All Photo Albums in One Post

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Indiana – Everyone is back home following a wonderful alumni trip to France. We visited Southern France and Paris reveling in the food, wine, history, and culture.

We posted a lot of photos over the eight days and thought we should collect them in one spot. So here they are by the day and topic. Click the “download high-res” button beneath the thumbnails, then right click on enlarged photo to save any images you like!

Saturday, June 8 – Welcome Dinner in Montpellier.

Sunday, June 9 – Wine with Virgile Joly

Monday, June 10 – Three Languedoc Winery Visits
Second album from June 10

Tuesday, June 11 – Carcassonne & O’Vineyards

Wednesday, June 12 – First Day in Paris & Dinner Cruise

Thursday, June 13 – Versailles

Saturday, June 15 – Visiting Claude Monet’s Home

Sunday, June 16 – Final Day in Paris

We hope to get up another album or two in the next few days so check back!






Final Day One for Exploration

PARIS  – Our final day in Paris started with a wonderful visit to a very large market in the Bastille district. The vendors featured meat, fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables along with plenty of clothing items.

The group walked the grounds on a gorgeous Sunday morning and enjoyed the open air shopping. Souvenirs to take back home were purchased and a few goodies were picked up for immediate consumption.

Wabash student David Newhart ’15, a French major, who has been along on this trip has expressed an interested in photography so we handed the camera over to him. The photos in this album, with just a couple of exceptions, were shot by David.

The biggest part of the day was given to exploration, shopping, and final memories. Bob and Judy Myers found the grave of Jim Morrison. Bob and C.K. Wedgeworth spent an afternoon in Luxembourg Gardens. The Koliseks went shopping on Champs D’Elysees. A few of us just walked the streets soaking in the atmosphere or doing a bit of shopping. Mike Butler found Harry’s Bar – one of his goals for the Paris trip.

Late afternoon a portion of the group at a typical Parisian cafe near the Seine for wine, beer, pizza and Parisian desserts.

The group is still raving about the week in France. Au revoir!

Gardens Highlight Visit to Monet Home

GIVERNY, France – It’s hard to see the colors, smell the flowers, and appreciate the surroundings  of someone who died early 100 years ago. The Alumi Travel Group journeyed to Giverny, home of impressionist artist Claude Monet. His home and gardens remain much as they were when he died in 1926.

See a full photo album from Saturday’s trip here.

The property caretakers are meticulous in maintaining the wide range of floral cover around the artist’s home. It’s remarkable to view the paintings, sketches and photographs in the home and then see the exact same floral plantings outside today.

Giverny is a charming little village clearly dependent on the Claude Monet tourist traffic. There are a handful of restaurants and a few shops but the town is all about the impressionist.

The grounds were jammed with tourists but the sheer size of the gardens allowed great picturing taking and enjoyment.

Afterwards, the group went into the village and enjoyed a rustic lunch of grilled steak and local wines at a small café.

Then It was back to Paris where the group had the remainder of the day free. Sunday will be the last full day in Paris. The group will visit one of Paris’ busiest markets for goodies and souvenirs and then have the remainder of the day four shopping and photos!

Alums Visit Grandeur of Versailles

VERSAILLES, France – There are castles, palaces and chateaus but few surpass the sheer grandeur of the Palace of Versailles.

Or as Frank Kolisek ’82 would put it, “Louie had a pretty nice house.” The group had a long wait but obliged the grandeur of Versailles with the “ooo” and “awe” as the thousands of other tourists.

The group arrived early and enjoyed a cup of coffee at a nearby cafe. We then joined the lines – very long lines – in front of the Palace. Versailles is one of France’s top attractions and the wait proved why. Nonetheless, the more than an hour of snaking around the courtyard wasn’t all that unpleasant in the nice morning air and comaraderie of the group.

The photos in the attached album give you an idea of what a Versaille visitor experiences.

Most of the group returned at mid-afternoon and had the remainder of the day to explore Paris as they wish.

This morning (Saturday) the group all seems excited for an excursion. We are headed off to Giverny, just northwest of Paris, to visit the home and gardens of Claude Monet. We’ll have lunch in the village and then back into the city. Again, the group has the remainder of the day to shop, eat, and explore..


Cruise Tops First Paris Day

PARIS, France – It’s hard to beat any day that ends with spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower!

Click here for a few Wednesday photos.

Bob Myers ’67 and a sometimes-camera-shy Kelsey Kolisek

The alumni travel group packed bags and caught France’s hi-speed rail from Montpellier to Paris Wednesday.

