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  • Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France
    Chartres Cathedral
  • 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
  • Market day in Sarlat-la-Canéda, France
    Sarlat Market
  • Boules in Sarlat
  • Carcassonne, France
    Carcassonne
  • Pont du Gard, Provence, France
    Pont du Gard
  • Street party, Arles, France
    Arles
  • Les Baux, France
    Les Baux
  • Nice, France
    French Riviera

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Loire to the South of France in 13 Days Tour

from $3,595 per person + air

Single Supplement $775

See Dates & Prices

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

To request advance notification of when a tour will be available for booking, please select ‘Notify Me’ next to the departure date and join the list. We'll send the notification email when a tour opens within a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region.


2021

    • Sep 5–Sep 17 (Su–Fr)
    • $3,995 + Air

    Notify Me
    • Sep 26–Oct 8 (Su–Fr)
    • $3,795 + Air

    Notify Me
    • Oct 3–Oct 15 (Su–Fr)
    • $3,595 + Air

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What's Included

You'll get at least 17 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on this tour of France:

  • Chartres orientation
  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Amboise
  • Château de Chenonceau
  • Château de Villandry and gardens
  • Château d'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
  • Les Baux
  • Nice walking tour

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of France come alive for you
  • All group transportation from 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
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2021
  • 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

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

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.

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

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's 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.

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

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 can 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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Chinon.

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.

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

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 Nazi troops. Our day will end with dinner together in the quintessential market town of Sarlat.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 6 hours. Sleep in Sarlat.

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, we'll canoe down the Dordogne River from Cénac to Beynac, paddling past medieval castles and villages. If the weather is hot, we may even stop for a swim along the way.

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

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.

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

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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Carcassonne.

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 — as well as tales of Vincent van Gogh, who lived and painted in this neighborhood just over a century ago.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Arles.

Day 10: The Pont du Gard

We'll start our morning off visiting France's 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 will be free back in Arles for making your own discoveries.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 1 ½ hours. Sleep in Arles.

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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in or near Nice.

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 18th 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!

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in or near Nice.

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

Mairi

Reisterstown, MD

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The carrieres et lumieres in the quarry"

Gail

Mcminnville, OR

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was dream tour, the perfect guide, really great fellow tourists, and the most beautiful country. The tour was perfectly paced, we saw so much and yet I never felt rushed or overloaded. I was never looking for something to do either. Our "down" day in Sarlat was well timed and the market a beautiful adventure on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at the quarry and the whole city of Sarlat."

Kim

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Third RS tour and probably favorite. The itinerary was perfect - just enough time at each stop to feel as though we got to know the place, but at the same time wanting to come back for more. We loved getting away from the business of big cities and immersing ourselves in French life, history, culture, and of course food. Our guide Linda was outstanding. She was knowledgeable, friendly, organized, and gave us great insight into French life. I would travel with her any time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"SO hard to choose just one, but I'm going to go with visiting the Pont du Gard. I've marveled over pictures of it for years, but to actually see this massive ancient structure in person was incredible. Another "wow," in a different sense was the visit to Oradour-sur-Glane. Our guide told us that Rick insists the tours stop here, and I'm so glad we did. I was unaware of this tragic chapter in history and I believe that it's very important, now more than ever, to remember these events."

Ed

University City, MO

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We started in Chartres and ended in Nice. Linda, our guide, was great. Our bus driver, Roger, was incredible at negotiating narrow roads and streets. The group was the perfect size. The sites we visited connected me to the history of France and Europe. The weather was sometimes chilly and rainy but when we ended in Nice - WOW! it was sunny and in the 60s, what a way to end the tour! Adjectives cannot describe all of my incredible experiences on Loire to South of France tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments on this tour. But, my favorite "wow" moment was when we were standing in the cave at Rouffignac and gazing at the animal drawings just a meter away that were made by humans living in the area over 15,000 years ago. That said, the canoe trip on the Dordogne was a close second."

Suon

Burke, VA

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed all the activities and the people in our tour group. Our guide Linda was very informative and personable. We were very fortunate in having great weather and enjoyed seeing all the sites outside of Paris. The French people we met were warm and welcoming. In particular, Oradour-sur-Glane (martyr village) was made all the more meaningful to us by Linda's moving presentation. This was our third Rick Steves tour and we plan to do more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I felt so privileged to have Malcolm as our local guide at Chartres Notre Dame - what a wealth of knowledge! The gardens at Chateau Villandry were so beautiful. The canoe trip on the Dordogne was definitely a highlight - we had perfect weather and it was a peaceful, scenic trip. We were the only group canoeing down the Dordogne with the exception of a handful of individual canoeists. It was amazing to get to the top level of the Pont du Gard - terrific views and a marvel of engineering"

Barbara

Prince George, BC

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall very good tour Pros: excellent tour guide (Linda) & bus driver (Roger) good pace of tour with "right" amount of free time to explore on own/rest liked having multiple nights at most locations - only one stop was a one nighter hotels were centrally located, good quality breakfasts and staff nice variety of activities (chateau visits, canoe activity, museums) included meals were excellent and fun! Con: two of our hotel rooms were TINY (see below)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres Cathedral light show"

Janet

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Pace was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the son et lumiere in the quarry"

Stephen

Reisterstown, MD

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour was great fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Van Gogh light show and the canoeing on the Dordogne were highlights."

James

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light/photo show in the old stone quarry, plus the canoe trip down the Dordgne River."

Larry

Calgary, AB

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our superb tour guide, Linda, made our trip an awesome experience. She was willing to share her experiences & views that gave us extra insights. She is one of the best guides we have ever had on our trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had several "wow" moments but our walk through the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane & our canoe trip down the Dordogne River share equally despite very different feelings."

Jeffrey

Roseville, CA

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All aspects of the tour were outstanding, from our guide, Linda, to the towns and villages we stayed in, to the walking tours, to the restaurants chosen for group dinners...all outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No favorite, many memorable experiences!"

Emily

Cambridge, MA

Tour: 10/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was fast-paced and ambition, with a good balance of free time and planned activity.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the prehistoric cave drawings and the light show in Chartres."

John

Greenwood Village, CO

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Michaelanne, did a fabulous job hosting the tour and sharing the history, culture and dynamics of each site we visited. The [INVALID]ion of sites that we visited was a good introduction into the Southern France area. The hotels were good although a couple of the rooms were basic and small. The meals were great and treated us to the cuisine of each area. There were many highlights, although the walk through the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, while sobering was very impact-full.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walk through Oradour-sur-Glane, the peaceful boat trip along the Dordogne outside Sarlat and drinks afterwards in I believe Beynac were memorable."

Robert

Essex, CT

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second RS escorted tour and it did not disappoint. Great itinerary, great guide, great traveling companions and wonderful experiences. Pace of tour was excellent

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow moment was in improvised afternoon by our fantastic guide Michaelanne. After visiting the fascinating cave art of Rouffignac Cave it became apparent that the weather would keep us from canoeing down the Dordogne. Michaelanne arranged a boat ride down the Dordogne, Chateaux Tour and late afternoon wine at a riverside cafe in Beynac. We forgot about missing canoeing . Thank you Michaelanne."

Marcia

Wayne, NJ

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fabulous, well-organized tour of north to south France with so many "wow" moments along the way. From the spectacular cathedrals with exquisite stained glass,elegant chateaux with magnificent gardens,the Pont du Gard, daVinci's home, the colorful and vibrant market days,VanGogh in Arles, great local food, delicious wine, everything was delightful.The opportunity to walk in and around structures built centuries ago is a fantastic experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments: Pont du Gard, an engineering marvel built without mortar in c60 A.D, still standing intact and even more "wow" that we could walk on it!; Chenonceau and the chateaux of the Loire royal life; Chartes cathedral; Roman amphitheatre in Arles."

