Monday, November 24, 2014

Additional Comments
France Trip 2014 
with Darrell & India Mount


1.  The Pullman Hotel was fantastic! It was especially nice to have croissants for the early departure  to the airport on our last day. Patricia 
2.  Agree - the Pullman was a fabulous hotel as was the setting of the hotel in Tours. Also the tour guide was so kind, sweet, and knowledgeable - taking us to some out the way places and knowing about them in such detail.  Rebecca

3.  The Libourne hotel was not the greatest!  But the Chateau Belmont was ***********.

4.  Bill agrees with #3.  And: Pullman was very nice. Chateau Belmont was fantastic.  Best meal was at Chateau Belmont.  Don't go to Chennonceau on a weekend - crowded.  Don't go to Louvre or Orsay on Mon or Tues - too crowded.  Free Louvre on Thurs night was great. Instead of 200, there were 20 people in the room to see the Mona Lisa.  Hotel Mercure had crowded rooms.  Others were okay.  Chezanne's workshop was mediocre. We should have included the Matisse Museum near Nice.  ALL IN ALL AN EXCELLENT TOUR.

5.  Good chaperone - Marie Claire.  Good museum guides - Xenia?  Good drivers - Guiseppi and Rafaello.  We were very well escorted.  Thank you.  Sharon

Dear Darrell and India,

Merci, merci for the most wonderful trip through France! You prepared us so well with your fabulous classes on the history and art of France before we ever left. 

When we arrived in Nice there you were at the airport to welcome us.  From there you guided us for the next fourteen days through wonderful marche’s in Nice (oh the flowers), and Mougins, with its white tents and the home to Picasso for 11 years, to Aix-en-Provence (oh the lavender), and Sarlat (oh the chocolate!)   There were the museums –Marc Chagall’s whimsical paintings of the Old Testament, so full of joy; the Toulouse Lautrec Musee in Albi; the mind-blowing impressionistic art at the Musee d’Orsay, and of course the Louvre with its “Winged Victory” and “Venus de Milo” and the “Mona Lisa” and 35,000 other works of art.

On we went, with you shepherding us through castles and chapels and cathedrals, like the Matisse Chapel in Vence, with its brilliant stained glass windows; and the Sainte Cecile Cathedral in Albi, with its massive rounded buttresses, to the Chartres Cathedral where the famous Malcolm Miller opened our eyes to the symbolism, history, and architecture of this amazing place.  A metro ride from our Hotel Pullman to Sacre Coeur at the top of Montmartre, with crowds of people outside on the steps listening to a man play his guitar and sing songs of John Denver in English, a little “Rocky Mountain High” in Paris.  The cathedral of all cathedrals might be Notre Dame on Ile de la Cite.  We can’t forget our visits to the “maisons” of Renoir in Cagnes sur Mer, and Cezanne in Aix, and Arles, the town of Van Gogh. Even though the Yellow House is no longer there, we did see the famous cafĂ© that he painted and a first-century Roman amphitheater. 

Speaking of homes, we stayed in our own Chateau Belmont in Tours and visited the Chateau de Chenonceau, built by King Henry II for his wife, Catherine de Medici, and –oh yes- for his beautiful sweet smelling mistress, Diane de Poitier.  Along the way we visited the colorful town of Cassis and took a boat ride on the Mediterranean to view the cliffs, the amazing Caves of Lascaux, the walled city of Carcassonne, and a float down the Dordogne River.

And oh, the food and the wine were tres magnifique.  As it is said, “A day without wine is like a day without sunshine!” We had sunshine every day! :-)  We even toured the winery and vineyards of Chateau Soutard in the St. Emilion region. There was the delicious dinner in Eze, lunch on the benches in Albi that we bought at the large covered market, a gourmet lunch at La Petite Tonnelle in the hill town of Beynac, and who will forget our festive farewell dinner in Paris.

Oh, Paris, Paris, the city of light, with its Eiffel Tower right outside our hotel, and the parks, gardens, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, and the romantic Seine River that runs through the heart of the city. 

So, Darrell and India, for all of this and so much more, a thousand thanks. It was TRES BIEN from beginning to end!!!     May all your days be blessed with sunshine (and a little wine) and if rain should come your way, may it be like April in Paris! 

With love from all your French amis, 2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Additional Comments
France Trip with Darrell and India Mount
October 2014

From India Mount:  Carol took this photo (above) in Mougin at the food festival.  It shows Dr. Carl W., Darrell and me.
Dear Darrell and India:  A big thank you for a wonderful, magical experience in France.  It was all great--great weather, great people, great sights, great food, great wine, great art.  You did so much to make the trip memorable.  With gratitude and Love, ML

Hi Susie:  Attached is the photo we spoke of (below).  It was made in Mougin at the Festival International de la Grastonomie.  Jean-Paul, the chef, is the owner of a one star Michelin restaurant in Geneve, Switzerland.  He welcomed me any time.  He is quite charming and great fun to converse with--even having our language challenges..smiles say much...I love European men!--Patricia