• 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 $3,595 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

2019

    • May 5–May 17 (Su–Fr)
    • $3,595 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • May 12–May 24 (Su–Fr)
    • $3,795 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • May 19–May 31 (Su–Fr)
    • $3,795 + Air

    Filling Fast

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 17 group sightseeing events • Chartres orientation • Chartres Cathedral • Amboise • Château de Chenonceau • Château de Villandry and gardens • Château Azay-le-Rideau • 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
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt 
  • 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 2019
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

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 begin 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. Next, we're off to visit a château known for its luxurious setting and elegant interior, Azay-le-Rideau. After lunch in the nearby village, we'll return to Chinon where you'll be free for the rest of the day 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 today 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: light.

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 ½ 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

Vicki

Portland, OR

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were a group of 14 and had a great time connecting with everyone that we didn't know. The trip was excellent, I learned a lot and saw so much more than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had many "wow" moments but three of my favorites were the walled city of Carcassonne and the guide we had there. I also thought Sarlat was pretty special and seeing the sea at Nice. We didn't expect to think Nice would be a fun city but it really was especially the old part. My husband liked the gardens Chateau de Villandry."

Shirley

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall, I'd have to say that it was a good experience. We had spoke with others who have done Rick Steve tours and the platform is that you have an introduction day and then a free day to explore and that was definitely not our experience here. It felt very rushed. I enjoyed the food and the group and some of the sites were fascinating, but the overall feel of the tour was rushed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing on top of the fort at Nice and surveying the Mediterranean Sea was beyond wow."

Susan

Columbia, CA

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Well organized with a balance of experiences - guided tours for information and orientation, suggestions, then time on our own to explore or rest. Liked that there were physical activities which helped to balance out the caloric intake of those great meals showcasing the local cuisine - food and wine. Using specific small cities / towns as hubs for multi-day stays is perfect. Timing on stays at sights was just about right although we always wished we could stay longer. Sigh!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's like asking one's favorite Rick Steves tour. So many! So I will give you my surprise moment - the limestone quarry that is used as a multi-media light show. Blown away! Usually not my thing as I love culture, nature and architectural history sights. On that subject, I loved the Pont du Gard and the walk up the hillside. Wow and double wow! Canoeing on the river was a wow too. Such a different view / experience! Love it!"

Christopher

Lake City, MN

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our fourth Tour with Rick Steves and my favorite now! A rich exploration of French culture and heritage. Prehistorical cave art, medieval towns, Roman aqueducts and arenas and extravagant royal chateaus. Our weather was perfect for walking and exploring the sites. The French invest in the preservation of their history making it a pleasure to tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"World history and culture are my passions and the medieval cities of Chinon and Sarlat and the Roman and Greek heritage in Arles are stunning. However the high tech evening Chartres en Lumieres and the Carrieres de Lumieres at Les Baux de Provence were firsts for me and top WOW experience."

Michael

West Linn, OR

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a perfect trip for my wife and me in so many ways. The 13 days through the heart of France was amazing. We saw castles, churches, Medieval cities, beautiful chateaus, cave art, the Picasso exhibit, sampled wonderful wines, coffees, regional foods, scenery, picnicked, canoed, had vistas of so many beautiful sights, enjoyed Nice, the beach and waters of the Mediterranean & met great people on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour was during World Cup soccer and we watched the French team win in Carcassonne after our day tour from a pub in the old Medieval city castle and then celebrated with the French people and many from our tour group with champagne provided by the inn keeper. We also celebrated Bastille Day with wine and fireworks from our hotel viewing area in Sarlat and enjoyed foie gras at dinner along with my surprise birthday celebration courtesy of our guide."

Denise

Tigard, OR

Tour: 07/08/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing tour! Great itinerary with a perfect balance of tour group time and personal time. All the people in our group were fun and made the trip extra enjoyable! Arnaud was knowledgeable and funny!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although we enjoyed every activity and every place on the itinerary, it was especially enjoyable to be in France during the championship World Cup soccer game, in which France won! We were in Carcassone, a small medieval-walled fortress city during the championship final game and enjoyed watching the locals (and tourists) watch the game and celebrate."

Cynthia

East Lansing, MI

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and it surpassed my expectations. My husband and I have friends who have had wonderful experiences on Rick Steves tours and we decided it was time for us to try it out. So glad we did. Our tour leader, Virginie, was outstanding! She was extremely well organized and knowledgeable about everything French. Her "presentations" on French life, culture, and history were engaging. The balance between group time and personal time to wander and explore was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How to pick? The tour of cave art was spectacular. Our stop at a winery at in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and the out door meal our group shared there was wonderful. The light (art and music) show at Carrieres de Lumieres brought tears to my eyes, it was so beautiful."

