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UK weekly edition, Wenesday, August 1, 2007

Next month — Sept. 7-9Dublin, Ireland: 46.71 pounds round trip

Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Dublin.

Start your exploration of Dublin to the south of the River Liffey at the tourist information center in the beautifully restored former St. Andrew’s Church. The center offers maps or a downloadable iWalk for MP3 players to help you navigate your way.

From there, tourists can stroll along to the Dublin Castle where the state apartments, Undercroft and Chapel Royal are open to visitors. Next door is Dublin’s neo-classical city hall, whose rotunda, with its attractively gilded dome, murals and marbled floor, is open to the public. City treasures — including the original city seal — period costumes and medieval manuscripts are on display within.

Close by is the historic Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin’s oldest building, dating back to the 11th century. The cathedral’s exhibition “Treasures of Christ Church” displays a range of manuscripts, historic artifacts and stunning examples of gold and silverware.

Just a 10-minute walk away is the National Gallery of Ireland with a collection containing 2,500 paintings and roughly 10,000 other works, including drawings and sculptures. The gallery also houses the Yeats Museum, with works by Jack B. Yeats and other members of the Yeats family.

Adjacent to the gallery is the National Museum of Ireland–Archaeology where visitors can explore all the way back to 7,000 B.C. The museum’s extensive collections include prehistoric gold artifacts, Viking ruins and medieval artifacts documenting life in Ireland’s castles and cathedrals. A treasury exhibit features examples of Celtic and Medieval art, including the Ardagh Chalice.

No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to Ireland’s No. 1 visitor attraction: the Guinness Storehouse. A visit to this building in the heart of St. James Gate Brewery will teach everything you ever wanted to know about this dark beer. For many, the storehouse’s Gravity Bar is the highlight of their trip. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking 360- degree view of Dublin while enjoying a complimentary pint of Guinness.

Three months — Nov. 2-4Lyon, France: 62.99 pounds round trip

Fly Easyjet from London Stansted to Lyon.

For visitors with just a weekend in Lyon, the first stop should be the Historic Center of the Resistance and the Deportation housed in a former military medical school. Listed by Lyon’s tourism office as a must-see attraction, this museum guides visitors through the history of the resistance, deportation and genocide of Jewish people during the Occupation.

From there, visit the Decorative Arts Museum, which displays collections of Middle Ages and Renaissance tapestries, silverware and clocks in an 18th-century setting.

A little farther down the street is the Historical Museum of Textiles, located in the beautiful mansion Hotel de Villeroy. Visitors can see more than 30 rooms dedicated to the area’s history with silk. For more on the current silk trade in Lyon, visit the La Maison Des Canuts, a living museum that also contains a shop selling silk scarves and neckties.

Art enthusiasts should visit the Lyon Fine Arts Museum, in the heart of the city. The museum houses one of France’s richest collections of works, including sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the present day.

With more than 650 antique shops in Lyon’s city center and neighboring area, there are plenty of bargains to be found. For a chance for an even rarer, find visit some of the city’s bric-a-brac and secondhand book shops.

Just a few minutes beyond the city lay the great snowfields of the French Alps.

Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site www.skyscanner.net. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.

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