Happy February! Thank you for all your comments and emails and all about my last post. I appreciate your prayers and encouragement! It really is true that to know you're not alone in what you face is really helpful, so thank you!
Most of my time the last few days has been taken up by three things - getting ready for my classes and travels in France next week (Version Scrap Lyon); ordering product samples, dreaming about new classes, and setting up my class schedule for the spring; and planning our trip to France in March/April when I am there for Version Scrap Paris.
We like to travel a little bit on our way to Paris for my classes - the only requirement is that I end up back in Paris easily and that it not require too much lugging luggage (is that where luggage got its name? lugging??) around and that it not be too expensive. We had such a perfect time in Provence last year and that set a high standard for what we would do this year! We loved staying in one place and going out for "adventures" each day. (Remember we stayed at La Madone in Apt last year.) We LOVED Provence (I really never posted much about this - I need to go back and do that someday) and I thought about going back there, but as I read different travel forums, a new area - to me - caught my eye.
Before I tell you what we're going to do, I'll share my thought process... we thought of all that places we'd like to go - Italy (Venice, Lake Como, Milan), Germany (Munich and Bavaria), Belgium (Brugge), Switzerland and Ireland and Scotland and Spain - there are so many wonderful places to see! When there are so many options, it can get really confusing! Finally I thought about what I truly want to do and each of these places just seemed like too much work - I spent hours looking at airfares and train schedules, trying to figure out the transportation from country to country, hauling my luggage on and off trains - I just couldn't find a way to make it work and feel comfortable about it. It would be different if we were flying straight to a destination and having a vacation there, but when I need to end up in Paris and work, then it adds a different element to the planning.
As I was reading in the France forums on Fodor's and Trip Advisor, I came across some threads about the Dordogne region in France. This is where we thought would be perfect for what we're looking for! We're flying into Toulouse and then driving to the area around Sarlat.
This map gives you an idea of where I'm referring to - the star on the map of France shows where this area is in relation to Paris. I read about the beautiful countryside, the amazing drives, the chateaus, the river to canoe on, and lots more, I felt like this could be a great place for us to explore. It looks gorgeous! For several nights of our stay, we'll be here...
In this room (for 84 euros per night!) ...
We'll enjoy a home baked breakfast each day and then go out so see what discoveries we can find! It can be tricky finding a good place to stay - I rely on the recommendations on the forums and on Trip Advisor. I was very happy to have our first choice near Sarlat available. We are also staying one night on our way to that area in Albi. My first choice in Albi wasn't available, so I've booked another and will just hope it's a good one!
Eventually we'll make our way to Paris, stay in the city a couple nights before we head to Vincennes for the event.
People often ask me how I plan a trip - it starts with lots of reading! Know what you want and expect and like to do and then find people who seem to have experienced what you would like on the forums. I started my own thread once I had it narrowed down and asked some questions. People who live there or travel there often give wonderful advice and recommendations. (For example, I have a list of brocantes to check out that someone gave me on the Fodor's forum.)
One of the coolest things that happened after I'd discovered this area was that I posted about it on Facebook and found out that my daughter in law Rebecca and her family lived in this exact area when she was little - she's even canoed in the river (and lost a piece of jewelry there!) Wow - out of the whole world, we'll be in that same place. I can't wait to take photos and share them with her and her mom!
I'm off to work on my to-do list! Have a beautiful day and a great weekend!
Do you have any travel planning tips? Where do you start when you're planning a trip?