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Discount couture

Those who enjoy major European cities, shopping at fine-fashion stores and saving up to 60 percent off the retail price on the previous season’s collections might want to add a Chic Outlet Shopping Village to their itinerary. Kenzo, Armani, Calvin Klein, Longchamp, Hugo Boss and Dunhill are only some of the names you’ll find in the shopping villages outside London; Paris; Frankfurt and Munich, Germany; Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; Milan, Italy; Brussels, Belgium; and Dublin, Ireland.

For information, go to www.chicoutletshopping.com.

‘Bike City’ Copenhagen

According to the Danish Tourist Board, 36 percent of citizens in Copenhagen, Denmark, cycle to work and school on the city’s 185 miles of bicycle paths. The city also offers free token bikes for those who want to get around the city short term. It’s no wonder then that the International Cycling Union chose the Danish capital as the world’s first "Bike City."

To celebrate, through 2011, Copenhagen will hold a series of cycling events for both serious and amateur riders. Some of these include the Track World Cup (Feb. 13-15 and March 25-28), BMX Supercross World Cup (May 8-9) and Roadcycling World Championships (Sept. 21-25).

Find more details at http://cyclingworld.dk/Bikecity/English/aboutbcc.htm.

Haydn in Vienna

Almost 200 years ago, on May 31, 1809, Austrian classical music composer Joseph Haydn died. As a boy, he sang for nine years in Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In his career, he composed more than 750 works and arranged more than 330 songs. Among these was the Austrian imperial anthem "Gott Erhalte Franz den Kaiser" ("God Save Franz the Emperor"). The melody later was adopted as Germany’s national anthem. Haydn spent much of his time as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their Hungarian estate before returning to Vienna for 19 years, where he died at age 77.

To commemorate this "Father of Symphony," Vienna has designated 2009 as "Haydn Year" and has organized a series of events, including concerts, walks, exhibitions and packages.

One deal, for example, is a three-day "Haydn Awaits You." Cost is 199 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes two nights at a four-star hotel in Vienna, breakfasts, Vienna Card (72 hours’ free travel on public transportation), admission to the House of Music, admission to the Haydn House and an evening at the Esterhazykeller, a wine cellar that Haydn frequented.

Other packages include trips to his birthplace in Rohrau, Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, as well as concerts.

Details at www.wien.info/article.asp?IDArticle=15731.

Sweet scents

After a four-year renovation, the International Perfume Museum in Grasse, France, reopened in October, doubled in size and restored to its original 18th-century townhouse appearance. Its mission remains the same: to conserve, study and present the French industry of perfumery. With the world’s first public collection on this industry, it centers its collection on the themes of seduction, treatment and communication.

The museum Web site is http://en.museesdegrasse.com (in French).

Best betsGERMANY: On Tuesday, the Bavarian towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen will be filled with members of 100 teams all hitting the slopes for the 40th Bavarian Hornschlittenrennen sled championships.

Made of wood and metal, the 3- to 10-foot-long sleds with the curved horns in front originally were used to transport wood and hay from the overland pastures. A 1970 pub discussion resulted in the decision to hold a night race. The next year the races shifted to the day and a new winter sport was born.

Reaching speeds up to 62 miles per hour, the teams race three-quarters of a mile from mountaintop into the valley. The fun begins at 12:30 p.m.

Find details at the Garmish-Partenkirchen Web site www.garmisch-partenkirchen.de.

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