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Bruges/Brugge In Flanders Fields Lunch in the Languedoc

48 Hours in Bruges: Canals, cobblestone streets and chocolate, there’s plenty to like in the medieval city of Bruges. Spared the devastation of World War I, this medieval Flemish city - Brugge to the locals - is deservedly one of Europe’s favourite destinations for short breaks. Medieval and Renaissance art and history, handmade Belgian lace, fine chocolates and craft beers, some brewed by reclusive monastic orders: this vibrant small city caters to every taste. Image galleries

In Flanders Fields: Rotund cows graze in verdant fields; poppies flutter in a gentle breeze. Red brick cottages flash by as you cross the lush, fertile countryside of southern Belgium on a fine summer's day. Yet one hundred years ago, the Great War left this landscape a barren, treeless quagmire of muddy trenches and scattered ruins. Everything we see today has been rebuilt from the ground up, including the medieval city of Ypres.

French Confection: Rent a farm cottage somewhere in Normandy, Brittany or the Loire, then spend the next week exploring towns and villages harking back to William the Conqueror. That was the plan, but it was never quite clear from the concertina-style Michelin map exactly which part of France we were supposed to be in. Somehow it didn't seem to matter very much... a calvados with those crêpes, peut-etre?

French without Fears: Fancy setting up some bucolic retreat in Mediterranean France? Well, anyone can live the dream for a few weeks. Half an hour from our rented cottage in rural Languedoc, fromages des terroirs heralds a table groaning with cheeses in door-stopper wheels or melt-in-the-mouth wedges of soft Beaufort, Roquefort or a host of regional varieties: the morning market in the venerable town of Pézenas has been staged every Saturday for six hundred years.

London: Love It or Leave It Had a good weekend? Yeah, went to Paris / Prague / Pisa! Or was that Barcelona, Berlin or Bratislava? One of London's attractions is the ease of reaching almost anywhere else. The rise and rise of no-frills carriers like easyJet and Ryanair has brought dozens of European cities within reach for affordable weekends away. Here are some tips.

Order any of the above stories by contacting Philip Game

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