• Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France
    Cathedral of Chartres
  • Château Royal d’Amboise, Amboise, France
    Amboise
  • Château de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux, France
    Château de Chenonceau
  • Chinon, France
    Chinon
  • Gardens of Château de Villandry, Villandry, France
    Château de Villandry Gardens
  • Canoeing on the Dordogne
  • Sarlat Market
  • Boules in Sarlat
  • Carcassonne, France
    Carcassonne
  • Pont du Gard, Provence, France
    Pont du Gard
  • Street party, Arles, France
    Arles
  • Les Baux, France
    La Baux
  • Nice, France
    French Riviera

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

Loire to the South of France in 13 Days Tour

from $3,495 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $775

See Tour Dates

This tasty collection of French treats begins in the cozy, historic town of Chartres — an easy train ride from Paris. Then, with your expert Rick Steves guide, you'll wind your way south, savoring the perfectly preserved châteaux of the Loire, prehistoric caves and traditional markets of the Dordogne, the medieval city of Carcassonne, the Roman Pont du Gard, and a French Riviera finale in Nice. Great as these sights are, they're just the lyrics — the culture of France provides the melody you'll never forget. Join us for Loire to the South of France in 13 Days.

Dates & Prices

2018

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 16 group sightseeing events • Chartres orientation • Chartres Cathedral • Amboise • Château de Chenonceau • Château de Villandry and its gardens • Oradour-sur-Glane • Rouffignac prehistoric cave • Dordogne canoe trip (weather permitting) • Sarlat walking tour • Carcassonne walking tour • Languedoc wine tasting • Pont du Gard and museum • Arles walking tour • Arles museum pass allowing entry to most sights • Les Baux • Nice walking tour…and more
  • All group transportation from Chartres to Nice
  • 12 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 2018
  • 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 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 Chartres

We'll meet at 5 p.m. at our hotel for a short "bienvenue à Chartres" meeting. Then we'll take an orientation walk through our neighborhood, followed by time to get acquainted over dinner together. Sleep in Chartres (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Cathedral and Art of Chartres

We'll begin our day with a walking tour of Chartres' pedestrian-friendly, stream-straddling old town. Then we'll be treated to a scholar's tour of the famed cathedral of Chartres. One of the most impressive structures in all of Europe, it is also home to some of the world's finest medieval stained glass, and the veil of Mary. The rest of your day is free to explore the town, or to learn more about the art of creating stained glass. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 3: Amboise, Chenonceau, and Chinon

This morning we'll say au revoir to Chartres and drive south to the Loire Valley, the land of a thousand châteaux. You'll have some free time in the charming town of Amboise, where you could visit the home of Leonardo da Vinci (even grab a little lunch there) and study working models of the Renaissance Man's cleverest inventions. This afternoon we'll visit the elegant, river-straddling Château de Chenonceau, where we'll learn about royal life in France, with free time to roam through the château's opulent interior and gardens. We'll continue on to castle-topped Chinon, where we'll have dinner together and sleep (2 nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Villandry and the Loire

We'll spend our morning visiting the Château de Villandry, famous for its remarkable "themed" gardens, inspired by water, music, love, and more. It's a gardener and photographer's dream. Afterward, your guide and driver will take you on a little excursion around the Loire Valley, returning to Chinon in the afternoon. You'll be free for the rest of the day and evening to explore the town's ancient streets, tour the medieval castle, or sample the local wines. Bus: 2 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Oradour-sur-Glane and Sarlat

Our destination is the Dordogne, a sublime region of fortified hill towns, caves, and meandering streams. We'll have a countryside picnic en route, then stop for a thought-provoking walk through the WWII martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane — frozen in time as a memorial since June 10, 1944, when its unarmed residents were senselessly gunned down by German troops. Our day will end with dinner together in the quintessential market town of Sarlat, where we'll sleep (3 nights). Bus: 6 hours. Walking: light.

Day 6: Cave Art and Canoeing

Today begins with a chance to appreciate some of Europe's oldest art: the 13,000-year-old drawings of Rouffignac Cave. We'll hop aboard a subterranean train to marvel at engravings and drawings depicting bison, horses, woolly rhinoceros, and…mammoths. There are so many mammoths depicted that locals have nicknamed it "the cave of 100 mammoths." This afternoon (weather permitting), we'll canoe down the Dordogne River from Cénac to Beynac, gliding past medieval castles and villages. If the weather is hot, we may even stop for a swim along the way. Bus: 3 hours. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Market Day in Sarlat

Take a vacation from your vacation! You'll have the entire day to savor the colorful weekly market in one of France's most pedestrian-friendly towns. Rub shoulders with local shoppers, sample foie gras, and salivate over the famous black truffle as you shop for your fantasy picnic lunch. Today you can make it a tasty reality! Then stretch your legs with a countryside walk. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 8: Medieval Carcassonne

This morning we'll drive south, crossing the scenic valleys of the Lot and Tarn Rivers as we make our way to Europe's largest fortified city: delightfully medieval Carcassonne. After a walking tour of Carcassonne's fortified old town — La Cité — you'll be free to savor views from the stony ramparts and wander through the cobbled lanes. We'll regroup for dinner together. Cassoulet anyone? Sleep in Carcassonne (1 night). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: On to Arles

This morning we'll drive east through the scenic Languedoc-Roussillon region. We'll stop at a winery en route to drink from the bounty of France's largest wine-producing region. Then we'll devote our afternoon to a walking tour of Arles. Your local guide will lace together stories of its impressive Roman Arena, Classical Theater, and Forum — and tales of Vincent van Gogh, who lived and painted in this neighborhood just over a century ago. Our day will end with dinner together. Sleep in Arles (2 nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: The Pont du Gard

We'll start our morning off visiting the majestic, astonishingly well-preserved Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard. This engineering marvel helped supply millions of gallons of fresh water daily to one of the largest cities in Roman Gaul — 20 centuries ago! We'll visit both the aqueduct and its much younger museum. Your afternoon and evening will be free back in Arles for making your own discoveries. Bus: 1.5 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Les Baux to the French Riviera

This morning we'll drive to the hill town of Les Baux, and enjoy sweeping views of the Provençal countryside from atop the ruins of its medieval citadel. After lunch we'll head for the Riviera. Upon arrival in Nice, we'll check into our hotel before setting out on an orientation walk through the Italian-feeling Old City and seaside promenade. Afterward you'll be set free to explore and enjoy dinner on your own. Sleep in or near Nice (2 nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Nice

This morning we'll take a walking tour across Nice, starting with the busy Cours Saleya, the city's main market square since the Middle Ages. We'll then follow the narrow streets of the Italianate Old City to the spacious boulevards and shopping promenades of the city's newer side. Here, in the late 19th century, visitors from the north seeking the elixir of warm, fresh sea air created Europe's first tourism boom. Your afternoon will be free to wander through Nice's beautiful Chagall and Matisse Museums, prowl the promenades, or relax on the famous beach. This evening we'll enjoy a final dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Salut! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Nice's airports by taxi, shuttle, or public transportation. 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 Loire to the South of France in 13 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

Larry

Grapevine, TX

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything I expected and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No particular one, I enjoyed every venue."

Marie

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the diversity of places and things we did on this tour. It gave me the opportunity to appreciate France outside Paris. Our guide, Toni, was welcoming and gracious. She was a delight to have as our leader. Some happy alignment of the stars must have been at work because we were part of a great group of people, making our trip even more memorable. Great time in France!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments, but perhaps the best for me was our visit to view the prehistoric drawings at the caves in Rouffinac. I had not done anything like this before, so appreciated the new experience. Our guide was very informative and left us to ponder the many questions that art historians are still considering today. It is a memory that will remain vivid for a long time."

Bill

Princeton, NJ

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Toni was great (again)! The weather was fantastic! The company was superb! A great bunch of RS's veteran travelers who enjoy the sights, the food and one another. France charms. Fine wine, incomparable history, and talented RS guides/docents to expound beyond the literature.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wife and I loved the canoe trip. Of course the great weather makes a big potential difference. should have added a couple of days in Nice to the end of the tour. Nice is nice, blended Italian-French cultures. Best of both?!"

Monica

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it did not disappoint. We were able to traveling freely without concern of reservations, parking, driving or where we were going to stay. Everyday we understood what to expect for the day and what we should be planning for. We had a great group of fellow travelers, many who had been on these tours multiple times. We had amazing weather and saw so many sites that we may have not done had we not been on this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stopping at Oradour-sur-Glane massacre site was very emotional for me. I had no idea this existed and was overwhelmed by the history and walking through this village. It is something I will never forget."

Craig

Ada, MI

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

After a rocky start, the tour was well-planned & the plan was well-executed. Contrary to the RS France Tour Book, trains are not "(10/day...)" on Sunday. Even when there is no rail construction, the Paris/Chartres train on Sunday inconvenient at best. If the tour must start on a Sunday, recommend starting it in Paris, busing to Chartres for a 10:00 am Monday arrival & tours of the town & cathedral (scrap the glass tour), & spending one night in Chartres. Variety of activities was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two favorite "wow" moments for very different reasons. (1) Oradour-sur-Glane for the horror of man's inhumanity to man, woman and child. (2) Les Baux-De-Provnece Carrieres De Lumineres for the joy of quirky French inventiveness."

Claire

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS tour and it continued to exceed our expectations. Our guide Toni was a delight, well informed and in tune with the groups needs and wants. The bus driver, Phillipe was also a delight, the bus comfortable, the hotels generally excellent and the local guides excellent, but what made this trip so special was the variety of activities that we experienced. From grand chateaux to canoeing on the Dordogne to the spectacular Carrieres des Lumieres Show at Les Baux.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A home cooked Provençal meal at a local winery. The food was delicious and the setting divine."

Sydney

Eastsound, WA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a wonderful group of people and We all got along well. My friend Sue and I had an extra day in Chartre and really enjoyed the shopping there. Beside the wonderful experience at the cathedral of course. Chinon was wonderful. Loved the wine tasting, learned a lot. Chateaux were very interesting and Sarlat was fun. Enjoyed the market. Caves and conoeing was a fun day, Arles was my favorite. Carcassonne was wonderful too. Good hotels and showers everywhere. Stayed in Nice two weeks after.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow was the gardens at Villandry. Being a gardener, I was in awe. The gardeners there were friendly and helped identify plants."

Mary Ann

La Crescenta, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide, Toni, set the tone on the first day when we met. Our group consisted of many RS alums who had met on other tours, kept in touch, and reunited on our 13 day tour of the South of France. There was an instant comradarie between the members of our tour family. Phillipe, our driver, was a joy allowing us to practice our French and joining us for dinners. Both Toni and Phillipe are professional, engaging and so much fun to be around. This trip more than met my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Les Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux de Provence. Unexpected and a jaw dropping experience of color, light and music. We all felt this was one of the best uses of a quarry EVER!"

Donald

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall a great experience, fun to see a new part of France.

Karen

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. Best tour I have ever had. Wonderful people and staff.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sarlat and Arles. I loved them both."

Donald

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour, and it was our favorite. The group was fun. There were no grumps and everyone was friendly and fun to be with. The itinerary included a mix of activities and the French countryside was beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The amazing light and sound show inside the quarry caves near Chateau des Baux was my "wow" moment. The art by Bosch, Brueghel and Arcimboldo with music ranging from classical to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" was a once in a lifetime sensory experience that I'll never forget."

Terry

Ada, MI

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was everything and more than I expected. I loved it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bosch Brueghel Arcimboldo - a beautiful, enchanted theater in the underground galleries of the quarry in Baux-de-Provence. With paintings and music, this was truly an unusual work of art. Must be seen to appreciate. This was a stop that Toni added to the tour. One of a kind morning."

Betty

Grapevine, TX

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of the best tours that I have taken with Rick Steves Tours. Because of all the fantastic interesing places we visited. Our tour guide Toni Was the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a "Wow""

Mary

Vashon, WA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

. As always (this was my fourth Rick Steves tour) I was happy to find the hotel, meet our guide Patrick and a couple dozen enthusiastic adventurers and set off on 2 weeks of exploration. All the hotels were fine, but the ones I loved were the historic - and inevitably quirky - ones. Food was fabulous, Patrick outstanding, our bus driver always cheerful and expert at negotiating the narrow roads and sharp corners. I loved every minute.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My absolutely perfect day was in the Dordogne region. We visited Rouffignac Cave in the morning, fulfilling a lifelong dream to actually be in the presence of the ancient cave art made famous by the discovery of Lascaux. After lunch in the sun at La Roque-Gageac, a little vertical town squished between soaring cliffs and the Dordogne River, we boarded canoes (my first time) and drifted down the river for what, in retrospect, I like to think of as all afternoon."

