With the advent of cheap flights it's easier and cheaper than ever before to spread your wings and experience Hogmanay in new environs. Words: Anna Millar

Paris For some first class joie de vivre you can't go wrong with the cool sophistication and multi-faceted offerings of France's capital city. Whether you fancy a romantic frisson or a cultural fix, Paris has it covered. Hogmanay revelry kicks off on the Champs Elysees (though Montmanre and the Eiffel Tower are also impressive locations). Head to the Tulieries Gardens at the bottom of the Champs Elysees (opposite end to the Arc de Triomphe) to get to the heart of the action as the champagne corks pop on 2004. If something a little more sedate appeals. partake in a beautiful candlelit concert at the Grand Siecle at Saint Chapelle (wwwparisorg/ Monuments/Sainte.Chapelle/). dance the night away at the MOulin Rouge. famous long before the former Mrs Cruise camped it up (www.cofrase. com/moulin_rouge/indexuk.htm) or dine at the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre. immortalised by Toulouse Lautrec.

Brussels A hub of change. progress and music. Brussels has long been overshadowed by its more illustrious neighbours. You'd be a tool not to take part in the fine dancing emporiums and bars on offer as you toast in the new year. DJ bars are the next big thing and they‘re hotter than ever. ShOrts and spirits are a little pricey. but you can happily drink your way through the speciality beers for the

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equivalent of what it would cost in your native local. The livelier bars can be found in the Lower Town. especially in the effortlessly hip area between St Gery and the Mannekin Pis. The Marolles quarter, southeast of the Grand Place. is also well worth a look. Top tips include Dali's Bar decked out with Salvador Dali prints and surreal furniture a trippy. gem of a place and Le Roy Espagne. situated in the Grand Place. Formerly a 17th century bakery. this is a popular tourist trap with wonderful baroque features and ultra-friendly staff. And the fun doesn't stop there. After a sluggish start. Brussels has finally got a foot in the European club culture door. A good example is the Fuse. Whether it really does live up to its reputation as the ‘the finest techno club in Europe' is debatable but it is nonetheless a damn sight better than anything you'll find this side of the water. DJs who have mastered the decks include the Orb. Daft Punk. Carl Cox and more.

Barcelona Where to start with this incredible city? It has the culture. the people. the class and some of the best bars in Europe. Which is handy as the new year revelry is largely celebrated in the bars. restaurants. and streets where people wear fancy dress carnival style. As the clock strikes 12 the locals eat the 12 grapes in time with each chime. Or they used to. Top tip: while you're there revelling anyway. take the time to visit Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and immerse yourself in this architectural miracle. Check out easy/e! (wwweasy/etcom) or Ryanair (wwwryanir. com) for a range of tempting festive flights.

Party on in Brussels (below) or Barcelona (above)

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