Frequently asked questions

Celebrating a cooking success!

Trip schedules

When are the next trips?

SPRING 2015:

May 11 to June 22, 2015

FALL 2015:

September 14 to October 19, 2015

How often do you offer those trips?

Every spring and fall, usually in May and June as well as September and October

How long are the trips?

The trips are per week. Most people stay 2 weeks, some 1 week, and some 3 weeks.

2 weeks is ideal because it allows time to really explore the region beyond the very well-known places.

TRANSPORTATION

Where should I fly?

The best is to fly to Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and then catch a fast train (TGV train) to Nimes.

People have also being flying to Marseilles, Barcelona, and then rented a car or caught a train to Nimes.

What are the best ways to buy my airline or train ticket?

It will make your life much easier if you ask a travel agent to do it for you. The small extra cost will really be worth your time and save you potential headaches! 

Do you have a travel agent to recommend?

Kathy Roth from At Leisure Travel, is highly recommended by Martine. Kathy is an experienced and reliable travel agent who has arranged transportation for many of Martine’s guests in the past. Her professionalism and kindness are superb, and people were always very satisfied with her services. She can be reached at Tel: 650 854 1548, e-mail kroth@atleisuretravel.com.

How do I get to the villa?

It will be your responsibility to get to the villa. Most people rent and share a car with other guests at Nimes railways station, and drive to the villa 45 minutes away. Directions will be given to you when you will register with France with Martine.

Where is the train leaving from CDG airport or Paris Lyon railways station?

Both railways stations have fast trains (TGV) for Nimes.

If you plan to fly to Paris (CDG) and to come to the villa the same day, you will catch a TGV train for Nimes from CDG airport.

If you plan to spend one or more nights in Paris before you come to the villa, then you should catch a TGV train from Gare de Lyon in Paris to head for Nimes.

Do I need to rent a car?

Transportation is not included. Most guests rent a car with other guests and share the cost. Martine connects people who would like to share a car.

You have several choices for transportation during your stay:

  • You can rent your own car
  • You can rent a car with other guests
  • You can ride 5 days/week with Martine (up to 4 people), $150/person
  • You can ride 5 days/week with Martine in a van (5 to 8 people), 5 people = $180/person, 6 people = $170/person, 7 people = $160/person, 8 people = $150/person, + gas

Should I spend a night in Paris?

This is a personal choice, depending on how much time you have.

Guests in the past often said that they wished they had spent most of their vacation with “France with Martine” in the South of France.

How far from Paris?

With the fast TGV train, it takes 2:45 hour from Paris to Nimes railways station, and another 45 minutes to drive to the villa.

Driving on the freeway from Paris to the villa, no stop, just to get gas …, takes between 7 and 8 hours.

Lavender in the villa garden

MISC.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, it is required to get a travel & trip cancellation insurance that will protect guests in the event of missed connections or cancellations, including lost deposits, as well as coverage for health, accident, lost luggage, belongings etc.

I don’t speak French, is that a problem?

Not at all! Martine, your native host and guide is bi-lingual, and will be happy to alleviate the language barrier for you as often as needed.

Where do we stay?

You will stay in a lovely, quiet and comfortable Mediterranean villa among olive trees and lavender, with a beautiful panoramic view, a pool, petanque court (Bocce ball), ping-pong table, and volley ball/badminton field.

Are the meals included?

Breakfast is included.

Lunches are eaten where day trips are bringing us, in local authentic restaurants, delicious and affordable. Each guest pays for his own meal.

Dinner follow the same formula if taken on the road. When taken at the villa, it is possible for guests to buy food, cook, and share the cost.

Can I share a bedroom with a friend?

Absolutely, if you bring a friend, then it is $1,200 per person/week instead of $1,500.

Can I have my private room?

Yes, cost is for single occupancy.

Do I need to bring Euros?

Yes, it is wise to arrive with at least 100 euros. You always want to have some local cash with you. You could also exchange more money upon your arrival at the airport. The exchange rate might be high.

Will my credit card work in France?

European credit cards have a chip, most American ones don’t. Make sure to bring with you several credit cards AND debit cards.

Sometimes a credit card work at some places and not at others. Debit cards seem to work better.

Could I get cash with my credit card?

Yes, at Banks tellers. Make sure to bring several Credit cards and Debit cards with you.

Do I need a visa with my passport?

Make sure to ask long enough before your departure. It can change depending on political situations.

How will the weather be?

Normally, very similar to Northern California weather, just a little warmer in Summer and a little colder in Winter.

Will we be able to go to the Mediterranean?

Absolutely, and you could swim in the Mediterranean if you would like to.

Cookie shop

WHAT TO BRING

Do I need to bring a hair-dryer?

No, there is one in each bathroom at the villa.

Are washer and dryer available?

Yes.

Do I need a special plug?

Yes, to plug your American devices you need to buy in the US a plug for France. Not all  countries in Europe have the same plugs. You will not be able to find adapter plugs in France, make sure to buy one before you departure from the States.

Is there WI-FI at the villa where we are staying?

Yes, there is Wi-Fi at the villa.

Are the linen and towels provided?

Yes, linen is provided, including towels.

Can I buy shampoo, skincare, etc there?

Yes, you will find locally good shampoo, skincare, and everything you might need.

What kind of clothes and shoes should I bring?

Make sure to bring clothes for warm or hot days as well as rainy days. Bring comfortable shoes for walking and hiking. It is wise to take a jacket or a raincoat with you.

Should I bring an umbrella?

It is always handy to bring with you a small folding umbrella … just in case!

SOUVENIRS

Can I bring back wine with me? How many bottles?

Yes. You must check again the regulation at the time of travel, as regulation could change. Customs has been allowing two bottles per person.

What kind of local crafts might I be willing to purchase?

You might find treasures at the flee-market, or bring back wonderful pieces of local crafts, as pottery, fabric, linen, jewels, wines, canned food specialties, clothes, soaps, essential oils, scarves, etc.

Weight per luggage allowed in the plane?

Airlines are very strict about luggage weight and charge high fees for every lb above required weight. You must check with your Airline before departure, and with each airline if you have connecting flights with different airlines. Different airlines have different requirements. Don’t assume that what works for one will work for all other airlines.

HEALTH AND FOOD

I am vegetarian, will that be a problem?

No, most restaurants will be happy to follow your diet requirements.

Not a problem at the villa if you let Martine know in advance.

I cannot eat gluten, will that be a problem?

No, most restaurant will accommodate your gluten-free diet. A lot of gluten-free food is available in the grocery stores.

Could I attend a cooking class? What would be the cost?

Yes, Martine offers an optional cooking class at the villa once a week. There is no charge except for the cost of food. We go to the farmer’s market, cook a storm, and savor it for dinner. Martine can also organize for you a wonderful cooking class with Chef extraordinaire. You have to let Martine know when you register. The cost is about 100 Euros for ½ day class including a memorable gourmet meal!

DON’T FORGET!

  • Your passport, make sure it has not expired
  • To check if you need a visa
  • Your medicines
  • Your glasses
  • Your camera or camcorder
  • Your credit cards, debit cards
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • An extra empty bag to bring back items and souvenirs you might buy

 

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