Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. The 12th-century Palermo Cathedral houses royal tombs, while the huge neoclassical Teatro Massimo is known for opera performances. Also in the center are the Palazzo dei Normanni, a royal palace started in the 9th century, and the Cappella Palatina, with Byzantine mosaics. Busy markets include the central Ballarò street market and the Vucciria, near the port.
Portland, Oregon’s largest city, sits on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood. It’s known for its parks, bridges and bicycle paths, as well as for its eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses. Iconic Washington Park encompasses sites from the formal Japanese Garden to Oregon Zoo and its railway. The city hosts thriving art, theater and music scenes.
Day 1: Nashville to Oxford, Miss
Land in Nashville the afternoon before the drive to explore the new National Museum of African American Music (510 Broadway, nmaam.org). Its imaginative interactive displays explain the evolution of genres from gospel to R&B to hip hop. Find fresh air in Centennial Park and a to-scale replica of Greece’s Parthenon (nashvilleparthenon.com). Stashed inside the temple: a 42-foot-tall gilded statue of the deity Athena whose lips are allegedly modeled after Elvis Presley’s kisser. Music City’s other current goddess is Dolly Parton. Her image is sprinkled throughout the candy-colored country-music themed Graduate Hotel (from $169 a night; graduatehotels.com).
Day 2: Oxford to Natchez
After chicken and waffles at Oxford’s popular Big Bad Breakfast (bigbadbreakfast.com), drive east toward Pontotoc then south toward Troy to rejoin the Trace. A stop near Milepost 221 affords a glimpse of the Old Trace, a forest trench worn deep into the earth by countless feet. For lunch, seek out Saltine, an oyster bar in a former suburban Jackson elementary school (jackson.saltinerestaurant.com). Approaching its Natchez terminus, the Trace grows wilder. Wisps of Spanish moss, dangling vines and the nearby Windsor Ruins, an immense mansion burned in 1890, evoke a lost world. Windsor’s surviving columns with their ornate, crumbling capitals resembling a plantation Palmyra.
Day 3: Natchez to New Orleans
Before heading to New Orleans, walk the promenade on Natchez’s Bluff Park overlooking the Mississippi. Head south to Baton Rouge on Highway 61, the famed “Blues Highway.” (Most of the musical history lies further north in Mississippi’s Delta.) The landscape rolls by fast: The 90-minute drive should get you to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital, by lunch. Visit the deli at Tony’s Seafood market (tonyseafood.com) for to-go oyster po’boys and ginger cake, then eat them in the landscaped grounds of the Louisiana State Capitol. Conceived by rabble-rousing populist governor Huey Long, the 1932 building is a 34-story art deco skyscraper, the country’s tallest state house and a monument to the Kingfish’s Kong-sized ego. Bullet holes from Long’s 1935 assassination remain just off the ornate lobby.
The Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural river islands in the Seine within the city of Paris. It is the center of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded.
Monocle’s editorial director, Tyler Brûlé, talks to film producer Solène Léger, Rob Cox from Reuters and Christoph Amend from ‘Zeit Magazin’. Plus, contributions from Monocle’s team around the world.
Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small archipelagic state in South Asia situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres from the Asian continent’s mainland.