Archive for Women’s Tours
10 Reasons to Travel in a Women’s Group 08 Jul 2012
1. The experience is nothing less than extraordinary.
2. Tours, day trips, excursions, and activities are designed with you in mind and offer a unique perspective of the place you are visiting.
3. Live like a local through the eyes of your local guide.
4. You are likely to meet other women who will become your lifelong friends.
5. You can feel comfortable asking questions, and lots of them. Being in a close group makes it easy share experiences.
6. Know that you can travel safely in a group even if you don’t know someone else ready to buy a plane ticket to join you.
7. Nervous about traveling? Sit back and let the experts take care of it. Group leaders have experience in travel and often in the place you are in. They can point out unique spots, great eats, and expose you to a side of the place you are visiting that you would otherwise miss.
8. Group prices are often cheaper than individual. You can often save lots over individual pricing for normal traveling expenses such as guide services, entry fees, lodging and local transportation.
9. Learn to cook local cuisine, experience the highlights of each region visited and meet the locals.
10. The more the merrier! We know this well. Traveling alone or in a pair is rarely as much fun as with a group. Be prepared for great memories, laughter, and unforgettable fun.
Wine and Chocolate? 07 Jul 2012
Provence, France holds many treasures to be discovered throughout its varied rich landscape, but a lesser known delight is a decadent afternoon of wine and chocolate tasting. Flavorful wines can be explored after nearly every bend of the road, however, Bernard Castelain in Chateauneuf-du-Pape pairs chocolate with wine in a very informative and delicious way. This rocky region produces some of the best wines of southern France which are a delicious complement to the rich delicacies of this chocolatier.
A recent visit there as part of Gateway Destinations Belle Provence women’s only tour proved what a delightful afternoon these two tastings are! Spending a morning exploring villages and enjoying the colorful autumn scenery made for a perfect day in Provence. After a delicious lunch in a village café, we ventured to this beautiful area in the Rhone River valley. Not only were the tastings delicious, but there was an informative explanation and demonstration of how their chocolates are made.
Join us next May (or October) for our Belle Provence, France’s Southern Jewel tour as we return to this rich region to explore, taste and delight in all that Provence has to offer.
Paris in August 06 Jul 2012
Want to see Paris without a lot of crowds? Then consider visiting in August when most Parisians leave the city for their vacation. This is especially advantageous if you are driving as traffic is much lighter. Public transportation is also less crowded. You may have to contend with some smaller stores being closed, but there is still an endless number of things to see and do. Paris can have warms days in August, so make sure you reserve a hotel with air conditioning. Evening weather is quite lovely and with the extended daylight hours (light until about 9:30 pm), you can enjoy Paris late into the evening.
Having just spent 10 days in Paris leading a private tour, I found that getting around Paris was much easier than normal. We were only disappointed by a few shop or restaurant closures, but Paris is full of lots of other choices. We took advantage of the long days with pleasant evenings and scheduled some of our activities late in the day to make sure we covered everything we planned. From visiting museums and beautiful cathedrals, cruising on the Seine River, enjoying the Moulin Rouge, fine dining, exploring the flea market, and delighting in delicious bakeries, tea houses, and chocolate shops, we experienced a generous slice of what Paris has to offer.
Be prepared for lots of walking as Paris is best explored on foot (or bicycle), even though public transportation is readily available and reasonably priced. Concentrating on one area per day will reduce the amount of walking required, however, and allow you to explore an area in-depth. Paris has recently introduced a wonderful system of inexpensive bike rentals throughout the city where you pick up at one location and drop off at a different location. Outdoor cafés are easily found throughout Paris in summer and are an inviting place to watch the world go by while sipping a delicious espresso or relaxing glass of wine. Even with all the architectural beauty and rich history that Paris exudes, enjoying a few relaxing moments in a neighborhood bistro or park remains one of my favorite ways to embrace Paris and experience la belle vie!
Return to Provence 04 Jul 2012
Three years is much too long for a return visit through the countryside of Provence, France. I anxiously await to again revive all my senses as I immerse myself in this colorful, fragrant, tasty, and sensual corner of heaven with a small group of ladies. Our journey begins October 17 in Avignon, where we will explore this walled city and the former palace of the Pope. This will be our base as we explore the surrounding countryside before traveling further north into Haute-Provence. Our days will be filled with tasting the delicious foods and wines of this region as we visit an outdoor marketplace, indulge in wine tasting and learn cooking secrets from Chef Jean-Jacques Prévôt in his Cavaillon kitchen of La Table des Melloniers, Chef Jean-Jacques Prévôt.
Not only is Provence known for its abundant produce, but also truffles, perfume, soap, olives and olive oil, honey, linens, Santon dolls, wonderful cheeses and a wonderful variety of red, white and rosé wines. We’ll do our best to sample all of these products as we wander through village after village in this hypnotically charming countryside. Along the way, our bi-lingual local guide will share his knowledge of French art, culture, history and architecture of this rich area.
Hmm…I’m already thinking of my Provence journey in the spring of 2010 to share even more treasures of this region of southern France to ladies looking to travel in an extraordinary way. Watch for our 2010 schedule of women-only tours at www.gateway-destinations.com
Have you ever had a fantastic vacation planned but once you got there weather wasn’t cooperating and you felt your only option was to stay inside and sulk? Well, that almost happened last week on my women’s travel tour in Provence, France. Autumn is a wonderful time to be in Provence as you can admire the vibrant colors of leaves as they turn to wonderful golds, oranges and reds. Days are often sunny with temperatures usually in the 60’s, and there are fewer tourists.
The first day started out just that – mid-60’s and sunny. However, a strong wind known locally as the “mistral” started to blow through the Rhone Valley the next day. What’s a tour leader to do with weather like that? Our expert local guide, Eric, had the perfect solution! We boarded a beautiful boat in Avignon and cruised the Rhone River for three relaxing hours to Arles to enjoy the scenery, live music and delicious 4-course lunch while protected from the elements. Our guide met us in Arles where we did a guided walking tour of this intriguing city with its ancient Roman influence still visible today. Our afternoon was rounded out by a countryside visit where essential oils are extracted (such as lavender) and sold worldwide. All in all, it was a perfect day in Provence in spite of the uncharacteristic weather.
Being a small group allowed our women’s tour to be flexible and adjust our itinerary when needed – a great way to travel!