If you are thinking about a trip to France, how about something a little different? A culinary tour of Paris could be just the thing. How about a market tour with a well-reputed food writer, followed by cheese and chocolate tastings, and a cooking lesson with a fabulous English speaking chef. Visit Dehillerin, G. Detou and Morin cooking shops near Les Halles, the area made famous by Zola’s “The Belly of Paris” Cap off your trip with a day in Champagne, visiting Reims and a private tour of the Veuve Cliquot cellars followed by lunch and a tour of the gorgeous Gothic wonder, Notre Dame de Reims. Return after your full days to a lovely boutique hotel on the Left Bank and dinner at a suggested off the beaten path bistro.
Combine your trip to Paris with a couple of days in Normandy, where you can visit the D-Day Beaches along the sparkling Atlantic coast. A day trip to the medieval island monastery of Mont St. Michel or to Bayeux to see the famed tapestry round out your visit perfectly.
South of Paris, you might consider a trip to Avignon, a perfect central launching spot for day trips to the villages of Provence , the Languedoc and parts of the Vaucluse and there is nothing like and early morning trip to the colorful market of Uzès for Provençal fabrics, soaps, flowers, vegetables and some of the best paella I’ve ever had! If you are an antique lover, the beautiful town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has a weekend antique market that is over-the-top. This “Venice of Provence” has a cool river running through it, and the inviting green banks are a perfect place to have a glass of rosé and watch the world go by from one of the town’s café many terraces.
Nîmes and Arles are close by with their Roman temples and arenas and quaint medieval streets whose stone houses date back 10 centuries. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is within easy striking distance with it’s delicious chewy red wine and of course, the ruins of the Pope’s summer palace from the 14th century. The scenery between all of these locations is filled with vineyards, olive groves, little hilltop villages built into the mountainsides and the most incredible rock formations you have seen. Spectacular!