• 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
  • france-dordogne-leroque-gageac-couple-walking
    Dordogne River Valley
  • 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 $4,295 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

2024

2025

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 2024 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 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of France come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Chartres to Nice
  • 12 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and 6 other meals
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken with us
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to 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, 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. Santé!

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

Jeanette

Tour: 06/16/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour was well coordinated with towns and hotels near sights worth seeing. Stops were frequent at rest areas. Claire did an excellent job of narrating what we were going to see and background information. Walking tours were a little too fast for me over uneven pavement and stairs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was touring Chateau Villandry and its gardens."

Robert

Tour: 06/16/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great pace, a wow moment every day, but still with plenty of free time to explore

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many, but I can sum it up by saying: enchanting medieval French villages."

Michael

Tour: 06/16/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From Chartres to Nice the tour was beautiful and interesting. Local guides excellent and our tour guide Claire too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Van Gogh’s other, earlier Starry Night in Arles. "

Stacey

Tour: 06/16/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great way to explore the smaller villages of France. Claire kept us organized and on time while also honoring the needs of fellow tour members. Feti, our driver, was friendly, helpful, and maintained an immaculate bus. Good mix of group and independent time, delicious food, and comfortable hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the little things you don’t do on your own. Local tour and picnic lunch@ Mortemart, winery picnic lunch@Domaine Guinand, Claire’s treats and her enthusiasm for French food and culture, Art 61@Aire du Lauragais, making friends with fellow travelers, and arriving at most sites before the crowds. Also, the light shows in Chartres and Les Baux were a big surprise. Don’t miss them!"

Carol

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent trip overall. For the most part, enjoyed the activities and places we visited as well as learning about French culture. The tour made efficient use of our time. The main guide, Chris, was knowledgeable and helpful; the local guides for the most part really enhanced our experience. The driver, Eric, was outstanding. Would have rated the trip "outstanding" but for a couple of the activities we did, which were only so-so, and two of the hotels that were below expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to pick just one! Pont du Gard, Riviera, Chateaux, Chartres, Carcassone, Roman ruins and antiquities museum in Arles, wine-tasting and lunch at a family-owned vineyard were fantastic. Didn't attend the Dordogne canoe trip but my sons loved."

Mark

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Barbara

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the variety of experiences and education. It was a good group, and our guide was wonderful!

Suzanne

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every stop was well orchestrated and our guide Chris was excellent!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through the channel of the Port du Gard was an unexpected and fun surprise!"

William

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour started with unusually cold and rainy weather. On the AirFrance flight to Paris 4 days previously my wife contracted Covid which I got just after the tour started. In spite of this it was one of the best trips of our lives. Chris, our tour guide, and Eric, our bus driver, were amazing. Chris, along with Eric, brought the history, culture and politics of France to life for us! Chris, with her great insights, turned what could have been a miserable time into an enjoyable one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There so many "wow" moments. Chartre, Pont du Gard, Nice. It was an everyday occurrence. But if I had to pick one it would be walking into and around the medieval city of Sarlat. So perfectly preserved it was like being transported to another time."

Terry

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had an excellent time on the tour. it was a good combination of ancient sites, small towns, and lovely travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking across the upper level inside the Pont du Gard."

Janet

Tour: 06/02/24

This was my third RS tour and was as interesting and well-organized as the others. Our guide Chris was knowledgeable, creative, and flexible. Our charming driver Eric was an artist with a motor coach. I especially enjoyed the variety of experiences and soaking in the different vibe of France south of the Loire compared to Paris and the north.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the illuminated fortress at Carcassonne from a distance and the Chagall Museum in Nice."

Lynne

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour guide and bus driver, interesting places, and enjoyed most of the other tourists. An enjoyable 12 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed the Dordogne region especially the canoeing, hot air ballooning (side trip), and seeing Josephine Baker's house (side trip)."

Paul

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Another great RS tour, our 10th in the past 17 years! Chris was a really fun tour guide and the local guides were so engaged, adding much more to our experiences at all the places we visited. The itinerary was jam packed with sites and towns all worth the time spent in every location. And I thoroughly enjoyed an evening cafe gourmand after many of our dinners!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the Cathedral in Chartres and the nighttime light show on the Cathedral and other buildings in Chartres."

Scott

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave drawings and the aqueduct."

Robert

Tour: 06/02/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent main guide Excellent agenda Good pace Good tour group

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several: 1. Walking inside Pont du Gard water channel 2. The 12,000 year old cave engravings at Rouffignac Cave 3. Carcassone 4. Chartres at night with the amazing light show"

Bruce

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I looked forward to this particular tour for many years and it did not disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave paintings were a highlight."

John

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Claire, was wonderful. The local guides were great. We are always looking to learn and grow when I travel, and Rick Steves tours provide us with that. I felt it was good value for the money. Not crazy about the Chinon hotel however, too many rules from the host for a place that was not that great. I do realize it was a good location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the walk across the Pont du Gard. My husband found the village of Oradour-sur-Glane to be very powerful."

Lisa

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour with my sister and we had a great time learning the history, experiencing the French countryside and travelling with our guide Claire. We liked the food, art, French markets and the shopping.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rouffignac Cave "

Cynthia

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A variety of interesting and lovely experiences. Excellent Guide and local guides. A delightful group of fellow travelers. Delicious food and lots of wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose one. The light shows at Chartres Cathedral and the quarry at Les Baux-de-Provence; the prehistoric cave drawings at Rouffignac Cave; the gardens at Villandry; Medieval Carcassonne; the Roman ruins in Arles."

Leslie

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent value for the price. Informative guides and efficient use of time. Great itinerary. Friendly and fun group members. I would have liked more time in Amboise and less in Chinon. All hotels were great except for Chinon which was not warm and welcoming. Our guide Claire was fun and knowledgable and provided lots of little extras like wine tastings and local treats. Also enjoyed our bus driver who fit right in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoe trip and the Aqueduct were standouts. Also loved just simpler moments like picnics and family style meals with the group. "

Karen

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was even more amazing! And we could not have had a better tour guide than Claire! She was an exceptional story teller and had a massive knowledge of history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cro Mag cave tour and the magnificent canoe trip that followed."

Maxine

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Guide, Great Itinerary in a beautiful country. Nice balance between planned activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Rouffignac Cave--Seeing the cave drawings was amazing. Also free time in Arles to visit the Van Gogh Foundation Exhibit, Van Gogh and the Stars--truly an out of this world experience."

Sharon

Tour: 05/26/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the experience was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Villandry gardens"

Adam

Tour: 05/20/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great group and an amazing tour guide. I left almost every place not ready to go yet because the curated stops were so interesting. It was my first Rick Steves experience, and it surpassed expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Villandry was the most impressive site overall because of the gardens, but I also loved the feeling going into Carcossonne and experiencing the centuries old surroundings"

Marc

Tour: 05/20/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

RSE comes through again with another high-quality tour experience. I know people think they can create the same tour on their own, but they really can't. Whether it is the top-notch local guides RSE uses or the fast-friends you make on each tour, you really can't duplicate what makes RSE tours great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I know there were varied opinions about him, but Malcom Miller - the 90 year old local guide for the Chartres Cathedral - really was a "wow" moment for me. Yes, he did have AV issues, but his wit was quick and his knowledge of the cathedral is immense. I loved it when he said even after 66 years he is still LEARNING about it!"

Lynn

Tour: 05/20/24

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

There were 27 of us, a great group & awesome guide/driver Chris & Eric. Unfortunately a nasty virus swept through the group &n caused several to miss dinners and activities. I tested positive for Covid just prior to flying home & was not surprised! I did not find this tour as interesting/picturesque as the other 5 RS tours I've taken. Several of the hotels were disappointing compared to others I've experienced. I also missed there not being a group cooking activity as they are a lot of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show at Chartres Cathedral. This is a spectacular sight to see!"

Howard

Tour: 05/20/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We’ve watched Rick Steves for years on PBS and wanted to give one of his tours a try. Our tour guide was excellent and the group was delightful. We found the experience very tiring moving from one hotel to another often so it is important to be prepared for the rigors of the trip. During Covid we had signed up for a tour and Rick Steves promptly refunded our money…a company with great integrity and customer service.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the cave paintings"

Katherine

Tour: 05/20/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was perfectly curated. Great balance of planned events and free time. We left inspired.and exhausted!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments. The cave drawings were amazing. Sarlat is a gem; I could have stayed there much longer. Nice is breath-taking! But our time in Oradour-sur-Glace was especially impactful. "

Patricia

Tour: 05/20/24

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Had a good group of people to be with on the tour,as always from all parts of the US and Canada... Chris,our guide was very informative, helpful to individual needs and if needed something specific would aim to please and direct us to accomplish our goals...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Would love to say it was the canoe trip near Chinon but it had rained too much in May and the river had swelled to the point the trip was cancelled and we did a boat cruise instead.... I enjoyed the Lumieres in Chartres and at the quarry near Les Baux....Both unbelievable and nothing like I've ever seen before.... Of course the whole food experience was phenomenal with many a visit to the patisserie "

Jeff

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful tour, although a couple of the places visited were one another tour I had been on. It never hurts to visit a place more than once.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Possibly the "wow" moment was the short boat ride we did on the Dordogne river with a chateau high above us on a hill."

William

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third RS France tour. We had an excellent guide in Veronique Savoye. She is professional, knowledgeable, friendly and charming. I had a minor medical issue which unexpectedly arose in Chinon and she directed me to medical treatment that resolved the issue. We had the opportunity to see parts of France we had never seen before. Although our schedule was busy we were given the opportunity to rest periodically through the tour. Also, tour members were a congenial group. All good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show in the quarry in Les Baux. I had never seen anything like it and I was blown away."

Laurie

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the narrow streets in every stop on the tour, the Saturday market in Sarlat, sitting in the Mediterranean Sea in Nice on my birthday."

Debbie

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great, our guide was outstanding...the only thing holding me back from outstanding was the number of people, 28. At times it was difficult to see what the guide was showing due to crowding or city tours with 28 people trailing down the street in single file due lto limited space..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral light show...I have never seen anything like it. It was stunning."

Susan

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS tour, and this itinerary exceeded expectations, as we’re learning there is so much to take in & enjoy as you get away from the big cities. Veronique was very engaging, with so much history to share. Jamal, our driver, always had a smile on his face, and our fellow travelers were a fun bunch of folks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Where do I start? 18,000 pilgrims happened to end their journey in Chartres while our group was there and what a peace-filled experience to witness. Pont du Gard was the incredibly engineered aqueduct from 20 centuries ago, & we traversed across the very top tunnel of this marvel. Oradour-sur-Glane was a significant & thought-provoking stop in so many ways."

