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in the media & testimonials - picnics in provence

Tricia Welsh's story on Picnics in Provence which appears in the current issue of Holidays for Couples magazine. PDF Download


Very occasionally you come across something out of the ordinary - Picnics in Provence at Kathryn Irelands house is just that. The location in the Tarn et Garonne is perfect. Add wonderful food (cooked by an English chef who was also a great raconteur and pianist ), organic wine (good for the head!), great company and laughs by the bucket full, local attractions and one off experiences - you can be sure you have discovered heaven on earth. The wonderful thing is, this is not the end - it will continue again next year for some other lucky people. I hope I am one of them.

Cath Thorburn, Travel Agent, ETM Travel, Melbourne

I am a Travel Agent of many years. I have just participated in one of Nikki's tours and have to say it is one of the best things I have undertaken in my years in the travel industry. I hope to participate in another tour next year. We stayed at Kathryn Ireland's house near Toulouse which was great...we had a cooking class, painting class and a hot air balloon ride. The food was amazing; our chef Mathew an English gentleman cooked up some amazing dishes. I have no hesitation in recommending this product.

Pat Craig – Managing Director – Craig's Travel Service Armadale, Victoria, Australia

If there's such a place as heaven on earth, it's spending a week at Kathryn Ireland's French farmhouse in southwest France with Nikki Maxwell taking care of every detail of our stay!  Kathryn's home was not just filled with her fabulous fabrics but also with her family memories and photos, making our experience both exquisite and exceedingly comfortable.  

Nikki made the trip so special.  She planned every aspect of our stay - from fabulous food and wine to trips to the local markets, wineries and towns to sculpture lessons from a French artist - making it look effortless. Those travellers who joined us were second to none so that every meal and day trip was an adventure and so much fun.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime for us!

Mary Trigg Johnson

As the name suggests, Provence has been the main focus of Nikki's exclusive guided tours and gastronomic explorations. That was until she met international interior designer Kathryn Ireland and traveled to the Tarn et Garonne region of France. Convinced that Kathryn's lovingly restored home was the perfect backdrop for an eight-day getaway, an itinerary was planned. Why limit picnics to only one beautiful region of the country?

Thanks to Nikki's passion and enthusiasm, every day we were offered a unique chance to explore the countryside. No two days were the same. Picnics, yes. Pampering, absolutely. Each morning I awoke to the sounds of crowing roosters (no alarm clock), streams of sunlight, a glorious breakfast and friendly faces. And at the end of the day my bed was turned down with little gifts.

True to Nikki's motto "Unspoilt France off the Beaten Track" staying at Kathryns travelling with Nikki provided a rare opportunity to relax, recharge and drink lots of local wine. It was indeed a wonderful week.

Ronda Carman All the Best Blog

"Picnics in Provence is  the best house party - a  bunch of people from all corners of the globe  staying in the home of  international designer Kathryn Ireland united by a love of good food and beautiful countryside . Nothing was too much trouble for hostess of Picnics in Provence calm Nikki Maxwell and her serene helpers who were extremely sensitive to their guest's needs, conversation and partying if appropriate, as well as preparing fabulous food and choosing delicious local wines.  The point of these tours to get you into places you wouldn't normally be able to see and the local friends of Kathryn and Nikki didn't disappoint –a picnic by a huge private lake, a visit to a small vineyard and the best local restaurants as well as a sculpture class where all of us  interpreted the naked human form in clay with varying degrees of success; all such fun!"

Hugh St Clair The Lady Magazine London

“Thank you so much Nikki for the most wonderful ten days in Provence, that lovely part of beautiful France.  I have travelled to France many times and never before been to those ‘secret places' you shared with us.  The visits to the wineries, the picnic in the vineyard, the river walk, the cooking class with the local, very talented chef Johannes in his restaurant kitchen and then enjoying the lunch we prepared under the plane trees - with the filtered sun shining - so relaxing - just divine - such memorable and great days. 

It was lovely to be able to share it all with a group of enthusiastic like minded ‘foodies' too.  The experience with ‘Picnics' was very special - the beautiful villa, the hidden treasures of restaurants and some of the best dining experiences I have ever had in France.  With your French language skills, your knowledge of the food and wine added to my enjoyment of the trip.  I would like to do it all again very soon.”

Tonya Jennings, Chef and owner of On the Ridge Cooking School

A unique and extraordinatory experience.  Nikki's local knowledge and friendly, relaxed style meant we met people and experienced things that we would never have found travelling ourselves.  The scenery was breathtaking, the villages we visited were charming and the people who gave their time to us were wonderful.  I have never before eaten so much food that excelled in quality and freshness, nor tried so many wonderful wines served by people with such passion and knowledge.

The river walk was a highlight and visiting the vigneron at his private winery was an absolute treat.  Basing ourselves at the villa for a week with such a charming host provided a lot of fun, laughter and great conversation.  A once in a lifetime experience !

Theresa Le Duc