Julia

Glencoe, MO

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great variety of experiences. Lots of walking and I lost weight! However, individuals opted out at different times to relax and we did once or twice as well. I enjoy the unique hotels chosen. The best part is that everything is taken care of and it makes the experience stress-free. No planning, driving, buying tickets, deciding what to do or see, or waiting in line.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult choice, but I have two favorites: Carcassonne's La Cite and the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct. However, the winery and meal outside of Arles was such a cool experience, too. Not "wow," but still a highlight. In addition, the mayor's tour in French was great fun (forgot the name of the town)."

Denise

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything went smoothly as advertised. I noticed that the tour group has increased in size from 24 to 28. It makes it a little tighter on the bus, but certainly there is adequate room. We had great weather which of course was arranged by your office in advance!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked Arles. It had a different, bohemian feel to it which was a nice change from big city and/or medieval experiences. The light show in Chartres was a nifty surprise."

John

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour - length, stops, hotels and group meals - was excellent. The well-planned itinerary was a good mixture of art, history, and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having taken a Rick Steves' tour (Heartland) in 2002 that included Chenanceau, I really enjoyed Arles with the mixture of van Gogy, Roman structures, forum."

Dave

Land O Lakes, FL

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The sights were impressive and memorable, but missing what I felt were the usual Rick Steves WOW. Too much emphasis placed on 'vineyard tours' which showed very little, but emphasized the purchase of wine. There was also some site duplication with the Paris & The Heart of France tour. Initially, the food lacked quality but improved toward the end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Pont du Gard was very memorable, but not enough time was allowed to view the aqueduct and its museum due to lost time at a vineyard."

Douglas

Glencoe, MO

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour was very good. I loved seeing the small towns in the country side of France. The history outstanding. I really enjoyed Patrick, he is a very good guild. One suggestion for improvement would be on the food. It is good to try some of the traditional dishes but, some of them can be quite rich and heavy. Several times during the trip I had to deal with some digestive issues due to the heavy nature of the food. I would suggest making sampling available but allow some lighter options.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 15,000 year old cave artwork."

Tom

Chester, VA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly interesting, enjoyed the wine tastings, and group activities

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Malcolm's tour of Chartres Cathedral"

Sue

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Patrick was a great guide, very knowledgeable and fun. We saw a lot of sights and a good variety of activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't name one."

Elaine

Loveland, OH

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

it was a great tour! Enjoyed learning about the history of the areas we visited and also the times we were able to explore places on our own.Great food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i had 2 "wow" moments: -the Rouffignac cave drawings were amazing and incredible to see. Hard to believe that they were drawn so long ago and are still preserved. -the light show around the entire town of Chartres. What a great and fun way to start our journey!"

Joann

Novato, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First, I'd like to thank Patrick, our guide, for making this such an outstanding, memorable, educational and fun vacation. The towns and sites visited were great, the accommodations were in the middle of the old towns which made strolling around easy. The group meals were exceptional and truly showcases the best of each area. The group was very fun. Everyone was a 'Rick Steves' type of traveler: cheerful, on-time, excited about our backdoor experiences and fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite 'wow' moment was Chartres. Malcolm Miller's tour of the cathedral was so entertaining and educational. Really made medieval stain glass story telling come alive. Also we were there during the time the town has lights and music on key buildings at night. Absolutely fantastic experience."

Joseph

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

One of my best tours I have taken. I would recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Dordogne River area - La Roque Gregac, Sarlat, and the Cro Magnon cave art. 2. Chartres cathedral light show - Cathedrals and ancient temples and statues were painted. Living color pulls the worshiper closer to a living god or goddess."

Gerald

Little Silver, NJ

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The experience of viewing the Mediterranean Sea for the first time."

Mary

Lake Tapps, WA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My experience on the Loire to South of France was very good. I look forward to meeting our tour guide and the many new friends we will make in the following 2 weeks. There were many wonderful sights we visited and the history we learned is so interesting. The culture, the food, the friends we made and our very entertaining guide, Patrick, made for another amazing Rick Steve's tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to have only one WOW moment but I thoroughly enjoyed our day visiting the Rouffignac Cave with our informative local guide, Jean. The small villages we visited after that, followed by the canoe trip down the Dordogne River. Even though it was a rainy at times it was a WOW day for me!"

Margaret

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great travel experience. This was an itinerary that I really wanted, and it didn't disappoint. Our guide and group were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show in Chartres was one of my wow moments. We saw the catherdral in daylight and it was beautiful. At night, the light show with music made it more spectacular."

Steven

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour, as all 7 of my past tours, was a total blast. Day by day, Patrick Vidal took us to yet another marvelous experience. Even on periods off agenda he offered to take us on wonderful additional adventures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh so many. Maybe the laser light show in Chartres. Hiking up and wandering around Les Baux was also spectacular. Oradour-sur-Glane was a very moving experience."

Terry

Lake Tapps, WA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great variety throughout. Loved the smaller town with so much history, the beautiful gardens and the farm to table food, and of course being educated about French wine. This was our third tour so we knew what to expect and we not disappointed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Pont du Gard. An awesome sight to behold and to be able walk across it made the experience complete."

James

Beavercreek, OH

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Since this was our sixth Rick Steves tour, we knew what to expect. We have always enjoyed the tours and thought that the itinerary was an excellent one. We have always enjoyed the groups on a Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral in Chartres was incredible. We really enjoyed the local guide. The light show at night on the cathedral and throughout the town had to be seen to be believed. It was a great start for the tour."

William

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another GREAT Rick Steves' tour! From start to finish, this tour exceeded my (our) expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arles - Walking out of our hotel into the early sun-lit morning, with a crystal clear blue sky overhead, and seeing the Classical Theater (Theatre Antique) to the left, the Roman Arena (Amphitheatre) to the right, and the children walking to school directly ahead. It was a totally awe inspiring sight."

Peter

Keene, NH

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

comprehensive and great mix of activities, at just the right pace

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hotel in Nice was front row on the beach"

Kenneth

Waukesha, WI

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been a proponent of Rick Steves' approach to foreign travel for a long time and have taken many independent solo trips before signing up for a RS tour. Despite my hesitation about group tours, I signed up and was completely satisfied! Between the benefits of our excellent and experienced guide, the camaraderie of my fellow travelers in the group, and the unique sites and experiences I would have missed on my own, I was completely happy with my trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide, Patrick Vidal, took us on an evening walk in Carcassone. I was warned by Rick's book that a daytime experience there was likely to be disappointing, and he was right. The distant vistas were magnificent, but inside it was a mob! But that night, walking through the dark and empty streets, I had a completely different experience. Current time fell away as we walked, and the evening was completed by a view of the fortress by night from a town bridge. Just stunning!"

Karl

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my forth trip with your company. It compared very favorably with the others. Always a good group of friendly people to travel with. The tour gets you to places that are very interesting and enjoyable, places that would be difficult to research on one's own. Everyone is aware of London and Paris. Our tour guide, Toni, was outstanding. Her efforts on behalf of the group and ourselves was greatly appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One thing I was anticipating prior to the trip was the cave art. I did not know exactly what to expect. I found it very interesting, indeed. I would also point out the light show in the quarry as something very unique."

Jack

Urbandale, IA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good trip, liked the variety of sights ,this was 4th trip and we ranked it number 2 of the four.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don t know that I had a wow moment , just enjoyed the sights and domestic dynelse doing the eork"

Valarie

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Toni was a consummate professional who made it look like she wasn't working as she guided us through our adventure. Congenial fellow travelers, wonderful sights, good pace, independent time and stunning surprises made the trip very enjoyable. Our group meals were quite good. Extras like an appetizer party before a free evening in Sarlat and a champagne toast to our time together our last night - out on the Promenade in Nice - made it a memorable trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. Perhaps the one moment that is most memorable is the lunch on the terrace of a winery where the owners (a husband and wife team) produced a delicious and beautiful lunch for us all. Or it could be kayaking on the river under the Roman bridges. Or the magical light show in the converted cave. Who can forget the stunning gardens at Villandry????"

Starr

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first glass of wine our tour guide, Toni, offered at our meeting in Chartres, to the last goodbye, this was a delightful tour of France. This was my 5th trip with your company, all of which have been great! There were so many sights we never would have found traveling on our own, and between Toni, our bus driver, Phillipe, and the city tour guides, we were treated to a great deal of knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around the town of Sarlat was especially nice for me. The convenience of the hotel to the town was perfect, and the market day was fun. Not sure I could be a good shopper in France, as I do appreciate the ease of supermarkets, but it was interesting, and seeing the various foods for sale was enlightening. The food at the restaurants was great. A real "wow" was the town of Les Baux, the hill town. Our day was sunny with clear skies, and we could see forever. All of the gardens!"

John

Newport, RI

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Beth and I both felt that this was one of our best tours yet. We found that our tour group was one of the best we have encountered. We had a great mix of participants, That made it easy to make friends and find common interests as we travelled. The traveling atmosphere was always upbeat and our leader was always ready to help with our questions and suggestions. There was plenty of time to settle in when the day was done and to gather for dinner at our lodging or go out to dine in small groups

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We liked all of our destinations along the way, but the beach, and hotel, at Nice was our favorite. The weather was cooperative and we had a good mix of group activities and time in smaller groups. The town of Nice was a wonderful place to explore and sample the shops and restaurants. Our weather did not allow us to swim, but we enjoyed it all anyway."

George

Hockessin, DE

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed each facet of the tour - itinerary, accommodations. food and wine, our tour guide and driver, as well as fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens at Villandry and the canoe trip down the Dordogne were my "wow" moments."

Barbara

Urbandale, IA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide Toni did a very good job. Most impressive was the variety of things we saw. At the end of each day we said,"Wow" that was terrific! Everyday we saw something different. Great time of year to go as gardens were exquisite. Food and recommended eateries were good. Last night in Nice, hotel's location was great. Bus driver was good too. Have been telling everyone that this is the one you want to do. (We've been on the Croatia and the Portugal tours which were good but this had more "WOW"!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Light show at the quarry and the gardens. Also how well things were kept up."

Richard

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time and the connection with our fellow travelers was just right....a good mix of folks. Philippe, our driver was wonderful and connected with all of us. His interaction with Toni was a very good match....fun times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many moments!"

Helen

Sackville, NB

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This our very first Rick Steves tour far exceeded our expectations. I loved the historical aspects of the places we visited and the sheer beauty of so many of the sites. It was just the right balance of guided tour time and enough free time to give us some space from the group. I always felt safe on the tour and we never would have experienced all that we saw and did if we had been on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was awe struck by much of what we saw on the tour. Chateaux de Villandry and its' gardens were breathtaking and impressed by La Cite in Carcassonne."

Marilyn

Fort Mill, SC

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide, the driver, the French people, the food, the sites, the everything about the trip was fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We stopped by a field of the most gorgeous sunflowers I have ever seen. The field was as far as the eye could see; the flowers were perfect; the sun was shining...perfect wow moment."

Patti

Middletown, DE

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing sights that would be difficult for us to visit on our own. (Cave drawings for example) Julie was our guide and she was excellent! Always helpful and very knowledgeable. Just the right amount of tours and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was the cave drawings. They were amazing and so hard to imagine how and why they did it. This was one of trips I don't think we would have traveled to on our own."

George

Middletown, DE

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cave paintings."

Bob

Eugene, OR

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thank you for organizing such a wonderful tour. This was our second tour (having been on the "Paris and the Heart of France" tour 3 years ago, and it was just as good (even better?) than our first experience. The meals and hotels were great, our tour guide and local guides outstanding, and our fellow tour-members tolerant, supportive, and fun. We appreciated the variety of experiences we enjoyed each day, from castles and cathedrals to picnic lunches and canoe rides. Bravo!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One particular day stands out as exceptional: 14 Juillet, the national holiday of France. From Sarlat, we went to the prehistoric caves of Rouffignac, where an excellent local guide led us on a miniature train ride deep into the grotto. There we found beautiful and sophisticated etchings and drawings of horses, mammoths, and other animals, created by a hand with the deftness of a Matisse. It was truly awesome. We topped off this experience with a canoe ride down the lovely Dordogne River. Wow!"

Gloria

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my 4th and best tour ever because of 2 reasons: Julie and the tour group. I also really appreciated the variety of senses in this tour - tasting cheeses, smelling, learning, and tasting wines, physical activity of paddling down the river, playing patanque, to the mental and physical anguish of visiting Oratour. Thank you for that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Paddling down the dordogne river. Light & art show in quarry. It was the best trip I've ever had without pharmaceuticals."

Jennie

Des Moines, IA

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best vacation that we have ever taken. Our guide, Julie, made this tour an extra special way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. She was very knowledgable about local customs and history. Plus, she tended to individual tour members'needs, including a tour member's twisted ankle and another's digestive issues. Additionally, Julie included a number of "surprises" along the way to make the road trip more fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many wow moments that it is too difficult to name one over the others. However, I was most emotionally moved when we visited sur la glane and Julie got choked up telling us about the Nazi masacre of that little village."

