• Colmar
  • Stained glass in Reims Cathedral
  • Kaysersberg
  • Wine tasting in Burgundy
  • French Alps near Chamonix
  • Annecy
  • Côtes du Rhône Vineyard
  • Port of Marseille

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

Best of Eastern France in 14 Days

from $3,995 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $825

See Tour Dates

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, Provence's scenic Côtes du Rhône, and ending with a harborside toast in Mediterranean Marseille. Join us for the Best of Eastern France in 14 Days!

Dates & Prices

2016

What's Included

  • 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 tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 18 group sightseeing events • Reims walking tour • Reims Cathedral • Champagne Cave visit and tasting • Verdun WWI battlefields tour • Colmar walking tour • Unterlinden Museum tour • Colmar wine region excursion • Alsatian wine tasting • Beaune walking tour • Hospices de Beaune tour • Market day in Beaune • Beaune wine tasting • Boat cruise on Lake Annecy • Hiking orientation in French Alps • Vaison-la-Romaine Roman ruins tour • Orange Roman Theater tour • Rhone Valley wine tasting • Tour of Marseille…and more
  • All group transportation from Reims to Marseille
  • 13 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2016
  • 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/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above.

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2–4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2–6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2–8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain.

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 5 p.m. at our hotel 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. Sleep in Reims (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

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. Rivaling Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral in beauty and prestige, 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 WWI, then rebuilt during the Art Deco age, which is delightfully reflected in the design and décor of Reims' downtown buildings. Today we'll also learn about this region's most famous product — Champagne — with a tour and tasting, courtesy of a local producer. Dinner will be on your own this evening. No bus. Walking: moderate.

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 Germanic region, the Alsace, the ultimate Franco-Germanic blend. Tonight we'll share a dinner of Alsatian specialties in the town of Colmar, where we'll sleep (3 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: All day in Colmar

Today is devoted to exploring the enchanting town of Colmar. We'll take a walking tour this morning, wandering over its cobbled lanes lined with leaning, half-timbered buildings, and learn 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. No bus. Walking: moderate.

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. We'll visit Albert Schweitzer's hometown village of Kaysersberg 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. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light.

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, Hospices de Beaune. Tonight we'll have a Burgundian dinner together. Sleep in Beaune (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

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 patés 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 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? Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 8: To the Alpine Peaks of Chamonix

This morning we'll make a bee-line for Europe's highest point, the 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. Sleep in Chamonix (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 9: Free Day in the French Alps

Today is your day to enjoy the wonders of the French Alps. Weather and lifts permitting, your guide will help you make your way up the Aiguille du Midi gondola and find the right trail to hike, rewarded with stunning views of nearly 16,000-foot Mont Blanc and a supporting cast of Alps that seem to stretch forever. Or if you prefer, simply find a view table in Chamonix and take the day off in après-ski style. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

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 (weather permitting) 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. Sleep in Vaison-la-Romaine (3 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

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 is 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. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: The Vineyards of Côtes du Rhône

This morning, we'll drive through some of Europe's most picturesque villages and vineyards, stopping here and there along the way. One of our stops, at a favorite winery, will bring us a refreshing lunch and the chance to sample some formidable Côtes du Rhône wines at their source. We'll return to Vaison for free time this afternoon. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 13: Hill Towns to Harbors

Today we'll continue south through Provence's intoxicating countryside, making our way to the seaside city of Marseille, where we'll tour its historic center and port with our local guide. This afternoon you'll have time to explore more of Marseille including the city-capping Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica. Tonight we'll share travel memories and toast new friends at our farewell dinner together. Sleep in Marseille (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Marseille's airport is an easy 30-minute bus, shuttle, or taxi ride away. 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 (several blocks possible) 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

Betty

Shelbyville, MI

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really enjoyed the towns we visited, and the wine tastings. Chris was knowledgable and shared lots of information about France that was new to me. The activity level was great, the hotels were pretty good, and the food was excellent, as was the wine. I would have preferred to skip Marseilles and spend an extra day in Provence, perhaps to visit Avignon. I was pleasantly surprised by the bus transportation and our driver, Hilde. I wasn't excited about bus travel, but it was really very pleasant

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several-seeing the Alps in Chamonix, the beautiful French countryside, the castle in Kaiserbourg."

Thomas

Shelbyville, MI

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed all the different venues

Favorite "WOW" moment

"wine tasting in the castle and the vineyard"

Arlene

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a lot of fun - not too packed with historical info. More on art/music/drama would have been nice. This group was friendly and relaxed. I loved the picnics, but recommend one REALLY fancy French dinner. I did like the Alsacian food in Colmar. The last dinner in Marseilles was disappointing - my fish was not fresh and I could not eat it. Great side tours - Verdun, Roman ruins (wow),olive oil and wine tasting. And of course going up into the Alps was exciting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many WOW moments, it is difficult to pick one. But one thing that I loved was in Beaune, at the Hotel Dieu. I was so excited to see the altar piece painting by Van der Weyden. I appreciated that there was a huge magnifying glass which someone moved up and down in order for us to see the details of the painting. Loved the markets, picnics, Alps, wine and olive oil tasting. Needed a group picture."

Frances

Chino Hills, CA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the cultural aspects of this tour - it was a little slower, but we enjoyed feeling part of each one of the different areas. This was our 4th tour to France and this trip added to our love of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have 4 WOW moments. 1.As most people who take this tour we Loved the Mourchon winery - the owners and their family are so charming - along with wonderful wines, and a lovely homemade luncheon and a relaxing setting. 2. The Chauteau De Rully with the charming Count, wonderful wines and gougeres. 3. The town of Beaune - we really felt the French culture here - especially with the market and the hotel. 4. This was off the tour but a night Vivaldi concert in the St Chappelle Chapel."

Nancy

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was very well put together. It was a wonderful balance of organized and free time. The places that we visited were unique with their own special charm. Chris was very knowledgeable and organized, keeping everyone on schedule. The meals we had together were a sample of the cuisine of the area, and usually in a very quaint setting. Our fellow travelers were quite enjoyable to share the time with. It was a fantastic time to go as the leaves on the trees and in the vineyards were turning.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The WOW moment was at Chamonix when we disembarked from the the gondola at 12,500 feet. The Alps stretched out around us with incredible blue skies that made the glacier-covered mountains "POP"! Spectacular views of Mount Blanc and the Matterhorn!"

