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  • Colmar, France
    Colmar
  • Reims Cathedral
  • Wine Tasting
  • Beaune, France
    Beaune
  • Vineyards, Pommard, France
    Burgundy Vineyards
  • Chamonix
  • Annecy, France
    Annecy
  • Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Aix-en-Provence, France
    Aix-en-Provence

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Best of Eastern France in 14 Days Tour

from $4,095 per person + air

Single Supplement $775

See Dates & Prices

The bountiful vineyards, classic villages, and hearty cuisine of eastern France are legendary. Starting in the effervescent Champagne capital of Reims, you'll spend 14 fascinating days with your Rick Steves guide, exploring Colmar's cobbled lanes, Alsace's meandering Route du Vin, Verdun's historic battlefields, Burgundy's fabled Côte d'Or, Chamonix's majestic mountains, and Provence's scenic Côtes du Rhône, ending with a farewell toast in exquisite Aix-en-Provence. Join us for the Best of Eastern France in 14 Days!

Dates & Prices

2022

What's Included

You'll get at least 19 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our Eastern France tour:

  • Reims walking tour
  • Reims Cathedral
  • Champagne tasting
  • Verdun WWI battlefields
  • Colmar walking tour
  • Unterlinden Museum
  • Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg
  • Alsatian wine region excursion
  • Alsatian wine tasting
  • Beaune walking tour
  • Hôtel Dieu
  • Market day in Beaune
  • Beaune wine tasting
  • Lake Annecy boat cruise (weather permitting)
  • Hiking orientation in French Alps
  • Vaison-la-Romaine Roman ruins
  • Orange Roman Theater
  • Rhône Valley wine tasting
  • Aix-en-Provence walking tour

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of France come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Reims to Aix-en-Provence
  • 13 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2022
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to France's Champagne Region

Just 45 minutes from central Paris by frequent TGV (bullet) train, the effervescent city of Reims is famous for its royal history, its towering cathedral…and Champagne. We'll meet at our hotel at 5 p.m. for a short "bienvenue à Reims" meeting. Then we'll take an orientation walk through the heart of Reims, followed by time to get acquainted over dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Reims.

Day 2: All Day in Reims

We'll spend our morning on a walking tour through Reims' historic city center, where we'll learn about the design and history of its glorious Gothic cathedral (more than two dozen kings and queens of France were crowned here over the course of six centuries). The cathedral and its surrounding neighborhood were virtually destroyed during World War I, then rebuilt during the Art Deco age, which is delightfully reflected in the design and décor of Reims' downtown buildings. This afternoon we'll learn about this region's most famous product — Champagne — with a tasting courtesy of a local producer. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Reims.

Day 3: Battlefields and Lessons of Verdun

We'll meet our bus and driver today and take a short drive to the historic WWI battlefields at Verdun. We'll visit the ruins and monuments of one of Europe's costliest battles of attrition, where hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers perished. Our day will end in France's Alsace region, the ultimate Franco-Germanic blend. Tonight we'll share a dinner of Alsatian specialties in the town of Colmar.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 6 hours. Sleep in Colmar.

Day 4: All Day in Colmar

Today is devoted to exploring the enchanting town of Colmar. We'll start the day with a walking tour, wandering over cobbled lanes lined with leaning, half-timbered buildings and learning about the historic importance of the community's canals. We'll wrap things up at one of Rick's favorite museums in Europe — the Unterlinden, home to the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald. You'll have this afternoon and evening free to explore more of the city's sights and pedestrian-friendly lanes, and to enjoy more Alsatian specialties on your own.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Colmar.

Day 5: The Route du Vin

Let's take off and explore the region's scenic Route du Vin, where colorful villages and vineyards carpet the foothills of the Vosges Mountains — birthplace of the region's very dry Rieslings and aromatic Gewürztraminers. Our first stop is the imposing Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, perched sky-high in the Vosges Mountains. After lunch in a small Alsatian village, we'll wander through the vineyards and find the perfect winery to sample some local varieties. Then we'll return to Colmar, where you'll have the late afternoon and evening free.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in Colmar.

Day 6: A Hearty Taste of Burgundy

This morning we'll drive from the Teutonic tidiness of Alsace to the red-tiled villages of Burgundy and its bustling wine capital of Beaune. After some free time for lunch, we'll hit the ground walking with a tour of the town and its eye-opening medieval charity hospital, the Hôtel Dieu. Tonight we'll have a Burgundian dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Beaune.

