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The Independent Travel
pounds 19

You can choose chic Christmas cadeaux in Calais with Le Shuttle. In addition to the usual trading hours, the Cite Europe shopping complex will be opening its doors to frantic shoppers on the four Sundays before Christmas. This price is per car, for a week-day crossing (pounds 29 at weekends) leaving in the afternoon and coming back the same night. Call 0990 353535 for more information.

pounds 105

per person, you can take a luxury break in the Emerald Isle. This offer includes four nights' B&B accommodation in the four-star Churchtown guest house in County Wexford, Ireland, plus return ferry crossing from Pembroke to Rossiare; the cost is based on four adults travelling. Call Irish Ferries Holidays on 0990 170000.

pounds 237

plus pounds 17 insurance per person, you can spend a week in the Mayenne Valley, Normandy. This country cottage comes fully equipped with a painter's studio - the professional artist in residence and her chef husband offer painting courses and meals for about pounds 20 per day. The price is based on four people sharing and includes return boat/train fare for one car. The house is available from January, call Country Cottages in France on 01282 445511.

pounds 369

you can spend a week cross-country skiing in Switzerland, with the former Swiss champion Edi Schild. This holiday is based on four people travelling together by car and includes return ferry crossings, half-board accommodation and a Nordic skiing package (skis, boots, poles and ski pass). For more information call Headwater on 01606 813333.

pounds 499

a family of four can muck in on an Alpine farming holiday. Guests on a Swiss farmhouse holiday will be given the opportunity to assist with farmyard chores. This offer includes seven nights' self-catering accommodation and return ferry crossing. For further information call Swiss Travel Service on 01992 456123.

pounds 539

you can spend Christmas with the Pope. This six-day tour takes in the sights of Rome, visits the wine-making meccas of Frascati and Castelli, and makes a Christmas Day visit to the Vatican for the Papal blessing. This price includes return flights, five nights' half-board three-star accommodation and all tours. Call Shearings Holidays on 01942 824824.

pounds 619

you can see the great Spanish tenor Placido Domingo performing in Vienna. The opera is Le Prophete by Meyerbeer, and the price per person includes a stall ticket, two nights' three-star B&B accommodation and flights. Dates are available in May/June. Call JMB Travel on 01905 425628.

pounds 900

you can ski in Indian country. Sunset Park Resort in the White Mountains of Arizona offers more than 800 acres of powder skiing set within the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The price is per person and includes B&B accommodation at the base of the mountains, car hire, a six-day lift pass and return air fare to Phoenix. Call Ranch America on 0181 868 2910.

pounds 1,245

per person, you can trek through Mexico on an active 16-day trip taking you off the beaten track into the rural villages of the Sierra Madre. The package includes flights, eight nights' hotel accommodation and six nights' full-board camping plus a group guide. Call Explore Worldwide on 01252 319448.