John

Lafayette Hill, PA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great tour and it was enhanced by Michaelanne, our tour guide. Her years living in France gave us a unique perspective on life in France especially as a student. The towns were great and the history surrounding each was fascinating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mine was a little offbeat. In the little town of Chinon, I went to the local Laundromat to wash some clothes. A couple walked in speaking English. I reacted by saying "Hello, how are you?" Since they figured that I was from the US, they asked what state and city. I said, "Philadelphia, PA". The man pointed to his wife and said, "She's from Philly." Turns out we went to the same high school together but a few years apart. I spent the rest of the episode exchanging info on sites to see."

Joyce

Saratoga Springs, NY

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I expected it to be, and so much more. The tour guide, coach driver, and travel companions, all made it an enjoyable experience. The itinerary, lodging, and meals included, were all excellent. Visiting the small villages and staying at small boutique hotels really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the French culture. I appreciated the tour guide bus talks that were entertaining, informative, and educational. Learning about the history and culture enhanced our site visits

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in the brisk night air, watching the Chartres Cathedral come alive with lights and music was a magnificent "wow" experience to behold. It was amazing how the images in the light show told the historical story of the cathedral. You have to experience it in person to truly appreciate it. Praises to the lighting engineers."

Michael

Saratoga Springs, NY

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being my first tour experience, got to rate it Outstanding! Michaelanne went above and beyond to insure all all a very memorable experience. Enjoyed every aspect about the France experience. Been to Europe a number of times for work, this time for vacation ...it did not disappoint. Michaelanne and our bus driver Phillip MADE our France experience...would travel with them France anytime and into any village. Lastly our group was the best..all great travelers. Thanks for memories!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres cathedral light shows tops for a "WOW" experience category. Next,,,WOW for a great tour guide, fellow travelers, places - villages, cities,chateaus and forts, wine, cheese (and baguettes)."

Phyllis

Roswell, GA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace of the tour was well planned for snack and restroom breaks and we also had time to make our own discoveries and photos at our own pace. for a single traveler that's important.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, especially the unexpected ones: being walked around the tour of Mortemont by its feisty mayor; the thorough tour of a winery and the outdoor picnic on the grounds of the winery on a beautiful sunny day; and the very sobering visit to Ordour which stands as a monument to the monstrosity of war."

Paula

New Albany, OH

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We saw wonderful sites, learned much important information about French culture, and shared these experiences with a wonderful tour group and guide. Unfortunately, I battled a respiratory virus for much of the time and felt totally exhausted every day. As such, I felt this tour was too long for me. I would have preferred cutting out Carcassonne. However, the beauty of the land around the area was quite astounding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually, there were several "wow" moments. I was taken aback by the beauty of the French countryside when we left Carcassonne and traveled through Provence. I truly valued hearing about French and European history and how it influenced past and current conditions."

Diane

Lafayette Hill, PA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The places we saw and experienced were excellent. Enjoyed seeing more of France than Paris.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carcassonne! I learned more about the Middle Ages from that one tour than I did learning about them at school."

Cindy

Chino, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Unbelievable! I'm still absorbing the trip. It was so beautifully organized with one adventure flowing into the next. Things were so well put together but always time to see more. You never had to worry about anything and could spend all your time enjoying the sites, smells, tastes, sounds and touch of the beauty of France. We had an amazing group that made the trip one to remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments its hard to choose one. On our way to Sarlat Michaelanne prepared us well for a stop we made in Oradout-sur-Glane. As she talked about it I wasn't sure I wanted to go at all. Why would we stop here? After stopping and walking through it, I understood. A hard but important town to walk through. On our trip there were so many beautiful places to see but for me this stood out, not for the beauty of land but for the beautiful people who lost their lives."

Diana

Essex, CT

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was fabulous! The itinerary was varied and I liked visiting small villages as well as larger cities. The pace was also well thought out and I felt like we spent just the right amount of time in each stop. Also liked the variety of sites from chateaus and beautiful gardens to Roman ruins and WWII memorials. Michaelanne was great and we had a very compatible group of travelers. The group dinners were a lot of fun with excellent restaurant choices and delicious food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's very hard to pick just 1 wow moment since there were so many! Each stop had its own special feature but I especially enjoyed the lighted Chartre cathedral, gardens at Villandry, Sarlat market, the sobering stop at Oradour-sue-Glane, cave art and seeing the Arles coliseum lighted at night. But, one of the very best moments was the day our canoe trip was cancelled and Michaelanne regrouped for the best afternoon ever! Castle tour, boat ride and wine!"

Mary

Rochester, NY

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I visited places I would not have thought to visit on my own, and spent time in lovely small villages, getting to try out the language and meet people on a level that doesn't happen in the more tourist-filled cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show in Charter-What amazing timing for our tour!"

Cheryl

Bluffton, SC

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was amazing. A lot of wonderful experiences. The selection of the stops was top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well I definitely have more than one favorite wows... Canoeing down the Dordogne. Staying so near the beachfront in Nice was very special. The hotel was so nice and we were right across the street from the water. Staying so close to Carcassone Castle."

Joan

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour. Our tour guide, Patrick, was a fountain of knowledge, very personable, very professional, and also a fun person. Every detail of our travel was well-organized, and the tour included a wide range of interesting experiences and places. Aside from scenery, history, architecture, food, and culture, we were challenged to explore and interact on our own, in spite of the language differences. We appreciated this valuable perspective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very pleasantly surprised with the 3-hour paddle down the Dordogne River. It was so beautiful and not very difficult - even though it rained during the last 15 minutes. This is something I would never have planned on my own."

Frederic

Port Dover, ON

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour. Our guide, Patrick Vidal, was outstanding. All the people on the tour were friendly and pleasant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually I had two wow moments. The first was canoeing on the Dordogne. Not only was this an unusual thing to do on tour, it was the first time my wife and I had canoed together. The second wow moment was market day in Sarlat. My wife and I had so much fun looking at things and interacting with the local people."

Kathryn

Maple Valley, WA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very happy with my tour and had wonderful experiences every day. It was very well organized, an excellent tour guide, lots of fun, good travel companions, and a good mix of fun, education, awesome, and just enjoying the moment and the views.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can not choose one wow moment as nearly every day had its own moment from the light show in Chartres to the gardens in Villandry to Carcassone to the caves at Rouffignac to Pont du Gard, and the beauty of Nice and the Mediterranean."

Patricia

Modesto, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I chose this tour because I was very interested in the itinerary: Chartres, the Loire valley, Dordogne, and Carcassonne, It was easier to have a tour bus take me instead of driving or taking the train. The tour was much like the Rick Steves guidebook: practical, efficient, fast paced, with hotels close to the center of the old town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked the Dordogne area best, especially the Grotte de Rouffignac. We arrived early and were the first visitors. The drawings were so detailed and well drawn, over 15,000 years ago by early Cro-Magnon man."

Elizabeth

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great tour! So many varied activities (churches, cave paintings, canoeing, Roman ruins) and a good pace. And our guide, Patrick Vidal - if the rating scale is from 1 to 10, he deserves a 20! A French native, his passion is sharing his country with tour members. This was my 5th RS tour, and I can' wait to go no another one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Carcassone, and the guided tour and presentation on medieval life. A bonus was a concert of songs of "courtly love" given in the lovely by two costumed women, singing and playing period instruments. It was one of those unscheduled but delightful experiences that can happen on an RS tour."

Richard

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Light show on the facade of the cathedral in Chartres, on the first night of the tour."

