I am a Spanish teacher here in Chicago but I've lived on the West Coast for awhile as well. I have taught Italian and also know some French as I spent about 8 months in the south of France outside of Montpellier. I don't get to travel too much but when I do I like to stay in Barcelona and relax. I know a few people there but always enjoy making new ones!
I've been to many other places in the world and have found many other wonderful and beautiful towns/cities/neighborhoods without reading a guidebook or website; it's usually the people that make the place special although there are exceptions. ;-)