Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Gardens/Joseph Holmes

9. NEW YORK
Biking, green spaces, and healthy eating? Meet the new New York.

STAY:  Cycling seems to be having a moment in the Big Apple, and hotels are catching on. The Gramercy Park Hotel (gramercyparkhotel.com), known for its Renaissance-style look by Julian Schnabel and its art collection, now lends guests white-and-red Lorenzo Martone-designed bicycles. The James, Mark, and Bowery hotels all offer cruisers to guests too.

PAMPER:  Stunning views of Central Park and a neutral cream-and-gold palette set the tone for relaxation at the Spa at The Mandarin Oriental, New York (mandarinoriental.com/newyork), on the 35th floor of the Columbus Circle hotel. Start with a soak in the oxygen-rich Vitality pool. Next, move on to the steam room, complete with an oversized amethyst crystal, a stone known for tranquility. Finish with the 110-minute Oriental Harmony treatment, featuring a body scrub and massage by two synchronized therapists (read: four hands).

PLAY:  The city’s bike sharing program, Citi Bike (citibikenyc.com), launched last May, has been embraced with incredible enthusiasm and even inspired a New Yorker magazine cover illustration. Explore Brooklyn, which has become the global epicenter of cool, with a guided tour on wheels by Get Up and Ride (getupandride.com). Walk the borough’s often-overlooked 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden (bbg.org), which has expanded and added several new gardens in recent years. While there’s nothing like Central Park, the green space of late that’s stolen the show is the mile-long High Line (thehighline.org), a fairly new public park (it’s three years old) built along a former elevated rail line on the city’s West Side.

DINE:  From The Butcher’s Daughter (thebutchersdaughter.com), a juice bar and café in Nolita, to Foragers City Table (foragerscitygrocer.com), new natural and veggie-friendly eateries seem to sprout practically overnight here. And old favorites such as veggie-inflected ABC Kitchen (abckitchennyc.com), helmed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Pure Food and Wine (oneluckyduck.com), which was one of the first to give raw food the fine-dining treatment, still thrive. Order the latter’s signature zucchini and heirloom-tomato lasagna, made with basil-pistachio pesto. Consider a hidden gem such as Hangawi (hangawirestaurant.com), an elegant Korean vegetarian eatery tucked away on busy 32nd Street, where you dig into leek pancakes and avocado bibimbap while sitting on tatami mats on the floor. Wash it all down with some plum wine or chrysanthemum green tea.

EXTRA:  Just beyond the city limits, in the Hudson Valley, Emerson resort and spa (emersonresort.com), an elegant mountain-style lodge, makes for an incredibly serene weekend getaway. (In fact, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay entitled “Nature” was inspired by the area’s beauty and later led to the creation of the Catskill Forest Preserve.) After settling in, stroll Woodstock’s charming downtown and dine at Cucina (cucinawoodstock.com), a modern Italian restaurant where everything from the Tuscan kale salad to mushroom pizza is scrumptious.  — T.C.



10. PARIS
An array of baked goods at Noglu
Francois-Xavier Laurent
Synonymous with patisseries, boulangeries, and bistros, the French capital has more of a reputation for indulgence rather than healthy living. But of late, an invasion of more health-minded (but scrumptious) cafés, juice bars, and restaurants has hit the City of Lights. Arguably among the first of Paris’ more healthful eateries was Rose Bakery in the Marais. Opened a decade ago by Brit Rose Carrarini and her French husband, Jean-Charles, the cozy, whitewashed space prides itself on a menu of market salads, quiches, and exceptional pound cakes. Two other outposts and a cookbook (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea) have followed. For cold-pressed juices, Bob’s Juice Bar (bobsjuicebar.com) and its café outpost, Bob’s Kitchen, reign supreme; owner Marc Grossman is a bonafide American in Paris who’s converting the locals, one juice at a time. Gluten-free cafés have also opened in recent years, including gorgeous Helmut Newcake (helmutnewcake.com), a light-filled bakery, lunch spot, and tea shop along Canal Saint-Martin, and Noglu (noglu.fr) in the 10th arrondissement. And in a city known for foie gras and charcuterie, it speaks volumes that chef Alain Passard offers a vegetarian tasting menu at his Michelin-starred L’Arpège (alain-passard.com).

PLAY: Burn off all the calories with a bike ride across any of the city’s 37 bridges. Launched in 2007, the city’s bike sharing program, Velib (en.velib.paris.fr), is wildly popular among locals as well as travelers. Plus, it means less car traffic and cleaner air. Of course, Paris is a walker’s city, where every café and flower-shop-lined rue and grand boulevard delights the eyes with its stunning belle epoque facades. Classic Walks (classicwalks.com) runs tours of the Marais, Montmartre, and the Latin Quarter (there’s even one themed after the French Revolution), or consider a tour by bike with its sister company Fat Tire Bike Tours (fattirebiketours.com).  — T.C.