Lisa

Clovis, CA

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, lovely. We have taken the best of Italy tour and had high expectations. Although very different, we thought it was wonderful. Especially liked: Arles and Sarlot cities; Chateau des Baux; Carcassone Castle. I have to say the Oradour-Sur-Glane memorial is something I will never forget. You should absolutely keep this stop on your tour, important history everyone should remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dordogne River canoe trip and QUARRIES OF LIGHT favorites. Carcassone Castle...WOW"

William

Penryn, CA

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well put together trip. Guide (Julie) was great. Traveled Europe several times on my own. This was much better. Group was terrific (of course I should have expected that - given the cost and timing). Enjoyed not having to find hotels, meals, tickets, wait in line etc. Made for an efficient use of time. Bus was comfortable. Found no bedbugs when home!! Only shortcoming was too many dinners "on your own". Lunch on your own is ok.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard. Museum was great. I wanted at least 2 or 3 hours but had to leave after one. Still don't know how Romans could have built so much with limited resources."

Janet

Penryn, CA

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time on an escorted tour and I loved every moment of it. I definitely look forward to taking another Rick Steves tour in the future. Julie was a wonderful guide. She was so knowledgeable and fun to be around. The group was fantastic and I enjoyed everyone's company. The accommodations were excellent, the food was great and the tours were fun and educational. I'm very glad I took this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's hard to say. There were so many. The light show on the cathedral in Chartres and the songs of the sea concert we happened upon there were a great start to our trip. The villages of Sarlat and Carcassonne my favorite stops. I loved the medieval old town centers and exploring the tiny streets."

Jonas

Brentwood, TN

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Virginie was an outstanding guide; and, she arranged surprise "extras," was attentive to and assisted individual group members who developed health /medical problems during the trip, and was always available to advise us about good use of our free time. The itinerary was very good. Accomodations were very good. Breakfasts were sometimes very good, other times adequate to good. Group dinners were adequate to good. Malcolm should be requested to use the whisper system.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Night time light show at Chartres cathedral."

Ronald

Alma, AR

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the itinerary which was, for the most part, in smaller towns and away from the big city. Unfortunately rain for a stretch of days interfered with some outdoor activities which was disappointing. Virginie, our guide, adjusted as best she could which is what we have come to expect from a Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show on the Chartres Cathedral was far beyond our expectations. The Pont du Gard in real life is so much more impressive than any picture can show. The museum there was interesting and would have spent more time there if allowed. The surprise visit to the light show in the quarry was amazing."

Thomas

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really liked the Rick Steves company approach to travel. The combination of included activities and independent time seemed about right. Compared to our past couple Europe tour companies , this is an improvement. Really felt like we were not missing anything as we went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the visit to Carcassonne. The Knight's tour followed later by the lively family meal within the walls was topped off by a late evening walk down to a bridge to view the fortress bathed in lights. For a brief visit it is all you could want."

Catherine

Alameda, CA

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well scheduled, nice pace, superb guide, great bus driver combined made this a very enjoyable vacation.

George

Nashville, TN

Tour: 06/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't think of anything to improve on. Each site was obviously chosen with care, all were worth while to see, our guide Virginie was excellent, and our travel companions likable and fun. I wouldn't change a thing. Even the bus driver was charming and likable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To mention a few standouts, the beautiful views from Baynac Castle and the Dordogne River, the Pont du Gard, the amazingly preserved and still-used Roman coliseum and amphitheater in Arles, Sarlat's charming Saturday market day, Chateau Azay-le-Rideau and Villandry's gardens, the cave drawings at Rouffignac, Malcolm Miller's lecture at Chartres Cathedral, the amusing and knowledgeable city guide in Carcassonne, and ALL of Nice. A lot of "wow" moments to choose from."

Margaret

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first Rick Steves tour, Loire and the South of France was a fabulous one! Every day brought delightful experiences, fabulous food, education, and making new friends. Starting in Chartres with it's awesome cathedral and ending in gorgeous Nice we were never disappointed. The schedule allowed for plenty of active sightseeing along with time for rest and seeking out sights on our own including a day off in Sarlat for shopping the local markets for goodies for the next day's picnic. Fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day included great moments, but my favorite may have been visiting Grotte De Rouffignac and seeing the prehistoric cave art. It was an experience that I won't forget. I also really enjoyed the opportunity of getting to hear Malcolm who spoke to us about the Chartres Cathedral. What a privilege."

Michelle

Walla Walla, WA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had the best time. Our guide, Arnaud, was exceptionally knowledgeable, funny, very well organized, charming, and a lot of fun. I thought the tour had a good pace, overall the hotels we stayed in were better than expected, and I felt I definitely learned something about the country and the people of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking up to Chartres cathedral the first time."

John

Alameda, CA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great experience to see the countryside of France. We were able to see the castles of the Loire, multiple Middle Ages towns. I felt after the tour that I had a much better understanding of France and the French people. We ended in Nice on the first day of summer with musicians playing in the streets and on the beach till all hours. That was really cool.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The palace at Villandry was probably the most spectacular of all the castles that I've seen in France. The gardens were truly spectacular."

Robin

Newark, DE

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We did sooo much and covered sooo much ground which would have been impossible on our own. Our guide was energetic and knowledgeable and fun. I loved seeing the different areas of France and with Arnaud's help knowing what the local specialties were, the local culture and sights. The tour ran smoothly with clear expectations and "rules" which was helpful. The local tour guides were jewels! They loved their subjects and it showed. From the cave to the cathedral they were all excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Calvin in the Chartres Cathedral gave a unique, rich, depth of perspective that I'll always treasure. Canoeing on the Dordogne was idyllic and a relaxing way to see the views. I loved the group picnic that Arnaud shopped for--a chance to try things I never would have otherwise. The meal on the terrace cooked by the vintner and his wife felt like France profound."

Margo

Washougal, WA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Met my expectations and had a very good time. Saw, experienced more than we could have alone. I found the pace fine. Our group accommodated and looked after four or five people who were not able to fully participate. Minimal amount of cliquish behaviors. We had a great driver and guide, with spacious bus. The canoes worked better for me once I was kneeling, rather than sitting on the bench seat, which stretched the groin muscles overmuch. British and French kayaking teams were hilarious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carcassone tour with our own medieval knight, meeting his lady, entire presentation. I'd have enjoyed hearing from her, in costume, as well. Train into Rouffignac Cave & its prehistoric art. Arles and Nice tours. I've loved Arles for decades, from various novels. Reality met my high expectations! People were most gracious, in English or French, and so much fun to talk. Visited with 2 ladies (French, Montenegro) in Sarlat. The Quatre Saisons in Les Baux - odd!"

Jim

Granger, IN

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The people were great, the tour was diverse and interesting, and the guide was always on point.Loved the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The solstice celebration in Nice was one of our "WoW" moments. We thoroughly enjoyed Villandry and its' beauty and practicality. Canoeing on the Dardonne River while looking at the multiple Chateau(s) provided diversity and set the trip apart from anything we would ever thought of doing on our own when visiting another country. Our favorite city to explore was Arle but we loved the charm of Sarlat!"

Christine

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's Tour. It was fantastic. France is a beautiful country with wonderful people, great sights, delicious food and the best wines. Our guide Arnaud was outstanding. He was incredibly organized, friendly, informative, and entertaining. It was wonderful seeing things through his eyes and learning more about France's history, and current political and cultural happenings. Our bus driver Philippe was the best! The mix of organized activities and free time was perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments. But I loved the Chateau at Villandry, our very emotional visit to Oradour-sur-Glane, and our visit to Leonardo da Vinci's home in Amboise. Our free day in Sarlat at the market was so much fun and the best place to pick up gifts and treasures. Another "wow" moment was the realization that the french people are really friendly and welcoming."

Janet

Elbert, CO

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good companions, good guide, good bus driver. I wish more of the hotels had had better working AC. It was 20 degrees F higher than normal for most of our tour. Humidity to match. Also, I had a couple of medical issues, but no recommended resources for them. Minor enough for a Dr. visit but the only option was taxi to an ER.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gare. But so changed from my memories of 20+ years ago."

Laurie

Renton, WA

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the variety, not too many churches, castles, or chateaus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the light show in Chartres at the Cathedral, seeing the inside of a lived-in Chateau de Villandry, train into the Rouffignac caves, WWII martyr village, Sarlat Market day, and my favorite of the Carcassonne's - wandering the ramparts and steps."

Susan

Commerce, TX

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day was an experience to remember. The destinations were chosen so that none was like another. We couldn't see everything, do everything, experience everything or eat everything, so the choices we sampled were very important. I felt as if I had gotten a great overview of a big area along with very close inspection of a few destinations. I cannot say enough good things about the local guides and contacts. Such lovely innkeepers and such good service at the dinners.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For wow views, the glimpses of life at Carcassone and the wonderful local guide, knight Jean-Francois. For pure beauty, the gardens at Villandry and the beautiful location of Chenonceaux. But for the most affecting experience, the tour of Oradour-sur-Glane, enhanced so sensitively by our guide Arnaud, will be with me forever. To understand 50,000,000 dying in World War II is beyond me. But to stand in that burned out village and know what happened there was a beginning."

Anne

Commerce, TX

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Second tour with Rick Steves- met my expectations- which were high based on my experience in 2016 Ireland tour.

John

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/11/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent tour and a fabulous tour leader!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, but the trip in the Rouffingac Cave and the visit to the Post du Gard were definitely wow moments for me. The best city we stayed in was certainly Sarlat."

Frank

Saint Petersburg, FL

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another fabulous R/S tour! Number five for us, wonderful travel companions as usual, with great local hotels, guides, and schedule. Toni was professional, kind and oh so knowledgeable of the sites and towns visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show in Chartres and lunch at winery."

Jeff

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well planned, many sites we probably wouldn't have known about that were very interesting, and a good group of folks to enjoy the journey. I felt some of the evening meals for the group were only fair, but the conversation with our tour mates was excellent. There was a good amount of free time and the food and wine options were many. The bus and the driver were first rate, but in this day and age it would be nice to be able to charge electronics on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to nail down just one, but the blue of the Mediterranean Sea was awesome, and at night it was a jewel. Second would be the cathedral at Chartres, the stained glass windows are amazing, as is the night light show."

Ann

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I LOVED this tour! It was our 6th tour with Rick Steves' and it has become one of our favorites. The cities we toured were perfect. The time of year we went was ideal. Our tour guide, Toni Seymour, became a close friend and was one of the many reasons we loved this tour so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had several "wow" moments and probably the first was the Chartres Cathedral. It was amazing and our tour guide,Malcolm, made it even more special as he described the history in detail. The second never-to-be-forgotten moment was strolling through the streets of Sarlat. That golden city charmed us both! But, the real "wow" for us were the everyday moments that helped us develop our friendships with the other tour members. What a great group of new friends!"

Priscilla

Greenback, TN

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great tour! More low-key than our past tours, but an amazing experience nonetheless! Great group, wonderful weather and an awesome guide (Toni) made for a very enjoyable trip. Food and wine were great, France was lovely, the French people welcoming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the first city, sitting in Chartres cathedral, listening to the incomparable Malcolm share the history of "his" cathedral. What a treasure! Then in the last city, on the beach in Nice. Lovely! Great bookends for two wonderful weeks."

Wendy

Boulder, CO

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Such a rich overview of French historic highlights and daily life including rural areas and small towns that I especially appreciated. As ever, the pacing and inclusions were exemplary, making a RS tour so enjoyable and enriching. We had a convivial bunch, led by our amiable guide Toni and amazingly adept driver. Thoroughly loved it all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to say! Perhaps the Pont du Garde, or the gardens at Villandry, or the Carrieres de Lumieres sound and light show in the quarries of Les Baux...or the sound and light displays around Chartres! Those were "Wow!" moments, but there were so many equally gratifying experiences that were subtler or less surprising, but no less appreciated as part of our experience. The villages of the Loire Valley were a highlight for me, as was Arles. And the Sarlat Market. Loved it ALL."

Jeffrey

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS Tour, and the first with multiple bus trips. We greatly enjoyed the trip and especially the group, which got along together very well (no grumps). The variety of sights and experiences was something we could not have easily arranged on our own, and our guide provided the information to get the most out of it all. In some places I would have liked more time, but I can't think of anything I would reduce to allow that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the Cathedral in Chartes with Malcolm and the cave drawings were not to be missed, but the "wow" was dining in the square in Sarlat with a jazz group starting to play, and a half dozen of the couples from the tour gathering to enjoy the performance after we finished dinner. Enjoying a beautiful evening with our fellow tour members was special. The wine tasting provided by our hosts in Chinon was also a special experience, very informative (and tasty)."