Tracey

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were not disappointed. The guide was excellent, the arrangements were perfect, and our group was friendly. The local experts enhanced the sites and our group dinners were great fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We visited the cathedral in Chartes on a day when 18,000 pilgrims arrived from different parts of France and beyond. The guides took all of this in stride and accommodated the necessary changes from the large crowds. We were inside the church when groups arrived singing in harmony, which was very moving. We could not have planned a better visit."

Peggy

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good tour overall. I learned much more about France thanks to our guide, Vero. We also had the kindest bus driver, Jamal. I enjoyed seeing parts of France that have not been covered on other tours and touring with some nice new friends. There was a good balance of tour and free time. A few more experiences vs walking tours would make the tour even better. Other than a little rain, the weather was very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maybe not as many strong “wow” moments on this tour as there were on the two other Rick Steves France tours, but I enjoyed: seeing the pilgrims singing in Chartres Cathedral, the late night cathedral light show, the lovely terraces at several hotels - including a rooftop bar with sea views in Nice, wine tasting in a cave, walking to the top of Pont du Gard, seeing Carcassonne lit up at night, and the wine!"

Sarah

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Veronique, was great. She was organized and fun and energetic. She taught us a lot about French history and culture. Thoroughly enjoyable. I loved all of the sites we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ancient cave art. "

Michael

Tour: 05/19/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Paul

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first organized tour in Europe after having backpacked several other times and we loved it. We saw wonderful towns and villages and learned so much more than if we had "freelanced" it as in the past.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave drawings from 17,000 BCE were amazing and likely our favorite tour. We also loved walking through the Roman aqueduct in southern France."

Lorrain

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th RS tour and we loved it. The food was excellent - the best we've had on the tours. The bus trips between cities were well planned. There were interesting (often delicious) stops - enough to keep us from getting restless or bored. The country side was beautiful and we had an energetic, enthusiastic guide - Patrick. Because of him I know more about the French Resistance and the French language. And I so appreciated that on our last day he had reserved taxis for everyone!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our incredible walk through the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct 20 centuries old!"

Laurena

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was GREAT!!! Our main guide (Patrick) was exceptional (our bus driver too!) The local guides really added to the information at the key sites/towns. The hotels were in great locations and had lots of ambiance. Breakfasts were excellent with lots of choices. We had regular stops for breaks while on the longer bus rides which was helpful too. All the sights we visited were fascinating, historic, and memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many WOW moments but visiting all the chateaus took my breath away. I loved all the gardens, historic furnishings and flowers. One totally unexpected WOW moment was visiting the "

Martha

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Your tour "customers" embody the best human qualities. Inquisitive, interested, well mannered and very kindly humans. Your tour guide also...a very gifted man. I just wish I hadn't missed many of his comments. His obvious knowledge was wonderful and I wish it was recorded....the best history teacher ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

" My first reaction after a full nights sleep at home....I want to do it all over again! Still feel that after a week at home. Thank you for gathering the best staff and putting together a great tour ance. My WOW is THANK YOU!"

Tom

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was very knowledgeable and very willing to help with needed information. Local guides were all outstanding as well. But the "whisper" systems seem to work well when a guide is standing still and facing the group. When the guide walks and the group is following, the reception is not of the same quality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Returning to Chartres Cathedral 43 years after having first visited; seeing drawings in 40,000-yr-old caves; seeing and being allowed to walk through the water channel of Pont du Gard. "

Michael

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 4th Rick Steves tour. We keep returning to the Rick Steves company because of the quality of the tour guides, the planning and logistics and attention to detail Rick puts into his tour packages. This tour was exactly what we were looking for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave art and the gardens at Villandry."

Susan

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth RS Tour, so I was not surprised at the general excellence of the experience. I am always impressed by the way in which the experience is obviously curated for maximum enjoyment. This time, more than any other tour, I felt the tour gave us a lot of "bang for the buck." It would be easy to "mail it in," take the money and show us all the pretty sights, but we've come to expect more and RS always delivers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

" It's hard to choose, but the night view of Carcassonne and the Rouffignac cave were certainly highlights."

David

Tour: 05/12/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had never been outside the Ile de France. The tour gave me the opportunity to visit and experience four different regions of the country: the Loire valley, the Dordogne, the Languedoc, and the Cote d’ Azur.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The column sculptures on the cloister of the cathedral in Arles."

Edward

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic itinerary! Our tour leader, Chris Coleman, was amazing - always prepared, friendly, helpful and a wealth of knowledge. It's great to have someone with an American perspective to describe customs and day-to-day life in France. Bus Drive Jamel was great - safe, polite, friendly and helpful. RS tours get to do things that very few if any other tours get to do, and there is no tipping, so the tours are a tremendous value. This was my 10th tour and I havee 4 more this year.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to compare Chartres cathedral, Pont-du-Gard, Rouffignac caves, Roman arean in Arles and Chenonceau castle, but perhaps it was in Chartres cathedral, listening to 90-year old Malcom, who has spent 66 years studying the UNESCO-listed cathedral and is the foremost expert in the world on it. His insight and knowledge were fascinating. Such an honor and privilege!"

Brian

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with all the RS tours we've taken this one was excellent. Our progression through France from Chartres to Nice was complemented by knowledgeable commentary from our guides and unique opportunities to sample the differences between each of the areas through which we travelled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Do I have to pick just one? If so, it would be the prehistoric art at Rouffignac caves."

Montee

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In typical Rick Steves fashion which we've come to appreciate, this tour was a wonderful mixture of planned events and free time, castles and monuments and neighborhood strolls. It was well-organized with a number of surprises thrown in along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oradour sur Glane -- N"oubliez jamais !"

Elizabeth

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour had a wide range of experiences and sights to see. It was incredible to see prehistoric cave paintings and buildings from Roman times to modern times. Our guide, Chris, was very knowledgeable and answered all our questions, while also giving us great background information and telling us about French culture and life. Her enthusiasm and joy added a marvelous dimension to the tour. I really enjoyed this tour and had a wonderful time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's really hard to pin down a single "wow!" Highlights for me were the Rouffignac caves with the 15,000 year old paintings, the incredible stained glass windows of the Chartres Cathedral, and the moving sights of Oradour sur Glane, with the memorial of the death and destruction of World War II."

Danielle

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our guide, Christine, was wonderful. She was informative, helpful and very fun. The locations we visited were great. Our bus driver was exceptional. He was kind and very professional. The worst part of the trip were the hotels. They were way below par and not the quality expected. I expected better service and quality after being on previous RS tours, The service, especially in Sarlat was abominable. None of the rooms we stayed in had a view and that's a lot of rooms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont Du Gard. What a site and experience. Also the location where the light show in the ancient quarry was great."

Curt S

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well planned. Great tour guide. Great sights. Mediocre rooms, but I understand why. A couple of in city tour guides that could be better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gardens at Villandry. Roman aqueduct "

Roger

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour of Western France with a “mix” of must see sights and “off the beaten path” experiences. Wonderful knowledgeable tour guide with a great schedule and flexibility.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The unexpected came when our schedule called for canoeing on the Dordogne river but recent rain made the river too high. Our guide took us to the quaint town of Domme which was featured on the History channel’s Curse of Oak Island where Knights Templar’s were held in prison. Graffiti in the prison matched findings on Oak Island. It was awesome to visit the prison and see the graffiti. Has created an interest in the history of Knights Templar and perhaps their presence in North America. "

David

Tour: 05/06/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Christine was excellent, the local guides always informative and our driver Jamal’s professionalism something to behold, while the trip itself was a constantly rewarding journey through fifteen millennia of human history and a great way to see France beyond the périphérique of Paris. In short, the tour was everything I was hoping for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"If I can only have a couple, it was the first glimpse of the expanse of the Pont du Gard followed by meeting Sébastien at his winery. But also great were those extra proposed by our guide – such as seeing Carcassonne at night from the lower town – or those we found on our own such as Vespers in French in evening at Chartres."

Patricia

Tour: 05/05/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a wonderful trip with the exception of being somewhat too energetic on the walks to have an overview of every town.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave dwellings and the painting reproductions "

Lale R

Tour: 05/05/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it. Loved the locations, proximity of the hotels we stayed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chateaus, Sarlat, Arles. There were many"

Beverly

Tour: 05/05/24

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This tour, for the first time, had two local tour guides that were in our estimation very poor. Unfortunately, these occurred during two of the featured "wow" moments of the tour - Chartres Cathedral and the Pont du Gard.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave art at Rouffignac Cave with a very good guide."

Martha

Tour: 05/05/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Enjoyed every minute of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around Arles"

Ellen

Tour: 05/05/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Loire Valley to the South of France Tour was fabulous. So much of France was covered in a very organized, well planned way. The balance of group time and on our own time was just right. As with a past Rick Steves tour - when conditions required a change of plans - a great alternative was provided. Rick Steves guides deserve so much credit for their professionalism, knowledge, and ability to create a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A favorite? There are so many. Here is one of them, sitting on the bank of the Dordogne River in La Roque-Gageac and looking up at the village built into the rock. Sorry, I have to add more. We had two vineyard wine tasting opportunities. At both our group gathered at a long banquet table outside. It was a lovely experience, learning, visiting, being served food and wine in such beautiful settings."

Michael

Tour: 05/05/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fun and educational experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two of them. The light show on the Chartres cathedral and the light show in the quarry about ancient Egypt. These were phenomenal. "

Kathleen

Tour: 04/28/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was entertaining and fast moving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard and Da Vinci"

John

Tour: 04/28/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We experienced all that we expected from the tour but at a slower pace than what we interpreted from the advertised description.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The caves tour !"

John

Tour: 04/28/24

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Tour dinners were average. We had much better meals on our own. Tour guide was informative, though not very interactive and easily distracted. She asked if there were any questions during the bus rides but only allowed a couple of seconds before she'd say "no?" and move on. The guides at the tour locations were great, very entertaining, interactive, and informative.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oradour-sur-Glane was an emotionally powerful place to visit. It would have made a lot more sense if there was a short film going through the timeline and had actual interviews with the few survivors."

Marjorie

Tour: 04/28/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour and guide were terrific. I liked that there was a wide variety of planned experiences and locales so that there was always something different and enticing to look forward to. And every town was delightful enough to make us want to come back on another trip! The only downside was the weather, which even Rick Steves can't control. But really, only 2.5 days of sunshine against a lot of rain?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments, but if I had to pick one it would be the cave of Rouffignac with its 16,000 year old etchings and drawings of mammoths, bison, horses, and rhinoceroses. And I can't leave out the wonderful day at the Pont du Gard where we not only had some sunshine but a chance to walk through the ancient aqueduct's water channel high above the river below."

