I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, and finally trying to get it done. I’m going to break it down into smaller groups of days and post as I complete a day or two. This was our 4th European adventure but first Rick Steves Tour and was a 30th anniversary trip for my wife and I. We ‘discovered’ Rick 6 years ago after we had booked a Mediterranean Cruise for our first trip to Europe. I was in the bookstore looking in the travel section and noticed his book about Rome which was where we stayed for 5 days post-cruise. I’d kind of heard of Rick before from his TV show, but I’d really only thought of him as that nerdy travel guy with the TV show. I had no idea that he had travel books or even offered tours. Now, his books are my go-to for European travel; they fit my personality for detail so well. We knew it was only a matter of time before we took one of his tours….
Day 1 Meet the Group at Chartres.
We’d spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning in Paris before heading out via train for Chartres. The train station in Paris-Gare Montparnasse is pretty intimidating for a first time Paris visitor. Luckily my wife and I are both the “if you’re not 10 minutes early, then you're 10 minutes late” type of people. In this case we got there about an hour early and spent about half an hour searching for the proper ticket machine to buy tickets and another 10 trying to find our train. We also had a heck of a time trying to find someone that spoke English. Most employees were friendly and tried, but we went through about 3 before we found someone that could help in English. But we made our train, got to Chartres, easily found our hotel and met our group that evening. Our guide was Virginie More, you’ll find her photo in the back of Rick’s France books as a Contributing Editor. Virginie is outstanding, it leaves me to wonder if she is the best of the best of the RS guides or if they’re all that good. We were the only Canadians on the tour along with 26 Americans. I’d say the demographics were mainly retirees, then 3 couples our age (mid 50’s, but don’t tell my wife I gave away her age) and then 3 or 4 single women from mid-40’s to early 60’s (I’m guessing) and 1 single guy that was my age.
Day 2 Posted in the 'comments section...