I’m writing to share the exciting news that I am expanding my tour business, and that Bernard and I will be hosting tours together in his native France starting this coming fall!
So many of you have supported this idea, and we are extremely thankful.
I am forming a new company, “Meli Melo Travel,” which in french means “a little of this, a little of that," apropos since all tours will include not only food and wine (bien sur!), but also a fitness piece that, depending on the trip, could include either hiking, yoga (demo below by Sister Jaymie), tennis, biking, a mix of these activities - or just lots of walking. With all the fabulous food and wines we will be enjoying, we’ll want to move a little, too!
The first Meli Melo tour is planned for this fall - Sept. 29 to Oct. 6 - to one of the world's most beloved destinations: Provence in the South of France!
As a child, Bernard lived in Provence, in the town of Cavaillon, and he has many happy memories of his days there. I also have a fondness for this laid-back, sun-drenched Mediterranean region in the South of France. Back in 2000, I was fortunate to attend a week-long cooking course in the village of St. Remy - at Mas de Cornud with David and Nito Carpita - and to write about it for the Christian Science Monitor, where I worked as food editor at the time.
Since then, St. Remy has remained my favorite town in Provence, and whenever we return to France to visit Bernard’s family there, we make a point of stopping in St. Remy. It is truly one of the prettiest villages in Provence. It’s no wonder Van Gogh set up his easel there.
So here’s what we have in mind:
Fly from Boston to Paris, then hop on the TGV (fast train) to Avignon, where we will be picked up and taken to St. Remy, our town for the week. We'll stay for all six nights in St. Remy at one of the town’s loveliest and most highly rated inns, "Mas de Carrasins,” (www.masdescarrasin.com), within walking distance (about a quarter mile) of the village.
We will spend a couple of our days just exploring the town on foot - shopping at its famous outdoor market, tasting our way through town on a culinary tour with a local guide, learning about the cultural and architectural sites, including Van Gogh's old haunts, and just sipping espresso or a glass of local rosé at one of the town’s many cafes. If there’s interest, spa treatments are also an option.
On the other days, we will enjoy excursions with a knowledgeable local guide, such as to the Luberon area, where we will visit wineries, a goat-cheese farm, and more. We also plan to visit the exquisite and secluded harbor town of Cassis and take a boat tour along the stunning white cliffs or “Calanques.” En route back to St. Remy from Cassis, we will stop in the second-largest and perhaps most colorful city in France, Marseille.
For one evening at our hotel, we are also booking a talented local chef, who will teach us how to cook a regional dish - likely Bouillabaisse or Paella.
For the fitness piece, we could hike in the nearby baby Alps, the “Alpilles,” as they are called, ride bikes in the countryside, or practice yoga with a local instructor. We will also walk whenever possible, even if it's just an afternoon stroll around town.
With small group tours that we would like to limit to about 10 guests, we can cater somewhat to the interests of the group, especially regarding the wellness/fitness piece of any tour.
We are truly excited about sharing a week of culinary tours and tastings, explorations and adventures, and no doubt, fun and laughter amid the luminous beauty of magical Provence. For further details on this trip or any other Meli Melo tour, please contact me at MeliMeloTravel@gmail.com.
Merci beaucoup et a bientôt!