Q. I am planning a trip to France and would like to know how I can get a list of B&Bs in that country.
A. Part of the charm and challenge of driving around France is finding places to stay each night, but they are not B&Bs, which don't exist there under that name. B&B-style places are called pensions or auberges. These are small, reasonably priced hotels or boarding houses, mostly family-owned, which usually provide meals.
There also are many small restaurant/bars with a few tourist rooms attached. Some have private baths, many don't. Breakfast may or may not be included.
There are a few motels in France, including a fast-growing chain called Campanile. They are much like American motels with extra-small rooms. Prices are about $38 for a double.
The French Government Tourist Office has a list of hundreds of approved hotels, from highest-rated four-star-deluxe to little one-star auberges. But you can always just stop at a little place that looks interesting and clean.
Small-town and rural pensions and auberges or no-name "hotels" often expect guests to buy dinner there. It may be the only restaurant in town anyway.
The tourist office also has a directory of Logis de France, more than 4,000 government-selected small one- and two-star hotels throughout France. The Logis I have stayed in were charming and inexpensive.
To get these listings and a packet of other information about France, phone France on Call at (900) 990-0040. It also will prepare a customized routing for you through the areas you want to visit. Operators answer specific questions and send detailed information about the provinces you'll be visiting.
Or you can try the "Europe Lodging Guide," published by the American Automobile Association and sold in bookstores here. It is researched and written by the AA, the British counterpart of our AAA, and is helpful although it doesn't list specific prices. It is written for the thrifty Brits, so many low-cost places are included.
Q. Do you have any information pertaining to the location of Nickelodeon studios in Florida?
A. Nickelodeon shows are staged at Universal Studios, the combination theme park and working studio in Orlando. Summer is the busiest time for Nickelodeon, which tapes 15 to 20 different shows and pilots, according to a spokesman. Tickets are free, doled out on a first-come basis, but you must first buy admission tickets to Universal Studios.
Firm schedules are set only a few weeks in advance, so anyone who wants to be there on taping days should phone the Nickelodeon studios at (407) 363-8500 in advance of a visit.
This summer, Universal has finally opened its Jaws ride, a scary four-minute encounter by boat with a lifelike great white shark, presumably free of the glitches that plagued it earlier.
Q. I will be in Madrid and would like to take an architectural tour of Barcelona as well. Is there a bus service between the two cities, and is there a tour in Barcelona that would include Gaudi's works?
A. Buses run by the Enatcar company leave Madrid for Barcelona every day at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight. The trip starts at the Estacion Sur de Autobuses, 17 Calle Canarias, near the Atocha railroad station, and takes eight hours for all runs except the one at midnight, which takes seven hours.
From 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. the trip costs about $21 one-way, $42 round trip. The midnight run costs $27, $38 round trip. For round-trip passengers, buses leave Barcelona for Madrid every day from Avenida Paralelo at the same times as those from Madrid to Barcelona. Enatcar can be reached in Madrid at 527-9927.
Once in Barcelona the first stop should be the Barcelona Tourism Board, 35 Passeig de Gracia, 215-4477. The board publishes a free pamphlet listing the addresses of 10 major works by Gaudi. …