Mary

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All the stops of the tour were very worthwhile.I was thrilled that we had a talk from Malcolm Miller in Chartres--however the talk really focused only on the stained glass windows.I would have liked more info on the actual cathedral. The chateaus were wonderful, in particular Villandry and Chenonceau. he tour of the cave drawings was a special experience. Carcassonne was like time travel and the local guide was unique. Oradur was powerful!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Pont du Gard. I was in awe of the 2000 year old aqueduct and the technology of the Romans. Best of all our local tour guide was able to take us for a walk on the top of the structure because we were on a Rick Steves tour!!"

Dan

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well paced tour......great sights and experiences!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many!"

Wallace

South Bend, IN

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Awesome fellow travelers and a great guide helped to make this a wonderful trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The chateaux, Carcassonne and days spent in Aries were my favorites. The final bridge on the canoe trip was also a welcome sight!"

Mary

North Easton, MA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Learned a great deal about France, it's people, history, culture, food and wine. The sights and towns we visited were interesting and wonderful to experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens at Villandry"

Jean

Campbell River, BC

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very enjoyable and interesting. It was extremely well organized. We especially appreciated travelling without any concerns about hotels or transportation between locations. The tours to various sites allowed us to visit out of town places that we would otherwise not have seen. Local tour guides and specialists added to this experience. Time on the bus was comfortable and very interesting as we listened to the guide's stories about French history and current life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favourite moments were visiting the chateaus in the Loire Valley. Chenonceau and Villandry were both spectacular."

Charles

Livingston, NJ

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. It was extremely informative, and getting to meet a whole group of new people made me feel more invested in what I was doing. I played a lot of team sports growing up so I have a soft spot in my heart for large groups doing everything together. Arneau was literally incredible. One of my favorite people i've ever met. Funny, charming, smart, articulate, and just made the trip a blast to be with. That dude needs his own show.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oradour-sur-Glane probably was for me. I'm a big WW2 guy...there was something about standing in that church, knowing at one point in time 400 people stared down their final moments, facing ultimate horror in that very spot that blew my mind."

Jeff

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour overall was a blast! It was well organized and enabled us to enjoy the local food and wine for each area that we visited across France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is hard to pick a favorite! Seriously, I have been asked this question by friends and family and I am unable to determine the best moment because everything resulted in my saying, Wow!"

Daniel

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Comfortable Bus, Great Tour Companions, Great Tour Guide, Great and Careful Bus Driver,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard Wine Tasting Oradour-Sur-Glane Chartes Catherdral and Malcolm Miller's Talk!!!!! Chartes Light Show- Great dinner 1st night there Great dinner in Chinon Great dinner in Carcassonne-Loved the Medieval tour guide there Overall the tour was great! A bit fast paced, but necessary to see and experience all that we did"

Emily

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall great itinerary. Great mix of towns, sights and activities. Hotel Diderot wine presentation and tasting great mix of chateaux to visit cave Art was awesome-it was great to visit a family run cave and not the big attractions great Sarlat market really liked Carcassonne-but not enough time there wine tasting and lunch on the way to Arles was a big day-with added walking tour Pont du Gard was interesting but not wow Nice beautiful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oradour-sur-glane, I did not know such a place existed. It's a great place for Americans to see and understand the devastation of WW II to the common European/French people."

Denise

Holliston, MA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As we have experienced in the past, our tour introduced us to wonderful locations while incorporating the culture, history, food, and wine of course, of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several; 1.Chartres Cathedral lesson from Malcolm Miller and the fabulous evening light show; 2. the sobering visit to Oradure sur Glen; 3. the gardens at Villandry; and 4. Carcassonne, especially the nighttime view from the old bridge; 5. Walking on the Pont du Gard. An added bonus at the Pont du Gard was a school project fair run by local students offering samples of local products that they made themselves. Their teacher was excited that they had to practice their English!"

Troy

Westcliffe, CO

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide, many interesting sites visited, excellent food and venues with the group, and well orchestrated itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guest guide at the Walled City of Carcassonne."

Dianne

Vestavia, AL

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience as with all RS tours. Patrick, our, guide, was so instrumental in bringing the history to life in all the places we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was not a one wow moment. All the places had their own character. I loved having the variety of towns and food choices."

Nancy

Grayslake, IL

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a perfect blend of group activities and free time. Our guide, Patrick Vidal, was knowledgeable, caring and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chateua Villandry"

Carlos

Dallas, TX

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great Tour and this our fourth. Going for the fifth soon

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard"

James

Yakima, WA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour of South France was very good. Our guide, Patrick was excellent, and generally speaking the itinerary was just the right pace.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We have two wow events. First was the Pont du Gard aqueduct! What a colossal structure, and to be able to walk along the top of this world class icon was so very cool! I think the other super experience was our tour of the fortress at Carcassonne. And the local guide provided some very educational information about life in midevil times. Excellent."

John

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour with a great guide. Food experience was disappointing, expected more from France. After more than ten tours, would have to say that overall these were the most disappointing hotels we have encountered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Light show at Chartes cathedral, simply spectacular followed closely by the gardens at Villandry."

Anne

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent - an outstanding guide, great itinerary, well-paced and well-organized with great sights, great meals and great hotels

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After-dinner optional walk in Carcassone up to a viewpoint where we saw the floodlit medieval hilltop city and enjoyed tiny paper cups of sparkling wine"

Ginger

Lake Forest Park, WA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patrick made us all very comfortable our first night in Chartres following the usual Rick Steve's standards.I really like the buddy system! The trip was a perfect balance of group and free time. We had many experiences that a traveler on his/her own probably would not have experienced--eating a bull casserole at a winery,talking with a mayor of a small town and walking on the top level of the Pont du Gard. As usual,our fellow travelers were friendly, curious and well-informed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose just one! Highlights included: the magical light show at Chartres, the unexpected hill town of Les Baux, the entertaining Medieval guide at Carcassonne and, of course, the picnic day in Sarlat. A truly memorable trip under the guidance of an outstanding leader!"

Judith

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The schedule was good, with more than 1 night at most hotels and enough free time. The tour guide has a wealth of knowledge about the area and is very well organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A highlight was visiting the ancient cave drawings."

Susy

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide Patrick made the tour of France very enjoyable. His sense of humor enhanced our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Chartres Cathedral light show."

Robin

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves tours not only provide me with wonderful sites, but a wealth of knowledge about the places and things we see which adds so much more meaning, and allows me to tell interesting stories to those who want to hear "all about my trip". Not only was Patrick's knowledge of France, both past and present, amazing, but his energy, enthusiasm, and sense of fun were contagious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rounding the corner in the bus and seeing Carcassonne for the first time. Also the gardens at Chateau de Villandry. Two really wow moments!"

Eileen

Westcliffe, CO

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was excellent! It was my first time in France and I loved it! We experienced the food, the culture, and the little known areas that most tourists do not see. Of course we did tour the chateaus, gardens and popular sites. I loved our picnics, bot-chi ball, canoe trip and off the grid adventures. The markets were amazing and the restaurants were suburb. My husband and I enjoyed checking out the towns on our own, in our free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I did not have one wow moment, the whole trip was WOW!"

Michael

Saint Charles, MO

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Interesting itinerary linking together a diverse variety of sites. I thought the dinners were fun and offered good opportunities to try a wide variety of regional French dishes and wines. Likewise with the picnic, the happy hour, and the winery lunch. Kudos to our guide Patrick for his patience and efforts at educating us regarding French history, cuisine and wine, along with day to day practicalities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several especially interesting (and thematically unrelated) sites - Pont du Gard (especially with the opportunity to walk in the water channel on top), Rouffignac Cave (amazing prehistoric art), Chartres Cathedral (Malcolm Miller's lecture and the evening light show were treats), Chateaux Chenonceau and Villandry (the gardens especially), and Oradour-sur-Glane. The Chagall Museum and Russian Cathedral in Nice were not part of the formal itinerary, but very worthwhile."