Day 7: Market Day and Vineyards

It's outdoor market day in Beaune! Your morning will be free for rubbing elbows with locals sampling smelly cheeses, creamy pâtés, and fresh produce while doing their weekly shopping. This afternoon we set off for Burgundy's legendary and beautiful Côte d'Or wine country, where we'll have a picnic lunch together at a local domaine, along with a tasting of its celebrated harvest. We'll return to Beaune later this afternoon, where you'll be free for discoveries and dinner on your own. Escargots, anyone?

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in Beaune.

Day 8: To the Alpine Peaks of Chamonix

This morning we'll make a bee-line for Europe's highest point, Mont Blanc, arriving in the picturesque resort town of Chamonix in time to get acquainted with all the alpine thrills this charming city offers. This evening we'll enjoy a traditional dinner of raclette or fondue together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Chamonix.

Day 9: Free Day in the French Alps

Today is all yours to enjoy the wonders of the French Alps. You can choose among several great hiking trails with stunning views of Mont Blanc and a supporting cast of Alps that seem to stretch forever. For one of Europe's great alpine thrills (weather permitting), take Europe's longest vertical gondola rides up to the 12,600-foot Aiguille du Midi viewpoint. From there, mini-gondolas take travelers over the snowfields and on to Italy (and back)!

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). No bus. Sleep in Chamonix.

Day 10: From Peaks to Provence

Sit back and rest those hiking muscles as we spend our day driving south to sunny Provence, enjoying the countryside along the way. We'll stop for lunch and a boat ride in exquisite Annecy — hands down France's most beautiful lakefront town. We'll arrive at our history-rich, Provençal destination of Vaison-la-Romaine in time to get oriented and enjoy dinner together.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Vaison-la-Romaine.

Day 11: Roman Provence

We'll spend our morning sifting through the 2,000-year-old site of ancient Vaison-la-Romaine. There we'll tour the ruins of a sprawling Roman mansion and the 6,000-seat Roman theater that's still used for performances today. Consider this a warm-up act for the most impressive of all Roman theaters — the Theater of Orange — which we'll drive to and experience this afternoon.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 1 hour. Sleep in Vaison-la-Romaine.

Day 12: Vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône

This morning, we'll drive through some of Europe's most picturesque villages and vineyards as we make our way to one of our favorite wineries. We'll stop there for a refreshing lunch and the chance to sample some formidable Côtes du Rhône wines at their source. Then we'll return to Vaison for free time this afternoon.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mosty level terrain. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in Vaison-la-Romaine.

Day 13: Exquisite Aix-en-Provence

Today we'll continue south through Provence's intoxicating countryside, making our way to the affluent, artsy town of Aix-en-Provence, where we'll tour its pedestrian-friendly center with our local guide. This afternoon you'll have more time to explore the colorful lanes, shops, and galleries of Aix-en-Provence before we gather this evening to share travel memories and toast new friends at our farewell dinner together.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Aix-en-Provence.

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's an easy 30-minute bus, shuttle, or taxi ride to the Marseille airport. For those staying longer, your guide will be happy to send you off in the right direction and help with any trip-planning needs. Au revoir et merci!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Eastern France in 14 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Robert

Orlando, FL

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

First time in France and I loved all the cities that we visited. With a great group of fellow travelers I enjoyed experiencing the many different wines and food of the area. Our guide, Chris, was very informative and helpful. Overall a great two weeks in Eastern France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one true "wow" moment. Just a combination of interesting and beautiful sights to see."

Ann

Boise, ID

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour in terms of its breadth of experiences: from Roman amphitheaters in Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine to medieval town centers and castles in the Alsace to WWI battlefields pock-marked by bombs. And not to forget the wine! I am from California wine country and have to say that I tasted some of the best wine in my life at the winery we visited in Provence! The tour reinforced my desire to spend some additional time in Aix-en-Provence and just soak up the life and language!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being on top of the Aiguille Du Midi on a crystal clear day look up at Mont Blanc and down at Chamonix. We even saw the Matterhorn in the very far distance. We realized our good fortune when we got up the next day, ready to move on and the mountains were clouded. I did not care if our boat ride on Annecy was rainy when we had that amazing time in Chamonix!"

Frank

Detroit, MI

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a nice tour. I don't think we realized how much of the tour would be wine related.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ascending Mt Blanc."

Hope

King, WI

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have been on several Rick Steves' tours and this was one of the best groups we've been with. All got along with interesting and enjoyable conversation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Slicing a cork off a bottle of wine with a sword."

