Love French Wine? You’ll Love the French Wine Metro Map

There’s something about the design of subway maps, and not just for plotting metro lines across cities.

For those looking to master French wine regions, look no further. Combining the simplicity of the Paris metro map and the complexity of France’s numerous wine regions, De Long Wine has made a map that makes all of the French wine regions seem as close as a short metro ride.

Of course, if you want to visit all of them, you’ll have to do a little more planning than that, but it’s a fun way of learning about where all of the French wines come from. And that there’s more to le vin français than just Bordeaux.

Frame the 18×24 print, hang it on your wall and start planning your next French wine adventure.

[Via: The Paris Kitchen]

Photo Of The Day: Colonial Architecture In Burma

When we think of Southeast Asian architecture we often think of old temples and ancient statues, but the influence of colonial times on this area of the world has had just as much of an influence on the local infrastructure and design.

Flickr member R A L F captured this beautiful building facade in Yangon, Burma (Myanmar). The city, also known as Rangoon, has the largest number of colonial buildings in the region.

Have your own travel photos featured on “Photo Of The Day” by submitting your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool or via Instagram by tagging your photos with #gadling and mentioning us @gadlingtravel.

[Photo Credit: R A L F]

Take A Look At The Future Of Economy Airline Seating

Contorting your body to fit into cramped economy class airline seats is bad enough without the person seated in front of you invading your space. Reclining seats have been a point of contention amongst fliers for years and as seat pitch gets smaller, the problem has only gotten worse with some passengers even coming to blows over the issue.

Other passengers take a more passive aggressive approach. Remember this traveler who took matters into his own hands and rigged the seat in front of him so it would stay in the upright position? Or what about the Knee Defender, the invention we told you about last year, which is designed to keep airline seats from reclining?

Well, finally, someone has come up with a solution to the seat reclining dramas. The AirGo is an economy class seat designed by an engineering student for the James Dyson Award. Alireza Yaghoubi took first prize for his design concept, which aims to give fliers control over their limited seat space, even when the passenger in front of them reclines.The seats are designed with individual bulkheads, so each passenger has their own area to stow luggage. Suspended from this are the tray table and TV screen, which aren’t affected if fellow passengers recline. The seats themselves are made of a nylon mesh designed to minimize sweating and are fully customizable to suit each traveler’s posture.

While the seating concept does take up 16 percent more space than a regular economy class seat, hopefully the benefits will sway airlines to get onboard.

Check out pictures of the AirGo seat below.


[Photo credit: Alireza Yaghoubi]

Discover Scandinavia In Washington DC: Nordic Cool 2013

Aurora Borealis, new Nordic cuisine, ice hotels, hot springs, fjords, moose, meatballs and music? Scandinavia is at the top of the list for a lot of travelers these days. But if you can’t book a ticket to the northern countries this year, Washington, D.C., might be your next best bet.

The city is the host of Nordic Cool 2013, a month-long international festival celebrating the culture of Scandinavia, taking place at the Kennedy Center from February 19 to March 17, 2013.

Featuring theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, cuisine and film, the festival aims to highlight the diverse cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as the territories of Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Áland Islands. That’s a lot of Scandinavia in one month.

There is a wide selection of free events that are open to the public, including exhibits on Nordic design and plenty of musical performances. In fact, a total of more than 750 artists, musicians, dancers and writers, will descend upon the capital for the festival, all in an attempt to answer the question, “What is Nordic?”

There’s no simple answer to that, but at least you know it will be high on the cool factor.

[Photo Credit: Nordic Cool 2013]

Indianapolis Refines The Art Hotel

“Restroom?” the guest asked near The Alexander hotel’s registration desk, a pair of antique bureaus encased in glass.

“Follow the birds,” the employee answered, referring to a flock made of sculpted vinyl records fluttering along a lobby wall.

“Follow the birds” and “just past the graffiti” might become common directions at Indianapolis’s new boutique hotel, located three blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, the site of last year’s surprise-hit Super Bowl. Visitors are arriving not only to check in, but also to check out a remarkable collection of contemporary-art installations, from the aforementioned graffiti by Banksy rival Nick Walker to an entire bar designed by Jorge Pardo, a MacArthur “genius” award winner.

The street-level vestibule and second-floor registration area serve as a de facto museum gallery, complete with flat white placards on the walls. The first work guests see is Brooklyn-based Alyson Shotz’s vertical wave of acrylic strips that reflect a shifting rainbow spectrum. Next, pendant lights that look like jewel-toned jellyfish dangle above a long staircase to the registration level – those are Pardo’s, and they lead to a swarm of the same fixtures in the lobby bar.

%Gallery-178921%Three more large-scale works anchor the lobby, each referencing local culture. In what might be viewed as a clever way to get you to stay an extra night, several pieces make you stop and study their intricate details. You’ll want to “read” a lacy metal curtain of laser-cut words that represent Brooklyn artist Mark Fox’s impressions of Indy, and continually step close to and back away from “Madam C.J. Walker II,” a portrait composed entirely of 3,840 black plastic combs; up close, the technique astounds (artist Sonya Clark of Richmond, Virginia, broke teeth from some of the combs and layered them to create shading), and from a distance, the image of the namesake woman comes into focus (Walker created a cosmetics empire in Indianapolis in the early 20th century and became the country’s first female African American self-made millionaire).

The Indianapolis Museum of Art, which claims one of the 10 largest encyclopedic collections in the country, curated the hotel’s installations, as well as photos and murals for every floor and guestroom. The museum’s involvement sets The Alexander apart from other art and design hotels, most of which fill one of two niches: an owner’s personal art collection not related to the site, or surreal experimental architecture.

The Alexander, operated by New Jersey­–based Dolce Hotels and Resorts and named for the architect who platted Indianapolis in 1820, opened January 21 as a mid-size property targeted largely to business travelers. It boasts 157 guestrooms (each has dark-wood floors and a seek-and-find mural behind the coffee station), 52 extended-stay suites, an innovative local restaurant, and Pardo’s artisanal-cocktail lounge. Located a block from the Indiana Pacers arena, it’s also catering to visiting NBA teams with California king beds in many rooms. The tactic worked: The Brooklyn Nets were among the first guests, though the hotel evidently made them a little too comfortable because they arrived at an ungodly late hour and still managed to beat the Pacers later that day.

With some weekend rates well under $200 and a prime location near the city’s new $60 million Cultural Trail recreation path that ribbons past every downtown attraction, The Alexander is poised to draw plenty of leisure travelers, as well. Those captivated by the artwork will want to venture four miles north and check out the museum’s other public-art showpiece, 100 Acres, an art and nature park with al fresco contemporary installations, opened in 2010.

[Photo credit: Enrique Fernandez]