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Paris Las Vegas marks 15th anniversary with food, drink, room specials

Paris Las Vegas will celebrate its 15th anniversary with food, drink and room specials this month.

Special activities are planned throughout the month to celebrate the Sept. 1, 1999, opening of the iconic Paris resort, complete with scaled-down versions of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

Guests can enjoy celebratory food and drink offers throughout the property. At Café Belle Madeleine, where the emphasis is on freshly baked pastries, an anniversary treat awaits. The special -- a French vanilla cupcake filled with vanilla mousse and topped with chocolate ganache and a chocolate Eiffel Tower -- sells for $5.  

St. Louis Cafe, a restaurant designed to evoke the atmosphere of a Parisian sidewalk cafe, is offering a three-course lunch for $15 that’s available daily. The choices include traditional French onion soup, a Croque-monsieur sandwich and, for dessert, a Napoleon pastry.

Can’t decide just what sounds good? There’s a huge selection at Le Village Buffet, where lunch is on...

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New Mexico's Enchanted Byway brings fall foliage viewing full circle

For great fall color, the mountains of northern New Mexico are certainly in contention for a “best of” award, and an 85-mile byway makes it easy.

The artists’ colony of Taos can be the base from which to explore nature’s palate along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

Fall color is expected to peak early this year -- the first week of October in the Taos area -- according to the state's tourism website. The U.S. Forest Service also maintains a fall foliage hotline. Dial (800) 354-4595 and press 3 for conditions in New Mexico. (As of Tuesday, it had 2013 information.)

The Enchanted byway loop links Taos and Questa, N.M., with, in clockwise order, the neighboring resort communities of Red River, Eagle Nest and Angel Fire.

You can make the drive in 2 1/2 hours — if you don’t stop. But you’ll probably need to take some breaks for hiking, leaf peeping, photo ops and wildlife viewing.

Heading north from Taos on State Highway 522, you’ll find a couple of detours. There’s the 1,273-foot Rio...

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'Magic Flute' to be staged this weekend in Las Vegas' Container Park

Visitors in search of a cultural fix in Las Vegas will find one this week as a troupe of opera singers presents Mozart's "The Magic Flute."

Sin City Opera, a company whose motto is “Yesterday’s Opera Today,” will perform a contemporary version of opera at the Downtown Container Park.

Mozart’s classic, designed as a family-friendly introduction to opera, will retain its comedic and dramatic elements, but it will be adapted to feature characters drawn from Las Vegas’ colorful past. The story of Tamino's quest to save Pamina will be sung in English.

“This free admission outdoor show is part of our education outreach to our community [and is] an excellent and easy introduction to opera as we know it today in our fair city,” Skip Galla, Sin City Opera’s artistic director, said in a news release.   

Shows are scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Container Park, 707 Fremont St., just a couple of blocks east of Las Vegas Boulevard, is an eclectic...

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Classic cars rev up for Route 66 Cruisin' Reunion in Ontario

Hop in your Little Deuce Coupe, Hot Rod Lincoln or Pink Cadillac and drive out to Ontario this weekend for a heavy dose of automobile nostalgia.

The Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion starts Friday evening and continues through Sunday afternoon. About 1,000 classic cars are expected along Ontario’s Euclid Avenue.

The events get underway at 5 p.m. Friday  when hosts Rick and Kelly Dale from the History Channel’s “American Restoration” help cut the ribbon opening a new amphitheater at Ontario Town Square. From 8-10 that evening, spectators can line Euclid for a “neon light cruise.”

The parade, billed as one of the largest such events, is described as “a dazzling, moving light show on wheels,” a release says. Some participants spend years outfitting their cars with colorful neon.

Saturday’s highlight is the birthday bash that begins at 11 a.m. It will pay tribute to the 50th birthdays of the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO. More than 50 of these highly polished pieces of the past will be on display.

...

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TripAdvisor reviewers name Getty among top museums in the U.S., world

Los Angeles’ Getty Center ranks among the top museums in the world according to a new TripAdvisor survey, but it’s edged out for No. 1 by a Chicago favorite.

Visitors to TripAdvisor ranked the Getty as their fourth favorite museum on the planet. It’s also their second favorite in the U.S.

Reviewers also consider the Getty the top visitor attraction in L.A. out of nearly 400.

“Plan to spend the entire day there,” a reviewer posted on Sunday. “The art work on hand in the permanent collection will take away your breath and fire your imagination.”

The 2014 list ranks the Art Institute of Chicago No. 1 in the country and the world.

“The collections represent fine art from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, America, as well as Native American art,” a recent visitor wrote. “Plan to stay all day.”

Another critic urged TripAdvisor fans to “take more than one day to see it all. …[There is a] mind-boggling expansive collection of all forms of art.”

The Top 10 list of American...

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Hawaii: Bike tour lets you see the Big Island, burn some calories

Adventure travelers can work off the pounds they may gain during the holidays on cycling trips across Hawaii’s Big Island.

Bicycle Adventures, an Issaquah, Wash.-based company, offers several late fall and early winter departure dates for rides across the largest Hawaiian island. The cycling trips, intended for vacationers who prefer a good workout to a day at the beach, are offered as three packages.

The Hawaii Classic is a seven-day trek that provides overnight stays in upscale resorts. The journey begins at Waikoloa, north of Kailua-Kona. Participants average 45 miles each day, two of which are spent pedaling through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Six 2014 trips remain, including those starting Nov. 23 and Dec. 26. The price is $3,495 per person.

