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A NEW YEAR IN PARIS

Q: We will be spending New Year's Eve in Paris. What can we expect in the way of celebrations? Will anything be open on New Year's Day?

A: If you're on a budget, you can join the street scene. "Big crowds usually gather on the Champs-Elysses to usher in the new year," said Marion Fourestier, spokeswoman for the French Government Tourist Office. "Not bad with the Arc of Triumph on one end and the Place de la Concorde on the other."

Have some money to spend? A Seine dinner cruise, which culminates with a view of the Eiffel Tower's light show at midnight, is a good choice. Kim Chisholm, spokeswoman for Essential France, which books tours of Paris and the surrounding areas, said the price is usually about $280 a person and includes "lots of fois gras, good wine, oysters and champagne." Another idea is to travel outside Paris for a chateau celebration. Chisholm said a two-night package including transportation from Paris, New Year's Eve dinner and lodging at a three-star chateau starts at about $800 for two. Info: (866) 285-8758, www.essentialfrance.com.

On New Year's Day, the Louvre and d'Orsay museums will be closed, but the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais and Pompidou Center will be open. Fourestier recommends a visit to a famous cemetery, such as Pere Lachaise, Montparnassse or Picpus, where Lafayette is buried.

Contact the Paris Tourist Office (www.paris-touristoffice.com) for a full list of Christmas and New Year's events, or the French Government Tourist Office, (410) 286-8310, www.franceguide.com.

Washington Post