Karl

Morristown, NJ

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Where to start? The tour through the southern parts of France was beautiful. Our tour guide, Virginie More, provided much history and insights into the country. We never got bored as there was too much to cover in just thirteen days. Our travel companions bonded quickly and everyone shared great insights from their French experience. Also, our tour had 12 straight days of sunshine with a refreshing shower on the last one. Toasts were shared on the Nice boardwalk and we hope to visit again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to narrow down to one, but I would say the light show on the Chartres famous cathedral walls was amazing. When the sun set on the horizon, the music and lights brought magic to the place. Artists put hours of time into the visions of color on the exterior statues and gave a glimpse what beauty had provided many centuries ago."

Don

Morristown, NJ

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved this tour - it brought together so many different elements of France - from beautiful chateaus to lovely vineyards along with caves, canoeing, picnics, light shows, and so much more. As always, we made new friends and traveled with old ones. Our guide was the best ever - we just had an amazing experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had so many 'wow' moments - the light show on the Cathedral in Chartres, the cave paintings in the Dordogne, the amazing chateaus, and the gorgeous seaside city of Nice. One of the most serene moments was floating down the Dordogne river on a canoe. So many more that it is hard to narrow it down to just one. Everyday brought a 'wow' moment."

Georgie

Ventura, CA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had a trip of a lifetime! It was fun, educational and we had a truly amazing tour guide, Virginie. If I had eaten at home like I ate on the trip I would have gained 15 pounds but I came back home at the exact same weight! Due to the walking I believe. The time walking was so fascinating & included well spaced pauses that I was surprised that my daily mileage average was about 5 - 6 miles. We covered so much and I felt great. Our tour members were a joy to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having dinner at the Serpent Restaurant, across from Chartres Cathedral. Everything was magical, relaxed, perfect time of day, families and dogs playing at the steps of the Cathedral, friendly staff, good wine - just everything was perfect! It really set the stage for our beautiful tour of France. Also, the Carrieres de Lumieres, Les Baux de Provence was a WOW moment too. (...Never would have seen that on our own.)"

Amelia

Point Lonsdale, VIC

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being my first tour experience and trip to France, I was blown away with how well organised and stress free the trip was. I felt like I got to make the most of every second in beautiful France because Virginie was so well organised and knowledgeable about all the places we were visiting. The towns we visited were so incredibly beautiful and had so much history which Virginie always informed us about. Each town was a different from the one before, making each one stand out in my memory.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was WOW. Each new town we thought couldn't live up to the last one but each did as it came with its own unique highlight. The stunning Loire- Villandry's incredible gardens, Chateau Chenonceau and it's history/gardens, Amboise & its views/gardens- pretty much THE GARDENS! Sarlat- its maze of markets, cobblestoned streets & food, Carcassonne- Jeff's hilarious yet informative tour, Provence-lunch the yard of Domaine Guinand, Arles- Cocarde D'or & Pont du Gard & Nice's beach"

Jane

Point Lonsdale, VIC

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations in terms of the depth of cultural experience and variety of experiences that were offered. Our tour guide Virginie made the difference with her extensive historical and cultural knowledge coupled with her with her ability to care of each individual. This was my first Rick Steves tour and was the best travel experience l have had in all my travels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many favourite wow moments, in fact l think they were daily. Every day the itinerary offered something with its own unique character. Each town visited was special in its own way making it difficult to say this experience was the best. Honestly the tour was so well designed that each day had the wow factor. What l also loved were the special extras added to the itinerary, such as the food and wine tasting session or the surprise visit to the Picasso exhibition. They were amazing!"

Ann

Avon, NY

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. I had not been to France since 1972 (!) -- a different world now. The quality of tour guide Virginie cannot be overstated. She MADE this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Virginie's "surprise" for us - the Carrieres de Lumieres, a stunning light and audio show in an old stone quarry, featuring Picasso's art and period music on the varied, tall walls of the quarry. I guess not all tours get to experience this, but IT WAS SENSATIONAL. One of the most fabulous experiences of my life, no kidding."

Jeff

Ventura, CA

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time on this tour. We liked the tour leader, hotels, bus, bus driver, itinerary, and local guides. We would definitely recommend this tour to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed several events: the cave drawings, the canoe trip, Nice, and Sarlat. I was expecting the highlight to be the Loire Valley chateaus and they were definitely interesting, but I found other places more exciting. The light show in Chartres was a big "wow" moment because I was not expecting anything so spectacular. It was incredible!"

Nadene

Salem, OR

Tour: 06/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the light show in the quarry!! The combination of lights, music and movement was mesmerizing."

John

Bend, OR

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

well designed, fast paced, welcomed diversion from everyday life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1.Watching my wife glow and turn on to all of the sights and tastes of France, with me right along beside her. 2. Sarlat, Sarlat, and Sarlat."

Sheila

Bend, OR

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As always the Rick Steve's tour of France was fantastic. It was very enjoyable visiting all the sites & towns throughout the countryside. Looking forward to our next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well, I love Paris even in the rain but the French cuisine is superb! Another wow moment was the visit to Normandy beaches & listening to Dale Booth, a very informative local guide! Also one of the unexpected wow moments was the light show on Chartres Cathedral!"

