From San Francisco Bay to the Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada; from the vineyards of Napa Valley to Hollywood, the American dream appears in all its outrageousness and diversity. An immersion into the heart of the Golden State will insure you an array of feelings: So don't hesitate anymore and be adventurous!
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East of Palm Springs, bordering the vast Mojave desert, explore a splendid natural park of 849 miles², little frequented. Joshua Tree, name given due to the astonishing variety of cactuses that grow exclusively on this land. On the way to Las Vegas, near the town of Barstow, make a detour through the village of Newberry Springs, and stop at the Bagdad Cafe, authentic place where the movie of the same name was shot. In Los Angeles, go and spend a day at Venice Beach, mythical spot of counterculture, where Californian cultural and marginal conceptions still blossom. If you want to get a real sense of the Gold Rush period, don't miss Bodie, the ghost town, in the northern part of the State, not far from the border with Nevada. And don't leave without seeing the Death Valley: amazing !
+The extraordinary diversity of landscape and natural environment of California.
+The wonderful climate in the southern part of the State.
-A certain superficiality in human relations.
-Cost of living is still expensive.
Use the same basic rules than in almost anywhere else in the United States. Be polite, cheerful, on time; follow the rules, waiting in queues in public places and in shops. Please remember that smokers are particularly unwelcome in California. Smoking is forbidden in all public areas. Unless an exception, no bargaining takes place in shops.
The food in California mirrors the atmosphere of the State: heterogeneous, with a huge mix of influences (Chinese, Mexican, Japenese, Italian), which reflects the ethnic diversity of its inhabitants. To eat a more elaborate meal, you generally have to pay more. Low budget meals will generally be composed of basic American food, unsuprising and usually without much taste: burgers, sandwiches... Eating "ethnic food'" (for instance Asian food in Chinatown, San Francisco) can turn out to be a cheap solution. Don't miss the chance to try the Californian wine while in the State. Some are fabulous.
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Find weekly weather forecasts for California . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to California . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in California .
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Nothing you absolutely need to bring back home, but maybe a couple of "souvenirs" from your visit to the Universal Studios, in Los Angeles, or teddy bears for your children, a souvenir of Disneyland. In Los Angeles, the most interesting shops are located on Melrose Avenue, and the fanciest, in Beverly Hills. In San Francisco, look around the Union Square area. In the area of San Diego, in the south, many handcraft products from Mexico are for sale.