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Mark Abeytia

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

The Best of France and Spain

Last year I went to France and Spain, two countries I love and often send clients. It was a work trip for me, which is very different from vacationing. I love traveling for business because my trips are so much deeper and more intense. I always feel like I am taking dozens of trips at once because I am trying to see everything not only from my own point of view and interests but for all my clients. Since my travelers are very diverse, I look to experience every aspect of a destination, from romantic resorts for honeymoons to cooking classes for food and wine enthusiasts.  

I started my journey in Paris, where I caught up on the latest hotels. Finding the right hotel for a client is like a matching game, and once I understand what a client is drawn to, I can find their perfect spot, whether it is an elegant, very traditional French feeling or a more hip, modern ambiance.  

From Paris, I traveled to the French Riviera by train. I always have my eyes open for honeymooners. For many, the French Riviera is perfect because it combines amazing museums, gorgeous beaches, and great dining.  

I was enchanted by the medieval villages built into the hilltops, the villages perchés. Eze was my favorite. It is as medieval as you can get, with lovely high-end boutique hotels, charming shops, and restaurants. It is very small and isolated but sits atop one of the highest hills, so you look out at Monaco and the whole French Riviera. Equally gorgeous was Antibes. It has dreamy hotels on wonderful beaches and a little village with an open market where locals come to shop amid mountains of fresh herbs, vegetables, and colorful flowers.  

From Nice, I flew to explore Andalusia. My first stop was Granada, one of the oldest, richest most beautiful cities anywhere. Not to be missed is the impressive hilltop Alhambra Palace. I also visited an area where gypsies have lived for generations in hillside caves. Our guide explained that they originally came from India. Today, they welcome visitors, and it is an amazing experience. You walk into a cave with brightly painted walls and copper pots hanging everywhere. After everyone is seated, the family comes out with guitarist and a kind of drum, and they do traditional flamenco dancing. The more you clap and stomp your feet, the more passionately they get into it. It is intense.   

My last stop on this trip was Barcelona, which is a whole other culture. It is on the coast, and the city is beautiful—a great spot for those who want to combine beach and city. One of the highlights is Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia; the church that is truly a work of art that tells stories everywhere you look.  

These are just a few of the highlights of my most recent trip through France and Spain. I’m here if you want to know more!

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