Mary

Bethlehem, PA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great itinerary and tour guide but moving in a large group of 28 feels like herding We blocked sidewalks in small towns and I felt like we attracted attention and annoyed locals Difficult to engage with locals

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prehistoric cave stt"

Jane

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first and my husbands 3rd RS tour. In general it was a good experience. We saw so many beautiful places and learned so much about France. Each time I thought we had seen the most beautiful, we would go to another place that was equally or even more beautiful. The advantages we saw on being on the tour were getting into places early before there were too many crowds. It is also nice to not have to worry about where you are staying each night since it's all already planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Chateau de Chenonceau, We also love market day in Sarlat!"

Roy

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour covered more than we expected. The Chateaux were magnificent but we would have enjoyed visiting villages more. Linda took us to a limestone quarry where an awe inspiring show of Van Gogh art was projected and animated on all the walls accompanied by beautiful music. This should be a regular part of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave art at Roouffinac rates a big 5 star Wow."

Maureen

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the Loire Valley chateaus, the history (remembering the village of Oradour-sur-Glane and Carcassonne Cite), picnic in Mortemart and meeting madam mayor, the winery tour and of course the wine. The Dordogne canoe trip everyone that did it loved it. Seeing the Pont du Gard and marveling at the Roman architectural abilities. Visiting Rouffignac cave - a true highlight. Visiting Les Baux and thanks to our great guide Linda seeing carrieres les lumieres.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought the Rouffignac cave and the light show at Les Baux were my highlights along with the great hotel rooms that I had"

Iyla

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the countryside and villages. The free time to explore was invaluable. Linda was terrific! She arranged an additional stop enroute to Les Baux...Immersing us in Van Gogh in a giant underground quarry...Van Gogh's paintings on the ceilings, the floors, all the walls simultaneously...felt like i was swimming in Van Gogh...she arranged this for us all. Wish every tour was a fortunate as we were.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I will say the canoeing on the Dordogne and the caves. The Hotel Deteriox owners in Chinon gave an exellent training on the vitriculture of the region with wines and food pairings to accompany the wines...very nice."

Larry

Claremont, CA

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, our tour was outstanding, educational, and fun. Our tour guide, Linda did a great job of sharing her knowledge and experience of France and French culture. The local guides were all very good. The experiences of light shows, Bastille Day fireworks, the art display in the quarry, the cave drawings, and the food were just a few things that made this tour memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many great moments of this tour but I think the light show at the Cathedral in Chartres was amazing and a great way to start the tour. To call this artistic expression a "light show" does not do it justice. Everyone should experience the impact of this amazing display in person someday."

Wendy

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 3rd RS tour, each one is different, each one is fabulous. There were only 22 people on this trip so I felt you were really able to get to know them and hear about their lives and their love of travel. The itinerary really captures what France is all about, chateaux, farmland, vineyards and charming villages. Philippe was a great driver and lots of fun. Linda was wonderful, knowledgeable, kind, organized, fun and had a twinkle in her eye. She took great care of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Kayaking the Dordogne River, lunch at the winery and the whole reason I chose these dates, Bastille fireworks at Carcassonne"

Carol

Granite Bay, CA

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was my third with Rick Steves. Previous trips were to Scotland and Italy. As always our guides were outstanding. Linda, our trip guide, was very informative in every city we visited or went through. She gave us restaurant referrals, places to visit on our own. When we first arrived, France was having a heat wave. She had fans purchased for our rooms. When we weren't on guided tours, she gave us ideas of sights to see, places to eat. Our local guides were also very knowledgeable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bastille Day fireworks visible from our hotel. Also the Roman Aqueduct, especially after I saw the Tour de France bicycle race ride across it. (On TV)"

Marianne

Morton, IL

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent itinerary and guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple of wow moments for me - seeing the Bastille Day fireworks above the medieval walled town of Carcassone and the Carrieres de Lumieres (a rock quarry venue with Van Gogh paintings projected on the walls, with surround-sound music)."

Susan

Ft Wright, KY

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third Rick Steves tour, and it was excellent. We had great food and wine, and our guide, Linda, was very good. She was knowledgeable and we could tell she loved her country and enjoyed showing it to us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to say. Probably the Pont du Gard would have been, but I had been there before. I was very impressed by the light shows in Chartres and Les Baux and the market in Sarlat. Instead of one "Wow" moment, this tour was a series of very lovely moments."

Janet

Franklin, NE

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. We enjoyed activities that were thoroughly French, not "touristy". Our guides shared their country or towns with us. We met local people that were happy to share their passions with us. Each hotel, restaurant, activity or experience was perfect to highlight what that town or area had to offer. This tour was a nice balance between scheduled activities and free time to explore on our own. The quick exploration tour of each town was great to get to know the area before free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite wow moment was visiting the Carrières des Lumières. This quarry turned into a light experience was fantastic! It melded an old natural site with a famous artist (Van Gogh) with 21st century technology. The French really know how to meld the old with the new in a truly fitting manner."

Dorothy

Delavan, IL

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Restaurants were excellent. Tour guide and bus driver were exceptional. Hotels good - least favorite hotel was in Arles where I had 35 spiral steps to bring luggage up only to discover my bathroom was 16 steps up from the bedroom, no railings on the steps to the bathroom and no sir conditioner in the bathroom. It was hot!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nice and the French Riveria was a favorite area. Enjoyed the Carcassonne palace. Aquaduct was very nice too."

Laurie

Claremont, CA

Tour: 07/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful experience on the tour. Our tour guide, Linda, was knowledgable, accessible and fun. When challenges arose, she handled them with clarity and grace. Her knowledge about and deep love for France is apparent, and I highly value the deepened understanding I now feel for the country, it's regions, and the French people. The bus driver, Phillipe, was terrific as well. The tour itself was wonderful, and our group only added to the richness of the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was our third Rick Steves tour, and I have learned that "wow" moments happen on a daily basis...the hospitality at the Hotel Diderot in Chinon was wonderful. The Chartres Cathedral, including the fascinating Malcolm Miller's lecture tour and the light show at night, was spectacular...the luminiere show at the quarry outside of Les Baux...the market of Sarlat...fireworks in Carcassonne on Bastille Day...WOW."

Maureen

Stayton, OR

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third tour with RS. It was a wonderful experience all the way around. The food, the wine, the history, the company, the sites all met our highest expectaions! Our guide Arnoud was the best guide we have had yet. Each tour should have a guide like him. We have nothing but positive things to say about this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list."

Diana

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized with a minimum of time spent on herding and corralling the group. Time devoted to stops and activities seemed about right although I would have liked a little more independent time to connect with the locals. We had more lunches and dinners together than I expected. On the other hand, part of the experience was to get to know the diverse group of tour members. The tour guide was excellent. Arnaud made French history and culture come alive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the impact of the renaissance on the middle age customs and modes of living at Villandry in contrast to the Chateau Chenonceau. The beauty and vibrancy of Villandry was exhilarating. The staff who maintained it were like bees working in the gardens. It was if the culture at long last relaxed and found it OK to embrace nature."

Barry

Spokane, WA

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very much enjoyed the tour of Southern France - a little hot but overall a good time. As always, the provided food was outstanding and the bus and driver were wonderful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We all enjoyed the Cro-Magnon caves and art work - our granddaughter thought that was the best. I also enjoyed the chateau experience."

