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The best Bay Area spots to fake a European vacation

Photo: Wayne Hsieh/Flickr Creative Commons

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Did you know that a little French village is tucked away on Spruce St. in Berkeley? Normandy Village was built in the in the late 1920s by an architect who was stationed in France during World War I.

Inspired by the picturesque countryside, he designed 43 unique units, all with almost cartoonishly over-the-top French touches. Pretend you’re dining with the Queen at the Palace Hotel’s elegant Garden Court, a tea room to rival any in Europe. For a cheaper option, you can do breakfast, but if you want to go all-out, make reservations for Saturday tea. Bring your backstory to Whitechapel5, a gin bar in the Tenderloin that’s modeled after an abandoned 19th century London tube station. Their 400 gin selection is the largest in North America.

Bring your backstory to Whitechapel6, a gin bar in the Tenderloin that’s modeled after an abandoned 19th century London tube station. Their 400 gin selection is the largest in North America. Photo: John Storey, Special To The Chronicle Missing the grand churches of Europe? San Francisco has its own: Grace Cathedral. Ground broke on the French Gothic church in 1928. Don’t miss the beautiful Ghiberti doors in the main entrance; they’re replicas of the Gates of Paradise from Florence.

Spend some time walking around the Grace Cathedral neighborhood too.

The Fairmont Hotel and uber-elite Pacific Union Club give the whole square a very late 19th century English vibe. Spend some time walking around the Grace Cathedral neighborhood too. The Fairmont Hotel and uber-elite Pacific Union Club give the whole square a very late 19th century English vibe.

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

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Fans of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain will also love the Alcazar Theatre on Geary. The building was originally called the Islam Temple and it was home to the Shriners from 1918-1970. Fans of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain will also love the Alcazar Theatre on Geary.

The building was originally called the Islam Temple and it was home to the Shriners from 1918-1970.

Photo: Chris Hardy, SFC

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It’s cliche, but there are few spots for a better European summer evening approximation than Belden Place. The cute little alley is packed with European-style cafes and restaurants. It’s especially magical at night when it’s lit up with fairy lights. Can’t make it to Athens? The Palace of Fine Arts, Bernard Maybeck’s most iconic work, was meant to evoke the ruins of ancient Greece and Rome. If you want to do more than just tour the majestic spot, the adjoining theatre offers concerts and talks. For a day trip out of the city, you could visit the spectacular Queen Anne-style Carson Mansion in Eureka. The ornate mansion was built in 1884 by lumber baron William Carson and today houses the private Ingomar Club. If the tower looks familiar, it’s because the Main Street USA train station at Disneyland was inspired by it. Plane tickets to tour Kew Gardens aren’t cheap, but the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco is just $6 for San Francisco residents ($8 for everyone else). The 1878 greenhouse was meant to evoke England’s most famous botanical garden. Capture some of the romance of Venice with a gondola18 ride across Lake Merritt.

A 30-minute private gondola tour for two costs $60. Capture some of the romance of Venice with a gondola19 ride across Lake Merritt. A 30-minute private gondola tour for two costs $60. Photo: Thomas Webb, The Chronicle

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The front of 1347 McAllister is a must-see for lovers of French-style architecture. Francophile architect James Francis Dunn designed the property in 1902. It’s said he dedicated the Paris Opera-inspired design to a beautiful woman but when she spurned him, he turned the home into a bordello.

Get Parisian at Cafe de la Presse, a cafe and restaurant on Grant and Bush. The menu features plenty of French favorites, like cassoulet and steak frites.

Get Parisian at Cafe de la Presse, a cafe and restaurant on Grant and Bush. The menu features plenty of French favorites, like cassoulet and steak frites.

Photo: Michael Maloney, SFC

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Or try the bright and pretty Bon Marche on Market. The French brasserie also has a full bar with cocktails and a wine list. Or try the bright and pretty Bon Marche on Market. The French brasserie also has a full bar with cocktails and a wine list.

Photo: John Storey, Special To The Chronicle

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Few San Francisco buildings are as striking as the Hibernia Bank, with its stately Grecian columns, built in 1892. After years of neglect, the once abandoned and shuttered bank is leasing office space again. Few San Francisco buildings are as striking as the Hibernia Bank, with its stately Grecian columns, built in 1892. After years of neglect, the once abandoned and shuttered bank is leasing office space again.

Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

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The interior of the Hibernia Bank is equally beautiful, with fine detail work on the ceilings and tiled floors. The interior of the Hibernia Bank is equally beautiful, with fine detail work on the ceilings and tiled floors.

Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

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Capture the haunted house, Gothic quality of England’s industrial north at the Westerfeld House at 1198 Fulton. The 1889 mansion was built by William Westerfeld, a German confectioner. Capture the haunted house, Gothic quality of England’s industrial north at the Westerfeld House at 1198 Fulton.

The 1889 mansion was built by William Westerfeld, a German confectioner.

Photo: Mehdi M Alavi/Wikimedia Commons

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Do your shopping European-style at Market Hall in Rockridge. The indoor market has stalls with flowers, pasta, cheese, meats, fish and more. It’s not an every day option (prices aren’t cheap), but for a special dinner, it’s a fun one-stop shop.

The best Bay Area spots to fake a European vacation

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If your Facebook is suddenly full of your friends’ summer vacation pictures from Europe, you too might be feeling a tinge of vacation envy. A fancy trip overseas isn’t always in the financial cards, but if you’re missing Parisian boulevards and English tea time, you don’t have to go completely without.