Robert

Tour: 04/28/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour overall was very good. It was both educational and fun. Our tour guide Linda was very knowledgeable and nice. The local site tour guides added value with more detail about their specific location. We realize no one can control the weather but it did limit our ability to take in all the details at each site.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rouffignac Cave was my wow moment. To see what those ancient artist were able to create on the cave ceilings with minimal tools was amazing. Knowing that bear wallows were right beside them. The owners of the cave are to be congratulated for mining the cave to get back as far as necessary to see the art and then not disturb the surroundings. "

Lisa

Tour: 04/21/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had not been to France in over 20 years, so I enjoyed seeing new places and revisiting places I had been many years ago. This was my first ever group tour. I was a solo traveler, the only one in the group. (The other three singles were part of a group of 9 traveling together.) It was occasionally awkward for non group meals, but I was able to sometimes join one of the couples, or eat on my own. I never felt we spent too long on the bus, and the variety of locations was good. Loved the guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments: Chartres Cathedral, including the evening light show, and market day in Sarlat."

Jennifer

Tour: 04/21/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We didn't expect to be so cold on this tour. And wet! I won't go this early again unless it's a southern location. But, Rick can't control the weather, only the tour, so tossing the weather aside, I'd say the tour was not one of my favorites (this was #11) but I did enjoy it especially after we had already experienced Paris and the Heart of France last fall.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow for me was the boat ride down the Dordogne. We were supposed to ride in canoes, but because of the weather forecast, our guide got us a boat with a cover. But it turned out to be a glorious day, no rain, nice and cool, and the clouds and blue sky added to the enjoyment of peacefully floating down the river. "

Adrienne

Tour: 04/21/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tena

Tour: 04/21/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cave art and viaduct."

Holly

Tour: 04/21/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

5th RS tour. We brought 7 friends with us. Great to visit some familiar places and discover several new spots. Can't wait to enjoy tour #6!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chartres en Lumiere; Returning to Amboise, Duck Confit, Market day in Sarlat, Walking through the Pont du Gard"

Lisa

Tour: 10/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Patrick, was outstanding! His energy and knowledge of the towns and sights that we visited were informative and interesting! He treated each of us with care and kept us entertained throughout the tour! Our group was incredible! Each person was easy to be around during our dinners and bus trips. A memorable tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was canoeing on the Dordogne river. The sights along the way were spectacular!"

Pam

Tour: 10/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our France tour. Great guides, great places and great people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, one was our private walk on the Roman aqueduct. Another was the canoe trip down the Dordogne River floating past chateaus. "

Anne

Tour: 10/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was absolutely superb, with a variety of activities for all tastes. There was an adequate amount of free time built in, which I much appreciated! This may be my favorite of all the RS tours I have taken, though that is a hard choice to make!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many that it is hard to choose, but I think it might be the night walk that the guide Patrick took us on at Carcassonne as we exited the fortress after dinner. That was such fun and simply stunning! But, as I said, this was a very hard choice--the Roussignac cave, the canoeing on the Dordogne, the walk along the top of the Pont du Gard, the Chartres light show at night--all worthy of WOW! And the food, especially the cassoulet in Carcassonne--marvelous!"

David

Tour: 10/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic group of travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The surprise "DeVermeer a Van Goh" show in Les Baux-de-Provence."

Janelle

Tour: 10/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

On our tour we saw and experienced France with a high level of personal involvement which made it very real and interesting. We had a terrific group of fellow travelers and excellent tour guides. I had a few favorite events/locations, but only by minor degrees because everything we saw gave us the culture, history, language and geography of a true French experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me my “wow” moment was the day we saw the cave art followed by this rather lazy canoe ride. I’ve read a lot about prehistoric cave drawings, watched some documentaries about them, and had always wanted to see them however, I didn’t think that would happen. In fact, many of the caves are closed to the public now so it was a real treat to be able to see them. And the canoe ride was really lovely…dreamy."

Pamela

Tour: 10/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I never could have planned this experience on my own (and I am a very seasoned traveller). It was such a luxury to have someone else do the driving, to have nice hotels in fantastic locations all reserved, and to have expert guides with us on the tour and on the ground.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say... I never thought I would ever see prehistoric cave drawings - but there I was in a prehistoric cave, looking at beautiful sketches of wild horses and woolly mammoths...... Canoeing down the Dordogne River on a gorgeous day with chateaux and castles on either side was like a dream. Carcasonne fortress lit up at night- you have to see it to believe ...."

Liz

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an action packed tour loaded with history, scenic activities and lots of wonderful wines.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in the actual tunnel of an intact Roman aqueduct. I never really understood or appreciated the engineering genius of the Romans who supplied fresh water which enabled cities to flourish. "

Heather

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Tour was Fabulous due to our guide - Virginie

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Virginie arranged for a group of us to see the Lascaux Caves on our free afternoon. My wow moment was seeing the ceiling of one of the caves."

Barbara

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

tour was expertly run. Other participants were great. Guide was fantastic, as was the bus driver

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show as Les Baux"

Patricia

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was better than my expectations. This is the 4th October that I signed up for this tour. We all know what happened in 2020. I had to have a complete ankle reconstruction in 2022 & a hip replacement this year so keeping my fingers crossed & masked indoors even if others didn’t for weeks before I flew out for this tour. Wanted to make sure that the 4th time was a charm. The whole tour was great, I did everything for a great experience, thanks to a great tour guide, Virgjnie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a few WOW moments on this tour. Canoeing on the Dordogne River was an awesome experience. With my injuries, surgerues & atrophy as a result, I was stressing that I wouldn’t be able to do this. There is always the option of meeting up with the tour after the canoe ride & taking the bus to the end. I did it, I rowed hard. I wasn’t even sore. I didn’t fall in. Totally loved it. My other WOW moment was walking through the aqueduct where the water flowed in Roman times in iconic Pont du Gard."

Warren

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a truly outstanding tour. Everything about the tour was well organized and executed . A nicely curated itinerary with an amazing guide/teacher along with a fantastic group of travelers made for a memorable and fun trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed every part of the tour and there were many "wow" moments, but the Chartres Cathedral light show, the Carrieres des Lumieres exhibit , the Rouffignac caves and kayaking down the Dordogne River were my biggest "WOW" experiences."

Karen

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour due to the tour members and our guide, Virginie. Seeing so many amazing things and experiencing the foods of each region, learning about the history and culture of the french was wonderful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoeing on the Dordogne River, Chartres en Lumieres, the light shown in the quarry in Les Baux de Provence"

Mary

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 15th tour so I was sure it could not exceed expectations but it did. Virginie’s level of professionalism, knowledge, enthusiasm and compassion are unsurpassed in my experience. She made this tour come alive while patiently guiding a lot of senior citizens. Her command of English is incredible. If I could recommend one RS tour to a total stranger it would be this one with Virginie because she does it all so well and France is just that beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lascaux Caves. I thought this would be hokey as it is a reproduction. It was not hokey. I finally understand why the history of Western art starts here, where the caves are not only beautifully painted, but done so in a mysteriously meaningful way that cannot be appreciated from 2D photos. The 3D experience and the breadth of the work were mind boggling."

John

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip itinerary was great. We have taken over 15 Rick Steves trips and our guide Virginie was the best one we have ever had. She was incredibly organized, unbelievably patient, and always upbeat and helpful for the entire 2 weeks. She did a first class job from beginning to end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Roman aqueduct and the Lascaux Caves "

Sherwood

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Virginie was great! Really enjoyed all of our excursions and the hotels were very comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The 2,00 year old cave paintings and canoeing."

Dennis

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide Virginie was amazing helping us to understand the French culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my "wow" moments was canoeing down the Dordogne on a beautiful day seeing the Castles and Chateaus. We ended up with an incredible picturesque walk in the town of La Roque-Gageac. "

Michael

Tour: 10/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great! From the first day, we felt welcome and important. This being our first Rick Steves Tour, I was astounded by the sheer number of tours our traveling companions had taken. Our guide was outstanding. So many sights! Such a wonderful variety of food and wine. I think we spent just the right amount of time at each stop. I never felt rushed. Our 25 or so traveling companions were delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was a toss up between the astounding cave drawings that were 20,000 years old and the up close look at Roman engineering and architecture."

Mary Kay

Tour: 09/24/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip! The itinerary got us into the kind of “back doors” that reflect the RS style of travel. The days were busy, but the interspersed free time and stops during bus days helped alleviate the feeling of being rushed from one sight to the next. I was worried that I might get a little “chateau-ed out”, but each had a different emphasis that kept the experiences fresh. Claire’s enthusiasm for France and the French people added a special je ne sais quoi to everything we did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food! It was just one wow moment after another. Duck confit in Sarlat, cassoulet in Carcassonne, bull stew near Arles, saucisson, cheese, and baguettes from the markets, the wine everywhere – I felt we were truly getting a taste of French culture."

Laurie B

Tour: 09/24/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well run tour. Many amazing sites seen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lumiere on buildings in Chartre"

Craig

Tour: 09/24/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip with an amazing mix of history, from ancient to WWII, plus art, food and experiences. The bus time was nicely broken up so it didn't feel excessive and there was a good mix of group visits and free time. Claire was an excellent guide, keeping us on track, giving us good context for our visits and ensuring we knew what we'd be doing at each stop so we knew what to expect and could be travelers not tourists on a bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many: the Lumieres at Chartes, cave paintings, shopping all the markets to create lunch picnics. Oradour-sur-Glane was very emotional."

Gerald

Tour: 09/24/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an exciting and active tour. I liked that our experiences were mostly in smaller, less congested cities and provided a good look into the history, culture and natural beauty of the areas. We were fortunate to have a great group of travelers, good weather, a highly skilled bus driver and Claire, an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many! Chartres - the light show and the treasured Malcolm came first. Next was the prehistoric art in the Rouffignac Caves and the canoe ride down the Dordogne."

Marsha

Tour: 09/24/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it was fantastic! The best thing was not having the stress of making hotel and travel reservations; we could just enjoy. We visited places that we wouldn't have had we been on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to say what the favorite wow moment was...there were so many! The canoe trip down the Dordogne was probably my favorite, although the cave visit and light show were also "wows"."

Adele

Tour: 09/24/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved it! The itinerary was wonderful. The only tweak I can think of is to make the visit to Carcassonne two nights instead of one. We needed a second day to unwind.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Rouffignac Cave visit was AMAZING ! The "light' show, Carrières des Lumières, defies description. "

Mark

Tour: 09/17/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Laurie

Tour: 09/17/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pretty much a continuous "Wow"."

