How do we get to Avignon?
There are direct flights from Atlanta to Paris on Delta or Air France, and then a very convenient fast train (TGV) directly from the Paris airport. To book tickets on-line, visit www.RailEurope.com/TGV. If you are going directly from the Paris airport, the train station within the airport is called CDG-Roissy. If you decide to spend a few days in Paris at the front end of the trip, the train to Avignon leaves from the Gare de Lyon in Paris. Either way, the train takes about three hours and is a beautiful and easy trip. We will meet you at the station in Avignon upon your arrival and take you back to the Avignon station between 7 and 9 a.m. on the day of your departure.
What are the accommodations like?
First off, please visit the website of Les Murets to see pictures of the house, which was recently renovated from top to bottom. Regarding room accommodations, by French standards, the rooms are large and each one has a private bath or shower. The “premium” single room has a queen sized bed and an en-suite bathroom. The double rooms have two comfortable single beds and a private bath and are all quite spacious. There is a possibility of a “triple” in the Petite Maison, with its own entrance from the courtyard—but it is ideal as a double. It has one queen sized bed and two single beds in a loft area with a slanted roof. If three people share this space, they will need to be good friends or family (and we will offer them each a discounted price).
Are there any other charges?
We have included all meals and wine, as well as all local transportation. You shouldn’t have to open your wallet on this trip, except to buy the goodies that jump out at you at the markets.
Do you allow smoking?
Les Murets is a non-smoking house. You may smoke on the terrace but due to dryness of the area, we ask that you be very careful when smoking on the property.
Do we need to bring hair dryers or converters? Is there internet access?
We have four hair dryers at the house, so you should not need to bring one. It’s best to avoid bringing other electrical appliances if possible. We do have wifi and high speed internet access for those who need to bring a computer. Be sure to bring a converter that works in France.
Will I be expected to pitch in and help around the house?
Yes and no. We’ve always found that when groups of friends travel together, the preparations are fun, everyone pitches in with a glass or two of wine, and the kitchen ends up spotless! During these trips, we will have food catered several nights during the week by a remarkable chef who makes wonderful tarts, veggies, meat or fish, and a lovely dessert. We always fill in with fresh foods from the market, including salad, cheeses, fruit and bread. On one or two nights, we will just have a light meal of salad and/or soup and cheese (often everyone’s favorite meal!) and specialties from the markets, such as olives, tomatoes, cherries or strawberries, depending on the season. So the dinner preparations are easy, fun and delicious. Some people love to pitch in, and that’s great! But if you want to sit by the pool and read a book, that is completely fine too.
Do I need to be physically fit ?
We recommend that you enjoy walking and be reasonably fit. And of course, we recommend comfortable shoes, since there is plenty of walking. Don’t be surprised if you shed a pound or two, by eating what you love and walking every day, like French women (who never get fat!). We won’t be doing any heavy duty hiking, unless you want to. So it’s just important to be prepared and to be as comfortable as possible.
What will the weather be?
Of course it’s impossible to predict the weather. But in May and June, temperatures usually vary between mid 60’s and mid 80’s with some wind. The same goes for September. It’s always smart to bring layers, because the days are often quite cool in the mornings and a little brisk in the evenings, although they can get pretty hot during the day.
What should I pack?
Here’s a tip: Travel lightly! You won’t need many clothes and you don’t want a heavy suitcase, especially on the train. The South of France is very casual and you don’t need to dress up. And there is a washer and dryer at the house. It is so much better and easier to pack lightly than to bring too much. We always suggest that if you can’t carry your own suitcase up a flight of stairs, you’re bringing too much.
Who is this trip suited for?
Our trips to Provence are for anyone who loves houses, architecture, design, gardening and history —especially if you also like to eat delicious gourmet food and drink lovely wine. This area of Provence has a plethora of exquisite antique stores, linen shops, and interior furnishings that are heaven on earth for anyone who appreciates beautiful homes and gardens. We do like to have some common interest among the group, so we make sure that people know that there is a focus on shopping, fine food, good wine and some arts and culture. But we also try to offer variety and flexibility to accommodate other interests too.
Is this itinerary set in stone? Can we vary it according to our needs?
This is a guideline and we may end up changing it, depending on the interests of the group. We have been to this area multiple times and are very familiar with all the opportunities and things to do. We also realize that one week isn’t very long and we are trying to pack as much in as possible. We also have may vary the days according to weather reports.
Who will be driving and what kind of car will we be in?
You will be driven in an eight passenger van by a local driver who is wonderful, and has been with us on several trips. And of course your fearless leader(s) will accompany you on every outing.
May I rent my own car?
You may rent your own car but there will be no refund for renting a car on your own, and we really don’t recommend it.
I can’t stay for the full week. What arrangements can be made for me to leave early?
If you need to leave early, or arrive later than the group, please make your own arrangements to get to the train station or airport. Unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds if you don’t stay for the whole week.
We’ve noticed all dinners are at home in the evening? Can we go out one night?
You may surely go out on your own, but we have found that most people prefer to have dinner at home, where they can relax, watch the sunset, and not worry about drinking and driving along the dark and windy roads at night. Also, French dinners in restaurants tend to be much longer than we are used to and we’ve found that our American friends sometimes get impatient to go home. Plus, we think part of the fun and camaraderie comes from hanging out in the kitchen and helping to make dinner.
I’m interested in going to Les Murets with my own group of friends and family. Is the property available for rent?
Yes it is. Please just contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know if it’s available. Rental fees range from $4,500 to $10,000 per week, depending on the season.
Have you offered this trip before, and can we get some references?
Yes! And we’d be happy to give you some references. You can also read recent testimonials from others who have done the trips, by clicking here.
How many people can go on the trip?
The trip is available on a first come, first served basis. We need to have seven guests in order to do the trip.
I’m ready to sign up! What’s my next step?
First step is to check availability with us and reserve the room you would like. We will hold your place for 48 hours while you handle your transportation to and from Avignon. To confirm your reservation, we require a deposit of $1,000 per person. Final payment is due 90 days prior to the start date. For reservations made within 90 days of departure, the entire trip cost must be paid at the time of booking. We accept payment by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and personal check. Trip prices are in US dollars.
What is your cancellation policy?
Deposits are non-refundable. Refunds of final payment will be honored as follows:
• Between 61-90 days of scheduled departure: 50% refund (except deposit)
• 60 days or less prior to scheduled tour departure: No refund.
What happens if we need to cancel for any reason, after we’ve paid our deposit?
Unfortunately these things happen, and we cannot refund you your deposit, or your trip costs if you have cancelled within the non-refundable period. That’s why we strongly recommend that you purchase travel and cancellation insurance and work directly with Travelex.
I would like to set up my own trip but we can’t do it on the dates that you’re offering. Can we choose our own dates?
Yes, as long as one of us is available to accompany you and if the house is available, you are welcome to pick any dates.
Who are your guides?
We are Ann Huff, Meg Harrington and Linda Mohan, of Huff Harrington Fine Art. But more importantly, you need to know that we absolutely love this area and feel privileged and excited to accompany you on these trips. We know the area extremely well, and have traveled there numerous times alone and with each other. Each one of us is anywhere from bilingual to very fluent in French and we also have a wonderful support system at the house, with our caretaker, and our staff. We haven’t determined at this time who will be leading which trips, but we like to think of ourselves as being all interchangeable! We’re just ever so slightly competitive with each other about offering “the best trip ever!”