Food N' Wine Vacations Blog

Provence Tour Reviews

Posted by smadar Palace on Mon, Oct, 01, 2012

Great share from guests who just came back from Provence
Vicky and I have finally recovered from the trip back from a glorious vacation in France and wanted to follow up and give you some feedback from our week in Provence.? It was outstanding!!!? We have never done a small group tour like this and were initially concerned about the interaction of everyone, particularly given the intense schedule of activities.? We were so pleased?to be with a wonderful group of people who shared a?similar?interest in food and wine.? The?accommodations?were lovely, Sandrine was a perfect hostess and the beautiful villages of Provence were an ideal backdrop. All that being said one thing made this trip truly magical and that ?was our tour guide. ?The energy, enthusiasm and passion turned what would have been a nice vacation into a very special one. In reviewing the week's itinerary I truly don't believe there is anything I would change. It certainly was an intense week but we loved each and every activity, such a nice mix of dining experiences from the goat farm to lunch at the market place. The itinerary really did give us a wonderful introduction to Provence and food and wines that we might never sample again (thinking of non-EU approved cheeses). The only suggestion that I might have (and it's a small one) is the length of the cooking class.? The first one was a bit long, I think David may have tried to do a little too much. However, the second one, on the last night, was a good length, maybe he had a better appreciation of our abilities!? Also, I think it's important to make sure we have some down time between our daytime activities and the nightly outing.? Maybe it's age, but we did appreciate at least at hour to re-charge our batteries at the end of the day. Please know these are very minor points, nothing could distract from the wonderful week we spent in Provence.
All the best,
John & Vicki

Tour Provence
Sam, had a great time!
It was a perfect week. The weather was good. I enjoyed meeting the other couples. I think we all got along great. ?Our tour guide was fantastic. I knew we were going to be busy but I enjoyed everything. Can't think of anything I would change. Food/wine choices during the week were good.
Can't think of anything negative about it.? Again, our tour guide was the perfect guide/host for this trip. Her knowledge of all things Provence really help us understand the area better. There wasn't any question she couldn't answer.
I don't know when I'd be able to afford another food/wine trip but I would sure look at what you offer if I'm going to.
Thanks,
Liz

Tour provence
Here are kind words ?that one of the guest wrote about our tour guide in her blog:
She is a gracious hostess who draws you in whether she’s describing how olive oil is made or how a village was taken by force in the 14th century, where to buy authentic Provence linens (not those made in China) or what wine you must try with your chocolate. she has friends throughout Provence which makes for some interesting locations for lunch. Whether it be a lesson in how to decapitate a chicken at the Avignon market — quite a lesson for a city girl — lunch at a goat farm high in the mountains, or at Lolo’s farm.

L'Isle sur La Sorgues Provence
 
Download  A Free Guide: Must See and Do in Provence

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The best Loire Valley Medieval castles to visit

Posted by smadar Palace on Sat, May, 12, 2012

Loire Valley Tours , castels

The Loire Valley stretches 170 miles along the banks of the Loire River in central France.? This fairytale region known for its many castles/chateaux, bountiful produce, artisanal cheeses and long history of viticulture, the Loire Valley remains a favorite tourist destination.


Over three hundred castles populate the valley and record its rich history dating back to the 10th century. Our favorites include:


azay La ridu, loire valley

Azay le Rideau, was built at the site of a medieval fortress in the heart of Touraine. Rising from its foundation in the Indre river in this castle is surrounded by a lovely, romantic park.


Blois Loire Valley

The Royal Castle of Blois was once occupied by King Louis XII and illustrates the evolution of French architecture from medieval, to gothic, renaissance, and 17th century classical.


Chateau cheverney Loire valley France

Chateau of Cheverny with its grand stone staircase and exquisite furnishings has been owned by one family for centuries.


Chateau chambord, Loire valley, France

 Chateau Chambord, the largest castle in the region has more than 800 elaborately sculpted columns and an astonishing double helix staircase.


Chateau Chenonceau, Loire valley, France

The Chateau Chenonceau may be the most impressive castle in France. Built as a royal residence its original architecture spans the Cher River and hosts an art gallery that rivals many museums.

Chateau villandry, Loire valley, France

With specialty gardens that include a love garden, a water garden, and color coordinated vegetable gardens, Chateau de Villandry with should not be missed.


Chteau Amboise , Loire valley, France

The medieval town of Amboise warrants a visit in and of itself, but the Chateau d'Amboise is not to be missed. Historically home to many kings it is said that Leonardo de Vinci is buried there.


Loire valley food and wine resized 600

Called the Garden of France, you'll discover gastronomical delights. From white asparagus to world famous cherries, the Loire Valley is a food lover's dream.? Also known for it's many delicious and distinctive goat cheeses, you'll sample a variety that are unique to the region.


French cheese

 

And then there is the wine. No tour of the Loire Valley would be complete without a visit to the world renowned vineyards.


Viticulture began in the 5th century and has been growing in the valley ever since producing dozens of varieties both red and white.


Flight Hot air Baloon, Loire valley , France

If you are on a tight schedule, consider a hot air balloon flight to enjoy the castles from above. Whether it's the wine, food, or castles that bring you to the Loire Valley, you'll be guaranteed a marvelous and delicious journey through the heart of France.

Want to see a sample itinerary? Chateaux, Vineyards and cooking class  

 

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A brief history of the wine region of Burgundy, France

Posted by smadar Palace on Sat, May, 12, 2012


Burgundy, France is one of the country’s most prolific wine regions. Known far and wide for both red and white varieties, the wines of Burgundy are arguably, some of the most popular -and expensive-wines in the world. Those new to the global arena of food and wine will soon develop the palate and knowledge of a true epicure upon visiting the storied and historic communes of this region.



Burgundy, France View

Inheritance laws governing Burgundy, which date back to the days of Napolean, state that family property be divided equally between surviving dependants. The result is many generational small family wineries, which welcome tours and thrill at the opportunity to show visitors a special brand of hospitality. One-of-a- kind vintages are poured and served up alongside a loaf of crusty bread, a wedge of lusty cheese, and an intoxicating bowl of braised stew for which the region is famous.

Burgundy France, Clos Vougeot

Five distinct growing areas make up the region producing the wines of Burgundy, each bearing the rich and fertile soil necessary to produce outstanding grapes used by regional vintners. Northernmost Chablis boasts many small family vineyards, some producing rare varieties which should not be missed. Combing the trail southward, to Cotes de Nuits, Cotes de Beaune, Cotes Chalonnaise, and Maconnais will introduce the knowledge-thirsty connoisseur to wineries dating back to the 12th century.

Savigny Beaune, Burgundy, france

 Although wine is the main focus in these historic towns and communes, food is also an integral part of the Burgundy lifestyle. Bourgogne, in French, has a recognizable style when it comes to cuisine. Local fare is typically a braised meat with in-season vegetables, frequently just-picked from a backyard garden. The classic dishes Beef Bourguignon and Coq au Vin both trace their roots to this region. As expected, wine is featured in many of the dishes which bear the name of Burgundy.

 

Burgundy , FranceCheese varieties of the area are equally as tasty and well worth a side visit to a local dairy farm. Quite often, travelers, both seasoned and novice, find the best way to really get to know any area is by getting to know it’s personality- it’s people. Overflowing with warmth and welcome, Burgundy invites you in, pulls out a chair and pours you a glass of their favorite beverage. Burgundy will regale you with heartfelt stories of a region beautiful and proud. Drink it all in and enjoy.

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