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Tours & Cruises

Basque-ing in the New Guggenheim in Spain


Fine art, fall festivals and fashion will highlight a two-week, four-city trip to France and Spain beginning Oct. 1. The tour begins with four days in Paris. Participants can attend fashion shows and shop in chic boutiques. Art highlights include the new Egyptian wing of the Louvre and the Palais Gallieri museum of fashion. At the Wine Festival of Montmartre visitors will help celebrate the grape harvest in Paris' last remaining vineyard.

Then it's off to Spain for two nights in the old Atlantic seaside town of San Sebastian. Here guests will sample tapas bars and take a day trip on the Biscay coast with lunch in a Basque fishing village. Next is Bilbao for three nights to see the new Guggenheim Museum designed by architect Frank Gehry. The city also has many galleries, an opera house and a well-preserved Gothic Quarter.

The last four nights will be spent in Barcelona, home of architect Antonio Gaudi and artist Pablo Picasso. There will be visits to the Picasso Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and buildings designed by Gaudi. On Oct. 12 the city celebrates Columbus Day with music and fireworks, and the group will join in the festivities at a seaside dinner. The tour is limited to 10 people.

Cost: $3,600 per person, double occupancy, including all hotel accommodations, daily breakfasts, some meals, inter-European flights, airport transfers and museum entrance fees. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Anne Block of Take My Mother Please Tours; telephone (323) 937-9073.

More Arts of Spain

In case the above tour fills up or you liked it so much you want to go again, the Newark Museum in New Jersey is also hosting a tour to Spain that highlights the Guggenheim Museum. It is a nine-day, two-city tour Nov. 1 to 9. The theme is 20th century Spanish art and architecture, and guests will visit Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

In Bilbao, the group will stay in San Sebastian. Other venues on the itinerary include Bilbao's Fine Arts Museum and a day trip to Fuenterrabia.

Cost: $2,395 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from New York, hotels in Barcelona and San Sebastian, full breakfast daily plus two lunches and two dinners, ground transportation, air fare from Barcelona to Bilbao, taxes, porterage and an English-speaking guide in Spain.

Tour members may extend their trip to Madrid. The three-day option includes city sightseeing and the Prado Museum as well as a day trip to Toledo. Price is $595 per person.

Contact: The Newark Museum; tel. (973) 596-6643, or the tour operator, B.F. Tours at (800) 966-7269.

Barging Burgundy

Cruise to Burgundy on the Seine and Yonne rivers from Oct. 16 to 25 on the 52-passenger luxury barge Anacoluthe. The itinerary is punctuated by medieval towns, chateaux and the hillside vineyards of Chablis. Guests get a private visit to Monet's House and gardens in Giverny followed by a supper cruise of Paris. Arriving in Samois, the group will tour the Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte built by Fouquet, Louis XIV's finance minister.

The following day the group will cruise the Seine to Moret-sur-Loing, home of the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, driving through the forest of Fontainebleau to the village of Barbizon. Guests also visit Sens, an ancient town on the Yonne River, and Joigny, with an excursion to Auxerre, which is the historic capital of Burgundy. A tour of the nearby wine region culminates with a wine tasting in an 11th century cellar in the village of St. Bris-le-Vineux.

Cost: $3,295 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from LAX to Paris, air transfers, six-night cruise, two nights with breakfast at the Ho^tel Regina across from the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens.

Contact: Claudette Crowther at Carlson-Wagonlit; tel. (800) 676-8994.

Women in India

Indian social service worker Rashmi Misra is hosting a three-week women's issues and tour program in India Oct. 4 to 24. Participants have the opportunity to talk with women on social issues such as arranged marriages, dowries, the caste system and economics. The travel portion of the tour includes stops at ancient temples, Mother Teresa's house in Calcutta and participation in the Diwali, the Festival of Lights, one of India's biggest holidays.

Cost: $3,950 per person, double occupancy, including ground transportation, hotels, all meals, sightseeing and guides. Air fare is additional.

Contact: Cross-Cultural Solutions, 47 Potter Ave., New Rochelle, NY 10801; tel. (800) 380-4777.

Curtains for London

The El Camino College Theater Department is sponsoring a London Theatre Tour from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2. The itinerary includes three theater productions (West End musical, Royal National Theatre production, and a West End drama or comedy), a tour of Shakespeare's newly restored Globe Theatre, excursion to Stratford-on-Avon and tour of the Royal National Theatre.

Cost: $1,449 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, airport transfers in London, first-class hotel, continental breakfast daily and sightseeing.

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