William

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very nice, good group of fellow travelers. Food and wine were good. We have been to other areas of France on previous trips, but not to most of the areas covered on this trip, so this trip filled in some missing parts of our complete French experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to the winery near Vaison La Romaine."

Cynthia

Bishop, CA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As a single traveler, I felt too much "on own" time to wander-- I would like more guidance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Beaune Hotel Dieu and Saturday Market."

Jean

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The choices of cities and destinations in the cities were well thought out. And I loved the tour group and leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole day at the castle and the whole day at the winery where we had the two group picnics were the best parts of the trip."

Michael

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour covered a lot of ground hitting areas with very different wines, cuisines and geography. Plus it offers a look at history from the Romans through the present day with Verdun somewhere in between. It was an excellent look at eastern France through time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Verdun and Chamonix."

Barbara

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very exciting and varied tour through parts of France I had never been to, so I loved all of it, especially the very sad visit to Verdun, to the glorious vineyard trips, the marvelous mountains near Chamonix, on to the medieval town of Vaison La Romaine, and ending in vibrant, delightful Marseille, we enjoyed every single day of this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's really tough to pick just one "WOW" on a trip of this length when there were so many WOWS, but I guess I have to say that the three days in Vaison La Romaine was one of the most memorable highlights of the trip for me. I had never visited this more northern part of Provence and found it to be fascinating in its history and beauty.l"

Suzanne

Boca Raton, FL

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was generally very well designed. Nice to have a little bit smaller group than usual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose between riding the gondola in Chamonix or the luncheon at Mourchon Winery."

Jan

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was varied and exciting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Kaiser Wilhelm restored Castle/Fortress Konigsberg Castle was not included on the itinerary but was the highlight of the tour along with Notre Dame De La Garde Basilica in Marseille which we saw on the last day of the tour. This marvel has mosaics that should not be missed."

Karen

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Thought there was way too much time on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Picnic in gardens of Count Ternay's castle and tasting his wine in his wonderful kitchen. Also enjoyed the Champagne tour in Reims and visit with McKinley family at their vineyard."

JoAnne

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another rousing success. We are already working on which tour to take next.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finally getting to visit a real Champagne house and seeing those incredible caves full of lovely bottles of bubbles. Another wow moment was the lunch at Mourchon winery."

Stanley

Yakima, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

well planned executed excellent Chris did an amazing tours with information,professionalism,organization, and just plain good person!!! would be happy to tour with her anytime

Favorite "WOW" moment

"sun shining on mount blanc the beautiful french countryside"

Norman

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

An excellently designed and paced tour. Great group chemistry including guide and coach driver! The usual good balance of scheduled vs. unscheduled time/sites/events/meals. Great selection of local experiences. Would recommend tour & guide to anyone wanting a wine/food/village introduction to Eastern France. Local guide in Marseille missed so many opportunities to inform/educate us about Marseille history & culture. Surely there are better ones available.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entire experience at Mourchon vineyard & winery, but especially the luncheon. Stunningly beautiful day and setting in Provence for a luncheon hosted by the family. Absolutely marvelous and memorable! One of the two trip highlights. Other one was the afternoon in the vineyards guided by Jean-Claude. He absolutely made the experience come alive – and, we learned so much from him. Again marvelous and memorable!"

Marjorie

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the variety of things we did. The wine tasting was well thought out to give a broad view of the French wine industry. I left France with a great deal of respect for their product and process. The pace was very good, with time to explore on our own. I would have loved to spend more time in the Verdun area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The vineyard tour with Jean-Claude was fascinating! He is knowledgeable and obviously loves to teach. He was patient and enthusiastic. The experience was aided by it being a perfect day to be outside and the wine tasting at the end."

William

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was excellent !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The French folks we met were all extremely kind and helpful !"

Rex

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to choose just one!"

Wendy

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an amazing tour! From the champagne area of northern France and the huge sacrifices it paid in WWI to the mellow, multi-cultural Marseille on the French Riviera, one couldn't ask for more a diverse tour. Historical. geographical and cultural differences made this tour quite unique and we so enjoyed the blend of those differences with the specific wines of the various regions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "WOW" moments, but the highlight would be the "Step Into The Void" on Aiguille du Midi Skywalk in Chamonix."

David

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Best of Eastern France Tour was a great way to see French villages in wine country. These are usually medieval walled towns where French people go on vacation. We ate fabulous food, as I expect in France. We walked through vineyards and learned about various types of grapes. Our hotels were always located within walking distance of great sights, and hotel location is something that Rick Steves excels at.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola from Aiguille du Midi to Helbronner in Italy over glaciers near Mont Blanc above Chamonix was the best sightseeing highlight. You see snowfields, high mountains, and glaciers carving valleys. The Beef Burgundy and Coq au Vin dinner in Beaune was the best food highlight. Sauces were rich, the Coq was a real rooster with big bones and a lot more flavor than US chicken. The Rhone wine was very good, and the chocolate mousse creamy."

Rebecca

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful to experience the wide variety of the regions of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking out at the top of Mont Blanc. It was also a "wow" moment to see the last summer night light show on the Reims Cathedral."

William

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix, Aiguille du Midi, and the spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the Alps."

Sue

Valencia, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great trip! Really enjoyed seeing smaller towns as they are more relaxing than big cities, and having three nights in two of the stops helped. One of the reasons I chose this tour was the wine and champagne tastings - I wanted to learn more and was not disappointed. Walking through the vineyards helped reinforce the concept of terroir. Market day in Beaune was another highlight - seeing all the food at its peak, and then the picnic that followed was a real treat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many great moments, but the great food (so many varieties of cheese!) and the gorgeous scenery of the various regions of France is at the top of my list. If I had to pick one stop to pick over the others, then it would be Vaison-la-Romaine - it has it all: wine, food, Roman ruins, vineyards, and terrific views!"

Michael

Morton, IL

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Patrick was a very good tour guide. He gave us opportunities to act as a group and individuals. The group was great! Always on time or early. Nice people. Weather was not always the best but Patrick adjusted well. It was also apparent that he had to make a couple of adjustments on the fly. He did that well. Francois, our driver, was also great and very open. The only negative was that the tour was a little slower paced than I like and there appeared to be some filler stops.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix was my favorite. Would like to had more time there. Another wow moment was just relaxing with the group with our impromptu get togethers."

Scott

East Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent Tour, Excellent Tour Guide, and a excellent group to tour with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the time time in Chamonix. As a avid skier, going to Chamonix has always been on my list of things to do. Being able to take the Aiguille du Mindi gondola up to 12,600 feet and see the alps on a clear fall day and take the Panoramic Monte Blanc gondola over to Italy was just made it an incredible day!!!!!!"

