Wine Quote of the Week

"Days of wine and roses laugh and run away,
Like a child at play"
Johnny Mercer

Friday, July 31, 2009

Music and Dance in the South of France

For the 67th time running Amelie les Bains is staging their renowned International Folklorique Festival from August 4th to August 9th.

Folk music and dance groups from Spain, France, Greece, and Columbia promise to make this a very colourful and exciting festival. Each day there are parades, dancing on the streets, theater and lots of live music.

Not to be missed is the Colombian folk group in the medieval village of Palalda on the 4th. Mingle with the locals at an open-air aperitif for all on Wed the 5th with Flamenco Dancing. Dress up for the "Amelie Danse Ball" being held on Thursday night, entrance is free. Friday the Greek take over the show and Saturday if filled with fun for Theater lovers. There is a Grande Finale on Sunday with all participants present from 9 PM at the closing gala.

After all that song and dance - contact the French Tour Co for a relaxing spa tour!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

10 good reasons to visit the Perpignan area this Autumn

The Pyrenees Orientales has it all : ski resorts, sandy beaches, a Mediterranean climate, fantastic scenery, rocky coastline ideal for snorkeling, great food and superbe wines, bustling markets, historical monuments and castles, friendly Catalan people, mountains and plains, lakes and rivers, gorges and caves, rugby and excellent sporting facilities, a good sized town with all amenities, virtually no pollution .. and if you need further convincing, here are 10 good reasons to visit the Pyrenees Orientales this Autumn :

1) VISA pour L'Image - the International Festival of Photojournalism which takes place from 29 aug to 13 september : VISA

2) Munster are coming to play USAP ( Perpignan) in the Heineken cup on 20th December. Promises to be a great match and a great day out with Munsters Red Army

3) The Wine festival in Perpignan on the 15 and 17 October where many winemakers come to Perpignan to share their new vintage. The French tour co will be organising special tours around this

4) Visit the museum of modern art in Ceret for a look at all the painters that have lived in Ceret over the last 100 years. Original art works from Picasso, Terrus, Braque and others are well worth a visit. Running until 31 Oct

5) Take part in one of our gourmet tours where we match food and wine in the company of the experts : wine makers and chefs du cuisine. yum!

6) Visit the medieval market in Place Gambetta, Perpignan - a traditional festival where you travel back in time - 12/13 Sept

7) Come for a swim in the sea - the sea temperatures will be still in the teens up to the middle of October. From Barcares to Cerbere, discover the wonderful coastline on one of our coastal tours

8) Jump out of a plane - sign up for one of our adventure tours and see the region as you've never seen it before!

9) Come for a game of golf in the balmy Autumn weather. Choose from 14 fine golf courses in the Languedoc Roussillon

10)Escape the recession blues - Rent a yacht with your friends with a skipper and take off towards the horizon on a get away from it all few days

Getting to Perpignan

BUS ROUTE: GOOD NEWS FOR our clients using Girona Airport (GRO) in northern Spain as an entry point into France to take part in one of our many tours
Low-cost bus company have just launched additional routes connecting Girona airport directly with popular tourist resorts in the Pyrénées-Orientales area of Southern France.
In addition, will also operate a once daily service from Barcelona airport (BCN) into France.
New destinations served directly from Girona & Barcelona airports include Argeles sur Mer, Canet, Barcares, St Marie, Les Angles and Font Romeu. will be extending its routes in the coming months to create a network connecting Toulouse and Barcelona (and others) with regular multi-day services. Click here to contact

Friday, July 24, 2009

Buying your wedding wine in the Languedoc Roussillon

Recently we've had quite a few couples on our wine tours doing some scouting around to buy their wine for their wedding in éire or the UK.
It's an excellent idea as alot of French wine , particularly in Ireland, is not of the highest quality at a certain price level.
Here, in the Languedoc Roussillon region, you can purchase a decent quality wine for around the €6 mark or less.
Some of our partner vineyards will ship the wine to a Northern port for easy collection, at no extra cost.

This week, we had a couple from Limerick, Ireland who settled on their red and white - they have a house here and plan to come down and pack up their car with wine and drive their precious cargo back to the ole sod.

