If you follow my blog and you have noticed I have been a little absent lately, you are right! I had a glorious week in Beaune over the holidays, and R and I were both melancholy that I was not able to stay longer. I returned to find myself confronted with some serious decisions, including a business “partner” who wanted me to shut down my blog and basket business. Over the last month, I have spent an enormous amount of time in reflection, in prayer, in discussion with family & trusted friends, and making careful plans.
You know me as the French Basketeer, but what most of you do not know is that I have also had a “day job” as a financial executive, which has required long days and many nights at work. Add in my family, the house, creative pursuits, two dogs and a few blogs and a basket business and you will understand why I sleep four hours a night; my friends can only laugh when I explain my schedule and to do lists. My background is in finance and real estate. Can I do it? Yes. Do I want to do it? That was the question. I have a great passion for France, for all things French, for convivial time with friends and family in a lovely setting. Beyond just a passion, it is something that I know intimately and that I love to share with people in my life. Increasingly I have found myself pulled towards my passion and feeling like my “work” was leaving me empty.
And so, with planning, with great partners, with the tremendous support of friends & family not to mention a little anxiety, I am taking a leap and leaving my “job” to devote myself full time to French Basketeer, several other new projects which I will explain later, and spending more of my time in Beaune and in France.
It is incredible for me to write this last sentence, for it has been five plus years since R and I acquired the house in Beaune, and just shy of twenty years since I moved to Paris, studied at the Louvre, and began my love affair with France and dreamed of having a home there. How can I tell you how my heart sings to think of being in France more than just a few weeks a year?
One of the ways I can tell you how excited I am is to offer that you come with me! In 2012 I will be offering tours of Burgundy. You will stay with me in our 17th Century home in the center of Beaune for approximately 8 days~
Each trip will be customized to the likes and wants of the group, highlighted for me of course by the various markets, including the Saturday market which is just steps from our door~
We will also visit the famous market at Louhans~
The tour will include transportation by van from Paris, with a stop for a tasting at my favorite domaine in Champagne. In and around Beaune, we can go to various wine tastings to orient you to this complex wine region, and in Chassagne-Montrachet you will get to take your tasting glass home with you~
You will be a guest in our home, and each day will be treated to various home-made classic French dishes, made from the freshest local produce, breads, dairy and meats. I will be offering informal cooking classes (not to mention French lessons) along the way, so that you can better understand how to make these meals yourself when you return home~
All meals will be included in the price; what is not included is airfare, wine and meals out. There are just two places I will plan to take you to eat, one is La Ruchotte on Saturday after the market. I posted on the farm HERE.
The tours will generally be for six, double occupancy. This is a great trip for you and five of your best friends, or three couples; there is also room at Hotel Le Cep nearby and for one more on the full size day bed in the Grand Salon, which I promise you is cozy, so we could accommodate a few more if needed~
There are dozens of options of things to do and each trip will be customized; we can go to Lyon for the Sunday flea market and shopping; there is also lots of antique shopping in and around Beaune from the very high to the very low. We will visit the region’s seasonal brocantes and flea markets and antique fairs, as many as we can! Remember too that Avignon is one hour away on the TGV so we could also make a quick day trip to the South. Or visit Dijon 20 minutes away for some shopping and specialty items. There are chateaux to visit, historical sites to see; plenty to do in a week.
More than anything, Beaune is a place to relax and recharge. Though for many people France means Paris, I invite you to come to Beaune with me and enjoy the food, wine, shopping and calm. And after that great food and wine, we can take a hike through the vineyards or stroll to the nearby Parc or rent a bike. A yoga instructor is planning her own trip, which will be a yoga retreat with daily hike, so everyone has their own take on this beautiful area of France, here in winter, last month~
The details: The price of the trip is $3,000 per person; there is a blogger discount so please inquire. As I mentioned, this includes your stay in our home, a personal tour guide fluent in French and intimately familiar with the area (moi), meals at home with instruction and recipes for classic French cuisine, and transportation from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Beaune as well as transport around the area. I can assist with all shopping, shipping, translation and the like, of course. You will be responsible for your flight to France, wine, incidentals, and meals out if you so choose; at the end of the trip you can continue on elsewhere in France if you like, or we will put you on the TGV which will take you directly to the Charles de Gaulle station at the Paris Airport.
The first trip will be in mid-April, and it is starting to book up; if you are interested for April please let me know ASAP. The next trip will be sometime this summer, depending on when the group wants to go, and anther trip in the fall. Custom dates and custom trips can be arranged.
I am working with my blogger friends to have something fun, perhaps a giveaway of a spot on one of these tours, so stay tuned! And of course if you are planning your own trip to France and need any help or advice, I am always glad to share my thoughts with you.
I am so very excited for these tours and for the year ahead. Not just content to keep my fingers crossed, I am busy making plans and moving forward to make this a successful and less stressful year! The basket site will be completely revamped and the blog will see some new changes. More trip details coming soon.
Please email me with any comments, andrea at FrenchBasketeer.com