Europe’s Cultural Capitals – “All You Need Is Love.”
Tuesday 9, February 2010
Nine Weeks – Nine Cities – Nine Celebrations. It’s week two of the Cultural Capitals programme at Four Seasons, and this round, guests are encouraged to follow their hearts and travel for love – but it’s not just about Valentine’s Day.
The Cultural Capitals programme launched February 1 and is scheduled to run for nine weeks, highlighting what’s on in some of Europe’s best and lesser known destinations. Nine of the company’s European gems – Canary Wharf London, Dublin, Paris, Prague, Budapest, Provence, Lisbon, Florence and Hampshire – have many romantic ideas to woo visitors long after the mandatory bouquets and chocolates of February 14.
Planning a romantic urban escape? Then think about Florence and Lisbon, cities that are equally appealing – and less frenetic – outside the summer high season. The clever visitor will find Florence – where Venus is the presiding deity – filled with magic and beauty all year round, and Four Seasons Hotel Firenze offers the chance to explore the pristine hillocks and copses of the city’s largest private garden, certain to set hearts a flutter. In Lisbon, visitors can test the age-old adage that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and delight in the coveted, creamy pastéis de nata at Antiga Casa de Pastéis de Belém – where the concierge team at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon will bring guests to the front of the queue.
Opera-lovers will be swept away by the romance of Verdi and Rossini at the Budapest Opera Ball (February 13), by the Shakespeare-inspired performance at the Dublin Opera (February 27 and March 1, 3 and 5) or by the performance of Romeo and Juliet at London’s Royal Opera House (through March 16). Waltzing to the music of love during the Ball Season in Prague (throughout February) is an equally inspiring way to keep the fires of passion burning. Guests of Four Seasons can take advantage of romantic escape packages in all these cities, as well as expert concierge teams who will help arrange the most amorous of getaways.
If Valentine’s Day is the focus, then Four Seasons has some original options. Couples wanting to elope to the English countryside should head straight to Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire and the pastoral pleasures of Dogmersfield Park – where Henry VIII first met Catherine of Aragon – and receive a pair of red Hunter wellies as a part of their Valentine’s package. Alternatively, at the Lovers’ Festival in Provence (February 13 to 14) romantics can enjoy readings of the world’s most poetic love letters and witness the sight of 40 barrel organs and hurdy-gurdies serenading the streets of the old villages.
If none of these options appeal, then it’s time to head to the original City of Love – Paris. Poetry aficionados should make a note to drop in on Le Printemps des Poètes (Spring of Poets, March 8 to 21), when readings will take place in cafés and parks all over the city. What better way to set the scene before returning to Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris to pop the all-important question during dinner à deux in elegant Le Cinq, recipient of two Michelin stars.
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