On the weekend of 6th and 7th September 2014, Relevance and Affinity Holidays France took a group of eight journalists on a weekend visit to the Var region of Provence. Journalists from publications including the Radio Times, The Nottingham Post, Cheshire Life, Gloucestershire Echo, Birmingham Mail and Mumsnet were invited on the trip to discover family activities that can be enjoyed on a holiday in Provence.
The group arrived bright and early into Nice airport on the London Gatwick-Nice route that is so ably serviced by Monarch Airlines, who provided transport for this trip. Monarch also flies to Nice from Birmingham.
Just 45-minutes after getting through security, the journalists were already discovering the charming sun-soaked village of Fayence and its markets. A typical Provencal lunch was provided by Le Bis restaurant, also in Fayence, allowing the writers some time to unwind in the late-summer sunshine with some local wine and a traditional duck confit.
Upon finishing lunch, the group was transported to the Rose de l’Adrechs villa in Montauroux, a prestige villa rental option that offers outstanding views, a pool with Jacuzzi and a large outside space in which to enjoy the warm Provence summers. Marion and Godfrey Edwards, owners of Affinity Holidays France, greeted the journalists with a glass of champagne before sending them on their way for the first challenging activity of the weekend.
A 15-minute drive from Affinity’s Rose de l’Adrechs villa on the banks of the beautiful Lac de Saint Cassien, stands Les Pouns en Herbe, a horse riding school that offers treks around the local area. The school delivered an hour-long trek along the lake and over the beautiful country terrain. The journalists noted that a horse or pony trek is the perfect holiday activity for those looking to do something different and it is a fantastic way to explore the Lac de Saint Cassien.
Back to Rose de l’Adrechs villa, where more champagne and a cooling dip in the large pool was the order of the day. After relaxing at the villa, writers set off for the last activity, a cookery class in the Institut Gastronomie Riviera, Seillans. Here, courses are offered to the budding Jamie Oliver and on this occasion, the group created a stunning menu of tuna tartare, roast lamb with spinach and pine nuts and a dessert of raspberry macaroons, all eaten under the stars on a beautiful dining table provided by the Institut. The food was washed down with a delicious offering of red and rosé wines provided by Betty-Ann Cundell, owner of the award-winning Chaberts vineyard in Provence.
The meal marked the end of a busy first day in Provence and the journalists headed back to their accommodation; Rose de l’Adrechs and the equally stunning Picholine villa that offers an infinity pool and sweeping panoramic views.
The following morning, everyone was invited back to Rose de l’Adrechs for a leisurely al fresco breakfast provided by Marion, Godfrey and Caroline of Affinity Holidays France. This offered the group a chance to find out more about the Affinity business and holidaying in Provence.
Grasse is world renowned for its perfume and, as it is just a short drive from the villas, the journalists were treated to a perfume making class with the Galimard perfumery, which has provided scents for several of the world’s most famous brands of perfume. Each member of the group was invited to make their own new scent, which was bottled by representatives of Galimard and provided the perfect souvenir. Galimard offers perfume-making classes, a fun and interesting activity for all.
The final stop of an action-packed weekend was lunch at Le Manoir de l’Etang in Mougins, for a meal of truffles, octopus, incredible ravioli and seafood for the journalists. Dessert was a beautifully prepared raspberry soufflé and was followed by a leisurely stroll around the picturesque grounds to top off a successful weekend.
The journalists were transported back to Nice for their return flight again provided by Monarch.
“I just wanted to say thanks again for a fantastic weekend. Great food, great experiences and great company. You did a wonderful job of shepherding us around and giving us a brilliant taste of Provence. It was a pleasure spending time with you all.” Charlie Lyon, Radio Times
“Thanks again for a fabulous weekend. I’m certainly wishing I was still there!” Ellie Cullen, Nottingham Post
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