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June 15, 2008|Susan Spano; Mary Forgione; Rosemary McClure

Oui, oui, it's free

If you're in Paris this month, it won't cost a cent to see the unicorn tapestries at the National Museum of the Middle Ages, also known as the Cluny Museum, or the Palace of Tau in Reims, where the kings of France dressed for their coronations. That's because the French Ministry of Culture and Communication has announced that through the end of the month, no admission will be charged to see permanent collections at more than a dozen museums, including the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget, National Museum of Asian Art (Musee Guimet) in Paris, the National Museum Adrien Dubouche in Limoges, which features the famed porcelain, and others. As part of the program, the Musee d'Orsay, pictured, is free for visitors 18 to 25 years old, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Info: odeID=422&EditoID=193147.

-- Susan Spano

All aboard!

After you've been hiking amid the red walls of the Grand Canyon, you might want to sit back and take a train ride through more canyon landscapes in a 1923 Pullman car. The Coconino Canyon Train, a new 90-minute ride that originates in Grand Canyon National Park and travels on tracks built in the 1800s, starts at the old Grand Canyon Depot and travels 24 miles through ponderosa pines and red-rock scenery in an out-and-back route. The train costs $35 for adults, $20 for children ages 3 to 12 and is free for kids 2 and younger. The ride leaves at 5 and 7 p.m. daily through Sept. 1. To make a reservation, call (888) 297-2757, swing by one of the lodges or go to

-- Mary Forgione

Sweet re-creation

San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square, a working chocolate factory in the late 1800s, was turned into a shopping and dining complex in the '60s and granted National Register of Historic Places status in 1982. On Wednesday, a revitalized square will be unveiled that includes new high-end shops, fine dining, artisanal foods, wine shops and a 10,000-square-foot spa. New landscaping, outdoor seating and renovated terraces are among the improvements. Shops now open or opening in the near future include Cellar 360, a wine and food bar; Marche on the Square, a specialty food market; Kara's Cupcakes; Lola's of North Beach; O'Neill's Irish Pub; and Peekadoodle Kidsclub, an indoor family club. The square will also include private residence club homes at Fairmont Heritage Place, a fractional ownership facility.

-- Rosemary McClure

All about you

Tell us where to go. We mean that literally, not figuratively. The Times Travel section wants you, dear reader, to share your favorite vacation spot in the western United States. It might be a mountain idyll or a great inn, a quiet beach or a rocking resort. We'll sift and sort the ideas and present a package of stories in an August Travel section based on your feedback (and credit you with the idea too). Tell us what makes your spot special by using the online form at Please include your name and contact information; we won't print your contact info, but we will need it for verification purposes. The deadline is June 21.

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