George

Dalton, MA

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS tour and it lived up to the standards of the previous six; excellent tour guide, just the right mix of structured and unstructured time, great hotels located in the thick of things, dinners that explored the regional cuisine, a small group of diverse travelers - no grumps. The list could continue but I believe I have made my point and explained why we will continue to go on RS tours - simply put, they are the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "WOW" moment occurred before the tour actually started. It occurred as we left the Chartres train atation and had our first view of the Chartres Cathedral rising above the town; it was spectacular! A second WOW was the Chartres Cathedral tour led by Malcolm - the world expert on the church, its windows and its history. My third WOW was the canoe trip down the Dordogne River."

Moira

Schaumburg, IL

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Obviously what you, yourself bring to a tour and your outlook can make or break a trip. We have always approached these tours with an open mind; it is an adventure and an opportunity to learn and experience places and cultures we are not familiar with. Our adventure in France was amazing! Toni. Set the mood right from the start and we were part of a very friendly and fun group of people that we were able to get to know better than any other trip we have been on, thus a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens at Villandry were absolutely incredible! The variety and blending of colors and the various shapes of the leaves from the flowers and vegetables created such beautiful designs within the garden!"

Ruth

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had fun! The tour lived up to all my expectations and more. The areas of France we visited are lovely and unique in their own distinct ways. This tour provided a variety of amazing experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the impromptu tour the mayor of Mortemart gave our group. She was charming and spoke clear, simple French! The art/music presentation at Les Baux-de-Provence was very moving. I'm glad Toni was able to arrange this for our group. Even though I am not a canoeing enthusiast, I am pleased I canoed on the Dordogne River!"

Rosalie

Harrisburg, OR

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am a small 71 year old woman, 5ft. tall 115 lbs. who travelled alone from Eugene, Oregon; my husband and sister couldn't go, this was my 6th. trip to Europe, first with your tours. I wanted a safe, structured, group experience to specific areas. Two friends from French class did this tour in the past and raved about it. I needed to go too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I was on the plane from Nice and finally realized what I had done, I couldn't stop smiling. I spent 17 days carrying my own stuff (occasionally getting help lifting luggage)the trip happened without a problem or glitch of any kind. Other tour members accepted me and asked me to join them throughout the trip. They were very helpful and I am so grateful. I was prepared and arranged all the details of your tour, motels, flights, bus, and train transportation without help."

Mike

Schaumburg, IL

Tour: 05/28/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful trip. The places we stayed at were great, the food was outstanding, our tour guide was knowledgable and very helpful, and the people on the tour were fun to travel with. As always our Rick Steves tour was a great travel experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed the canoe trip down the Dordogne River. It was a fun way to relax and see some of the French scenery along the way. The chateau and gardens at Villandry were pretty awesome as well."

Henry

Wilmington, NC

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall excellent. Well organized. Comfortable pace, did not feel pressured along. Ample free time. Excellent tour guide in every way. Sites well picked and those additional guides very knowledgeable. Great bus driver. Wonderful food. Bus always clean and comfortable. Excellent accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ice cream. Understand, I normally do not like ice cream. The martyr village."

Tim

Roseville, MN

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As has been the case with my other Rick Steves' trips, this tour was terrific. Our guide, Julie, was so pleasant, funny, and knowledgeable. The other tour members were all friendly and great to get to know. The itinerary was well thought out and I am impressed by how much more I now know about the history, the art, the politics, the geography and the food & WINE of France. It made me want to visit more of France next year because I feel like I now understand much more about the French people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoeing on the Dordogne was fantastic. Gliding down the river with my wife on a warm, sunny day, looking at nature, Beynac castle, and the local village was a great opportunity to renew my spirit. A perfect activity for a mid-tour change of pace."

William

Apollo Beach, FL

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great weather. enjoyed meeting all the interesting people on our tour group. enjoyed the great food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the picnics and bachic ball games with the group I guess i do not do "wow" moments- Ricks tours are all" wow" suggest you modify the stain glass talk much to long. just a 40 min demonstraton of making and object"

Jacquelyn

Apollo Beach, FL

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

LOVED our 3rd Rick Steves tour! Rick has mastered the tour industry with his philosophy of getting close to the locals and having experiences one might not have on their own or on any other tour. Julie, our guide is fabulous! Our tour mates are fun, kind, interesting and helpful folks to spend 13 days with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't choose just 1 WOW moment, so I'll list them in no particular order: The story Agnes told of the youth choir from Colorado who sang at the July 14th memorial and in the St. Rita Church in Nice was very touching. The Carrieres de Lumieres light show in the quarry, what an amazing & delightful expierence. This was not on our itinerary and it was a wonderful surprise! The town of Oradour-sur-Glane, the town frozen in time, so, so sad. HOW had we never heard of it?"

John

Marietta, GA

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Met all expectations; was my 3rd tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chinnenceu Chateau."

Judith

Hixson, TN

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found France to be modern, historic, scenic, constantly variable in geography, friendly and delicious. Our tour group was friendly and sociable, mixing it up at meals and walks. Our tour guide, Julie, was a good teacher and fun to travel with. We got a nice blend of history and politics on our "bus lectures." The time we spent in each town was about right. There was a good mix of group activities and free time. As I travel more with RS, I find I value the free time more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Wow" was all I could say at Chartres cathedral light show. I didn't think anything could top that. The second night there, we stayed to watch both the shows and saw even more delights. But then, we went to Les Baux. The fantastical quarry light show was the most amazing man made event I have seen. It would have been great to stay longer and see the light event a second time. Amazing!!! Although not a wow moment, I enjoyed the wine tasting (and the best wine of the tour) on our way to Arles."

Lawrence

Mount Pleasant, TX

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fine tour that I would recommend to anyone who is at least moderately mobile. I did the Paris tour first, followed by this tour. If time allows, I think this is the best approach, rather than combining the two.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens at Villandry top my list with the Roman aqueduct at Le Pont du Gard a close second. Pictures are just not close to capturing either one of these. You have to be there to be there."

Chuck

Marietta, GA

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Four. Oradour-sur-Glane, Pont-du-Gard, Chenonceau, Amboise (da Vinci)"

Julie

Brea, CA

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous guide and bus driver! Great hotels! Beautiful places. The video show at the quarry was something I will never forget!! Absolutely mind blowing! That being said, I realize for schedule purposes and geography of bus travel this may not be possible but there was simply not enough time at Oadour-sur-Glane! It was one of the highlights of the trip and I would suggest losing some wine tasting nonsense for a more meaningful experience historically speaking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since I cannot pick just one, as mentioned above it would be the scenery in general of the Loire Valley, Oardour-sur-Glane, the video at the quarry, canoeing down the river,and getting the history of everywhere!"

Gary

High Springs, FL

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour locations were very interesting. Local food and wine were outstanding. Our tour members got along very well. There were many interesting people on the tour. The sites were entertaining, poignant, sobering, beautiful, delightful, grand and awesome. Some sites a mix of some or all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres Cathedral Stained Glass, some of it older than the present cathedral which is 900 years old. The glass is artistically detailed and too far away for the naked eye to appreciate. Bring binoculars particularly if you take Malcolm Miller's tour. Oradour-sur-Glane, the martyred village where 642 townspeople were shot and burned. The manner in which the village has been preserved as it was left by the Nazis on June 10, 1944 is a unique way to honor that hallowed ground."

Patricia

High Springs, FL

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was absolutely outstanding. Loved the smaller cities and towns and was also a fan of the outdoor excursions. It was the perfect blend of experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can we choose just one? But evaluating everything I think it would have to be the prehistoric cave. Exceptional experience."

Charles

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was truly a great time.Our tour guide, Julie, was second to none. The local guides we had were knowledgeable and personable. Julie was adept at the "cat herding" that is so necessary on a tour of this type. As always, the "lessons" on the bus between points was entertaining and informative. I, unfortunately, suffered a medical issue at the beginning of the tour and had to go to the ER in Chartres. Julie was right there with us for nearly 6 hours and again in Chinon for a 2 hour folw-up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nearly impossible to identify a single moment, but right up there at the top would be the immersive art show at the quarry in Les Baux. I think that was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced."

Alan

Hixson, TN

Tour: 05/21/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our fifth RS tour. As always, the tour was well put together and has a nice blend of planned activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was the light show at Les Baux in the quarry. I don't recall it being listed in the itinerary and so was a great surprise. The Martyrs Village at Oradur-sur-Glane was very moving."

Helen

Saratoga, CA

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well organized, the sights were great, and the guides, Virginie and Marie, went out of their way to make our experiences memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont du Gard, hands down. It was a beautiful and functional structure, still operating after 2000 years."

Frederick

King, WI

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a wonderful time. Virginie More and Marie Altman (with Marie's experience, it seems unfair to call her an "apprentice") were consummate tour guides. Ours was, we think, an unusually congenial group and, from the beginning in Chartres to the end in Nice, the tour was a delight - informative, with pacing that was just right and group events - meals, orientation walks, and time on the bus - that only added to the pleasure of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were "wow" moments every day of trip - for us they included (but I omit many) the visit to Chartres Cathedral with Malcolm Miller, the evening light show that enhanced the glory of the cathedral, the gardens at Chateau de Villandry, the wall and ceiling drawings at Rouffignac Cave, the Pont du Gard, and the wonderful surprise - because it wasn't included in the tour brochure - of the stunning music and light show of the Carrieres de Lumieres near Arles."

Francis

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 05/07/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third RS tour and like the other two, we found the itinerary, our group and our guides outstanding. Kudos to Virginie and Marie, who not only led us through the 13 days, but put us in touch with Elisabeth van Hest during our post tour time in Paris. All three of them added immeasurably to our experience of France and Priscilla and I will be forever grateful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were unprepared for the beauty of the Côte d'Azur and would love to return to explore Cap de Ferrat."

Deanna

Veblen, SD

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We have traveled to many European countries, but never France because of not knowing how to pronounce French words or travel around on our own, so we booked a Rick Steves Tour to see the country. It was great to have all the arrangements done for us, and also leave the driving to the bus driver! (who was great!) It is nice to have the smaller group and room to move around on the bus trips. All in all, it was a very great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the beautiful, exquisite blue of the Mediterranean in Nice. Also, being at ruins and sites built so many years ago! And seeing cathedrals and buildings with incredible architectural and building masters. Also, the beautiful gardens."

Laura

Modesto, CA

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a lovely, eclectic mix of ancient history and modern agriculture, small towns and vibrant cities. The pace was comfortable and there was a good balance of group time and personal time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but the one that I had most anticipated was arriving in Carcassonne, and then later that night walking down to the bridge to see the city lit up. Another wow moment was the Pont du Gard; both locations brought history alive."

Nancy

Inver Grove Heights, MN

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a bit apprehensive about a group tour. I had checked other tour operators and even priced out the trip on my own. I did not want the "don't blink or you'll miss it" tour the big bus operators offered or having to follow someone with a paddle or umbrella who looks bored out their mind. Daniella, our tour guide, was passionate about sharing her knowledge and also of making us feel comfortable enough to venture out on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several quiet, small wow moments. I always make it a point to take an early morning stroll before the bustle of the day starts. It gives me time to take some amazing photos and to savor the beauty of the place. Also.....Pont du Gard was amazing and Chinon was my simple pleasure surprise......I could live there."

Victoria

Inver Grove Heights, MN

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The orientation meeting on our first evening together was so nice. The tour bus used was clean, roomy and comfortable with our "awesome" driver. Our tour guide, Daniela, gave us so much useful information on the tour. We learned a lot. It was nice to have the daily schedule posted for the following day and to have the itinerary stating how much walking, how much time on the bus etc. Headphones for tours...ideal! All our rooms were clean and comfortable. Your guide book tips came in handy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of our group meals were outstanding! From the sliver-domed platters to the wine-tasting and home-cooked meal at the vineyard...all were amazing!"

Steve

Martinez, GA

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour; where we went and what we did was excellent; right length of time; appropriate amount of time in each place. Our guide was exceptional. Size of group was good (but certainly no bigger). The others on tour were also a plus; interesting, fun people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont du Gard: always wanted to see it. Visiting the quarry w/Chagall art show was an unexpected treat."

Elizabeth

London, ON

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was our second time on a Rick Steves' tour this year. I found each tour combined travelling with a lot of learning experience - in culture, language, history, religion. It was an incredible experience.The people, scenery, the accommodations and delicious meals were all memorable. This tour, in particular, fulfilled one item on my bucket list - to visit Chenonceau in person. I had seen it many times from pictures or TV but I was there!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment was the night view of Chartres Cathedral from our hotel window. The lit image of the cathedral went deep into my mind on the first night of the tour."

Jacqueline

Cody, WY

Tour: 10/09/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Daniela (with Gils' able assistance) lead us on an amazing trip through a much larger variety of experiences than I had expected. Her extensive historic knowledge combined with her commentary on present events were very enlightening. Her suggestions about things not in the Guidebook were wonderful. We had an interesting and very fun group that got along well together. I choose RS because I enjoy the combination of structured knowledge imparted with free time, and was not disappointed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip was all quite wonderful. Standouts include: Oradour-sur-Glane (so moving and important to me), the "Chagall" show at the quarry, Chardon (an amazing dinner in Arle - a recommendation from Daniela), and not least - the terrific group of people that shared this trip."

