Interview with Jennifer Gouge

Here's a quick Q&A with one of Rick Steves' most energetic guides...

What do you like best about 'Best of Europe' tours in the fall?
Cooler temperatures, fewer tourists — and Europeans just back from their August vacation — all bring a renewed spirit and friendliness among shopkeepers, restaurateurs, even people waiting in lines. And then there are the fall colors in the vineyards and the activity around the harvesting of the grapes; finding wild game, French onion soup and truffles on menus; Parisian dogs bundled in their coats; and a few lucky tours get to experience Oktoberfest in Munich.

Rick's guides all seem to have had interesting 'previous lives.' How about you?
I was a chef for many years. When I began, I decided to do my training in a place where the entire culture values good food. So, I chose France, where I lived for a couple of years while training in a culinary school in Paris and apprenticing in several restaurants in Lyon...and living and breathing amazing French food.

What are your most rewarding moments as a guide?
When I realize I've helped someone open their mind to embracing a new idea — or different perspective on how one can live life — one which they will take home with them.

What's life like when you're not guiding?
I enjoy traveling to other corners of the world (Vietnam, Cambodia, Turkey...), or spending time at my home in Seattle, making wine with friends, throwing Sunday evening dinners, skiing, fly fishing, and playing with my pug, Satchmoe.


What Jennifer won't tell you — here's how Best of Europe tour alums rave about her:

"I can't say enough about Jennifer as a guide. She has an energy and enthusiasm that doesn't stop. I learned so much from her. I was very impressed at how she found the time to spend moments individually with members of the group. I think half the fun of traveling in Europe is just finding things on your own and Jennifer definitely gave us the confidence to do this. Jennifer was always a lot of fun to be with and really made the tour special."

— Kimberly in Wayne, NJ

"Jennifer was absolutely fabulous. We had Kristen on our previous Best of France Tour in 2006, so our expectations were quite high. Jennifer met our expectations and beyond. She is organized, great fun to be with and a genuinely warm person. I would not hesitate to tour with her again. Rick Steves has the best guides."

— Daniel in Stoneham, MA

"I was in awe of Jennifer. I can't imagine a better tour guide. We loved her!"

— Richard in Lake Tapps, WA