FAQ for Provence Getaway
Getaway and Retreats in 2016


1) Where are the programs held?

The getaway and retreats take place at Bramefam (rhymes with “pompom”), the private home of Janet and Jean-Michel Valette, in Colonzelle, France (population 800). It’s about fifty minutes north of Avignon and two hours south of Lyon. The house is located in a region of France known as “La Drôme Provençal.” It is just north of the Luberon region, made famous by author Peter Mayle. It is not as hot as the Luberon nor as crowded with tourists.


2) How do I get there?

There are many ways to get to the region. Into Paris, or Marseilles (the two most common/accessible airports), Avignon or Lyon. Trains to Avignon, where we’ll pick you up, are easy to get from Paris and Lyon. We recommend you work with travel agent Jean-Pierre Lahondere: jpl@witmor.webmail.com or 1-866-771-9300. He will help you with your flight, book your train tickets (should you want to take the train to get to Avignon), and help you with comprehensive travel insurance.


3) What is included?

Both the Gourmet Getaway and personalized retreats include: pickup and drop-off in Avignon, 6 nights lodging, all meals and wine (including meals out in restaurants), ground transportation for all excursions and any entrance fees, where applicable.


4) What is NOT included?

Airfare to France, transportation (plane or train) to Avignon, passport fees, travel insurance*, gratuities and optional massage.

*We HIGHLY recommend that you purchase trip insurance. Please review our cancellation policy below.


5) What level of cooking experience is the Gourmet Getaway geared for?

Sarah is an experienced chef and teacher used to working with all levels of students, ranging from those who are more comfortable hanging back and just watching to those who’ve considered applying to Top Chef.


6) Can I get picked up at a different train station, or on a different date than everyone else?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to easily accommodate changes in the pickup location or dates for arrival/departure. We can certainly help you arrange for this, but we cannot cover the costs.


7)   Can I stay a few days longer, or come before the retreat starts?

We guarantee you will want to stay longer! However, we likely won’t be able to host you at Bramefam. It would be our pleasure to recommend some fabulous places in the area, should you want to soak up more of the beauty of Provence or Paris, either before or after the retreat.


In fact, we highly recommend that you arrive in Europe at least 2 days before the retreat starts so you can gently get over any jet lag. In that way, you’ll be at your best to absorb all of the exquisite beauty and serenity at Bramefam, as well as the scheduled activities.


8) What if I have dietary restrictions or food allergies?

All participants must complete a thorough intake questionnaire. Rest assured that we will meet your needs. If you have any specific concerns, please contact Janet at jsvalette@me.com.


If you are allergic to bees, you will want to have your EpiPen with you at all times. Bees love lavender–so they are everywhere! We also have a cat who comes in the main house. If you are highly allergic to cats, please let us know in advance. We will deep clean and make sure your room is in the guest house, away from where the cat spends time.


9) What is the weather like (what should I pack)?

You won’t need to pack an apron, a yoga mat or a hair dryer; we’ll have those available for you to use. As far as the weather is concerned it is usually nice and warm from mid-June through August. Good clothing choices are sundresses, skirts, shorts, T-shirts, a good sun hat and comfortable shoes are all de rigeur.


Pack loose clothing for yoga. Bring a light shawl for meditation time, and a water bottle if you plan on hiking. The Mistral (legendary local winds) or an afternoon thundershower may show up at any time, so a light sweater or fleece is also recommended.


You won’t need any fancy clothes for your stay with us. Do remember to pack your bathing suit and sunscreen for the time at the pool; we will provide a big beach towel.


10) How much money should I plan on bringing?

Depending on the program you choose, there will be 2-3 opportunities to do some souvenir shopping on our outings to the markets in the villages of Grignan, Nyons and Vaison-la-Romaine.


Also, there will be an opportunity to get a massage by someone who will come to the house. The cost is 75 euros (about $85) for 60 minutes.


11) Is there Internet connection at the retreat?

Yes, we have wireless Internet throughout the main house and guesthouse. Cell phone reception is unreliable. Rest assured that you can connect to the outside world, but give yourself permission to unplug and fully relax. You’ll be glad you did!


12) What if I don’t speak French at all?

You won’t need to do any French speaking while with us, unless you interact with one of the merchants on our outings. Fortunately, many of them speak a bit of English. Janet and Sarah both speak French and will be able to help you when we are in the markets, so you should be just fine.


13) What is the pricing, payment plan, and cancellation policy?

The cost of the Gourmet Getaway is $2,800 per person, based on double occupancy, or $3,600 for a single room. Participants in double occupancy rooms will be assigned a king-size bedroom or queen-size bedroom on a first-come, first-served basis. The third bedroom option is an en-suite double room with adjoining single room. If participants signing up as double occupancy would prefer this latter bedroom set-up to a shared king or queen, please request it.


The cost for our Personalized Retreats is based on the number of participants and room choice. Price per person ranges from $1,600 to $2,000. The minimum number of participants for a Personalized Retreat is 2, the maximum is 4. Please speak with Janet to understand the details of the rate breakdown.


For any of our programs, a deposit of $1,000 is needed to hold each individual’s space, $500 of which is non-refundable. The final individual balances are due from all participants by March 31st, 2016 for the Gourmet Getaway, and 60 days before any Personalized Retreat.


We require a minimum of five participants for the Gourmet Getaway. If, by March 31st, we don’t have the minimum five participants, the getaway will be cancelled and your entire deposit will be refunded. There are no refunds for cancellations made after March 31st, 2015 for the Gourmet Getaway.


14) How do I make payments?

Please mail deposit and payment checks payable to: Janet Valette, 28 Maple Avenue, Kentfield, CA 94904. If you prefer to pay via Paypal, please let me know and I will invoice you. Your spot is not secure until your deposit is received.


Please contact Janet with any unanswered questions: 415-456-0432 or: jsvalette@me.com