Greg

Tour: 09/17/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We appreciated the expertise of our guide Nina

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really enjoyed the wine tasting and lunch, since we come from Sonoma county "

Morag

Tour: 09/17/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

4th tour - great itinerary , wonderful guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Between Chinon & Sarlat , stopped in the tiny town of Mortemart where the lovely lady mayor gave us a 15 tour of her village in torrential rain . We had a picnic in the town hall . That intimate experience could only happen on a RS tour !! 2) walking inside the roman aqueduct nr Arles ( Pont de Gare )"

Dean

Tour: 09/17/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour and guide were great. Because it rained a bit in the beginning things changed a bit. But overall a very good tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the aqueduct. That was incredible. "

Dennis

Tour: 09/10/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves’ tour, and we highly recommend it. Our tour guide Arnaud was very knowledgeable, and being French gave us wonderful insight into French history and culture. He shared experiences we could never get from a tour book. His assistant Richard was also amazing. He was very helpful & patient with us seniors. Our fellow travelers were so much fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments: At least one each day, the ones that stand out were: Night illumination of the Chartres Cathedral; beautiful Chateaus & gardens; WWII martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane; Pont du Gard; the luminary in the quarry and Canoeing down the Dordogne River. Also enjoyed the free time we had to walk the quaint streets throughout the tour and sampling the various flavors of Gelato. "

Barry

Tour: 09/10/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The guides (Arnough and trainee, Richard) were delightfully funny, enthusiastic, and very knowledgeable. This fact coupled with a very interesting group of co-travelers made the trip especially nice. Oh yes, and the tour of castles, cathedrals and small towns of France absolutely exceeded our expectations. This tour was filled with ancient world history and stunning scenery.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was the Quarry of Lights Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux-de-Provence. The music and laser art show was un unexpected treat. For my wife, it was the castles, surrounding gardens and the markets (Sarlat and St. Remy)"

Antonia

Tour: 09/10/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Covid interrupted our trip on day 9.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"None on this trip. I skipped the canoe ride which might have been a "wow" moment for me."

Elsa

Tour: 09/10/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

ooh-la-la, this was a wonderful tour and we saw so much. There were churches and chateaux to admire; prehistoric paintings to gaze at; an old Roman aqueduct; a walled medieval city; wine tastings and great food; the thought provoking visit to Oradour sur Glane and last but not least, the gorgeous Cote d'Azur.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments: the light and sound show outside Chartres Cathedral, the spectacular gardens at Chateau Villandry, the Rouffignac caves, paddling down the Dordogne, seeing Carcassonne, climbing to the top of the Pond du Gard, and walking in the footsteps of Van Gogh in the town of Arles."

Aida Triana

Tour: 09/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guide, Julie, excellent driver, love the itinerary, the meal together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Private tour into La Grotte de Rouffignac and the 13,000 - year old drawings ! Amazing !!!"

Krista

Tour: 09/03/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was phenomenal! The guide did so well even with pretty major travel difficulties! The local guides were awesome and gave so much in depth detail on their tours. The local specialties were a fun treat, and the sites we stopped at reminded me why I love to travel. There is always something new to discover.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop at Les Baux was awesome! I could have spent way more time there exploring the medieval ruins. "

David

Tour: 09/03/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Actual itinerary accurately reflected description on website in terms of physical demands etc. Two factors contributed disproportionately to our positive experience: terrific tour guide and amazingly agreeable group of tour participants - there were NO GRUMPS. Several activities on tour we would have never scheduled if traveling on our own were true highlights. Sadly COVID impacted our group but protocols were enforced in a professional manner as described on website.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Motor coach left us stranded on side of the road after multiple previous mechanical issues. Our tour guide quickly surveyed alternatives, polled the group and explained options. The group decision was made that we would walk back to town. I was very favorably impressed with the guide's process of decision making ."

Jack

Tour: 09/03/23

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

Our tour guide, Claire, was excellent, however. the group's bus broke down three times. But for luck and Claire's quick thinking, the final breakdown would have caused us to have to walk along side the road for 1.5 miles with our baggage. Yikes. My wife and I caught Covid midway into the tour and had to go our separate way. Claire was very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral at Chartres, its rose window, and the spectacular light show in the evening."

Joanne

Tour: 09/03/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was superb—such a perfect mix of medieval villages, towering cathedrals, formidable castles, river views, beautiful chateaus and gardens, plus French food & wine. A definite winner!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont du Gard was an absolutely wow! To think that something that intricate, important, and huge was built over 2000 years ago and is still standing is simply amazing. Totally blew away my expectations!"

Cynthia

Tour: 09/03/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had the most wonderful tour guide, Claire, who, despite several challenges (two buses that broke down, record heat approaching 100 degrees and three couples who had to leave the tour when they tested positive for covid) gave us all the promised trip activities with more thrown in! Sometimes the worst things turn into the best things such as when an empty local bus appeared at the very time we needed a ride after our own bus broke down in 100 degree weather! How did that happen?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont du Gard and its tour by the local guide who took us through the channel where the water used to flow. Amazing! Also, the canoe trip down the Dordogne River where we saw beautiful French chateaux along the way. And the very special cassoulet dinner in Carcassonne presented in a huge caldron by a robed chef! Delicious beyond words followed by a heavenly raspberry pastry. Yum!"

Stewart

Tour: 09/03/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a fun and interesting tour, with our experiences mostly in line with our expectations. The cathedrals and churches were amazing, the châteaus were interesting, the history of the places we visited was fascinating, and it was great to see parts of France that we hadn't seen before. We enjoyed seeing the remains of Roman constructions and the remnants of buildings and traditions/culture that have survived the centuries in many of the places we visited. The tour group was fun and flexible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a gardener, the landscaping at the Château de Villandry was insipring; and as a hydrologist, I found the Pont du Gard to be amazing. The tour had many memorable moments spanning the range of thought-provoking (the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane) and historical (Carcassonne) to fun (the canoe trip), but Villandry and the Pont du Gard provided the most "wows" for me."

Mario A

Tour: 08/27/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was a blast. This was our 14th trip with RSE and we enjoyed from beginning to end.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many 'wow' moments, including the Chartres' cathedral & glass stain museum, the castles and their gardens, Sarlat, the Point de Gard aqueduct, Arles' Arena, the wines tastings, Nice and their museum. "

Gail

Tour: 08/27/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I have a lot of experience in France because my daughter lives there (I went on this tour with 5 friends at their invitation - I'm invited, i'm not about to turn it down...) Despite that, this tour was excellent with lots of things that I hadn't had a tour of before with a guide who told me things I actually hadn't previously researched! He was a real resource and added a lot to my store of useless facts that I love!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night pictures on the side of the Chartres cathedral were good. The canoe ride down the Dordogne was good though very hot and I didn't know where it ended. Villandry."

Jenny

Tour: 08/27/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was impressed! The itinerary pushed me to go places I wouldn't otherwise visited and do activities I wouldn't have imagined doing. I definitely benefitted from the tour's planning. Better yet, our guide Patrick was a gem of information and entertainment!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoeing on the Dordogne River was so much fun!"

Susan

Tour: 08/27/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patrick made each day of our tour special. First time to France and Patrick packed so many things into each day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking down the hill in Carcassonne after dinner with Patrick and stopping on a bridge for a champagne toast, turning around to see the cathedral lit up at night. Or, canoeing down the Dordogne river and getting stranded (temporarily) on the rocks and having a good laugh. Or sitting at a cafe on market day in Sarlat and watching shoppers and then watching the vendors take their displays down. Quite a feat maneuvering vehicles on those narrow streets crowded with people. "

Irene

Tour: 08/27/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was looking forward to a less touristy area of France and this fit the bill. Loved the countryside.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Leonardo's workshop, gardens at the Chateaus, and the ducks we stopped to photograph! Also, the food was excellent wherever we were. All the wines were excellent too! Oh, just everything was WOW."

Edward

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 4th RS tour. They have all been very good which is why we have taken 4 tours. The people on the RS tours are similar to my wife and me, i.e. mature, retired or about to, nice, and appreciative of the work done by the RS organization and the guides in putting the trips together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Pont de Gard"

Patricia

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. Claire was excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prehistoric cave drawings at Grotte de Rouffignac."

Susan

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great Hotels, excellent food, terrific tours, fantastic Guide; Claire

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Light show on the Cathedral in Chartes"

Carmen

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When I think of this experience, I describe it as magical. Visiting the Loire Valley was amazing! From the villages to the people we met, the sites we visited and the food we ate. The experiences were fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Chartres Cathedral, there were so many other well moments the markets with the fresh produce, spices, the lavender in Provence. There was a WOW moment every single day I think."

Jeffrey

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We traveled with a great group of positive & flexible people. All of the sights were lovely, varied & well chosen. The hotels were comfortable, air conditioned & centrally located - each with its own personality. Claire was an excellent guide who made everyone feel included & taken care of.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the beautiful French countryside - especially the Loire Valley & the Dordogne region. It’s hard to pick one wow - it was all wonderful. "

Carol

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very interesting and informative. I appreciated the wealth of history and information provided by our guide Claire. Philippe was an awesome driver and made great vinagaret! Claire did a great job of finding traveler’s special talents and incorporating their expertise into the day to day touring. Travel group was compatible with interesting individuals. Claire introduced local specialties thoughtfully which allowed the travelers to try them out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many great moments! My bucket list opportunity was the cave exploration and the troglodyte sites. I was hoping to get to spend our vacation day from the tour exploring other caves since we were so close."

Teresa

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although I have planned many European tours using Rick's travel guides, this was our first tour! I love planning trips and it is one of my favorite parts of travel but as I researched how to travel in France it became clear that this was a good opportunity to try a tour and of course the best tours are with Rick Steves. My husband and I were so amazed that we experienced and learned so much more on a tour than we could ever do ourselves traveling independently for about the same cost.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose a favorite. The Pont du Gard guide was hilarious and the aqueduct was spectacular. Medieval Carcassonne was a place we wished we could have stayed 2 nights. The vineyard picnic was a delight too. Rouffignac cave was breathtaking. We enjoyed getting to know our guide and fellow travelers so much."

Julie

Tour: 06/18/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized. A nice balance of group activities and free time. We were able to experience far more than if we had traveled on our own. Loved it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was “wowed” by most of the tour! I particularly enjoyed the tour of a small town in the Dordogne countryside given by it’s former mayor (a lively lady with great pride in her community!). It provided insight into the everyday lives of those not living in large cities. A beautiful spot I would have never gotten to experience on my own!"

Michael

Tour: 06/04/23

We had a great time and met some fantastic new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"With some free time in Salat we went on a long bicycle ride through the countryside."