Carol

Steilacoom, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide, Patrick, and wonderful bus driver, Francois, who is (apparently) retiring after this trip. This is our third RS tour and the first with a native from the country we are visiting and I found that to be quite refreshing and informative. The tour covered a diverse area of wine regions, all well chosen and with a number of great wine tasting opportunities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the wine lunch at Domaine Mourchon, excellent luncheon on the grounds of the family home, great wine, wonderful tour with the owner's son in law and enjoyable wine tasting with the owner. Great English also---well, he is an Englishman! The food was amazing, a wonderful array of flavors with cheese highlights--the French are so known for their wonderful cheeses! Loved it"

James

West Newton, MA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed it immensely, as I did the tour we took the previous year to the Loire valley and south, on the west side of the country. There was never a dull moment. I especially like the fact that there is plenty of free time in the towns in which we stay, and yet the organization and/or the guides get us into the best sights to see in those locations, in some cases those that ordinary travelers might not see. As well they point us to others of interest as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix, the Aiguille de Midi and Mont Blanc were much more of a 'wow' than I had anticipated. The Koenisberg castle was a close second, as was the vineyard tour with Jean Claude."

Mary Lou

West Newton, MA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We love France and the east of France tour was a wonderful addition to our knowledge of the country and language. I enjoyed the historical aspects (castles, Roman ruins, kings, etc.) and also becoming more knowledgeable about wines and wine-making. I loved the small towns and villages as opposed to big cities that many tours concentrate on. I liked to learn new French words and phrases and our guides helped with that. Possibly one fewer wine-tastings, substituting a French cooking class.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would have to be Mont Blanc! That was an amazing trip up to Aguille de Midi in the gondola car! I never thought I would ever be so close to one of the high Alpine mountains. It was a great moment among many, though, and even the less spectacular were wonderful."

Sara

Roswell, GA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While not my all time favorite of the Rick Steves tours I've taken (Sicily rates #1), the occasional rain we had certainly was a reason. I did LOVE the variety though, from cities to small villages, from war memorials to wineries, from Roman ruins to spaceships (we went to the new Louis Vuitton Fondation on our own in Paris). What's not to love about France?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The pinnacle' has to be 'the pinnacle', Mt. Blanc, simply because it wasn't supposed to happen! Rainy weather in Chamonix had been the prediction since day one of the tour. Then, voila!, we arrived just in time to enjoy the end of a gloriously sunny day on top the Aiguille du Midi. Julie made it happen! Another wow for me was being in the French wine country during La Vendage (the grape harvest). We learned global warming has made this occur earlier each year."

Kay

Bettendorf, IA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the wines we tasted"

Jeffrey

Holt, MI

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time and learned a lot. Despite being a little wine-heavy, there was a great mix of things to see and do. Great diversity in the regions visited. Our guide was wonderful and our group was great fun and easy to get along with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't expect Marseille to be so great. It was a wonderful city and we could have easily spent more time there. I liked the Alsace much more than I expected as well. Vaison la Romaine was beautiful and relaxing."

Martha

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the small towns we stayed in, particularly Colmar and Chamonix. Our accommodations were always fine and the food was as well. Our group dinners were especially fun. I have not joined the legions of Americans who go to wineries and visit and have tastings, so I was a bit worried about that aspect. However, it was fun. The boat ride on Lake Annency was my least favorite activity, but it was okay. The weather that day wasn't very good so it wasn't particularly scenic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we arrived in Chamonix and the skies parted and we all raced to the gondola to see the mountains in the sunshine. The next day was wet and cloudy so we were grateful to have had that first afternoon."

Allen

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Totally great. Interesting places, lots of variety, great leader, nice balance of programmed time and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were supposed to encounter a deluge at Chamonix, but when we got there, the skies cleared, and we all raced up the gondolas to the Aguille where there were minimal crowds and great views. We took tons of pictures. I walked right into the "Step into the Void," which apparently usually has long lines. Nice town too."

Marc

Holt, MI

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide, great group, very good local guides. Really enjoyed learning about Eastern France, seeing the sights, experiencing the culture, learning about the history, eating the food, drinking the wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments. Was it the Burgundian red wine that tasted like chocolate? That was a wow moment. Or the 13 knot rope that medieval architects used to guide their teams during the construction of cathedrals and fortresses? Wow. I always wondered how they did that. The traditional Alsatian dancers in Colmar who made me want to throw away my knee brace and start dancing again. Wow, that would have been painful. The unexpected energy and excitement of Marseille? Wow. All wow moments."

Jennifer

Tigard, OR

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The locations, history, views and food were beyond our positive expectations. The smaller towns such as Vaison La Romaine, and Annecy and Colmar were a dream to visit and experience. The wine tasting, and restaurants and winerie's food choices were delicious and interesting. I especially enjoyed Domaine de Mourchon. There the food the owner's wife made for us was truly memorable;colorful and interesting and imaginative. Mike and I also appreciated seeing Mount Blanc and Chamonix.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix and Mount Blanc. It was suppose to rain and, miracles of Miracles, it was sunny. So Julie had us immediately up on the tram and viewing before it did cloud up. Our hotel on the waterway was positioned perfectly."

Elizabeth

Holt, MI

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second tour, and it met the very high standards set by our first trip! The diversity of landscape, culture, weather, food and literally everything during the course of this trip was astonishing - it felt like many "mini trips" all in one, but somehow nothing felt rushed or short-changed. And, just like last time, our tour guide and bus driver added immensely to the experience and to my enjoyment. Our group was a ton of fun too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't have much expectation for Marseilles, and frankly thought it was just a convenient last day location for folks to get back home. Instead I found the waterfront and areas we toured (old Marseilles) absolutely vibrant and fascinating. The richness of Provencal history and culture were all right there for us to experience - it was just electric!"

Denise

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a very good trip. The tour guide was excellent as well as the group of fellow travelers. I have no complaints or suggestions. It was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow" moments- the gondola ride up to Mt. Blanc, view from my hotel window at Vaison-la-Romaine, lunch at the chateau outside Beaune, visit to Annecy, and wine tasting/lunch at vinyard of Cotes du Rhone."

