Anyone else going to Aix-en-Provence in Feb 2018?

This will be my first RS program and I chose this one in Provence.  Anxious to freshen up on my French language skills (or lack thereof) and learn a little French cooking as well.  It would be nice to get to know some of the other participants on this trip and where they are from.

I'm a single lady living outside of Phoenix AZ.  I love to travel and hope to take advantage of the weekends to see some of the places in France that I haven't been to yet.

Hope to hear from my other classmates.


  • Tom and Rose. We are frequent flyers on Road scholar programs. We are from the Adirondack Mountains in Northern New York. One of our favorite things about the programs is the people we meet. We are REALY looking forward to this trip although neither of us speak French. We couldn't get into the language portion of the program but are in the culinary portion. Tom
  • Looking forward to meeting both of you. I will be taking the language portion. I used to speak French fairly well but hope to improve on it since it's been quite awhile. See you in Aix!
  • Bonjour! (wow, 1 word in French - that's my level)

    I'm Doug, I live in Bozeman, MT and have done quite a bit of traveling around the world. Lately, I travel with my wife about 1/2 the time and by myself, the rest. This time I'm getting way outside my comfort zone taking the language track in Aix. I'm a left brain type and languages have always been difficult for me ... in one ear and out the same one, never reaching my brain.

    I love France and have traveled in most of it's regions. 13 days and 60 miles of walking through Paris last April on my own, staying a week in Nice and going all along the nearby coast using the wonderful SNCF 2 years ago, doing a 10 day walking tour in Burgundy with my daughter, plus numerous RS, OAT, and GCT guided trips. I was in Aix 2 years ago (and in 1969) and my wife did her Junior year abroad there in the early 1960's.

    From what I hear, there are 20 people signed up for this experience, 12 of which are on the language track.

    Other tidbits: I've heard there is a rental car facility near our hotel; there is a fairly convenient bus route (I've taken it) which goes to the language course location (near the train station) - for use on rainy days; they say it's a 10-15 min walk to the course location - I'd double that for my speed of walking.

    Question: I've been planning to hop on the airport shuttle bus from the airport to Aix and then walk to the hotel. It might be more efficient (especially in the rain) to get a taxi if 4 or more people want to share. Any interest? I'm arriving in Marseille at 11:40 from Amsterdam on 16Feb on Delta/Air France.

    Also, I'm thinking of sending a box ahead of time to the hotel via UPS or FedEx and bringing a lighter suitcase. Anyone else thinking of that?

    Cheers, Doug
    (aka François Marie Arouet)
  • Doug, thanks for the info regarding the bus and rental cars. That's great to know. I really would like to explore places on the weekends. I'm flying in and out of Paris and taking the train down to Aix. the fare was better and I'm staying a week after the program to visit Strasbourg and then a few days in Paris. Don't worry about your French. I'm sure we all can help you. Looking forward to meeting the group. I'm sure we all will have a great experience!
  • Hi Lanie

    I think you will enjoy the train ride from Paris to Aix. Every time I'm in Europe I require a TGV fix! In April, I took the train from Sicily to Paris; 2 Italian trains (1 overnighter) and the French TGV from Turin to Paris. Yup, Sicily is an island ... train rolled onto a ferry, then rolled off on the mainland ... neat experience!

    By the way, the TGV station in Aix is a ways out of town. The regular (non TGV) train station in Aix is about a 1/2 block from where we'll have our language courses; a bit of a walk to our hotel. It's probably too long a walk with luggage.

    Cheers, Doug
  • Hi Doug,
    I totally understand your need for a TGV fix. My first train in Europe was when I was 16 and I have quite a story for you when we all get there. I wish we had the same great transportation system here in the US. The TGV system sure makes things fast and easy. I also have a trip to Lyon booked for one of the weekends and possibly another one to Dijon, so I'll be using the trains regularly.

