Tuesday, 27 March 2012

France bound - why not come with me?!

It's shaping up to be quite a busy year for me; I've been commissioned to write two more cookbooks, and a trip to France is planned for this September accompanying a tour arranged by VIP Travel, Dunedin. I say 'accompany' because there will be bi-lingual French hosts on the tour. How lucky is that? The itinerary shadows places I know and love, and includes new ones as well. We start in Paris and end up in Provence three weeks later.

It's not all about food (and wine), though of course that is a focus; there will be visits to a truffle farm, a Ferme Auberge (farm restaurant), meals that showcase the best of French food as well as regional specialties, vineyards and even lunch at a farm run by 15 women farmers situated in the gorgeous village of  Flavigny (where the film Chocolat was set). We won't just be following the well-worn tracks, we'll be exploring some of rural France as well, finding and sampling exquisite food and wine on the way.
The ferme auberge  below is near Velleron; there is a wonderful fresh produce market here, where all the local farmers park their trucks / cars and put up a table or simply sell from their vehicles, something like a 'boot' sale.

Lunch here was six courses and took a memorable two hours - it'll be great not to have to worry about driving! All the food was grown on the farm, plus the copious quantities of wine served with each course.

Black gold!

Street food in Paris

The tour will also visit places of artistic and historical interest, most of which I've visited before but am only too happy to return to - I 'm a big fan of Monet and Cezanne, Renoir, Sisley and Van Gogh, among many others, and it's fascinating to visit the places they actually lived and worked.

Monet's garden at Giverny

The house at Giverny

No, not Colorado - Apt, in Provence, where Cezanne, Van Gogh and Monet et al sourced their paints from.

You probably know that France is full of Roman sites such as at Alecia, where Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls in 50 BC - walking on that ground and visiting the ruins of the Roman settlements that followed is a moving experience.

There are a few places left and it'll be a wonderful trip!  

Click HERE for more information OR for a detailed itinerary and further information contact

Russell Duff at VIP Tours - 63 Hanover St, Dunedin

phone   (03) 471 6616 or 0274 346069 

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