Laugh out loud in Lyon
The French ski resort of Méribel, a two-hour transfer from Lyon, hosts the Altitude Festival (20-26 March, altitudefestival.com), the only bilingual comedy festival in Europe. Top British comedians, such as Marcus Brigstocke and Phill Jupitus, join bands, DJs and powder junkies for the very best in Alpine après-ski. Hotel La Chaudanne (chaudanne.com) offers an exclusive Altitude deal of £135 per night for a double room during the festival.
Art in Rome
The Italian Baroque master Caravaggio died 400 years ago and the Scuderie del Quirinale Museum in Rome (scuderiequirinale.it) is marking the anniversary with the exhibition, Caravaggio (until 13 June). Drawing on collections across the world, the exhibition features The Supper at Emmaus, on loan from the National Gallery in London, among others. The Hotel de Russie (hotelderussie.it) is offering a Caravaggio package from £1,100 (B&B, including tickets to the exhibition, a catalogue and a two-night stay in a double classic room).
Latin American film in Manchester
A spring break in Manchester? Well, actually, yes. Not only does Coronation Street, Britain’s favourite soap opera, celebrate 50 years of kitchen-sink drama in 2010, but the city’s excellent cinema and arts space, Cornerhouse, hosts the ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival (5-28 March, vivafilmfestival.com). The event is the UK’s largest Spanish-language film festival, showcasing new talent with masterclasses led by guest film-makers. The Velvet Hotel (velvetmanchester.com) has doubles from £169.
Fireworks in Valencia
Giant papier-mâché figures (fallas), fireworks and an all-night street party are the ingredients of Valencia’s Las Fallas fiesta (15-19 March, fallas.com). Hundreds of satirical effigies of celebrities and politicians are taken on a tour of the city before being set alight to celebrate the coming of spring on St Joseph’s night (19 March). The hotel Hospes Palau de la Mar (hospes.com) has doubles from £113 during the festival.
Eco art in Copenhagen
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, staged in Copenhagen in December, may have been a bit of a damp squib but the exhibition, Rethink Relations – Contemporary Art & Climate Change, at the National Gallery of Denmark (until 5 April, smk.dk), is a far more inspirational start to spring. The exhibition presents the work of artists concerned with climate change. Most striking is the work of Argentinian Tomas Saraceno, who presents a utopian vision of the future, where we all live in giant floating biospheres (on display until August). The Scandic Palace Hotel (scandichotels.com) has doubles from £103 (B&B).
High culture in Budapest
Eastern Europe’s leading Spring Festival (19 March-5 April, festivalcity.hu) celebrates a cultural awakening from the slumbers of winter. The month-long event showcases ballet, concerts and arts events at venues across the city. Highlights of the 2010 programme include Othello by the Royal Danish Ballet at the Hungarian State Opera House and a Beethoven Orchestral Evening at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall. The Hilton Budapest (hilton.co.uk/budapest) has king rooms from £108 (B&B) during the festival.