Cheap Seats: Bargain airfares to southwest France and Graz, Austria
April 16, 2008
Next month — May 22-25Bergerac, France: 135.57 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Bergerac.
Visitors will enjoy exploring by foot this charming little town in southwest France that offers nature, culture gastronomic delights and, of course, wine.
Start with a tranquil stroll along the Dordogne River and watch the swans float among the striking waters that wind through the town.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Costi Museum in St. Jacques Presbytery to view 52 bronze statues and seven plaster works by sculpture Constantin Papachristopoulos. On the same square as the museum, visitors will find the statue of Cyrano de Bergerac, the big-nosed hero of Edmond Rostand’s famous comedy.
Also located within walking distance is La Maison Des Vins de Bergerac, where visitors can see exhibits on the history of the local wine region.
Tourists wanting a more indepth look or taste of wine should venture to the 16th-century Chateau de Monbazillac, which is surrounded by vines and houses exhibits on many aspects of wine. Inside the chateau, visitors can explore furnished rooms, see the vaulted cellars and taste or purchase the sweet Monbazillac dessert wine.
Arrangements to see additional vineyards can be made through the Bergerac tourist office.
In the evenings, enjoy a decadent meal accompanied by wine in one of Bergerac’s countless restaurants and cafes. Try the tourins, a local specialty soup, or enjoy a dish of truffles, wild boar or partridge — all main features on local menus.
Three months — July 11-13Graz, Austria: 165.09 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Graz.
Start at Schlossberg, the tree-clad mountain in the middle of the city of Graz. Take the funicular up the mountain to enjoy beautiful scenery and explore what remains of a fortress once located on the rock ledge. Visit the bell tower with the heaviest bell in Graz, the open-air stage in the former cellars of the destroyed fortress and the Turkish well.
Bring your sweetheart along for a visit to the clock tower, where the works have accurately struck the hours since 1712. It is also a traditional location for a local resident’s first kiss. When you are ready to leave the mountain, try the Kriegssteig, a winding staircase down the cliff.
See if you understand how unreliable your senses really are by exploring the hands-on exhibits at the Museum of Perception. Or treat your taste buds to a cup of pumpkin soup or a platter of meats, cheeses and bread.
The Hauptplatz (market square) is the hub of public life with all major shopping streets leading into it. Numerous sausage stands are on the square, along with people standing together, eating and chatting.
Airfare prices include taxes and are courtesy of each airline’s Web site. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.