You are the eternal France, I love you
- Nicolas Sarkozy
Follow a winding cobblestone street, lined with vine-covered medieval homes. Follow it from a bustling market square to a wisteria-draped cafe opposite the village church. Sit down and enjoy a plat du jour with a glass of refreshing local wine. Admire the view across the hills: an expanse of vineyards, farmyards and lavender fields, giving way to chestnut and oak forests. This is the quintessential French experience. Bienvenue!
When to go
Spring (April, May) and Fall (September, October) are delightful times to visit France. You can visit in summer too - but the weather will be hot and it is the busiest travel time.
Architectural icons such as Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, artistic treasures found in its many museums such as the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, stylish shopping and glorious food - what is there not to like about Paris?
Cider and camembert, fresh seafood, quiet villages, some of France’s finest museums, the monastic island of Mont St. Michel, the Bayeux Tapestry and the D-Day landing beaches. Have we missed a reason why you should visit Normandy?
A wild, dramatic coastline, expanses of forests, medieval towns and a culture all its own - that is Brittany. Explore stone-age circles, try some delicious crêpes, discover off-shore islands and the beautiful town of St. Malo.
An entire area enshrined as a Unesco World Heritage site? Yes, you will find it in the Loire Valley. Its hundreds of châteaux, and the villages, vineyards, and farmlands surrounding them, are a cyclists delight.
Like a miniature of France itself, the chateaux and picturesque villages of the Dordogne, its ancient cave art and its network of hiking trails are yours to discover.
Straddling the border between France and Spain, the craggy peaks and deep valleys of the Pyrenees offer a rural and deeply traditional way of life and a paradise for walkers and bikers alike. Wander from mountaintop castle to hilltop village, enroute exploring caves and savouring the spectacular views.
Picturesque hilltop towns, glorious beaches, incredible cuisine, markets offering fresh produce, fields of lavender and beautiful vistas connected by quiet country roads and hiking trails - those are but some of the highlights of Provence. Add to that worldclass cities like Avignon and Marseille and a historic pedigree dating back to the Romans and you'll realize this area will keep you occupied for a long time.
Beautiful beaches lining picturesque bays and an interior of craggy mountains, stunning valleys, dark forests and gorgeous hilltop villages. Food, wine, music and a distinct culture - the Mediterranean island of Corsica is like a country all its own.
Alpine meadows and rocky peaks, windswept cols and glaciers, glorious views and some great trekking and hiking. Find all that and more in the Mont Blanc Massif.
Undulating green hills sprinkled with picturesque medieval villages and mustard fields, an age-old tradition of food and wine, vineyards and waterways - Burgundy is a great place to discover by bike.
Browse a market
Browse the stalls, talk to the vendors about their produce, its quality, its heritage and its price, buy ingredients for your picnic lunch or home- cooked dinner, and enjoy what is the quintessential French experience.
Food, glorious food
Spend hours over lazy lunches and dinners, discussing whatever topic comes to mind. Enjoy discovering each regional cuisine, a cultural tradition rooted in a deep respect for the cuisine des provinces, and terroirs as varied as the climates, terrains, and crops of France's many regions.
Taste the wines
Wines are an integral part of every French meal (well ,with the exception of breakfast perhaps). Try a great Burgundy with steak or roast, a Bordeaux red with lamb, veal or chicken, a full-bodied red with cheese or a blanc-de-blanc with oysters. When in doubt, let the waiter or sommelier recommend a wine or follow your own taste.
Explore a chateau
Whether you are cycling the Loire Valley, the Burgundy countryside or the valleys of the Dordogne, take some time to explore a historic chateaux and get lost in the many splendidly decorated rooms, hallways and turrets.
Hike the trails
Walk through vineyards, stumble upon an ancient monastery, climb up to a hilltop village, browse the market and shops, and enjoy a glass of wine in a village cafe. Hike up to the head of an Alpine valley, smell the flowers in the meadow, sit down for a picnic lunch, and enjoy the stupendous views. Few countries in the world offer a better hiking experience than France.
Cycle the countryside
Cycle along a canal in Burgundy, ride between chateaux in the Loire Valley, pedal from Roman aqueduct to an impressionist's hideaway in Provence. Cycling enhances your senses, slows the world down and brings it into focus.
Watch village life go by
Find a village cafe - each town has them - sit down with a plat du jour and a glass of wine, and watch village lfie unfold. Old men playing boules, a woman returning from the market, children chasing a ball. Imagine what it is like to live here, in France...
Discover a medieval village
Follow cobblestoned streets and crumbling staircases, walk through hidden alleys and arched gateways, past vines climbing the facades of houses. A cat scurries away and you follow it around the corner where you stumble on a pretty square lined with flower baskets. There is a tiny shop and its doors are open....
Delve in to history
Be it the historic French cities, the D-day beaches or Bayeux Tapestry of Normandy, the megalithic circles of Brittany, the Roman aquaducts and amphitheatres of Provence or the chateaux and medieval villages dotting the countryside everywhere, France is a country for lovers of history.
Hiking Mont Blanc
Tour code: EHMB
Why we love this trip: Our best-selling hiking trips in the mountains surrounding Mont Blanc. Choose from a one-week centre-based to a two-week camping or hotel trek.
Places visited: Mont Blanc Circuit
Signature Experiences: food, glorious food, taste the wines, hike the trails
Length: 8 -15 days
Accommodation: depending on the trip you chose: chalet, hotels or camping
Included meals: all breakfast, most lunches and dinners
Transport: van, cable car, on foot
Departures: Set small-group dates from spring to fall
Customizable? No, but we can run private departures for groups. Price on request.
Price: Small group departures priced from $1360 (one week, based in one chalet), $1955 (2 weeks, camping trek), $3230 (2 weeks, hotel trek)
Tour code: BGMP
Why we love this trip: explore the hilltop villages of the Luberon while enduling in Michelin-starred meals and luxury accommodation.
Places visited: Aix-en-Provence, Chateau-Arnoux, Gordes, Joucas, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Les Baux, St. Remy, Avignon
Signature Experiences: browse a market, food, glorious food, taste the wines, hike the trails, watch village life go by, discover a medieval village, delve in to history
Length: 6 days
Accommodation: typical luxury hotels include La Bonne Etape, Le Phébus and Château des Alpilles
Included meals: all meals are exquisite and all are included
Transport: On foot, private vehicle
Departures: Set small-group dates and private departures May through September
Customizable? No. Private departures available
Price: Small group departures priced from $4298
Loire Valley Cycling
Tour code: GLVC
Why we love this trip: discover chateaux, villages and wineries by bicycle. Available in self-guided and small group versions in a variety of accommodation styles.
Places visited: Loire Valley
Signature Experiences: browse a market, food, glorious food, taste the wines, explore a chateau, cycle the countryside, watch village life go by, discover a medieval village, delve in to history
Length: 6- 8 days
Accommodation: chose from a small group tour in either comfortable tourist-class accommodation or luxury domaines and chateaux, or a self-guided tour in 3 and 4-star hotels and a chateau
Included meals: all breakfasts are included; on the self-guided tour gourmet dinners are also included; on the luxury small-group tour we included all meals and all are exquisite
Departures: all tours run from May through September
Customizable? we can run private departures on the luxury 6-day trip, price on request
Price: Small group departures priced from $1349 (8-day small-group tour in tourist class hotels), $1745 (8-day self-guided in 3/4 star hotels and chateau), $4298 (6-day luxury accommodation)