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?

Pat Wells


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) in October, when it posts a full list of Christmas and New Year's events, or the French Government Tourist Office, 410-286-8310, www.franceguide.com.

My partner and I travel to Hawaii yearly. We like to cook, but knives in our rental kitchens usually aren't very good. We'd like to take our own knives, but is it permissible to pack these in our checked luggage?

Robb Mapou

Silver Spring

Knives are allowed in checked luggage, although the Transportation Security Administration adds, "Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors."

You can pack all sorts of objects in checked luggage that are not permitted in carry-on bags, including box cutters, ice picks, meat cleavers, sabers, spear guns and swords. But there are some items that can't be placed in either carry-on or checked luggage, including lighter fluid, fireworks and flare guns.

For a complete list: 866-289-9673, www.tsa.gov.


Shirley Fried of Bethesda suggests a drive along the Tioga Pass for visitors seeking scenic routes at Yosemite National Park in California (Travel Q&A, July 4). "The eastern terminus of the pass ends with a view of Mono Lake, which almost appears to be a mirage," Fried said. Info: 209-372-0200, www.nps.gov/yose.

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@washpost.com), fax (202-912-3609) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20071).