Memorable Family Trip to France
Oct 13 - Oct 21, 2023
Our travel planner Lise was amazing. She was easy to work with, made great suggestions and accommodated our unique needs. We had private transfers to and from the airport and train station and that was really a life saver. Our drivers were in communication with us and easy to find even during busy rush hour traffic. Our first tour in the Loire Valley was with Nicholas. He took us to Chenonceau, Chambord and a small privately owned Chateau for lunch. Nicholas was very knowledgeable about the history of both castles as well as the "drama" behind the lives of the kings and queens who lived there. He made it very interesting for us and gave us plenty of time to explore the beautiful gardens on our own.
Our next tour was supposed to be of Castle Bois and The House of Magic. We were disappointed to learn that the House of Magic was closed the day we went and had been closed for several weeks. That was one of the things my son was most excited about seeing. However, our guide for the day, Cecilia was able to shift quickly. We instead went to a local family winery for a wine tasting and then she took us to the last home of Leonardo da Vinci where we were able to see his inventions displayed throughout his garden. We then headed to Paris and had a nighttime summit tour of the Eiffel Tour. Our guide was Lekshme and she was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The next day we did a private walking tour of Medieval Paris with Victor. He picked us up at our hotel, showed us how easy it was to ride the Metro (which we did consistently after that point and even saw Lekshme on the metro--she said hello and gave us directions) and gave us a great tour. Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle and so much more including modern churches, a stroll through St. Germain showing us jazz clubs, bookstores, parks etc. Victor is very good at his job and very knowledgeable about history. From there we had a walking food tour through St. Germain des Pres with Philipe. It was amazing being able to taste the best cheese, wine, bread, chocolate, croissant, macarons and coffee that Paris has to offer. Philipe was a great guide, very smart and engaging with all of us. The next day was our bike tour of Versailles. We met at the train station and took the 12 minute train ride to Versaille where we were outfitted with bicycles. Clara guided us to the Palace of Versailles and gave us a wonderful tour including the Hall of Mirrors. After the tour we rode our bikes through Versailles to the market where we had lunch and time to explore on our own. We then met back up with our group and biked the Palace gardens and Marie Antoinette's hamlet. It rained in the afternoon, but it was SO beautiful. This was probably my favorite day in France. The next day we had a private tour at the Louvre. Marie Claire was our guide and while we had limited time, she really showed us a lot including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the beautiful Rubens paintings. She is SO knowledgeable and just a very pleasant person. The tour was a nice stroll after a busy day biking in Versailles. We also saw both Victor and Philipe at the Louvre and they both made it a point to say Bonjour! Our final day in Paris was a free day which I specifically asked Lise to schedule for us. And while it was lovely to have time to explore on our own, I missed having the knowledge of our guides showing us the hidden treasures of the city. Our final evening, Lise arranged a Sienne River dinner cruise. It was raining lightly, which made the lights of the city even more beautiful and we had a lovely meal. Unfortunately both myself and my son did experience food poisoning from that dinner which hit us on our 10 hour flight home the next day. The meal itself was very good and I'm sure it was just a fluke. Overall, we loved our trip to France, saw and learned so much, and met the most lovely guides the country has to offer. I will definitely be using Kim Kim to help plan our next international adventure.
This is a very charming, small hotel in Amboise. It was clean and lovely. We were on the very top floor and the elevator didn't go all the way up, so there was a lot of climbing for us. But the views from our room made up for it.
Great location close to the Champs Elysees. The staff was really great, helping us with urgency anything that we needed.
The tour of Chambord and Chenonceau was fantastic. The guides were not only interesting as individuals, but they were also extremely knowledgeable about the places we were touring. The communication was seamless, with reminders and confirmations being sent a day before the scheduled transfer. The convenience of the transportation was greatly appreciated, especially when traveling with my two children.
The tour was scheduled to include a visit to Blois Castle and the House of Magic. We were looking forward to the House of Magic tour, particularly for my 13-year-old son. However, upon arrival, we found out that it was closed and wouldn't be open for several more weeks. Our guide was able to pivot last minute and took us on a wine tasting and to Leonardo da Vinci's house, which were enjoyable, but the unexpected change was a bit disappointing.
All the guides we had in Paris were fantastic. They were very knowledgeable and made the tours a learning experience for all of us. The food tour was particularly interesting as our guide was passionate about food and taught us about different cheese processes. It was fun and educational.
The Seine River dinner cruise on our last night in Paris was a high-end experience with a fancy meal. However, both my son and I got severe food poisoning from the meal. We were violently ill for about five hours during our 10-hour flight back home, not sure if this was related to the dinnner or not.