🎶 “Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?” 🎶
I have no idea why that popped into my head, except for the fact that we have decided to return to France in the fall. We’ll be traveling with friends and just taking a relaxing holiday to enjoy the sites, taste a little wine and enjoy some flavorful meals.
I started to look at the places we planned to visit and realized that planning this time around would be more of a challenge.
“How so?” you might ask. Well, France is dealing with some issues regarding their retirement age -causing protests and strikes throughout the country. That’s the first issue. The second issue: France is hosting the Rugby World Cup this year and several places we talked about visiting are host cities. That means lots of people and crowded transportation…not good. So much for “ooh la la – let’s party!”
After perusing the news and checking out a few travel websites, we narrowed down our travel area. This trip will center around Paris, Burgundy and the Loire Valley. Our friends will skip over the Loire and head down to Provence for a few days instead. Afterwards, we meet back up in Paris before heading home.
In my humble opinion, the wines of Burgundy are some of the best in the world. Before you jump all over me, we love pinot noir and Burgundian style chardonnay. So this trip we intend to taste as many as we can, hoping to find quality wines at reasonable prices.
Now that we know where we’re going and when we’re going, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Cold winter days are perfect for deciding on flights, travel options and hotels – time to break out the spreadsheets.
A glass of wine is a must when planning wine travel, at least for me. It helps mellow me out for the inevitable hiccups that lie ahead. Having taken a quick look at a few websites, it will also help with the sticker shock!
Airfares have nudged their way up a bit. We have a few options that we need to take into consideration. We can leave from Buffalo, but then we have to decide which airport we want to make our connection through – JFK, Newark, Washington DC or Detroit are all possibilities. We can also choose to fly out of Toronto, Canada, but there is the commute to and from that is annoying. We’ll keep looking at airfares, while taking a look at hotels.
It isn’t only airfares that have risen; Paris hotel prices have also gone up and they seem pretty busy during the timeframe we are looking at. I suppose many more people are traveling again and those that are in France to watch Rugby, might be staying around to see the sites. Our first hotel choice was not available, so we came up with a couple others to discuss with our friends. The other towns were a bit easier, as we found some nice hotels that are near the attractions we want to see and are all reasonably priced.
Next thing to think about is transportation. Trains, drivers or a car – how do we want to get around? The Burgundy wine region is made up of many small, quaint towns and trains don’t stop in all of them.
For the Paris connections we can take a fast train and cut down the commute time. For the rest, we’ll rent a car. We’ve driven here before and the driving is not bad at all. This time we’ll make sure the GPS speaks English so we can avoid cutting through vineyard roads – but it was fun!
Besides being there, planning the trip details is my favorite part of travel. I’m looking forward to later in the process looking for things to see and do in the various locals. After that – restaurants!
So after a week of planning, most of the major decisions have been made and it’s time to actually make the reservations. We’ve got a few months to take care of the small details. In the meantime, we’re brushing up on a little French.
We are talking about a couple more trips and thinking we should start planning those too, but I’ll tell you about those another time.
laissez le bon temps rouler!
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French wine travel is definitely a must-do when in France! We were so lucky to live in Paris for 6 years.Planning our trips and getting all the details together was a lot of fun. Have fun!
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