France Women’s Adventure 2017: Provence & Paris – May 5 – May 23, 2017

TO PARIS AND PROVENCE!
SPRINGTIME IN FRANCE:

Imagine yourself strolling through streets in villages in the Luberon Valley of Provence.   Goult, Gordes, Lourmarin. Imagine sipping a lovely wine from the region, crumbs of a fresh croissant on the tip of your tongue. Imagine the smell of lavender, herbs de Provence, the baked goods waiting in the shop on the corner. Antiques at the market in Isle de sur La Sorgue. Visits to castles, abbeys, picturesque towns in the Provencal hills. Cafes and shops abound.

Roussillon DSCN1658

The red cliffs of Roussillon

We will begin with a week at a beautiful Provencal villa in Roussillon, with swimming pool, and garden benches, patios overlooking the Provençal hills. Day trips to Isle-sur-le-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, St. Remy, area wineries, Gordes and Goult. Springtime in Provence brings wildflowers, and the cherries are in season. Day-markets are in every town. Longer daylight allows for an evening’s relaxation outdoors with a glass of wine. Delicious meals are prepared with ingredients fresh from the village markets, enjoyed at area restaurants or by a personal chef at our own villa.

On to Gigondas and ParisThen three nights at Les Florets, a favorite and beautiful little inn just outside the town of Gigondas, north one hour from our villa. As we depart from the villa, we will stop in Sault, the lavender capital of Provence, and though it will be early for the lavender, it is in the air, everywhere.   A drive over Mount Ventoux affords us a spectacular view all around the valley from above.

Les Florets’ owner, Thierry, will serve us wine his family makes on the property, cheeses to die for, and dinners that will leave your palate watering for a week. Though we can certainly explore the village, this three-day respite from day-trips allows us to sit, read, write, become even cozier with our cameras, and relax into our next week in Europe’s great jewel, Paris!

At the end of our time in Provence, we will board the TGV, the “fast train” to Paris, one of the most stunning cities in Europe. With museum passes and Metro passes, you are free to wander wherever you want, whenever you want, visiting some of the most famous paintings in the world, or finding the tiniest galleries in back streets. Paper stores, button stores, bookstores, artwork sold on the Pont Neuf . . .  Just sitting outside the Louvre transports you to a different world. We will choose some sites to see together, including two walking tours of specific areas of Paris, the Montmartre and the Marais Districts. A trip to Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny is spectacular with all the flowers in bloom.

TO PARIS AND PROVENCE!

We will stay in a beautiful boutique hotel in the Rue Cler district, the 7th Arrondissement. The owner, Catherine, and her daughter, Charline, always welcome our group! From there, your feet or the metro or a cab will take you anywhere you want to go. Our hotel is just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes lit in red, sometimes blue, the tower is an especially spectacular vision at night, walking through the park from our hotel!

Our trip will include AIRFARE FROM DENVER, 17 nights’ lodging**, train from Paris to Avignon and back, rental cars, gas and tolls, transfers to and from our Paris hotel, a 6-day museum pass, a 6-day metro pass, nine exceptional dinners, eight breakfasts, Paris Street-wise map, two Paris Walks walking tours, travel journals, and ME, your planner, guide, and all-around fire-extinguisher!

Cost for above, (including airfare from Denver) is $6450.00** A $500 non-refundable deposit holds your space. An early bird OR referral discount of $250 is yours for paying your deposit before August 31, 2016 OR for bringing a friend not on my list.

For questions, please contact Joannah L. Merriman, Lifeprints, 970-481-6339. E-mail me at woodswoman@alumni.colostate.edu and check out my travel blog, www.woodswomanabroad.com for samples of previous trip adventures!

**Double occupancy. Single occupancy available for additional cost.

Travel insurance is a must, I’ve found, but I will offer a policy for the full cost of your trip as well as for lost luggage, trip delays, medical coverage etc. Details about that upon registration. Bon Jour!

 

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Market Week in Provence, Part 3

May 9 and 10, 2012.  Mid-week in Provence found us in St. Remy, and to our surprise, Wednesday was Market Day in this town famous for the fact that it is the home of the mental hospital at which Van Gogh spent about 15 months.  Down the path to the hospital and surrounding it are eighteen plaques, what I call the Van Gogh Stations of the Cross . . . on each plaque is a reproduction of one of his paintings, along with an excerpt from his journals, or a letter to his brother, or some other bit of his writing which helps put each painting in context.

No matter how many times I enter the hospital, I am always struck again by the austerity of the room in which he slept, the simple horror of the tub where he received his shock treatments, and the beauty he created despite his tortured mind.  The hospital is still functioning, and the young patients take great inspiration from Van Gogh’s dedication to his work despite his mental illness.  Many of the patients’ paintings are for sale in the inevitable gift shop.

The presence of the street market made today’s visit to St. Remy even more full of color and the buzz of the local shoppers.  Fresh fish, vegetables, eggs, jams, sausages, olives as well as table linens, purses, dresses, and street musicians filled the streets from downtown to the visitor’s center.

What’s for lunch??

Though we are beginning to recognize some of the vendors, the variety of booths and tables of merchandise never stops surprising me.

Next time I come to this intriguing little city, I won’t even look for a restaurant.  I’ll just graze ecstatically among the market’s offerings!

On our way back to our villa after lunch, we spotted a glowing field of poppies, so we pulled off the side of the road, walked to the field, all of us with cameras in hand, and clicked and clicked until we thought we might have had our fill of the view.  Incredible!

Brilliant poppy field with a backdrop of the Luberon Mountains

Our days are full and lazy in that order.  Plenty of places to see while it’s sunny, and then back to the villa to relax, read, swim, graze at a table full of market fare, and sleep, sweet sleep before we begin again.

Thursday’s market venture found us in Aix-en-Provence, where the market stretched down long avenues and wound through alleyways and plazas.  After a morning of shopping and lunch in front of the merchandise market, we returned to the villa in anticipation of our dinner, prepared for us on site by Chef Ronald, http://www.chefronald.fr, and we were not disappointed.  You can check out his website (click on “English”) and go to the menus for a mouth-watering list of possibilities, with photos.

More on that in the next post!