Cheap Seats: Bargain airfares to Spain and France
December 13, 2006
Next weekend — Dec. 22-24Santander, Spain: 84.92 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Santander.
Start your exploration of Santander at the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, where an array of works by Flemish, Spanish and Italian artists is displayed. In the same building is the Biblioteca y Casa-Museo de Menendez Pelayo, a 50,000-volume library amassed by writer Marcelino Menendez Pelayo.
From there you can walk to the cathedral, restored after a damaging fire in 1941. Under the cathedral is the Church of Santìsimo Cristo, the oldest preserved building in Santander. There are three naves and archaeological excavations that show evidence of Roman occupation and the San Emeterio and San Celedonio Abbey. Glass flooring enables visitors to see through to the older structures underneath the existing building.
The Maritime Museum of Cantabria houses an aquarium, exhibits on voyages, a vast whale skeleton and displays on ship building and cartography. After exploring the museum, step out onto one of the 11 beaches in Santander to enjoy a stroll or participate in one of the various water sports offered even in the winter, from snorkeling to sailing.
The municipal park, Parque de Matalenas, has woodland and meadow areas for exploration, a public golf course and zoo complete with kangaroos, deer and a sparkling lake.
Pottery aficionados will want to take a short excursion to Santillana del Mar, where handcrafted ceramics can be found in great quantities.
Next month — Jan. 18-22Limoges, France: 34.20 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Limoges.
Start in the ancient city at the Gothic Saint Etienne cathedral, which took over six centuries to complete. The main entrance is through Porte St. Jean, which has carved wooden doors from the 16th century. Inside the cathedral, the Renaissance rod screen and bishops’ tombs from the 14th to 16th century are of particular interest.
Adjoining the cathedral is the old archbishops palace, now housing Le Musée Municipal de l’Evêché and Musée de l’Email. Here one of the largest collections of enamels can be found alongside Impressionist paintings by Renior, a Limoges native. Visitors also can find a collection of Egyptian archeology. For a look at Limoges history, visit the Resistance and Deportation Museum in the east pavilion.
From there, visit the Eglise St. Michel des Lions. This church is home to what’s reputed to be St. Martial’s skull. The church’s stained glass windows from the 15th and 16th century are noteworthy.
Limoges is famous for its porcelain and the Musée National de la Porcelaine Adrien–Dubouche uses 12,000 pieces to illustrate the history of ceramics and glassmaking. Haviland may be the most popular export of porcelain from Limoges to the U.S. and at its museum, Pavillion de la Porcelaine, visitors can see original pieces created for the White House. A shop at the museum also sells the porcelain at factory prices.
Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site www.skyscanner.net. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stars and Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.