Having always wanted to travel to France, when we heard Jennifer was planning a brocante trip in September 2015 for customers from The French Shop we were absolutely delighted - here was our chance to go with the added benefit of having someone who spoke the language (not to sure my schoolgirl french from 35 years ago would cut the mustard!) and knew their way around France (not to mention shopping for all manner of lovely French things!)
After numerous emails and meetings and talking things through with Jennifer and Geoff, we decided we would arrive a couple of weeks ahead of the brocante tour and explore a little of France by ourselves. By this time our youngest son had decided he would also like to see a little of France, with stopovers in LA and London on the way but would head home before we joined the brocante section of our trip - the thought of fossicking through dusty old things and antique shops was not his idea of a fabulous time!
We arrived in Paris via the Eurostar from London and spent five days exploring the city with the help of Jennifer's walking maps - an excellent way to get to know the city. We then took the train from Paris to Agen where we picked up a rental car and then spent a week travelling through the Dordogne region to the Loire valley, having booked accommodation ahead. Once again we followed Jennifer's advice on places to visit and were not disappointed - the countryside was beautiful, the villages along the way were just gorgeous and the french people we met were friendly, welcoming and helpful.
After having said our goodbyes to our son in Tours, we took the train to Azay-le-Rideau and met up with Jennifer and Geoff and Chris and Tracey our fellow guests. The brocante trip was the icing on our cake! We had the most wonderful time exploring all manner of brocante - from village halls to small and large depots, to antique shops and antique markets, met some very interesting characters!, explored some beautiful chateaus and countryside, had absolutely fabulous meals and fabulous accommodation at the wonderful hunting lodge - very rustic and charming! (loved the fireplace!). We bought some beautiful items, some very interesting items (still looking on the web to see if we can find out more about some of them!) and had just the most wonderful experiences along the way!
Jennifer and Geoff were wonderful hosts - they were very helpful and knowledgeable (we were very pleased to
have their help at the markets!) and we would do it again in a heartbeat! We loved France and know we will go back
and explore more and would love to join them on another brocante tour- the three weeks we were there just wasn't long enough!
Sue and Paul Johns.