Ray

Rantoul, KS

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the trip had several "WOW" places but going to WW II village of Oradour-surGlane was very sobering. Seeing what has happen in the forty and still going on today in different parts of the world. The "AQUEDUCT" is something to see museum was good also it amazing Nice was great also i had never seen a Russian Church before we took time to visit

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "WOW" moment was the AQUEDUCT it was outstanding to see and walk thru it was amassing. Thier was several close second which included boat rides, Sarlat market place"

Kenneth

Spring, TX

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I like the tour and it compared well with the other two RS tours we have been on. The Dourdogne canoe trip was rained out but it would have been awkward to switch to light clothing for a warm canoe paddle after a cold cave trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say it was the part that wasn't "on the tour." I really liked the music on Friday night in Sarlat and the market on Saturday. The music wasn't what I would call high quality but it was fun and genuine. Coming in second were the cave drawings in Rouffignac Cave. I would have said Pont du Gard but I had seen it before. I did appreciate the entry into the upper water channel of the aqueduct."

Kathy

Spring, TX

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked this tour alot! I saw places I had not seen before, and had intimate lessons and encouragement to explore more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oradour-sur-Glane and Sarlat.. The WWII martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane was very sobering and a wow because of its history and site (left much sadness in my heart). The market town of Sarlat, where we slept for three nights, was a different enlightening experience, where I experienced the fun of the market (and their music festival)."

Lu Ann

Snellville, GA

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great trip, Arnaud was a great guide and Phillipe our driver was too. I took my oldest grandson who turned 14 on the trip and he enjoyed himself immensely. He called France bread and cheese heaven. One of the best parts of the trip was the history that was covered from prehistoric drawings in caves, Roman ruins, Medieval castles, Renaissance Château's, WWII, wineries on and on. I highly recommend this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres Cathedral tour and especially the laser show on the cathedral at night. The stain glass guide was great. Sarlat was an excellent place to have a free day with the market and we went on a hot air ballon ride that evening! I also really enjoyed the Pont-du-Gard."

Bill

Carlisle, PA

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Arnoud really gave us a lot for our money - starting with intensive French language and etiquette lessons through his vast knowledge of history. It might be overkill for some, but we both loved it. We spent a lot of time on the bus, but we had a lot of unexpected small stops (like seeing the canal system). Overall, there seemed to be themes running through the entire trip rather than disjointed stops.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can the Point du Gard not be a high point for everyone? It is almost beyond belief to imagine how those Romans engineered that (as well as the amphitheater and other structures we saw). Also, for pure emotional impact, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane is just beyond comprehension. That brought the impact of the French experience in WWII home to us even beyond our recent experience in Normandy's beaches."

Sylvia

Rantoul, KS

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were able to participate in a stain glass project, visit an American born performer's chateau, an old fortified walled city, cave art and a sobering visit to Oradour-sur-Glan memorial.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To see the Roman aqueduct and to be able to walk into the structure was a highlight for me."

Greg

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/16/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first tour experience and I felt privileged to have a knowledgeable, personable and entertaining guide like Arnod. He provided far more than I expected, especially in his ability to weave his personal experiences with what we were seeing, and with his insights on the French personality. He put the put is foot down early, but with humor and tact, about the importance of promptness. And we were a pretty obedient group, but I was reminded of the old cliche about herding cats.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 13,000 year old cave paintings at Rouffignac were amazing; Chartres Cathedral was breath-taking; and the memorial at Oradur-sur-Glane was very moving...but I think my "wow" moment was the medieval city of Carcassonne with it's massive impregnable fortifications."

Eleanor

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first, but definitely not my last RSE tour. I spent 3 weeks in total in France, and it was three weeks of WOW moments. Travelling as a single woman, with limited French I decided that a tour would allow me the most stress free means of covering the most ground. The tour was well run, with a great mix of planned group events and time to explore on our own. I loved how we would spend at least 2 nights at each hotel stop. We covered a lot of ground, but it didn't feel rushed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favourite WOW moment? It was 2 weeks of daily jaw dropping, gobsmacking WOW moments. The highlight that most comes to mind would have to be the sound and light shows. I can only speak of the one in Chartres, but it blew my mind - the creativity, precision and storytelling - and I'd totally recommend that people make the effort to stay up until sunset to see it if they're visiting Chartres near the summer solstice. I sat there mesmerized for 40min, mouth hanging open, totally swept away."

Brooke

College Station, TX

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was magnificent. It was my 2nd RS tour and I was a little worried it wouldn't be able to live up to the previous one in Italy because our tour guide was so wonderful. My fears were completely unwarranted. This tour was just as special, as was the guide, Virginie. She ALWAYS went above and beyond to make sure we were happy, comfortable, and learning as much as possible. She greeted us each morning with a smile and a Bonjour! and would lay out the day's plan perfectly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitely the Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux de Provence."

Robert

Austin, TX

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour and tour guide! Also enjoyed the local tour guides. Had A/C issues at the last hotel is the only reason I did not score it outstanding but I know that is outside of your control. I did not know most of these cities and sites existed - very impressive

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The castle in Carcassonne"

Cara

Austin, TX

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Part of the reason I love to travel is to learn about other countries and cultures. I learned so much about France and the French people on this tour. There was a very nice mixture of sites and experiences[INVALID] castles, chateaux, cities, markets, vineyards, picnics, foods, wines, and everything French. Our guide wove stories and facts into our bus time talks to make the time pass faster and to give us even more insights into the French culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my favorite experiences was at Carcassonne watching a glowing sun set then a full moon rise over a 600 year old citadel from an 800 year old bridge while sipping champagne with our group. ... The market at Sarlat-la-Canéda was also pretty amazing and not to be missed."

Ron

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

5th Rick Steves' tour and they simply keep getting better! Virginie was another amazing guide - simply top notch. Wonderful sites, food and companions. A great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the Van Gogh light/sound experience in the old rock quarry... something Virginie added for the group and it was amazing."

Nicole

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was the perfect way to experience French culture with delicious food, beautiful scenery, and wonderful history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved seeing da Vinci's home. It was a total surprise, and a total gem, for me."

Benjamin

College Station, TX

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itinerary was set up well. Locations picked and number of days chosen in each site were great. There was a great mix of group time and individual time on the tour. Virginie, our guide, was a fantastic teacher. She really gave us practical, cultural and historical perspective on the trip, in addition, to being really fun to interact with. Roger, our bus driver, was courteous, safe and kind. My family and I loved it all! The food, wine, people, sites and more wine!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose from. But WOW moments would have to include: Notre Dame of Chartres, Chateau Villandry, Food, Wine, Van Gogh Light show in Les Beaux, Les Beaux village, Pont du Garde."

Zoe

College Station, TX

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As a kid, this tour was AMAZING! I was very privileged to have seen all that I saw while I was on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was at the first restaurant we to as a group in Chartres when I tasted the delicious food ( especially the potatoes gratin)."

Dondi

Childress, TX

Tour: 06/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an amazing time. This was the first guided tour that we have taken as a family. We were impressed with the ease of the schedule. We loved every minute of the tour. I was afraid that my children, ages 14,17, and 20 might not enjoy a tour of historical sights and museums. Boy, was I wrong! They absolutely loved their tour. There were things to do for all ages and our guide made a special effort to include all the children on our tour with special treats and experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Virginie arranged for a champagne toast on the bridge at Carcassonne overlooking the castle wall and the full moon was rising just behind the view. It was really a "wow" moment that couldn't have happened at a more perfect time."

