By John Burton
LITTLE SILVER – A few days in the City of Lights with its iconic attractions and then on to the delights of Provence is what Bob Sickles and his staff are looking to offer those who want to experience a more than the traditional itinerary in France.
Sickles and his staff have been working for the last 18 months on organizing a variety of tours, both foreign and domestic. “We look at ourselves as a lifestyle store,” he said of Sickles Market, 1 Harrison Ave.
“We look to introduce our customers to quality foods” and other features a location might offer, he said.
Last week, the market sponsored a gathering in the greenhouse to talk about a trip planned in June to France. Attendees sipped champagne and tried various wines and cheeses from the trip’s locales. “It’s really important to us that you have an amazing experience” to go “beyond the usual,” he said.
Working with Excel Travel, the trip will allow travelers to experience both the visual delights of the region and epicurean attractions, according to Kirsty Dougherty, Sickles’ director of tours and training.
The sights, the sounds, the museums will all be available. “Then, of course, there is the food,” Dougherty told the 20 or so in attendance. “Any tour of France is about the food.”
One stop will be to the Poilane, a world-renowned Parisian bakery, noted for its macaroons, according to Dougherty, and from where Sickles has bread delivered weekly.
The trip from Paris to Provence, via high-speed rail, will be at the height of the garden season in early summer. “This trip will be a photographer’s delight,” Dougherty said.
“We will be trying truffles. We will be drinking wine,” she said. There also will be a chance for tour members to “learn about cooking Provence,” with members shopping at local markets and working with local culinary experts to cook lunch in a French farmhouse, she said.
“I like to travel,” Sickles said.
He believes the market’s travel program is one more feature that allows the customers of the more than 100-year-old family owned and operated business to enhance their lives and enjoyment.
“It’s about more than just putting stuff on the shelves,” he said.
The nine-day trip, scheduled for June 21-29, costs $6,200 per person.
Sickles Market conducts about a dozen daytrips over the course of a year to such locations as the Philadelphia flower show and places in New York State. Last October, the market conducted a tour of Sicily and plans are in the works for a Vermont trip in the fall, Sickles said.