Amy Jo

Arvada, CO

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Lovely tour group. 6 hours on bus a bit too long. Often a bit rushed for town walking tour after we had checked in to hotel ( some had not even reached their rooms and people were gathering outside for the walking tour). Loved the towns visited. When possible, great getting room numbers on bus eased stress (small lobbies) The local guides add so much more to the experience than using the self guided audio boxes as in Orange and Hostel-Dieu.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Blessed with AMAZING SUNSHINE in Chamomix and our visit to Mont Blanc! It was truly heavenly as it rained almost every other day of the trip. Verdun! The FONDUE!!"

Gerald

Houston, TX

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wine, more wine, food, & beautiful scenery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View of Mt. Blanc and the French Alps from the 12,600-foot Aiguille du Midi viewpoint on a clear day, with the clouds below us. Magnificent."

Constance

Detroit, MI

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a really nice time, fun, professional guide and bus driver. Nice variety of things to see. Lots of interesting facts about history, the people of France, their language, education, habits, money, etc. we saw beautiful little towns with flowers & lovely buildings as well as sad WWI stuff and ancient Roman ruins. Those Romans were everywhere. Really nice, smart people on the tour. They could all become friends if we lived near one another. ??

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a beautiful sunny day to ride the gondola up the mountain Aiguille Du Midi. We had a wonderful time exploring all the levels, taking in all the views and snapping pictures. There were people rock climbing, hiking in the snow, gliding with the kite like things, riding on helicopters and just enjoying the day. We went in the glass box for pictures, saw the movie and all the displays. There was no wait to go up or down because it was October and not as busy. This was my wow moment."

Mary

Boise, ID

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the variety of locations and opportunities for viewing art, architecture, scenery, historical sites etc. A wonderful balance. Good ratio of free and structured time. All accommodations were well located to allow free time exploration. We've taken several RS tours and this is one of the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the top viewing platform on Mont Blanc on a perfect sunny day. What a thrill!"

Lea Ann

Tomball, TX

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour: the beauty of France, the delicious food and wine, a diverse itinerary, an excellent guide, and a truly congenial and interesting tour group. The tour met all of our expectations and definitely affirmed our love of France and its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was having lunch at the winery outside of Vaison-la-Romaine. The weather was perfect, the food and wine were perfect, and the gracious owners and staff were perfectly hospitable. I could not have had a better day in beautiful Provence!"

Mark

Modesto, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The group was great. Julie was the greatest! Tour group activities and free time to explore on our own was balanced brilliantly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride to Plan de l'Aiguille. It was breathtaking, in every conceivable sense of the word."

Susan

Branford, CT

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked this itinerary very much, a good combination of small towns, wineries, a little history, lots of mid evil which I enjoy. I was not thrilled with Aix-en-Provence after so many beautiful small towns, it just felt too big.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love castles so the castle in Colmar was great and the château in Beaune was terrific too."

Steven

San Dimas, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 11th RS tour. The diversity experienced on this tour is unmatched! Each region and city feels like traveling to a different country, with different histories, cultures, foods and wines. Our guide Julie, an American transplant, was fantastic and offered background and history explanations to assist us in our emersion into the varied French regions. This tour exceeded my expectations!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As usual many 'wow' moments! Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims. Hotel Dieu and Rogier van der Weydem's "Last Judgment and an evening concert in Hotel Dieu in Beaune.Visit to and views around Castle du Rully near Beaune. Tramway to Aiguille du Midi, stop at Plan de l'Aguille, and views of Mt. Blanc, valley below and Alps above Chamonix. The eminence Roman Theatre in L'Orange."

Faith

Hilton Head Island, SC

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The variation in landscape, architecture, culture and food within such a small country is always a wonderful delight. The pace of this tour was relaxing - plenty of time to soak up the charm of each place we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our lunch at the winery outside Vaison la Romaine was my wow moment. The beautiful blue Provence sky; the amazing setting in the courtyard of a private home; the delicious lunch made and served by the warm and welcoming winery staff; and the pleasant company of our tour mates made for a wonderful experience."

Mark

Carrollton, TX

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time seeing eastern France. The small towns and villages were gorgeous. The local guides added greatly to e experience! For Americans, it was like stepping into every bedtime story that you've ever heard.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the French alps and going to the top in the cable car!"

Laura

Modesto, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour featured such a variety of regions, with distinct food, traditions, culture and history. It felt like we visited several countries, all within the boundary of France. The pace was relaxed but efficient, we had a great balance of group vs. free time, and our travel partners were so much fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day felt like a "wow" moment, but if I had to pick one it would have to be the experience of taking the gondola up to Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. The breathtaking view from the top was nothing less than awe-inspiring. It was good to be reminded of the absolute beauty of our Earth."