Nicolette

West Kelowna, BC

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We know from experience that we prefer smaller cities, villages and countryside more than big cities. Loire to the South of France was perfect for us! We did Paris on our own first (because you HAVE to see Paris) and then were happy to join the tour and let our great guide, Arnaud do the heaving thinking for us. We liked the variety of sites seen (Roman ruins, cathedrals, chateaus, parks, castles, architecture, art, war history) and the mix of busy days with slower days. The food was good!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour with Malcolm Miller at the Chartres Notre Dame Cathedral and the light show later that evening on our own"

Marisa

Glendale, CA

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded expectations, and then some! The Guide. The Group. The Itinerary. Weather enhances the travel experience, so the few days of showers actually ADDED to our chateau sensations. The tour had just the right balance of current, future and not-to-be forgotten worlds and we seemed to float from one amazing experience to another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was a 'wow.' Most days we would rise early and take a soft run before breakfast - the empty streets beckoning us to explore later. Amazing as it sounds, our biggest "wow" was our first WOW - the Chartes en Lumieres display. Following the light and sound pathway through town popped our eyes out of their sockets. Goosebumps may not sound romantic - but in France they become fois gras. Truly, each day had a 'wow.'"

Katherine

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous trip. We saw and did so much. We learned so much. We met a whole group of wonderful people. Our guide was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite time was with Malcom at Chartres Cathedral. He showed us that the windows are not only Old Testament stories but also a commentary on the relationship to New Testament fulfillment. He had a life time of information to share in just over an hour."

Cindy

York, ME

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The RS formula of of providing orientation at each stop and then offering free time works well for us. While exploring Sarlat we came upon a young banjo player busking in a local monument. My husband joined in on his harmonica, Such fun! I met an artist at the market and enjoyed hearing her connection with the local Tibetan refugees. Having free time to take photographs gives me great joy. The group meals offered us a chance to try foods like foi gras we would not have sought out!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything about Chartre was a wow for me. So much of the old city has been preserved that you get a glimpse of medieval times. I was skeptical about the light show but found it to be a celebration of both the architecture of the cathedral and the ingenuity of today's technologists. Mr. Miller's talk reassures me that scholars still exist! We enjoyed meeting a French couple who thanked us for the US's contribution in WWII. Both of our dads served in that war, so that was very moving."

Edward

Bakersfield, CA

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great sights to see on the tour including Villandry gardens, Pont du Gard,Castle Hill in Nice. Good good and wine at group dinners.Friendly tour members, especially after the wine tasting and lunch. Super charming tour guide Arnaud and very competent bus driver Phillip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Climbing the hill to the top of Pont de Gard."

Joseph

Ashland, OR

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour covered a large part of France we had been to before and the fact that we were seeing it with a great group of people and an outstanding tour guide made it a special experience. Of the five tours with Pick Steves we have been on this is probably right on or near the top.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The the 13,000-year-old drawings of Rouffignac Cave were my favorite "wow" moment of the trip though there were several moments that will stickwith me for quite a while."

Montye

Ashland, OR

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fifth Rick Steves tour. While all have been very good, this one was the best. Best guide, best food, best destinations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave art and the villages of the Perigord, expecially Sarlat. Malcolm at Chartes was fascinating. Could have listened to him all day."

Kenneth

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Arnaud, our tour guide, was excellent. He had everything well planned and the pace of our tour was outstanding. We visited and saw so many places and things it would be hard to remember them had we not taken tons of pictures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment for me was visiting the cave where we saw cave art thousands of years old. It was an awesome experience."

John

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip. Toni was excellent. The group was congenial and did well together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to fix on any particular moment but I guess my best was standing on the top of the Pont du Gard and considering what a feat it was to engineer. Close was the last home of da Vinci, Chateau du Clos-Luce -- better models of his inventions than in Vinci, Italy. Les Baux also was pretty special, both the ruins and the sound and light show in the cavern."

Priscilla

Ventura, CA

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I so enjoyed this trip to the Loire Valley, Dordonge and Nice. It was just the right combination of museums, city tours and the wondering canoe ride down the Dordonge River.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was an amazing experience canoeing down the Dordonge River. I wasn't sure if we were up to it but it was just a wonderful experience. Canoeing with our tour buddies and taking each other's photos was so fun. Perfect weather, no crowds and impeccably planned by our tour guide Toni. As an extra the Van Gogh projections on the quarry cave in Les Baux were such a surprise and awe inspiring. For a visual person this was such a unique experience."

Robert

Ventura, CA

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was out 7th tour. We had high expectations and they were met. We are very pleased with the Rick Steve's program and especially our guide, Toni Seymour did an outstanding job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is tough choice. Rowing down the Dordogne River has to be at the top of the things we did. But the Dordogne might have been surpassed by the 40 minutes spent in the Carrières de Lumières during our stop at Les Baux."

Michael

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

All good. No complaints. Toni very well organized and informed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one favorite."

Anne

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything went as planned and the weather cooperated. It was a fun group to be with. Lodgings were nice and well placed. Pacing of the trip was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially liked the opportunity to canoe, although we did rather zigzag down the river. Big point: We avoided falling in."

Glenn

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As this was our first tour and my first vacation in 13 years when the our family enjoyed Hawaii, there is nothing more to say than WOW. Never have I experienced such a trip since the 1973 Boy Scout Jamboree, a two week experience. This trip has been an experience of a lifetime. The choices made as to which sites to see, the express admission entrance to the different exhibits/attractions, the amount of "free time" and the choice of restaurants/food for the group meals were just right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many WOW moments that it is very difficult to simply choose one. But if I had to choose it was when I realized from the very beginning at the intro meeting that the group I was to tour with would be like one big family. That's how it was from start to finish. We each looked after the other."

Marlene

Burlingame, CA

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Would do it again if we had the funds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard.....The photo taken at the top of the hill with the Pont du Gard in the background will forever be a reminder of the trip."

Glenys

Oviedo, FL

Tour: 05/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent tour. There was a wonderful variety of activities, and we enjoyed every one of them. We also enjoyed the camaraderie with our fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! Our favorite "wow" moment was actually a whole day which included the train trip to see the prehistoric drawings in Rouffignac Cave and the lovely canoe trip down the Dordogne River. The day before there was a "wow" of a different kind, the solemn walk through Oradour-sur-Glane which added to our knowledge of the horrors of war and which we will always remember."

Wendy

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great. Our tour guide, Virginie in particular made the trip wonderful. She was organized, also planned ahead, and attentive to our groups needs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We enjoyed the most every daily tour subject/location that we visited. The one that stands out is the museum outside of the village of Les Baux. It was an art/sound museum in a rock quarry that provided a 40 minute showing of Van Gough art to classical music. It was awesome."

Kim

Yakima, WA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have done only one other tour (National Geographic), and it was outstanding. What I found about my Rick Steve's Tour with Virginie More and the Loire Valley was what a REAL outstanding tour is like. I do love to learn about the antiquities (which we did on both tours), but the unexpected delight of the Steve's tour was understanding the culture, economics, politics, speech oddities, foods, and just how the "real" people live in France. Our tour guide (Virginie More) was a story teller!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Van Gogh light display at Les Baux quarry. It was the second awe inspiring moment in my life. I just stood in one place and was surrounded by the beauty of his art. You could "feel" the different times of his life, from the good to the sad. This was not included, but Virginie used some of her discretionary money and her amazing influence to get us into the site. I personally watched her maneuver skillfully around the bureaucracy to get us in. What a treasure to include in my lifetime"

Allan

Calgary, AB

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, loved the tour. We had never done a bus tour before and had no expectations, but I'd say if we had had some expectations, it would have exceeded them. When we plan our next European adventure, Rick Steves Tours will be considered. In fact, I suspect all other methods of travelling will be measured against the RS tours. It will be hard to beat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Overall, the entire tour was a WOW moment because we didn't expect the quality of tour guide or quality of immersion into French culture and language that Virginie gave us. As for sites, funny enough but my two WOW moments weren't supposed to be part of the tour, we walked through Beynac from top to bottom and saw carrieres de lumieres in Le Baux. Personally I'd scrap the canoe trip and spend the time in Beynac and scrap Le Baux and just go to the light show."

