Traveller Story: Adrienne's Grande Time in France
What tour did you travel on?
La Grande France in June 2019
Why did you select this particular tour?
I spent a week in Paris quite a few years ago and absolutely loved it. This gave me a taste for discovering France and not just visiting major cities. I wanted to explore France in depth. The La Grande France tour offered the chance to do just that, as the itinerary covered five wonderful regions of France starting in Paris and ending on the Cote D'Azur in Nice. The itinerary was designed so that travelling was at a relaxed pace, with long stays in each of the regions and there were so many inclusions, and not just the major sights it also covered sights that were not so well known and off the main tourist trail. That is what appealed to my husband and I. We really chose this tour because it was a unique itinerary that offered so much and allowed time to really discover the essence and special sights of each region.
Who did you travel with?
My husband Allen.
Have you travelled with Albatross Tours previously?
No this was our first Albatross Tour.
What was your favourite place/s on your Albatross tour?
There were many favourite places, starting with the wonderful Loire Valley and visiting the magnificent Chateau Chambord and Chateau Chenonceau, and staying the first 3 nights in the beautiful Chateau de Rochecotte. A visit to Amboise and the Chateau du Clos Luce where Leonardo da Vinci once lived as a guest of King Francois I was fascinating.
The Dordogne Valley with lovely rural villages and cruising along the beautiful Dordogne River past the medieval castles. A tour of the preserved medieval old town of Sarlat, it was amazing to wander the cobblestoned alleyways.
We loved the old town of Carcasonne and exploring the medieval castle dating back to the 13th Century and we enjoyed the glorious views across to the Pyrenees mountain range from the huge double walled fortification.
And, the incredibly picturesque fishing village of Cassis on the Cote d Azur is stunning!
What was the most amazing thing you saw or did on your Albatross tour?
The guided visit through the incredible caves of the Gouffre de Padirac .This 25 kilometre underground cave system all beautifully lit was absolutely amazing. Especially the 500 metre boat ride inside the caves that emerged into a spectacular grand chamber.
Equally amazing was the stunning audio visual art show- The Carrieres de Lumieres. It was the most incredible sound and vision experience as we saw the paintings of Vincent van Gogh projected onto the walls of this enormous underground abandoned quarry. It was so beautiful some of us were moved to tears!
This may not fit into the category of amazing but in terms of reflection and thoughts of the tragic events that occurred in WW2 you could not go past the visit to the 'ghost village' of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Tell us about your most memorable moment on tour?
I think my memorable moment has to be at the beginning of the tour when we arrived in the Loire Valley and I saw the magnificent Chateau Chambord and then the even more magnificent Chateau Chenonceau with its intriguing history. It was everything I expected, a dream come true.
The most memorable moment for my husband was when we visited the spectacular Pont du Gard. He had always wanted to see this incredible 2,000 year old Roman aqueduct and was thrilled to have plenty of time there to walk all around and gaze at this remarkable structure.
What was your favourite meal on tour?
Without a doubt our favourite meal was the farewell dinner in a gorgeous local restaurant in the old town of St Paul de Vence, located in the foothills of the Alps. The food was delicious and we dined in this beautiful stone courtyard with views overlooking the Provencal countryside - it was a beautiful and memorable evening.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in travelling on this tour?
- Maybe do some pre study to get the most out of all the wonderful and interesting places visited on this tour.
- Make sure you take good comfortable walking shoes.
- Be prepared for different weather and changeable climate as we started off in cool and rainy conditions in Paris and the northern regions and as we moved south the weather became much warmer and quite hot by the time we reached Nice.
Would you recommend this tour to family and friends? If so, why?
Yes I would recommend this tour to family and friends because it was a well designed itinerary that was historically and culturally very interesting. The pace was relaxed and the longer stays in each region meant we were able to really explore and see so much more than the main tourist attractions.
Being in a smaller group added to the enjoyment as we were able to meet everyone in the group and then we also had free time to go off exploring on our own - made for a perfect mix of Social Time and My Time.
To find out more about our this tour click here or contact our European tour specialists for more information.