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[livejournal.com profile] count_gunthar and I are taking a once in a lifetime trip to France for two weeks at the end of October. A friend I've known since high school has a started a second career as a specialty travel arranger (www.monvoyagetravel.com if anyone is interested) and put together a trip from Lyon to Paris for ten people on a lark. When she asked if we were interested, we hesitated all of five seconds.

The trip originally started out as a food and wine extravaganza, but has morphed into something a lot more eclectic. I think we're going to have a blast! The itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Fly from DFW to Madrid and then from Madrid to Lyon (we arrive about 1:30pm). Meet at the Hotel des Artistes and settle in.

Day 2: Morning in Lyon; afternoon gastronomic visit to Lyon's famous food halls, Les Halles de Paul Bocuse, followed by a cooking class and dinner with Chef Jean Marc Villard, former instructor at the prestigious culinary Institut Paul Bocuse.

Day 3: Independent day in Lyon (we're skipping at Rhone Valley wine tour so we can see the city).

Day 4: Day trip via train to Chambery in the French Alps.

Day 5: Train to Dijon; check into Hotel du Nord. Afternoon in Dijon (going to check out the Palais de Ducs which has a medieval kitchen).

Day 6: Full day trip to Chablis, lunch and visit to the medieval castle-building project Le Chantier de Guedelon (http://www.guedelon.fr/). This excursion was originally intended for a side trip for me and Gunthar, but everyone decided they wanted to go, too!

Day 7: Group day in the wine capital Beaune and perhaps more sights in Dijon.

Day 8: Travel to Paris by train and check into Hotel Jardin de l'Odeon. Scope out the neighborhood, get to Mariage Freres while it's open, and then Nicole and I will probably head over to Rue du Bac to see the Chapel of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, which neither of us has seen yet.

Day 9: Le Viaduc des Arts (a rail viaduct transformed into an artisan and craftsperson haven), Musee de l'Orangerie (huge Monet exhibit), Arc de Triomphe, and whatever else we decide

Day 10: Still up in the air for me (going to find a Chanel outlet, dammit), but Gunthar is taking a day course at Le Cordon Bleu (ask if he's excited about it!). Gunthar and I will split from the group late afternoon and head up to Montmartre.

Day 11: Sunday in the Marais and the Islands - a day immersed in historic Paris neighborhoods. Finish with 6:30pm mass at Notre Dame, which is usually said by the Archbishop.

Day 12: Fly home from Paris. Collapse in exhaustion.

I may not have a liver when we finish this trip...
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January 2013

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