Short Paris cooking lessonsNext time you’re in Paris, take home a souvenir that will last the rest of your life: the knowledge of how to cook like the French.

An organization called A wOrld in a PAN will teach you how to make a French meal beginning with shopping for the ingredients and continuing through selecting the right cheese to finish things off.

Classes include a three-hour lesson on cooking techniques and preparing a three-course meal for $80, and a four-hour class that adds a visit to a market to choose the best produce to the cooking lessons ($110). Other classes include a three-hour cheese-tasting course for $80, and a Girls Night Out, a three-hour evening with friends for conversation and cooking for $100.

The school offers other classes, including a seven-day course in the Loire Valley (1,600 euros per person, double occupancy).

Find details in English on what the group has to offer at

Italian cooking at Lake GardaSpend the Thanksgiving holiday learning to make the healthy cuisine of the Mediterranean diet with the popular Gourmet Italia cooking course in Torbole, Italy, in the Lake Garda region. The course is held Nov. 26-29.

After enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner the first night, participants spend from 9 a.m. to noon the next three days in cooking classes. A guided visit to a winery also has been arranged and there is an afternoon free for shopping and sightseeing.

The price is $595 per person, double occupancy, and includes three nights at Hotel Piccolo Mondo (, breakfasts, three lunches and dinners, nine hours of cooking courses, booklet of recipes, Gourmet Italia apron and services of an English-speaking interpreter. The hotel’s Wellness Centre treatments are not included in the price.

For reservations, contact For information in English, see

Bavarian farm holidaysEnjoy the fresh country air of the Bavarian region of Germany by staying on a farm. More than 1,000 farms offer holiday accommodations year round in the regions of the Allgäu and Bavarian Swabia; Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria; Franconia; and Upper Bavaria.

Depending on the location, you and your family can watch farmers milk cows, work in the stables, care for small animals, visit nearby holiday parks or go hiking, cycling, swimming and skiing. Or you can just relax.

As an example of available options, a room in three-star accommodation on a farm with dairy cows, calves and horses in the Allgäu and Swabia region from Nov. 26-29 costs 35 euros for two persons, plus 3 euros for each additional person. There are summer and winter activities in the area and guests can try their hands at the farm work.

For details, go to

Finding good musicAnyone who would like to hear traditional Scottish music while in Scotland should check out before traveling. The Web site, maintained by the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland, was established to preserve the country’s music and songs. It has a database on the schedule of music sessions as well as news on festivals, ceilidhs and other events.

Best BetsENGLAND: It’s the end of the season for air shows in the United Kingdom and The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is concluding the year with its annual Autumn Air Show. Among the scheduled aircraft flying are the RAF Hawk, B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B, Spitfire, P-51 Mustang duo, Douglas DC-3, Sea Fury and Sea Hawk. Tickets cost 24.95 pounds (about $40) for adults, 9.95 pounds for ages 5 to 15 and free for children up to age 4. The gates open at 8 a.m. for entry to the museum with flying starting at 1:30 p.m. More details at

FRANCE: Vineyards in Paris? Records show that vineyards have existed on the Montmartre hill in the capital’s 18 arrondissement as far back as 944. Today the city owns the lone surviving vineyard — re-established in the 1930s — and to celebrate its harvest, the organizes the annual Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival, which runs through Sunday. This year’s theme is Montmartre Celebrates Les Trois Baudets, now an entertainment and dining complex. It was founded in 1947 by Jacques Canetti, a famous music producer and promoter, as a cabaret hall, and through the years major French entertainers such as Jeanne Moreau, George Brassens and Jacques Brel launched their careers there. The festival’s busy program includes international wine tasting, free tours of the vineyard (normally closed to the public), exhibitions, markets, cooking demonstrations, a tour following famous performers associated with Canetti, concerts and fireworks. For details, see; there is an English version.

— Jayne Traendly

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