Seniors Head for The Luberon

There is a region in southern France called The Luberon.  It is one of this senior’s favorite areas in all of France outside of Paris.  I have told my wife for years…”If ever you can’t find me, look for me in Provence.”  Still true.  Find Aix-en-Provence on this map of Provence.  I spent several weeks in Aix on a study program with Oberlin College after I graduated from Cornell College.

The region offers spectacular countryside that overflows with vineyards, “village perchés”, and fields of lavender in all directions.  It is the land of Van Gogh and Cézanne and their palettes that were always full of fresh brilliant colors.

I chose this area of France to share with you because it is dear to me.  I spent a summer at Harvard studying with a world famous professor named Dr. Laurence Wylie, who chose the Luberon to repose, enjoy the warm sun, eat well and live out his retirement years.  He lived in the village of Lourmarin.  When he was younger he spent a good deal of time living in Roussillon with his family and wrote a book that I still cherish called “Village en Vaucluse.”  Now I’ll give you senior travelers a host of good reasons to get with your travel agent and  plan a trip to The Luberon.

Provence At Its Finest

In the most complete guide on the area you will be able to plan where to stay, where to shop at the many outdoor markets and more specifically how to find the many small villages.  On one of my trips to France as a Tour Group Leader for Elderhostel, I encountered three senior women who were village-hopping for three weeks. They would spend one entire day in a different village just soaking up the culture, good food and ambiance. Rick Steves would like to give you a personal tour of the Villages Perchés (hill towns) in the area. You’ll find that it’s just one cool village after another.

Best Tour for Seniors

 Senior travelers, would you like to take a small group tour of Provence?  Here’s one called The “Luberon Experience” that has dates set for 2013 and it sounds like an outstanding organization.  The Luberon Experience was just selected by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their 50 Tours of a Lifetime for 2012.  It was identified as one of the best tours in the world, “designed for experience, immersion, sustainability, and cultural connection.”

Cathy and Charlie Wood, founder and leader of The Luberon Experience state, “We wanted The Luberon Experience to be the type of tour we’d like to go on: a tour that feels like traveling with knowledgeable and fun friends, a tour that includes places and experiences you couldn’t find on your own… a tour that doesn’t seem like a tour. We wanted our travelers to experience the Luberon– not just visit it.”

More on southern France, Provence and specifically the Luberon tomorrow…jeb




Senior Hikers…the Red Rocks Await Your Visit


Sedona’s Red Rocks are world famous and are the pride of Arizona.  Each year hundreds of seniors take the Top 5 Hike’s in Sedona, Arizona to get a closer look at the colorful array of rocks splashed in iron oxide.

Actually you will encounter a myriad of colors that include bright orange, red and tan displays.  Over 150,000 years old and once at the bottom of a magnificent sea,  senior hikers will enjoy wide vistas of scenery that make Sedona a one of a kind marvel.

The Best Hiking Trails

Bell Rock in the village of Oak Creek is an easy hike around a formation that looks like a giant bell.  That trail will take senior hikers 1-2 hours and is a 4 mile trail. Cathedral Rock in West Sedona, also an easy hike that follows along Oak Creek, is topped with stunning views.  This hike will take you only 30-40 minutes and runs about 1.5 miles.  Boynton Canyon, also in West Sedona is another easy hike for seniors of all ages.  With open canyon views, this hike will take 3-4 hours and is a 2 mile roundtrip.

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Devil’s Bridge, in the same area, is a moderate hike that leads to a geographical wonder.  This 2 mile hike requires 1-2 hours.  Lastly I highly recommend Bear Mountain.  This one will require more strength in your legs and good shoes because there is some challenging terrain.  Plan on 5-6 hours round-trip on this 5-mile path.

 All in all, senior hikers will find that any and all trails will be highly satisfying… Sedona is unlike anywhere else on earth.  If those are not enough, here is another URL for your consideration. And the color of this URL says it all. It’s all orange and red up there.

 Seniors Find Solace for Body and Soul

Nature’s red-rock temples invite senior visitors to experience its soul-nourishing work in person. Sedona is a perfect place for spiritual and personal enrichment of the body and the soul.

From healing massage treatments, yoga, spas and salons to hypnotherapy and retreats, Sedona has something to offer. They say that the red-orange color of the rock is one of the most neuro stimulating of colors. It enhances creative thinking and problem solving.

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Here’s a map of the area with distances from Phoenix and elsewhere. The Sedona airport is located on a mesa that experiences cross winds.  I experienced this when I flew in there with a friend in his small plane.  It’s called “America’s Most Scenic Airport“and this link shows you why.

If you happen to be a pilot, you may want to look over this informationHope to see all you senior hikers at the Red Rocks in Sedona.  jeb


Seniors Walk in the Tuileries Gardens

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The Jardin des Tuileries is one of Paris’s most visited gardens thanks to its central location. The Tuileries are part of a grand central axis leading from the Louvre all the way to La Défense, the city’s business district. The Tuileries Garden at one time had a tile factory onsite. That is where the name “Tuilerie” meaning “tile-factory” comes from.  Today this park is a favorite spot for seniors to walk or just sit on a bench and people watch.  Throughout its history the Tuileries was a place where parisians celebrated, met, promenaded and relaxed.

At the center of the park is an octagonal pond, known as the Grand Bassin where children can rent small boats. I watched a guy with a power boat chase ducks all around the pond until some folks got mad at  him. There are many other attractions for children such as the puppet theater, pony rides and a merry-go-round. Around the pond are nice lawns and alleys, all laid out in a geometrical pattern. All year round expect huge crowds in the park.

Stamped with History

Stamped with history, often of the bloody variety, the since-destroyed royal palace at Tuileries was stormed and pillaged during the revolution of 1789 and was later occupied by the last kings of France. In 1871, another revolution led to the arson of the Tuileries. Today the gardens remain and are a major source of fresh air and greenery.

Filled with dramatic statuary and perfectly symmetrical shrubbery, the Tuileries Garden covers about 63 acres (25 hectares) and still closely follows a design laid out by the royal landscape architect André Le Nôtre in 1664.  This  public garden is located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde.

Senior Visitors, Let’s Take a Nice Long Walk

Seniors, if your visit to Paris is limited in time, this must walk called The Triomphal Way begins at the  Arc de Triomphe, takes you down the length of the Champs Elysees Avenue toward the Place de la Concorde, continues into the Tuileries and ends up at the Louvre Museum.  PS: It’s all downhill. At the entrance to the park to your left take in the Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s water lily paintings. They are awesome.

Most Popular Attractions in Paris

I have always said that senior citizens in France need a good two weeks to take in Paris…maybe more.  Senior travelers will want to visit the most popular sites as they are listed here. Note that the Tuileries is one of them.  Find yourself a nice bench, cool off with a cool French drink and relax under the venerable chestnut trees that will drop nuts on your head in the fall. The Tuileries one of my favorite parks in Paris. Enjoy.  jeb


Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe

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