William

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience and great guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Chinoceau chateaux"

Richard

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed this tour as a survey of different regions of France, spending several days in each area to get a feel for the local culture, history, and cuisine. And this was enhanced by the information and stories shared by our guide, Arnaud. We appreciated the kindness of our driver, Phillippe. Contrasting with my experience on Rick's South England tour last year, I see that start times were comparable, but dinner times on this tour were about an hour later, and that did make the days feel longer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow"s: * I could listen to Malcom Miller all day, sharing a lifetime of knowledge of the cathedral at Chartres. * I loved Rouffignac Cave, and our guide there was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic -- she was a gem. * The images and music at Carrières des Lumières are beautiful. Sometimes the quiet moments are especially memorable: wandering the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau or Carcassonne on my own, lunch with the group in the quiet village of Mortemart, sitting in the Roman arena in Arles."

Deb

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 8th tour with RS, and it did not disappoint. A great collection of sights, meals, hotel, and company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sarlat and Arles were my favorite towns. Standing in the places where Van Gogh's works were painted."

David

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the whole tour. It felt like there was a good balance between group time and free time. The hotels were fine although some will need to install air conditioning as Europe gets warmer. The food was great and I was pleased to have shrunk by one belt notch due to the daily walking. The sites were well selected and I enjoyed our guide, Arnaud, and his talks on the bus about French culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially appreciated the Rouffignac Cave. It was the unique experience of the trip and exceeded my expectations."

Lisa

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

fabulous old world feel in the modern age

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! Chartres night light show was spectacular."

Patricia

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A quality guide has the ability to elevate a tour and the exceptional Arnaud did that for us. He helped forge a bond among the participants and was able to pivot with well-researched options when rain impacted activities. He shared himself, his life, and his love and knowledge of France. This tour covers a lot of territory and a broad range of activities. One day you're admiring glorious castles, soon you're looking at prehistoric cave drawings or the remains of a village destroyed by the Nazis.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always a difficult question. The caves at Rouffignac were jaw-dropping. I knew the gardens at Villandry were spectacular, but I loved the castle with the family photos as well. Finally, there was the impact of walking through the streets and cemetery of Oradour-sue-Glane."

Brian

Tour: 06/04/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd Rick Steve’s tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Our guide, Arneau was super entertaining, funny and we learned so much about France and the French culture from him. Each area we went to was wonderful but my favorite was Sarlat and the Dordogne region - so incredibly beautiful! I would highly recommend this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dordogne region and the town of Sarlat. The market in Sarlat was amazing! My second favorite was the Carrieres de Lumieres - an immersive art exhibit in an abandoned quarry. SO DREAMY! "

Robert

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Checked off a number of bucket list boxes, including Arles, Carcassonne and Chinon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sarlat was a surprise. What a stunning town. The market was amazing."

Linda

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

So much fun! Traveling with kindred spirits was so enjoyable. Claire, our guide, covered history and culture and current issues in a delightful way. The excursions and field trips were rich. Local tour guides were great (just one was very difficult to understand).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First--experiencing the prehistoric cave art was priceless! The bison, horses, mammoths and other animals were breathtaking and so beautiful! I will never forget being in the presence of such priceless art! Second--I loved the animated light show in the quarry and wanted to see it again! "Starry Night" was wonderful! Third--Oradour was such an important history lesson. Thank you for making it possible for us to be there."

Ann

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of people, wonderful guide & bus driver plus lots of new, exciting places visited

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I visited so many new places! I can only narrow it down to three: Chateau Villandry with it's gorgeous gardens; the Dordogne River area with towns like Les Eyzies; and the lovely hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence"

Jean

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great, as all my Rick Steves tours have been. Good guide, good local guides, well-located hotels, well-planned itinerary. And our fellow travelers were thoughtful, considerate and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the almost 2,000 year-old boat in the museum in Arles. The idea that a wooden boat could survive all that time was almost unimaginable. It also allowed me to step back to that moment in history."

Eva

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoeing"

Suzanne

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide. Really enjoyed the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the gardens at Chenonceau and the cave art."

Susan

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Itinerary, food and guide (Claire) were outstanding. Tour was full of laughs and great fun. The group bonded together really quickly; I think, thanks to Claire’s impromptu social events! Loved the fact that food quality was good and we bought our own wine - very fair and meant those who like good wine (me) could choose from a list. One of the best RS tours I’ve been on (my 6th). Sarlat was a good choice for the vacation day - the kettle in the room was most appreciated!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mammoth cave and the beautiful Dordogne scenery. Loved the churchyard picnic and the breakfast with the cocker spaniel wandering about (Carassonne). Great bunch of people and enthusiastic, friendly, lovely guide. "

Frank

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour had a lot of variety and as always with at Rick Steves tour, we got very "up close and personal" with the people and places we encountered. The accommodations, with the exception of Chartres, were excellent and well-located. The local guides were also very strong. The tour leader used the meals provided by the tour to give us a wonderful experience with local food and gastronomy. The bus driver was fantastic. As tour leader, Claire was very well-organized and well-prepared.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two....One was while visiting the cave drawings in Dordogne, which exceeded every expectation tI had. Many years ago when I was teaching French, my textbook had a reading on the cave drawings. I only wish that I had experienced the caves before I taught students with this reading. The other was while visiting Oradour-sur-Glane, a village which the Germans destroyed and killed its inhabitants. This reminder of inhumanity and disregard for the dignity of life was sobering. "

Randy

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an incredible time of learning, exploring and enjoying great experiences. I was blown away by how many times we saw and experienced things that I had never seen or heard about. Great job!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show in the quarry."

Janna

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. So many experiences and locations with wonderful history, food, and fun. I really felt the tour covered a vast part of France that I have never seen. I highly recommend. Our guide Clair was fun, patient and very knowledgeable- she made the trip a super fun time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many- seeing the pilgrimage arrive at the spectacular cathedral in Chartes, walking through the aqueduct at Point du Gard, the moving experience of seeing the WWII martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane, Chalets, magnificent flowers, markets and food for the foodie’s! "

Roswynne

Tour: 05/28/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Guide Clair was engaging, helpful, knowledgeable and fun, our 6th RS tour a very good mix of experiences, we have many cathedrals and stained glass so the first day in Chartres was a tad repetitive for us, but both local guides we very good so I don’t want to be off putting. Chartres is a delightful start town so arrive a day or two early. The rest of the tour was really great, just the right amount of Chateaux, the hotels charming, a lot of thought has gone into the planning of this tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, Canoeing down the Dordogne, sure a splash of rain added to the thrill. The pont du Gard as you actually get to walk through it, the extremely touching visit to Oradour-sur-Glane, which everyone should see so we never forget to stay human "

Robin

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour of France, with a nice variety of activities. Our guide Arnaud and driver Phillip were fun, humorous and had a great attention to details.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That’s a hard one, I loved the smaller medieval towns. One of my unexpected favorites was Les Baux de Providence. We loved getting into town and wondering around the narrow streets with maybe a stop for a glass of Rose."

Beth

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I’m so glad I picked this tour - I enjoyed learning more about France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can’t say there was a single “wow” moment on this tour but a lot of “that’s neat” experiences such as the light show on the Chartres cathedral, the chateaus - especially the gardens, wine and food tasting experiences, Arnaud’s French lessons, Nice, etc."

Nancy

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyable trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Villandry gardens"

Daniel

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The one thing I hate about rick Steve tours is the name game. We are not children and do not want to have extra stress on vacation. Arnaud our guide never mentioned this obnoxious event and did not do it. For this alone he receives an outstanding job from me. Arnoud and Phillipe, our bus driver, made a great comedy team and it was a pleasure spending time with them. on the train ride from Nice to Monaco, it was so crowded a fist fight broke out when someone couldn't get out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We love to wander in wonder in all the medieval towns."

Karen

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The beautiful French countryside with all of its glorious castles and gardens was everything I thought it would be! What surprised me were the 13,000-year-old cave drawings on our way to Sarlat, and how buildings were built right into rock walls in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac. Loved relaxing and having lunch at Domain Guinand Winery - Saint Christol…felt like a backyard picnic with family and friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I feel like I had many “wow” moments, but two that stand out are walking the quaint, cobbled streets of the medieval town of Carcassonne and seeing and walking across the Pont du Gard…the fact that it was built 20 centuries ago is utterly amazing!"

Francea

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Arno, our guide was very experienced and provided a great deal of information as we traveled. The guides where we had guides in each stop were excellent. The tour was good, but no real wow moments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No real wow moment."

Paula

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip was a genuine study of France. Our guide Arnaud introduced us to the culture and daily life in France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoeing on the Dordogne River"

Claire

Tour: 05/21/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 8th Rick Steves tour, and yet again it surpassed our expectations. The hotels were in central locations, and clearly family run. Every room on our tour was clean, and very functional. In other words to North American standards. The buses are large enough for everyone to get a window seat, and the driver was very safe. Arno (our guide) was excellent, as were the specialist tour guides. The group meals were also ace, as were the enroute picnics. Looking forward too tour #9.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seriously there were many wow moments like the 13,000 year old cave paintings at Rouffignac Cave, but equally Carcassonne, Arle, and its museum stand out as does the ability to walk through the aquadute at Pont du Gard. Then again Chartre is incomparable, and Nice was also wow. On a tour like this a single wow moment can't exist but every day had wow moments that will stick for ever."

Elizabeth

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a fabulous time on this tour (my 13th). The itinerary was great, the guide (Patrick) and assistant (Richard) were outstanding, and the group of very interesting people melded well. I enjoyed all the planned (and unplanned) activities from the opening light show in Chartres to deciding on an ice cream from the huge selection of flavors in Nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour started with the WOW of the light show in Chartres (so good I went back to see just the front of the cathedral the next night) and then more WOWs - all the beautiful stained glass, the cave art, canoeing, walking atop the Roman aqueduct, the immersive lightshow in the quarry (!!!), the intricate garden at Villandry , the beautiful roses in the towns, seeing Carcassonne from a distance, market day in Sarlat, and plenty of time to wander the streets to make my own discoveries."

Nancy

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The country was beautiful and your locations were perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was not one thing that truly stood out as a wow moment since the scenery seemed to keep giving me that "WOW"! I will say, though this really isn't a wow moment, it was very important to me. After a fall on my first night I could not have asked for a better guide, Patrick, and his assistant, Richard. They went so far and above to make sure I was ok, helping me negotiate the French health system. One of them was by my side the whole time. I can't say enough of their kindness and help!"

