Ooh l a l a

Travel Digest - - FRONT PAGE -

When­ever the French Tourist Of­fice puts on its travel work­shop, you know you are go­ing to be treated to the crème de la crème of travel work­shops and the re­cent event at The Pull­man Auck­land did not dis­ap­point. [ I am pic­tured be­low with two Moulin Rouge cabaret per­form­ers.] If any­thing French comes my way, I am al­ways go­ing to be bi­ased. Hav­ing French an­ces­tors and a French name [ Lor­raine is a re­gion in the north east of France] has been one rea­son. So too has the fact my company Méthode Me­dia was named after Méthode Cham­p­enoise [ sparkling, full bod­ied and el­e­gant], that I drive a French car [ Peu­geot] and a few years’ ago ran the Paris Marathon. There have, need­less to say, been a num­ber of trips to France – in­clud­ing a ski trip to Val d’lsere. When my an­ces­tors ar­rived on a sail­ing ship and em­barked at Akaroa in 1840, they could well have put the French flag up. There was a lot of French in­ter­est in New Zealand at the time and that is why the Bri­tish raced around get­ting sig­na­tures for a Treaty of Wai­tangi and declar­ing our coun­try Bri­tish. Had they not been so fast, New Zealand could well have come un­der French rule, as was the case with our neigh­bour­ing is­lands of Tahiti, Van­u­atu and New Cale­do­nia. The French know a good thing when they see it. To­day they are renown for their fi­nesse and panache. This is es­pe­cially so when it comes to hos­pi­tal­ity and their chateaux, cham­pagne and cou­ture. Now on my bucket list I have a num­ber of French feats to com­plete and th­ese in­clude trekking the Camino de Santiago [ this is an eight week pil­grim­age if you com­plete the whole dis­tance from Saint Jean in France to Santiago in Spain]; cy­cling the Loire Val­ley [ com­plete with French bread stick and bot­tle of wine in the bas­ket]; at­tend­ing the In­sti­tut de Fran­cais [ a month- long course in the South of France to learn to speak like the lo­cals] and then as an avid ten­nis player I would like to go to The French Open ten­nis match at the Roland Gar­ros clay courts. For now there are too many dead­lines to meet, but one day! A more re­cent trip for me has been across the ditch to run in the Syd­ney Run­ning Fes­ti­val and to try out a few phys­i­cal chal­lenges such as stand- up- pad­dle­board yoga, KX Pi­lates and try­ing my hand at cook­ing up a treat at the Syd­ney Seafood School. You can read about my Syd­ney ex­ploits in the De­cem­ber / Jan­uary is­sue of our sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion New Zealand Fit­ness.

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