Every year, the Highlands tribes of Papua New Guinea fight peacefully in great tribal ‘jousts’ where each one tries to outdo in beauty the other with their feathered costumes. A secular art still alive in spite of the growing influence of the modern world.
In Papua New Guinea, the Abelam tribe has elevated to a sacred art the culture of yams, a tuber which they attribute a soul and magical powers. Symbol of the life cycle, the starch is the cornerstone of a culture of exchange, spiritual and artistic among the most fascinating of Oceania.
Built up around a shimmering bay, for two centuries Sydney has been cultivating its passion for the ocean and proudly nurtures its way of life, one intimately linked to the sea.
At the entry of the Outback, Adelaide, the old city founded by the utopian colons, has become the capital of the Southern State. At the south the metropolis maintains with pride its art of living and claims to be the country's arts and literature centre.
Colonised by a handful of German speaking settlers escaping the religious intolerance of the nineteenth century, the Barossa valley has become in a few decades the most famous Australian wine region.
At the entry of the desert, the Australian region of Flinders Ranges is perfect for the settlement of cattle stations, name given to the huge farms in the Outback. Nevertheless after a decade of drought, cowboys are forced to diversify in order to survive.
More than 200 kilometers long, the Great Ocean Road, the most famous historic route in Australia, snakes along the south of the state of Victoria. In less than a century, the coastal route has become one of the continent’s most emblematic tourist sites.
From its source at the summit of the Australian Alps to its mouth in the Indian Ocean, the Murray River is the longest waterway in Australia. A fluvial heritage 2500 kilometers long, it has become in the course of a few decades a not-to-be-missed tourist site.
From millenary rupestrian paintings to contemporary masterpieces, aboriginal art finds today an unbelievable infatuation as it testifies the achieved records of auction selling.
In the heart of the Australian desert, 850 kilometers north of Adelaide, the small mining town of Coober Pedy produces more than 70% of the world’s opal. An activity hard hit by the economic crisis, but that has not shaken the fortune hunters’ determination.
Victorian and futurist, sports-oriented and cultural, Melbourne, the capital of the State of Victoria in Australia, cultivates paradoxes. With its undeniable open-mindedness, the city became in less than two centuries an incredible architectural laboratory.
One hundred kilometers south of Adelaide in Australia, Kangaroo Island is a sanctuary where all the mythical natural species of the continent flourish freely.
The Ghan, the Overland or the Indian Pacific - Australia’s legendary trains give way to navigating the vastness of its country, from one side to another. The mythical journey with wafts of odyssey connects Adelaide to Darwin and Sydney to Perth.
Self proclaimed Prince Leonard, farmer Len Casley rules since 1970 the farm-principality of Hutt River for which he gained independence from Australia after a long epic court battle. Exonerated from taxes, he creates today his own currency, produces stamps sought after by collectors and internationally recognized passports.
Little known, Western Australia remains the wildest and remotest province on the Australian continent. Boundless and fertile, these grounds are home to a remarkable natural heritage that shaped strong men tinted by a firm feeling of independence and difference.
Marked by history's, Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, found back its charm and starts – for the best and the worst – a bustling modernisation.
Far from the Angkor temples going through staggering revival and tourist development, Cambodia shelters a handful of forgotten temples, unbeknownst marvels still left alone for some time.
After escaping from oblivion during the 1970s, the sacred art of Apsara dancers in Cambodia is now thriving thanks to the government's efforts and to the new incomes generated by tourism.
In the centre of Cambodia, the Tonle Sap lake is the most important freshwater reserve of South East Asia. A nutritive reservoir essential to the whole country with a unique ecosystem that is under heavy demographic and economic pressure.
In the country's North East, the tribes of the Ratanakiri province remain amongst the last Cambodian elephant breeders. A heavy burden to inherit, threatened by galloping deforestation and modernity's irresistible call.
Having its official title of Myanmar's capital being recently removed by the military power, Rangoon the colonial city full of nostalgia, remains the economical and beloved heart of the country.
In January, thousands of Buddhists gather for the full moon festival in Ananda, Bagan's most beautiful pagoda: a great annual pilgrimage that ends with a donation ceremony during which every participant takes a step further on the long road to Nirvana.
The last royal capital, Mandalay, remains Myanmar's main cultural centre. A historical, religious and artistic heart that could also become the country's economical centre.
More than two thousand kilometres long, the Irrawaddy River crosses Burma from north to south, dispensing its largesse without counting. Taking a cruise from Mandalay to Bagan lets you discover its glorious past and the challenges for its future.
Each year during Tazaungmon, the eighth month of the Burmese lunar calendar, Taunggyi city is celebrating Lu Ping, a festival of hot air balloon. Symbolically, balloons powered by the combustion of waste monks' robes fly to the holy pagoda Sula Mani which illuminates the world of divine beings of Buddhist cosmology.
