CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- What's it like to live in a far-off place most of us see only on a vacation? Foreign Correspondence is an interview with someone who lives in a spot you may want to visit.
Judi Janofsky, 64, is an Asheville, N.C.-based travel writer who with her husband, Rich Steck, operates Provence Escapes (www.ProvenceEscapes.com), a company that organizes small-group tours in southern France. The couple spend a month to six weeks a year in the region.
Q: Why Provence?
A: We've been going there for almost 20 years. We vacationed there, got to know the area and would bring friends and relatives to share the experience. They suggested we start a tour business. Now, about 80 percent of participants are repeat guests, so we change our Provence tour each year. This year we're also adding Dordogne, in southwest France.
Q: What brings them back?
A: The nice thing about Provence is that there are so many picturesque villages, vineyards and historical sites in a small geographic area. You could theoretically spend a whole month in just the Luberon area, or venture beyond to the Alps and the French Riviera. We try to create a theme year. This year, it's "How the Mediterranean Area Influenced Artists," such as Monet, Cezanne, Matisse and Chagall.
@rag:Until the late 19th century, most artists painted in large urban areas, like Paris, that were gray and gritty. But Provence has wide-open spaces, long days of sunlight, bright blue skies and the Mediterranean. Seeing this area changed the way they painted -- from dark, moody works to pleasing paintings that reflected Provence's landscape.