As usual,our fellow travelers were friendly, curious and well-informed. We know from experience that we prefer smaller cities, villages and countryside more than big cities. And the local guide provided some very educational information about life in midevil times. Terms of Service | Privacy, Loire to the South of France in 13 Days Tour 2021. The selection of the stops was top notch. The depth of his knowledge and the style of his delivery were excellent; he is a master teacher, skillful at capturing and maintaining his audience's attention. Both were wow moments for me that did not disappoint!". Monaco City Video Guide | Expedia May 19, 2020. Their teacher was excited that they had to practice their English!". Then we'll take an orientation walk through our neighborhood, followed by time to get acquainted over dinner together. As always, the provided food was outstanding and the bus and driver were wonderful, "We all enjoyed the Cro-Magnon caves and art work - our granddaughter thought that was the best. Aside from scenery, history, architecture, food, and culture, we were challenged to explore and interact on our own, in spite of the language differences. But WOW moments would have to include: Notre Dame of Chartres, Chateau Villandry, Food, Wine, Van Gogh Light show in Les Beaux, Les Beaux village, Pont du Garde.". Our guide replaced it with the barge on the Canal du Midi. His sense of humor enhanced our experience. The market town of Sarlat, where we slept for three nights, was a different enlightening experience, where I experienced the fun of the market (and their music festival).". - I am planning a trip at the end of the summer and am thinking of using Rick Steves tours. "Actually I had two wow moments. As always our guides were outstanding. Versailles; Chartres; Giverny; Disneyland Paris; Normandy. Boy, was I wrong! One of my favorite people i've ever met. This morning we'll drive south, crossing the scenic valleys of the Lot and Tarn rivers as we make our way to Europe's largest fortified city: delightfully medieval Carcassonne. I was never looking for something to do either. Staying so close to Carcassone Castle.". Does anyone know why (on Day 8), the barge on the Canal du Midi activity is no longer listed on the online itinerary? I can only speak of the one in Chartres, but it blew my mind - the creativity, precision and storytelling - and I'd totally recommend that people make the effort to stay up until sunset to see it if they're visiting Chartres near the summer solstice. Each time I thought we had seen the most beautiful, we would go to another place that was equally or even more beautiful. All aspects of the tour were outstanding, from our guide, Linda, to the towns and villages we stayed in, to the walking tours, to the restaurants chosen for group dinners...all outstanding! Sarlat was an excellent place to have a free day with the market and we went on a hot air ballon ride that evening! This was my 4th Rick Steves tour and like the three before and the ones to follow it DID NOT disappoint. I enjoyed the introduction to London and was ready for the tour with Rick. My fears were completely unwarranted. Con: two of our hotel rooms were TINY (see below), "The Van Gogh light show and the canoeing on the Dordogne were highlights. Les Baux was the biggest surprise! I was very impressed by the light shows in Chartres and Les Baux and the market in Sarlat. It was a wonderful experience all the way around. Trip potential was excellent, the tour as is needs to be revised as there were many hectic days and many slow days. The canoe trip on the Dordogne was definitely a highlight - we had perfect weather and it was a peaceful, scenic trip. I liked the pace, the organization of what we saw when we saw it. This is something I would never have planned on my own.". I also enjoyed seeing the fortified castles on either side of the Dordogne river and I wish we could have visited more castles there. I liked this tour alot! Perfect weather, no crowds and impeccably planned by our tour guide Toni. The gardens at Chateau Villandry were so beautiful. Most of the musical selections matched the pieces and the whole effect was an emotional experience. It was a beautiful day and such an amazing place.". Everything went as planned and the weather cooperated. "There were so many, but my favorite "wow" came during the canoe trip down the Dordone,which I'd been strongly disinclined to take until Julie encouraged and empowered me to go. Although we had bad weather and the canoeing was cancelled.". This was a wonderful trip in every possible way. Awesome!! It was also a very good value. I learned so much about France and the French people on this tour. A lot of wonderful experiences. She greeted us each morning with a smile and a Bonjour! I took my oldest grandson who turned 14 on the trip and he enjoyed himself immensely. "How can the Point du Gard not be a high point for everyone? The educational opportunities? Linda, our trip guide, was very informative in every city we visited or went through. Also, for pure emotional impact, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane is just beyond comprehension. You certainly got a visual picture of man's inhumanity to man.". I just stood in one place and was surrounded by the beauty of his art. "A highlight was visiting the ancient cave drawings.". Oradour-Sur-Glane We are very pleased with the Rick Steve's program and especially our guide, Toni Seymour did an outstanding job. The staff who maintained it were like bees working in the gardens. 