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Tours of France

I know there must be several posts on the question I have regarding French tours, but my phone doesn't show a search button for the forum. My computer shows one, but it is out of commission. So, which of the tours offered by Rick Steves is your favorite and why? Thanks!

Posted by
2112 posts

On your phone just hit the three horizontal lines on the upper left and a search window opens. I’m on an iPhone.

I haven’t done his France tours yet but part of a tour I took did cross into France and on up to Paris which I enjoyed very much. I’m sure you will get a lot of responses.

Posted by
39 posts

I have an Android and I did try that and search doesn't come up. Thanks anyway!

Posted by
205 posts

France is fantastically diverse and whether urban or rural in your location or focus, its terrific culture, art/architecture, food/wine and adventures available make it easy to not make a 'wrong' travel choice. Best of Paris is fabulous and I really loved being on a tour in one location with a big city to discover and experience with excellent local guides. I arrived a few nights before and stayed a few nights after so I could add my own solo side trips. Going to Giverny and taking in Monet's gardens was easily done. The Loire to the South of France tour is super for the opposite reasons since it includes multiple stops traveling throughout an incredible region. With its great variety of activities including chateau visiting, river kayaking and riding a subterranean train to view ancient cave art, this was an exciting time visiting some incredibly beautiful places. This tour begins in Chartres but we chose to arrive early to first entertain ourselves in a new to us Paris arrondissement for a few days. Post tour, it was a no brainer to add time so as to add more exploring of the French Riviera and Nice was tres magnifique as our springboard to the nearby locales. Hope you have fun contemplating your choices and an even greater time experiencing France.

Posted by
33314 posts

My computer shows one, but it is out of commission

I'm sorry you had problems with the Search on your computer. I just tried it and it is working fine. Remember to narrow the search to the Travel Forum if you want answers from here, and set the time period to what fits you.

Posted by
39 posts

Thanks for the info! Very informative. The search has always worked on my computer, but I can't get it to work on my Android phone. Weird.

Posted by
2912 posts

You may want to look at the tour scrapbooks. They give a lot of insight into the tours. Here's the link because they're a little difficult to find https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/scrapbooks/tour-alum-scrapbooks

I have not done a France tour yet. However, I included two into my 2022/2023 itineraries: Loire Valley/South of France for solo itinerary and Paris/Heart of France as an alternative to independent travel for another trip. I took the South of Italy tour two years ago and loved it.

Posted by
2511 posts

I would happily do any of the French tours as they all sound interesting.
So far I have only done the Eastern France tour because I was particularly interested in the French/German overlap in the Alsace, and because the tour ended in Aix, which has a Cézanne connection. Oh, and mountains in Chamonix.

Posted by
39 posts

Thanks for the link horsewoofie! I couldn't find that on my phone either. I will definitely check them out.

Posted by
1443 posts

I know of a 3-week tour of France by bicycle that runs once per year each July. It's pretty rigorous and very competitive. Upside is a van carries all your kit and you get a special jersey if you win.

Posted by
4592 posts

you should also compare and contrast with other tour companies, and also with suggested itineraries in those guide books that begin with F.

No shame in copying someone else's suggested trip, I think you'll find they are all quite similar since ... most people want to see the same things!

Posted by
14249 posts

I've done the Paris and Heart of France tour of Rick's as well as the Best of Paris. Both were excellent!

I enjoyed the Paris and Heart of France tour for the variety - medieval castle building to DDay landings. Lots of different things to see!

I'll also add that I've done 2 Road Scholar tours of France as well. I did their Brittany and Normandy tour as well as their Art of Living in Provence. Both of those stayed longer in some places than Rick's tours do and did day trips out from there. I've got another trip scheduled with them for SW France (Bordeaux and the Perigord) in the Fall if we are able to travel by then.

I do think Rick did MUCH better with refunds and stepping up to the plate during the pandemic than Road Scholar. I'm only booked on Road Scholar because I signed up before 12/31 when they were offering a 100% refund guarantee if you cancel 90+ from your travel date.

At this point in my travel life, I'll choose either Rick or Road Scholar just based on the itinerary alone. I love Rick's guides but all the Road Scholar guides I've had have been excellent as well. Both programs cover tips. Rick has fewer meals which I like better - prefer to get out on my own to eat.

Here is the link to the Rick tour opening page.

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours

Posted by
1243 posts

Of the RS tours in France, I have taken two: Paris and the Heart of France and Eastern France. Of these two, Eastern France was my favorite and ranks right up with my all time favorites because of the sheer scope of the locations: vineyards, WWI locations, Colmar (it was rather rainy when I was there in April, but oh, the asparagus!), Beaune (different vineyards and the medieval hospital), Chamonix (Mont Blanc!), Vaison-la-Romaine (roman ruins, plus our hotel was in a hilly section - when I opened the window in the morning, the view was magical, kind of like the morning scene in the Enchanted April). Now, the ending of this tour has changed several times. It looks to end this year in Aix-en-Provence and then you can fly out of Marseille if that is the end of your journey. My tour went to Villefranche-sur-Mer and we exited out of Nice.

I am sure I would enjoy any of the several last locations there have been on this tour. Yep, one of my favorites. By comparison, Paris and the Heart of France felt like something I have seen on television - not bad, but plenty of tourists, and not the magic the Eastern France tour had for me.

Of Paris and the Heart of France locations, I treasure the overnight on Mont-Ste-Michele and then Bayeux. I would like to return to that area. I really like the cathedral in Bayeux. So things to like on both tours. Still, I would return to Eastern France first.

Posted by
796 posts

I loved Paris and the Heart of France. Mount St. Michel was fabulous. Normandy beaches, puts history to life. Bayeux and Giverny! I stayed extra days after the tour in Paris. I preferred this tour to Eastern France; Mount St Michel put it over the top for me.

I have also done Eastern France which was also nice, great wines. I stayed 2 night in Reims before the tour and visited Epernay and Hautvilliers on my own, which was just great. On my own I visited both small and large champagne houses before the tour.

I plan to do the other itinerary for France as Carcassonne looks fabulous. Years ago I did do Paris in 7 days. It gave me such a good orientation. I have returned to Paris many times on my own after the Paris tour.