After getting checked in to our hotel the “Professor” part of our Paris leader MIchelle Rhoades kicked in for a two-hour walk around city center. Professor Rhoades provided landmarks and key spots around our hotel to use on our own in future days for getting around.

The highlight of day one in Paris had to be the nightcap – a Seine River dinner cruise on the Capitaine Fracasse. There is almost a parade of such boats on the river each evening but the sites are spectacular when the city darkens. The food was, frankly, better than most of us expected but not what you’d get in most Parisian cafes.

The group had a great time and stopped to shoot a few photos of Paris’ most notable landmark before heading back to the hotel.

A threat of rain Thursday has us flipping our planned itinerary. Today we’ll head to the Musee D’Orsay and then do more exploration. We moved our trip to the Palace of Versailles back to Friday when better weather is anticipated.

Here is a very short video and a peak at our Wednesday night dinner cruise.

Student’s View of Alumni Travel

CARCASSONNE, FRANCE – Today the group experienced a new and beautiful side of southern France. Imagine large castles, ancient sights, and top it all off with a hand-built winery.

See a photo album from Tuesday’s travel.

Our tour guide – the “lovely Amelia”

Our Tuesday on the Wabash Alumni trip started with a visit to Carcassonne. The ancient walled city, which has existed since single-digits B.C., is shrouded in history. The lovely tour guide, Amelie, was very captivating in her recount of the formation of the city. Lisa Kolisek, wife of Dr. Frank Kolisek, ’82, recounts that Amelie was “very animated in her stories. It was definitely not a rehearsed speech.”Along the guided tour, many questions about the city’s history were asked, and she had an answer.

A highlight of the tour was a visit to the Basilique des Saints Nazaire et Celse. The giant church is visible even on the approach to the city. Constructed in the 11th century, the aura of the significance of the building throughout history was almost palpable. Upon entry, we were greeted by the sounds of a Russian Orthodox trio singing holy songs long lost in time. However, they added to the ambiance of the cathedral and held our group along with all others in an awestruck silence.  We noticed the stained glass windows from the outside, but their wondrous light was only visible from the inside.

After the tour concluded, a period of free time was allotted for the group. We split up, with half visiting a restaurant within the city called Adelaide, and the other half eating at the Compte de Roger. I attended the latter, and enjoyed a brief lunch of a goat cheese salad with a parfait for dessert, paired with a regional wine seen at the Chateaux Hospitalet we visited yesterday.

David is a Columbus, In., junior and French major.

The next stop was a winery the group had been looking forward to since we heard their story. O’Vineyards, a small winery outside of Carcassonne, was built in 2005 by an American couple that dropped their lives in Florida and, thanks to the internet, found a plot of land in the Languedoc and started living their dream. Joe and Liz O’Connell were, along with the still-popular Virgile Joly, the best hosts we’ve had in our brief time in France. Their son is associated with Naked Wines in Napa, and met Director of New Media Howard Hewitt who arranged the trip.

Joe, born and raised in Massachusetts, did not hesitate to show us his land and his wine making facility. On the first impression, the place simply looked like a house. But Joe took us to his underground wine processing facility and the cellar room. After a very thorough explanation of his process, beliefs, and practices, the group was noticeably impressed and obviously pleased. We then returned upstairs to be greeted with plates of delicious appetizers – several small plates of food to complement the couples’ array of wine. There was no shortage of questions, jokes, and conversation throughout the entire stop. Much to our bus driver’s dismay, we ended up staying and talking with the owners long past our scheduled time. Finally, it was time to herd everyone on the bus. The talk on the way home did not stray from the wonderful experience, with today’s winery visit being ranked highly by everyone.

Today’s events were a great way to wrap up our experience in the Languedoc – Roussilon region. Tomorrow, we ride the high speed train to Paris. (David Newhart ’14)


Monday Was Big Winery Visit Day

NARBONNE, France –   Beautiful weather greeted our alumni travel group Monday o n a full day of wine tourism through the Languedoc.

Our 13 travelers started the day with a quick trip to Narbonne, an ancient Roman seaport, and beautiful city just off the coast. We spent a few moments to visit the 100-year-old covered market then took time to briefly explore the city, its historic cathedral, and World Heritage site canal which runs through the city center.

Our first winery stop was the beautiful Chateaux LeBouis near the sea. We tasted wine in a beautiful courtyard with a grapevine covered trellis. The chef had prepared wonderful small bites of salmon, chicken legs, crusty French bread and sausages. It was a very fun and relaxed start to a busy day.