Some points to ponder :

You are allowed to bring 120 bottles of wine per person into Ireland for personal use without paying any additional taxes. However, if you have your wedding cert with you , and can prove that your purchases are for private consumption, you can bring as much wine as you like

The wedding experts recommend that a half a bottle per person at a wedding should be enough - however, if it is an Irish wedding : double that!!!! Always buy a little more than you anticipate - well, it won't go to waste afterwards, will it?

Do taste alot of wines - good advice is to opt for middle of the road wines - nothing too adventurous or whacky. Good fun to have a blind wine tasting with some friends

Look at your menu and decide what wines will go with what you have chosen to eat

Get advice from the experts - if you do a wine tour here with us, you will be meeting the winemakers and the vineyard owners who will be very happy to help

After the food for your wedding, the drinks will probably be the other big expense - it's worthwhile to spend a little time to get it right

Negotiate the corkage with your hotel

Relax and enjoy and let The French Tour Co do the driving!

Merci le French Tour Co

Nice ot get some positive feedback again from one of our happy clients:

Karen and Suzanne were brilliant. At very short notice they managed to arrange everything from airport transfers to a fantastic vineyard tour – all at excellent value. Their patience and humour at all times was greatly appreciated – in itself a miracle considering we were a party of 11 on a stag do... I’ll definitely be looking them up again when next in the the Perpignan region”.
Nico Tuppen. Brighton, England.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Party in Perpignan

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monam’s rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney’s hazel shade.”
- Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Poetry was far from the minds of the stag party I collected on Saturday morning last for our wine tour. I collected the group of 11 gentlemen from their hotel to be greeted by a couple of supermen, a handful of gimps, some Mexican wrestlers and a very attractive wonder woman!

We rang ahead to warn the vineyards that our group was "alternative" and to quickly lock up their gorgeous French daughters! In fairness , the vineyard owners gave the boys a fantastic welcome - Frederic, the owner of the first vineyard we visited even wanted a costume for himself and was sorely tempted to join them in their party plans for Canet that night. We were wined and dined in true Catalan fashion with a fantastic barbeque and lashings of wine.
We also visited Chateau Valmy where all the boys fell under the spell of Madame Carboneil .. we tasted their selection of superbe wines and got to see behind the scenes of their impressive state of the art wine cellar.

The boys partied the night away in Canet and they were a much quieter crowd when we collected them from their hotel to bring them back to the airport on Sunday.

What goes on tour stays on tour!

Best of Luck to Gordon for his wedding in Canada from The French Tour Co xx

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There is no such thing as bad weather ...

Just the wrong clothes ...

The weather continues to be wild and wonderful here in Perpeignan with sparkling sunny days and thundering storms at night - last night I thought the roof was going to cave in as the monsoonal rain battered against our house.
Today is a little overcast - a perfect day for partaking in one of our tours .. there is so much to do here besides hanging by the pool or just going to the beach.
Our wine tours continue to be our most popular tour keeping us on the road nearly every day - second fave is the adventure tours - what's great about these tours is that all the family can partake from age 2 to 92 and everyone goes home happy.
Third favourite tour is the gourmet tour - matching wine and food lunch, visiting the oyster farm, meeting a cheesemaker and visiting a chocolate factory. YUM!
There are also the history tours, art tours, discovery tours, walking tours and the stunning coastal tours.

Tis a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

To make the very most of your stay in the Pyrenees Orientales, contact us at The French Tour Co : : 0033 607421668

Monday, July 13, 2009

U2 Rocks Paris ....

And The French Tour Co were there, along with over 80,000 other fans, singing ourselves hoarse to all our old favourites ..
Not being a true blue U2 fan myself, I enjoyed the first few songs from their new album; no line on the horizon, but it when they started playing their old tunes from the 80s and 90s, that the crowd really woke up and the stadium swelled and swayed with the voices of 80,000+ belting out the lyrics and air punching in unison.

Songs like Beautiful day, I still haven't found what I'm looking for, Sunday bloody Sunday , Pride, One, etc would have lifted the roof, if we had a roof! And a little musical homage to MJ, "don't stop til you get enough" was enough the turn the crowd into a frenzy altogether.

