A tour of southern France, Cotes d’Azur and Provence with onsite Impressionist history. We travelled with our good travelling buds Dodics and Mooks. We flew Air Canada landing in Frankfurt Germany then connecting to Nice France. There we stayed in a cool little hotel right off the Nice Promenade.
Our guide Natascha Radchenko of VM Travel Adventures took us to wonderful little towns, vineyards, restaurants, bull fights etc. It was pretty cool. We got along with everyone very well. Then off to our next stop being a quaint farm compound with several small buildings/rooms plus the “Mas Saint Antoine” compound where we stayed and were able to cook and party and rest. We did some market shopping and food preparation for a culinary experience one can only dream of. Several Chateauneuf Du Pape products were consumed. One might say a wee bit of extravagance took place but then again in moderation. Remember moderation is OK if one doesn’t overdo it. Trips to Avignon and Arles kept us plenty busy.
Amy is a wonderful teacher. Natascha was our driver as well as our guide so we could go to all these fabulous spots and stay as long or as little as needed. The countryside is very beautiful this time of year. The colours of the buildings and masonry are all earth tones as you know with standard red and brown roof tiles everywhere. It is truly a special place.
Train to Paris … ooh la la … the fast one .. 323 Km per hour … streaking thought the countryside and on the Paris. Our taxis took us directly to our boutique hotel right in downtown Paris. It was called The Hotel Chopin. Our room was on the 4th floor and was overlooking the glass covered promenade of a mall that housed small stores and cafes. A cool Bar and Brasserie was at the entrance to this mall called the Zephyr. We got to enjoy it a lot.
We walked everywhere. Every day we exceeded our basic step requirements. We took in our quota of Museum Impressionists. Van Gogh, Monet Cezanne and Renoir. I was inspired and did make an attempt to emulate Claude Monet and his scene depicting a farm house and a wind mill. I will do several renditions to show how I improve with experience. Natascha is also an aspiring artist.
The people of France were friendly and hospitable. They have been beaten up pretty good by the filthy swine as Inspector Cluseau would call them. Our meals and wines were superb. The odd beer intertwined with occasional Merlots, Cabs, Pinos all helped to enlighten the moment. Even Mrs. Mook was singing and dancing on the tables... NOT. We did manage to remain calm. R.A.D.
So there you have it - we did manage to remain calm despite all of the excitement!
A highlight for me, the tour guide, was to do little extra things since this group was so flexible! We visited the Carriere de Lumieres, a large limestone quarry with projections of Chagall's art instalments spinning and flying over our heads in the dark! It made us all dizzy with wonder! We also got to trade a sunny day for a rainy one when we visited the Montmartre area to shop around and enjoy a cheeky wine in the Place du Tertre in the sun! My favourite memory? Beer and sketching in the Jardin de Tuileries in front of the Louvre!
Amy was an inspiring and busy artist as she sketched her way through the tour. Thanks Amy for brining your fantastic group of amis to France with us!A bientot mes amis de Lethbridge! See you on the next trip!
...Life is too short not to have this much fun!