THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
WHERE THEY WENT

At dinner, `How was your day?'

Email|Print| Text size + By Diane Daniel
Globe Correspondent / August 20, 2006

WHO: Judy Zacek , 69, of Newton, and 11 other women (ages 51 to 82) from First Unitarian Society in Newton

WHERE: Brittany, in northwest France

WHEN: 11 days in April and May

WHY: ``I've had it my mind for years. Some years ago [1996] the MFA had a show, `Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven ,' from the time he spent in Pont-Aven, a village in Brittany. I was absolutely charmed by this exhibit."

ENCHANTED APRILS: Inspired by the 1992 film ``Enchanted April," where female friends travel to Italy, Zacek and a small group of women from First Unitarian Society came up with their own version and have been traveling biannually since 1994. There are always new faces, but a core group has remained.

TOUR DIRECTOR: Because Zacek once worked in the industry and is an avid traveler still, having been to more than 70 countries, she picks the destinations and makes arrangements with the help of a travel agent. ``It's not democratic," she said. The group has been to Tuscany, Umbria, Sicily, southern Spain, and Provence and southeast France . ``I always have to find a place with a lot of day trips," she said. ``We don't march in tandem. Most people are interested in sightseeing and art and local culture. Some want to go hiking and bike riding."

FIT FOR QUEENS: Zacek always rents villas and castles, with working kitchens so they can do their own cooking. In Brittany they stayed at the Château de Kerangat , a twice-rebuilt 14th-century feudal manor between two small villages. Before they went, they hired a tutor for five French lessons.

BAGGAGE CONTROL: The women spent a few days in Paris and from there took the train to Vannes, where they picked up rental cars. ``There were three cars for 12 of us and they're pretty small," Zacek said. ``I'm an absolute tigress about how much luggage everyone can take: one 22-inch suitcase and a tote. The villas always have washing machines if you need to do laundry."

LAY OF THE LAND: ``We have a cooking schedule and everyone tries to be back by 7 for dinner," she said. ``Dinner is a real highlight of the day. At night there's often a bridge game, or Scrabble. People share information about what they did during the day and give tips. "

BRITTANY'S BEST: ``Josselin has a magnificent castle," Zacek said. ``Pont-Aven is a beautiful little town, sort of touristy, but in the spring it's not too bad. The day I went to Pont-Aven, we also went to Carnac , the biggest megalithic site in Europe. It's enormous. There are a lot of megalithic sites all over Brittany." The hikers enjoyed being on the Rose Granite Coast, named for its pink cliffs on the English Channel. A highlight for Zacek and others was taking a ferry along the picturesque Atlantic Coast Quiberon Peninsula to the island of Gavrinis , known for its prehistoric Celtic underground chambers.

Send suggestions within two weeks of your return to diane@bydianedaniel.com.

more stories like this

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
 
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article
  • powered by Del.icio.us
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: Boston.com does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.