Jay

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a very relaxing tour with great food and wine. Each village we visited had its own character, and it was great to have a lot of time to do our own exploring. It was nice to spend more than just a day in any one locale as it felt less rushed and allowed for a more immersion. Information shared by our guide during our bus rides about the various aspects of life in France were also interesting and added to the experience. As usual, we had an enjoyable group of travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The powerful beauty of the French Alps at Chamonix was a wow moment. The French Alps have so much character with their sharp, rugged profile. Rain was forecast, but the skies opened up for us the day we arrived, and I was so happy that it did."

Dane

Boulder, CO

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour theme was the wine regions of eastern France, and it stuck pretty close to that. All of the vineyards and tasting sessions were very interesting. The exceptions to this overall theme were of exceptional interest to me: the battlefields of Verdun and the alpine village and vistas of Chamonix. In paticular, I will always remember Mont Blanc and the Panorama journey to Italy across the glaciers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although being from Boulder, Colorado, I live and play in big mountains every day, I was completely taken away by Mont Blanc and particularly by the glaciers, especially as seen on the Panorama ride."

Elaine

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well planned and both tour guides were outstanding. They shared their in depth knowledge of the French language and culture. They were truly attentive to tour members' needs throughout the journey. Also kudos to our driver Andre who actually rode his bike to locate a tour member who couldn't find the bus! That's above and beyond.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments but if I had to choose one, it would be the well organized picnic (by Virginie and Rebecca) at Chateau de Rully after our tour and wine tasting. The local food and wine they got at the market were excellent. They pulled off the picnic so seamlessly even though it must have been a lot of work doing that on top of making sure we were well looked after."

Judy

Boulder, CO

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very fun tour packed with all the things I truly enjoy: Charming, historic cities and towns, ancient cathedrals and churches, Roman ruins, alpine landscape, vineyards and great French wines, WW II monument, harbors and lakes, fabulous food, etc., etc. The French people we met were most gracious and helpful. the people in our tour group were all really fun people, and Virginie and Rebecca were wonderful guides throughout our adventures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of WOW moments: Mont Blanc, Roman amphitheater in Orange, group dinners in Beaune and Vaison la Romaine. But my favorite day was when we went to the Mourchon vineyard and winery for their tour and wine tasting. The lunch they prepared for us was fabulous in every way and the view over the vineyard was beautiful."

Barbara

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time on the Eastern France tour. The tour was well organized, places we stayed were great and centrally located, structured and free time were well balanced, group meals were really good, and winery tours fun and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is hard. It is probably our free day in Chamonix. It was a marvelously clear day. We rode the gondola up to the Aiguille du Midi, then went back down to the Plan de l'Aiguille du Midi and did the #1 hike in the guidebook to Mer de Glace. While this 7+ mile hike was a challenge [probably a little more than the group of us seven anticipated], it was a gorgeous hike. The other really great, fun day was the visit to the Mourchon winery - incredibly welcoming family."

Mariette

Winnipeg, MB

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I did a week in Paris tour, then connected with the 2 week tour of Eastern France. I liked seeing the cities outside of Paris, especially the smaller cities. I enjoyed the wine and the food and the people we were travelling with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Mourchon Winery tour and the delicious meal that was served after the tour. Provence is a beautiful area."

Linda

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic time with 23 of our new best friends. The small group allowed us to spread out in comfort on the bus & get up close & personal with the local guides in the villages, cathedrals, vineyards we visited. Virginie & Rebecca were terrific with interesting commentary about the history, economics, & politics that shaped the regions we visited. Local champagne, wine, & food with picturesque landscapes of Eastern France without the logistics hassles. Free time to explore on our own, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix was the WOW. We were fortunate to have clear weather so the views of Mont Blanc & the valley below were amazing. Another WOW was the lovely day we spent in Seguret at the Mourchon winery culminating with a picnic at the vintner's home. Verdun was a very moving experience. Visits to champagne caves, vineyards, cobble-stoned villages, historical sites, Roman ruins - the list goes on."

Rich

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/30/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found this tour to be not only informative, but very fun as well. I really liked seeing the smaller towns and villages this itinerary offered as well as the various champagne and wine tastings we did. The only change to the itinerary I would suggest would be to end the tour in a smaller town such as Aix-en-Provence rather than Marseille, which would fit in better with the overall tour experience. This is most likely due to issues with finding appropriate hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Chamonix, riding the lift up to the Aiguille du Midi and then hiking from the Plan de l'Aiguille to Montenvers in absolute perfect weather."

Colleen

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fantastic vacation! We travel a lot and weren't sure if we would really like being in a group or traveling on a schedule. But this was great. The group activities were very well chosen and the other members on the tour were great. Was saw so many things we wouldn't have been able to do on our own. We felt like the price was fair and we really got our money's worth.

Dolores

Affton, MO

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour with a great group of people. There are so many layers to this experience it is difficult to sum up. From Reims to Colmar, Verdun to Beaune, then off to Chamonix and Vaison la Romaine. My expectations were met and then some. All I can say is just go on this tour and enjoy the many experiences you will have. From cities to small villages this tour will delight all who partake of its many charms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix and Mont Blanc delivered my Wow, Wow, Wow moments. I felt stunned by its beauty and blessed to be there. There are no words to describe the feeling you get just looking out your window at all the magnificent peaks, and then to ride to the top and have views that just take your breath away. I will never forget this experience."

Gail

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was everything and more that we hoped it would be. I especially valued our guide, Daniella's expertise in history, art history and architecture and how she was able to weave it altogether in a beautiful tapestry and allowed us to understand the peoples and times of the towns and cities we were touring. She encouraged us to keep our eyes and minds open as we experienced the past and the present in a holistic context. Was wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That although we may believe we are more "evolved" in our 21st century, in reality the wars upon wars and conflict after conflict that has occurred from the beginning of history continues today."

Gene

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was certainly a great tour, all went very well, well organized, hotels great, food great, guide was excellent, bus driver very professional and fun, the whole travel group were very nice, a fun time!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ride up the L'Aiguille du midi, outstanding!! Everything related to Chamonix was great. Plus the visit to the Domaine du Mourchon was very nice, the host provided a very nice lunch, what a venue for a lunch to be had. Walt was charming!!"

Elena

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

incredible trip. daniela has an incredible amount of information and passion and shared it with humor and clarity

Favorite "WOW" moment

"chamonix is breathtaking"

David

Wilsonville, OR

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceptional guide. Blessed with good weather. Wonderful itinerary. Great travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As usual, it was the unexpected: A concert in the cathedral in Colmar by a young French girl's choir. They sang the theme from the WWI movie "Joyeux Noel" one day after we had visited Verdun. A memory for life."

