Tuesday, March 24, 2009

International Journalist visit

What an exciting week for FAB PO - we were on National French Radio, photographed for the local Perpignan newspaper ( L'Independent) and we also hosted two international journalists on a trip to the FAB Pyrenees Orientales.

Arriving on Tuesday , we collected them from nearby airport Girona (http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/The_French_Tour_Co.html) and drove the short drive to the PO. They stayed in the beautifully restored Chai Catalan (http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Le_Chai_Catalan.html ) where they were welcomed by Pascale Jacquot for a delicious night cap of Domaine Treloars wine and catalan nibblies.

Wednesday morning, we headed off for Fuilla where the journalists met Penny Stratham from Fuilla in her beautifully restored gites at the foothills of the Pyrenees : http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Les_Hirondelles_in_Fuilla_.html.
She accompanied them for lunch in the fortified town of Villefranche sur Conflent and then they took the yellow train to Les Bains de St Thomas where they plunged into the hot pools and enjoyed a relaxing hammam.
They shared an apperitif with Erik Gunderson from Village Catalan in Vernet les Bains, after which they were wined and dined with their genial hosts , Tiffany and Dave at Bistrot le Cortal in the picturesque spa town, Vernet les Bains : http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Bistrot_Le_Cortal.html
With full bellies and tired but happy, they slept like babies in the gorgeous B&B in Prades, owned by Northern Irish couple, Declan and Sharon O'Kane : http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Maison_225.html

Thursday morning, the invited journalists woke up to yet another glorious day in the Pyrenees Orientales with temperatures hitting the mid 20s. A prefect day for a motorcycle tour in the mountains. Roland Thomas of Fenouilledes Motos ( http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Motorbikes.html ) with the help of Erik Gunderson chaperoned them through the stunning scenery just north of Perpignan.
They stopped off in L'Auberge de Cellier in Montner where the chef matched his courses to local English wine maker, Corin Fairchilds wine : http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Domaine_Vella_Frontera.html. In typical french fashion, the meal went on for three hours and great fun was had by all.
No rest for the wicked, they were whisked into Perpignan where they met with Florence Sobra of Alfmed and chaperoned to a soirée in Canet. Canet is about 10 kms from Perpignan, a sandy beach with nice bars and restaurants ; we enjoyed a very sociable night in the Mar in Bouddha and watched the sun set behind the mountains.

With still more treats in store and the sun shining down on us, we visited Domaine Treloar on Friday( http://www.fab-po.com/acatalog/Domaine_Treloar.html ) where we took part in a wine tour and indulged in some fine wines with our delicious lunch.
A short hop to Collioure for oysters and champagne and then , reluctantly, we said goodbye to Gemma Tipton ( Irish Times) and Brian campbell ( Irish news)

What a trip!

"Thanks again for hosting us on what was an amazing trip - it really was the best press trip I've been on! Everyone was so lovely and helpful and the itinerary had a bit of everything! It's a fantastic part of the world and I definitely plan to go back." Brian Campbell, Irish News

Friday, March 20, 2009

On the radio, radio, radio

France Inter were interviewing Irish people all week on National French Radio to coincide with Paddys Day. I was up on Monday as president of FAB PO and put on the spot with a few tricky questions .. I'll post the link as soon as I have it myself and you can listen to my jolie accent en français!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next

Borrowing the Queenslands tourism slogan, this sums up the weather here at the moment as we wake up every day to clear blue skies and sunny warm weather.

Temperatures in the mid 20s over the weekend led us to pic nics on the beach and idylic days overlooking 'Le Grand Bleu", watching the yachts swanning around and sipping our cool "l'eau catalan" ( rosé)

Ahhh, as my lovely Uncle Terence would say : it's great to be alive!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cancer Support France

At our last meeting, Penny Parkinson, an English lady living in the Pyrenees Orientales chatted to us about her association : Cancer Support France.
It's a non profit making organisation set up to help people who have cancer or whose loved one has cancer.
Recently set up in the Pyrenees Orientales, they are looking to gain exposure to the English speaking community - if English speakers are unaware of their existence, they cannot do their stalwart work.
They provide a help line and will get back to your call within 24 hours.
Most of the counsellors have had cancer themselves or have nursed others with cancer. All are volunteers and all have had training in counselling.
It costs just 10euros to join and you should contact Penny at <frank@med-and-mountain.com>, - the national website is http://www.cancersupportfrance.info/

Exciting Times!

FAB PO , since it's first meeting on a sweaty June 08 evening in Café des Artistes in Laroque des Alberes, has gone from strength to strength.

Now, with over 100 members, we meet at least once a month, to network, refer business to each other and to plan FAB PO events. Usually a glass of wine or two is involved ( we are in the South of France , after all!!!)

At the moment, we are all pulling together to organise a press trip next week ( 17 to 20 March). We have a group of international journalists visiting the area and are planning on giving them the time of their life.

They will eat in FAB restaurants like Bistrot le Cortal in Vernet les Bains, stay in delux accommodation ( Chai Catalan in Ortaffa and Les Hirondelles in Fuilla) and meet most of the FAB PO team while they are here. Roland Thomas from Fenouilledes Motos is going to take them for a motorcycle ride in the mountains and they will be wined in the award winning Domaine Treloar.

The journalists will tour around with moi ( Karen from the French Tour Co) as we visit the three gorgeous valleys in the region.

Our FAB PO soirée on Thursday 20th March promises to be a great night out in a rooftop bar overlooking the med. There are rumours that Dan Carter might even make an appearance.

Watch this space .......