Amber Haq

4 Hours In Toulouse

Steeped in history, "La Ville Rose"—so called for the pink color of its stone buildings—lies in the sunny southwest of France, and combines Latin warmth with Gallic charm.

Luxury Spas in Bordeaux and Wine Country

They say the sap from grapevines has magical properties in Bordeaux. "The vine is crying," says Mathilde Thomas, estate owner and pioneer of what she calls vinotherapy, the use of grapes and vines in skin care. "But these precious teardrops are enough to put a smile on any woman's face."Grape skins and seeds have long been known to possess antioxidant powers.

4 Hours In Geneva

A haven for luxury shopping, a world center of the fine-watch industry and home to the United Nations and the Red Cross, the small Swiss capital is a bustling, cosmopolitan city also offering plenty of delights on the artistic and culinary fronts.

The Papa of Paparazzi

It was a cold, quiet night in New York, 1937. Weegee, the legendary photo-reporter, sat waiting outside police headquarters. Suddenly a cop car hurled up the street.

An Iranian Superhero

Making films based on cartoon characters is nothing new. Countless caped superheroes have seamlessly made the leap from the page to the screen. But none are quite like the heroine of the new animated film "Persepolis": a 9-year-old, Adidas-wearing, Bruce Lee-obsessed Iranian girl determined to take on the world.Based on the eponymous best-selling graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, "Persepolis" tells the life story of Marjie as she and her family live through the 1978 revolution, the Iran-Iraq...

Buried Treasures

Pierre Cambon peers at the intricately carved second-century ivory statuettes, his eyes sparkling. The head curator of Afghan arts at Paris's historic Musée Guimet is contemplating the elegance of the sculpted female figures. "One cannot ignore the homage to femininity these represent," he says, keenly aware of the irony of their provenance.

The Mother of Chile

Isabel Allende is in a fiery mood, lambasting the traditional bias of history books. "When you learn about the Spanish conquest of the New World, all you read about is the conquistadors," she says sharply. "Our history is recited from a purely male perspective.

The Pride of the Orient

As an ancient naval power, bustling cultural capital and center of European trade, Venice has long held the world in thrall with its beauty and heritage. And yet one aspect of its history has often been understated: its connections to Islam. "The city has always been associated with the Orient through its link to Byzantium," says Stefano Carboni, a Venetian-born Islamic-art expert at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. "In fact, the city had a very direct and pragmatic contact with the Islamic...

The Good Life

Style: Sitting OutBy Karla BruningIt was only a matter of time before today's style-obsessed young consumers turned their attention to the patio. Chic enough for the indoors and sturdy enough to weather the elements, the latest outdoor furniture places a premium on quality and fabulousness."Outdoor furniture is really taking off," says Jane Humzy, founder of Jane Hamley Wells, a Chicago-based distributor that also makes its own line in Thailand. "People are increasing their design sensibility.