Closed to foreigners until just recently, Nay Pyi Daw, the new Burmese capital, reveals its excessiveness. Guided tour of an urban, pompous and discarnate curiosity.
In the heart of Burma, the sacred site of Po Win Taung shelters the widest collection of mural paintings in South-eastern Asia. An exceptional and unbeknownst sanctuary, telling in thousands of caves the century-old history of Buddhism.
Aquatic oasis set south of the Shan State, Lake Inle has all the features of a Burmese Venice. A spot of poetry and hard work that became, in a couple of years, one of the country's major tourist attractions.
Of an exceptional breadth and size, the archaeological zone of Bagan is considered one of the vastest in Southeast Asia. But the recent political changes could radically upset the site's future.
A Buddhist land, closed to the world for a long time by a military dictatorship, Burma boasts one of the most important religious heritages of Southeast Asia. A richness and a fervor that could be profoundly shattered by recent political changes.
Hanging on top of a volcanic peak, Mount Popa's temple attracts every year thousands of believers paying homage to the Nats, spirits of the Burmese Buddhism. A sanctuary of fervour, floating in the sky, right under the heavenly world.
During Naga tribes' traditional celebrations for the new year, the Burmese government organizes a sham festival which sole purpose is to reinforce its legitimacy. A terrible example of how a dictatorship organizes its own propaganda.
Crossing Java from one coast to the other, the Indonesian railroad links the capital, Jakarta, to all the island’s main cities. From east to west, this nearly one thousand kilometer long, epic journey lets you discover the most famous wonders of Indonesia.
Considered the cultural center of Bali, the village of Ubud has become, in a few decades, a prized tourist destination. Despite this success, the artistic microcosm has nonetheless managed to keep its identity and charm.
On the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, Singapore has attained a brand new look. New neighborhoods reclaimed from the sea, rehabilitated historic buildings and otherworldly gardens have given the city an incredible futuristic layer.
Former capital of Laos, Luang Prabang on the banks of the Mekong River has remained an important center of Theravada Buddhism. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the city, now become a tourist stop, is battling to preserve its aura and charm.
Once called Saigon and then renamed Ho Chi Minh City, the economic capital of Vietnam has not lost its colonial charm despite energetic development.
A syncretistic religion inspired by Buddhism, Caodaism has borrowed its principles from all the great doctrines in the world. An out of the ordinary movement that preaches a universal religion.
From its source in China to its mouth in Vietnam, the Mekong has inspired a large part of Southeast Asia’s myths and spirituality. Historically linked to the development of the whole region, the sacred river is now struggling to preserve its natural balance.
Unknown, the island of Taiwan is an incredible nexus for Chinese culture, where futuristic modernity and ancestral traditions meet.
Every three weeks the Aranui 3 unloads its mixed cargo of passengers and goods in the Marquises string of islands. A commercial, human and maritime odyssey bringing some life to the out-of-the-way archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.
The crown jewel in the classical architectural patrimony of France, the Château de Versailles has just completed the first stage in a vast works programme. Palace among palaces, the Sun King’s residence shines again in all its glory.
The jewel of French heritage, Mont Saint-Michel has been lighting up its bay for more than thirteen centuries. Today, the medieval town is entering a crucial stage in the redevelopment project that should give it back its status as an island in 2015.
Final link in an extensive European itinerary connecting the Black Sea to the Atlantic, the bicycle-riding path crossing the Loire Valley allows for a palatable journey between the wilderness and great history. A trip accessible to all led by a famed guide: France's longest river classified in Humanity's world heritage !
Shadowed by the prestigious Chambord and Chenonceau castles, the Loire valley hosts scores of lesser known castles. Forgotten but still superb, they all deserve a closer look. A fascinating time alone together with History.
Devout, Brittany has five great itineraries leading to Santiago de Compostela, to “Sant Jakez's” tomb. Five tracks have recently been conceived, inviting to discover an exceptional heritage.
On the border of Brittany's coast, the northern islands keep their identity of faraway lands alive. Last of the look-outs, mistreated by tempests and adopted by tourists they proudly hold to their strong character.
In Brittany, an antique steam wagon is still connecting the port of Paimpol to the village of Pontrieux, following the course of the Trieux river. A superb train journey with a stop at the Traou-Nez manor which story made the headlines of French crime stories, at the beginning of the XXth century, with the famous Seznec case.
Very dear to the hearts of the natives of Alsace, Advent is the ideal time to discover lively markets, delicate pastries and sparkling decorations which, at Christmas, offer a glimpse into the soul of Alsace.
From Puy-en-Velay to Moissac : the start of the Via Podiensis is one of the best parts of Saint James'Way. A warm up for the body and a feast for the eyes.
