Palace opensIn 1837, young Queen Victoria became the first British monarch to make her home in Buckingham Palace.It’s been the official residence of all succeeding royalty, as well as the site for official state occasions.

From July 27 to Sept. 29, the 19 state rooms that are used to host visiting dignitaries are open to the public. Visitors can view samples of the palace’s English and French furniture and art selections from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto and Nicolas Poussin and sculptures by Antonio Canova.

This year’s special exhibition, titled “The Queen’s Year,” includes a collection of dresses, jewels, photographs and gifts the queen has received during her reign as well as a look at her ceremonies and official appearances through the year.

The palace is open 9:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets cost 16.50 pounds (about $25) for adults, 9.50 pounds for children ages 5 to 17, and are free for children younger than 5. For more information, see

Edinburgh festivalCeltic Journeys, an agency specializing in tours in Ireland and other Celtic sites, is offering a package for Edinburgh’s festival season, which runs Aug. 6-30.

The cost is $579 per person, double occupancy, and includes three nights in a first-class hotel, breakfasts, sightseeing tour and the Edinburgh Passport Festival. This passport includes tickets for three shows over one day, starting at 9 a.m. and continuing through midnight. The shows are selected in advance by festival critics.

Find details at

Best BetsEngland

Add museums to your list of night-time entertainment this weekend as the country holds its annual Museums at Night event.

Selected institutions have organized a variety of cultural and fun events centered around their collections. In London, for example, you can catch a performance of the film “An American Werewolf in London” at the Museum of London Docklands. In addition, you can help Sir Edmund Halley find his way around the solar system at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, or shiver at a demonstration of anesthetic-free amputations in Victorian England at the Old Operating Theatre Museum or get caught up in the romance of a Grace Kelly film at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Find more details at


• Selected museums throughout France will celebrate La Nuit des Musées, their version of Night of the Museums, on Saturday from sunset until the early hours of the morning with a variety of events, such as tours, lectures and concerts. For a list of participating sites, go to There is an English version, though some of the specifics are in French only.

• American film director Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland”) is the president of this year’s jury at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, which runs through May 23 in Cannes. Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” with Russell Crowe will set the mood for the festival on opening night.

Although no American films are among the 16 competing for the coveted Palme d’Or (Golden Palm), American films in the out-of-competition category include Woody Allen’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”

The festival , set in the glamour of the French Riviera’s sun and beaches, is known for attracting top celebrities. Find the full cinema lineup at

• The grounds of the fortified 15th-century castle in Sedan, the largest in Europe (about 115,000 square feet), will be abuzz with Middle Ages life this weekend during its annual medieval festival. Historical camps and markets, archery and crossbow competitions, falconry, jousting, children’s activities and a parade with giant figures are all on the program.

Castle grounds are open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are 5 euros for adults, free for children up to age 12. An additional 3 euros gets you inside the castle. Find more details at (in French).Italy

• Venice renews its vows with the sea this weekend during the traditional Festa della Sensa. The festival commemorates two 12th-century events with a traditional boat procession to the San Nicolò di Lido port to “marry the sea,” and a symbolic casting of a gold ring into the water.

Each year, Venice invites another city or location with which it has historical maritime ties to participate. This year’s guest is Larnaca, Cyprus.

From 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, a market will be held at the port. At 5 p.m., a historical parade with the Cypriot delegation will take place on San Marco Square.

On Sunday, the market reopens until 7 p.m. At 9 a.m., decorated boats with city officials dressed in historical regalia take off from San Marco, where, accompanied by boats manned by local rowing teams, they make their way to the church in front of San. Nicolò for the ceremony. Find details at

• “Painting Music — The Shapes and Colors of Music” is the theme of this year’s Infiorata Noto (flower carpet) on the Via Nicolaci in Noto, Sicily.

On Friday, artists will prepare a carpet of musical scenes with flower petals and seeds on the street. Saturday through Monday, visitors can walk along its edges and admire the art, whose images are taken from religious, mythological and popular culture.

For details, go to (in Italian).

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