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L'Opéra Restaurant, Paris

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, July 07 11:32 AM

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After 136 years on the drawing board and three near launches, L'Opéra Restaurant at Paris' legendary Palais Garnier finally opened to the public on Monday. And it's every bit as theatrical as you'd expect.

Starchitect Odile Decq's huge white-plaster shapes curve organically around the restaurant's columns, and deep ruby chairs and carpets add Puccini-esque drama. The food from chef Christophe Aribert of Grenoble's two-Michelin-starred Les Terrasses is equally showstopping. Star dishes include roasted guinea fowl, creamed artichoke and foie gras soup, and two versions of house-smoked salmon (classic, with blini and caviar, and contemporary, with brioche and a horseradish and mustard sorbet).

Our inner fat lady ain't singing here. She's eating.

Photo: Courtesy of L'Opéra Restaurant

Minox Mini Digital Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, July 07 07:00 AM

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The best travel images tend to be stealth shots. But unwieldy digital SLRs can make discreet photography difficult. That's why we'll be packing the new 3.88-ounce mini Minox ($179), brought to you by the creators of 1940s CIA spy cams.

The body, a 5/8th-scale replica of the Cold War-era Leica M3, is pure James Bond cool. But that pretty packaging also shoots with precision, thanks to a German-engineered glass lens and 5.1-megapixel resolution. Best of all, it fits in the palm of your hand.

Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo Store

Cité de l'Océan et du Surf, Biarritz, France

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, July 06 10:56 AM

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Something swell just hit the beach in Biarritz, France. The new Cité de l'Océan et du Surf is a museum dedicated to all things oceanic, including exhibitions on tides and currents and an outdoor kiosk catering to local surfers.

Architect and surfer Steven Holl collaborated with Brazilian artist Solange Fabião to create the building's arc, which seems to crest out of the landscape. The cobblestone exterior mimics the texture of the surrounding white-sand beaches, while the overall structure looks like a skateboard half-pipe. Land sharks won't be able to skate its curves, but they can show off their kickflips at the on-site skate pool. So whether you prefer to board by land or by sea, you'll never be bored.

Photo: Courtesy of Steven Holl

Lamai Serengeti, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 05 07:30 AM

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The annual wildebeest migration through Kenya and Tanzania is one of nature's greatest shows. But as with any hot ticket, you can be sure you'll be jockeying for position among herds of eager onlookers. That is, unless you stay at the new Lamai Serengeti.

Situated in the remote northern Serengeti, the 12-room open-air lodge perches on the rugged granite outcrop of the Kogakuria Kopje, overlooking the Mara River valley. From late July through October, the migration of those 1.5 million hairy beasts (not to mention the lions, leopards, and hyenas that dine on them) will be on your elegantly decorated doorstep. Interiors are understated and stylish, a blend of canvas and plaster walls with pops of blue or red against a cream-and-white backdrop. The secluded location ensures that the tourists won't outnumber the four-legged animals. It's wildly civilized.

Photo: Courtesy of Nomad Tanzania

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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