Built around its cathedral with the fervour of the pilgrims, le Puy-en-Velay is the historical and symbolical starting point of Saint James' Way. A small and fervent city which gave its name to the long Via Podiensis, one of the the pilgrims' main way of St-james.
Millenary, the treasure of Sainte-Foy de Conque's abbey constitutes a unique and unknown collection of medieval jewellery pieces. An exceptional reliquary set, an unknown masterpiece on the via Podiensis, one of the the pilgrims' main way of St-James.
Crossing the most beautiful landscapes of the island the trinichellu, Corsica's local train, offers its passengers a wonderful journey with a sole purpose: admiring the panorama through the window.
Built on the coast's edge or flanked on the mountain slopes, Cap Corsica's churches and convents show the religious influence on the island. Good excuses for an original discovery of the peninsula, they contributed to call the Cape 'the sacred promontory'.
From Bastia to Ajaccio, via Calvi, Bonifacio and Corte, Corsica reveals its dual character as an island mountain: beaches with turquoise waters, piercing summits, lighthouses and Genoese towers gracing the Mediterranean horizon.
Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the region of Savoy saw the emergence of a treasury of remarkable baroque churches. Neglected for a long time, this exceptional Alpine heritage has today been brought to the fore through well worked out educational itineraries.
Nicknamed the Pearl of Léman, the town of Évian holds pride of place on the foothills of the Pre-Alps, which favours it with the miraculous water to which the town owes its prosperity and Belle Époque charm.
150 kilometres long, the railway line linking Digne-les-Bains to Nice brings you from the edge of the Alps to the Mediterranean. Historic and touristic, the railroad, which is celebrating its hundred years, constitutes a railway heritage unique to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.
Southwestern French gem, Perigord is a region of castles and gastronomy amid a preserved nature. Along the water, Dordogne, Vezere and Drone unveil the art of living and charm of a region filled with Cocagne country flavors.
Behind the seaside resort cliche, the Guadeloupe is a thrilling and different archipelago which managed to keep its Creole identity. The promise of an alternative travel in the heart of the Caribbean.
Closely linked to Port wine, the Douro valley has been bringing life to the entire northern Portugal region. Auspicious to its discovery, grape-picking season in the fall is the promise of a palatable journey in a region listed in the World Heritage.
Behind the image of a major sunbathing destination in the Spanish archipelago of the Canaries, Tenerife island hides a wonderful natural diversity as well as a world major volcanic site.
The Spanish architectural landscape is in turmoil. Local creators or international stars turned this peninsula into one of the finest experimentation grounds.
Arid and volcanic, the island of Lanzarote in the Canaries, managed to preserve its original charm thanks to the stubbornness of the local figure: Cesar Manrique, artist and fervent supporter of the beauty spots that inspired him so much.
Once reserved for inveterate gamblers, Las Vegas has become a destination for families and the general public. An eccentric urban mirage where casino-hotels rival each other in extravagance.
With its ranches, its film studios and its landscapes dramatized by Hollywood, Arizona is undeniably the Mecca for lovers of Westerns. A land of cowboys worthy of Once Upon a Time in the West…
Once persecuted by the European colonizers, the Navajo Indians make up the biggest ethnic group in the United States. After regaining control over their destiny, the tribe is today known as the Navajo Nation!
Pivotal stopovers on the Silk Road, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, the three great legendary cities of Uzbekistan, have inherited an impressive architectural heritage, the showpieces of central Asia. Architecture listed as World Heritage by Unesco, it is today regaining its splendor as a vast restoration program comes to an end.
Pivotal country at the close of the silk roads itinerary, Turkey fosters an exceptional heritage gained from a blending of civilizations throughout history. Today friendliness and bargaining remain an integral part of modern Turkey.
Being the country's main road, the famous 'Route Nationale 7' connects Madagascar's south with its capital, Antananarivo. A wonderful journey deeply bound with the 'Great Island's' way of life.
Isolated in the heart of the Madagascar Highlands, Soatanana village is historically known as home to the "Disciples of the Lord” community, a fundamentalist Protestant faith whose followers are traditionally dressed in white. A poignant microcosm suspended between heaven and earth.
Docked offshore the Tanzanian coasts, the Zanzibar isle fosters a romantic and mysterious atmosphere inherited from African, Arab and European influences. The promise of an exotic journey on a legendary island, which to this day hides many secrets.
Homeland of the Voodoo, Benin's main cultural legacy was threatened by a despotic regime, and intolerant religions' proselytism. As democracy is coming back, the country is going through a deep cultural renaissance : the reawakening of the fetish!
Each year, the huichol Mexican Indians seek out a cactus with powerful hallucinogen properties, the peyote, following a sacred itinerary over 800 kilometer long rigged with hurdles both real and symbolic which, from the steep Sierra Madre mountains to the San Luis Potosi desert, leads shamans and novices to the land of gods' door.