    Getting excited for this trip!
    Au Bientot!
  • Lanie, I am single and also hope to explore surrounding areas on the free weekends. I confess that I've not looked into it, much, yet. I am also taking the language program. I'm flying into Marseilles on Thursday the 15th, a day early. I've taken a number of RS programs and have loved them all. Is your Lyon trip a day trip? Overnight?
  • Hi Lanie,

    I did this program last year and have signed up again for February 2018. It was wonderful! Last year the group connected with a local guide who arranged various day trips out of Aix during free time. I don't know whether they would do that again. I'm interested in going to Avignon for a weekend, if you would like to do that. I'm a retired lawyer, divorced with grown daughters, living in Madison Wisconsin. It will be warm in Aix in February!.

  • Hi Susan,

    I will be getting into Aix on February 14, two days early. If you will be in Aix on the 15th, let's look for each other at the hotel.

  • Definitely. I'm heading out the door right now. More later. My personal email is
  • Hi Janet,
    Avignon is a great weekend spot. Let's definitely look at it when we get there. I'm glad to hear how much you liked the program last year! I'm very excited for this trip. Looking forward to making a few friends that like to travel as much as I do!
  • Hi all,

    A couple of thoughts after following this discussion board:

    1. Weather in Provence: Yes it will be warmer than MN but be prepared for the Mistral ... combined with higher humidity (than Montana) it can turn dramatically colder in a matter of minutes. If you happen to be in Arles or Avignon along the Rhone, then you might have trouble standing and/or walking.
    2. Both Arles and Avignon are worthwhile weekend destinations, I would choose Arles over Avignon, especially the Antiquities museum on the outskirts of Arles.
    3. Gordes was well worth a long look in 1969 but it's gone rather touristy now (gentrification). Still a great place if you also dock your 100+ ft. yacht in Monaco. If you do go in that direction then Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque is worth a stop.
    4. I'm planning a weekend in Marseille. The transformation taking place there since the drug wars of the 1960's-1980 is truly amazing. If you do go there, stay alert. I had my wallet (in a secure "hidden" zipped pocket) lifted at Notre Dame. Amazingly, all the wallet's contents (minus the Euros) were returned to me by the church admin about 3 weeks later after I had returned to the US. I'm planning to do some hiking/walking in the Calanques while in Marseille. To me, Marseille is a must see!
    5. I've also scoped out local trips to Roman sites in Velaux, Meyrargues, and a climb of Mont Sainte Victoire from the north side. All these are accessible by local bus routes.

    I have to be careful about inviting company on these excursions due to my physical limitations. I'm a pretty slow walker but am very persistent. My slow walking is due to about an 80% loss of feeling in both legs below my knees plus a triple bypass. You'll identify me by my trekking poles. My persistence comes from being a mountain climber, ski mountaineer, backpacker, etc. in my former life. Such is life ...

    That's my thought for now ... looking forward to this adventure in a few weeks!
    Cheers, Doug
  • Bonsoir to you all,
    My name is Diane and am very much looking forward to joining you on this journey in Provence. I am enrolled in the French language and culinary courses -- for the complete cultural immersion! I would like to see some places I have not been before (Lyon, the Languedoc region), as well as those I previously visited (Arles, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Avignon).

    I arrive the morning of February 16, from Washington, DC via Paris at 11:15 am (Air France). I plan to take a taxi to Aix. Is anyone interested in sharing the ride?

    Doug, I see that you will be arriving at around the same time, so if you would like, we can arrange to meet at the MRS airport. As you said, more efficient than taking the train.

    Janet, very intriguing that you have enrolled in the program 2 years in succession. I look forward to hearing about your previous experience.

    My email is – for several weeks I was unable to get to our trip discussion board – I was getting error messages - from the RS web site. RS has fixed it, but just in case, feel free to email me directly.

    Look forward to meeting you all in person. À bientôt.
  • My husband, John, and I participated in this program in fall of 2016, and we’re looking forward to another wonderful experience. We also arrive on Feb 14 flying from our home in Claremont CA. We are in the language program, but some of the cultural outings sure look enticing.
  • Hi Diane and Linda, It's nice to have more people in the conversation. Sounds like we now have several repeat participants in the program. Nice to see. Looking forward to meeting everyone.