The Hawaii Casual follows nearly the same itinerary as the Classic, but it’s a six-day trip with more moderate lodging options. The price is $2,695 per person. Four 2014 departure dates, including Dec. 27, are available.

For families, the...

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Alcatraz to host Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's exhibit

Ai Weiwei, arguably China’s best-known artist, spent 81 days in prison in 2011, so he knows about incarceration. That's part of the reason he is helming an exhibit opening this month on San Francisco's Alcatraz Island.

He developed the works in the exhibit, part of the National Park Service’s “Art in the Parks” program, in his Beijing studio, and they will be delivered by boat and plane.

The details of the installations for "@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz" aren’t public yet, but his seven large pieces will incorporate sound and sculpture and will be themed around captivity and freedom of expression.

Of the content of his Alcatraz creations, Ai, who is not allowed to travel abroad, has said, “When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”

The Rock, as it's called, is about 1 1/2 miles from the city and attracts about 1.3 million visitors a year. It has been, variously, a bird sanctuary, the site of a lighthouse, a military prison and a federal prison,...

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Gear: Over-door rack keeps your garments pin-neat

Sometimes a lodging’s closet hanger space is insufficient – or nonexistent. No problem.

Just grab the Spectrum Over the Door Wardrobe Rack, a well-designed rubber-coated steel clothing rack with brackets on each end that hang over doors up to 1 5/8 inches thick.

It weighs a little more than a pound and stashes in most roll-aboard bags. The rack provides 17 inches of hanger bar cast in a wavy design so garments don’t slide around. Reinforcing diagonal bars hold the rack in place about 10 inches from the door’s surface; side bars on both ends can hold even more hangers. Vertical back bars on both sides extend about 7 inches down from the top of the door.

The rack stashes easily in a standard wheel-aboard bag. Place the rack in first, then lay out the rest of the contents between the bars. I keep an extra in my car. Works great for hang-drying garments on the back of a bathroom or closet door.

Info: Spectrum Over the Door Wardrobe Rack costs $11.99.

Follow us on Twitter: @latimestravel

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Pack light and carry on: Aer Lingus teaches a lesson with baggage fees

I just returned from a vacation in Ireland, with a short break in Paris. I flew American Airlines on the way there and British Airways home. Neither charged for my one checked bag. But I flew Aer Lingus from Dublin to Paris and was charged 50 euros each way (about $130 total) on top of a ticket that cost $300. I was not a happy camper. I know that low-cost carriers are charging bag fees, but I didn't know Aer Lingus was. Moral of the story: You really need to check baggage charges on all airlines when you travel.

Donal McGonagle

Echo Park

 

If there were a prize for complicated baggage fees, Aer Lingus would be a contender. Even if you check its website, you'll need to invest a certain amount of time to do the math that comes with figuring out how much you'll owe.

On its website (under "Travel Information") Aer Lingus trumpets this put-on-a-happy-face language: "As baggage needs vary depending on your destination and duration of travel, we offer you even more choice and flexibility...

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More for your money: The unexpected costs of traveling abroad

When you travel abroad, you know you must budget for airfare, lodging, transportation and meals, but some costs may catch you off guard. Among them:

Visas: In addition to a U.S. passport, which is valid for 10 years and costs $110 for adults, some countries require a visa, the document that gives you permission to enter or leave a country. Some countries don't require a visa, but they will charge reciprocity fees based on what the U.S. charges residents from those countries for a tourist visa.

Generally, the reciprocity fee applies to each person traveling. Budget $640 for a family of four traveling to a country that charges a $160 reciprocity fee.

Some countries, including Argentina, require travelers to pay those fees in advance, by the way. Those who don't pay the $160 fee online before departing may be refused entry. Argentina's fee is good for 10 years of entrance to the country.

There is some good news about reciprocity fees: The U.S. and Chile ended them this spring. But several...

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Colorado: Georgetown train also gives you a cool look at mining's past

Forecast for Monday: about 92 in Los Angeles, about 104 in Woodland Hills. Forecast for Monday for the now-abandoned Lebanon Mine in the Colorado Rockies: about 44. In fact, the forecast for the mine is about 44 every day, which makes it a heat-stopper in my book.

A ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad with the optional mine tour affords you heat relief — the forecast for the week in Georgetown shows highs in the 60 and 70s with a chance of fall foliage.

Besides the chance to chill, you also get a glimpse into the past as you chug along the tracks through Clear Creek Valley, about 45 miles west of Denver. The three-mile journey on the narrow-gauge train, which dates to 1880, takes you from Georgetown to Silver Plume; the Lebanon Mine tour is about midpoint in the trip.

There may be better rides for train buffs. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is 3 1/2 hours of breathtaking scenery in southern Colorado. The Cumbres

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Web Buzz: Hotel comparison shopping a snap at smartdepart.com

Here's a website that makes choosing a hotel a snap.

Name: smartdepart.com

What it does: Allows you to drag two hotels onto the page so you can do side-by-side comparisons of price, ratings and reviews as well as night life, dining, shopping and tourism.

What's hot: I've never seen a comparison feature like this on other hotel booking sites — it's the key to making your decisions easier. You can use additional tools at the top of the page to fine-tune your search by price, amenities, star ratings and more. If you're not familiar with the area, you can easily open and close a map to see where the hotels are located. If you want to know why one hotel was recommended over the other for dining, click on that topic to read the Yelp reviews.

What's not: Double-check the prices. I found inconsistencies between search results and prices on the final booking page.

 

travel@latimes.com

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