Kristin

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Several of us are travel buddies and it was so much fun. I was in Chartres four years ago and missed a tour with Malcolm Miller. So, I was so excited to hear him and be in his presence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the museum near Arles that had the ruins of a barge. It was better than boat ruins in Scandinavia. Another great moment was the bayeux tapestries. Michaelanne talked about the history which really brought them to life along with reading ricks book on them."

Mark

Leland, NC

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful tour! From the great places we visited (the Cathedral and light show at Chartres, Leonardo's house at Amboise, the Chateaus, the winery, Oradour-sur-Glane, Sarlat, the 15000 year old cave drawings, the kayak down Dordogne, Arles, Pont-du- Gard, Carcassone....all left wonderful memories! Awesome!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many favorite wow moments to list just one: -the Chartres Cathedral...light show and Malcolm Millers' totally awesome tour and discussion inside. -wine tasting and lessons on French wine by Patrick in Chinon. -the trip down the cave to visit the 15000 year old CroMagnin drawings. -the beautiful scenery on the 6-mile kayak trip down the Dordogne. -the music festival and market at Sarlat. -the Medieval sword tournament at Carcassone. -the tour of the 1000-yr old Languedoc winery."

Thomas

Steger, IL

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought that this tour was very good...we visited two or three places that I felt we just didn't have enough time (for instance Leonardo Da Vinci's home in Amboise or at the Les Baux Carrieres De Lumieres).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, walking thru the Chartres cathedral after dinner one evening....it was around 9 and we noticed the Cathedral was open, so we went in. Only 3-4 people were inside, but music was being played and it was just so beautiful. We stayed another hour later and watched the gorgeous light show that lit up the cathedral around 10:30 pm. Just incredible. Another Wow moment was at the Carriers De Lumieres, a bauxite mine that was transformed into the coolest art gallery."

Sherry

Steger, IL

Tour: 06/17/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an incredible and wonderful tour....we enjoyed every single day and had so much fun. The French food was great, we tasted so many delicious wines, and saw some gorgeous scenery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had quite a few...the amazing cathedral in Chartres, the spectacular chateau Chenonceaux. market day in Sarlat, and the medieval demonstrations at Carcassone, where my husband got to shoot a crossbow and try on the knight's helmet and chain maille. That was definitely a wow moment for him too!"

Anne

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our third trip with Rick Steves travel. We always enjoy the relaxing but will paced excursion

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cave Paintings in the Dordogne Regions was our WOW moment where we intimately were "there" 20,000 years ago. We so enjoyed the Cave Paintings in the Dordogne Valley where we experienced drawings from the last 20,000 years."

Ann

Olive Branch, MS

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful and awesome! Everything was arranged, coordinated and executed extremely well but with little surprises along the way (e.g. the picnic at the winery and the unbelieveable Carrieres de Lumieres which was fantastic and so unexpected). Room accommodations were very good to excellent, food was outstanding, and overall value for dollars spent was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the chateaux were amazing, particularly Amboise and Chenonceau - but I loved them all. I already mentioned it but the biggest 'wow' for me was Carrieres de Lumieres (I felt I was walking through the art I studied and admired my whole life). Also, there was a smaller but still a 'wow' moment when I came upon the waterfall during our stroll in the gardens above Nice. Although not everything was 'wow', everything I saw was great and I loved it all."

John

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the variety of sites and experiences offered on this tour. Our guide, Arnaud, was very entertaining and engaging. His assistant, Linda, was also very helpful, knowledgeable, and caring. In general the hotels were run by friendly staffs and fit the Rick Steves mold.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were three things that stood out. The village where the Nazis killed all the inhabitants (Oradour-Sur-Glane)was very moving, the laser light show in the old rock quarry was unexpectedly entertaining, and an impromptu happy hour/wine tasting (where the tour members brought wine and food) was just a good time."

Michele

Dublin, OH

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great variety of experiences that were organized well. Restaurants were all good. On the previous two tours we took, all the wine was included with meals. Most meals had wine included except first two.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed all the experiences but found the cave with prehistoric drawings as well as the quarry light show very interesting and different. The time spent in Oradour-Sur Glane was very touching and emotional."

Robert

Danville, CA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great trip through western France! Learned a lot of history as always on Ric's tours. Great group of fellow travelers. Our guide was fun and not only gave us the history but also had great stories .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to decide this as there was so much that we saw. The stop at the village that has been maintained the way it was left following a Nazi massacre was a very emotional tour."

Peggy

Baton Rouge, LA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Loire Valley & the south of France. So many beautiful sites, gorgeous countryside & interesting history & culture. It was a great tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pinpoint only one! The gardens of Villandry - definitely a "Wow" moment! The prehistoric caves & drawings near Les Eyzies. The medieval town of Carcassonne."

