'04 Olympics...Lille, France...Sydney for vegetarians

Can I still get tickets for the summer Olympics—and an affordable hotel room in Athens?

The official ticket agent of the United States Olympic Committee, Cartan Tours (800/360-2004; www.cartan.com ), projects that tickets for individual events at this year's games (August 13-29) will be available through July and range from $14 to $410. But to improve your chances of seeing a popular event like the men's gold-medal basketball tournament, place your order soon—seats for these high-profile competitions typically sell out months in advance. If you're traveling with a group, renting an Athenian residence through Filoxenia '04 (30-210/327-7408; www.filoxenia2004.com ; from $1,846, six-night minimum ) is a better value than booking a hotel room. Rentals—which can accommodate two to eight people—range from apartments within walking distance of Olympic venues to villas with private pools. (Airport transfers, maid service, liability insurance, and a 24-hour English call center are also included.)

I'm visiting a friend in Lille, France, this month. What activities or events should we look into?

Lille is sharing the title of European Capital of Culture this year (with Genoa, Italy), so now is the perfect time to visit this oft-overlooked city, just a 60-minute TGV ride north of Paris. Some 2,000 cultural events are scheduled throughout the year, including an interactive exhibition on the history of video games, an avant-garde circus inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales, and a reconstruction of Shanghai's Ramblas, complete with an imported tea pavilion. Two must-see events this month:
• Through June 14, a new Rubens retrospective makes its debut at the Palais des Beaux-Arts Lille (Place de la République; 33-3/20-06-78-00; www.exporubens.com ; $10 per person ). On view will be 165 of the 17th-century artist's most famous paintings, sketches, drawings, and tapestries.
• From May 14 through 16, the Rococo fêtes galantes of French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau will serve as a backdrop for three nights of classical and jazz concerts at Le Phénix theater in nearby Valenciennes. (Centre de Congrès; 33-3/27-32-32-32; www.lephenix.fr ; from $9 per person ).

My partner and I are headed to Sydney. Any good vegetarian restaurants to recommend?

Australia may be known for its meat-centered barbies, but Sydney has a sophisticated vegetarian scene. Half of the menu at Harvest Vegetarian (71 Evans St., Rozelle; 61-2/9818-4201; dinner for two $53 ), just west of downtown, is vegan. Standouts include sweet-potato gnocchi and tarts filled with leeks, Gruyère, and walnuts. The Chinese yum cha (known as dim sum in the States) is a lunchtime institution at Bodhi Restaurant (2-4 College St.; 61-2/9360-2523; lunch for two $27 ). The city's five Iku Wholefoods (www.iku.com.au ) are sleek macrobiotic cafés, serving meals that are free of animal and dairy products, cane sugar, and preservatives. The most upscale outpost, in the hip Darlinghurst area (62 Oxford St.; 61-2/9380-9780; lunch for two $22 ), embraces this asceticism without sacrificing taste: think rich soba laksas with pickled sprouts on the side, and tofu cheesecake sweetened with palm syrup and topped with vanilla-soy cream. For dinner and a movie, look no further than Govinda's (112 Darlinghurst Rd., Darlinghurst; 61-2/9380-5155; dinner and movie for two $29 ). After a buffet that includes south Indian lentil soup, spiced tofu, pakoras, and chocolate mousse, diners head upstairs to an intimate movie theater to see recent Hollywood releases.

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