Angela

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had an amazing tour! It felt like we saw all the most fascinating places at just the right time ahead of the crowds. Patrick was an absolutely brilliant tour guide and I met so many wonderful people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So difficult to pick just one!!! I loved seeing Chateau Chenonceau and Villandry in person!! But walking on the Pont du Gard was spectacular!! I also loved being in Sarlat. "

Barbara

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved every minute. Our tour guide was exceptional, Patrick. He was efficient, caring, knowledgeable, informative, funny, prepared and devoted to us learning about France and the sites we visited. Would tour France again with him!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, many but the standouts are: walking over Pont du Gard, canoeing down the Dordogne and walking through old town of Sarlat in the evening with the lights making the buildings glow. Of course, Carcassonne was a dream."

Linda

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the in depth information provided by Patrick our guide and being in just one country. Flawless

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Carcassonne castle at night from the bridge."

Madelyn

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Morning at Pont de Gard"

Louis

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Been on 6 RS tours and this was one of the best. Each town/village was unique.

Kent

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Patrick was an outstanding guide, making accommodations for us as a non-drinking couple in wine country. Loved seeing the small town nooks and crannies of Southern France. The stops were perfect. All were interesting; we didn't feel rushed and we were ready to move on as the group needed to go. What can I say? another great RS trip. Only downside. The tour sizes keep creeping up and make it feel less intimate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being serenaded by a Pyrenees Shepherd choir in Sarlat, after picking up lunch items from the open markets. The dozen singers broke into four part harmony for a ten minute song when we gave up our picnic table for the group."

George

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Patrick Vidal assisted by his son Patrick as well as our driver were exceptional in every way. The meals and accommodations provided were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard - as an engineer much respect for the Roman design and construction of the aqueduct. Also memorable was the canoe trip down the Dordogne followed by a view of the river from above, viewing the fortress of Carcassonne from below at night and the pre-historic cave tour."

Richard

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have worked in design and construction for 50 years and I have always been intrigued with the knowledge, capabilities and results of the western world covering the roman and middle ages. From Chartres to the Pont du Gard to the Roman Arena and Theatre at Arles it was all interesting. I would like to have seen Julie Sonveau's (SP) castle building project some time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was looking up at the large arches in the Pont Du Gard and discovered that because of the lift limitations of the stone pieces the arches where not constructed of single depth or course of stones but three. This means that arches of the larger structures are actually three parallel structures, yep 3 stones deep. I love this stuff. "

Patsy

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fun and memorable experiences, knowledgeable and delightful guides, and a great group of tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many very memorable sites and experiences, but for me the most "Wow!" moments were witnessing the magnificence of the Chartres cathedral, Carcassonne, and the Pont du Gard. I am always amazed at the construction skills of workers so long ago and humbled at the thought of how many lives preceded us here. "

Vicki

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Small town France does not disappoint. I loved the scenery, the chateaus, the food, the old town walks, the valley views, all the evidence that the Romans were there. Patrick and Richard were consummate professionals, taking care of every detail with humor and grace and made it look easy. I loved the people we met in our tour group who shared their delights with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The light show on Chartres Cathedral was fantastic. Canoeing down the Dordogne followed by seeing stunning ancient cave paintings was wonderful. But the best moment was when, as we were giving up our picnic table to a large Pyrenees choral group, they "paid" us by gathering around us and singing a Pyrenees shepherd's love song in 4-part harmony. It was the kind of moment that makes you feel travel rich for years afterwards. Magical!"

Joyce

Tour: 05/14/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Patrick was so wonderful! He was full of knowledge, experienced at keeping the whole group moving together and made every step comfortable and fun with good anticipatory information. Chartres Cathedral was grand, the Loire Valley enchanting, the Dordogne so lovely and full of history (and foie gras)! Arles and Nice were great, with a different flavor than the above. So very fun, well planned and excellently guided! Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved canoeing on the Dordogne. Stunningly picturesque, and again, Patrick just mustered us all up, got those of us ready who wanted to canoe, and off we went!"

Richard

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Liked the diversity of experiences on RS tours (e.g. WWI / WW II sites, art immersion, ancient and medieval venues) and time for my own exploration.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the village of Oradour-Sur-Glane destroyed by Nazis. Vermeer to Van Gogh art immersion in Les Baux de Provence. Ordering12 fantastically delicious escargots several times during the tour."

Jil

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The history of the regions we visited helped connect other tours together. The quality of local guides make the tours shine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing the cave paintings from 17,000 years ago, and traveling inside of the Pont du Garde where the water a thousand years ago traveled."

Mary

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour itinerary description received before the trip was followed very closely on the actual tour. The tour guide Claire was excellent. Very knowledgeable, easy to understand, very clear about telling the group the plan for the day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few but I would say the Villandry chateau. Beautiful gardens, I could have stayed there longer!"

Victor

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Mediocre in retrospect. Guide was good but itinerary too repetitive. Group dinners forgettable steam table fare covered by poor sauces. Except for duck in Sarlat, wish we had eaten on our own. Too many chateaux some of which were empty (Azay-le-Rideau poor after Chenonceau). Yet we purchased visit to DaVinci house and garden and was fun, but not on ourtour. A few awful local guides (M, Miller). (I hated Oradour- sur Glane; French promotion of hate, Stupid! Pointless visit to J. Baker Chat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rouffingac Cave paintings. "

Susan

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a delightful tour, and that says a lot, since I believe it rained -- hard -- most days of the tour. Yet we still had an enjoyable and interesting experience, so I expect the tour in nice weather would be spectacular. I think the tour plan was a good mix of experiences: we saw some spectacular chateaux and cathedrals, but it wasn't overdone, and we were exposed to food specialties of every region and lots of interesting stops and plenty of free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! Most breathtaking was definitely the Rouffignac cave drawings; I can't describe the feeling of seeing them in person. I also appreciated the thoughtful way the stop at Oradour-sur-Glane was handled, to allow people to be with their own thoughts, although I really wish we had more time. And I had the most fun on the canoe ride on the Dordogne, which, thankfully, was on one of the only nonrainy days we had."

Elizabeth

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the variety of experiences included in this tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most impactful experience was at Rouffignac Cave - felt awe and timeless connection to our pre-historic ancestors who created 16,000 years ago these masterpieces on the cave’s walls and ceilings. "

Eric

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my 3rd RS tour. The itinerary was well thought out, logistics were handled smoothly and the guide was outstanding. There was a wide and interesting variety of geographies and experiences on this trip. As usual, I learned a lot. Unfortunately the weather was marginal and more significantly, there was a Covid outbreak during the tour which affected over 50% of the group by the time we got to Nice. Claire handled it as well as could be expected but it brought things down.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Best day for me was Day 6 starting with the stunning Rouffignac cave and ending with the canoe trip down the Dordogne river. Our picnic in the park after "hunting and gathering" at market day in Sarlat was also a personal highlight."

Terry

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Loire to South of France tour was everything we hoped it would be, except the weather which was unseasonably cool and wet. Our guide Claire and driver Phillpe were both great at what they did. The hotel rooms were good, some excellent. In all cases, the beds were super comfortable and showers great. Some were larger, some smaller and one had no elevator (we're not on the trip for the hotel rooms, right?). The tour sights we visited were all amazing. Great variety of activities. Good pacing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't just one "wow" moment that stands out, there were several. The light show on the Chartes cathedral at night, our private walking tour with the town mayor of the small village of Mortemart, the special priviledge of walking atop the Pont du Gard where the water would have actually flowed, the outdoor lunch at the family winery. Can I just say, REAL French bread every morning!"

Deborah

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Rick Steves tours are a great balance between group and individual experiences, and this tour was just that. Except for a few welcomed “surprises” by our guide, the tour played out exactly to itinerary expectations. This tour was well planned, fine tuned, with safety and guest satisfaction in mind. You cannot beat an itinerary that starts outside of Paris and meanders through lush river valleys and rugged limestone mountains, ending up in the beautiful Côte d’Azur. This was our 8th RS adventure!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments: Walking across the Pont du Gard aqueduct, tracing the water flow of the ancient Roman waterway while experiencing gale force wind (Le Mistral). The “Vermeer to Van Gogh” art immersion set in a fantastic venue - an old quarry. Being fascinated by a well-seasoned stained glass art historian who explained the meaning of key windows in Chartres Cathedral. Chateau Villandry and the medieval fortress of Carcassone, both stunning in different ways. "

Kay

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour guide Claire, and beautiful venues.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Josephine Baker house in the Dordogne Valley."

Kay

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was great. Our guide, Claire, was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wow moment for me was seeing actual 17,000 year old cave drawings in Grotto de Rouffignac. The paintings of horses, woolly mammoths, etc were amazingly well done and proportioned. These paintings were done one and a half to two miles into caves (where these people did not live). There were drawings that were on the ceiling of an area only two feet high. They would have been done Sistine Chapel-like on their backs without being able being able to see the whole. Mind blowing!"

Jeanne

Tour: 05/08/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a wonderful experience, visiting many of the less explored areas of France. Our tour guide was fantastic. Her enthusiasm for France and her vast knowledge of French histroy made this tour so much more than the average tour. Our guide also took us to restaurants that specialized in regional dishes such as cassoulet and fois gras. Yummy! I would have given this an outstanding experience except that the weather was cloudy with showers for almost the whole trip. l

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite " wow" moment was the immersive exhibition "From Vermeer to Van Gough" the Dutch Masters. It was the Louvre on steroids! Incredible. I only wish I could have gone through it again."

Lilette

Tour: 05/07/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful despite the frequent rain and the Mistral with the best guide ever-Virginie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting Rick Steves in person in Nice was the biggest unexpected wow but of France itself, the Light Show on the Chartres Cathedral and the DaVinci House (optional). But then there was Carcassonne, the Pont du Gard, seeing places in Arles that inspired Van Gogh, the Light Show in Les Baux, all the markets and, of course, Nice which is fabulous."

Syd

Tour: 05/07/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thanks in part to our wonderful guide Virginie More, we were well informed, educated, entertained and enlightened to the special places we visited in France. The weather was challenging from the beginning with rain and winds of 50 mph! Hahaha and we persevered throughout with humor and enjoyment. The group was good and everyone got along great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed by the gardens at Villandry being a gardener myself. I was also wowed by the cave drawings and the caves themselves. Well, the whole Dordogne region was some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. I could live there. "

Elizabeth

Tour: 05/07/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! We had a great time. Virginie was excellent and very well organized. The weather was a little less than wonderful, but that can't be helped.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Chartres cathedral, now gleaming cleaner than it's been in hundreds of years. Its beautiful blue stained glass. 2. The Pont de Gard, and being able to walk across the top of it in the water channel on a very blustery Mistral-y day. 3. The sound and light show in the quarries of Les Baux--amazing!"

