The rain's in Spain, the bullfight's in France A lot of bulls: More than 100 events take place in the south of France each year.

Travel Q&A


I am going to southern France this spring and would like to go to some bullfights. How can I obtain scheduling and ticket reservation information?

The bullfighting season in France this year starts on Feb. 23 in Nimes and runs through mid-October, with a final (and not yet scheduled) event in Floirac, near Bordeaux.

During the season more than 100 events will be held in 50 sites across the southern region.

Together with Nimes, the towns of Arles, Beziers, Bayonne, Dax, Mont-de-Marsan and Vic-Fezensac have the largest arenas and the heaviest schedule. Another 40 towns and villages also have their own events on a smaller scale.

These might be corridas, with bulls over 4 years old confronted by matadors, or novilladas, with younger bulls fought by novilleros. Events include a version of the Spanish encierro, in which cows (not bulls as in Pamplona) are set free in the streets.

In parts of the Camargue, another version of the encierro, called abrivado, involves bulls, rounded up by mounted herdsmen, being led through town.

Most bullfights in France end with the bull's death, but some, called a la mode Portugaise, let the animal leave the arena, albeit with a few spikes, called banderillas, implanted in its hump.

A list of events for this season and information about tickets can be obtained from Olivier Baratchart, Mairie de Bayonne, Hotel deVille, 64100 Bayonne, France; telephone (33), fax (33)

The highlights of the season are the ferias in Arles at Easter (April 7-8) and in Nimes at Pentecost (May 27-28). Tickets for those events must be reserved as early as possible. For other events tickets can be bought a few days ahead or at the site. Prices run from $16 to $90. The cheapest seats are those in the sun, on the highest bleachers.

We plan a trip to England sometime before March or April to indulge our passion for soccer. How can we get the schedule for Premier League games in the London area and order tickets?

If your passion has been well-indulged you already know that most English soccer games during the season are played on Saturday afternoons, with occasional fixtures on Sundays and on weekday evenings.

Although provisional dates for all matches are set at the beginning of the season, they are subject to change because of live coverage on the satellite TV station Sky Sport, a subscription satellite channel that is available in many hotels. It broadcasts throughout Britain and presents 60 Premier League matches live each season, mainly on Sundays and Mondays.

To obtain up-to-date information, contact Premier League's offices at 16 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3LW, England, (44 171) 976 7886, fax (44 171) 976 7882.

Most Sunday newspapers carry details of the next week's games, and, of course, individual clubs can provide information about their own fixtures.

There are six London clubs in the Premier League:

* Arsenal, which plays at Highbury, London N5, (44 171) 354 5404, near the Arsenal Underground station.

* Chelsea, which plays at Stamford Bridge, London SW6, near Fulham Broadway Underground; (44 171) 385 5545.

* Queen's Park Rangers, which play at Loftus Road, London W12, near White City Underground; (44 181) 740 0610.

* Tottenham Hotspur, which plays at White Hart Lane, London N17, near White Hart Lane British Rail station, a five-minute walk away, or Seven Sisters Underground (20-minute walk); (44 181) 365 5050, credit card bookings (44 171) 396 4567.

* West Ham United, Upton Park, London, E13; near Upton Park Underground; (44 181) 548 2700, credit card bookings (44 171) 413 9013.

* Wimbledon plays at Selhurst Park, London SE25; (44 181) 771 8841. Nearest stations are Selhurst Park and Norwood Junction, both British Rail.

L Ticket prices at Premier League games range from $24 to $40.

I am planning to visit the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina in May. Would my 7-year-old nephew find something to interest him?

Spoleto Festival U.S.A., to be held in Charleston, S.C., from May 24 to June 9, will cover a wide variety of music, opera, dance and theater. But it is not designed specifically with 7-year-olds in mind.

A festival running at the same time, however, called Piccolo Spoleto, has many programs designed for children: children's theater, children's library and dance performances. Admission prices will average $5. More information: Piccolo Spoleto, Office of Cultural Affairs, 133 Church St., Charleston, S.C. 29401; (803) 727-3926.

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