Laurie

Sisters, OR

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the streets of Colmar, to the Church at Reims, to the top of the French Alps, and to the sea, my experience was an A+. The only "drawbacks", if I can call them that, were so minuscule that they would only be considered suggestions. Everything was so well planned. Made the entire trip a "trip of a lifetime".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many of them, and all so different. The Alps are just a WOW, on their own! No man made item could ever compete with the majesty of the Alps. The other "Wows" were the Roman ruins,Kayserburg, Annecy, Colmar, The churches and museums, and Verdun. All such different treats to the eyes, ears and mouths!"

Terry

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized and well executed! This is our third Rick Steves tour and was as wonderful as the other two - maybe our favorite.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the alpine peaks of Chamonix! The gondola rides were a highlight as well as watching both the people jumping off the cliffs and flying down the mountain in their "bat" suits. We happened upon them and the para-gliders during our free time as we went back up the mountain."

Madonna

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought this tour showed the many sides of France, from the champagne capital of Reims, the French Alps of Chamonix, the Alsace region and Provence. I loved all the cobblestone villages each with its own character. Overall a great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mont Blanc and the French Alps, how could one not be overwhelmed with the views from the top. And also Domaine De Mourchon vineyards, the lunch there was like having a wonderful picnic with family and friends."

Grace

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed seeing another part of France. The villages on the tour were each interesting in their own way and the miles of vineyards was spectacular. Chateau Ruilly was a lovely experience that was almost a step back in time. Sharing all this with a fun tour group made for another great Rick Steves adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix and Mourchon Vineyards were stand out moments on this trip."

William

Fresno, CA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip with great food and wine. Weather was unusually hot throughout but still had a great time although the experiences were different than I expected. Never took out sweater or fleece from suitcase for entire trip even at the top of the gondola in Chamonix at 12,000 feet. But definitely comfortable at that altitude.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No real wow moments but all enjoyable."

Cynthia

Georgetown, TX

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was what I expected and very enjoyable. As always full of info.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The French Alps in Chamonix were particularly beautiful. The vineyards peaceful and beautiful."

Deborah

Fairbanks, AK

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was exactly as expected... Learning about wines , food, and differences in the regions of Eastern France. It really was an education learning which grapes are used in each region and which foods pair better with the wine. Culturally, I appreciated learning about Clovis and the significance of the Cathedral In Reims and seeing the beautiful paintings in Colmar and Beaune. This was my 13th tour and just as wonderful as all the others. I really liked the smaller villages .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the French Alps and Chamonix again.I visited there on the My Way Alpine tour in 2013. also Vaison la Romaine. Stunning hill town in Provence with Roman architecture."

Rick

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good group, very excellent guide, overall very good. Would recommend without reservation (except for ending in Marseille).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many, many, buy probably simply all that is Chamonix, from the mountain top to the ice caves."

Douglas

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This felt like the most leisurely tour of the seven tours I've taken. Daniela was an excellent guide and the group was great. I enjoyed the wine tasting/vineyard tours and the many sites we visited. It was nice to see Andre our bus driver again - he was our bus driver for the Scandinavia tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Domaine de Mourchon vineyard tour/wine tasting/exquisite lunch and Chamonix."

Gary

Cold Spring, MN

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

it felt like the right amount of time overall; all of the places we went to were interesting and informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was so glad we went to the castle on the hill outside of Colmar."

William

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip with many things to see and do! Great variety, and great leadership from Julie!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Crossing the Alps and arriving in Italy, and then returning to France taking the tram half way down and doing the RS hike #1, where I met Claude and had a fresh berry tarte before continuing the walk!"

April

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

I took this same tour in 2009. Although some of the changes to this tour were an improvement, others were not. The change from Villefranche to Marseille was a mistake for this tour. It is an abrupt ending and disjointed with the rest of the tour. Overall, I was really disappointed with the hotel changes. The food on this tour was simply unacceptable. After taking this tour in 2009, I had recommended it to several other people. After taking it this time I would not recommend it to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in Chamonix was lovely and a highlight. Also, the lunch and tour at Mourchon was outstanding."

Leslie

Aubrey, TX

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The 2 weeks flew by and we had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Traveling through the forest and hills of north eastern France where the small farms began. It was very beautiful."

Linda

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have come away from this experience with many memories. The tour guide was knowledgeable, interesting and personable. The tour itself was full of many different experiences: visiting a castle, hiking in Chamonix, bike riding in Colmar, walking around village markets, eating delicious meals, staying in lovely hotels and practicing our French with the locals, to name a few! The length of the tour was just right as we were able to tack on a few days both in Paris and Marsailles.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix!!! Hiking both days of our stay. Even though one of our hikes coincided with a trail marathon (we unfortunately were going against the traffic) we were amazed by the scenery. We had a great time! The group meal of cheese fondue rounded off the experience."

Andrew

Cold Spring, MN

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour is a superb introduction to eastern France. I want to go back and explore most of the areas we visited, especially Burgundy and Provence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch under the trees at the Mourchon Vineyard was a moment when I wished the tour would go on forever. The excellent food and wine, the beauty of the hilltop, the good company of fellow tour members--these will stay with me forever."

William

New Berlin, WI

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and the experience was delightful. The pacing and planning of the itinerary was perfect, with a great mix of group activities and time on your own. The cities we visited were charming and gave us a good flavor of French culture. A major reason we went on the Eastern France tour was the emphasis on wine and that did not disappoint. A highlight was the time spent in Colmar, which we probably never would have visited on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour, wine tasting and picnic at the Mourchon winery in the Rhone valley. The setting was lovely, our hosts were very hospitable, the wine outstanding and the food perfectly complemented the great afternoon."

Lori

Brenham, TX

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, this tour was phenomenal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was not a single "wow" moment. The entire trip was one big "WOW!" Here are a few "wow" individual items: the illumination of the cathedral in Reims on the first night, viewing the Isenheim Altarpiece in Colmar, spending 20 minutes quietly viewing the Polyptych of the Last Judgment by van der Weyden at the Hotel Dieu in Beaune, wine tasting and picnic at a chateau which has been in the same family for over 800 years, the first glimpse of Mont Blanc, and the fields of lavender in Provence."

