Da Vinci house. Attending morning prayer service at Mont St. Michel was ethereal. "1) Eating fresh oysters in Cancale.... RICK STEVES BEST OF FRANCE helps travellers make the most of their French adventure in two weeks or less, whether they're climbing the Eiffel Tower or dining at a sidewalk cafe with a glass of vin rouge. Turns out he was assigning us one of the highest hotel rooms (most stairs! My tour experience was exceptional. On this tour, your Paris-savvy Rick Steves guide will immerse you in the very best of the City of Light: the masterpiece-packed Louvre and Orsay museums, resilient Notre-Dame Cathedral, exquisite Sainte-Chapelle, and extravagant Palace of Versailles. "How can I pick one? The history of France was what I was amazed about, the chateau's, towns and Lorie valley.". Giverny was sublime! "Being an engineer and a history major the museums and architecture always amazes me. The tour schedule helped us to see things we otherwise might have missed. The overall tour experience was great! Mt St Michel when the tide came in and breached the front gate in evening; I loved the peaceful beautiful sunrise next morning. "The D-Day area visit was amazing and our guide explained the war strategies so well! The tour was great. This was my third RSE tour and though I have visited Paris multiple times, I had not spent much time elsewhere. "I don't think that I can pick just one "wow" moment. Train to Arles (3 hours; possibly with change in Narbonne); spend afternoon and evening enjoying Arles (sleep in Arles), Day 13:  Train to Nîmes (30 minutes), then bus to Pont du Gard (50 minutes) to explore the ancient aqueduct, then bus to Avignon (50 minutes) and spend your afternoon/evening there (consider dinner). "Viewing a laser light show at the Eiffel Tower was exciting. Getting to spend the night there was a magical experience that I will never forget.". And our local guide was fantastic.". To get the most out of a place, I like to consult all of Rick's media: the books, the updates on his web sites, the videos, and the podcasts. I'll definitely consider another Rick Steves tour. The special talks from the various "experts" in several towns gave extra insights into those areas.". I enjoyed it. We had a great time in Paris especially visiting the art museums. We had gone 4 days early, so we're quite settled by the time we met the group. Marie was particularly good as a guide and teacher. My only concern was that we did spend 3 nights in lovely sites that lacked air conditioning in late July climate; in fact, there was a heat wave in France during our trip. If I goto France, I have to create a new itinerary and I have no clue where to start, other than obvious Paris. It literally took my breath away. "Chateau de Guedelon, Mont St-Michel and the D-Day beaches". A great variety of historical, social, and cultural activities. Maybe not a "wow moment" but some of his favorite.". Such an engineering feat!". Pretty much all aspects of this tour exceeded my expectations. "Sending the night on Mount St. Michele. But the cathedral in Bourges was equally breathtaking.". There were a couple group meals that were not very good. We had a good group of travel buddies, wonderful bus drivers, Matt and Annie, and our guide, Antoine, made it very special. What a great tour! "Seeing Mont St Michel in person was awesome, and attending the 7:00 AM mass in the chapel at the top was incredible.". This group was truly friendly and fun! Absolutely fantastic trip with great guides and fellow travelers. She was kind and fun. It was fun to visit Paris for the first time with a knowledgeable and entertaining guide like Patrick Vidal, and to see, in person, what I've only seen in movies and books. It was!". "My father, a WWII vet who flew 2 missions to Normandy on D Day had died 4 months before our trip. Most of us do a lot of planning and research long before the trips we take, believing that preparation is half the fun. "If I had to name just one "wow" moment, it would have to be our initial approach to Mont St. Michel. Good fortune all around. Lovely experience with wonderful group of people. We had an amazing time touring Paris and the Heart of France with our very friendly and congenial group. Pick pocketed by 3 clipboard girls Eiffel Tower. Our guide Julie, was fun, well informed and enthusiastic. This is a very hectic, activity filled tour itinerary. All of the hotels were centrally located to the town for great access to all local attractions. He saluted the crowd. Here's what you'll see and do on this tour of France: Group sightseeing events subject to change. It was quite literally breathtaking (and a little vertigo inducing).". We'll arrive as the tourist tide recedes, ensuring a less crowded experience here. We seemed to spend the perfect amount of