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March 08, 2009|Rosemary McClure; Susan Spano; Catharine Hamm; Mary Forgione

Spot-on safety

Roaming with Rover this spring or summer? Unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 vehicle accidents annually in the United States, according to an American Automobile Assn. survey. Dog trainer Sierra Smith gave some pet travel tips at a recent seminar in Long Beach. Her top recommendation: Crate your dog while it's in the car. Other tips: Never let your pet ride in the front seat; confine dogs to the back hatch area (if it's roomy enough); and use harness restraints.While on the road, give your dog breaks every two or three hours and never leave Fido in the car when it's hot.

-- Rosemary McClure

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Tunnel vision

A striking new landmark has taken its place along the Seine River in eastern Paris: Cite de la Mode et du Design, home of the prestigious Institut Francais de la Mode, or IFM. Designed by Jakob & MacFarlane, perhaps the hottest architectural firm in France, and decorated with the help of the contemporary furniture company Vitra, it lines the river with a web of futuristic green glass tunnels where visitors can stroll, shop, dine and visit galleries. Info: www.ifm-paris.com.

-- Susan Spano

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On allergy alert

If you have food allergies, dining out can be a veritable minefield. "Let's Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free" ($24.95) is important for travelers who may be trying all sorts of new cuisines and don't know what to be on the lookout for in menus and food items. The book focuses on corn, dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat and examines these cuisines: American steak and seafood, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican and Thai. It also includes a chapter on beverages and breakfasts. At 484 pages, it's a bit large to be toting around. Pocket versions cover Chinese, Indian and Thai; American steak and seafood and Mexican; French and Italian ($6.95 each). Info: (312) 952-4900, www.allergyfreepassport.com.

-- Catharine Hamm

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Canada blooms

It's this time of year when I recall that it's Vancouver, Canada -- not just Washington, D.C. -- that proudly lays claim to cherry blossom madness. Maybe it has to do with the 36,000 Japanese ornamental cherry trees throughout the city. Visitors can attend the taiko-drumming kickoff Cherry Jam on March 31, Bike the Blossoms on April 18 or hook into a number of other events through the end of April. Info: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, (604) 257-8120, www.vcbf.ca.

-- Mary Forgione

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Unsung spots

We're asking for your ideas on places that are overlooked and underappreciated. Which seemingly mundane spot, maybe a city, country or region, left you in awe or far exceeded your expectations? We'll post your responses online. The best will appear in print April 19 along with a list of underrated destinations compiled by the Times Travel staff. Go to latimes.com/underrated to submit your ideas by Saturday.

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