BREDA, one of the prettier towns of Noord-Brabant, is a pleasant, easygoing place to while away a day. The centre is compact, largely pedestrianized and eminently strollable. A magnificent Gothic cathedral looms above the three-storey buildings that front its stone-paved square, crammed with stallholders and shoppers on market days. As well as the carnival, which is exuberantly celebrated, the annual jazz festival (www.bredajazzfestival.nl) is a great time to be in town. Some twenty stages are scattered around the centre during this four-day festival, traditionally starting on Ascension Day.