Memories of the South of France Tour 2018

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The decision…

The September 2018 Memories of the South of France tour was much more than I expected.  

In January 2018, I received a Facebook post from the Barefoot Blogger announcing the September 2018 tour that she would lead with author Patricia Sands.

I met Deborah Bine, aka the “Barefoot Blogger” while on a solo trip to Provence five years ago and followed her on social media since. It was Deborah’s dream to live in France after retirement, and she made it happen. Her blog is quirky, fun, enthusiastic, and informative, which sums up her personality as well. If you love France and anything French, I encourage you to check it out. 

Patricia Sands, Love in Provence Series

 I discovered Patricia Sands’ Love in Provence book series while planning an earlier solo trip to France.  I fell in love with her characters and her vivid description of southern France.  The Memories of the South of France tours are based on the locations described in Patricia’s books. 

Decision made?

The itinerary was terrific, but I had previously visited many of the small towns listed. Going again was ridiculous. The fact that it was a small group tour with only 16 people and all women was very appealing, but the cost was much more than I wanted to pay. However, the tour included almost everything, hotel, transportation, tours, and most meals, hmmm. With whom would I share the room? Paying for a single supplement was out of the question. There was an option to be paired with another woman on the tour. Back and forth I went. 

I was already committed to a cruise in the Mediterranean that summer, going on two Europeans trips a few months apart was crazy! Yet the idea continued to niggle at me. The bottom line was I would kick myself if I didn’t go. I knew it would fill fast. I had to make a decision!

No turning back

I was one of the first to jump on board, but the roommate issue was still on my mind. As it turned out, I was visiting my friends Lynn and Jim the following week. It was Lynn who first introduced me to Deborah Bine back in 2014.

Lynn and Jim winter on the east coast of Florida on their boat CatTails. One night watching the sunset and drinking Rum Chata, Lynn and I started talking about the tour, and alas, I found my roommate! Things are falling into place. Airfare is taken care of with miles, and the excitement has set in. 

Meeting Patricia Sands before the tour. 

In March, Patricia Sands and I met for lunch in Naples, Florida. Patricia’s love of France mirrors mine, so we had a lot to talk about. Patricia writes beautifully and is simply a lovely person. Plus, she is Canadian! After that lunch, I knew I had made the right decision and I became very excited about this women-only tour. 

September arrived, and we all boarded planes to meet at the hotel in Nice. Nancy McGee from Absolutely Southern France worked with Patricia and Deborah to create the tour and all its parts.  

The tour turned out to be everything we expected and more. All the women became good friends and are still communicating and planning our next adventure together. Everything went beautifully until our friend Deborah, aka The Barefoot Blogger, missed her footing on a curb and ended up in an ambulance. In many ways, the worry for our friend brought us even closer. Deborah has since fully recovered, and we’ll see her again this June for our reunion tour!!


The lovely women from the 2018 Memories of the South of France tour 

Soca Lady Nice Market

Place Massena

Nice Fountain, that’s our Clare deciding to cool off! 

Ville Franche

Fire Safety truck (at our hotel to rescue Margaret and others from the elevator)

Pompier, we women were very interested in the brave Pompiers

The beautiful Hotel Negresco in Nice

Invisible Man 

Roman Ruins in Nice

Fragonard perfume tour

Lynn and I in Tourette sur loup our lunch stop

Fragonard perfume tour

Aperol Spritz, our mid afternoon pick me up.

Nancy at a Potter shop in SaintQuentin la Poterie

Waiter with one of Patricia’s books in Antibe

Arles Feria du Riz (Rice Festival) parade

Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux

Patricia trying an oyster during our Sete oyster harvesting lesson 

Arles Hotel, our nightly cocktail and visiting with other guests, this one a big hit. 

Lunch in Aix en Provence

Sally doing her best to produce another great Camargue wine!

Dinner table fun! Yup that’s Clare again. 

Patricia and her ever ready camera.  Always something amazing to capture. 

Liane, our funny Princess from Vancouver never failed to make us smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

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