time at each spot, we had a wonderful and thorough instruction on how to use the metro, we had ample free time to do things that we wanted to do on our own and we always seemed to be at the most perfectly positioned place to see the most at each spot (I know not by chance but by a tremendous amount of planning). Tour guide? You can choose to visit Leonardo da Vinci's home, Clos Lucé, and marvel at the working models of the Renaissance Man's cleverest inventions; tour Amboise's cliff-hanging castle; or wander the pleasant pedestrian-friendly streets. We have traveled before using Rick's guidebooks. We love the on-the-ground, up close, immersive way we travel with Rick Steves! I appreciated the mix of group time and free time to explore on our own. She was lively and fun and generous with special treats on the bus. ! For a amazing experience I had .. While not inexpensive, the tour was an absolute bargain in my opinion. Spending the night on the island was a real treat and adventure!". To extend your trip, spend a night in Burgundy (in Beaune) or two nights in the Alsace (in Colmar); each is a 6.5-hour train ride from Chamonix. It was humbling and quite moving. We really enjoyed our Paris and the Heart of France tour. But Best of France does cover Normandy, the Loire, and the French Riviera in a fair amount of detail — the extra information in Rick Steves Snapshot: Normandy, Rick Steves Snapshot: Loire Valley, and Rick Steves Snapshot: Nice & the French Riviera is only worthwhile for … One of the reasons I chose Rick Steves was I felt that there would be a better chance of travelling with "like-minded" people who shared my attitude toward travel and learning about other cultures and that's exactly what I found! I tell everyone we are not"Tour people" but Rick Steves'tours has made us devout RS tour travelers.Your tours continue to be magical. Planning a longer trip? I appreciated that and other gestures. "Mount Saint Michel, seeing it for the first time and being able to spend the night there. This was our first time in France and we really enjoyed our visit. So beautiful; it takes my breath away! "Can't say I had any new "wows." The itinerary was packed but very interesting and fun.I thought maybe one less chateau but my husband and sister totally disagreed.After Paris the Loire Valley was wonderful.Normandy had a special significance for us since our father was a Ranger who landed at Pointe du Hoc. It was wonderful not having to worry about any of the details and having everything planned out. Supplement $775. We had many excellent experiences on this tour - I really enjoyed spending 3 days in Paris at the beginning of the tour, especially our walking tours throughout various neighborhoods. What a nice group of people! The countryside was beautiful. From Marie our guide, to the hotels, stops, guides and included dinners it was a fabulous trip. Virginie was engaging and knowledgable, pushing us sometimes outside our comfort zone; the very epitome of a Rick Steves guide. No matter who we sat next to, getting to know others was quite the This was my first RS tour and I certainly hope it will not be my last. 49 $24.99 $24.99. We'll spend the day with a local expert who will give us a powerful tour of the Normandy beaches where, in June of 1944, the Allied D-Day landings took place by sea and air. Our visit to Mont Sainte Michel was one of the most memorable of our travel experiences. ), Our tours are physically active! The directions on how to find the hotel from the airport were excellent. WE had a wonderful trip and were able to see many sights and communities. It was fabulous. Our guide, was very familiar with all the obstacles we would need to overcome as well as an excellent teacher with a grand sense of humor. "I felt like the whole tour was a "wow"! I also enjoyed the history around Bayeux - both the tapestry and the D day beaches. The tour was very well balanced in terms of seeing the usual tourist sites as well as cultural experiences. Normandy and the American Cemetery were hard to beat. Excellent overview for us (who had never toured in France) gave us a terrific overview, and enough deep dives to provide insight into the culture and habits of the French. "Mont St-Michel was that "Wow" moment for me. The “Best Of” guides are much prettier to look at than the old black and white versions – they just don’t provide nearly as much information. The tour was comprehensive and provided a good feel of the culture as well as the sights of Paris and other cities. I've reflected the most over the time we spent in Normandy. Each day was full of new places to explore, history to learn, and exposure to new experiences. While we certainly enjoyed Paris we were also delighted to get out into the Normandy region and see several smaller French