Ooh l a l a
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.