Monday, April 14, 2008

Planning the Trip to France

It’s been much more complicated planning the France wine tour verses the Australia one. This is because I am required to make appointments with most of the French wineries, rather than just dropping by open tasting rooms as in Australia. Many of the top chateaux in France are by appointment only, whereas only a few in Australia are.

Fortunately, I’ve had much help from my father-in-law, Michael, who speaks French and 4 other languages fluently. He has helped me translate emails and messages. Sopexa, the French PR firm for wine and food, has also been extremely helpful, as well as Inter-Rhone and the Beaujolais Tourism Board. In Bordeaux I’ve been assisted by my friend Christian from Lafitte and Tim’s friend Thierry. In Languedoc, Francois at the university has been my savoir by tirelessly responding to emails and helping me to organize my research project in Montpellier. I am blessed with many wonderful friends.

Now I sit in the Virgin Atlantic lounge in San Francisco having a Virgin Kiss martini and waiting to get my Upper Class seat to London, then Paris, and finally Montpellier, France. Mike, my wonderful husband, was kind enough to share 100,000 of his Continental miles so I can have this lovely treat of a seat which reclines into a full-bed. We flew Virgin Upper Class a few years ago on our 20th wedding anniversary to Paris, so this will be a pleasant reminder of that trip. Fortunately, Mike will be joining me in the South of France on May 1 to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. We plan to visit Bandol, Cassis, St. Tropez, Cannes and Nice.

The only sad part of this whole trip is leaving family, friends, and the sunny warm weather of California. Zia made me a lovely lunch before we left for the airport. The drive from Sonoma County to San Francisco was beautiful, with Sonoma County in all its Spring glory. It is actually 82 degrees in Sonoma today and the vineyards are in full bud with pale green leaves, yellow mustard, and orange California poppies. Thank goodness for email, cell phones, and the Internet so I can stay connected.

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