April in Paris is a cliché, you say? So what? When spring arrives, the City of Light is both appealing and affordable (many four-star hotels can be had for under $350 a night). The French adore Easterchocolate shops and patisseries overflow with all things gooey and yummyand the legions of London plane trees that line the citys streets drip with pale green buds. Stay at: One of the citys five Radisson Hotelsromantic Radisson Blu Le Dokhans Hotel being the top pick (from $342).
Our nations capital is at its most alluring in early April, when 3,000 cherry trees, a gift from the city of Tokyo, create a pale pink floral cumulous cloud all around the Tidal Basin. With humidity still at bay, walking the city is a breezefrom the marble monuments framed by fluttering cherry blossoms to the cafes and shops of atmospheric Georgetown. Stay at: One of seven Kimpton Hotels in DC, ranging from affordable, New-Age-themed Topaz Hotel (from $259) to luxurious, newly renovated Hotel Monaco (from $449).
This always-charming South Carolina city is even more so when its gardens begin to bloomthe azaleas are awesome! Stroll amid the historic mansions lining The Batterys Rainbow Row and the galleries and shops of Market Street. All that exercise will come in handy, because Charleston is stuffed with superb restaurants serving irresistible Lowcountry cuisinemelt-in-your-mouth biscuits and savory shrimp and gritsand make sure to save room for dessert. Stay at: Market Pavilion Hotel, which offers retro-romantic rooms and a fabulous rooftop pool and Pavilion Bar thats the perfect spot to toast the sunset (from $335).
If you cant afford Paris, pay a visit to this très Francais city just an hour to our north. After its long, cold winter, Montreal roars back to life in spring as residents and visitors enjoy its variety of neighborhoods both hip and quaintfrom the artsy Plateau to historic Old Montreal. Another reason to love this city: Its food scene (choose from several thousand restaurants serving virtually every cuisine). Stay at: Hotel Nelligan, located in the center of Old Montreal and offering modern, loftlike suites in three historic buildings, plus a rooftop bar (from $170).
Always romantic, you say? Perhaps, but in April the summer and fall crowds have yet to converge, so the pace is a bit more ideal for a long weekend of relaxed wine-tasting. Sip your way from winery to winery in and around charming St. Helena, foodie-haven Yountville and spa-oriented Calistoga, before indulging in a mud bath or vinotherapy scrub and then dining on the regions famed farm-fresh cuisine. Stay at: Solage Calistoga, an eco-sensitive, wellness-oriented resort now offering a B&B special complete with full breakfast and access to the resorts geothermal pools (from $380).
If mauve-hued, Impressionist sunsets are your thing, consider this historic city, where New Mexicos rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet world-class dining and luxurious accommodations. April weather can be changeablesunny and 70 one minute, blustery and snowy the nextbut thats part of the adventure as you gallery-hop, shop for silver trinkets and have a tough time deciding which of the citys award-winning restaurants to dine atdont miss a meal at The Compound. Stay at: Encantado, An Auberge Resort, located 10 minutes outside downtown and offering sweeping mountain vistas, in-room fireplaces and a soothing spa (from $375).