From the Editor: It is with the utmost regret…

Rome, Gruyeres, New York City
Photographer: Photos: Susan Wright, Jeremiah Christanand Rao, Unnikrishnan Raveendranathen

… that we announce that this month we’re not going off to the South Pole, or to stay with some acid-spitting cannibals in Pongo-pongo-land. Instead, we’re taking you to places that you can visit easily with kids, grandparents and the like. But going here doesn’t mean we’re taking you to plastic wonderlands – even in the safe, easy-exploration heaven that is Europe, there’s plenty that’s still offbeat (and not yet discovered by the rabid hordes).

In Rome, we’re literally going to do as the Romans do, and take local suggestions and tips that go beyond Dan Brown, into hidden little corners and great eateries. In France, we’re stepping outside the glitzy playground that is Paris, and exploring smaller places like La Baule, Nantes and Amiens, quiet spots with a crazy side (think beautiful creepy-crawlies and goopy things to sink into). In Flanders, we’re stuffing our faces, going from waffle shops to snorting chocolate to some of the best beer anywhere. But fear not: it’s so easy and pretty to walk around in, the calories will stay away from you like Thomson and Thompson keep away from common sense. And, in Switzerland, we go straight to the cows, to glorious chocolate and cheese, and one seriously twisted museum.

As a bonus, we also have a new side to the Big Apple, exploring beyond the skyscrapers of Manhattan and finding new ways to look at it from above, below and possibly sideways.

Don’t say we didn’t warn your family.