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The recently revamped home page for discount travel provider Gate1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) lists specials that make travelers salivate. A week in Hong Kong with airfare and hotel from $899? A fully-escorted twelve-day trip to Thailand starting from $1,099? Greece from $799? You bet, and there's more.

Gate1 recently began offering six-day packages to Paris, London, Rome and other European cities starting from just $499, which beats the price of airfare alone out of New York City to any of those locales. What better way to spend early spring as these deals are good for departure dates beginning in early April. In all cases, the $499 package price includes round-trip airfare out of New York (Gate1 can help you with prices out of other U.S. gateways), double occupancy hotel accommodations at small and large hotels located in different parts of each city, daily continental breakfast, and air fuel surcharges. In each city, Gate1 has optional sightseeing excursions and local tours available starting as low as $22 per tour. (But, you can also explore on your own -- that's free and more exciting.)

With departure dates of April 6, 13, 20 & 27 and May 4 & 11, the Paris package puts you in the City of Light for prime-time spring weather. Everything they say about Paris in the spring rings true. The Parisian gardens from Luxembourg to Monceau to the Tuileries come alive with the blooming flowers. Café life moves from inside to outdoor tables. And, of course, romance never feels better than when accompanied by a fresh spring breeze. Hotel options in Paris begin at the two-star level with accommodations at the Kyriad Paris La Villette in the up-and-coming and culturally diverse 19th Arrondissement. The 19th is known for cafés serving great merguez and couscous and Parc de Butte-Chaumont. Central Paris is a minimum fifteen-minute Metro ride from the two stations close to the hotel.

Paris is shaped like a circle revolving around the River Seine with the 1st Arrondissement in the internal middle of the city where the Louvre is located. From there, each arrondissement moves out towards the city border in a circular fashion going from the 1st on up to the 20th Arrondissement. The heart of the Left Bank lies in the 5th and 6th arrondissements; the Opera is in the 8th just above the 1st Arrondissement. The popular Marais, or old Jewish Quarter in the 3rd, is now a chic Parisian shopping and nightlife neighborhood. To get a visual on all this, view our neighborhood map.

At the $599 package price, the Villa St. Martin hotel is in the 10th Arrondissement, close to the Gar de L'Est train station and a nice Parisian walk to La Place de la Republique. Filled with canals in the way that some cities have alleys, Paris is filled with passing barges and house boats. The Canal St. Martin is one of Paris's best-known canals and walkers can amble by the slow-moving barges or sit-along the canal watching the boats and people calmly pass. Considered a less-animated neighborhood, the 10th serves as a passageway to the city's nearby sites like Ile de la Cite, Centre Pompidou and Notre Dame.

London trips start from $499 for three nights and five days with departures from April 6 through September 26, 2006. The hotel available at the $499 price point is the 100-room Express Holiday Inn Earl's Court, a three-star tourist class hotel located in an area of London that houses exhibition centers such as the Olympia Exhibition Centre. With London's excellent Tube, getting around is as easy if not easier than any other city in the world. Buckingham Palace is a four-mile walk from Earl's Court but less than a five-minute Tube ride into central London from the West Kensington Underground Station, just a few steps from the hotel.

At the $589 package price point, the Park Inn Hyde Park is an attractive option for its limestone white façade and Greek-revival architecture. An added bonus is the hotel's very central location a short walk to Paddington Station and on the edge of Hyde Park. Hyde Park is London's most famous outdoor park where Londoners come to play with their children, take long lunch breaks, sun bathe in the summertime, and play a few innings of cricket. The Marble Arch is also a short distance from the Park Inn. For $799 per person based on double occupancy accommodations, you can stay at the five-star Waldorf Hilton. In addition to being extremely elegant with a large lobby area where locals and tourists take 4pm English tea, the hotel has an indoor pool; it's a five-minute from walk from the Thames and just minutes from the Covenant Garden tube station, London's major sites and popular theatre area. England's National Gallery is practically next door to Waldorf Hilton.

Gate1 also has some combination trips to round out their spring offerings. An eight-day London-Paris combo starts at $999 with similar hotel choices available. A Paris-Rome trip goes for $1,279 while a Paris-Nice trip gets you some beach-time in the South of France starting from $1,099.

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