In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Barbizon, France( Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times )
There are fine stone villages all around Fontainebleau Forest, but Barbizon will ever be associated with the school of painters for a simple reason: Along its one narrow Grande Rue were several inns that catered to starving artists. At the Auberge Ganne, run by Francois Ganne and his formidable wife, Edmée, and then at the nearby Hotel Siron, a painter could get a hearty dinner, dormitory bed and sack lunch to take into the woods for a paltry sum, and if he couldn't pay, credit was readily extended.
-- Susan Spano
Read more: Barbizon's natural artistry
Pictured: Springtime unfolds in the gardens at the Palace of Fontainebleau.