Where will we stay in Paris?
We will be staying in our favorite Paris “hood” – the 7th arrondissement, which is centrally located, beautiful and safe. It has a neighborhood feel and is packed with wonderful restaurants, cafes, bakeries, markets, pharmacies and all the goodies you’d want to find in Parisian neighborhood. And it’s very convenient to the nicest shopping districts in Paris.
What are the accommodations like?
We have several apartments that we typically stay in that are rented by what we think is the premier rental company in Paris, called Paris Perfect. All of their apartments are beautifully equipped with comfortable beds, lush bedding, wonderful towels, hair dryers, TV’s, top of the line coffee machines and all the comforts of home. And, unlike home, they have killer views of the Eiffel Tower! The apartments are not large but they are all perfectly adequate for our groups.
How many guests stay in an apartment?
It depends on the size of the apartment, but we typically do two per bedroom, depending on occupancy.
Will we have any time on our own in Paris?
Yes, we’ve learned that people have different things they like to do in Paris and so each day, we have some “planned activities” which include visits to museums, flea markets and some landmarks along with some lunches or dinners. And then for the rest of the time, we point you in the right direction and let you do what you want to do.
I’m not that familiar with Paris. How do I know where to go?
Before you leave, we will send you our famous little “Black Book” of our favorite things to do and see in Paris. It has maps of the neighborhood and suggestions for itineraries. We focus mostly on shopping because we find that’s what people like to do on their own. We also give you lots of tips on how, where and what to shop for. And of course we’re always available if you have questions. We also provide you with information about museums and public transportation, as well as favorite restaurants “in the hood.”
Is this trip OK if I’m alone?
We’ve had several people come on their own, and they have bonded well with others and made some friends for life. We also have lots of people who like to come with one friend, and that works wonderfully if they want to share a room with someone they know and have a “buddy,” especially in Paris.
Why do we stay in apartments instead of hotels?
We have found, over and over, that our guests prefer to have a larger space that they can relax in after a long day and prefer to have the option of eating “at home” in the morning, and some evenings. Plus these apartments tend to be much larger and more luxurious than most Paris hotel rooms that we have visited.
Do we need to bring hair dryers or converters? Is there internet access?
There is a hairdryer for every bathroom, 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.
How do we get to Provence?
On the Paris and Provence trip, we usually start in Paris and then take the train together to Avignon on the 4th day. We whisk you away in first class elegance on the wonderful fast train that goes to Avignon, where we are greeted by our wonderful and reliable driver.
What are the accommodations in Provence?
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.
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, you’ll need 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. Paris will undoubtedly be a mix of rain and sun, and in the south, where the sun shines a lot more, there is the possibility of 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. In Paris, we always advise people to wear black and dress it up with a scarf! And the South of France is very casual so you don’t need to dress up at all. And there are washers and dryers in both locations. 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 Paris and Provence are for anyone who loves houses, architecture, design, gardening, history and shopping —especially if you also like to eat delicious gourmet food and drink lovely wine. In Paris, we get a little taste of a lot. And in Provence, there is 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?
In Paris, we will either take public transportation or walk to most places. In Provence, 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 trip. 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 in Provence 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.
Where does the trip end?
The Paris and Provence trip ends at the Avignon train station on the morning of your departure. Most people take the train to the Paris airport and then return to their home destination from there. Others meet up with friends or family in other parts of Europe. The Avignon train station, which is just 45 minutes from Les Murets, is a great departure point.
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 (double or single occupancy). To confirm your reservation, we require a 50% downpayment which is non-refundable. We also offer trip insurance through Travelex, and have negotiated a group rate that is very reasonable. We strongly recommend buying this insurance in case you need to cancel your trip. (Please visit the Travelex website for more details on the coverage provided.) The 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.
• Between 61-90 days of scheduled departure: 50% refund (except deposit)
• 60 days or less prior to scheduled tour departure: No refund.
When we have received your deposit, we will ask for more information from you about some of your goals and desires for the trip, as well as information on any health issues or food preferences. We will also send you a full guide to the area with details about the trip, so that you can start enjoying it from the day you sign up!
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!”