John

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide, Arnaud, was pleasant, friendly, knowledgable with a sweet sense of humor. Our travel mates were the best! All friendly, considerate and delightful to be with. The weather could be warmer, but that's Europe in October.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Chartres cathedral with the light and music show was totally unexpected and magnificent! We were very happy to be there at the time the show was still on."

Lisa

Spokane, WA

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I think we had more WOW moments on our Best of Italy (17 days).However, it's a bit apples and oranges to compare. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in France. It was fun to run up and down the castle walls (Les Baux, view landscapes,visit the chateaux and pretend you lived with the Medici, Tudors and Plantagenets. It will make future reading more realistic. Canoeing down the Dordogne was truly sublime. And, sad as it was, I'm glad we visited Oradour-sur_Glane: lessons still applicable today.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Obviously difficult to choose. Chenonceau, Villandry, and canoeing the Dordogne. All lovely. Les Baux, Carcassone and the Roman aqueduct were truly impressive. I know we can't cover it all, but a lot of us would have liked more time in Beynac: like a fairy tale!"

Dennis

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour, with lots of great sights, great interpretation from Arnaud, great group. Experienced places, info. that I would never get on my own. Some of the time on the bus was long, but not overwhelming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres Catherdral light show."

Charlene

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My husband and I took our first Rick Steves tour, the Heart of Italy last year. It exceeded our expectations for a tour. For our Loire to the South France tour we knew more about what to expect and it did not disappoint. Our overall experience was very positive. The tour was well organized, our guide Arnaud was great, the accommodations were comfortable, updated, and conveniently located to sites. The information provided related to the areas we visited was very good and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the surprise of the evening light show in Chartres that illuminated the church and village at night."

Benjamin

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour and it easily lived up to our high expectations. All of the destinations and activities were amazing and our guide Arnaud was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maybe it was just the lack of sleep from jet lag but that light show at the Chartres cathedral was a spiritual experience."

Eileen

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have a lot of confidence with any Rick Steves travel product/guide/recommendations. We knew this trip would be excellent, so came in with high expectations. We were delighted. Arnaud was fabulous, fun and so knowledgeable. The itinery covered a lot during our 13 days but was planned very well. A nice mix of group dinners and dinners by ouselves, which we really appreciatead. Having a "day off" in the middle of the trip was a great idea. Tremendous value.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "Wow" moment came at the beginning as I was not aware of Chartres en Luminere. We were spellbound seing the cathedral and other buildings as part of the light show. Worth a trip to Chartres. Of course the Chateau's are georgous but an unexpected and smaller "wow" was the little church that was next to the Parish Hall where we had our indoor picnic. The small wooden carvings of the poor, the sick the hungry....dozens in all were unforgetable."

Kathleen

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great hotel locations for easy access to the downtowns. Timing was an issue for us as three museums we wished to visit were closed: one closed at lunch which was the only time the tour had available to visit; the time allotted for the Pont du Gard permitted either a visit to the museum or a climb to see the aqueduct but not both; and the museum in Arles, our impetus for the trip, closed on Tuesdays which was our only free day in the City. In spite of those pangs it was an interesting visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show on the Chartres Cathedral combined with the discussion by Malcom Miller of the building and the windows."

John

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Generally, the tour was a good experience, but frustrating. Seemed like long bus rides with little time at the various destinations, missed museums, and huge late-night meals. Felt very hurried at Castle Villandry, Amboise, and especially at Point du Gard. Spent 3 hours at a farm before Pont du Gard, but only had 1 1/4 hours at a world heritage site.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had several: * The nightly light show around Chartres was marvelous, wonderful, and unexpected. * Viewing the cave art in the Dordogne was the primary reason for this trip and was amazing, beyond expectations. * Experiencing Pont du Gard. It had a big emotional impact on me which was unexpected - size, the undertaking, ancient engineering, the scope of the project, etc. But was frustrated by the short time at this site with no time to go through the on-site museum."

Rilla

Brier, WA

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was far above my expectations! Our tour guide, Arnaud, above outstanding! Hotels and meals, amazing! The cities, towns and historical locations were very interesting! (and the weather was terrific...no rain except the last 2 days.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about Chartres Cathedral from Malcolm Miller (outstanding lecture)and the night light show on the Cathedral. Wine tasting at Visiting the fortresses, churches and castles that I could have never researched and found on my own!"

Larry

Richland, WA

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Still drinking it in. It was like a cultural firehose! We are ready to go back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens at Villandry. A photographer's dream! We want to return in May."

James

Roeland Park, KS

Tour: 10/02/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my seventh tour, my third to France and I found this to be the the best France tour in terms of area covered. Accommodations (for the most part) were very good. Arnaud was excellent and I should mention that how he handled end of tour travel arrangements was the best of any tour so far. Sites selected were very good although four hours in Les Baux was a bit much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be difficult to [INVALID] one event as better than another. Oradour-sur-Glane was very touching but in a totally different manner from market day in Sarlat. Chenonceau by definition is a "wow" moment but the first time you see the sunrise on the yellow stone of the buildings in that region (Carcassonne) the moment is equally "wow.""

Thomas

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Splendid trip. Tremendous guide. Great variety of interesting experiences. This was our sixth RSs' trip and certainly among the very best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont du Gard was a very special experience, as was Chartres Cathedral (both daytime as well as illuminated after dark)."

David

Reading, MA

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I usually travel on my own. I took this tour to reach an area that would be hard to do alone. It was a good experience. A highlight was an itinerary with events that would be difficult for a single traveler to schedule (eg special meals, tours). The 45 minute video accurately describes these tours - no surprises.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The talk by the Mayor in the small town where we picniced on day 5 was charming. A real highlight. And in a different way the walk through Oradour-sur-Glane was unforgetable."

Cathy

London, ON

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded our expectations and then some. We had a great group, Virginie was a wonderful guide and Gilles was a great bus driver. France has so much history, beauty and old world charm and so any chateaux and castles that, for history buffs and romantics like us, it was almost like walking in an ancient tale or on a set from Lord of the Rings. And the food! Sampling regional specialities was a treat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments of course, but favorites were the light,and music shows at Chartres and the Carrières de Lumières, Leonardo's home, Carcassonne and Les Baux. A more subtle wow moment was at the picnic in Mortemart. On a beautiful day in a lovely little village we were enjoying a fantastic "quintessential" French lunch "en plein air". I remember sitting along the ancient wall enjoying a few moments of profound contentment and peace away from the rest of the world. It as if time stood still."

Steven

La Palma, CA

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a WONDERFUL time. Leave your diet at home, just experiencing the food and wine would have made this trip a gem. Add in the sights, history, wonderful friendships we made, and there's little else I would want. To anyone who claims the French are not friendly, I ask, what country did you visit?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carcassonne at night - that was a wonder."

Russell

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Virginie was very professional and knew her history. She always was prepared to help us with our every need. The choice of cities and historic sites were amazing. One thing that would have made it better for me anyway, would be less comments regarding the uniqueness of Catholic ways of worship. I was offended at the lack of respect for the Catholics need to "worship" relics for example. Anyway, thanks for a wonderful tour. Russell

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The castle on the hill."

Red

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall the tour was very well organized, with lots of great surprises along the way, good hotels, great food, and a superb guide. With 28 participants, the bus was plenty big enough for us to spread out, but small enough that we could talk with all of the participants. There was a good balance between planned activities and free time to do what we wanted to do on our own. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to visit central France, and sample a range of food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments that it is hard to pick just one. Kayaking down the Dordogne River past 4 castles from the 100 years war was cool. Eating in restaurants and sleeping in hotels that were hundreds of years older than U.S. was amazing. The light show in Chartes on different buildings and bridges was fantastic. But the animated light and music show projected onto the walls, pillars and floor of the limestone mine at Carrieres des Baux-de-Provence was absolutely spectacular."

Karen

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing group of travelers led by an amazing guide through an amazing part of France! The diversity of the experiences was an important part of my enjoyment. There truly was something for everyone, from a scholar in a cathedral to prehistoric cave art to Roman ruins, always accompanied by wonderful food and wine. Virginie was an accomplished guide and teacher who opened our eyes to what we are seeing and taught us how to put it in a larger context.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the monumental Pont du Gard and Carcassonne lit at night were my WOW moments."

Rosalyn

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked kayaking on the Dordonge river and the Quarry luminaries with Chagall."

Daniel

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a delightful, entertaining and educational experience all rolled into one. Virginie More really made this experience special for us and I think everyone else on the trip. This was our first time on one of your tours, so we weren't quite sure what to expect, but all in all, we really liked it and have already recommended it to some of our friends for their future travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Chagall multi media extravaganza in the darkened limestone quarry. It was mind blowing, and it was a complete surprise for all of us."

Tammy

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The guide, Virginie (sp?), was very knowledgeable, patient and kind. I loved the locations we went to and the spirit of our tour family. We had a really, really good group of people!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The lights shown on the outside of the Chartre Cathedral and other buildings throughout the city of Chartre. I've never experienced anything quite like that."

Virginia

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The trip was an excellent mix of looking at beautiful chateaux and physical exercise like kayaking 10 miles on the Dordogne. Every day held a new experience. We shopped for picnic food in a street market in Sarlat, climbed to the top of castle ruins in Les Baux in Provence. Our group blended so well that it seemed as if we had been hand-picked and matched like on a dating website!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing to the top of the castle ruins in Le Baux. The sky was clear and the air crisp. Looking over the beautiful valley from the top of the castle gave such a feeling of peace and harmony."

Paul

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent itinerary, good hotels, and superb guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Marc Chagall sound and light show in the cave at Les Baux was quite outstanding."

Diane

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/25/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves' tours tremendous. Everything was extremely well-planned and professionally [INVALID]d. Hotels were in walking distances to the old towns.Local guides highlight their cities, and then we had the chance to explore on our own. It's nice that we stayed in most places for 2 nights. Bus rides were broken into comfortable sections with meaningful stops along the way. All those logistical aspects let us really focus and appreciate the places we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't know if I had just one "wow" moment. I had a wonderful sense of history when seeing the Roman ruins then comparing them to the medieval castles and envisioning and comparing how the people lived during those two times."

Sandra

Lake Tapps, WA

Tour: 09/18/16

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Not as much variety as I would of liked. Too much of the same, way too many medieval villages and chateaus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Illumination light show on the Cathedral and buildings in Chartres!"

Greg

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 09/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide, excellent transportation and an action packed 12 days. Our previous tours had been spent in the big cities and seeing the French countryside with its inherent beauty was fantastic. Each of the overnight locations were wonderfully located with their own unique charm and activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments with each location showing wonderful and unique features. Some never to be forgotten are the Chartre Cathedral both inside and the light show outside, the Pont du Gard, Carcassone with its commanding presence and rich history and the canoe ride on the Dordogne. Each overnight location and intermediate stops were wonderful."

Jim

Moscow, ID

Tour: 09/18/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well organized[INVALID]good mix of free and group time[INVALID]nice hotels, as well as good group meals, including a nice variety of food choices. Toni was a great guide, along with the local ones.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light shows in Chartres, the canoe trip on the Dordogne River, the beautiful waterfront in Nice, and the prehistoric drawings in Rouffignac Cave."

Susan

Ashland, OR

Tour: 09/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my husband and my second RS tour, and we really appreciate the structure of the tours - the mixture of guided, stress-free touring and free time to make our own special experiences on our own. Looking back, I can't believe we did and saw so much in just 12 nights/13 days. For the most part, the hotels and group meals were great, the group was harmonious, the guidance expert, and we were offered many experiences that we couldn't have found on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had heard about the lights in Chartres and feared they might be "cheesy", but was I wrong! And I was surprised that the whole town was lit up, not just the cathedral - amazing! The gardens of Villandry, Arles Roman ruins, the Chagall light show at the quarry and the view over Provence from the hilltop in Les Baux, seeing castles appear at every bend in the placid Dordogne River, and the wine tasting & beautiful lunch prepared by Sylviane at Le Chateau des Hospitaliers - all "wow"s for me."

Diane

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 09/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I especially enjoyed the varied areas we explored, from the chateaus, to the Roman Ruins, medieval cities, cave paintings, and canoeing. It is always fun to have variety when traveling to get a better picture of the country as a whole. Our tour guide/coordinator was very knowledgeable and prepared us well for each of our adventures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments: 1. I had always dreamed of seeing prehistoric cave art; and I was in awe of the drawings. 2. On a more somber note, Oradour-sur-Glane was a must see for this tour. It really brought home the tragedies of WWII."

Shauna

Reston, VA

Tour: 09/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour, very relaxing. I enjoyed the pace, history, food, lodgings, and fellow tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Chagall Light Show in the Quarry, and just being in Nice. My favorite activity was the canoe trip down the Dordogne. Just wonderful weather, scenery, and overall relaxing fun time."