David

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was better than expected. Virginie was a wonderful tour guide, the hotels were great (did not miss the absence of the french log pillows), the choice of food and wine would rival what Bacchas would might choose.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cycling thru the vineyards of Burgundy followed by a wonderful french picnic, hand picked by our guide!"

Genevieve

Tollhouse, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour educated me even more than our 2015 tour of Paris and The Heart of France. I will admit that I did a lot of prep for this tour by reading about France's history and culture, as well as learning about where we would travel. Our leader, Virginie really helped us dig deep into history and culture of every place we visited. She is so knowledgeable about her country and can easily compare and contrast the US with France due to her own experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Light Show at Reims Cathedral really got to me."

Carol

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the small villages! Each was so picturesque and charming in different ways! I enjoyed the variety of wine tasting experiences from champagne tasting in Reims, to walking the fields during harvest in the Alsace region, to tasting in the Count's Château followed by a picnic lunch, and finishing with all of the above in the Côtes du Rhône region with a delicious lunch in the garden.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was going to the top of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. The view was spectacular and we were fortunate to have a clear day. When back in the village it was easy to explore, walk along the river, and enjoy the delicious cheese fondue dinner with the group!"

Debby

South Portland, ME

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the onset, the tour was very well organized, each accommodation was comfortable and well located, and the meal quite fabulous. Our guide, Virginie, was deeply knowledgable about French history and cultural, and dynamic in her ability to compare it with U.S. culture and history. Her method of using a young couple and the growth of their family was a clever way to convey the cultural and historic variety between our two countries. Her patiences with and care for our questions was amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment is somewhat self-invoved. I had my birthday on the tour. We were on a tour and a wine tasting at a castle with a count. I turned 65 in a castle!"

Mary

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Virginia was great, more later. Group was congenial, bus, accommodations and meals were excellent. Loved the route through the beautiful eastern side of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rhine and Rhone winery visits. Beautiful views from hotels in Chamonix and Vaison de Rouisson made for wonderful respite. Meals with group in Vaison de Rouisson and Reims were so fun."

Eileen

Colchester, VT

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always,our tour was amazing. Beautiful locations, great food and wine and wonderful people to share it with. Our lovely guide, Virginie,was knowledgeable, thoughtful and had a delightful sense of humor, and extremely helpful in all regards. From the vineyards in Burgundy to the Alps to delightful Provence, the trip provided a fantastic panorama of eastern France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Wow" moment, so many. Getting to know a young family of vintners in Alsace, seeing the passion of Denis who makes santons, Alain in Reims, caring for the relics in his church, and Madame, the owner,in the hotel in Beaune. Yes getting to know the people of France and appreciating their culture. And on a sad "wow" note, seeing the recession of the glacier on Mont Blanc."

Patricia

Dayton, OH

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have traveled to France many times for business as well as pleasure but this tour was the most interesting and fun filled experience I've had. We visited cities and small towns which I would have never put on an itinerary. We visited vineyards, castles and the French Alps. We mingled with local citizens and learned about French culture. What can one say about the food and wine but Fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Virginie was without question top notch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many WOW moments but I would have to say number one was our lunch at a vineyard among the trees and a beautiful chateau. The food, wine, and the company of my fellow travelers was outstanding. It was a perfect day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Mary Beth

Paonia, CO

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a beautiful tour and Virginie was an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the handmade santos demonstration and meeting the young vintners."

Benita

Fresno, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great time on this tour. We had an exceptionally nice group of folks on our tour and many were celebrating special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. There was not a single grump among us. Virginie is an excellent tour guide for France. She was very informative and taught us a lot about French culture and history as we traveled through the various cities and regions. She was very helpful for those of us who were planning extended travel agendas after the tour ended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Also want to mention that Hilde, our bus driver, was excellent also. There are many wow moments on this tour. One was when I got to open a champagne bottle with a saber. My grandchildren are so proud of me. Mount Blanc and the glacier were certainly WOW moments. Many great wine tastings. Our lunches and picnics together were very memorable. Touring the vineyards was lovely too. The entire tour was a big WOW moment. My husband and I are eager to learn more about the French language & culture"

Jeff

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip! Everything was excellent, very well-organized, and well worth it. We loved the wine tastings and the local guides (especially Muriel in Colmar) were knowledgeable and funny.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Alps? Lunch in the courtyard at Domaine Mourchon? Yes to both!"

Karen

Arnold, MD

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. Everything was well organized and went smoothly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the light show at the Cathedral in Reims."

