Subject: re: France in December and January
This past July we spent some time in the south of France, including Lyon. We had the most extraordinary meal at a Hotel Management School there, at a very modest cost. Several courses and several hours passed with the most extensive plat du fromage and dessert choices I've encountered in France. I can't do justice to their menu, but I can say that a similar experience in a upscale restaurant that might match it would likely cost three times as much! Highly recommended;not to be missed in my estimation. It's the Institut Vatel, 8 Rue Duhamel,BP 2013,69002 Lyon. Tel 0033(0)4 78 38 21 92 Fax 0033(0)4 72 40 28 41

This is an easy walk from the train station or the Musee du Tissu.

Driving in Provence? If you're interested in seeing some beautiful country rather apart from the commonly noted spots, you might consider driving to Mont Ventoux, in Haute Provence,n/e of Avignon. I know of it because I have a passion for the Tour de France,which often visits there, and passes over it. It's a mountain that stands alone, without *neighbours*. As you approach it, you're driving through remarkable wine country, then you're in tree cover,then you're totally exposed to the rock and shale that is the mountain. If you drive over it, watch for a monument to the British cyclist Tommy Simpson, who died there of a heart attack while leading Le Tour. Apart from the severe beauty of the place, the surrounding countryside is benign and peaceful. People are wonderful,and it's the road less travelled.

Regards...Alan Luke