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Ask T+L: Skipping Lines at Museums, Fighting Jet Lag, and More

Q: Is there any way to avoid the long lines at Western Europe’s more popular museums? —Alison Carter, San Jose, Calif.

A: “You can often purchase advance or special-entry passes through a website affiliated with the museum or its city. Dodge the queue at more than fifty English sites, including the Tower of London and Windsor Castle, with London Pass (visitengland.com). Likewise, Paris Museum Pass allows you to jump to the front of the line at the Louvre and sixty other monuments in the City of Light. For Berlin’s recently opened Neues Museum, book online at neues-museum.de for timed admission. Avoid the long wait at the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum by prebooking your visit through museumrome.com (two-hour private tours from $70 per person). And the Museo del Prado ($10), in Madrid, offers discounted advance admission on its website.” —T+L arts editor Mario Mercado.

Q: My husband and I are traveling to the French Riviera for the first time. Can you suggest a good weeklong itinerary from Nice? —Melissa Hardy, Boulder, Colo.

A: Nice is only a 90-minute flight from Paris and a short drive from the Riviera’s major sights. At the airport, rent a vehicle with Europcar (from $368 per week). Head downtown to visit the Promenade des Anglais and Musée Matisse, housed in a Genoese villa. Drive west for a half-hour on Route A8 to reach La Colombe d’Or (doubles from $408); spend the night, or just dine at the on-site restaurant, which has paintings by Calder, Klee, and Miró. From there, it’s just 30 minutes to Musée Picasso, in Antibes. St.-Tropez is two hours west; if you’re looking to splurge, stay nearby at the brand new La Réserve Ramatuelle (doubles from $900). Along the way, make a detour at Biot to wander Musée National Fernand Léger, dedicated to the 20th-century artist.

Q: What are the latest breakthroughs in combating jet lag? —Ed Neff, Flint, Mich.

A: According to Dr. David Rapoport, director of the Sleep Medicine Program at NYU’s School of Medicine, studies increasingly suggest that your pretravel ritual is key: modifying your exposure to light can help reset your body’s internal clock (for travel east, wake up extra early and take a 20-minute walk; if you’re westward-bound, stay up later and spend 20 minutes in a brightly lit space before bedtime). At press time, the prescription drug Nuvigil, which promises to improve wakefulness, was under review by the FDA for its effectiveness at alleviating jet lag.

Q: I would like to explore the Swiss Alps on foot this summer. Which operators are offering great hiking trips? —Noah Weber, Rapid City, S. Dak.

A: You’ll have the most options during the summer months: the winter snows have melted and the high trails have reopened. The new eight-day Davos Self-Guided excursion from Country Walkers (from $2,048 per person, double) is a smart choice for beginners, covering 31 miles of low-intensity trails that wind through dense woodlands. Classic Journeys (from $3,795 per person, double) offers tours of Romanesque churches on its seven-day Classic Swiss Alps itinerary; come evening, guests regain their strength at Mürren’s 19th-century Alpin Palace hotel. For seasoned trekkers, the more challenging Haute Route from Mountain Travel Sobek (from $3,995 per person, double) involves 10 days of arduous ascent over passes up to 9,785 feet high.

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