This could be next summer's best buy...

Times Travel Editor

This could be next summer's best buy for students of all ages--French lessons on the island of Corsica for a thrifty $99 per week. Twenty hours of study plus accommodations in private bungalows on the beach. A choice of one- or four-week sessions. Classes in the morning, afternoons devoted to windsurfing, riding, sailing, tennis, sightseeing. Deadline for reservations is April 15. Contact Heather Thompson, International Friendship Service, 24931 Acacia Lane, Laguna Hills, Calif. 92653. Telephone (714) 458-8868.

Corsica is a mountainous island off the French Riviera. The big town is Ajaccio. Restaurants, shops, nightclubs. Or you can avoid the crowds by driving into the hills for a stunning view of the Mediterranean.

Biker Holidays

Veteran biker Tim Blake is back rounding up recruits for his spring/summer bicycle tours of the Temecula wine country, Solvang-Santa Ynez Valley, Ojai Valley (one- to three-day trips) plus a six-day ride that takes in the Northern California coast. Begins in Healdsburg, winds up in the Sonoma Valley wine country. This tour zeroes in on the haunting Mendocino coastline, Russian River hamlets. Bikers spend a night in a restored 20-room Victorian mansion, another in a secluded lodge surrounded by redwood trees (a bar, pool, hot tub). Rates from $39 for the one-day tour to $529 for the six-day ride. Contact Tim Blake c/o Tailwind Tours, P.O. Box 65562, Los Angeles 90065, or telephone (213) 254-3363. (We've steered bikers to Blake for several years now, never had a complaint.)

Expo '86

If you're planning a trip to Expo '86 in Vancouver you'd best make reservations now. Don't wait. Hotels, motels, inns are filling up fast. If you can't get accommodations, contact Expo about its guest house program. Features rooms in private homes. Rates: $25 for the first guest, $10 for additional adults, $5 for children ages 11 and younger. The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism. Some 10,000 Vancouver residents have signed up as hosts. These homes are inspected by the ministry. Details from ResWest, P.O. Box 1138, Station A, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6C 2T1, or call (604) 662-3300. (Give alternate dates in your letters to ResWest.)

More on Expo

Classic Rail is planning an eight-day trip to Expo by private railroad car. The train leaves Los Angeles May 21, arrives in Vancouver May 23 for the fair's "grand parade of steam." Passengers will return to Los Angeles May 28. Classic Rail plans to operate four luxury cars. Two Pullman sleepers, a diner, a dome-lounge car. Three nights will be spent in Vancouver, one night in Victoria. For details telephone (714) 870-8679 or outside the 714 area, toll-free (800) 432-3200.

Free Car Rental

Hotel Corp. of the Pacific is changing its name to Aston Hotels & Resorts. To publicize the name change, the operators are offering a rental car free to guests each day of their visit to one of the chain's 22 hotels and resorts in Hawaii. Unlimited free mileage. Offer is good March 31 through June 15. Meanwhile, the company plans to issue cards good for a 10% discount on future visits. These can be transferred to family, friends. For more information, call toll-free (800) 367-5124.

Ireland

The Irish will be celebrating this summer by launching a luxury river boat. The Shannon Princess will be equipped to carry a dozen passengers on the Shannon River. All cabins (fully carpeted) feature private showers, toilets. A sun deck, library, dining room with a panoramic view. Onshore excurions to Birr Castle, Limerick, Galway. One-week cruises ($1,325) include a medieval banquet at Dunguaire Castle, visits to riverside pubs, villages. Contact McGregor Travel, 33 Lewis St., Greenwich, Conn. 06830.

Wagon Train

If you're looking for something new to do this summer, check out Wagons West. These people operate covered wagons on trips into the Tetons, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone. Saddle up during the day or stay aboard the wagon and enjoy the scenery. Plenty of rest stops. Opportunities to go hiking, fishing. Sleep in the wagon, in a tepee or on the ground under the stars. Wagons West is an authentic replica of a pioneer covered wagon train. Only with rubber tires and foam-padded seats. Meals cooked chuck wagon style. Adult rates from $190 (two days) to $480 for six days, five nights. Discounts for children. Contact L. D. Frome c/o Wagons West, Afton, Wyo. 83110, or telephone (307) 886-5240.

Napa Valley

A note from Jim Beazley of The Beazley House in Napa tells us "everything is back to normal" in the Napa Valley following the recent flood. Same news from Mary Keenan of Burgundy House at Yountville. "The hills have never been greener, trees are blossoming. We're all back in business,"says Keenan. Call Beazley at (707) 257-1649. Keenan's number is (707) 944-2855.

For the Record

An incorrect telephone number was given last week for a new campground reservation service for the California State Park System. To reserve campsites, telephone toll-free (800) 446-7275. Call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. The same service provides for tours of the Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument.

Reader Recommendations

New Zealand--Elizabeth and Andrew de Sosa, Los Angeles: "My husband and I would like to recommend the Riverview Motel, 28 Landing Road, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Rates, N.Z.$48."

England--Sandra Johnson, Granada Hills: "I had the pleasure of staying several weeks in Wimbledon at the B&B; of a Mrs. Meredith. In addition to her year-round B&B; business she has written me to inquire of any Southern Californians who live close to the beach who would be interested in a home exchange. Mrs. Meredith can be contacted at 26 Parkwood Road, London, S.W. 19."

England--Jigs Bontrager, Playa del Rey: "Planning a trip to Scotland, Ireland or England, Wales, recommend Croceso Tours, 77 Conway Road, Colwyn Bay, Clwyd, Wales, United Kingdom."

Napa Valley, Calif.--Julie Albert, Claremont: "Try the B&B; called The Inn on Cedar Street, 1307 Cedar St., Calistoga, Calif. 94515. Rates are a low $50 to $75 depending on the season. This is a Victorian cottage. We found it ideal for several couples traveling together. The gracious hosts ply you with delicious food imaginatively prepared."

Hawaii--Nita Neel, Los Angeles: Enjoyed Hale Kai B&B;, 41-949 A Laumilo St., Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795. Twenty-five minutes from Honolulu by car. Public bus lines two blocks away. A garden setting of bougainvillea and milo trees. Neel says the meals are "fabulous." Rates: $28 per night single, $38 double. Lunch is $5, dinner $7.50.

Utah--Carl Schlosberg, Sherman Oaks: "I want to bring to your attention the recently restored Peery Hotel, 110 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. Built in 1910, recently renovated by brothers David and Victory Kimball. The highly personalized attention made me feel more like a friend who had come to visit rather than a paying guest. The staff was warm and friendly. Beautiful antique furniture blended with contemporary art. Rates: $39 single, $57 double."

Oregon--Harold and Betty Pavey, El Cerrito: Marjon Bed & Breakfast Inn, 44975 Leaburg Road, Leaburg, Ore. 97489. "The two-room inn, $60/$80 per night, with private baths, includes a five-course gourmet breakfast. The inn is on a bank of the McKenzie River. Nearby, the Forest Glen Cafe in Blue River has excellent food at unbelievably low prices. A boat trip on the river with champagne lunch can be arranged."

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