In the early 18th century, the King of France claimed a huge swath of North America: in fact, nearly eight million square kilometers. The Viceroyalty of New France stretched from Hudson Bay all the way west to modern-day Saskatchewan and south to modern-day Texas. A series of military defeats and treaties eventually handed the land over to Spain and Britain.

Today only a few tiny specks of it remain in the form of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a windswept archipelago of islands in the North Atlantic about 20km off the coast of Newfoundland. About six thousand people still live on Saint Pierre and Miquelon and even though they’re more than 3,700 kilometers from the motherland, these French citizens still sing “La Marseillaise,” vote in French national elections, and do business in Euros.

Pierre and Miquelon are the only French soil left north of the Caribbean, other than France. The British occupied the islands off and on over the years, but they’ve officially belonged to France since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The current residents are descendants of French fishermen who settled there around 1816.

In 1888, the islands were the site of the Western Hemisphere’s North America’s only guillotine execution ever. Two drunken fishermen stabbed their captain, robbed him, and fled for Newfoundland. But rough seas forced them back to Saint Pierre, where they stood trial and one was condemned to death. A guillotine was shipped in from France and two recent immigrants convinced to serve as executioners. The beheading went off, but with a hitch — the blade didn’t sever the head off all the way through and the job had to be finished with a knife.

Three Wow Deal Destinations for 2014

The Ecuadorian government is expected to boost its tourism budget by 73 percent in 2014. Moreover, we expect the country will work hard to reclaim some of the South American mindshare as travelers focus on neighboring Brazil and World Cup 2014. This will create a deal-driven environment for travelers.

Ecuador is a land of diverse experiences. In just one trip, you can see the Pacific Coast, the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. Plus, with some great travel deals on the horizon, it is the perfect time to see the country before it becomes over-commercialized.

Europe’s Rivers
Cruise lines are expanding their river fleets in Europe at a record-breaking pace. At least 20 vessels are scheduled to debut in 2014, including those from Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Tauck River Cruises and AmaWaterways. With more cabins to fill, this can mean only one thing: great deals for travelers. The itineraries of river cruises are extremely varied and available all year round. Think Christmas markets, the tulips of Northern Netherlands, or a visit to historical cities like Arles, Nuremberg, Basel and Belgrade. The cruises are typically all-inclusive and often come with free perks like guided port city tours.

The rupee has plummeted in value by more than 20 percent within the past year versus the U.S. Dollar. This makes it one of the cheapest countries in the world for Americans to explore and enjoy. In addition, India is experiencing a hotel boom as major hotel chains, such as Accor, Carlson Rezidor, Hilton, Hyatt and the InterContinental Hotels Group, prepare to open more than 50 hotels combined. This increased competition will likely lead to reduced room rates in 2014.


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