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The Independent Culture

If you like your ale and want to be part of what they claim is the biggest public festival in the world, head out to 's Theresenwiese - or Theresa's Fields - next week for the 165th Oktoberfest (right). Arising from the celebration of a royal wedding in 1810, the festival is now also a carnivore's delight: each year around five million litres of beer wash down some 400,000 pork sausages - the digestive process helped, no doubt, by the roller coasters and carousels.

Theresenwiese, (00 49 89 260 81 34) 19 Sept-4 Oct, DM38-59


Launched two years ago by the Mairie, the "Journee des jardins de Paris" is a move to acqaint people better with the green bits of the French capital. As well as being allowed into private parks and gardens usually closed to the general public, visitors will be entertained with free events in 100 or so locations, including guided tours, beekeeping displays, and activities for children. Botanical and horticultural experts will be on hand to answer questions.

Various locations in Paris (00 33 1 4276 4961) 13 Sept


The Reina Sofa Museum has mounted an exhibition to celebrate the birth centenary of Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garca Lorca. Lorca's life is reconstructed through more than 700 pieces of work, including written documents, photographs and his own drawings, demonstrating the means of expression that Lorca employed besides writing, such as music and the visual arts. It also touches on his relationships with other artists, such as Dal and Bunuel, and features some of the letters they exchanged.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofa, Calle Santa Isabel 52, Madrid (00 34 914 675 062) to 21 Sept, Pts500


The Pat Metheny Trio, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Al Jarreau and Tracy Nelson are just some of the acts gracing the 41st edition of the world's longest- running jazz festival at its beautiful location on California's Monterey peninsula. Besides non-stop music, the festival features panel discussions, conversations with famous names, videos, and a wide range of international foods to keep you going for the whole weekend.

Monterey Fairgrounds, California (00 1 408 649 1770) 18-20 Sept, $22-$65/children $12-$36

Mexico City

At 11pm on 15 September in Mexico City's Plaza de la Constitucin - or the Zocalo, as it is more commonly known - the Mexican president reiterates the "grito" (cry) of independence issued in 1810, and sets off a night of music, dancing and fireworks to celebrate the country's Independence Day. The Zocalo is the second largest square in the world after Moscow's Red Square, which is good news considering the thousands of people who crowd into it to enjoy these festivities.

Plaza de la Constitucin (Zocalo), Mexico City (00 1 212 755 7261) 15 Sept