Good Old French and Italian Fare the New Spanish Way

Lower than advertised sale fares and cheap flights with good deals on late summer and early fall travel to Barcelona and Mardrid, Spain; Milan, Rome, and Venice, Italy; and Marseilles, Nice, and Paris, France, plus many other destinations.

We're not recommending that you start pairing sangria with foie gras or serving up your hearty lasagna as bite-size tapas, no matter how original or fashionable it might strike you. But we do want to remind you that Iberia, Spain's national airline, has both France and Italy well covered, and we're not talking checkered tablecloths here. With almost two dozen tasty French and Italian destinations and some equally sweet-smelling late summer deals, you might want to think about making your way through the kitchen Madrid rather than some of the more obvious—and expensive—choices, like the front door Paris or Rome.

Unlike the Iberia sales we told you about earlier this year, which helped make Boston the cheapest starting point for European travel and dining, this sale's best offers are from New York and, for an even more welcome change, the deals we've found are in fact considerably lower than list price. Starting mid-September, nonstop flights to Madrid and Barcelona go for around $700 including taxes, and connections to the nearest genuine French or Italian restaurant won't cost you much more than a drive to the local Olive Garden, unless you were smart enough to buy a Prius before they sold out.

So, here's a menu of delightful destinations for your delectation. Assuming you're not a total slave to your cravings, where you go will no doubt depend on more than just your taste buds. To make it easier for you to follow your nose as well as your passion, we've included visual aids today and you may consider the map below your geography lesson for the week year. Just pick the spot that piques your fancy (OK, your appetite), skedaddle over to our international fares page and type in the name of the city, then click on the fare to get all the dish details.

France: Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Lyon, Paris, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Rennes, Strasbourg, and Toulouse.

Italy: Bologna, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Pisa (Florence), Rome, Turin, and Venice.