LUX FOR LESS
Luxembourg is a fine destination in its own right, and is also handy for eastern France, southern Belgium and the Mosel Valley of Germany. Intensifying competition is forcing fares down to below the £100 level. This week, Luxair (00 352 4798 4242; www.luxair.lu) drops its flights from Stansted, but is replacing them with flights from London City, widely available at £98 return. This is the same fare as charged by VLM (020-7476 6677; www.vlm-airlines.com), which also flies from the Docklands airport. Flights on Luxair from Heathrow, in a snazzy Embraer 145 business jet, are available for £133 return. The airline uses the same aircraft type from Manchester, at fares of around £187 return. Finally, British Airways (0870 850 9 850; www.ba.com) has plenty of cheap seats from Gatwick at £99 return - if you travel out on the mid-afternoon flight, and back on the mid-morning departure.
Starting tomorrow, two strange new Swedish destinations appear on the departure board at Gatwick airport: Borlange, 120 miles north of Stockholm, and Arvidsjaur, close to the Arctic Circle. The flights, which run on Thursdays and Sundays, are operated by FlyFresh (0870 744 7315; www.fly-fresh.co.uk), part of the long-established Scandinavian tour operator, Norvista. There is no real-time online booking system, but fares of around £100 return to Borlange, and £130 return to Arvidsjaur are available by phone or e-mail. Note that the flight is "triangular", operating from Gatwick first to Borlange, then continuing on to Arvidsjaur before flying back to Britain. This means that you can expect a long journey in one direction or the other, whichever destination you choose.
SLEEP TO THE SKI SLOPES
One month from today, you could board a Eurostar train from London Waterloo that will allow you to sleep properly for most of the journey to Bourg-St Maurice, gateway to the French Alps. This is not the regular overnight Eurostar winter service, which does not have sleeping accommodation, but a special connection to an overnight Ski Train operated from Paris Gare du Nord by Rail Europe (08701 244 646; www.raileurope.co.uk). You have around three hours in the French capital for dinner. The train also calls at Chambéry, Albertville, Moutiers (for Courchevel, Méribel and the Trois Vallées), Aime la Plagne and Landry. The standard price is £209 return from London, though departures on Boxing Day and 13 February (half-term) are £30 more expensive.
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