This was the first time I traveled with Overseas Advendure Travel (O.A.T.) and hopefully not my last. O.A.T. specializes in small groups and solo-travelers; we were eight people for our main tour (three more had planned to come but covid changed their plans), and I did not have to pay a “solo-supplement” to have my own room. Some other pluses were that we stayed in each location for several nights, giving me time to get to know a place a bit and also setting a comfortable travel pace. We did day trips and also participated in a number of activities that added interest to the trip.
In Barbizon, I took a sculpture class with Melanie Quentin.
Bayeux is known for lace-making. We visited the Museum of Fine Arts and then I took a lace-making class with Cécile Roquier at the Lace Conservatory.
From Carcassone (where we stayed inside the walled city), we ventured out to Chateau Auzias. We walked through the vineyard and learned about the pruning process. Then we toured the Cave, where the wine is made, and then we had the opportunity to mix our own red blend.
At Maison Fleuret in Paris, we took a macaron-making class . Let me just say that making macarons is as much science as baking, and I have a new appreciation for all that goes into making them.
Touring with O.A.T. was fun and educational. I am still on a “travel high” even though I have been home more than a month.
I took my first food picture at breakfast on day one in France, and then another at lunch and another at dinner. “At this rate,” I thought, “I will be photographing every meal I eat,” so I started being more selective. I want to share just a few to give you an idea of the abundance of great meals.
Barbizon is an artsy village with galleries and museums. We had a scupting class–my first time working with clay–and visited the Besharat Museum and Gallery which houses an eclectic collection of art and is also a boutique hotel. Lunch at Le Royal was this exceptional tuna nicoise salad, bread (of course) and beer.
I had my first mussels in Fontainebleu and my last in Paris (with a few more along the way). These were at Les Cascades in Honfleur (and perhaps my favorite). Here, I learned the trick of using the shell instead of a fork.
I usually like chocolate for dessert, but I had many excellent desserts in France that did not include chocolate.