Happy New Year from Port Chalmers

Bonjour et Bonne Année,
The New Year is zooming past and it’s nearly February already.   At least summer has finally arrived and we trust that you are enjoying the sunshine.
The weather is never predictable, but in France the month of September has been consistently good for as long as we can remember.  This is especially so in Pays-Catalan, in the south-east, where in 218 BC, Hannibal and his elephants crossed the Pyrenees on his way to the Alps.  He was not travelling in peace and this region has seen much conflict since then, even into the 20th century.   Fortified villages, castles and concrete bunkers litter the Cote Vermeille, but they don’t stop it being the jewel of this region, which is still relatively undiscovered, with few foreign visitors.
Collioure streets-(3)
It was discovered by the post-impressionist artists, following a visit to Collioure by Henri Matisse on 1905 and by 1910 the Fauvism movement was born.  Picasso was also attracted by its bright light and colours as was Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who first visited in 1923.
Earlier, Glasgow-born architect and designer C R Mackintosh brought an art nouveau influence to the practical, working-class city of Glasgow with his stimulating blend of organic shapes and Japanese-inspired design.  His masterpiece, the Glasgow School of Art, was tragically destroyed by two fires, but on our Scotland-France tour you will have several opportunities to experience Mackintosh’s work.   We’ll visit the Hunterian Museum, home to the Mackintosh Collection with over 1000 exhibits.  More of his work is at the nearby the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which is Glasgow’s best and biggest museum, housing everything from Mackintosh’s designs to stuffed elephants to medieval armour.
The Lighthouse and the Daily Record building are also on the agenda, as are the famous Willow Tea Rooms, dating back to 1903.   Outside Glasgow the tour includes the magnificent Hill House and the House of an Art Lover as well as visits to the inner isles of Bute and Arran.
Lord of the glen-urquhart-castle copy
After a relaxing, luxury 5 night cruise through the Great Glen from Inverness to Mull, we fly south for the warmth and colour of the Pays Catalan and the Mackintosh Trail.  Panels of Mackintosh’s paintings are displayed where he painted them and on our Scotland-France tour you will discover them and the many sights of this beautiful region, travelling by minibus, on foot, by boat and on a charming tourist train.
The tour starts in Glasgow on 22 September and ends on 11 October in Perpignan, which has good connections north towards Paris, or south to Barcelona.
 
Phone or email for more information/brochures.
Bien cordialement,
Robert & Barbara
BESPOKE FRANCE
Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, NZ
ph (64) 03 472 7856,  freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856