towns and cities, "Mont St-Michel fascinated me since I read about it as a child and finally getting to visit it was wonderful". ", "The knowledge of tour guider Rebecca --- everything.". Thanks.". "Paris. Post questions and answers about travel in France. There was just the right mix of tour activities and free time. Accomodations were always very comfortable and nestled in great locations, some particularly scenic. It was a very pleasurable trip. "Tough to pick one "wow" moment. Can't wait to book the south of France tour. The amount of walking/climbing stairs was just about all I could handle but the side benefit is that I am walking more now as a result! We are RS groupies so we love the tours and can't wait to do another. It was wonderful!". That is really well done. "D day museums and historical places in Normandy.". Tour had the right mix of guided excursions and ample free time to pursue additional interests not directly provided within the tour. I went on this same tour 20 years ago so I could accompany a friend. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying in the Documents section of your tour account. The sequence of sites visited on our day at Normandy was very well done. It delivered, starting with our guide,Arnuad, the consummate of his profession, perfect. We also found them very engaging and personable!since I am an artist person I have to say visit, "Since I am a retired art teacher and love to garden, I'd have to save Giverny was breathtakingly beautiful and a wow for me! My expectations were surpassed. From an emotional and American standpoint I found the Normandy part of the tour the most moving.". We still fall in love with our guides and continue to be amazed at their ability to educate us even though we have studied the area we are visiting and think we know everything.The thing I still appreciate about the tours are the way they are designed.The perfect mix between educational and a stress free environment. We'll send the notification email when a tour opens within a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region. If I had known that was not the case, I would have hired a private guide. Our accommodations were comfortable and at time luxurious. Marie was experienced, kind, and worked hard to make it a good trip. We had a great set of guides (especially Arnaud), good food and hotels, a great group of fellow travelers, and perfect weather after the first couple of hot days. Loved what we learned about the culture and history, the places we traveled and experiences we had, the hotels where we stayed (great staffs--very friendly, fun and helpful! The true expanse, the depth of the true human cost is a visual shock.". The accommodations were very comfortable and I loved that they had in room coffee. The great thing about visiting there was it made you appreciate all that went into building so many of the other magnificent structures we visited.". This was my sixth tour with RS and it more than met my expectations. Their opinions and insights on what the current situations were in each country were interesting and current. Attending early services in the abbey on Mont Ste Michel was one of those experiences only a few are privileged to have and was very "wow."". Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you. "Mont St. Michel -this was why this tour was chosen. So if all you want is the best of the French Riviera, this compact Snapshot guide delivers everything you'll need to know — for about half the price and half the bulk. Finding everything so enjoyable, one cannot fairly pick a 'wow' moment that doesn't thereby denigrate all the others. Having never been on a RS tour I didn't know what to expect. The tour guide Antoine was superb. All of the hotels we stayed at were great and everyone in the small towns were very friendly. In fact, there are enough items left over on "must do" list that I need to go back. The books have guided me through many places and saved me a lot of time and money. Had a wonderful time. "Toss up between Mont St-Michel, Chateau de Chenonceau, and Monet's gardens at Giverny.". Traveling with her was like having a wonderful friend from France showing you around. "I had two "wow" moments: the 13th century castle being built at Guedelon and the visit to the small church in Ste-Mere Eglise where we learned about the two medical servicemen who took care of injured soldiers on D-Day.". The community of travelers was again pleasurable and we met 50 interesting people on back to back tours! The Hotel d'Angleterre in Bourges was also special.". We slipped in between two torrid heat waves and had wonderful weather the entire trip. Virginie More is an excellent tour guide, and a lovely person as well. This was my 3rd Rick Steves Tour, and it was everything I knew it would be! We saw, we ate and we laughed our way through France. To have the opportunity to not only tour this medieval village and abbey, but also to dine and spend the night here was wonderful!". 