Elaine

La Crosse, WI

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have come to think of this as a champagne and wine tasting and gourmet dining experience with a few Roman Ruins thrown into the mix. We also learned a lot about French history and culture. Our group was very cordial, a nice mix of singles and couples. The number of previous Rick Steves tours taken by participants gives testimony to the consistent quality of the trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our stay in Vaison La Romaine offered many "wow" moments. I loved Le Beffroi, despite having no elevator and medieval steps. The courtyard, the fountain, the bells ringing and our room created a retreat-like setting. The two evening dinners served were as good as in any restaurant. That portion of the trip also included the Roman Theater in Orange and the vineyard and tasting at Domaine de Mourchon. Walter's story was amazing. History, food and wine...perfect combination!"

Antoinette

Odenton, MD

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were a group of travelers who wanted to immerse ourselves in French cuisine and culture. With the help of our guide and our own desire to have a good time, I think we succeeded. This is the perfect tour to just enjoy the moments, the surroundings... I loved it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I could never believe when I saw previous comments about this tour - that there is no wow moment but that is true. The entire trip is a wow moment."

Wayne

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We travel on our own for most of our travel, and enjoy it immensely. Traveling on a Rick Steves tour is a vacation from our vacation. We don't have to drive or figure out a public transport method. No need to make reservations for multiple couples or figure out most meals. Best of all, the tours take us places we wouldn't know to go and often that we couldn't do on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going up in the Mt. Blanc tram in Chaminoix. Spectacular."

Heather

Mountlake Terrace, WA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A bit slower-paced than some other tours we've been on, this was a great opportunity to luxuriate in French culture. Lots of opportunities to wander and explore beautiful places- and oh my, the food! Though I'm not a big wine-drinker, it was a treat to meet and learn from local producers and inspiring to witness their dedication to creating wines that are both world-class and truly French.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The drive from Beaune to Chamonix as the landscape became more and more alpine, arrival in Chamonix with jaw-dropping views of the mountains, multiple gondola rides to breath-taking views and an unforgettable hike along the mountainside to the glacier-WOW! Also loved being near the river and our group dinner in Chamonix; so many laughs with a great group of new friends."

Thomas

Deforest, WI

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time! The mixture of historical and winery experiences as well as a simulation into French culture was pleasantly blended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick a "wow" moment. Our experiences were extremely varied, nature always wins with me! The little red Panoramic Mont Blanc gondola ride from Aiguille du Midi to Pointe Helbronner was majestic!!"

Gail

Springfield, OR

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best trip so far! Hotels were centrally located making it easy to investigate the local towns. The local guides were all great, especially enjoyed Muriel in Colmar. It was interesting to hear from the local wineries owners what they go through to produce wine in France vs Oregon. The wine tasting & luncheon at Domaine de Mourchon was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my "wow" moments was the tram ride from Mt. Blanc to Italy. Breath taking views, absolutely spectacular."

Eric

Springfield, OR

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great balance between tour time and free time. We wanted a tour that emphasized the local culture along with regional food and wine and wow, did you guys deliver! Wine tours and tastings in Alsace, Burgundy and Provence with each in its own unique setting was a real treat. The buffet lunch at Mourchon was very special in both the food and the setting. Each hotel was located so close to everything, and while Le Beffroi was an uphill hike the view and food were completely worth it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That has to be Chamonix and the optional gondola rides we took to Aiguille du Midi and then over to Point Helbronner. What a contrast to the other places we visited on the trip! Chamonix is a beautiful town and Hotel L'Arve was right on the river Arve with an amazing view of Mont Blanc. Definitely WOW."

Janna

Truckee, CA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my 7th tour and enjoyable in the Rick Steves' way of touring. This tour really focuses on French foods and wines, which is great for gourmands, but was a little difficult for me as I have food allergies that with aging have become somewhat difficult to manage. As I have gotten older it is harder to eat big rich meals so late in the evening and then have to get up early to go tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tram ride and hikes in Chamonix."

Darrell

Lacey, WA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We really felt like we got a great immersion in the French culture. Julie's knowledge of and experience in France provided all that we hoped to learn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment for me was the entire trip. I learned so much from all the different regional visits that will last a lifetime."

Walter

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful mix of beautiful scenery, history, peeks into other cultures. The pace was brisk but with plenty of time to "do our own thing" when not being guided through some specific area or activity. The practical aspects of the tour were well managed, and we enjoyed the tour companions very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My moment was the top of the lift system over Chamonix and the stunning views across to Mont Blanc beyond the snow fields and the green valleys far below!"