Thomas

Tour: 05/07/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was outstanding because it was splendedly planned and led by your wonderful guide Virginie. I came home with an understanding of France's history dating from prehistoric caves to the French Riveria. Our guide carefully explained how each of the places fit together and make today's French culture. Seeing rural France made me realize that just as New York is not the US, Paris is not all of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At about midpoint in the trip, I stood on the top level of the Pont du Gard. I looked out over the beautiful valley and realiized I was standing where Romans stood over two thousand years ago. It is a monument of unbelievable engineering and how fortunate I was to be there as a small part of history."

Wendy

Tour: 05/07/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had an amazing time exploring a region of France that was new to me. The tour was a great mix of good food, wine, and cultural sites. Virginie was amazing and ensuring that the needs of everyone in the group was included and helped to build a family feeling among members.

Ronald

Tour: 05/07/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nice"

Christopher

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guide was knowledgable, a good story teller and worked seemingly effortlessly with the group. Obviously he was working very hard.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Light show in the underground quarry."

Kay

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

well organized tour guide. excellent local guides. overall very nice accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cote d' Azur really is the most AMAZING blue"

Jean

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Joseph

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought it was well planned, well paced, and made excellent use of our time in France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cave paintings. It was really special to be in the presence of something so old and so mysterious."

Patricia

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Loire Valley was beautiful in spring. Southern France was even better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved evening (after dinner) walks around the places we stayed. And the food!"

Leslie

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour to see castles (chateaux) and the south of France. It was amazing. The churches and chateau, the small towns, the countryside, everything was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the stained glass windows in Chartres. I had visited nearly 40 years ago, before most of the glass had been cleaned and repaired. The beauty brought tears to my eyes."

Jane

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour with the Rick Steves’ Touring Company. I had always wanted to tour southern France, and your touring company did an excellent job of showing me all the wonderful sites of this part of France. I will consider Rick Steves’ other tours in my future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two favorite “wow” moments. One was spending the day at the market in Salat. The other was the wine tasting and dinner at the scenic Languedoc-Rousillon region. The sister and brother who own the winery were so kind as well as being quite informative about how their wines are produced."

Ted

Tour: 04/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace was just right for my wife and me; we couldn't have processed or managed any faster while slower would have meant skipping some places. The percentages of meals together and apart seemed just right. The wonders packed in as we wound our way southward were consistently astonishing. How can you choose and nail down so many warm, charming hotels and find such great guides?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sixth day of our tour, In the morning, we saw for ourselves cave drawings rendered 1000's of years ago. Breathe-taking! In the afternoon, we paddled canoes on the Dordogne River, admiring chateaux on the cliffs above us. Those who wished could wade in the refreshing river afterwards!"

Valerie

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall I thought it was an excellent value--saw a lot of places, hotels were clean, experiences were mostly great, food was plentiful and very good, Guide (Linda) was knowledgeable and the driver (Phillipe) was excellent

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I truly enjoyed the lunch we had at the winery--it was such a lovely setting and the food was excellent. Our host's were most gracious and attentive"

Emilie

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour! Loved our tour guide!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list! Chartres Cathedral was wonderful! Arles was wonderful!"

Joan

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall this was a well organized and interesting tour. The towns we visited were varied in character and historical significance. Our guide, Linda along with Claire did a great job of making us feel welcome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite experience was the Chartres Cathedral. Although the weather was cold and a bit rainy we spent two evenings mesmerized by the outstanding light show on the cathedral walls. Another stunning sight was the Pont du Gard aqueduct. Hiking up and through the tunnel was an experience not to be forgotten. "

Robert

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

very good, although my mobility impacted tour participation

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Da Vinci home tour in Amboise ; cave drawings"

William

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Since turning 70, we wanted to have our first group tour with Rick Steves Travel because his books emphasize that "France is home to linger-longer pastimes ..." (p.5 "Provence and the French Riviera" 2022). So I was surprised that this tour was so regimented and had very little free time to leisurely explore the different locales. Maybe try to see less sites and allow more self-touring time? Split this tour into 2 different ones, with more time in each town?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was dreading seeing another Roman ruins, but unexpectedly the visit to the Pont du Gard was quite an experience, with the private local archeologist guide, and the ability to walk thru the path that water once ran in the aqueduct."

Christine

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a wonderful time seeing more of France. My tour group were just awesome. Everybody was very friendly and interesting, they made the trip fun. The sights were just as incredible as I hoped they would be. Linda and Claire were the best. Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moments, The gardens of Villandry, Chartres Cathedral, Carcassonne, and beautiful Nice. But everything was special!"

John

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an incredible adventure! Every day was a sensory delight. Our tour guide made every day so special, and our tour buddies seemed to coalesce into a fun-loving group very quickly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but one in particular was the cave at Rouffignac. Seeing *original* etchings and drawings from tens of thousands of years ago was very moving. I appreciate that Rick Steves tours went the extra mile for us to see the the original drawings - not some replica. Well done!"

Bob

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the scenery, history, people, and wine of France.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Cathedral in Chartres."

Rebecca L

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved my first Rick Steves tour! Linda and Claire provided a wonderful introduction to France, were patient with my French, and kept the tour together and fun. Linda's joie de vivre about her country and its culture were contagious. The tour was just right the mix of organized activities and free time. I enjoyed the yummy group dinners, full of good food, wine, and occasional song.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking down on the river Gardon from the Port du Gard while standing in the channel were water once flowed to Nimes. The Mistral wind blew all the clouds from the Occitane sky and it was beautiful. The guide was handsome and funny as well."

Pamela

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As expected, this was another entertaining and enlightening experience. It was wonderfully varied and each day was packed with adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Roman ruins in Arles, walking across the Pont-du-Gard, cave drawings"

Debbie

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

What a terrific experience! ‘Loved our tour guide Linda and apprentice Claire who not only took good care of us but shared so much about life in France as we traveled through the beautiful countryside. Our local guides provided insight into the places we visited and usually with some gentle humor. Our driver Philippe got us to each of our destinations timely, safely and with a smile. Our tour group seemed to get along well and enjoy one another’s company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit to the Pont du Gard. First off, we were “treated” to the Mistral winds as we visited the national park on a beautiful sunny day. Next, we were escorted and thoroughly entertained by a very amusing and so well-informed local guide who turned out to be an archeologist. Finally, the trip itself traipsing up to, across, and down on the other side of the aqueduct. Walking through the ancient aqueduct was absolutely thrilling. "

Michalle

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was our 6th RS tour and our least favorite. In the past, we have chosen RS tours because of the requirement to be healthy and active. On this tour we had a woman with dementia, a man with neuropathy that could not walk up stairs or on slopes. Other tour members were extremely slow walkers and complained about steps or any activity that required physical exertion. Our guide had to constantly stop or slow down in order to keep the group together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Rouffignac Cave was amazing."

Deborah

Tour: 04/23/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The guide was excellent and the itinerary was everything I’d hoped it would be. Even our driver was great. The hotels were very disappointing. Also, although not something Rick Steves’ Europe can control, 20 out of a group of 26 were part of a couple (either married or friends traveling together), which created a lopsided group dynamic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was important that Oradour-sur-Glane was on the itinerary. It is beyond sobering to walk down streets and see the remains of a town and a populace that were obliterated — not by bombs dropped from airplanes but by men who looked them in the face as they herded them to their deaths and set the town on fire. The signs say “Souviens-toi — Remember”. Maybe it’s because we in the US haven’t fought a war against a foreign aggressor within our shores but we easily forget the lessons of the past."

Howard

Tour: 10/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I originally was booked for this trip for April 2020 and it was worth the 2 1/2 year wait to take the tour. Everything - the itinerary, the scenery, my fellow tour participants, the guide, hotels was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not sure I can pin down to a specific "wow" moment. But, there were three that stuck out: 1. the cave drawings. To think that people 12,000 years ago could create such art. 2. Oradur. To walk through the village and to see what war atrocities can do was stark. Hardly anyone said a word as we walked around. And, to realize this was real and not a movie set. 3. Arles. Seeing the Roman ruins and realize you were not in Rome but in France was eye popping."

Barbara

Tour: 10/09/22

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our tour guide, Patrick, made sure we had the best time possible! He added what we in South Louisiana call a sussie, a little surprise at various points on the trip to make the experience more memorable and he did this repeatedly! His sense of humor sustained us when we were tired. This was our first RS tour. The itinerary was well thought out and presented. I struggled a good bit of the time and would have to be in much better shape to do another RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Malcolm’s riveting talk of the Chartres cathedral! Our lunch at the winery! the cave drawings! the quarry immersion experience of art and music! and the back of the bus gang. "

Ryan

Tour: 10/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second trip with you and we were worried that there was not way the new guide could measure up to our previous person, Rebecca, but Patrick, while different was wonderful as well…caring, clear, knowledgeable, funny, and warm. He helped to create a special event in all our lives!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Baal’s multimedia display from the modern side, Sarlat overall."

Michael

Tour: 10/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With only one real rainy day, I couldn't be any happier about the tour. More than expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Besides Patrick Vidal being the best guide so far, the Castles, Chateaus and South of France experience surpassed what I thought it would be."

Meredith

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

While my tour was short due to contracting Covid I had a great time. The tour guide and group were extremely friendly and helped me to celebrate my birthday in style. I adored touring the chateau, especially Villandry. Our guide made it so seem less and easy to see as much as possible. It certainly reiterated for me why I love taking the tours. And when I told my guide that I had tested positive for Covid she was very helpful with bringing me up breakfast and helping me figure out my next steps

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gardens of Villandry were epic in their scale. The house also and yet it felt welcoming and homey."

Bachman

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was led by Julie Sonveau who was a last minute substitute for another guide. Julie was an excellent guide who knew the tour, its special adventures and she had an engaging personality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to stand in Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, look at his original writings, view the desk and table where he worked and observe replicas of his inventions is an experience I will never forget. Imagining him in that space with his inquisitive and creative mind was truly amazing. My “WOW” moment!"

James

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Julie made this trip the best. Her attention to detail and our situations could not have been better. The hotels, restaurants, and tour sites were well picked and wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite? Hard to pick, but we were wowed at the magnificent Pont du Gard, amazing Rouffignac Cave with its drawings and cave bear beds, the absolutely gorgeous Chenonceau Chateau, and the stunning limestone mine with its light and music show. "

Diane

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Unfortunately we had to leave the tour after only four days due to a positive co-vid test. But I enjoyed the brief time we traveled with a great group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the gardens at Villandry"

Jon

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Caught Covid the 3rd day and had to leave the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Refund from Rick Steve’s."