A brilliant night out - excellent entertainment value and although Bono is a bit of a langer, he does have one hell of a voice and his showmanship is second to none I've seen performing on stage.

Looking forward to U2 coming to Perpignan!!!! Centre of the world!

Another tough day at the office

With an adventurous family of adrenaline junkies booked in for an adventure tour and with a relatively free day to myself last Tuesday, I thought I'd join them for the day and partake in the adventurous activities. Sure, how tough could it be? I'm relatively fit, right?
A big fat wrong, apparently .. one week later and I'm still hobbling around with aching muscles ..
We started off the day with a lovely relaxing drive to the foothills of the mountains, where we got harnessed up and were given our safety chat and drill. The guys and gals in the adventure park are strong on safety and we all went through a thorough training program before we were let loose on the "pistes".
The adventure trails are marked like ski slopes , depending on levels of difficulty : green , blue, red and black. The blues were tough enough and once we had them conquered, we crawled over the the reds .. my body was pushed to the limits as we zipped around on sky high wires , negotiated ropes and tricky manoeuvres and sped across rivers over 30metres above the angry waters. Yikes! Exhilarating? yes. Challenging? yes. Pushing yourself to the limits? yes and terrifying? A resounding yes!!!!

We retired to the café for a tasty hearty lunch of catalan saussisson and a few very welcome glasses of the local cote du roussillon.

The planned canyoning was cancelled for the afternoon as there was too much water so we were given the option of the more "relaxing" tubbing .. involving speeding down the rapids in an inflatable tube with a paddle. An hour of hair raising, wild and reckless fun later, we dragged ourselves back to the centre where we shoe horned ourselves out of our wetsuits and went in search of some brandy!

This tour would be a great day out for gang of lads looking for thrills, or an incentive trip or just for fit people who like to push themselves to the limit. A gourmet picnic can also be organised as part of the day out

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Best Wine Tour Ever!"

This week , we had a group of young professional scots here on holidays who opted for the Red Beret Wine Tour.
They were a great group, chatty, interested and interesting, and they were blown away by the hospitality they received at all the vineyards.

Here's some of their comments :

"When I came back from Australia after being away for a year, I didn't receive such a big welcome as we did at the second vineyard! "

"The best day by far of our holidays"

"I can't beleive how friendly the people are"

"I've learnt so much today - it's brilliant getting to see behind the scenes and having it all translated as well, as my french is crap"

"the Best Wine tour I've ever done"

"the catalan barbeque was so authentic , it felt like we were in someones house -I loved the way the whole family ate with us as well"

"We will certainly recommend this tour to all our friends"

"I've never laughed so much!"

"Learnt loads about wine!"

Great to get such positive feedback - thanks guys for a great day!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Let your boat of life be light

Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
Jerome K. Jerome
Three Men in a Boat

We Did It!

As Dora would say:

We did it
We did it
We did it
lo hicimos!

With our qualified and experienced guide, Christian , we made it to the top of the Canigou, the sacred mountain of the Catalans here in the Pyrenees Orientales.

The peak , which can be seen from nearly every point in the Roussillon plain, dominates the landscape and holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. After living here for nearly 8 years, I felt it was time to get to know this stunning mountain more intimately and off we set, all 18 of us, bright and early on Friday morning 3 July to put our legs to the test.

Our guide, Christian, was fantastic ; cool, calm and collected, he guided us at our own pace to the summit, unobtrusively keeping an watchful eye on us all.

On this trip, we took 4x4 vehicles to "base camp" at Chalet de Cortalets and then started walking from there. It took approx 2 hours to reach the 'pic' from here where we enjoyed a well deserved lunch with amazing views. At the summit, there is a cross , where people have left their flags and momentos - we made our own mark and left the Munster flag flying there. Apparently, the USAP team had been up to the summit the week previous with the Bouclier de Brennus ( the Champion de france rugby trophy!)
It was a great achievement for everyone to make it to the top and we look forward to doing it again , maybe taking a different route the next time.
Most people were dreading the descent, but , guided by Christian , we all made it without a hitch.
An ice cool beer was the perfect finalé to a perfect days walking.

Bravo tout le monde!

Contact for walking tours in the Pyrenees