itself, a sparkling example of glass craftsmanship in all its carved, faceted, stained, and lacquered glory. It's clearly worth the trip.

Photo: Courtesy of Shanghai Museum of Glass

Original Maine Lobster Kit

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, June 07 07:00 AM

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There are few summer traditions more hallowed than a lobster bake. Unfortunately, this may also be the ritual most likely to make a mess of your madras. Thankfully, the prepsters at J.Crew have got you covered with the Original Maine Lobster Kit.

This pocket-size wooden case, filled with four shell-crackers and picks, does more than expedite your dinner: Proceeds help support the Nezinscot Guild, a Maine nonprofit organization that provides employment to people with disabilities.

The only catch? Lobster bibs aren't included. So you might want to pick up an extra polo shirt while you're at it.

The Original Maine Lobster Kit available from J.Crew ($32) or direct from the Nezinscot Guild

Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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