Brett

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous, all: guide, driver, places, fellow travelers, logistics made this an excellent experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many, something every day. One: Carcassonne the evening of a full moon "

David

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredibly knowledgeable guide Julie made the trip alive.. In addition to the great locales and fabulous countryside, our trip came alive because of her insight & analysis. Beautiful countryside and chateaus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The lovely beaches & city vibes of Nice. "

Stacey

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First RS tour. A great lineup of sites, stops, special excursions, and time to explore on our own. Our tour guide Julie was outstanding. A wealth of local and country knowledge. She was warm and nice to be around while always a step ahead keeping us informed and comfortable. Our bus driver was also a step above.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really loved the canoe trip! A beautiful day, a great pace. Something I wouldn’t have thought to plan on my own. Didn’t hurt that we had perfect weather! "

Michelle

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour met and exceeded my expectations. Our time was filled with many and varied new experiences. The guides, overall, were exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to narrow it down to one moment. Time spent in the Chartres cathedral with Michael Miller, canoeing down the river in Dordogne was a treat, and the picnics were fun too. Our city guide in Arles (and the archeological museum) was a delight. The cave tour to see the wooly mammoths come to life was remarkable. I feel so fortune to have the experiences! "

Caroline

Tour: 10/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved this tour! Our guide Julie who stepped in at the last minute was outstanding! Loved her enthusiasm, her knowledge, her joy of life and her willingness to share her experiences and insights into French culture, the people and social aspects of France. So fascinating!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several but probably the three most were the Cathedral, bridges and other churches in Chartres lit up at night, so cool! The second was seeing the Pont du Gard, so incredible! And third was seeing the Lumiere show at the rock quarry, like Julie said it was stupefying!"

Heidi

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was a good blend of old and new. Patrick kept things lively and moving, providing fun opportunities for group bonding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It’s s toss up between the gorgeous light show on the Chartres cathedral, canoeing down the Dordogne, and the fabulous promenade of Nice! "

Kelly

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the tour except for the hotel accommodations (not location, but the rooms themselves). I hope Rick Steves reviews the rooms of some of the locations and modify them so a person can fully stand upright in the bed area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through the aqueduct inside the Port du Gard and canoeing down the Dordogne River."

Cathleen

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was fun, fast-paced, educational, and our guide Patrick was just great. He was knowledgeable about history and shared information on contemporary France and French issues. I still can't believe he got 27 people, none of whom had a lot of experience, to jump in canoes and paddle down the Dordogne River! Our group was great also, all good sports and very interesting people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Chateau Villandry Gardens and the light show at Chartres - walking along the river in Chartres was lovely."

Lois

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first RS tour and it was as many of my friends described: active, interesting and fun

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canoeing on the Dordogne "

Cassie

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was a perfect mix of sightseeing, guided tours, landscapes, architecture and food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prehistoric cave art."

Richard

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third RS tour and maybe the best. Patrick was an outstanding tour guide. He kept us entertained the whole trip with entertaining and knowledgeable facts on a number of topics. We liked the hotels especially the Hotel Diderot in Chinon. Chartres with its amazing light shows was a great way to start the trip. I didn't not know much about these regions and I was blown away by places like Cénac in the Dordogne. The canoeing was a great activity. It gave people a lot of good stories

Favorite "WOW" moment

" Cénac and canoeing in Dordogne. The Pont duGard was also amazing."

Stephen

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just an excellent and efficient, and cost affective way to see the country, see significant cultural sights, and imbibe the culture of the country

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not a 'wow' moment person. The whole tour, the fellow travellers, and the guide made the tour deeply gratifying. However, for me Pont du Gard was a highlight."

Tom

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Crossing the aqueduct @ Pont de Gard "

Jill

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I truly enjoyed this tour, which was my second Rick Steves tour. The sites were beautiful, I learned a lot, and was so thrilled to unplug and get away after such a long time.

Janice

Tour: 09/25/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A few tweaks would have made a very good tour outstanding. Would have appreciated more time at Chenonceau, Villandry, and Clos Luce and less time canoeing on the Dordogne and in Arles. Also the safety and comfort in some hotel rooms left something to be desired. But Patrick Vidal, Claire McCaroll and experts such as Malcolm and Laurent were wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, being in a space where a creative genius actually lived and worked was monumental. I could have spent another hour or 2 at Clos Luce being immersed in the late life and work of Leonardo Da Vinci, but we had to leave quaint Amboise to move on to our next destination."

Susan

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was done in a very adventurous manner and we enjoyed it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several but the Roman Aqueduct and the light show in the excavated limestone quarry were magnifique!"

Don

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

well organized. interesting sites. Cool hotels. Nice group

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rouffignac cave"

Dennis

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great experience! Chris Coleman did an amazing job as our tour guide…a wealth of knowledge with incredible background info on each of the areas we visited, plus a lot of fun anecdotes from her past French stays!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The incredible light and musical show at the caves at Les Baux"

Bonnie

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an amazing trip with amazing guides and adventures!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is difficult to answer-there were so many! But the Carrieres des Lumieres de Venise was outstanding. As was canoeing on the Dordogne River. And walking through the Pond du Gard. Loved every Village and City that we visited."

Dan

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not knowing what to expect as this was our first tour with RS, we were impressed with the overall organization, our tour leader's knowledge and experience, the diversity of sites emphasizing the beauty and history of France, and having fun during our meals together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oh so many...the light show in Les Carrieres and Pont du Gard. The museum in Arles, Museon Arlaten, founded by Frederic Mistral, is not to be missed."

John

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyable tour. We saw a number of scenic old towns, chateaus, and castles. This tour, however, was did not feature as many spectacular events or locations as other Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed the cave paintings and Pont du Gard. "

John

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ferne

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

concise, organized.... on time, 1st class consistant..... not easy herding cats.... :)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The show in the Quarry "

Liping

Tour: 09/18/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Stephen

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. I had been to Paris a number of times but seeing the rest of France was eye opening and wonderful. The guide was great. The tour was well organized with a perfect mix of events and downtime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carcassone was magical. We had a great guided tour followed by time to wander the streets. We were back that evening for cassoulet at a small restaurant. "

Tim

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Covid reduced our tour group from 25 to 10 and that was too bad. But everything else was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Could easily have been the Roman Aqueduct, but think it was the Domaine Guinand - an 8th generation family of grape growers and winemakers with great wines. What a treat to see them in action and taste their wines - white, rose and red."

Mary

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Linda, made the experience - educational, fun, surprising, and safe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Carrieres de Lumieres -- the quarries were so amazing to think that they harvested all that stone in those huge caves and the light show was a very different and enchanting experience. "

Gordon

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Unfortunately, our tour was hit hard by covid, but despite this it was a wonderful trip, great guide, good group (the survivors, that is) and altho we covered a lot of ground the tour was well paced

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prehistoric caves, even tho we didn't go tp the "famous" caves (where you only see a replica of the drawings) I appreciated seeing real paintings from 15,000 years ago, just awe inspiring"

Sherrill

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Loire to was more than we expected . . . and this tour was our tenth with RS. Linda is one cool chick as she handled COVID issues and made the trip special for those of us remaining.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the cave paintings, created so long ago by nomad artists who never returned to see their spectacular drawings of native animals, was so amazing. To crawl into those long caves that one season and paint on their backs like Michelangelo was incredible."

Kennette

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved seeing a part of France that was new to me. Everything was wonderful, barring Covid and the disappointment it can bring to a fun and educational experience. I love active tours and this one did not disappoint. Our guide, Linda, and driver, Phillipe, were wonderful, personable, knowledgeable, and friendly. They knew the territory and subjects well, and shared in an articulate way. I saw things that were unexpected, but everyday was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was in awe of the 16,000 year old cave drawings. I was overwhelmed with emotion and sadness at Oradour-Sur-Glane. I would not have missed either of them for any reason."

Kathy

Tour: 09/11/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I chose this tour because I wanted to see castles. Everyday there were memorable, awesome places to see; each day better than the previous. With only 10 tour members remaining by Day 7 after Covid unfortunately swept 14 who tested positive and their companions from the tour, the experience was like a private tour. Kudos to our guide Linda who did an excellent job keeping us informed about the health of the others, plus kept us upbeat with her insight into France's culture and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "WOW" moments: the somber history of Oradour-sur-Glane, so we do not forget the tragedy of war; the magnificence of Pont du Gard, a masterpiece of Roman engineering; the cave art of Rouffignac Cave, what is their meaning; and the castles' history, architecture and splendor. It's impossible to choose just one favorite since each was unique and brought new knowledge, understanding and appreciation."

Connie

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of travelers with an excellent guide. Each stop was special with new things to discover.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the lights on the buildings all over Chartres and down along the river but the wow was the light show in the cave at Les Baux. Fantastic!"

Brad

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide (William) was personable, knowledgeable and loves his country (France). Several times he made extra arrangements form us to see sites that were not on the tour (Lascaux II). The group was friendly and we were all considerate of others. Your tour delivered all you said it would. Cathedrals, castles, chateaus, caves, canoeing, (out of C's), memorable dinners (boar cheeks), beautiful countryside and special moments ( lunch at a winery and a picnic in a very old building) Thank you!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prehistoric caves with 13,000 year old engravings. Awesome."

Sharon

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderfully choreographed itinerary, combining big-cathedral visits with intimate wine-tasting in a vineyard. Really enjoyed our fellow travelers and the historical perspective and help provided by our guide, William.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Amazing gardens at Villandry, and cave paintings."

Sara

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour of France. Our tour guide William was very informative and enjoyable for the entire tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Illuminati in the old limestone quarry. Absolutely amazing. "

Janice

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well planned and executed. Our guide was so knowledgeable and informative. The group was a lot of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think Carcassonne was a wow but Sarlat was my unexpected favorite!"

James

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good group and extremely competent and personable tour guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pont du Gard, walking inside the top of the structure and later wading in the river down below, I felt was a perfectly blended immersion in the past while celebrating the present. "

Steven

Tour: 09/04/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide William was outstanding in how he handled the tour, attentive, keeping our local guides on task and was constantly aware of our concerns and needs (like toilet breaks)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When he supplied us with a special drink or treat. "

Roger

Tour: 08/28/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Parts of this tour duplicate the “France on your own” tour I had with you in 2018, especially the Loire chateaux and Pont du Gard, but that was expected and OK.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cathedral at Chartres and light show. Fortifications at Carcassone. Drenching and prolonged Thunderstorm at Les Baux."

Steve

Tour: 08/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great time and the guide was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was my 5th or 6th trip to France but this time I saw the country with new eyes and was very impressed with the beauty and the sense of community of the French."

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.