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October 24-26Strasbourg, France: 179 pounds round tripFly Air France from London City to Strasbourg.

The picturesque, romantic district of La Petite France, or Little France, is an outstanding destination for photographers. This island is surrounded by scenic canals on four sides and full of alleyways lined with half-timbered 16th-century houses. While in Little France, visit the Museum of Modern Art to see a collection of works from 1870 to the present.

The pink sandstone Notre Dame Cathedral beckons visitors. Highlights within the cathedral include the rose window that looks like stone lace, five ornately decorated chapels and the Angel Pillar, depicting the "Last Judgment."

Depending on the time of year and the cathedral’s scheduled services, tourists may be able to visit the 463-foot-tall tower by arranging a visit with the local tourism office.

Each day at 12:30 p.m., the cathedral’s astrological clock comes alive with a procession of mechanical apostles.

To learn more about the folklore and customs of the local Alsatians, visit Le Musee Alsatian, featuring re-created interiors reflecting the city’s bygone days, with displays of carved wood furniture, costumes and other items from the past.

Finally, visit the Heineken brewery, where tours are available in English, or Le Musee du Chocolat where everything is devoted to cocoa and chocolate.

December 27-29Zaragoza, Spain: 152.29 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Zaragoza.

Take in a concert or a bullfight at the 18th-century Misericordia (Mercy) bullring, the first in Spain with a retractable roof.

Then see the exquisite choir stalls, walls and ceilings decorated with frescos from famous Spanish painters and cupolas painted by Jose Francisco Goya at Pilar Cathedral on the bank of the Ebro River. The cathedral’s Holy Chapel has a marble pillar with a tiny statue of the Virgin Mary. According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to the Apostle James on the spot where the pillar now stands. Also visit the Museo del Pilar, which has a collection of jewelry used to adorn the Virgen del Pilar statue.

From there, take a two-minute walk to the Museo Camon Aznar, a museum filled with paintings, engravings and other artwork dating from between the 16th and 20th centuries. Then head south to the Museo Pablo Gargallo. The palace is home to 100 original statues by the Aragonese artist Pablo Gargallo.

Art enthusiasts should not miss the Zaragoza Museum, with an archaeology section that houses a broad collection of artifacts. The fine-arts section includes a room devoted to Goya and a collection of Roman mosaics and ceramics.

Now head to the Cathedral of the Saviour, or La Seo, where kings were crowned. Adjacent is the Tapestry Museum with a fine collection of French and Flemish tapestries.


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