Subject: foot&mouth+hiking in Provence
Dear Bill, I hadn't responded to your query, because I vaguely remembered that the question concerned Burgundy, which is a little farther away from my house. Here in Provence we seem blissfully far away from the troubles. I believe also that beyond the one case in Normandy there have been no other cases in France -- so far. We don't see many cows in the region or pigs, apart from the wild boars that continue to elude the hunters by day and pester the local growers by night. There are roaming flocks of sheep under guidance of shephards, but I haven't seen them in a while either. I've been trying to find our local shephard to conduct an interview for our site, but these days he and his sheep are nowhere to be found. I don't think this is due to the foot&mouth, but more a case of not finding someone when you're seriously looking. I'm sure that if I abandon the project, the next day I'll find myself+car surrounded by hundreds of sheep on the narrow rural road.

I think your friends should not be concerned about this problem. September is the month of grape harvest; I'm sure that the French here will do everything to protect this important event. Another indication that the disease doesn't seem to worry the French too much is that vegetarianism has only increased 0.2% in France over the past few months. The Mad cow disease is much more on people's minds.

On the active vacation page on our site, you can find a number of suggestions for hiking tours. Francetrek seems an attractive choice. A suggestion: by clicking on the link and going to their site, you can email them with your concern. They are located north of Avignon.

Hope this helps, Frieda Lekkerkerker