My wife Annie and I went on a belated honeymoon in Paris, Provence and the French Riviera. We'd taken the advice of friends and booked through NZ Francophile and travel expert, John Reese at france.co.nz, who had put together a personalised and detailed itinerary including specific off-the-beaten track recommendations. It was our best decision, as after the first day or two we were glued to every recommendation. Not a single dud. Some amazing drives and villages.
We couldn't get enough of Paris and wondered if, after that, it would all be downhill, but on arriving in St-Remy-de-Provence we just found it got better and better all the way to the charming Villefranche-sur-Mer. We loved every moment.


The end of the same holiday occurred at the time of a volcanic eruption in Iceland
that had grounded flights around Europe. We were stranded on the French Riviera. So, we decided to hang on to our hire car and drive to Paris to catch the Eurostar. One last meal. Ooh that steak tartare sounds interesting! I'll try that. Drive to St Remy overnight and uh oh . . . Cue the most horrendous food poisoning I've had. Cold sweats and the rest. Then we had to drive seven hours to Paris and chaos at the Gard Du Nord Station. We undertook what must have been a record-breaking queue jump to board a Eurostar in the nick of time for London. But to be honest, while the food poisoning was a bit of a miss, the rest was a blast.


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, presented by singer and Newstalk ZB host Tim Beveridge and backed by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, takes place on December 16 at Auckland Town Hall. The evening is to support and celebrate the work of Mercy Hospice and Dove House. For tickets, go to ticketmaster.co.nz