Rosanne

Granbury, TX

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was great. Great hotels and restaurants. My vegetarian diet was accommodated. We had the perfect amount of free time. Our guide was both knowledgeable and helpful. She went out of her way to help me retrieve train tickets for my post-tour travel and to help my try to refill a prescription. Several tour members had trouble getting seated for a dinner on our own in Chinon. The group I was with resorted to buying groceries to eat. Something to caution future tour groups.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show in Chartres was spectacular, as was the French Rivera."

Karen

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the variety of experiences, especially the canoe trip on the Dordogne River, the walled city of Carcassonne, the light and music show in the mine near Arles, and the prehistoric cave drawings and paintings.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Even though it was raining while we canoed, seeing the cliffside castle from the water made me feel like I was in a fairy tale."

Roger

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was a bit surprised at the use of the audio devices. Not using them had been a part of the Rick Steves experience. We even had a talk about why we would violate that practice at Auschwitz because of the special need to be respectful. So when they were passed out the first night I was surprised, and when we had a hard time getting them to work reliably, I was quite worried. But, the second day, after we changed channels, they worked okay. (I'l add more below.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cave Art. I also went on a side trip to Lascaux II."

Alice

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The trip was well planned and led. We had experiences that would not be easy to replicate traveling on one's own. Some of these include a wine tasting in Chenin, a tour of an eco-winery with lunch on the owners' porch, and entertainers at dinner in Carcassonne. The bus was comfortable and there was ample room to spread out, with 28 riders. The other travelers were congenial and the group dinners were lots of fun, with plenty of new people to talk to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at night on the Cathedral at Chartres was unexpected and amazing. For me personally, getting to swim in the Mediterranean Sea was a highlight of my life."

Karen

Kailua Kona, HI

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour. We enjoyed pretty much everything about it (the sights we saw, the included meals, the tour guides). About the only thing I didn't like was having to get up early on a cold, rainy morning. Going with the Rick Steves tour afforded us the opportunity to see many sights that would have taken a lot of time and hassle to get to. We didn't have to stress about anything. Since we traveled on our own before and after that the tour, this was a relaxing respite from planning.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carcassone was magical! Didn't realize that places like this really existed. It was further highlighlighted by an amusing cultural presentation that evening at dinner. A couple dressed in medieval garb enlightened us about dress, food, fighting and everyday life back in the Middle Ages."

Philip

Las Vegas, NV

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized.Food was good.Driver was excellent.Everyone in our group was always on time.Everyone was in a good mood and very friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cave tour was excellent!"

Vicki

Cambridge, MD

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour of any kind...we are experienced and independent travelers, but we were attracted by the RS philosophy and style. We had a wonderful time, felt we saw far more places and had more special experiences than we would have on our own. The guide and driver were great, and our fellow travelers were a delightful and cheery group. We appreciated having so much free time and @50% of our meals on our own. Our hotels were centrally located so were able to explore independently.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a wow experience except for Azay Le Rideaux, which was.disappointing after Chenonceau and Villandry. Azay was being renovated, so there was lots of scaffolding and noise...the grounds had no landscaping to speak of, and the effect of the reflecting pond was ruined by all the construction. Interior was not particularly interesting, either."

Paul

Cambridge, MD

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well balanced between group and individual activities. We saw much we would not have seen on our own, most notably the WWII martyr site, Rouffignac caves, Mortemart and the Longuedoc winery. We were very impressed with the local tour guides at all locations. We enjoyed the balance of experiences including magnificent cathedrals, medieval towns, river canoeing and Roman ruins. Our guide was knowledgeable and helped us appreciate the local points of view.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from, but sitting in the Roman Theater in Arles realizing that people have been enjoying plays in that precise spot for over 2000 years was humbling."

Ronald

Shingle Springs, CA

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thanks to the approach used by the Rick Steves team, we were able to see and learn about things that we never would have seen by ourselves or with a more conventional tour. The relatively small size of the group made the tour seem almost like a family trip. The sites and activities visited were beyond our expectations and provided a unique insight into the culture and history of the French people. We covered a lot of ground and it took a lot of energy, but the experience was highly rewarding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many unexpected and wonderful moments. Some that stick in memory the most are: a canoe trip past medieval castles down the Dordogne River, a tour of the ancient cave paintings at Rouffignac, and the walking tour of the city of Arles and its ancient Roman runins."

Robin

Underwood, WA

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pacing of the tour was perfect. We also really enjoyed the many and varied sites. Having guided time as well as on our own time provided a great balance. The guide and guidebook provided useful information. Our trip felt relaxed but also like we didn't miss anything. The overall make-up of our group worked well, also. We made many new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"More than on ?!? In Sarlat, I was approached by a local couple whose son lives in the same U.S. city as ours. Through broken English and broken French, we had a wonderful communication.(They recognized a Columbia Sportswear patch on my bag.) I loved Villandry - WOW ! And my husband was wowed by Pont du Gard and Carcasonne. We both loved the light show inside the old quarry - too fun. Les Baux, canoeing ! The lights on Chartres Cathedral."

Jane

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/11/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a good balance of structured tour and free time. The tour guide and bus driver were charming and friendly. The driver processes amazing driving skills. The size of the group encouraged interaction and privacy. I would not go with a larger group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prehistoric caves. The opportunity to see the caves was the reason I chose this tour. A local guide said there were even more caves in the area that are as interesting. I suggest you let your tours know of these opportunities."

Berta

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Toni was excellent. Great four with sightseeing and we loved our free time too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved going canoeing down the river."

James

Sequim, WA

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides were exceptional!, The accommodations were excellent and associates were friendly and very helpful as well as knowledgeable, especially the bus driver. Toni helped my wife and I above and beyond "the call of duty " by helping us fill out a French Police Report for our stolen back pack (in a Paris train station before we joined the tour). This required over an hour of her "free" time and for which my wife and I are very grateful. This, along with Paris, was our best tour, ever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to recount."

Robert

Central Point, OR

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Toni was great! I couldn't ask for a better tour guide. I got a bit tired of looking at chateaus. Also, I thought Arles was over rated and warrants just one day's visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's hard to pick. Perhaps canoeing down the Dordogne River with my wife passed medieval landscapes."

Debra

Aston, PA

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour. We have done trips to France on our own, but it is really nice to have someone else make the decisions. It was well organized and Toni was an outstanding tour leader. The bus rides were relaxing and informative at the same time. Philippe, our bus driver, was fantastic. He even volunteered to come back and pick my husband and I up in Arles, when we had a medical emergency and had to stay behind while the rest of the group went ahead.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to name just one wow moment. It seems we had a wow moment in each place we visited. Several experiences that stand out were the light show in Chartres, the stained glass lecture by Malcolm, the caves in Rouffignac, and the canoe ride down the Dordogne River. If we had not already seen the Pont du Gard and the Loire valley they would have been another wow moment. Our favorite town was Sarlat."

Franklin

Semora, NC

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall outstanding tour, would have liked a little more free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres en lumières."

Susan

Mt Pleasant, MI

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again, a great tour guide and bus driver made for a wonderful trip. I loved seeing all the different sights and learning the history behind them along with the current state of affairs in that part of France. Toni has an amazing amount of information which she shared with us and a good sense of timing for when and how much to share.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I always have trouble with the "wow" moment since there are usually so many. The light show in Chartres, Orator-sur-Glane, Rouffignac Cave, walking Carcassonne at night, seeing the Pont du Gard were all very memorable for various reasons."

Julia

Mt Pleasant, MI

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a lot of fun with a lot of fun people on a great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't really have one wow moment. The entire trip was a series of moments that added up to one big wow. From the cathedrals to the cro-magnon cave to the chateaus to Carcassonne to the Pont du Gard, I was learning a lot and seeing a lot and have the pictures to prove it :)."

Brenda

Semora, NC

Tour: 09/04/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed all the places we visited. Our group was very cohesive. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the places we visited and also shared with us information about taxes, schools healthcare etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two "wow" moments. The light show in Chartres was spectacular. The caves and cave art was unbelievable-to think and see something that old was incredible."

Mark

Houston, TX

Tour: 07/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The audio guide app and the website information were great tools to prepare for the trip and set expectations. Patrick was a phenomenal tour guide. He did everything a tour guide would be expected to do plus more..... including unexpected 'extras' such as a short excursion from a rest stop to see the Midi canal lock and hear about the history of building the canals and lining them with the Plane trees.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wine tasting education at the Diderot Hotel in Chinon. The Pont du Gard. Malcolm Miller talking about the stain glass windows in Chartre!"

Jeff

Federal Way, WA

Tour: 07/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was everything I expected it would be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bastille Day celebration in Sarlat"

Steve

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 07/10/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour guide (Patrick) and driver (Philippe). This is my 3rd tour, so perhaps some things are consistent from tour to tour; Day 1 starts at 5:00 P.M. Day 13 ends after breakfast. I feel it's more like an 11 day tour. Patrick was incredibly knowledgeable about every aspect of the trip and was always able to keep all of his charges in view (really tough with someone (me) who would run off to catch just one more photo. The tour group was (as usual) interesting, funny, and up for anything.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Day 6 was great from start to finish. The Rouffingnac cave and the canoe trip down the Dordogne River were everything one could ever hope for."

Pamela

Needville, TX

Tour: 07/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I Thought it was well planned. Enjoyed all things saw all the guides at sights like guide at Chartres Cathedral. Was very happy especially with our Guide Patrick, one of the best I enjoyed his commentary and kept us happy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Cave at Rouffignac. In college my Art History class started with the cave at Lascaux. So to see some of the first art in existence was great."

Thomas

Englewood, CO

Tour: 07/10/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each location was great, really enjoyed visiting the smaller towns and getting a great feel for France. The hotels we stayed out were great, and the bus transportation was excellent. Out tour guide Patrick and bus driver Phllipe were awesome. The mix between organized tours and free time was just fight, as were the dinners and lunches we had together. It was great having breakfast each morning at the hotel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a few wow moments on the tour - the Cathedral at Chartres lit up at night, canoeing in the Dordogne region and seeing all the castles, and the Pont du Gard aqueduct were might most memorable moments."

William

La Crescenta, CA

Tour: 06/26/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We're probably spoiled by our fourth tour, but we had a great time. As we now expect a great time, it was just an average RS tour. Unfortunately a smaller group size (18) in 2016, but we had a congenial group, a great guide, wonderful food, and surprises along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoe ride down the Dordogne River was extraordinary, crazy "bull match" in Arles was mad fun, somber visit to Oradour-sur-Glane was very emotional, cave art at Rouffignac was unique, wine tasting in Chinon was sublime."

Paul

Valleyford, WA

Tour: 06/26/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

3rd trip with Steve's & 8th trip overall to Europe and this was the best. We visited great locations with interesting history and architecture along with great food and wine. While you can't control this point, we had a great guide (as are most Steve's guides) and a very good group. Through the years Steve's has upgraded their rooms which I appreciate greatly. All had air conditioning and reasonable Wifi. Of course, all are central to the core. Don't hesitate, take this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Chartres, they are using spectacular lighting to highlight their bridges & churches. Very unexpected and definitely a WOW moment."

Jeanne

Valleyford, WA

Tour: 06/26/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Friendly, informative, interesting, fun. From the Charte cathedral & bridges illuminated at night to walking medieval lived in neighborhoods, our tour brought delightful surprises. Our guide, Arnaud, helped us navigate the culture & learn the connections from history. His sense of humor & friendly manner made the schedule easily manageable & let us know what to expect. The local guides & food were very good. We could relax and take in each experience knowing our way around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing castles as you rounded the next bend!"

Ken

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 06/26/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well-run, interesting, covers a broad swath of France and its history. very compatible group and a great guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A break during market day in Sarlat. Nothing scheduled, time to catch up and enjoy the swirl of activity that comprises a normal market in a French city. After having done (and yet to do) so many things, a moment to catch our breath and experience a typical day was a delight. The secondary "wow" was bringing in Nice the night Les Blues made it to the Eurocup finals... hearing the horns and seeing the people out at 11 p.m. to celebrate their team, especially given what happened a week later."

Carol

Wellsville, NY

Tour: 06/26/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again, a wonderful RS tour - complete in every way. Well coordinated, paced, informative for history and current day topics, plus the usual peppy RS tour people for great fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one WOW moment as I appreciated the variety of all parts - from chateau to canoeing with highlights being Chartres' cathedral(light show), Oradour sur-Glane (destroyed village), small towns-especially Les Baux."

Mary Jane

Lewes, DE

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations: it embodied the Rick Steves travel philosophy without the stressful aspects of independent travel, and visited so many places in France that I have long wanted to visit. So wonderful to travel with William as our guide and Gilles as our bus driver; they made the trip relaxing and fun as well as educational. Great camaraderie in our small group, and just the right mix of touring and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wonderful moments I can't pick just one: kayaking on the Dordogne, prehistoric cave drawings at Grotte de Rouffignac, wine tasting and lunch at Chateau des Hospitaliers, drinking champagne while watching the lights come up on Carcassonne from the Pont Vieux, Chagall light show at the quarry at Les Baux, the Pont du Gard."

