Travel: The Lovely American

Five years ago, even a child could tell: the American tourist was the middle-aged fellow in the sponge-soled shoes, the one who had not come to Europe to share his bathroom with a whole hotel and was not about to leave until he got a snap of the Mona Lisa, and not behind glass either. These days, however, the camera-carrying, sports-shirt-wearing crowd is more likely to hail from Munich or Marseille.

The American? He's still around, but his haunts have changed, and so have his looks: he is younger now—often no more than 20—and far less affluent. He crosses the...

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