the mfch tours and why it’s fun to travel again

by Sharon Santoni

This year, we are thrilled to be able to offer our MFCH Tours again! I recently came back from Provence, having spent a week with our guests in a gorgeous boutique hotel in the heart of the beautiful village of Lourmarin.

Today I leave for the Dordogne, in preparation for our very first Dordogne Tour. This trip will be all about gardens, and we’ll visit some truly amazing properties in the region. As well as the larger, well-known gardens, we will also get to see some private homes, exploring the grounds in the company of the actual owner and garden creator.

During our MFCH Tours, we tend to unite some really fascinating women. Often they arrive as single travellers, without having met any of the other guests before the start of the trip. I’m always very admiring of our clients, especially those travelling alone. They often read about the MFCH Tours via this blog or hear about them on social media, or sometimes they join via one of our Tour partners, such as Sandra Sigman of Les Fleurs in Andover, MA, but it is still an act of faith to get on a plane and join a group of other travellers. They trust us to create a beautiful and interesting tour, and we aim to live up to their expectations… and then some!

And frankly, it has to be said, there is something special about a group of women – hitherto strangers – coming together for a week of pure indulgence in a common joie de vivre. We are here to discover, to learn and to enjoy every minute. While touring together we talk a lot, we listen to each other without judgement. We ask for advice, we share our dreams, our hopes and our realities in a way that never fails to surprise me. Real friendships are forged during these tours, and to my huge delight, we regularly see clients returning again and again.

When I create the itineraries for our different tours, I dig deep into my address book and arrange for private visits of exceptional homes and gardens, as well as the occasional class in floral art, cooking or perfume creation. I work on the principal that anywhere we visit can be made even more interesting when guided by an expert. A beautiful garden is always a joy, but when you walk around the property in the company of an owner – one who has chosen and planted each and every single rose and clipped every box topiary – who shares a vision for the year to come… that is when the magic happens.

We plan our tours always looking for the right balance in the choice of activities. In fact, I create tours based on what I would love to do if I was travelling with a girlfriend. It has to remain unique and interesting while feeling luxurious; our clients simply sit back and enjoy. The MFCH Provence Tour was our first tour of the season, one of a total of six on the schedule this year, some led by myself and others led by Stéphanie and Natalie (who are on the MFCH team and well used to making sure that everything goes swimmingly)>

In today’s world of instant gratification and busy schedules, I like to think that the MFCH Tours provide an interlude to our fast living. A moment when to-do lists are forgotten as we explore and learn and discover. Slow living … in France .. in good company and often with a glass of champagne. Days well filled without feeling rushed. Time to enjoy without ever getting bored.

A final word about Covid. It is the MFCH policy to request that our clients are fully vaccinated in order to join a tour. The best way to keep up with rules and regulations for travelling to France is via the governmental site here.

Our upcoming tours to Dordogne and Provence in May and June are fully booked, but we are already taking bookings for 2023. Alternatively we have a couple of places remaining on our MFCH Brocante Tour in September, which takes place in Normandy and Paris.

You can see all information on our Tour page HERE!

11 comments

Leslie in Oregon May 13, 2022 - 10:01 pm

Maybe you could have a trip for dog lovers on which Ghetto and Gibson, two wonderful dogs, joined us. It could be a walking trip in which we go on walks, or walk to places, that Ghetto and Gibson, as well as the humans on the trip, would enjoy. There is nothing like exploring with dogs.

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Sharon Santoni May 15, 2022 - 7:15 pm

Gibson and Ghetto would absolutely love you for suggesting that! 🙂

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Judy from Texas May 14, 2022 - 5:57 am

What are the Covid rules for Americans coming into France? My husband and I are not vaccinated. My husband is a physician, and because of studying Covid from the beginning, he followed the frontline doctors who were treating Covid patients. He found out about the medications that were saving peoples lives that the government was hiding from the public. He also found out how dangerous the vaccine’s are as per heart problems and destroying your natural immunity. We both are in our middle 70”s and we have had Covid twice with no problems because we were on the correct medications and vitamins. We understood that France was demanding a Covid passport, so is that true? For 40 years we have traveled to France 2 to 3 times a year. We both are very disappointed if we cannot return because of a stupid Covid Passport. Please let us know.

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Linda May 14, 2022 - 1:06 pm

Judy-I agree totally with your comment about the vaccine-we also have done our research and will not take it-so many unknowns…we go to Europe every year and hope these sanctins are lifted so we can start our travel again!

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Robin Alley May 14, 2022 - 4:22 pm

Hi Judy,
I completely agree with you. I have friends in the medical field and I’ve done a lot of research myself. I too do not want the vaccine (or to wear a mask everywhere, especially on a once in a lifetime trip to France). I have a strong immunity system and have had a mild case of Covid (between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year when everyone got it) and did just fine. I’ve had the antibody test done and have more antibodies for Covid than someone with multiple vaccines. I do hope the whole travel industry takes all of this into consideration when making their “rules” for traveling again.

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Joanne May 14, 2022 - 8:22 pm

Please keep your MAGA disinformation to yourself.

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Karen May 14, 2022 - 11:31 pm

Joanne,
I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU and I know many others who do as well…thank goodness!!!!
It’s a crime that there are people, especially physicians and/or politicians, who put out information that has caused and will continue to cause serious, if not fatal, consequences as a result of Covid. My husband is a physician and I am a researcher. Not everyone has been so “lucky” as these other ladies to be protected by “their natural immunity and vitamins”!

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nana May 16, 2022 - 3:48 pm

how do you know it is misinformation? Just curious.

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Sharon Santoni May 15, 2022 - 7:19 pm

HI Judy, the best thing is to consult a governmental site to keep up with any latest developments. Each person is free to do as they choose regarding the vaccination, but for our tours, we request that our clients be fully vaccinated for the safety and comfort of all.
I know this may not be what you want to hear, but as a tour organiser, we have a responsibility towards each of our clients to be as careful as possible. Kindly, Sharon

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Cate Tuten May 15, 2022 - 6:49 pm

I would like to add to this discussion. My husband is also a physician and has a totally different take. Covid is real and people did die from it, but so is the flu real and hundreds of thousands die from it every year. There is a flu vaccine, but never has it been made mandatory. The mandatory Covid vaccine was a liberal ploy. It was and is not the cure-all it was shamelessly purported to be. I had a very bad case of Covid and was hospitalized, but the reason my case did not run amuck was because the year before I had a mild case of Covid. I had built up natural immunity. We should have all been allowed to build up immunity if we so chose. The vaccine has proven it is not all that it was hyped up to be by the fact that people still got Covid, by the fact that several vaccine companies are now recalling their Covid vaccine due to serious complications. I’m not against vaccines; but to say it’s a crime to dispute it or to blame physicians for “putting out false information” is just plain wrong. There were many schools of professional thought. Yet, the one I follow is Covid “theology ” was political nonsense meant to scare us and divide.

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