Molly

Daytona Beach, FL

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful tour of France. I saw much more than I had expected to. We had 18 in our tour group and we all got along together which made the whole experience much more fulfilling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I never had connected France with prehistoric cave drawings. It was so awesome to go into the cave and see drawing that were 13,000 years old. What a surprise."

Patricia

Spokane, WA

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 5th RS tour and by far the smallest group. I think this made everything a little more intimate. Willam our guide was excellent, personable, and accommodating. The tour was a perfect balance of information and activities through a variety of different experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought canoeing down the Dordogne was awesome and the Chagall exhibit, Carrieres de Lumieres light show at the old quarry was unbelievable! Who doesn't love a tour that concludes at the French Riviera? A polar bear swim in the Mediterranean Sea with the locals was a WOW moment for me."

Kaela

Conway, NH

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great well balance with group meals and meals on your own. William was a great tour guide very interactive. With me being the youngest of the group he was great to me. He let me be his assistant with things during the tour talking on the bus through the microphone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This one is hard to answer there were so many WOW moments for me. I liked the light show in Charte, to canoeing down the Dordogne valley, to seeing the art work of Charles de Gaulle in Les Baux, to ending in the French Rivera and trying new food especially duck."

Gaie

Conway, NH

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations in every way! William was full of historical and cultural information and made the bus rides entertaining and interesting. His recommendations were spot on with both food and places to go. He was kind, attentive and fun. There was a great mix of castles and churches and history and landscapes. And did I mention the food? The group dinners were amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many! The first was the wine tasting at Chinon. The couple running it were so interesting and the wines delicious. Oradour-Sur- Glane was powerful and I feel so important to witness. I loved the town of Mortemart and the picnic we had there. The quiet and ancient feel of the town was such a nice break from the hugeness of the castles and churches. The biggest 'wow' for me was Ruffinac and seeing drawings that were thousands of years old."

Robin

Newark, DE

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Europe and it was better than I had hoped. The Rick Steves tour was excellent! I learned so much, like PBS on mega-steroids! 8:30 starts were perfect, although breakfasts at 7:30 were a little too late. Pacing of first week was perfect. During second week, I felt a little rushed at times, but I always wanted to do everything. Great flexibility within schedule. We chose to keep touring during free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As this was my first trip to Europe and I love history, I think my favorite "wow" moment was when I first saw Carcassonne. I never expected to see such an intact fortress town in real life. This was just an amazing sight for me and made my trip so worthwhile!"

Kathleen

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour was our first. The itinerary was very good, with plenty of activities and varied experiences. Loved the Loire River valley. Having a group of only 18 people was great because we could each have a window seat on the bus. We were glad to have only two hours maximum on the bus, with rest stops or sightseeing stops scheduled throughout the day. We also appreciated that the hotel stays were mostly for two or three nights so we weren't constantly packing and unpacking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to choose just one moment, but I loved that we got to canoe down the Dordogne River, as it was something I probably would not have sought out on my own."

Gary

Carbondale, CO

Tour: 06/19/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this was our 4 th trip and in a lot of ways the best. William was superb. Just the right mix of humor, expertise, laid back attitude and felt like he connected with each of us. we had the advantage of a small (18) very compatible group all of like mind and all invested in getting the most out of the experience. We felt like the accomodations were very nice and what we have come to expect with your tours. We didnt have any questions about any of the places we stayed. great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"tough choice. Pont du gard takes your breath away. Chagall light show in the limestone quarry was the most amazing thing i have ever seen!!! we have noticed that your tours seem to be designed in that each day is better than the day before. we noticed this again this time. Thanks."

Cynthia

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Daniella was a great tour guide! Very knowledgeable in her history and interesting enough for the average history enthusiast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked the farmer's market in Sarlat, it really gave you a chance to mingle with the locals and experience every day life. The gardens were AMAZING at Chateau de Villandry. I was shocked and saddened to see the Oradour-sur-Glane-although it was disturbing it should NOT be missed."

Judy

Roseville, CA

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent as always. Great guide, delicious food, fun people, so many beautiful castles and chateaus! Market day in Sarlat was so much fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments, but my favorite was the thought-provoking WWII martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane. This is a must see, to help us Remember!"

David

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As has been our experience on previous Rick Steves' tours, our all expectations were fulfilled. A great group of people who enjoyed touring, traveling, leisure and eating together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Chateau de Villandry expansive gardens will be forever remembered for their beauty and setting."

Erika

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was pleasantly surprised that the bus legs were broken up with nice rest stops, other sightseeing, or photo ops. The days with 5 hours of bus rides worried me but I need not have worried. Daniela gave us background historical information to help us appreciate the architecture as it was created in the time and helped us to imagine what effect it must have had on the people of that era. I enjoyed her obligatory sound effects during her story telling and various ruin and lavender alerts ??.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is very hard to pick just one, but I will go with seeing the Villandry castle gardens from its tower and wandering through them. We happened to get our first day of real sunshine at this location so it made it extra special and I enjoyed trying to capture the experience in pictures!"

Wayne

Greeley, CO

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I would highly recommend this kind of tour for first time travelers to any region. It is a good way to become familiar with an area in a fairly protected environment. Pre-trip advice was also very good and must be taken to heart. A tour with 24 strangers is bound to contain the potential for friction but the no grumpy attitudes is essential. A good tour guide is also a great benefit. Danielle was very good with the whole group and her knowledge of the areas was evident.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hilltop old fort portion of Les Baux was something I didn't expect. Realizing that the saracen tower was used to spot invaders coming up the valley from the sea was a stunning insight into how people lived and the dangers they faced."

Dennis

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The group as a whole, especially Daniela (guide) were marvelous. Daniela offered insight on the French people, culture, and history going back to 500. The only negative of the entire tour would be 60 minute plus bus rides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without a doubt, our visit to the winery that included its history, wine making, quality of the wines, and the specially prepared lunc."

Ryan

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just a great experience that exceeded expectations. We'd followed Rick's travel episodes on TV for years and had taken him along on other trips via his tour guide books. Then we discovered by accident that he actually had a tour company. This was our first but not our last. From the sites and cities we stayed in....the included meals....the wonderful people that made our tour group...and our fearless leader, Daniela....they all came together to make an unforgettable life adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough to chose just one but the unexpected Les Baux. The village is stunning and then we experienced the Chagall exhibition in the quarry....words cannot describe that."

C.B.

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well paced. It was fairly fast and covered a lot of territory, but there was still time to stop and enjoy the sights without being overly rushed. The guide was fantastic and very informative. This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were surprised that only one other couple were newbies. Everyone else had been on Rick Steves tours a number of times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a number of "wow" moments and I feel like you are asking me to pick my favorite child. Each stop was unique in its own right and would have something to offer that others did not have, from quiet small quaint French villages, to hilltop fortresses to the glitzy Monaco. I loved them all."

Jorge

Roseville, CA

Tour: 06/12/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour and great guide. This was our 6th Rick Steves' tour and all of them have been terrific. The Chateau's and Castles all exceeded my expectations and the wonderful food and wine was a bonus. We had a good group that got along well. Daniela our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the places we visited and the history tied to it and exhibited enthusiasm and a good sense of humor throughout the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at Cathedral of Chartres; the group dinner and night walk at medieval Carcassonne; the cute town of Sarlat. I was also extremely touched listening to our German tour guide talk about Orator-sur-Glane (the French village that the German troops senselessly gunned down in 1944) and the heavy burden that the younger generation of Germans continue to bear and will continue to do so probably for generations."

Pat

Moraga, CA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a trip of a lifetime. Experiencing the beautiful chateaux, the countryside, the cathedrals, the food and wine, and especially the French people was a dream come true. I was overwhelmed with the attention to detail, the appreciation of all things sensual, and the gracious and generous hospitality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cathedral at Chartres. We opened our hotel room door and could see the cathedral looming over the small town. Wow! The next morning the renown scholar, Malcolm Miller, breathed life into Chartres with his passionate stories and his sharing of the stained glass windows, the architecture and the sculptures. At night there was an unbelievable and fabulous laser light show on the face of the cathedral. WOW!!"

Bruce

Moraga, CA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great tour even with rain because of guides. Went to see Loire Valley and chateaus were incredible, particularly with rivers swirling around them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the visit to the small winery as we entered provence. Fantastic wines and tour and luncheon by owners."

Maxine

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was excellent. This was our 4th Rick Steves tour, enjoying all. The variety of sights and experiences was just right. We covered a lot of territory in 13 days and were glad we extended the tour by 4 days in Paris at the beginning, as well as extending it in Nice at the end by 2 days. The group all got along very well and other than for a slight medical issue at the end, went very smoothly. Walking wasn't a problem (we're both about 68) and everyone was able to keep up easily.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a master gardener, I appreciated seeing the magnificent "themed" gardens at the Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley. We were given ample time to wander around and take lots of pictures of it. A close second "wow" moment was seeing the 13,000 year old cave art at Rouffignac Cave."

Alan

Voorheesville, NY

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a very good tour through some very interesting parts of France. Chartres, the Dordogne, Languedoc, Provence, and Cote D'Azur are all very different regions, making for a diverse set of experiences. The little extras provided by our guide and the stops in small towns along the way added to our trip and appreciation of the French and their culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Before the tour even began we attended a Gregorian Mass in Chartres cathedral. This was a secial experience for me (I am not a Catholic). Our tour of Rouffignac Cave was equally moving because of the impact of the prehistoric art and the outstanding interpretation provided by our guide."

Susan

Voorheesville, NY

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour, taken without hesitation after my first experience in 2015. This tour met my expectations, which were admittedly very high! All the sights I was most enthused to see were indeed wonderful, and many things that were unexpected or spontaneous, were just as wonderful. The sum of the tour experience was truly greater than that of its parts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I must list three top moments, although it's an effort to [INVALID] among so many great moments. The tour of the cave at Rouffignac was outstanding. The whole experience there was extremely memorable and meaningful. My first glimpse of Carcasonne from a distance. It was hard to believe it wasn't a Lego castle photoshopped into a view of rolling vineyards. The nighttime illumination on the facade of Chartres cathedral was impossible to describe but was fascinating, mesmerizing and beautiful."

Carol

Gaithersburg, MD

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always Rick Steves' tours deliver.Ambling through France gave us good food, good wine and great scenery. And we had a great guide in Patrick. A Frenchman, Patrick gave us a better understanding of the French people and his country. And that is what travel is all about. Understanding others. It doesn't hurt that we had a great group of people and some wonderful countryside to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cave of Rouffignac with 15,000 year old drawings. Outstanding. Although I had a chance to see the colorful drawings at Lascaux 2, Rouffignac was better because it was not a reproduction. Also the lights on the cathedral in Chartres. The illumination was incredible!!!"

David

Gaithersburg, MD

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's a Rick Steves' tour, so of course it was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The biggest surprise to me, and what I will always remember, are the flowers, everywhere. Particularly the poppies growing in gardens, along the roadside, and in the fields."

Jim

Moraga, CA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best tour for learning about Loire Valley historical countryside towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Patrick and Graeme's picnic at Mortemont. The variety of cheeses and appetizers could not match a VIP's serving of gourmet food at a special event."

Karen

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS tour, and we weren't disappointed. The balance of group time and free time seemed about right, and even the days that included long trips on the bus were broken up with rest stops, strolls, and history and language lessons. I had originally thought I'd do all the planning myself, but it became overwhelming. I'm really glad we left the logistics to RS. Patrick and Graeme were great guides and teachers, and Gilles made the bus rides smooth and easy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but if I had to pick one that was a "stop you in your tracks" kind of moment, it would be Carcassonne after dark. We had dinner inside the fortification (cassoulet and regional wines that were great), then we left to walk back to the hotel. Patrick led and told us not to look behind us until he said to. We reached a bridge outside the walls and turned around to see the magnificent fortification lit up. Some sparkling wine and a toast capped off the experience."

Timothy

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I quite enjoyed the tour. It went to a lot of the places I wanted to see. I thought the itinerary was very good. The travel experience was very good. We were very busy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is hard to say since there were many moments where I went "wow". I liked the gardens at Vilandry, the fortress at Carcassonne, the views from Les Baux de Provence. I could go on and on."

Robert

Macon, GA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Beautiful scenery; chateaux, interesting towns; Informative guides

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the French Riviera"

Jane

Moraga, CA

Tour: 05/29/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was packed with activities and surprises all the way through. Weather sometimes caused a change in plans but not the fun and learning we experienced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always such a difficult question. The villages we visited were so charming. Wine tasting at our hotel in Chinon and at the winery Chateau Des Hospitaliers were especially meaningful because we were with locals who had a lot of experience and knowledge about wines. The most poignant moments were in the town decimated by the Nazi's and the cave where an early artist created beauty in such contrast to the town's horror."