Sheila

Coburg, OR

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Some of the destinations were repeats for us, but seeing the sites again after twenty-seven years was so much easier this time a round. We still remember the navigation issues we had back then: we only spoke English, Google maps didn't exist, and we had to be around the corner and parked before we could find some of the routing signs tacked willy-nilly (or so it seemed) on the sides of buildings. Now, with the R.S. tours, the bus driver takes us in and out of villages with ease.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at the old quary in La Beau was my favorite excursion. Fantastic! I've always enjoyed Van Gogh's work and seeing it illuminated on different planes and bigger than life was startling. Most of the musical selections matched the pieces and the whole effect was an emotional experience. Thank you!"

Steven

Memphis, TN

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour stops were spot on and obviously well devised. Virginie More was no less than extraordinary with her knowledge, personality and the manner in which she carefully engaged each individual on the tour to make it special and personally fulfilling. I cannot emphasize how fortunate Rick Steves is to have the level of quality she provided to the overal experience. This tour in particular was top tier across the board!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One after another...this tour had many."

Kathleen

Lititz, PA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour members made all the difference. We had a great group of folks who quickly became family. Virginie, our guide, was fantastic and made us feel loved and welcome. She was a wealth of knowledge which she freely shared with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Carcassonne at sunset was a dream come true. The light shining on that chateau was absolutely beautiful and is something I've envisioned since I was a student of French while in high school. Magical."

Debbie

Bend, OR

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour had it all and exceeded my expectations! Our guide, Virginie was outstanding and really taught us so much about her culture. Our group was super fun and everyone really made an effort to get to know one another. I hated to say good bye to France and our group! My experience with previous RS tours have always been great but this one is at the very top now! Tres Bien Virginie!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Carrieres de Lumieres exhibit at Les Baux! It was beautiful and so unique. Seeing many of Van Gogh's paintings shown on these massive cave walls was fascinating and emotional! There were many more "wow" moments where I felt so lucky to experience this tour!"

Sue

Kaysville, UT

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, great tour. Must be why I've now taken 17 tours with this company!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of the main reasons I took this tour was to be able to see the Pont du Gard and the cave paintings. Both were wow moments for me that did not disappoint!"

Carla

Calgary, AB

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded my expectations. I loved it. Travelling with other people was a complete joy. Maybe RS Tours attracts a most enthusiastic & genuinely nice group of people? I would certainly love to travel with them again! Our tour guide, Virginie was exceptional. Her encouragement for us to immerse ourselves in 'being French" for 13 days was unexpected & delightful-part of what made it a "WOW" trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carriere de Lumieres Baux de Provence was amazing & unexpected, as it wasn't scheduled & I'd never heard of it!"

James

Coburg, OR

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a good time.

Jennifer

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and my first trip to Europe. It was a great experience. I learned more about the culture and socio-economics of France than I ever would had I traveled alone or with friends. The group experience was much better than I expected. People were warm and friendly. Everyone made an effort to get to know each other. I plan to participate in future Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This trip was filled with wonderful moments. The "wow" moment for me was seeing the Carrieres de Lumierers Van Gogh exhibit in Les Beaux. Seeing Van Gogh's work in larger than life projection was awe-inspiring and emotionally overwhelming. It was an experience I will treasure."

Jan

Edina, MN

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The [INVALID]ion of sites was perfect. I really enjoyed the smaller villages and towns, like Chinon and Sarlat. I was traveling alone for the first time and the group made it so easy. Rick Steves' groups are definitely a breed apart. Other friends go on tours and I never hear about their fellow travelers, unless it's something negative. With our group, people invited me to join them for lunch or dinner, and it's so easy to make friends. I also love the punctuality. So important with groups!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have 3: 1. The sound and light show at Les Baux-de-Provence was unforgettable! Kudos to Super-Guide Virginie for getting us in! 2. A must-see for me was a tombstone with my last name on it in the old cemetery in Sarlat. With an excellent map along with my rudimentary French & a kind gentleman watering flowers there, I found it! 3. At our hotel in Arles, I ran into a former colleague from home. She & her niece were using the RS guide on their own French tour. We enjoyed catching up!"

David

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Almost everything on this tour - the guide (Virginie; fabulous) and the sites - were spot-on perfect. And our fellow tour members really made the holiday special. The destinations (with one exception) are appropriate for the tour's objective. The hotels were sometimes too basic, but overall adequate. We are not tour-group people but are pleased with our experience and glad we booked this Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide, Virginie More, arranged for a "special surprise" - and it was precisely that: special and a surprise. Virginie arranged, via extensive effort, a group excurion to experience Van Gogh, Starry Night. https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/en/van-gogh-starry-night"

Donna

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third official RS tour, and each has been unforgettable. I am constantly impressed at how well planned the tours are, while recognizing that independent travels need some free time. I expected to see a lot of historic and cultural sights, but I am amazed at the beauty and diverse sights in central and southern France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is the hardest question to answer. One "wow" moment? How about dozens? The food? The sights? The educational opportunities? I'll just mention two, the Pont du Gard and the bay at Nice, although it's unfair to the other dozens."

David

Lititz, PA

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of the most relaxing of the Rick Steves tours that I have taken. Visiting the small French towns was great. Our tour director, Virginie was great

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to limit it to just one. Pont du Gard, Carcassonne, the illumination in Chartres and the Van Gogh exhibit in (Carrières De Lumières, Les Baux-de-Provence."

Medwin

Wilmette, IL

Tour: 05/19/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time. I found France to be such an interesting country. All of history is represented on tour. We had prehistoric caves, Roman ruins, walled cities, Chateaus, and WWII. Each was presented in context. I could not have picked a better place to spend those 2 weeks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick just 1. My most visceral reaction came in Orator-sur Glane. You certainly got a visual picture of man's inhumanity to man."

Deborah

La Grande, OR

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lovely group of fellow travelers. Toni is a wonderful tour guide and I cannot say enough about her leadership and warmth.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring rouffignac cave. I can't believe they still allow visitors inside and suspect we experienced a once in a lifetime experience."

Debbie

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall experience was excellent. Great guide, good people in the group, interesting / compelling places visited. It was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the cave but the ruins at Les Baux were a close second."

Tom

Van Nuys, CA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour and great travel companions !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several: 1. The scholarly presentation by Malcolm Miller at Chartres cathedral was wonderful, as was he; I could have listened for hours. 2. The underground/cave drawings in Rouffignac, and our excellent guide, who only gave his name as Mr Maybe. 3. The Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct and museum"

Ivelisse

Yorktown, VA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well organized and fun. I would like to suggest spending more time in Carcassonne and less time in Sarlat. If the weather is not appropriate for the canoe ride in Dordogne, perhaps visiting the Chateau of Beynac would be nice. The visit to the Milandes castle was OK, but I would have preferred dedicating more time to places that were significant to the history of the region. I was a little disappointed with Nice and the tour a little long.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments during the tour so this is a hard question to answer. I thought the tour of the cave in Dordogne was extraordinary. I also enjoyed seeing the fortified castles on either side of the Dordogne river and I wish we could have visited more castles there. While I was sure the Loire castles were going to be wonderful, I was not expecting the Dordogne to be so interesting. Chartres was also fascinating."

Lindsey

Oxnard, CA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful trip in every possible way. Having the fabulous Toni was a plus - she has a gift for bringing a group together and making them a temporary family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh my. Each day was better than the last, so there we too many "Wow" moments to go over. I think Sarlat was fabulous, and enjoyed every second there. The sound and light show in Chatres was spectacular and awe-inspiring. I could go on and on.....Arles...Chinon...."

