The Master’s trip to France – 5th-9th June 2017

Arriving by plane, car and train some 30 people gathered at the Le Vieux Castillon hotel in Castillon-du-Gard for the start of a most enjoyable 4 night stay in the Languedoc area of France.

On the first night we were joined by Past Master Eric Fraunfelter and his wife Harriet who, by sheer co-incidence have a home in the same village and Liveryman Carlos Kearns who was staying nearby.

Before dinner we gathered by the most attractive pool for an apéritif: The first of many such gatherings! We then all sat down to dinner


The following day there was a small market in the village which excited (?) much interest from the growers amongst us. We then got on a coach for the trip to Chateau Perouse/COT International.

We were treated to a fascinating tour of the orchard and were shown some 1000 (yes 1000) different varieties under test. Perhaps 2 or 3 will reach the market in a few years’ time, the rest will be deemed failures!

This being France we then adjourned for lunch! After lunch we visited the Camargue area where we saw, as promised by our Master, black bulls, white horses, salt “mountains” and flamingos before strolling round the ancient town of Aigues-Mortes.

The end of our second day was an invitation to Past Master Eric Fraunfelter’s house in the village where he and his wife Harriet entertained us in typical Fruiterers fashion!


On day 3 we again boarded our coach, this time to drive to Nimes.

Starting in the Jardins de la Fontaine we visited the Temple de Diane (that has nothing to do with the Goddess Diana!), Maison Carrée, various architecturally important houses, the City Hall and, finally, the magnificent Arena. All ably explained by our guide for the whole trip, Sophie Wildbolz.

After a leisurely lunch in one of the many cafés we again boarded our bus, this time to visit a wine producer.

We were given a tour of the Cave, extremely modern with concrete and steel vessels.

Then came the hard part, we were “forced” to taste their extensive range of wines, including a very interesting red dessert wine – oh the hardship!

On our return to the hotel we had another drinks reception around the pool followed by yet another great meal.


Thursday’s visit was to Avignon via the Pont du Gard. We got to Avignon just in time for lunch!

We then assembled at the Palais des Papes for a tour, again guided by Sophie whose knowledge was encyclopaedic.

Throughout the Palace were examples of modern art.

We then had an opportunity to wander round Avignon and see the Pont made famous in the children’s nursery rhyme.

Back at the hotel we had our final drinks reception around the pool.

This time we had a 4 course meal with fine wines and, as a bonus, our Clerk, Philip, showed us why he is a member of the Magic Circle. He bamboozled us all with his sleight of hand, a rare talent indeed.

Thus ended the official part of our trip but many of us had time on the Friday for a last paddle in the pool and a farewell drink before departing for Avignon Station and Eurostar to the UK.

Our grateful and heartfelt thanks are due to our Master, Dennis, who with his wife Jan organised this flawless trip. Hopefully the stress of herding Fruiterers did not mar their enjoyment too much and we hope that they enjoyed it as much as we did – they deserved to!

Our Key Objectives Are:

  • To promote excellence across all sectors of the fruit industry
  • To support education and research that helps to develop the fruit industry
  • To support the Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation
  • To raise funds for a selected group of relevant charities