January 7, 2010
England: Pencil in a short holiday and rediscover the magic of France this Friday through Sunday at the annual France Show at Earl Court Two in London. You can indulge your taste buds and imagination while learning about a range of French gastronomy by attending wine seminars (5 pounds, about $8, a session), watching live cooking demonstrations by professional chefs and browsing through a variety of restaurants and food stalls. You also can learn about vacation and property-buying opportunities. The show is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost 10 pounds (about $16). More information at www.thefranceshow.com.
France: Join other hikers of all ages for a walking tour of Paris during the annual Randonnée du Rallye Paris Tour Eiffel on Saturday. Organized by the Godillot Familial Association, routes of three distances have been planned. A 14-kilometer trail, about 8½ miles, takes in Montparnasse, Les Invalides, the Champs-Elysées, la Place de la Concorde, Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. A 20k route, about 12½ miles, goes from la Place de la Concorde past the Louvre, onto the l’Ile de la Cité with Notre Dame, past the Sorbonne, the Panthéon and the Saint-Etienne-du-Mont church and down Rue Mouffetard. Finally, a 13k course includes a tram ride and a look at Paris bridges before joining the route at the Pantheon and the Rue Mouffetard. The official opening time is 11 a.m., with the 13k walk beginning at noon and the other two at 3 p.m. Control points have been set up along the way for those who want international volksmarching association credit. Tickets cost 1.80 euros. Find more at www.godillot-familial.com, in French, and in this week’s Volksmarch column, Page 31.
France and Switzerland: The barking of sled dogs and cries of their drivers will be ringing through the Alps Saturday through Jan. 20 during the La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc sled-dog race. Inspired by the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest that links the Yukon Territory to Alaska, the 500-mile European version is considered the most difficult international sled-dog race. Seventy percent of the mountainous route runs through ski-resort areas, including Savoie and Haute Savoie, and climbs over a total of some 82,000 feet in the French-Swiss mountain ranges near the Portes du Soleil resort and in the Haute Maurienne valley. Festivals have been organized in the villages along the route, with the best days being those when the teams depart and arrive. To learn more about the race and to follow its progress, go to www.grandeodyssee.com; there is an English version.