Dick

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour was to places that I might not have visited without the tour, and the visits we're led by interesting and very knowledgeable directors.

Kathy

Orinda, CA

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We love everything about how RS designs his tours. Amazing attention to detail. and ... ARNAUD!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"listening to Arnaud in general...fables, jokes, history lessons. Oradour-sur-Glane was devastating. We had a lot of respect for how Arnaud, as a French person, was able to communicate the events which took place."

Mary

Wildwood, MO

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall everything was great, especially I enjoyed meeting and sharing the trip with other like minded tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in a vineyard on a long table and enjoying local wines and food in Loire valley."

Lawrence

Wildwood, MO

Tour: 06/10/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful and we learned so much about France. Our tour guide, Arnaud, was wonderful and provided our group with information throughout the tour that was enjoyable, entertaining, and informative. This was our second Rick Steves tour and we plan to do many more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is hard to determine as all of the trip had many wow moments. If I have to pick one I would say the trip to the winery was exceptional. The reason I pick this is that the owners were true locals, did not speak any English (Arnaud did the interpreting), and provided us with a real life experience of a French winery. After the tour we sat at tables set up on the property and enjoyed a lunch with the owners, their wines, and the others in our tour group. Really neat experience."

Stephanie

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Patrick was a welcoming tour guide and very knowledgeable about a large variety of facts. He almost always had a response in fact or opinion. He was very flexible and attentive to every tour participant. Overall, he has been one of our best tour guides in a field of expert tour guides. We've been to France on several Rick Steve's tours but had not been to the South of France before. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip starting in Chartres with a light show that was architectural & visual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Les Baux! I thought with all the in-tact chateaux and cathedrals available in France to visit on this tour, why would we visit a partially remaining fortress? Well because it is a "wow" with incredible and breathtaking panoramic views! The Roman Aquaduct at Point du Gard in southern France was also a spectactular "wow" in it's grandeur and as an engineering feat of accomplishment by the Romans."

Dennis

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4t RS tour and it was every bit as great as all the others. What really made the tour special was our guide Patrick He had a never-ending enthusiasm and a great sense of humor. His knowledge of French history and the local culture was superb! He was always available to answer questions and give advise where to venture out on our own. One evening, he arranged a special dinner at a local culinary school in Sarlat that was spectacular. The people on the tour blended well together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention, but probably the most moving moment, was our visit to the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It is a French village that the Germans killed every man, woman, and child after the Allied invasion of Normandy. Then they proceeded to burn it to the ground. The French government decided to leave it just as it was and make it a memorial to all of the people that died. A very moving moment and a sacred place that no one will ever forget!!"

Vicki

Nashville, TN

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From start to finish the tour ran very smoothly. Our fellow tour members were great companions and we enjoyed traveling with them, and guide Patrick was simply amazing as well as Roger our driver. This was our second RS tour and it met/exceeded our expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The surprise stop Patrick planned for us at a quarry which had been transformed into a lights/music show. It looses a lot in translation...but take my word for it...it was spectacular. Carrieres des Lumieres in Les Baux."

James

Goldendale, WA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I believe an outstanding tour is one you never have enough words to describe. A very good tour should have enough interesting moments that you feel it will take a long time to forget them. I rate this tour good because it delivered what it advertised but did nothing else for me. Of course my opinion is purely subjective. I am not interested in the history of the Roman presence and influence in France and medieval history. I would prefer learning more about living in modern France.

Steve

Villa Park, CA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I love visiting medieval cities,opulent chateaus with gardens,and look forward to good food and wine,so what is not to like about this tour? The pace was good, with a nice amount of free time. And Patrick, our guide, always volunteered to show us something "off the agenda" such as a rural hike through the French countryside. The group meals (picnic, lunch, winery visit, dinners) were a great opportunity to savor French delicacies and get to know our very cordial travel mates.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Celebrating a birthday in the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, with a costumed city guide, tasty dinner, and a late night walk to view the spectacular lighted fortress was certainly a "wow" moment. But how about the dinner at the culinary school with seven desserts and an expresso on a plate at the end of a delicious four course meal? Or the canoe ride? Or the Villandry gardens? Chenonceau? Chartres light show? Multiple "wow" moments."

James

Columbia, MO

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed this tour, our exceptionally capable guide and mentor to things French, and many of the folks we met and got to know along the journey. This was clearly a journey through the heart of France, the ancient core of this beautiful nation of farmers, vintners, foodies, and philosophers. No wonder Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin loved France! While the carrying of luggage up spiral staircases was a challenge, it was worth the many values of staying in quaint, clean inns close to history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was so many "wow", each day being packaged just right for us, with options and guidance by our guide, Patrick. What Jim remembers as a surprise was the analysis, French-style, of the puzzle of who sketched the prehistoric cave paintings we saw 1/4 mile underground. Our guide logically unpacked the mystery, and concluded it was still a mystery as to why someone chose to sketch. But there were many, wow moments, to be sure."