We were then off to Gerard Bertrand’s Chateaux L’Hospitalitet. Bertand is one of the biggest names in Languedoc wines. We started by making a steep climb into the vineyards and was rewarded with a windy but stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea. A group photo and plenty of individual shots were taken before we retreated back down to learn more about one of the area’s iconic winemakers.

Back in the winery, staff shared several wines from Bertrand’s seven different Domaines spread across Southern France. Bertrand’s domains combine for an annual production of approximately 3 million cases of wine.

Our final stop was a mixup, of sorts, that brought out the best spirit of Wabash men. Confusion between our liaison, bus driver, and the correct location broke down an cultural barriers remaining. A long story made short, we ended up at the wrong winery – a considerable distance from where we had a winemaker waiting on us.

The staff at Chateaux Carcasses, a stunningly beautiful setting, could  not have been more grancious. The swung into action and organized a tasting, wonderful small bites of gapacho, salmon, and meats. Our bus driver and liaison were back and forth on the phone while our group moved to the Chateaux terrace featuring remarkable views of the surrounding vineyards. But when the situation was explained the guys all said let’s just do the tasting at Carcasses because mistakes do happen.

It was a great roll-with-the-flow moment that could have resulted in hard feelings but ended with another great stop on our continued wine tour.

Tuesday the focus shifts a bit with an extended visit to France’s best preserved, walled city Carcassonne – a World Heritage site. Carcassonne is about 1.5-2 hours west of Montpellier. Our final winery stop occurs just a few miles away at O’Vineyards – a winery owned and run by a transplanted Florida family. The group heads to Paris Wednesday morning. (Howard Hewitt)

First Full Day in France Huge Hit

SAINT SATURNIN de LUCIAN, France -  The charm, wit, and knowledge of a winemaker got the Wabash College Alumni Travel trip – Wine, Wabash, & France – off to a tremendous start Sunday.

See an album of Sunday photos here.

Bob Wedgeworth, Frank Kolisek, and Mike Butler listen to Virgile Joly

Drizzle, showers, and downpours weren’t enough to dampen the group’s spirits after spending two-thirds of our day with Virgile Joly. The group left Montpellier at mid morning and traveled to this tiny village of about 300 people to meet the face of France’s organic wine movement.

The charismatic Joly did not disappoint.

After a brief courtyard welcome, we went down an ancient path way to Joly’s tasting cave. There the 30-something Frenchman poured his wines, educated, and entertained. Joly’s signature wine has become a Grenache blanc blend that France’s leading wine magazine, Terre de Vins, rated the best organic white in France.

Joly then joined the group for lunch at a spacious local café, La Pressior. Lunch consisted of a beautiful  salad featuring fresh greens, cheese, a soft-boiled egg, duck, and salmon. The entre was roast beef fired over open flame at the center of the restaurant. The ooing and awing continued over an incredibly delicious chocolate cake filled with a warm and rich chocolate Grenache.

We capped our lunch with Joly’s fortified Rose’ wine – a big hit with the Wabash men and wives!

“The enjoyable thing is the guy’s passion and knowledge,” said Dr. Frank Kolisek ’82. “He’s never in a hurry and he would talk to us until right now. He talked about building a new winery but never talked about himself or making money.”

Judy Myers, wife of Bob Myers ’67, also talked about Joly’s passion. “It was his passion for what he does. He respects the people tasting;  he always took the first glass so see that it was good to serve his guests. We’re so used to giving our guests first pour

”It never felt like he was talking about his vocation. He spoke so much about the technical aspects of winemaking. It was so important to him to be precise.”

As we finished lunch the skies opened again altering the day’s plan. We boarded our bus and traveled to Joly’s winery to look over the Languedoc countryside. Joly gave us a brief description of the French wine region classification system and how it drives the terroir-driven wines.

Our day was capped with a real taste of history. Back in Montpellier, we toured Chateau Flaugergues.  The Colbert chateau was built at the end of the 17th century. Colbert was finance minister to French King Louis XIV. The “castle” remains in the family and is currently occupied by Count Henri Colbert  and his wife Brigitte. The working chateau and home is open to visitors and many of the original furniture, priceless tapestry, and other furnishings remain.

We finished off the visit – again under showers – with a tasting of the Flaugergues wines.

Monday the group has its big wine day starting off with a visit to the century-old historied Narbonne market. From there we’ll visit a winery for lunch and view of the sea, taste at powerhouse Gerard Bertrand, and wrap up with a third stop at one of the Languedoc’s best Cabernet wineries.

Dinner Highlights 1st Day in France

MONTPELLIER, France – A group of Wabash College alums, spouses, a professor, student, and staff member arrived  in Montpellier in Southern France late Saturday afternoon for an eight-day exploration.