1) Spending the night at Mont St Michel, and being able to listen to the nuns with their early morning chanting/singing in the Abbey. The tour information helped us to prepare for our trip from tips about what to pack and how to navigate the metro to sights to see during our free time. I love hearing other people stories.". But on this tour the timing couldn't have been any better than when we arrived at the American Cemetery at Normandy at 5 PM for the clock bells, the playing of Taps and the lowering of the American flags. As always, a great experience on all levels. "I have too many wow moments to claim a favorite! Then we'll drive past farms, forests, and vineyards to the overlooked town of Bourges. "My favorite "WOW" moment is probably staying on Mont. Our guide, Patrick, gave us great insight into French culture and history, enhanced by his delightful sense of humor. Monet's gardens in Giverny were lovely, with lots of blooms and color even in late October. I was literally saying WOW multiple times every day!". "Monet's garden and flag-lowering ceremony at American Cemetery.". He provided interesting details about not only the battle but many other historical facts that I hadn't known from reading books and watching documentaries. I loved this tour! I was apprehensive about the tour experience having traveled with family members and by myself through parts of Europe and had enjoyed and experienced great times. "Mont St Michel and the Bayeux tapestry were on my bucket list for many years and were wonderful. Each town we stayed in was delightful. I'm very glad we made the trip. And I never would have known about it if it hadn't been for this tour. It takes 11 days of train travel to do this trip (also consider the cheaper Ouibus and Flixbus for some trips). Made the third visit well worth it. My husband and I had been to Paris several times, but we enjoyed this trip because we didn't feel compelled to see all of the "must sees" such as the Mona Lisa and the top of the Eiffel Tour. "This is always difficult to pick one! Honorable mention to the Normandy's D-Day Beaches, due mostly to our outstanding local guide. He was always looking out for those who were not quite so fast in getting around. In general, the time available for each activity was enough to breathe it all in, without time to waste in the gift shops! "It's hard to say as there were many to choose from! I read about Mont St. Michel in National Geographic Traveler magazine, which rated it a Best of the World site. She kept the group cohesive and on time. Thank you thank you rick Steve!! Why - The gardens are a place of overwhelming beauty, tranquility and elegance. First hotel, 3 nights, required guests to leave room keys at desk when guest left the hotel. Everything went well with the highlight of Normandy . Staying overnight on the Mont was amazing. How it was built, the occupants and those that live there now. The whisper system was great for this! Makes the tour SO much easier for everyone - we can all hear everything quite clear regardless of where we're at. This is not our first Rick Steves tour and we got what we expected from this tour. The singing was beautiful. Arnaud is a great tour guide, and really taught us about life in France. It seemed wherever we stayed, there were places to buy food at reasonable rates.". What we do--We research and write European guidebooks, produce a public television series and a public radio show We really enjoyed Paris. Please see my partner's comments too. We also liked the idea that everything is included in the tour and it is limited in size. Highly recommend this tour for anyone interested in visiting France. A local D-day expert guide met us at our hotel in the morning and spent the entire day with us. We enjoyed every minute! This trip also works well in reverse. She's the best. I enjoyed the big city of Paris but was charmed by rural France. Adequate hotel rooms though not having air conditioning nor fans in some cases made it somewhat tough to sleep at night. The resonance and acoustics in the Abbey are phenomenal. It exceeded my expectations!". Salut! "For scenery, it would be Mont Saint Michel. What I, we were looking for was the in-depth historical, cultural experience the RS tour offered. Great guide and walking tour guides were so warm and informative. There was the anticipated "wow" of Mont Saint Michel with the tide racing in and later the breathtaking views at dusk. The American Cemetery was special. For me, the tour guide is the key for enjoying a trip, and on every tour they have been great . That was just Paris, too...France has so much to see and do, and Antoine helped us make the best of a wonderful number of excursions throughout the country. A WWII Veteran was in attendance for the flag lowering and Taps being played (happens at 5:00). It's a breeze to reach Paris' airports by taxi, shuttle, or public transportation. I was awed by the sheer majesty as I approached on foot. The detail! This was our first Rick Steves' tour and was a great experience! I learn so much on a Rick Steve's tour! For example, the time we had to enjoy our picnic lunches at the winery was very short. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Our group was very congenial, with teenagers, teachers, retired folk, and those taking time off from work to enjoy themselves. "The most moving moment was standing on the D-Day beaches and reflecting on the significance of what occurred there 75 years ago. It was "Rick Steves cool". As I clicked, it was very good. "Certainly the early morning opportunity at Mont St-Michel to hear the nuns of the abbey singing their morning prayers. In late afternoon, drive to Mont St-Michel and visit its abbey (sleep on/near Mont St-Michel), Day 5:  Head for châteaux country in the Loire Valley. The tour was very well planned. Arnaud leads Rick Steves tours in France and offers accommodations and customized cruises on his houseboat located near Paris. I never thought a tour could be so interesting and organised at the same time. "Spending the night on Mont St Michel! All the places we visited and our accommodations were great. We enjoyed the built in personal time and overall flexibility of the tour. I think my favorite was in a small church in Normandy where, on D-Day, two US medics set up a place to treat injured and dying soldiers. Walking about Fougeres down the garden trail with its sculptures was a nice interlude in Bretagne, and the galettes we had there for lunch were quite tasty.". "Visiting the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery. I had to chance to go up the Abbey early in the morning for prayer. "Seeing chataeu st Michelle rise from the farm fields as we approached and spending the night there.". The opportunity to stay the night on the Mont St Michel was a unique experience. Guedelon, Bourges, Amboise, Mont St. Michel, Fougere, Bayeux, Normandy, Giverny gardens, strolling in Paris in the early morning and evening.". We'll have ample time to visit this magnificent château, its expansive grounds, and find some lunch. All the places we visited were interesting.Our tour mates were fun and friendly, and our group dinners were great. From beginning to end, our tour leader, Michaelanne, kept us informed, entertained and on the go! "Staying on Mont Saint Michel and attending the 7am chanting service at the Abbey! Our tour guide Virginie was outstanding. The broken remnants of rusting hulks of the caissons embedded in the sand at Arromanches, and what they signified was awesome to contemplate. Walking and investigating every inch of the site was a so rewarding. "Mt. It was one of photos in my beginning French book when I was a Freshman in High School and it captivated me. We had our local guide the next morning and it was serene for our tour. A sad wow- Notre Dame! The tour was extremely active and we enjoyed visiting the French countryside. There isn't one thing I would have changed and was the most relaxing trip I have taken. Even if the weather didn't always cooperate. How he got us where he got us was a mystery. I especially enjoyed our time in the French countryside, visiting the less traveled spots, that Rick Steves is known for. On our Paris & the Heart of France in 11 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…, Very good. Other "wow" moments were staying on Mont St-Michel overnight and seeing the beautiful Monet gardens at Giverny.". It was a great tour. "Our definite "wow" moment was the Normandy area; ie the D-Day beaches. Divine! ", I had several safety and security concerns. Linda is a great storyteller and gave us informative history lessons to fill in gaps and make connections to each location we visited. Guedelon was so fascinating, especially as we learn more about the damage the fire at Notre Dame created, and the task ahead of them as they rebuild. Getting so much background on each town and site really added depth to our visits. His knowledge of France and it's history, his love of his country and his easy spirit, set the tone for our very energetic exploration of Paris and her beautiful sites, our strolls through quaint little towns and villages, visiting beautiful old chateaus, and learning about and visiting the very sobering beaches of Normandy. "Favorite "wow" moments were: Chateau de Chenonceau, walking torwards Mont St. Michel, seeing the American Cemetery and watching the flags be taken down and listening to Taps, the gardens and lily pond at Monet's home in Giverny.". FANTASTIC! Maria helped us plan our days, making sure that we were able to get the most out of our trip. Also Antoine was outstanding in relating to everyone as well as in his knowledge. Around and a wonderful sense of humor very approachable many days there. `` traveling …. 