Ronald

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Toni is a very good tour leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "private" tour inside the aqueduct. The cave drawing tour on the electric train was a "wow" moment."

Sheri

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was another wonderful Rick Steves tour for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Prehistoric cave art. Roman aqueduct. Lovely countryside and towns."

Karen

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was lovely. I enjoyed the towns and stops along the way. The people on the tour were great. Toni was wonderful. There are pros and cons to taking a Rick Steve's tour versus following RS suggestions in guide books. On the tour, we receive the best local guides and comfortable transportation. However, traveling with so many others and staying in the center of towns means staying in less charming hotels. I preferred my trips on my own staying in manors and villas in similar areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think we all loved Pont de Gard. It was a beautiful day and such an amazing place."

Susan

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Informative and enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Roman aqueduct."

Pat

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience with a group of people who were all strangers was outstanding and rewarding. Everyone was friendly and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In the Rouffignac Cave the fascinating cave art. The guide was excellent and his talk was educational and insightful. Although we had bad weather and the canoeing was cancelled."

Betty

Ferndale, WA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked all we saw in a limited time span. Toni was great, the tour members were friendly and helpful. The sites were/are amazing and the weather was cooperative. I saw so much more than I could have seen on my own. I liked the pace, the organization of what we saw when we saw it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is difficult because since it was all new to me and all that we saw and did were "wow" moments for me. The substitution of Josephine Baker's residence Millande in place of canoeing on the Dordogne due to rain and wind was an excellent replacement. The raptor show we saw there was a bonus."

David

Yorktown, VA

Tour: 05/12/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am especially that I was given new ways to think about things--paradigm shifts, if you will--throughout the tour: Chartres cathedral, wine tasting in Chinon, cassoulet, prehistoric cave painting, the chateaux of the Loire vs the chateaux of the Dordogne, Carcassonne, and the Pont du Gar.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two, really: the tour of the Chartres cathedral and the prehistoric cave painting. I had heard about them, but the explanations that went with seeing them changed the way I think about them--foreve more."

Laura

Everett, WA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

from the moment the tour began 'til the moment it ended, it was obvious that a great deal of decisive care and planning had gone into every aspect of the experience. My brain is packed with gem-like memories of delightful sights and experiences and meals worthy of royalty.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but my favorite "wow" came during the canoe trip down the Dordone,which I'd been strongly disinclined to take until Julie encouraged and empowered me to go. It was magical, gliding smoothly down this gorgeous river,feeling a profound sense of well-being and connected-ness with my partner and the immediate world around us.Such a beautiful day!"

Susan

Needham, MA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour was very good. It got us to places that we would never have gotten to efficiently. Julie Sonveau was an outstanding guide - knowledgeable and easy going. Her assistant, Veronique Savoye, was a great addition because she shared what it was like to grow up in France. Phillippe, our driver, was a delight. Our hotels were good and we appreciated that our request to have first floor rooms because of my husband's bad knees was acknowledged. It made the trip easier for him.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The over-sized dissolving and reappearing projected images with music in the background brought me to tears. The immersive experience was overwhelming. It still gives me thrills when I think about it now."

Gary

Needham, MA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Trip potential was excellent, the tour as is needs to be revised as there were many hectic days and many slow days. Especially Chartres where we had lots of free time which was worthless as the town is closed on mondays, so why start the tour on sunday why not start on monday? The cave painting were marvelous what a precious resource and one of the trip highlights. Canoe trip seemed to be out of place thought the time could have been better used visiting other sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"2 fabulous features the 15,000 year old cave paintings and the Van Gogh quarry she @ Les Baux. Absolutely outstanding. All closely followed by the Point De Gard aqueduct."

Yiqing

North Wales, PA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

my dream trip came true.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of them, except Nice."

Janet

Overland Park, KS

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. . .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Pont de Gard and the Attelier de Luminieres."

Kim

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 4th Rick Steves tour and like the three before and the ones to follow it DID NOT disappoint. From orientation to the final breakfast traveling with fun people to interesting historic places is always good travel. Our guides kept the fun meter pegged, wine tasting in Sarlat, Champagne on the beach at night in Nice, side trip to Les Baux-De-Provence for the Carrie'res de Lumie'res Van Gough exhibit in the stone quarry, to market days in Arles and Nice makes for life time memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was the Van Gogh exhibit in the stone quarry at Les Baux. I don't have any words to describe the feeling you get when art comes to life around you an before eyes."

Diana

Mesquite, NV

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed this trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nice The city is just beautiful."

Lyne

Kitchener, ON

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have come to rely on the excellence of the Steves tours, and recommend them to others. All the guides (Local and Tour) are informative and friendly. The itineraries are well planned and include a very nice variety of what is available. We find that a few hours here and there of free time to do some wandering really fills out the trip, And the tour guides (we had two; our tour guide Julie, and Veronique in training, both terrific.) were able to enhance those free times by answering questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At least three. 1.The quarry art experience was so great, it almost defies description. It moved and enchanted us both. 2. It may seem funny, but when our driver Phillipe went a few times around roundabouts so we could see sculptures, it lifted spirits 3. Sarlat. I loved everything about it. I want to live there for a year. Bonus: The wine tasting and the lunch at the Rousillion area."

Miriam

Needham, MA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

My husband and I participated in all of the planned activities and meals. My main issue was the poorly scheduled days. We arrived on Sunday in Chartres, but the town was closed as it was on Monday. I believe this was also true of Chinon where our free time was in a closed city. Although our guide mentioned the light show in Chartres, I think including this as a planned activity would have been worthwhile. Were it not for our fellow travelers, we would have missed this terrific show.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour of the Van Gogh quarry. However, the explanation from our guide as to why it was not included in the Itinerary ("We can't always plan on it." made me question the RS tour organization."

Evie

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I absolutely loved this tour--the places we visited, our fellow travelers, our tour guide & the food. The Chartres Cathedral was magnificent & our local 85 year old guide Malcolm Miller set the tone for the trip as he takes you back in time to the 12th century. I loved being in the medieval cities & seeing the 10,000 yr old cave paintings. RS travelers never disappoint in their genuine interests in the sights & their camaraderie...some becoming temporary best friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard one for me as I enjoyed so much of the tour. I loved Chartres Cathedral, Sarlat, Carcassonne, Arles; walking through the medieval cities & chateaus; seeing the 10,000 yr old cave paintings. The Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux took my breath away & I actually was moved to tears...so that was a big WOW moment. But what I reflect on most since home are the medieval cities & most importantly Arles with the Roman ruins right outside the hotel door."

Elizabeth

Overland Park, KS

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was exactly as described, well-planned and well-organized. There was a good balance between planned activities and free time, and, there was a good balance between city, small town and rural activity. Local guides were excellent as well. Hotels were clean and comfortable and provided meals were delicious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many beautiful sites but the one that was a totally new experience for me was the art at Rouffignac Cave. very impressive."

Mary

Port Lambton, ON

Tour: 05/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Oh my goodness... Awesome!! A wonderful, learning, multi sensory experience.. Guides so caring... Helping us feel comfortable speaking French whenever possible, wonderful way to connect... , France so beautiful, love the choice of stops! Tour guides A1... Malcolm Miller is equal to Mick Jagger... A rock star... What an honour...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Malcolm Miller, Carrieres De Lumieres, our guide, Julie and her associate, Veronique. The quarry was such a surprise and an overall sensual experience.... Wow... I have down loaded the playlist to relive!"

When To Go & Weather

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

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 the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour in the Documents section of your tour account.

Flights

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

Most tour members arrange to fly into Paris' Charles de Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORY) airports and out of Nice (NCE) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. It's a 60 to 75-minute train ride from Paris to 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.