Provence really offers everything: beautiful landscapes, historical sites, cultural things to do, fun local events and festivals, sports, chic or casual shopping, enjoying a snack and drink in a friendly local bar or bistro or dining in a great restaurant. Of course the local markets are a must – and on top of this, it’s almost always sunny! I’ve traveled a lot, both for work and pleasure, and some of my favorite places are Tuscany — especially Siena — Barcelona and Scotland. I’ve also enjoyed visiting New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Lake Tahoe, and we’re planning to go back to the States later this year.
I heard about Hosted Villas from a French friend who was a Local Host. It’s been a great experience, though there was one tricky moment when one of the guests realized her passport had just expired, and we had to pull strings and call in some favors to get the paperwork done and the new passport issued in time for their flight! It was a real thrill to see them reunited. Another moment I’ll never forget was having lunch with our guests on the square of the Palace of the Popes in Avignon during the theater festival, and watching one of them join in singing Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ with Marcel and some street performers! The whole terrace was entertained! It’s so satisfying when you see that your guests are enjoying an outing that you’ve planned. Out of all the wonderful things to do here, it’s a real art to understand what each group of guests will enjoy the most and to make plans accordingly. I have a favorite route that I suggest for their first day so they can get a feel of the area and the fabulous choice of things to do. Of course it can be tempting to do too much, so I also encourage them to take time at home around the pool or to have a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant to soak in the special atmosphere of Provence.
The local wines are one of the treasures of this region, and it makes for a great day to combine a bike tour with a picnic at a vineyard. It’s the best of all worlds as you really get to appreciate this wonderful landscape, and savor the local goodies and the wines that go with them.
And when I’m not out with the guests, I’m at home enjoying life with the children – and the animals!