Cary

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking out at Mont Blanc from Aiguille du Midi at12,000 ft."

Barbara

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the itinerary, the variety of locations, our excellent guide, great group of people , bus driver Hilde, great food, wines and we were fortunate with great weather too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"CHAMONIX! Both days were wonderful, but the top of theAguille du Midi was fabulous! That was the piece if the trip I was most looking forward too and it did not disappoint. Then our group fondue dinner culminated the perfect day,"

Karen

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the Village Italy tour was so outstanding. Eastern France at first did not thrill me. But as we progressed, I enjoyed it more and more. I did not expect to appreciate the knowledge of wine making; I learned so much. We had an outstanding group of people on the tour. Having 3 nights in Colmar and Vaison-la -Romaine was wonderful. Our bus driver was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching paragliders against Mont Blanc at Chamonix hotel, with River Arle rushing by. Relaxed picnic at the castle near Beaune where we all bought food at the market. Lunch at Mourchon after winery tour - THE BEST."

Robert

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had been looking forward to this tour for several years and I must say that it exceeded our already high expectations(having toured previously with Rick Steves) .This was our 6th tour with your company and they just keep getting better .We sincerely appreciate the attention to detail ,preparation and planning that goes in to each phase of a tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 3 wine tastings were best for me .Each one had a different set of variables which made it a WOW moment."

Sandra

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary really appealed to me. There was good mix of activities. Our local guides were outstanding and everyone in our group got along so well. This is my favorite Rick Steve's tour to date.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but the wine tastings, were my favorite moments, not JUST because I tasted amazing wines, but because each vineyard gave me a completely different experience. Fell in love with the Stinzi family and their work ethic. Comte' Rully's 26 generations of French relatives and their struggles to maintain their legacy was enlightening and Kate, the daughter from the Mouchard, gave the BEST explanation of the winemaking process ever, plus; lunch afterwards was our best group meal."

Bradley

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved our tour, it exceeded our expectations. That's a tall order because we loved our Villages of Italy tour last year. Our guide was great, the tour was great, and the people on the tour were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many food and wine wow moments but being a life-long skier with a degree in geology did not adequately prepare me for Chamonix. My jaw dropped like it never had before. The tram to Aiguille du Midi climbs 9,200 feet from the valley floor, how is that even possible? The scenery was spectacular in every direction."

Judith

West Allis, WI

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip with outstanding guide. Julie was always informative and suggesting ways to make private adventures around the towns a better experience. Also, the members of this group were all very nice and friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The panoramic Mont Blanc gondola ride, the weather was perfect. The lunch assembled by the entire tour group from the local farmers market was one of the best lunches I've ever had!"

Jeffrey

Williston, VT

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our 6th RS tour had fewer rich experiences than others, but was good. The weather, the group and our guide,Julie,were excellent! The cities & sites we visited were great.The market experience and picnic was fun. The winery experiences were very good, but the champagne tour was disappointing. The Roman ruins in Vaison were interesting but could not compare to others we have visited in Rome, Sicily and Pompeii on previous tours. Colmar was very nice!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Morchon winery experience and lunch were highlights of our trip! Chamonix was fantastic! We were thrilled with the lift experiences and views. The Verdun site was very moving. We also enjoyed the Light show on Notre Dame Cathedral and the Surrender Museum in Reims."

Linda

Oregon City, OR

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, this tour itinerary was well thought out and went smoothly. Loved the size of the towns we visited and the focus mix of wine, history and countryside. And also as usual, the tour group was great! I travel as a single on your tours and I'm always warmly welcomed into the mix. The amount of "free" time is just about right because I usually have some sights or chill time to fit my personal needs. Julie was a super guide giving us tons of insight to the area and France as a country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. I was consistently saying to myself "I can't believe I'm finally here" (for wherever we were!). The lifts at Mount Blanc were so spectacular with the absolutely perfect weather we were lucky enough to enjoy!"

Donna

Invermere, BC

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour experience from beginning to end! We had an awesome Tour Guide (Julie) and bus driver (Hilde); the group dynamics were great, everyone was friendly, cheerful and polite; the weather was perfect; the tour content was varied, interesting and a good blend of on-task and free-time; the food was amazing; and the countryside was gorgeous! Really enjoyed it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were quite a few wow moments! When I walked into our hotel room in Vaison-la-Romaine and saw the view from the window I actually did say "wow"! The French countryside from that (perched village) location was simply spectacular!"