San Francisco’s reputation as the Paris of the West makes it an easy places to find French restaurants. And if you love Victorian architectures, where better to be than in our own city? But those aren’t the only European-inspired spots in the Bay Area. For a faux European tour of our own region, check out the gallery above. You can combine a few for a whole-day adventure or try some of the out-of-town options for a day trip.

References

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England fans slam Harry Kane after he posts Instagram picture from holiday

England Fans Slam Harry Kane After He Posts Instagram Picture From HolidayGETTY/INSTAGRAM

FLIP OFF: Angry England fans mocked the footballer

The shot-shy Spurs star shared a pic of himself falling into a pool in ungainly fashion as he recharges his batteries after the Three Lions’ disastrous Euro 2016 campaign. He asked his Instagram followers whether his attempt was a dive or a flip.

England Fans Slam Harry Kane After He Posts Instagram Picture From HolidayGETTY

HARRY SHAME: The Spurs man was criticised for his performance at the Euros

But his followers were unforgiving with one asking him: “u not retired from international football yet?”

Another asked: “Free kick practice going well?”

Kane, 22, has been widely mocked for his set pieces during the tournament including one horror free kick against Iceland so far wide it almost hit the official next to the goal.

Twitter reacts Harry Kane taking corners England1

One England fan contrasted Harry’s hols with the joyous scenes posted by Spurs team-mate Ben Davies, 23, when Wales were welcomed home by cheering fans in Cardiff after their semi-final defeat.

Free kick practice going well?

England fan

James Cooper wrote on Kane’s Instagram: “When Davies and co post pics from the centre of Cardiff, you’re on a beach somewhere.

“You won’t read this but it’s the wrong message to send to people.

“You can now earn as many holidays and nice things as you like for the next five generations of your family but who will remember you if you don’t kick on from here.

Dive or Flip 2

A photo posted by Harry Kane (@harrykane) on Jul 16, 2016 at 1:30pm PDT

“It’s been v disappointing to be honest.”

Kane is the latest England star to be panned for being spotted living it up as the nation mourns the campaign which ended in a humiliating last-16 defeat by Iceland. England skipper Wayne Rooney, 30, was snapped staggering on the deck of a yacht, Kyle Walker, 26, messaged a Playboy model that he would rather be in Ibiza during the tournament and Dele Alli, 20, was pictured partying hard in Spain.

Defender Chris Smalling, 26, ended up flat on his back in casualty in Bali after cutting his head when he was floored by food poisoning.

England Fans Slam Harry Kane After He Posts Instagram Picture From HolidayGETTY

HERO’S WELCOME: One fan compared the picture to ones from Spurs team-mate Ben Davies in Cardiff

Manchester United’s teen sensation Marcus Rashford put his Three Lions team-mates to shame by hitting the gym on his Discount Holidays © holiday to Dubai.

The 18-year-old striker – one of the few players to come away from the campaign with any credit – posted a pic on Instagram of him bench pressing weights and added: “Last bit of training getting ready for preseason before I head back to Manchester.”

Related articles

References

  1. ^ Twitter reacts Harry Kane taking corners England (www.dailystar.co.uk)
  2. ^ Dive or Flip (www.instagram.com)

Outrage at tourist centre move

THE sudden closure of Hexham s tourist information centre, and its switch to an inferior facility, has been met with anger and despair. Coun. Cath Homer, Jude Garrow Compson, mayor Coun. Trevor Cessford and deputy mayor Coun. Tom Gillanders in front of the now empty tourist information centre in Wentworth car park. Photo: K191677

The former centre in the Wentworth car park has been put up for sale, while the new centre is tucked away in a corner of the Queen s Hall library, on Beaumont Street.

Bemused visitors this week were struggling to locate the centre, and when they eventually stumbled across it, they often found it unmanned. Some have questioned the apparent rush in moving the centre, just as the summer tourist season is getting in full swing. A4 sheets of paper have been stuck in the windows announcing the closure of the centre at Wentworth car park and its relocation half-a-mile away.

While plans are afoot to bring Northumberland County Council s customer services in the town under one roof within Hexham Library the lack of organisation has appalled many. One of them, county councillor Cath Homer, said: It feels like they aren t ready for this all-singing, all-dancing service and they have moved the tourist information centre because of the council s own self-interest.

It just stinks of the council wanting to sell the building and pocket the money. The money won t come back to Hexham, you can be sure of that.

Frankly, I think it s another indication we are bottom of the list as far as the county council is concerned. Mayor Trevor Cessford said while Hexham Town Council was aware of the closure plans generally, the suddenness of the move had come as a surprise.

It is totally disrespectful to the people of Hexham.

And the thing is, when they sell off these buildings, the associated parking goes too. Jude Garrow Compson holds the tourism portfolio for Hexham Community Partnership, which promotes the town. She said the partnership was pleased that Hexham had at least retained a tourist information outlet when so many other towns and cities had lost theirs.

Hexham Local History Society is also questioning how the concentration of services under one roof will affect Hexham library and, in particular, the extensive local history archives treasured by its 300 or so members.

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said the plans for Hexham TIC had been announced in March 2015 as part and parcel of its market towns initiative, a county-wide blueprint to create one stop access to a modern, efficient and joined up service.

A major review of the council s buildings and assets in the nine main market towns identified opportunities to generate over 33m in capital income, to contribute significantly to economic growth and regeneration and to make annual savings in council running costs of 3.4m, she said.

The council and Active Northumberland (which manages leisure, culture and tourism services) are working with Queen s Hall Arts to develop a vibrant cultural hub for Hexham which will include an integrated library, customer services and visitor information service, alongside high quality arts provision.

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