Thomas

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, things were perfect! Patrick was GREAT and nothing needs tampering with! Thom

Favorite "WOW" moment

"If I must - The Aquaduct. and which is YOUR favorite child?"

Molly

La Grande, OR

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've never been to Europe before, and, frankly, I was skeptical of going. But I'm a believer now! I loved France and would definitely go back in a heartbeat. The tour had such a variety of cultural experiences. I loved the cities we visited. I felt like the tour showed me the essence of France--the beautiful, charming, and quaint countryside.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a very difficult question because I loved everything we did. Everyday was like Christmas--they was something new, fresh, cultural, and exciting everyday."

Katie

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the canoe ride down the Dordogne River from Cénac to Beynac. What a beautiful setting!"

Rebecca

Round Hill, VA

Tour: 05/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first RS tour, and it exceeded our expectations. I was prepared to stay in slightly better than hostel-esque hotels, but everywhere we went we had larger than expected rooms, private shower, and free wifi. We realized early on that the main value in this tour was being able to see and do things that we could not easily do on our own, and meet the locals like Madame Mayor who welcomed us into her town. It was also very easy to acclimate to the French culture with our seasoned guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick just one, but the moment I will never forget was in Carcassonne being tagged as the "lady in the green shirt" during our tour of the medieval city and watching my husband be "knighted" by our knightly guide Jeff. My tour members helped to remind my husband of his vows the rest of the trip, and I have a video to remind him if I need something at home as well!"

Edward

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fourth tour,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"viewing the city of Carcassonne at dusk."

Susan

Wellesley, MA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was a wonderful look at different areas of France, the places, the history, the architecture, the habits unique to the people, and the highlights that went from ancient buildings to current light and sound shows. We had an advantage as a group. It was not too large for us to get to know everyone. Virginie has real ability and the training to have put us together, encouraged us to be engaged with all that the tour offered; what's more, she is really fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a surprise trip to an old quarry where a light/sound show was magical. The venue was in a cavernous area of the quarry, and went on for 50 minutes of sheer delight. I could have stood there much longer."

Theresa

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific tour providing excellent experiences/expansive overview of France's exceptional diversity in history, geography, culture, food and wine. Much to entertain, enjoy and be inspired by; each day another impressive Wow! A hopeless photographer, even my poor execution happily documented gorgeous vistas, sights, gardens, vineyards. Numerous highlights on this tour: inside impressive buildings, outside wandering chateaux grounds, paddling the Dordogne River, awesome light shows. Magnifique!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was fascinated by our trip into the Rouffignac Cave and eyeballing the prehistoric art. I was captivated by trying to comprehend the why and motivations for creating the engravings and drawings."

Lesley

Alameda, CA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was ideal, simply ideal. There was a perfect blend of experiences and information about the culture, history, and contemporary issues of France. It was joyful, thought provoking, and heartwarming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many WOW experiences. Several days into the trip, I laughed as I heard myself say, "well, that was definitely one of the main highlights of the trip". I laughed because I realized I had already said it while referring to at least five other experiences on the same trip."

Barry

Alameda, CA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip exceeded our expectations - very organized, led and well paced. Virginie was excellent as our guide. I especially enjoyed the historical discussions of each region, the french 'lessons' and the overall diversity of all the locations we encountered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many 'wow' moments but perhaps the tour of Chartres Cathedral, the rock quarry at Les Baux, the trip to the winery, the Pont Du Gard and the City of Carcasonne were particular highlights."

Grace

La Mesa, CA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is one of my favorite vacations as the tour experience was fabulous. I was solo on this trip and the tour mates were very welcoming and inclusive. Everything was planned perfectly. The little French villages were so beautiful and I gained a new appreciation/love for France. The activities were varied and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to choose one favorite "wow" moment as there were several on this tour. The Pont du Gard, the fortress of Carcasonne viewed from the town all lit up at night, Van Gogh easels in Arles, the art in the pre-historic caves at Rouffignac, the gardens at Villandry, the outdoor market and learning to play petanque in Sarlat, canoeing on the Dordogne river and the music/light show in the quarry were some of my favorites."

Nancy

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very good and our tour guide Virginie was excellent in every way-available, instructive, charming, knowledgeable, and so very helpful. The other tour members were just great-everyone was open, friendly, welcoming, and ready to share a new experience. I thought some of the hotels were below average although they were all in excellent locations. Also the food quality was uneven for our breakfasts and dinners. The itinerary was varied with something for every taste.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two wow moments for me. One was at the prehistoric caves where I marveled at the artistic renderings of bison, horses, rhinos dating back to our human ancestors. The other was the gardens at Villandry which just took your breath away in the variety, color, and planning of the place. Another moment was the last day as we stood in a circle on the beach in Nice just saying goodbye to our traveling companions and feeling the camaraderie of the trip we just shared."