Katy

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Talk about a diverse country! I felt like this trip really gave us a great sense of France. If you've only ever traveled to Paris, I think it's fair to say you don't really know France. We loved getting to experience the vastly different towns and foods within the different regions we visited. It's hard to pick a favorite as they were all really great. I would recommend this trip to anyone who's looking to explore France and really get a sense of it's beauty and diversity. Just fantastic!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one, but because we had perfect weather in Chamonix, I think I'd go with our visit to the Aguille du Midi. It was breathtaking - literally and figuratively. A very close second was our visit to Domaine du Mourchon near Vaison-la-Romaine. It was harvest time which was a true treat to see and the lunch under the trees at the estate was sublime. What a stunning area!"

Carl

Lebanon, OR

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Virginie having lived and worked in the USA is in a unique position to understand and compare American culture with the French culture. She was very informative on all aspects of the French system giving a excellent tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely Mont Blanc. Being at 14,400 feet on a near perfect day is a memorable experience."

Jan

Hansville, WA

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was lovely. Virginie was the ultimate tour guide. She made the whole tour through Eastern France come alive. I will remember this trip as one of the best I have ever experienced in Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my WOW moment was in Reims at the light & music show at the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims. Incredible...never saw anything close to this in my life! Also another thrilling time was in Chamonix..the French Alps..Stunning and the gondola up to 12,600 foot Aiguille du Midi viewpoint was crazy scary and fun!"

Louise

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the small town experience which the Rick Steves' Eastern France trip offered. Our guide Virginie was excellent in her organizational skills and communications skills. I enjoyed the way she introduced french culture to us through the story of Monique while we were traveling by bus. Her regional snacks which she gave us were delicious. I li her special events like our picnic at the castle, castle tour, visits to family-run wineries and olive tree farmer and his pottery-making.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"reaching Aiguille du Midi on the gondola ride in Chamonix. The sun was out and it was bright and clear "on top of the world". The magnificent French Alps and seeing the individual hikers far below us hiking on the mountain paths were wonderful memories. Enjoying the free time which this trip provides. For example exploring the Beaune public market one morning and wandering through the streets of Colmar on my own."

Linda

Lebanon, OR

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide did a remarkable job of explaining about life in France and the culture which is one of the reasons we go on these trips. This is our 4 th RS Tour and we have always enjoyed your system of travel and our travel companions. My husband and I feel that we see and learn twice as much on your tours as we would on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mount Blanc was absolutely the "wow" moment of the trip. Riding the gondola up to the top and walking around Mount Blanc was amazing. We had been to the Alps before but it was gray and had rained so being there in the bright sunshine was a once in a life line experience."

Susan

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour. I really enjoyed the wide range of places we visited from Reims to Colmar to the French Alps, and Provence (my favorite) I can't say enough good about our guide, Virginie More. She provided us with a real sense of French history, culture, and the language and much more. She is such a kind person, and incredibly smart. Because she had lived in the US she was able to compare and contrast living in the US and life in France

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maybe Verdun, because of the history"

Barbara

Sahuarita, AZ

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very enjoyable, well organized, and well thought out tour. It was a good mix of touring and free time. Everything ran smoothly, because our guide had informed us so well about what was expected. We would definitely consider another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course, Mt. Blanc. But, Lunch at the vineyard in Vaison La Romaine was just like out of a story book. Sitting in the courtyard of their parent's home was a photo moment. Food was great! We just wanted to spend the whole day there."

John

Sahuarita, AZ

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Virginie More was excellent and made the travel experience exceptional. She is so knowlegeable, and very personable. She interacted with our group smoothly and anticipated problems, and made allowances for the individual personalities. The tour was well planned and thought out. Overall, the hotels/hostels and meals were good.

Judith

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

An understanding of what Roman Gaul really looked like. The old hospital in Beaune. Started in 1443 and in service until 1970. The Chateau De Rully which in part dates from the 12th century. All the wine tasting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"see above"

Jan

Tempe, AZ

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful overview of Eastern France, the unique differences in each province, understanding of French culture, food & wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Chateau visit in Burgundy and picnic & Roman ruins in Viason"

Vicki

Enterprise, OR

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the sobering WWI trenches of Verdun to the towering peaks of the Alps, and then sweeping down to the sunny olive groves of Provence, this tour was over the top with unforgettable travel experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Verdun because it gripped the heart."

Richard

Lincoln, CA

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour! Toni Seymour ( our guide) & all of our fellow travelers were "topnotch". Locations were fun & informative and the pace of the tour was quite manageable for most of the participants. This was our 6th Rick Steves tour. There was very good chemistry throughout the tour, which added to our enjoyment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wines tasting and interaction with our guide, Toni and other fellow participants."

