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The Sippers' Forward Guard: Mary Ann's First Week in Provence

on Wed, 06/19/2013 - 07:46

It's Wednesday so we're with our guest bloggers, the  Sketchers in Provence.  Mary Ann Miller, the leader of this group has been there nearly a week.  Before she left, her friend Maggie, an artist who lives in Provence, and in who's home the group will be painting one afternoon sent this picture of her and her surroundings, to give the group a sense of what they were coming to!

Mary Ann wasted no time, going to Roussilon, one of the favorite destinations for painters because of its stunning red earth,  and working "en plein air"

She also stocked up on some of the "necessities of life" at

mtaussig's picture

Untourists of the Week: Carole & Ivan Edelman

on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 17:07
Here are Carol & Ivan!

1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

Our lastest Untour was to Paris last spring. We stayed in the Daguerre (sp) apt for two weeks and loved it! The street market around the corner was wonderful and we enjoyed shopping for great things to eat each day. The metro stop was within one block and we got quite good at getting ourselves around. We explored as many of the suggested places as we could and we took 3 or 4 Paris walks. We had also arranged a side trip to the landing beaches in Normandy and stayed in Bayeau for one night. It was truly a trip to remember.

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Untourists of the Week: Elsa and Raymond Heald

on Thu, 03/21/2013 - 09:13
Raymond Heald, Untours

1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

It was a dream vacation: 8 days on the Variety Voyager, the sleek 73-passenger yacht that put us ashore at the fabled ports of Capri, Lipari, Malta, plus 4 ports in Sicily. Then, a train ride to the sparkling Cinque Terre for 4 nights and a heavenly 2 weeks in the fabulous Bonalumi apartment in Locarno, with a breathtaking view of Lake Maggiore.

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Untourists of the Week: Pat and Jack Cruser

on Wed, 12/12/2012 - 09:44
Untourists, Untours,

How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?

"Practically speaking, taking an Untour means no group travel warnings like “Have your bags in the hall by 0530,” “Breakfast is served from 0630 to 0815,” “Be on the bus by 0745,” and it means no searching for an apartment on line, no harried transport from the airport or train station, and no nervousness from being in a foreign country with or without the language. And it means knowing that should the need arise, the local Untours representative is at hand for any emergency: health problems, accident, locked doors, or stolen passport—only one of which afflicted us, but which we saw involve other Untourists.

An Untour means being free to have late coffee, to stay in comfortable surroundings if the weather is nasty, to shop in markets as the locals do for food without bar codes and, more importantly, to immerse oneself in the local culture as much as any foreigner can. Untourists’ local encounters are not limited to tour guides or tourist hustlers, but provide the chance to meet local residents in their everyday surroundings--in their bistros, museums, galleries, or concerts."

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The Brains Behind French (and French Canadian) Untours

on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:33
Untours Canada and Untours France Staff Members, Dodge Amaral and Mia Lehmann

As we March ahead with 2012, I feel it is important to introduce you to the terrific two that make Untours France and Untours Quebec City so incroyable and filled with that, how do you say?, je ne sais quoi. Meet Dodge Amaral and Mia Lehmann!

If you're even entertaining the thought of going to France or Quebec City, it is essential that you talk to these two.

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Adam Gopnik, and other love-hate phenomena related to France.

on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 10:43

You probably know if you are one of those travelers infected with a permanent case of wanderlust. It starts with an infatuation with the place when you first arrive, and continues as you find yourself fantasizing how marvelous life would be if only you could stay. The unspoken question lurking is: could I live here?. Some of us never stop asking this question, but we're probably the exceptions. I think many people love travel but would never consider uprooting their whole lives to go live in a foreign country. However, nearly all the published travel essays are the product of people who did just that: dropped everything and moved to a place they'd fallen in love with. We reviewed some of our favorites here last week. But we left one out: Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon (2001)

Fair warning: you either love Gopnik or your don't. I am one of the lovers. The basic premise is that Gopnik, a writer for The New Yorker, flees to Paris with his family to save his young son from the insidious influence of Barney the dinosaur. He had me at " I hate Barney".

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Paris Just Feels Right

on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:27

"The first time I went to Paris, I was barely out of college. I graduated on May 21 and was at Montreal's international airport on May 22 to head out for a 5-week backpacking tour of Western Europe.

At that point in my life, I naïvely wanted to see as much as humanly possible in those 5 weeks. I wasn't sure when (or if) I'd ever make it back to Europe so my plan was to just check things off my list.

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Untourist of the Week: Bill Parnell

on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 10:36

Our first night back in Paris, we decided "Frog Legs" would be fine. So off to a restaurant on Rue Mouffetard we went and when we entered the restaurant, the owner came running to us and said "I haven't seen you in a long time!" We explained that we were in the States and had just returned. She said, "The Madame drinks champagne and you, Monsieur, drink a Kir, is that correct?" It was placed on the table we had in prior years.