John

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fantstic tour, great guide, wonderful food and experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The French Alps"

Judy

Plano, TX

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a small tour that allowed the small village France to shine. This was such fun and included so many special moments that I will never forget. Daniela was helpful, caring, genuine, but she was not smothering. Just the right amount of assistance and freedom.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Chateau Rully outside of Beaune. The opportunity to see this beautiful chateau, which is still a private home, was one of the high points of my life, actually. Driving up to the chateau, I thought back on the 5 years I took French, imagining of a place like this. Amazing is such an overused word, but this was amazing. The count's obvious love of his family, home, wine was so evident. His wine was wonderful. His Pinot Noir was my husband's favorite of the trip. Thank you for this!!"

Lois

Belfast, ME

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was made exceptional not only by the open and caring tour members but through the passion and experiences our guide, Daniela, brought to the table. Her knowledge of the history of the area and of the wines we were introduced to heightened the experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The peace and beauty of the Mourchon winery matched the awe filled area of Mont Blanc."

Betty

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding. A wonderful mix of history, culture and amazing scenery

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Provence"

Mary

Reno, NV

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I enjoyed every minute of the tour. We had a fabulous guide (there aren't enough superlatives to cover how great she was) and loved our bus driver who was very personable and fit right in with our group. There was plenty of unscripted time to explore on our own. The hotels were fine and conveniently located and the meals were very good. We sampled a lot of wine on this tour, learned some history, enjoyed a variety of scenery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the mountains in Chamonix with fabulous views all around. And the lunch at the Mourchon winery. I could have stayed forever at the winery. The setting was idyllic."

Edward

Plano, TX

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Trip met my expectations. No surprises. Very comfortable and organized. Relaxing, entertaining, and not boring. Good pace and variety of events. Daniella our tour guide was very good, and wanted us to have a good time. I believe she was very sincere and took personal responsibility for each of us to enjoy the trip. And she is sensitive and addressed the individual needs and interests of each of us. She understands what a tour guide should do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had 2 actually... 1. Walking downhill on vineyard road with Jean Claude explaining how he made wine with his dad. And telling us he grew up in this town. And teaching us about the grapes. 2. Having the picnic on the grounds of the Cotes de Rhone vineyard Mourchon, being served by the winemaker's wife and 2 young daughters. Very nice like having a picnic at a family reunion."

Glenys

Oviedo, FL

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed every bit of this tour. Daniela was an excellent tour guide; and her sharing her knowledge of France, art, architecture, the French people, and the language added so much to our experience. There was plenty of variety[INVALID]each place we visited was different from all the others. There was a good balance of group activities and time on our own. Our bus driver, Andrej, who was very capable and personable, did a great job. We so enjoyed the camaraderie with our fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This presents a difficult decision because there were so many. We especially loved our time in Chamonix[INVALID]everything from the first sight of Chamonix in its beautiful setting to the trip up to Aiguille du Midi and the view of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks from the top. We also really enjoyed the wine tasting and fabulous outdoor lunch at Domaine de Mourchon[INVALID]a very memorable day."

Randy

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 06/14/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My wife and I enjoyed the entire trip. We had a great group of people travelling with us on that tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chamonix was the best part of the trip. Could have spent one more day there are one less day in Beaune. The last winery tour was also great, especially the lunch provided afterwards. Also, enjoyed the group happy hours."

Joann

Port Angeles, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first guided tour ever! I've been to Europe before via our own planning. We've always used Rick's guide books.In comparison, Rick Steve's tour, gave us more time and freedom to enjoy the sites. Virtually no stress at following maps,checking in to hotels, planning meals and wondering how to communicate in a language other than ours. I loved having a local guide too! Bravo Patrick!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have more than one.My go to answer; the wine makers pic-nic at 'Mourchon Vineyard'. This was an unexpected surprise at their personal residence. I felt very privileged even after riding 'Mexican' style in the back of a pick-up truck! The view, food and welcoming atmosphere was delightful. How did you pull this off? Insider information I'm sure! We couldn't have done this on our own without the Rick Steve's connection!"

Jean

Charles Town, WV

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a lot of fun and met my expectations. Exactly as described. Maybe a little more active thGrn I thought.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being up in the tip tops of the french alps. I had no idea it would be so awesome. Close second would be the outdoor lunch at the winery owner's home in Provence. Great food, great company-- a perfect day!"

Bonnie

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steve's tour and will likely not be our last. As with any group situation, there were times we were grateful for our own space but overall we enjoyed several experiences that we would never have had traveling on our own. We were among the youngest tour members (the same was true for our last RS tour) and have decided that maybe we'll wait awhile before we do another one. We're confident w/ RS books we can do this on our own for a few more years.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say that my "wow" moment was the early morning view of Mont Blanc from my hotel window. That said, my favorite experience was the tour of Mourchon Winery and our delightful lunch afterwards. Hugo, Walter and the family were amazing at making us feel like welcomed guests in their home. What a fairy tale day! The hill town of Seguret was just a further highlight of that very special day. Overall, the entire trip was filled with memorable people and amazing sights everywhere we went."

Shirley

Citrus Heights, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"May I have 2? The first one was the tour of the castle with the owner.I'm so in awe of these folks that take on the responsibility of keeping up an 800 year old castle because it's been in the family.He was dressed like a farmer and, bless him he really has to work so hard to keep everything going. The other big "wow" moment was the city of Marseilles.I was expecting something more like Naples (a working man's town),but that is a lovely city with some incredibly positive energy going on!"

Kathy

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Good itinerary, it really is a wine and food tour! I think Beaune could be skipped- it was very similar to Colmar without the charm. Loved our guide Patrick and all the local guides. Really didn't like the hotels - way too tattered and worn - you have been warned :) Sad, because the hotels just don't match the rest of the experience. I bet for $25 pp more a night, they could be decent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The laser show on the face of the cathedral in Reims - totally unexpected and amazing! The view from the top of the tram in Chamonix, a leisurely lunch at the vineyard owners house, a decent, updated hotel in Marseille."

Mark

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch with in the winery owner's yard is an experience you just can't get anywhere but on a Rick Steve's Tour. The up-close and personal time with locals is great."

Donna

Strongsville, OH

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour and the focus on villages and vineyards. I learned a lot about wine! Good guide, good group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Chamonix and the wonderful group dinner of fondue and raclette. Our "free day" there was a bonus and the best day of the tour. Our guide suggested that we purchase a day pass and it turned out to be a great deal. We rode the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi and were "wowed" by the amazing views. We also took the cog wheel train to see an ice cave carved out of a glacier. The day ended with a group happy hour at the hotel, and sipping champagne by the Arve River. Perfect!"

