PROVENCE, SO CLOSE BY … YET SO DIFFERENT!

Where is it people go for an escape of the daily hurly burly but within easy striking distance? Where do we find the kind of food and climate we just adore without having to sit for hours in a plane? Where do we get this feeling of great quality of living without having to go to a tropical island? Right, the South of France and for the real connoisseurs, the Provence!

That is what your typical Northern European has as a dream image of heaven, so why not use a bit of heaven to motivate or thank your team? The distance is negligible, yet the feeling of “dépaysement “is complete. The moment you step of the plane or train, the sun bathes your face, the crickets sing for you and the charming French Provencal accent gives you an instant holiday feeling! Access is easy, the airports of Marseille or Toulon/ Hyères offer a variety of flights on a daily basis and the TGV brings you here in a matter of hours.

Once there, it is a matter of choosing …and the choice is vast!
Let’s start with Marseille, the capital city of the region and second largest city of France after Paris with the largest commercial harbour in the country.
The city enjoys an exceptional natural heritage: the Calanques (creeks), the Frioul archipelago of four islands, which includes the famous Château d’If - home to Dumas’s literary creation, the Count of Monte Cristo- and offers numerous exciting and enriching activities both on land and on the water.
The Marseille urban area stretches out over close to 24,000 hectares of which 9,000 are designated natural areas.

Marseille is the ideal departure point for discovery trips to neighboring regions such as the Provence and the Camargue.

Back to basics, the specialist in original and qualitive incentives and seminars in the south of France, offers a variety of programs in the region using the incredible natural resources and landscapes as backdrop for original activities aimed at organising the best possible incentive or seminar and giving the participants that ‘special’ feeling.
Let’s look at a few examples.

DISCOVERY OF MARSEILLE
We start with an exclusive lunch on a “Frégate” in the old port of Marseille, the historical centre of the town. After lunch we leave the “Vieux Port”, with a road book in hand to start a discovery trip of the old town. Whilst looking for a famous person, a number of fun and interesting tasks have to be performed such as pastis tasting, making of the famous “Marseille soap”, playing Pétanque with the locals in a typical setting… We end the day in one of Marseille’s top hotels, the beautiful Sofitel Vieux Port at the entrance of the old harbor where a gastronomic meal is served with a panoramic view of Marseille.

Is it a more VIP treatment you are looking for then we take you to the airport of Le Castellet where at the descend of the plane a collection of the mythical 2CV-car awaits you for a leisurely drive – with road book! – along some of the most scenic spots of the South of France such as La Ciotat where the Lumière Brothers showed the first moving pictures in their cinema, the little town of Cassis and the famous “Callanques” with its gorgeous seafront or Cuges Les Pins, the region used as backdrop for the famous Claude Berri films “Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources”. You will be welcomed by our provençal animation team in a magnificent private vineyard in the Bandol area where we have lunch (capacity up to 300 people). Before lunch you will have a splendid wine tasting with bread baked in the oven of the Domaine and tapenades on the terrace with a unique view over the vineyards and Mediterrenean Sea. Activities such as helicopter flights, petanque tournament, quad driving, wine casino, wine academy (making your own wine), provençal animation etc. are on the programme for the afternoon.

CARS, CARS, CARS ….
If it’s cars and excitement you are looking for then a day at the Castellet, at the Paul Ricard Race course is the ticket for you! This mythical race course – with its own private airstrip! – offers a choice of motoring activities going from Karting on a specially designed 962m test track, to actual racing in exceptional cars on the race track where Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell or Nelson Picquet went before you. If it is karting you favour then be prepared to hurtle at great speed, dressed as a racing car driver around the specially designed course. If the racing driver in you wants to have a crack at the F1 course, how about stepping into a Lamborghini Murcielago, an Aston Martin AMV8 or a Ferrari Testarossa..yes, no kidding, a selection of dream cars for your participants to test their driving skills on…now how is that for a fantasy come true? It goes without saying that in both cases all security has been put in place and that food and drinks (alcohol after the test drives please!!) are first class. For more detailed programs, just ask Sabine & Bart.

The South of France is also the Mediterranean Sea of course and a wide variety of activities such as catamaran races are of course available.
For more unusual ideas think visit to a bull farm, discovery trips in the Camargue on horseback or jeeps, a discovery walking trip in the old Marseille…and my favourite: enjoy a medieval experience in the unique site of Les Baux de Provence, a truly magical place…the ideas are endless, the opportunities manifold, the venues exceptional!

More inland we can highly recommend the Dolce Frégate in St Cyr Sur Mer with its 18 and 9-hole golf courses and tennis as well as first class meeting facilities, definitely a hole in one!
For the car fanatics, not to worry you can actually sleep on the race track…not literally of course.. at the exclusive Hôtel du Castellet!

Whatever the program is you choose, wine and food will play an important role, many of the excellent vineyards can be visited, wine tastings can be arranged even a “Vini-Casino” (this involves betting and drinking …what a great combination!) a great and original way of discovering a number of first class wines!
As for the food…well…here the simple tomato tastes different as if the sun is still bathing it in its warmth, the local olive oil begs to be taken home so you can –try- reproduce those wonderful dishes that you discovered or re-discovered whilst in Provence, the herbs will brighten up any dish and the fish is fresh from the Big Blue…Sounds like heaven? Well, we said it before, this region is a bit of heaven on earth… enjoy!

Contact
Back to Basics
INCENTIVES – SEMINARS SOUTH FRANCE

Sabine Jacobs & Bart Verheyleweghen
Route d’Alzonne – 11170 Montolieu – France
Tel. +33 468 24 84 25 – Fax +33 468 78 82 31
Mobile : +33 615 32 51 69
e-mail : b2b@back2basics.fr
And please also visit our brandnew website : www.back2basics.fr