Candy

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Best of Eastern France tour experience was superb. We loved the pace of the tour, and especially enjoyed all our fellow travelers. The French countryside was just beautiful! We loved experiencing the foods and wines of the various villages/regions and visiting the chateaux, vineyards and many castles that dotted the landscape. Toni was just wonderful as our guide and Hilda was a delightful driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two special "wow" moments: We had perfect weather in Chamonix for taking the gondola and viewing the beautiful Alps. We also had perfect weather for the wonderful lunch provided at the winery and vineyard outside of Vaison-la-Romaine."

Jana

White Bear Lake, MN

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyable group of people to spend two weeks with and a nice variety of places and experiences on this tour. This is a foodie trip for sure. Lots of good meals and wine tasting...and Champagne tasting...and wine tasting. I think you have an opportunity to create a new tour, too: The Best of Provence. My husband and I spent a week after the tour renting a cottage in St. Remy and had many WOW moments. Really glad we got to see much more of Provence than this tour gives you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride from France over to Italy where we had a late breakfast. Such a unique experience to ride a gondola and look down on people far below, hiking the mountain. Stunning scenery and gorgeous weather. A second WOW is the delicious lunch we had at the Mourchon winery and the tour and tasting there. Walter is a character and wonderful. We look forward to enjoying the wine that he is shipping to us!"

Patricia

Tecumseh, ON

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour and my fellow travellers. I especially liked the diverse regions we explored- it emphasized to me that France, like most countries, is a collection of regions. The food and wine was awesome, what we shared with the group and what we experienced on our own!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in a quiet gondola going over the Helbronner Pass while in Chamonix. It was magical to be surrounded by the mountains and view the hikers below us. Very cool to start out in France and 40 min. later be in Italy! A smaller wow moment was visiting St. Remi Church in Reims, it is exquisite. It was on my "list" of places to see but did not think I was going to make it there, so was thrilled when the group arrived early for the champagne tasting and we were able to go inside."

Marianne

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This, our 6th Rick Steves tour, was exceptional. The locations, hotels, meals, and experiences were all well thought out and fun. Our tour guide, Toni, was wonderful too, her many years of guiding French tours was apparent and much appreciated. I thought the French Alps would be the piece de resistance during the 2 week tour but really, all of eastern France was a delight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our full day in Chamonix dawned crystal clear and sunny and going up to the Aguille du Midi and then across to Italy was magical. We could see the Matterhorn in the distance. Colmar was picture perfect and Provence was so charming. On our own after the tour, we headed to Cassis on the Mediterranean for the day to see the calanques, that was gorgeous too. Eastern France is full of Wow moments!"

Dale

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time. Toni was a fantastic guide. She communicated well with everyone. She knew all the various staff at the restaurants and hotels and ensured everything going well. Her recommendations for sites and food were on point. Can't say enough about what a great job she did. The cities were well chosen and the hotel locations very central to allow us to see the cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved walking thru Chamonix and then looking up at Mt Blanc towering over us. Couldn't have had better weather. Wonderful visibility."

Rich

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 08/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 6th tour and one of the best! Our tour guide, Toni, was excellent. Her knowledge of the country, the sites we visited, the history and culture of Eastern and Southern France was phenomenal. Her lectures on the bus were very informative and interesting, as well. The tour afforded a good balance of group and free time. All the towns and villages were unique, great fun and interesting. And It was a pleasure having Hilda as our bus driver as her driving skills and personality were top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two days of clear weather in Chamonix and the Alps! Need I say more!"

Cindi

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patrick our guide did a wonderful job leading this tour. We enjoyed our tour mates, the local guides and the actual tour itself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our two day stay in Chamonix was spectacular--the ride up the Aiguille du Midi was amazing--of course, beautiful clear weather was an added bonus. The town, the river walk, the food--all superb!!"

When To Go & Weather

Any time between May and October is a good time to take a Best of Eastern France tour. However, the months of May, September, and October are best for offering generally good weather, lighter crowds, and the full range of tourist fun.

France / Paris

Paris Weather


France / Nice

Nice Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. 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.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Paris (CDG or ORY) and out of Marseille (MRS) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. Paris is a 45-minute train ride from Reims (where the tour begins), and the Marseille airport is a 30-minute bus ride from Aix-en-Provence (where the tour ends). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in France. There are direct TGV (fast) trains from Aix-en-Provence to Paris and Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves France guidebook.