John

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time taking an organized tour, so I can unequivocally say it was the best one I've ever experienced. We have travelled to Europe before and lived in Asia for 2 years so we're not exactly novices. The organization, pacing, and accommodations were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Because I didn't expect it, Pont du Gard blew mw away. Why a piece of an ancient water delivery system infrastructure would have this impact on me, I cannot articulate, but it did. So much effort and beauty invested in what many people take for granted."

Daniel

Napa, CA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour. Great itinerary, wonderful, knowledgeable guides and beautiful countryside.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show on Chartres Cathedral and the display in the quarry on the Spanish Masters."

Robert

Hernando, FL

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

THE BREAKFAST AT TIMHOTEL WAS NOT THAT GOOD. THERE WAS RUNNY SCRAMBLED EGGS AND RAW BACON . I DIDN'T FIND FRENCH FOOD ALL THAT GREAT. I STUCK MORE TO THE ITALIAN DISHES OF PASTA AND PIZZA. THE TOUR GUIDE WAS GREAT AND THE SITES WHERE VERY INTERESTING. LESS CHURCHES AND MORE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"THE CAVE TOUR PLUS MEETING UP WITH THE EURO TOUR 2018 EXOTIC CAR TOUR. SINCE I AM A CAR GUY THE CARS WHERE OF INTEREST TO ME. I GOT TO PRACTICE MY SPANISH WITH THE DRIVERS. MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE A CAR TOUR, VISITING CAR FACTORIES LIKE LAMBOURGHINIAS A SIDE TRIP."

Lois

Hernando, FL

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour of the Loire valley was an eye opening experience. Our tour guide - V.More - shared her knowledge of the history of France and of the places we visited which added to what we were seeing and experiencing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely surprised as to the friendliness of the French people. We did not get any 'French frowns' due to our lack of the French language. A delightful 12 days! Loved the excitement in Chartres when the pilgrims arrived at the cathedral after their march from Paris. The parade of the marchers and the procession of the religious leaders into the cathedral was inspiring."

Geralyn

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Virginie More is a superb tour guide. She has an amazing amount of knowledge about the history of France and the use of a fictional family to explain how the French meet, marry and move through their lives was an excellent tool. She found ways to make every moment exciting and encouraged us to explore our specific interest. The tour group was the perfect size. The hotels and restaurants were all excellent and in great locations. This tour was well worth the expense.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont Du Gard in Nimes."

Quinn

Wellesley, MA

Tour: 05/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary, pace, accommodations,food, group members, and group leader all worked in tandem to provide one of the top vacations of my entire life. The weather helped. We were also fortunate in having a leader, Virginie, who not only knows her history and has a great personality, but also understands how to foster the learning process in very satisfying ways. And there was a lot to learn!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. The Chartres cathedral lit up at night. Going through Leonardo da Vinci's home in Amboise. The gardens at Villandry. The cave at Rouffignac. The "Medieval Man" doing his act at Carcasonne. The grim town of Oradour-sur-Glane. The water pouring down the streets of Les Baux during our only real rainy day. Being assisted by Virginie when I fractured a tooth and needed to go to a dentist in Arles."

Jack

Big Bear Lake, CA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each of our six Rick Steves Tours has delivered above expectations. The reasons - two, first and foremost is the quality, knowledge and personality of the tour guides. Second, the numerous surprises, large and small, that reveal themselves along the tour that aren't listed in the tour synopsis. On this tour we were treated for the second time by having Toni Seymour as our guide. The previous year, Toni led us on the Best Of Eastern France tour, a tour we heartily recommend.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a retired engineer, this year's "wow" moment was an easy choice for me - the Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard. I'm still studying my photos in admiration and curiosity of how it was designed and built so long ago. My close second "wow" moment was my wife's first choice - the gardens at Château de Villandry."

Vicki

Lewisville, TX

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. I have toured some in France independently, especially the Loire Valley. However, having a tour guide who was knowledgeable about the history of the region made a big difference in my experience. Having local guides or audios also made the tour more meaningful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light shows at Chartres and Les Baux were unforgettable to me. Chartres Cathedrale is stunning on its own not to mention the local expert -- Malcome Miller, brought the stories told in the stained glass windows to life. I was also lucky to be in Chartres when a Medieval Fair was going on. The demonstrations of crafts and trade craft was very interesting. There was jousting, wood carving, rope making, stone cutting, stained glass demonstrations, and wondering minstrels. I loved it."

Margaret

Kent, WA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great experience throughout the entire tour. Toni was a fantastic guide and the group worked well together. Our bus driver (Roger ... Americanized) did not speak any English, but we were able to cobble together enough French to ensure he was included in conversations at dinner and Toni helped with questions. Everyone bonded well - which makes for a pleasant adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres Illumination Show - absolutely breathtaking ... and then the Illumination show within the Quarry. Both displayed amazing technology and imagination and were an absolute joy to watch. Of course the castles and cathedrals were great - and "entertaining" the locals with our attempts to speak French ... especially when we mixed French, Germany, Spanish and English together! I was amazed at how helpful the locals were."