John

Medina, OH

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall I enjoyed the trip very much. Many very interesting places and things. My pre-trip highlights were for Verdun (military history buff) and Chaminox. I was disappointed in Verdun too much emphasis on the fort and the Ossuaries. Loved Chaminox and would like to have spent at least one more day there with a day less in Colmar or Vaison La Romaine. Our day off in Chaminox was my best day of the entire tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was Chamonix and going to the top of the Auquille Du Midi and then the glacier/ice cave. I have always wanted to see the Alps so Verdun (disappointed) and Chamonix were the two sites I was aiming for on the tour. The mountains were beautiful and the views from the top of the mountain were exceptionally breathtaking and beautiful. I would love to go back there. Thank God for digital cameras. I can't imagine what it must look like in the winter."

Paul

Woodland, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! I can't imagine any other tour of France in which I could have learned so much about the French people, culture, history, art, geography, etc. in just two short weeks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying in the town of Colmar was like being in Disneyland. I really enjoyed the beautiful, harmonious blend of the French and German ways-of-life, especially in the areas of architecture and food."

Douglas

Citrus Heights, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We loved France when we arrived and loved it even more at the end of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We liked Marseilles much better than we thought we would. Lovely city."

Terry

Austin, TX

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this trip!! William was excellent, as were the others on the tour, and how can you go wrong in France. The people, the food and the wine were the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We did a vineyard tour and then ate in the owners yard under the trees on a beautiful day in Provence. The food, prepared by Ronnie, was excellent. We dined on tarts, duck, cheese, fresh bread and wonderful wine. It was a great time to share with my mom and new friends."

John

Choctaw, OK

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was a nice mix of old and new site seeing with vineyards, wine, wonderful food, and champagne. Very relaxing enjoyable trip. The visit to the Verdun Battlefield Monument was also quite moving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Spending the afternoon at the Domaine de Mourchon Vineyard and Winery, and the wonderful lunch served by the McKinlay family at their beautiful hill top home. The whole afternoon was simply wonderful. The site of the bones under the Verdun Battlefield Monument brought tears to my eyes. So very many lives; ended so needlessly."

Susan

Glenview, IL

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was wonderful. I loved all the cities we visited. All meals were fantastic. I truly enjoyed how much about wine we learned. This was unexpected. The tour had a nice pace with plenty of free time. Hotels were great also. I really enjoyed the Verdun tour. Anytime you can walk were history happened is always a highlight for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, it was our lunch at the winery, Domaine de Mourchon in the Cote de Rhone region. The visit to the winery was lovely. Then to be invited to their home and have them prepare lunch for us, was truly special. The view from their backyard while eating and drinking their wines was something I will never forget. These ivites to peoples homes has truly become the highlights of Rick Steves tours."

Karen

Novato, CA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my fifth Rick Steves tour and one of the best, in my opinion. Our tour guide, William, was calm and professional at all times, and he made the experience fun and enlightening. Although this was my fifth trip to France, this tour took me to places that I hadn't been to before and probably would not have known about on my own. However, I would have liked to cut out some of the wine tours (there were three), and think the time may have been better spent exploring new areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a number of "wow" moments on this tour. I was impressed with our visit to Verdum and its role in World War I, which was made particularly interesting by our tour guide. I also was impressed by the city of Beune and its 15th century hospital, Hotel Dieu, dedicated to the poor and indigent. I loved the wonderful lunch we had at the Mouchon winery prepared by the vineyard owner's family."

Christine

Nampa, ID

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour because each region we visited was so different from the other regions. The history, culture, geography, food and wines were a new experience every few days. Our guide, William, our bus driver, Andre, and our group members were fun to travel with through Eastern France. Perfect mixture of group activities and time on our own. All the towns where we stayed had plenty to see in the time we were there. This is one of my favorite Rick Steves tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So difficult to choose! I had wow moments at every stop. The Alsace area was wonderful. One thing that stands out was the wine tasting down in the candle lit cellar after the walk through the vineyards with local guide, Jean-Claude. Also, the chateau tour, wine tasting with the Count, and picnic ( with foods our group chose from the market) on the grounds at the Chateau De Rully near Beaune."

Judy

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of my favorite tours as it went above and beyond of what I even imagined it would be. We visited so many sites,castles,towns and varied landscapes as well as learning a wealth of information about each. All the people were so helpful and friendly and it was fun to mingle with the locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult choice to make but I loved traveling the Cotes de Rhone wine road and wondering through the small village of Seguret. The village was built on a hillside with tiny narrow streets, a community washbasin and bread ovens from the olden times. It totally put you back in time. Also visiting the Mourchen winery and vineyards and then the picnic at the owners home. This was a perfect day-no Mistral winds"

Susan

Glenview, IL

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Domaine Mourshand near Vaison-la-Romajne and the lunch at the owner's home afterwards! That was an experience that can not adequately be described but was by far the highlight of the trip!"

Molly

Gresham, OR

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour. The variety of experiences surprised and delighted us. Spending at least two nights in each hotel made the tour a nice pace.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved the picnic at the vineyard in Provence. What a memorable experience!"

Joanne

Florence, OR

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the schedule full of fun, interesting tours yet plenty of free time to explore. Toni pointed out many of the highlights that shouldn't be missed. Loved all of it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose just one. Must say that the view from Mont Blanc was amazing. All the dinners were wonderful!"

Elizabeth

Florence, OR

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was a new adventure. There was a great mixture of being guided around the towns and sites, and having free time to explore. We had the opportunity to try regional specialties in our group dinners, and learned about others to try in the meals we ate alone. The hotel rooms were not your run of the mill look alike rooms, and some were better than others, but the proprietors of each hotel were friendly and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How do I choose? There were so many "wow" moments. I guess I would say being guided around a 12th century chateau by the count who owned it, and whose family had lived ther for 26 generations rated up there, as well as the incredible picnic we had in his garden."

Mark

Forest Hill, MD

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Stevens tour. Everything ran perfectly. It was the right amount of free time as well as guided time. The group size was not overwhelming and was able to learn everyone's name.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was a Group event in Beanue. We casually assembled in the court yard of our hotel for a little dinner and wine. My wife and I earlier picked up foods at the market for ourselves, but many had the same idea. It was wonderful."