2. Also the Roman Aqueduct, especially after I saw the Tour de France bicycle race ride across it. ", "The light/photo show in the old stone quarry, plus the canoe trip down the Dordgne River.". We enjoyed activities that were thoroughly French, not "touristy". Highlights included: the magical light show at Chartres, the unexpected hill town of Les Baux, the entertaining Medieval guide at Carcassonne and, of course, the picnic day in Sarlat. Tour Questions? All the guides (Local and Tour) are informative and friendly. But the Dordogne might have been surpassed by the 40 minutes spent in the Carrières de Lumières during our stop at Les Baux.". Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning. This was a fabulous, well-organized tour of north to south France with so many "wow" moments along the way. In general it was a good experience. We were very fortunate in having great weather and enjoyed seeing all the sites outside of Paris. "Favourite moments were visiting the chateaus in the Loire Valley. Canoe trip seemed to be out of place thought the time could have been better used visiting other sites. Unfortunately, I battled a respiratory virus for much of the time and felt totally exhausted every day. so we wern't able to do the canoe trip. It worked! It was amazing how the images in the light show told the historical story of the cathedral. We enjoyed all the activities and the people in our tour group. Overall, loved the tour. Virginie was another amazing guide - simply top notch. We'll visit both the aqueduct and its much younger museum. We were impressed with the ease of the schedule. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Julie Sonveau was an outstanding guide - knowledgeable and easy going. On the tour, we receive the best local guides and comfortable transportation. Our destination today is the Dordogne, a sublime region of fortified hill towns, caves, and meandering streams. I appreciated the tour guide bus talks that were entertaining, informative, and educational. One of the best parts of the trip was the history that was covered from prehistoric drawings in caves, Roman ruins, Medieval castles, Renaissance Château's, WWII, wineries on and on. This morning we'll take a walking tour across Nice, starting with the busy Cours Saleya, the city's main market square since the Middle Ages. Helping us feel comfortable speaking French whenever possible, wonderful way to connect... , France so beautiful, love the choice of stops! This tour was a nice balance between scheduled activities and free time to explore on our own. Hotels good - least favorite hotel was in Arles where I had 35 spiral steps to bring luggage up only to discover my bathroom was 16 steps up from the bedroom, no railings on the steps to the bathroom and no sir conditioner in the bathroom. My most visceral reaction came in Orator-sur Glane. No bus. Philippe was a great driver and lots of fun. No bus. The French really know how to meld the old with the new in a truly fitting manner.". It's a 60 to 75-minute train ride from Paris to Chartres, where the tour begins. Now he is selling tours. The day before there was a "wow" of a different kind, the solemn walk through Oradour-sur-Glane which added to our knowledge of the horrors of war and which we will always remember.". Rub shoulders with local shoppers, sample foie gras, and salivate over the famous black truffle as you shop for your fantasy picnic lunch. Not only was this an unusual thing to do on tour, it was the first time my wife and I had canoed together. But what I reflect on most since home are the medieval cities & most importantly Arles with the Roman ruins right outside the hotel door.". She was organized, also planned ahead, and attentive to our groups needs. The advantages we saw on being on the tour were getting into places early before there were too many crowds. I was a little disappointed with Nice and the tour a little long. Part of the reason I love to travel is to learn about other countries and cultures. All of history is represented on tour. It was so beautifully organized with one adventure flowing into the next. I have done only one other tour (National Geographic), and it was outstanding. Our guide Arnoud was the best guide we have had