Carol

Potomac, MD

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience was fabulous. We really enjoyed our guide, Julie Sonveau and bus driver, Phillippe. The hotels were good, nice breakfast. The group itself helped to make the tour pleasant. Everyone was physically fit, able to walk distances, carry their own suitcase, look after themselves, and go off on their own when we had free time. And they were experienced travelers who had been on as many as 5 other Rick Steve's tours and we enjoyed pairing off at dinner to get to know each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many - views of Dordogne River, Chagal photos in the Cave in Les Baux, Pont du Gard views, Cave at in Rouffingnac Cave, Tour of the Vineyard and gourmet meal at the owner's home!"

Randi

San Luis Obispo, CA

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip, our guide Julie was exceptional. She was informative, funny and very interesting considering she is an American living in France for many years. It certainly gave her a perspective that enabled her to relate to the American and Canadian tour participants. Loved the hotels, quirky but nice. Restaurants where we ate together were tremendous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My Wow moment would have to be the Chagall exhibit at the Carrieres de Lumieres. Stunning! Amazing! Epic!"

Bruce

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent! Very good blend of culture and history exposure in multiple regions of France. We enjoyed the variety of activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire experience was WOW! The Pont du Gard is quite impressive, the canoe trip is phenomenal, the light shows in the quarry and on the Cartres Cathedral are great."

Claire

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour starts out very slowly. The first 2 towns are very dull, almost depressing. It's great to see the chateaus and DaVinci's last address (great museum), but overall I had the feeling that this tour would be my least favorite of the 8 that I have taken with Rick Steves. Fortunately it picked up and became more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Julie took us to a fabulous show in the quarry at Les Baux-de-Provence called Carrieres de Lumieres, which was completely unexpected and totally amazing! The canoeing on the Dordogne River was really fun, as was the time we spent at Pont du Gard."

Lisa

Austin, TX

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded expectations. This was our third Rick Steves trip and we love the small groups, the planned activities vs free time and how relaxing and fun a trip to another country can be when you have experts to teach and guide you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is so hard to pick just one. I thought that the Quarry light show in Les Baux was just incredible; a should not be missed moment. Also the elegant beauty of Chenonceau, the gardens of Villandry and the canoe ride on the Dordogne."

Susan

Waterloo, ON

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great experience - good mixture of activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I exited the Chagall Songes D'une Nuit D'ete at Carrieres de Lumieres at Les Baux-de-Provence all I could say was "wow"."

Lynda

Highlands Ranch, CO

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed our tour very much. It was well organized and well run. Nice group of people and excellent tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This wasn't a "wow" moment but a memory we'll treasure - sitting with my husband in one of the recommended cafes in Chartres on a chilly, rainy day enjoying delicious beef bourguignon and rabbit stew with plums. One of many happy memories from our trip, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary."

Elizabeth

Puslinch, ON

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first visit to France outside Paris. In spite of the rain, it was wonderful to see the French countryside and learn so much French history. It was interesting to see how "plain" the churches are, compared to those in Italy and Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have two wow moments[INVALID]the gardens at Villandry and the light show in the quarries at Las Baux. I would also mention how moving it was to see the poppies growing wild everywhere. As a Canadian from near Guelph,the home of John McCrae, I can appreciate how he was inspired to write In Flanders Fields."

Greg

Lafayette, CO

Tour: 05/22/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole tour was really exceptional. The sites visited were all of great interest to me. It had the right mix of structured and free time. All of the orientation tours were quite exceptional. I haven't felt this way about past tours always. We had a fun loving group of tour members also. Julie was one of, if not, the best guide. She was fun loving and very well versed as a guide. She did a great job of explaining all things French. She made the trip fun and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oradour was certainly a somber moment. Extremely disturbing, but well worth the visit. Not certain if that's a wow moment. So, being an avid gardener, i would say the grounds at Villandry were certainly eyeopening. So beautiful!"

Danny

Nampa, ID

Tour: 05/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great trip! Arnaud was an excellent guide, a real frenchman and was fun to be around. The pace was just right. I realize some of the people on the tour just rested on their free time, but we used it to explore other areas. The group was a good mix of people from all backgrounds and tour experience level but they molded into real Rickniks in a short amount of time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say the river trip, the Mosaic House in Charts, and the Promenade in Nice. Everything else was a close second!"

Gayle

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 05/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have been traveling to Europe since 1968...always on our own, never with a tour. As we have 'aged', we feel leaving the frustrations of bookings, etc up to a third party is sensible. In our prior annual sojourns in Europe, we used Rick Steves guide books...and his PBS presentations. All my reservations/fears of a 'group' were disspelled. Arnaud was a delight: knowledgeable, resourceful and a hell of a lot of fun. Our fellow travelers were also an enormous bonus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A late night...on our own...ramble through Carcasonne. Arnaud and local guide had given us the basics around town so we were equipped to explore on our own. While I had previously been to all other tour destinations, Carcassonne was a new experience."

Andrew

Norfolk, VA

Tour: 05/15/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was an excellent experience from the first afternoon's meeting in Chartres right through to the last morning in Nice. Arnaud was an excellent guide and most personable group leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"that would have to be the Van Gogh exhibit in Arles ... to be able to stand right in front of these paintings, almost within arm's reach, was "just wow!""

Judy

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another great tour of France and I loved every thing about it. From the history, the people, the sites we visited, the activities we participated in, the people on our tour and our guide and bus driver. Also the food and the wine. Couldn't be better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The canoe trip down the Dordogne River was such a fun and different way to explore the countryside. It gave us a break from the bus and let us each have our own little personal adventure. The scenery was spectacular and the weather was perfect. "WOW"!"

Christine

Nampa, ID

Tour: 05/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour. The places we stayed had plenty to see and do. The stops in between were many and so interesting. The chateaus, fortresses, churches, museums, Roman sights, gardens, war destruction, cave, markets, food, beach,and especially the canoe trip. A nice group and excellent guide and bus driver, made it one of my favorite tours. Even some downpours did not dampen our enthusiam. We kept on traveling!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The canoe trip on the Dordogne River. How exciting to see the cliffs and castles from the river, as people long ago did. Lots of fun! A different experience from all other modes of transportation I have taken in previous tours. Pont du Gard, another wow. It is huge! How could they ever build that? On our own in Nice, a picnic on Castle Hill, overlooking the city and Promenade des Anglais on a sunny day. End of a great tour. Wow."

Katherine

Georgetown, TX

Tour: 05/15/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked the fact that the group was small. This gave me a chance to interact with the various tour members & get to know them better. Arnaud was a wonderful tour guide who not only was so informative on the surroundings, but also included a lot of information about French history, the educational system, health care, etc. The places we visited were unique & so interesting. Our hotels were clean & comfortable. I enjoyed the free time we had which was balanced with together time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many "wow" moments that it would be hard to narrow it down to one. So many chateaux, so many castles, so many wonderful towns, the cave drawings, the local guides but maybe canoeing down the Dordogne River would be one of my favorite, but the winery tour and the wine tasting were fun."

Doug

Concord, CA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour from pre tour thru the farewell dinner was what I expected from the research that I had completed which is a great compliment because I haven't felt that way on previous tours from other travel companies. The boxes were all checked: small number of travelers, a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of free time (no rushing), a group of travelers who knew the rules of a Rick Steves tour and a defined cost due to no tipping, no" extra cost" side excursions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont du Gard was my "wow" moment. The site was magnificent, well preserved and mostly un-cluttered by modern trappings. Our guide, Virginie, directed us to a less crowded viewing place which was good for photos. Virginie also provided us good tips on how to utilize the free time we had to the site."

Donna

Las Cruces, NM

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour hit so many items on my bucket list! We did and saw so much. I also always like the extra activities: picnic at Mortemart, visit to organic wine estate, light and sound show in Chartres, light and sound show at the quarry at Les Baux, and of course Virginie's creative talks on the bus so we get a wonderful understanding of life in France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Rouffignac, which is family-owned with a family guide. The little train is a nice addition. The cave art is primarily what I came on this tour for, as the caves are not easy to get to. To be in the dark and then suddenly see the animals on the walls and ceiling is spectacular. Second would be the light and sound shows. I'm not sure why, but I was very taken with them."

Melody

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loire to South France was part two of our back-to-back tours - first was Paris and Heart of France. Both tours were great - wish we could have also covered the eastern part of France. Too bad there isn't a longer tour combining the three parts of the country

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the diversity of castles, and change of pace with wine tasting visits. Nice was a wonderful surprise, along with the unscheduled Van Gough exhibit in Arles. Light shows in Chartres and quary were spectacular. Pont du Gard was so impressive. Da Vinci home and castle should definitely be included as part of the official tour. Market days were always special and fun."

Susan

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly had a wonderful experience! Our group was friendly and our guide exceptional. The bus was comfortable and our driver personable and professional. The hotels were well located. The included food was delicious. I loved all of the towns, the sights, the experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick just one as every day brought a new wow. I loved the gardens at Villandry. The vista of Chenonceau spanning the river. Seeing Carcassone from a distance, and then lit up at night. Marveling at the 2000 y.o. Pont du Gard."

Jim

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful tour with a super guide. Learning and experiencing were keys to sights and sounds of the Loire to Nice. These were unexpected wonders that were beyond expectations. A highly recommended tour, especially with Virginie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"What seemed like an infinite number of Chateaus and castles, but Carcassonne was my wow,"

John

Bailey, CO

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned trip, with outstanding guide, Virginie!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont de Gard!!!"

Brenda

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip was great well organized. Time spent in most places was just right. Most places I left wanting more instead of sitting around waiting to leave.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chateau des Baux when we climbed the anceint stairs and looked out over the surrounding area."

Gunnar

Emeryville, CA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour lived up to the advance billing: small group, great guide, no grumps.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought nothing could top the awesome Chartres animated light show that illuminated the historic buildings. But the Chagall and Alice in Wonderland light show and music in the quarry at Les Baux was even more amazing. It was well worth the extra euros."

Donald

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A trerrific trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ordure Sur Glane was pretty overwhelming. Chartres Cathedral and the fortress of Carcassonne at night were amazing."

Abigail

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Truly enjoyed most aspects of this tour. Our guide was terrific as was our bus driver. The breadth of the experiences was astonishing for a 13-day tour. We did find some days too crowded with activities. We were fortunate in having a group of very compatible travelers--truly no grumps on this tour! I kept thinking, "how do Rick Steves and his very able crew keep putting together these marvelous tours?" This is our third, and certainly not our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I feel a bit embarrassed not putting down X cathedral or Y chateau for my "wow" moment, but for me the most surprising and impactful experience was the stunning Marc Chagall light and music picture show at the quarry at Les Baux. Chagall is one of my very favorite artists. Seeing his wonderful images projected all around me many times life-size gave me chills. The musical selections were surprising and appropriate to the grandeur of the show. It was fun that our guide surprised us with this!"

Richard

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 05/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. In the past, we have traveled to Europe on our own using RS guide books. Overall, it was one of the best vacations I have ever had. Beyond the excellent itinerary, the tour was rich with smaller experiences that made it memorable. A nice surprise was the "Whisper" audio system. My wife is very hard of hearing, but was able to hear everything our guides said as we walked around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at Chartres cathedral was awe-inspiring. I found myself laughing and shouting "awhh" at times. The most enjoyable afternoon was in the market town of Sarlat. Our Guide organized a game of "boules" in the local park, along picnic of local foods and wines. Hilarity ensued. After, she encourage us to check a local folk dance festival. Those of us who did enjoyed an evening of dancing and drinking in the town square with friendly locals. Good memories!"

Weather

France / Paris


France / Nice

Nice Weather

Pre-Tour Planning

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.

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. About one month prior to the tour departure, we'll email you directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as the complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Transportation

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 arrange to fly into Paris (60–75 minutes by train to Chartres, where the tour begins) and out of Nice ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in France. Paris and Nice are transportation hubs, making 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 plan to arrive early into Chartres, please be advised that we will be visiting all of the city's major sights as a group. Therefore, you may want to consider spending your pre-tour time in Paris or another European destination. Please see the Rick Steves France guidebook for Paris sightseeing suggestions. If you arrive in Chartres with a few hours to spare before your tour starts, you can get over your jet lag by taking a walk through the medieval city center or try out a few words of French at a local café.

Packing

We'll be visiting a prehistoric cave in the Dordogne region. The temperature inside the cave is 55° F year-round, so even at the height of summer you'll want to pack long pants and a jacket.

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

Special packing note: We use an audioguide system for many of our sightseeing and museum tours. If you wear a hearing aid, we strongly recommend bringing headphones that go over your ears to allow you to fully enjoy these tours.