Frankly so French
Paris may be regarded as the jewel in France’s crown, and justifiably so. But venturing beyond the city limits to the storied countryside is an experience not to be missed. I’d heard and read about the many regions renowned for their own culture and scenery, and wanted to experience a trip that encompassed the best of what regional France has to offer. So last summer my friend and I embarked on Albatross Tours’ La Francaise tour – we haven’t stopped talking about it since!
The La Francaise Tour
Starting from Paris, the 13-night La Francaise tour loops through regional France. Taking in the picturesque Loire Valley, playground of France’s fabled nobility, plus charming Bordeaux and Dordogne, the tour winds through Burgundy and up to Champagne, before delivering you back to Paris.
Highlights & Surprises
One standout experience would be our visit to the village of La Roc Gageac. We indulged in a tasty lunch and tried our hands at boules, but the glorious cruise down the River Dordogne was perhaps the pinnacle of the tour; the scenery rivalled the best we’ve seen anywhere in Europe.
Nestled among exquisitely manicured Bordeaux vineyards, the delightful medieval village of St Emilion was another gem we discovered. The 14th century subterranean church will draw you in, and the view from the town’s ramparts is sure to enthrall. There’s plenty to see on foot here, so comfortable shoes are a must.
Wining & Dining
What would a French travel experience be without myriad occasions to sample the characteristic food and wine of each locale? This tour had the right balance of included meals to enjoy the regional cuisine and evenings at leisure to choose your own French bistro.
The included wine tastings in the various wine growing regions we visited offered the chance to taste the local wines – from Cognac at Remy Martin to the world-famous drops of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. This is not a ‘wine’ tour as such, but the itinerary struck an equilibrium between opportunities to visit wineries and other activities offered on the tour. After all, when in France!
Like most group tours, there was an eclectic mix of personalities and characters. Many a lively conversation was struck up over a sumptuous meal or inspiring vista and the group, aged from the mid-40s to early 70s, mingled well and enjoyed travelling together.
Keep your Camera Handy
Regional France presents some amazing scenery and photo opportunities. From the magnificent chateau in the Loire Valley to the stunning countryside of Dordogne and Burgundy, there are more reasons to click the shutter button than there are minutes in the day.
If you’re thinking of joining the La Francaise tour, please contact our friendly reservations team. It’s a tour that affords the opportunity to explore a number of French regions at a sensible pace and gives you time to immerse yourself in the areas visited, as opposed to a whistle-stop tour where you see a lot of different sights but remember very little.