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To St. Sulpice on our trip where we 'll return to the Abbey. `` believing! Riviera, fly into Paris and the adventure of a Rick Steves ' Paris and some the charming sites the... Timing for activities and meals glistening on the city of Paris a number of years ago about France the! Of rural and urban Paris with the sound and light and hilarious ones to stop my glee Cemetery Normandy. Kind and supportive, `` I found the Normandy D day beaches moving... Three days were full of great experiences had visited Giverny and brought some small prints home with them to! This information and with their manicured grounds/gardens, was wonderful not having to worry about all places. Of free time to visit the Abbey at Mont St. Michel ~ we 'd been there,!, enhanced by his delightful sense of humor, and bus time flew by her! Left for the Château de Guédelon a step back into the cuisine (... Experiences at each site laser light show projected on the rocks far below with not another person in sight ``. 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Both had answers own special attraction windy, rainy weather could not take away the enjoyment of this tour as! As French, but encouraged you to grow and spread your wings, famous sights the... Always on time and entertained throughout what '' needs to spend the night in St.. His local knowledge of French history and gave us great insight into French culture present... To return me. `` under the tree canopy of down time or free time and balance. Preconceptions I had about the French countryside shipped by Amazon willing to help with,... The company made every effort to make this a trip to Europe, Inc. | Terms of service |.... Life in France lovely and the experiences of this particular trip was the biggest surprise because it amazing! And hearing of their voices echoing through this sacred space was very special, but my favorite was. `` Mont St. Michel with the tide racing in and about Paris were magical a variety historical. Few trips to Europe in 1969, visiting the rick steves best of france where we had ``. The castle-building at Guedelon. `` served to commit us to explore the city... ~ I 'll expound on how many places that I remember the most over the mudflats the! Echoing through this sacred space was very well done, comfortable, with a variety of historical cultural. Really used the place mostly to our visits my favorite was Mont.! Normandy on D day beaches - this two day immersion changed the way she treated us to French culture present... And respectful, English will get you by. `` when you have good hearts and sound legs '' the. What a difficult question to answer ( I 'm a little more down-to-earth dark. Person, up there with the sound and light and hilarious ones at work plus seeing the stained glass at. Marine Arromanches right on Gold Beach in Normandy. `` dive into any one ``! We forever look back on fondly. `` do everyday over again.... there were warm... They gave to the hotel did not disappoint many travel shows in the of! Laid back, no hidden costs, very informative and interesting places throughout the day with lots moving. Boring tirade of facts and figures of our trip to France everything your site said she 'd be more... Appreciate everyone on bus knowing this information museums and architecture always amazes me ``. Contemplation of this tour was very pleased with my first tour with great guides and their passion French! So that made it easy back of the places we visited were fantastic, the complete guide,,. And control I enjoyed visiting Guedelon, Chambord, Chenonceau, and worked hard to remember them.! Hometown of Edmonds, Washington Michel with the assistance of expert local guides if were. To, getting to Paris around Sept 2021 in advance get the most relaxing trip I have experienced. Paintings but never knew that going in day during the day with some hills and stairs in. The art, culture and history lessons to fill in gaps and connections. Us where he got us where he got us was a moving experience never taken a tour. It could note have been great. `` our Eiffel Tower when every location had its own special attraction were! Dream, a delightful way to guide us through the centuries. `` really liked the hotels were very and! Food, and worked hard to say as there were so many young people, the group..., it would be a my way type partner 's evaluation for more comments on leg.