Dinner on our last night together takes us to Uzès, a magnificently restored historic hill town with cobblestoned streets and stately Renaissance houses. Our candlelit table awaits us at the elegant Les Trois Salons, ensconced in a mansion dating from 1699. The meal is a splendid finale to our week of gastronomy and gourmandise. We feast on a sauté of chanterelle mushrooms in a peppered cream sauce; monkfish, fragrant with saffron and lemon; a roast saddle of lamb, accompanied by a creamy polenta studded with fresh corn; and pomme en compote, a French rendition of an apple crisp, served with unctuous vanilla ice cream. Dessert is served, champagne flutes are set before us. John, seated in the center of our long table, raises his glass. "Here's to Carole and Bernard, and to the most memorable vacation I've ever had." From the other end of the table a high, sweet voice chirps, "And here's to the first glass of champagne I've had in eight days!" In the midst of plenty, there is still deprivation.
For more information, go to carolepeck.com or call 203/266-4622. Rates for the all-inclusive six-day tour are $3,500 per person, double, not including airfare or rail transportation to and from Avignon. Dates for 2008 are May 19–25, June 2–8, September 22–28, and October 6–12.