See a few photos from our first day in France here.

David Newhart ’14 shares facts on the Arch de Triumphe

The group gathered Friday in Crawfordsville and Chicago then Saturday morning in Paris and Montpellier. The highlight of the day certainly wasn’t the the long travel day with a few delays but a grand evening meal in the old city at Le Petit Jardin. The group was joined by a  guest, Professor Michel  Bandry and his wife Claire. Professor Bandry was a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at Wabash in the late 1960s. He is a friend of Bob Wedgeworth.

Jacques Frelin and his wife were dinner guests and gave the group an introduction to Languedoc wines. Frelin’s family was an early leader in France’s growing organic wine movement. His wines were served at dinner. Also joining us for dinner was Sarah Hargreaves who runs a one-woman press agency and assisted with some of the arrangements on our trip.

Every member of the entourage has made prior trips to France with the exception of student David Newhart. But Montpellier was new to most of the group. An enjoyable walk through the historic city center was climaxed on the return trip with a visit to the city’s own Arch de Triumph. Newhart gave the alums a taste of immersion learning by talking briefly about the historic landmark.

Dinner took full stage for Saturday. A lovely asparagus appetizer with a soft-boiledd egg and hollandaise sauce got us started. Guinea Fowl with potatos took centerstage followed by a decadent chocolate dessert.  Frelin’s wines were also a big hit.  But as one might expect, the conversation, laughter and stories over dinner were the real highlight.

Things go into full swing Sunday morning when Director of New Media Howard Hewitt, who is a wine writer on the side, takes the group to meet one of the Languedoc’s leading organic producers  Vigile Joly in the small village of Saint Saturnin de Lucian. Afterwards it’s a walk through a historical and aristocratic chateau – the home, gardens, and taste the wines  from vineyards in the city limits of Montpellier.

Howard W. Hewitt, Director of New Media

Lots of Ways to Go Walking in Paris

Professor Michelle Rhoades – “Ah, Paris.” Is there any better city to walk? Not really. But there are several kinds of walking in Paris. First there’s the “oh my, I need to get across town in 15 minutes” kind of walking. That sort of walk will take pounds off you in weeks (or days). We won’t do too much of that. Then there’s the “I really don’t want to talk to anyone” kind of walking. Parisian women do this particular walk with an extraordinary amount of grace and guile. I’ve tried to replicate it and it is nearly impossible to do. We won’t do much of that either. Then there’s the “ah, Paris” type of walk. This is the walk that invites reflection, conversation, relaxation. What type will you do on this trip? When in Paris, we will do a little of needing to get there and a little to relax.

Michelle walking with Wabash guys in Paris!

Let’s take the benefits of “getting across town” first. It’s helpful to have a sense of where you are going and trust me, I won’t let you get lost in Paris. It’s a big city but once you understand how it is laid out (and keep a map nearby for reference) it is very easy to navigate. If say, you want to spend the afternoon enjoying the Tuileries gardens in front of the Louvre, getting there is the first order of business. Picking a direct line on a map will ensure you don’t get lost or stuck in a crowd. This “fast walk” will ensure you have time to enjoy the gardens. We will do some of this to reach destinations
The most wonderful walking in Paris is the afternoon or evening stroll. I call this the “Ah, Paris” walk because though you may do a lot of it, every moment is a joy. There is new architecture to marvel at (Paris has hundreds of stone angels on its buildings), flowers to enjoy, and cafes to wander into.

Walking in Paris is both chore and delight. If you have traveled extensively, you probably have your own system for walking through cities. In any case, I offer these suggestions for Paris, in particular. First, use a comfortable day bag for carrying your camera, guidebook, map, and a bottle of water. I prefer a backpack-style purse because I find it more comfortable. Some prefer a small backpack, others a duffle-style travel bag. No matter your choice, don’t over-pack. You will be on your feet for most of the day and bags always get heavier as the day wears on. Second, bring at least two pairs of shoes you know are comfortable. Switching off every other day helps your feet to recover and relax.

Finally, when you want to slow down and stroll through the city in your time away from the group, be sure to really slow down. Stop into the first café that looks interesting and I do mean the FIRST café. I cannot tell you how frustrating it can be to look for the “perfect café” only to realize you’ve spent an extra 20 minutes walking around when you could have had a Perrier, a beer or tried a new glass of wine and had a few olives.

In short, walking through Paris should not be a chore. By the time we reach the city on this trip, I suspect you will be ready for it and eager to see the City of Lights.