Chris

Palatine, IL

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had another wonderful trip with the Rick Steves team. It was a great group and the itinerary was terrific. We really enjoyed our opportunity to get in touch with the culture of the area. Toni did a nice job orienting us to the various areas we visited and the local guides were excellent. One thing that was a concern was the issue with transportation strikes that surfaced on the front end of our trip. We ended up taking a private car to Chartres and the additional cost was not planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "wow" moments, luncheon at the winery, the multi purpose art exhibit in the quarry, toasting each other with Champaign on the prominade in Nice."

Ann

Piedmont, SC

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very well planned and entertaining

Favorite "WOW" moment

"beauty of spring time - flowers - just being in France found Sarlat and Nice most interesting cities from buildings to sense of identity"

Elisebeth

Tustin, CA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our second tour, we did Italy in 2014 and I did not think it could be any better than that - but it was! We loved our tour of France, the itinerary was well thought out, and our tour guide, Toni kept us right on track. The local guides were all excellent and the food delish! We look forward to another tour in the near future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed everything....people have asked me my favorite part and it is very hard to separate because the diversity is not comparable. But, here you go: The night time light show in Chartres on the cathedral The canoe ride down the Dorgdone River The group dinners, can we say Foie Gros??? The chateuax, which one it doesn't matter, they are all fabulous! The cave drawings The market in Sarlat The Pont du Gard"

Tom

Georgetown, TX

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

See below

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say that Les Baux was probably my biggest Wow. And a big element of that was how unexpected it was to see the light show in the quarry and the vilillage itself, perched so elegantly on the outcropping . Second biggest Wow was very subtle but still left a lasting impression. We thoroughly enjoyed the stay in Sarlat . The market , the restaurants , the people ."

Gary

Tustin, CA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great group of fellow travelers and lots of diverse sites to see on our tour of Southern France. Tony was an excellent tour guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to name just one.... top three would be 1)the light show in Chartres, 2)the quaint village of Sarlat, and the 3) magnificent chalets in the region around Chinon and Sarlat. Also enjoyed the wine tasting and lunch at the small winery outside of Arles."

Donna

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great experience seeing Paris. My tour guide and tour group members were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Monets at the museum L'Orangerie. The local tour guide who took us through the museum was very informative and interesting."

Ellyn

Big Bear Lake, CA

Tour: 05/13/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It is my second trip with Toni and she is so wonderful and works so hard at keeping us HAPPY! My HAPPY group was terrific! No whiners, none late and just a Great group. It is difficult to pick a highlight! Chartres was a highlight, but so were the caverns plus and all of the Roman history. My favorite town was Sarlat. A Medieval town at it's best! Carcassonne was a happy surprise and Jeff was a great Medieval soldier. Very much enjoyed his lecture given about the armor!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont Du Gard was much more interesting than I expected. I saw the film after viewing it and it gave all of interesting statistics about it. It filled in any questions one might have!"

Cari

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

it was very good but not as good as Italy 1/12 yrs earlier. The scenery was beautiful, al little too much of the Roman ruins.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery"

Susan

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

When our Parisian shuttle driver asked about our trip on our way back to the airport, we told him what we had seen in his country. He told us that whoever planned the itinerary did an outstanding job. I felt the same. I loved seeing the medieval towns and the people in the markets. I enjoyed the company of fellow travelers and guides. I loved the having croissants every morning for breakfast! "Voila!"

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show on the Chartres cathedral. Spectacular. It was the first night and everyone was tired. Patrick strongly encouraged us to go. I'm glad I went. I was stunned at the beauty and creativity of the presentation, and I returned to see it again the following night."

Robert

Manchester, CT

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was wonderful. This was our fifth Rick Steves tour, and they have all been excellent, albeit quite different. The tour group got along well, the guide was great, and the itinerary was very interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Chartres en lumiere show was fantastic. It is amazing to consider the artistic and technological creativity that went into this production."

Alice

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Extremely fulfilling! Very immersive. Saw & experienced much more than I could/would have on my own. Several outstanding 'special' experiences: Malcolm Miller in Chartres; canoeing on the Dordogne; early entry to Ruffinac cave; knight experience in Carcassonne & Carrieres de Lumiere outside Les Bayx (which Patrick added on for us as a test case-please keep it!). Hotels were well-located & pre-trip expectations per your website & communications were accurate. Group size was excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carrieres de Lumiere outside Les Baux. Other highlights include things mentionned in #2 plus meeting Mdme Le Mayor in Mortemart, Pont du Gard & market day in Sarlat."

Barbara

New Canaan, CT

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best tour I have taken. I learned so much about the history, culture and specialties of each place. Each meal together was a taste of that region and gave me an opportunity to try new foods. I enjoyed the towns we stayed in and the free time to explore on my own. The tour was very well paced. Our guide, Patrick Vidal, gave us good background prior to each stop so we knew what to look for and how to get around on our own, but he was always nearby should we have questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is hard to answer because there were many special moments, but for me it was the Grotte de Rouffignac. The cave drawings were so detailed and clear it was hard to believe their age. Also the cave bear beds were amazing."