yet. This was my first and my husbands 3rd RS tour. "Carriere de Lumieres Baux de Provence was amazing & unexpected, as it wasn't scheduled & I'd never heard of it!". "There was not a one wow moment. Carcassonne, especially the nighttime view from the old bridge; When we first arrived, France was having a heat wave. The group was congenial and did well together. I could go on and on.....Arles...Chinon....", "The "private" tour inside the aqueduct. A couple walked in speaking English. "Oradour-sur-Glane and Sarlat.. Linda was wonderful, knowledgeable, kind, organized, fun and had a twinkle in her eye. In particular, Oradour-sur-Glane (martyr village) was made all the more meaningful to us by Linda's moving presentation. ; Chenonceau and the chateaux of the Loire royal life; Chartes cathedral; Roman amphitheatre in Arles.". The Group. You could "feel" the different times of his life, from the good to the sad. Tour guides A1... Malcolm Miller is equal to Mick Jagger... A rock star... What an honour... "Malcolm Miller, Carrieres De Lumieres, our guide, Julie and her associate, Veronique. After stopping and walking through it, I understood. If the weather is not appropriate for the canoe ride in Dordogne, perhaps visiting the Chateau of Beynac would be nice. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy. The tour members made all the difference. After more than ten tours, would have to say that overall these were the most disappointing hotels we have encountered. Hi Smar, we did this wonderful tour in May 2014. She had fans purchased for our rooms. All good. Our day will end with dinner together in the quintessential market town of Sarlat. The underground/cave drawings in Rouffignac, and our excellent guide, who only gave his name as Mr Maybe. ", "Light show on the facade of the cathedral in Chartres, on the first night of the tour.". Best guide, best food, best destinations. Sarlat. Not only was Patrick's knowledge of France, both past and present, amazing, but his energy, enthusiasm, and sense of fun were contagious. "There were many. I felt so lucky to experience this tour!". Big point: We avoided falling in.". Try Prime All Go Search EN Hello, Sign in Account & Lists Sign in Account & Lists Orders Try Prime Cart. Aquaduct was very nice too.". He called France bread and cheese heaven. Next, we're off to visit a château known for its luxurious setting and elegant interior: Azay-le-Rideau. We did Paris on our own first (because you HAVE to see Paris) and then were happy to join the tour and let our great guide, Arnaud do the heaving thinking for us. Our tour guide Michaelanne, did a fabulous job hosting the tour and sharing the history, culture and dynamics of each site we visited. "I will say the canoeing on the Dordogne and the caves. We appreciated this valuable perspective. She was willing to share her experiences & views that gave us extra insights. Skip to main content. Then we'll devote our afternoon to a walking tour of Arles. For those staying longer, your guide will be happy to send you off in the right direction and help with any trip-planning needs. The sites we visited connected me to the history of France and Europe. There were many more "wow" moments where Linda took us to a limestone quarry where an awe inspiring show of Van Gogh art was projected and animated on all the walls accompanied by beautiful music. It made the trip easier for him. It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. The substitution of Josephine Baker's residence Millande in place of canoeing on the Dordogne due to rain and wind was an excellent replacement. Travelling with other people was a complete joy. The tour was great. Most days we would rise early and take a soft run before breakfast - the empty streets beckoning us to explore later. Praises to the lighting engineers.". It was a perfect blend of group activities and free time. We visited and saw so many places and things it would be hard to remember them had we not taken tons of pictures. Castle tour, boat ride and wine!". The immersive experience was overwhelming. Michaelanne went above and beyond to insure all all a very memorable experience. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. "The "wow" moment for me was visiting the cave where we saw cave art thousands of years old. The cave drawing tour on the electric train was a "wow" moment.". Pacing of the trip was excellent. As we have experienced in the past, our tour introduced us to wonderful locations while incorporating the culture, history, food, and wine of course, of France. 1. Things were so well put together but always time to see more. "I think we all loved Pont de Gard. Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements and transfers are completely up to you. I loved how we would spend at least 2 nights at each hotel stop. The itinerary, lodging, and meals included, were all excellent. The Itinerary. First was the Pont du Gard aqueduct! "Visiting Carcassone, and the guided tour and presentation on medieval life. I really enjoyed the smaller villages and towns, like Chinon and Sarlat. As usual, our tour was outstanding, educational, and fun. We also enjoyed the camaraderie with our fellow travelers. This was our fifth Rick Steves tour. The sources of his authenticity were his education (Master's Degree in Medieval Studies) and his ancestry.". I loved this tour. It was a great experience. We still love his tours and philosophy. She really gave us practical, cultural and historical perspective on the trip, in addition, to being really fun to interact with. I've marveled over pictures of it for years, but to actually see this massive ancient structure in person was incredible. Great Tour and this our fourth. "This is the hardest question to answer. very impressive.". Thank you Michaelanne.". Lunch wasn't promised on day 8. I would like to suggest spending more time in Carcassonne and less time in Sarlat. There was a very nice mixture of sites and experiences[INVALID] castles, chateaux, cities, markets, vineyards, picnics, foods, wines, and everything French. A bonus was a concert of songs of "courtly love" given in the lovely by two costumed women, singing and playing period instruments. She took great care of us. ... Portugal's beachy south coast is well discovered now, but one bit of old magic still glitters quietly in the sun: Salema. I learned more about the Middle Ages from that one tour than I did learning about them at school.". "The the 13,000-year-old drawings of Rouffignac Cave were my favorite "wow" moment of the trip though there were several moments that will stickwith me for quite a while.". You have to experience it in person to truly appreciate it. This was out 7th tour. I was very happy with my tour and had wonderful experiences every day. Bus: 4 hours. Her knowledge about and deep love for France is apparent, and I highly value the deepened understanding I now feel for the country, it's regions, and the French people. To enhance your art experience, be sure to check out Rick Steves Classroom Europe, my free collection of 400+ teachable video clips — including a visit to Monet’s garden at Giverny. "Mine was a little offbeat. The light shining on that chateau was absolutely beautiful and is something I've envisioned since I was a student of French while in high school. Michaelanne and our bus driver Phillip MADE our France experience...would travel with them France anytime and into any village. Great sights to see on the tour including Villandry gardens, Pont du Gard,Castle Hill in Nice. We saw and did so much. Absolutely outstanding. Patrick, our, guide, was so instrumental in bringing the history to life in all the places we visited. Our superb tour guide, Linda, made our trip an awesome experience. The tour was lovely. The Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux took my breath away & I actually was moved to tears...so that was a big WOW moment. I bet the same will happen for your group! The Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct and museum". ... we explore the Côtes du Rhone and more wonders of the South of France. I absolutely loved this tour--the places we visited, our fellow travelers, our tour guide & the food. Great dinner in Chinon Oradur was powerful!! This tour was the perfect way to experience French culture with delicious food, beautiful scenery, and wonderful history. Magical.". "The cave art and the villages of the Perigord, expecially Sarlat. "I did not have one wow moment, the whole trip was WOW!". "It's hard to say. Thanks. "I was very pleasantly surprised with the 3-hour paddle down the Dordogne River. This is a moderately active tour! Answer 1 of 6: I've never gone to Europe before; indeed have traveled no further than Canada (live in the US). Sleep in Arles. "We enjoyed the most every daily tour subject/location that we visited. There was a great mix of group time and individual time on the tour. The WWII martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane was very sobering and a wow because of its history and site (left much sadness in my heart). Personally I'd scrap the canoe trip and spend the time in Beynac and scrap Le Baux and just go to the light show.". Patrick made us all very comfortable our first night in Chartres following the usual Rick Steve's standards.I really like the buddy system! Cave drawings was a wonderful tour group or even more beautiful ; Giverny ; Disneyland Paris ; Normandy I my! It will be brought back at some point, would have said Pont du Gard ``!, coach driver, Phillipe, was incredible share in just over an hour ``... Villandry and Chenonceau he tour of each area. `` wonderful variety of regional French dishes and.... 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Medieval times seeing the 10,000 yr old cave paintings, canoeing, ruins...