Dennis

Florence, OR

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never experienced a RICK STEVES' TOUR before; but I will certainly do so again! I may even tour with RICK STEVES yearly! From the very start I loved the feeling this tour manifested from tour guide to my fellow travelers. Many of our group had been on several RICK STEVES' tours. From day one until our final day we had one positive expereince after another. France was new to me but I felt in a few short weeks that I had come to love this beautiful country and wanted to return again .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After having a wonderful Chateau tour, wine-tasting, and outdoor picnic we returned that evening to our hotel and gathered together as a group for a shared evening meal of convesration and connection. At that point a group of unrelated people became a RICK STEVES' family!"

Robert

Chicago, IL

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Toni Seymour was very experienced and approachable. The group was friendly. The sights were special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pinpoint one. They were all pleasurable and educational."

Caroline

Brooksville, FL

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Magnifique! I loved the small towns and villages that made this the most relaxing RS tour. The local food and wine was amazing. The 3 night stays at some stops allowed for more time to experience the vineyards as well as the towns. There were many opportunities for outdoor activities..the choice was ours to make them long, short, or not at all. Our great tour group was fun, friendly, and diverse. It was nice to be on a tour with an emphasis on the culture and people of these regions of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing at the top of the Aiguille du Midi above 12,000 feet with our new tour friends on a cold, clear, blue sky morning watching skiers and hang gliders descend. Even if bad weather had stopped our trip to the top, there were so many other "wow" moments on this trip that I would not have been disappointed Runner up "wow"...Feeling the power of the mistral wind walking through the village of Seguret and on the slopes of Domaine de Mourchon followed by wine tasting and lunch at winery"

Masatoshi

Salem, OR

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful . The Heart of France tour last year prepared us to take the East France which formed sharp contrast in geography and culture . We appreciate the guided tour. The bus driver Heide was excellent. She has one if the most memorable laughter.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It wast not Chamonix. It was not vineyard or wine. It was Alsace and Colmar. The city survived years of ethnic conflicts, wars, and managed to preserve what we call charms of Colmar full of quaint buildings looking like ginger bread houses."

Susan

Salem, OR

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Toni is perfect guide for those into food, drink with little French background. She's organized, always does her best. Europe is over loved now and it'll be a tough year for those who struggle with crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Don't look for wows- want a smooth trip and to learn new things. The weather was perfect for me but it's just luck."

Cheryl

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guides and bus driver were excellent. Toni and Hilde had such positive attitudes and meshed so well together. They enhanced my tour experience daily. The local guides brought an insider's perspective to what we were visiting. Each shared personal experiences which helped us to better understand the sites. The Eastern France itinerary offered a good variety of topography; from city to valley to mountain to coast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the Alps from the top stop of the Auguille du Midi gondola in Chamonix. The view from our picnic spot at Chateau Rully. Both were "Holy cow, isn't this just the best?""

Margaret

Forest Hill, MD

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip exceeded my expectations. I was hesitant to go on a tour with20 other people using a bus and traveling together. It wasn't what I thought and I was so pleasantly surprised. Pace of the traveling was good; getting to spend a 2 to 3 days in a place was excellent and allowed for me to really enjoy a location and the people who lived there. Our tour guide Toni was wonderful. Fun,knowledgeable and she could handle anything. I felt totally confident in her and we were well taken care of.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well everyday seemed to be a wow but I think my favorite was a hike in Chamonix along the river. Instead of heading up to the mountain with all the other travelers our guide told us about the trails we could walk along the river. It was just beautiful. We went through a few delightful villages and then forest areas, all the while looking at Mt. Blanc. Incredible"

Montee

Florence, OR

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing trip! I can think of only one criticism. The walking tour in Marseilles was too long, and while it was interesting, there was no opportunity to follow up and explore some of the things that the guide mentioned. I liked very much that we stayed in quaint hotels. The group meals were excellent, and Toni offered good suggestions for eating on our own, as did the tour books. The local guides were knowledgeable, friendly, and fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several. Verdun was touching. The hospice in Beaune was particularly meaningful for me because I volunteer for our local hospice program. I think the best experience was the visit to the winery at Seguret. The folks were over the top hospitable, the lunch was fantastic, and the wine was excellent."

Madelyn

Portsmouth, NH

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was a perfect mix of group time and free time with plenty of variety from cities to vineyards. Toni was a fabulous guide, her knowledge and love of France was infectious. The tour had a laid back, relaxed pace compared to other Rick Steves tours, all that fabulous wine certainly helped, as did wonderful travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at the Reims Cathedral was breathtaking and the wine tastings and lunches in Burgundy and Domaine de Mourchon were wonderful, but nothing compares to Hilde and Toni maneuvering the bus through the detour in that village in Provence!"

Charlene

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 05/10/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

O my, where do I begin. This was my 1st Rick Steve's tour and it was wonderful, truly a dream vacation. The Eastern France tour is superior, a well paced travel experience. Toni our tour guide was FABULOUS, so personal and helpful. She and the 24 of us on the tour were a happy family.... Hilde our bus driver was a dear too...her happiness was contagious. One more day in Marseilles would be super...that was the only day that I felt rushed to get the most in as possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many WOW days to pick a favorite.... the sites and history were breath taking. The local guides at Verdun, Vineyards, Ruins, Marseilles were an added bonus to the WOW factor. The good mix of planned and free time& meals was a big nice WOW."

Weather

France / Paris

Paris Weather


France / Nice

Nice Weather

Planning Tips

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about France: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews, and articles, plus recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Paris and out of Marseille ("multi-city" on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in France. Both Paris and Marseille are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines.

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in France before your tour begins, spending time in Paris or Strasbourg are logical choices. Reims is only 45 minutes and Strasbourg only two hours from central Paris via TGV (bullet) trains. Use the Rick Steves France guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of French, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing in Paris: visit the Eiffel Tower; walk the Champs-Elysées and climb the Arc de Triomphe; tour the Louvre and Orsay Museums; or take a day trip to Versailles.

If you'd rather spend your pre-tour time in Strasbourg, visit the cathedral, wander the waterways and stroll through the city. From Strasbourg it is a two-hour train ride to Reims. In Reims visit the Museum of the Surrender (Musée de la Reddition) or add a Champagne tour at Mumm (we will not taste here as a group).

Packing

Weather and lifts permitting, you will have the opportunity to go to top of the Aiguille du Midi and/or hike in the Alps while in Chamonix. Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction and some warmer clothes. Regardless of season, the weather in the Alps can be cooler than expected especially at the higher altitudes.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.