We just returned from the whirlwind tour as described in the RS France book. We quite literally did it 'by the book'. We drove 2600 miles, spent $350E on tolls, visited 15 cities, multiple museums, stayed in hotels, B&B's and an apartment in Paris and had a great but BUSY trip. The cities are set up so there are only two 5 hour drives, but it usually took longer for us. The roads are beautiful, expensive but worth it. The country is gorgeous, the people friendly. We picked up the car at the airport and dropped it in Paris. The first day was a bit of a zombie day as we were recovering from the jet lag from the East Coast, but we muddled through. We used almost all of his hotel recommendations unless we could save money by using our AX points and other hotels. We used all of the restaurants recommended for dinner and never went wrong.
This trip is not for the faint of heart or for people who don't like to drive. It's a very busy itinerary especially if you want to see the sites in the towns you're visiting. We did. We still had some down time, but we don't use these trips as vacations but rather as a means 'to travel'. If you do this trip, you certainly do that!
We budgeted about $100 per day for food, and we are light eaters. That's not enough. The hotel breakfasts are 11-16E per person if you choose to use them; sometimes there's hardly a choice because of where you are. Lunch 'plats' are 12E-18E, dinners 18E-skies the limit. I think a reasonable estimate for 'normal' consumers is more like $125-$150 per day. Plus, we don't drink much either, so there's that to consider.
All in all, a very memorable trip. I think I might make all my stays a two night minimum next time; there were quite a few of 1 night stays during this trip. The 4 night stay in Paris, in a Cobblestone apartment, was awesome. After 17 nights, we needed some room to stretch out, unpack, wash clothes and cook some meals.
Another RS trip in the books. We've done 4, and really get to see the countries we visit!