Courtenay

Boston, MA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All the stops and the pacing of the tour were excellent. The guide was highly knowledgeable, fun, and a great tour partner throughout the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the included meals with the tour, because it allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and try things that I probably wouldn't have normally ordered off a menu that were local and delicious."

Peter

Arvada, CO

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing how much was packed into each day of the tour and that there was plenty of time for self-directed activities as well. We sandwiched our tour with four days in Paris beforehand and 10 days in Avignon, Lyon and Beaune afterwards. (Of course utilizing the Rick Steve guidebooks). One thing we noticed was how much more we got done and experienced with the tour compared to using the guidebook.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite - singular! Six activities stood out: the cave paintings and canoeing along the Dordogne area and the light shows in Chartre and Les Beaux ... oh, and the amazing presentations - the ones at Chartres Cathedral and in Carcassonne stand out."

Kimberly

Arvada, CO

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour had an excellent blend of art, history, outdoor adventure, markets, self-guided exploration, food, and wine. It focused more on smaller village France than on large cities, which for me was perfect. Local guide pacing was a low point for me across the board with excessive initial explanations, which left little time for the remainder of the museum, cathedral, or site. Our tour guide, Patrick, was amazing, and by far made up for anything lacking in other parts of the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can I have two?! 1. Canoeing down the Dordogne River. There's something about coasting down a river while seeing chateaus and villages nestled in the cliffsides that makes you feel at peace. It's hard to pick a second, as the gardens at Villandry were stunning. However, I think second place goes to an unexpected side stop at Carrieres et Lumieries which had a stunning light, music, and art show in a quarry featuring Picasso pieces. It was truly impressive."

Janet

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every place we visited was great so it is hard to pick a few favorites. I especially enjoyed Chartres cathedral, Amboise, the Rouffignac cave, canoeing down the Dordogne river and the Carrieres-lumberers. The village of Oradour-sur-glane was very moving."

Janet

Folsom, CA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations! I was looking forward to the Chartres Cathedral, canoeing, the Pont du Guard, Arles and Nice for the Med but the tour had so many more rich experiences, it's hard to summarize. I learned so much from our guide about France, the people, the history, the culture and the food. Traveling with a guide beats traveling without one hands down.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments but some favorite memories are the crypt tour under Chartres, the fabulous light/music show in Chartres, Clos Luc, the gardens at Villandry!!!, the magnificent lunch provided by Patrick, Canoeing!, Sarlat on market day, the Knight at Cacassonne, sunset from my room in Arles, the Flower Power experience at Les Baux!, and the amazing blues of the Mediterranean in Nice. Did I mention the food? Wine? Cheeses? Wine??? Incredible, all of it! Thank you!"

James

Wayne, PA

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first Rick Steve's tour. We have been using Rick's guidebooks for years, but hadn't ever considered a tour. Our goal was to visit France, and, as we began planning, it seemed like a tour would be a less stressful way to see the countryside. It turns out that the tour was filled with (wonderful) people who went about the process in the opposite direction: first they decided to go on a Rick Steves tour, then they picked the destination. Now we know why, and from now on we'll be doing the same!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The best day began with our descent into Ruffignac cave, was highlighted by our canoe trip down the Dordogne, and finished with dinner on the cobblestones of Sarlat. We had been looking forward to this day since booking, and it was even better than anticipated. Another, but unexpected, highlight was our visit to Carrieres et Lumieries in Les Baux. I entered skeptical and came out charmed."

Jane

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 05/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. I found it to be a very good balance of doing things as a group and having your own time to explore. The balance was also shown in the variety of things we did that included culture, history, activity, etc. There was something for everyone! Patrick also did a good job of having get togethers as a group to get to know each other. I would definitely do this again. It was nice to have things planned for us and taken care of. We have done it on our own be

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is hard to choose. It probably would be the light show in Chartre and at the quarry in Les Baux. We did not expect to do these things and it was such a surprise to see what the French do with their light shows. I also really liked the canoeing down the Dordogne. Such beautiful scenery! The Pont du gard also looked so much more impressive in real life than in pictures."

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?!"

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""

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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)."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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"

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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????"

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."

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."

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."

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!"

George

Middletown, DE

Tour: 07/09/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cave paintings."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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."

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."

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."

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)."

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."

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."

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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)"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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?"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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.""

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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)."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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 :)."

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"

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."

Weather

France / Paris


France / Nice

Nice Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in your online customer account. About one month prior to the tour departure, in your customer account you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Flights

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

Most tour members arrange to fly into Paris and out of Nice ("multicity" on flight-booking websites). Paris is a 60 to 75-minute train ride from Chartres, where the tour begins. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in France.

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