FAM Follies

Pedalling Through Provence -- The Rendez-Vous en France Pretour

Approximately 1,000 tour operators and buyers from around the world are in France to attend the Rendez-Vous en France marketplace to meet with suppliers, negotiate deals and learn about the different Provençal products they can offer clients.

Ahead of the two days of networking and negotiating, agents and operators swapped their business hats for something a little more casual…bike helmets.

Our journalist Anna Kroupina and the agents are coming to the end of their four-day FAM trip exploring the charming southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, organized by Atout France and the Tourist Office of Forcalquier.

The region’s rolling hills and rich fragrances invite adventurous travellers to delight their olfactory, gustatory and visual senses in a fun and uncommon way -- by bike.

With the rising popularity of electric bikes, it’s an activity that can easily be enjoyed by almost anyone regardless of age, mobility, fitness level or biking skills.

Discovering a destination by e-bike is a fantastic way to see a new place in a different light and provides opportunity to be active on vacation, as little or as much as one pleases. With the e-bikes's handy electric assistance, you hardly break a sweat going long distances or up steeper slopes. The FAM group embarked on a 25-km bike ride through the twisty roads and spectacular canyon vistas of the Gorges de la Nesque cycling route.

The Provence region is famous for its perfectly picturesque rows of lavender fields, but being situated between the sea and the mountains, the region is actually host to a diverse variety of other plants and herbs that grow in alpine, sea-level and in-between environments. At Aroma Plantes Distillery, visitors can learn all about how essential oils -- including the famous lavender -- are harvested. Pictured is a guide with Aroma Plantes holding a bottle of distilled juniper. At this stage in the process, the essential oil sits on top of the flower water due to its density, making it easy to separate and harvest.

A workshop at Artemisia Museum teaches budding perfumers about the history of perfume, how to properly smell a scent, and the three "notes" of a fragrance -- head notes, high notes and base notes -- before guests open their trunk of essential oils and create their very own one-of-a-kind fragrance. 

The FAM group on a tour in Arcs-sur-Argens, a town located in the Var administrative region known for its preserved medieval town, inviting cobblestone streets and the historical ruins of a 13th century chateau-fort.

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