Thanks to KimKim and Amandine our trip to France was beyond our expectations!
May 9 - May 22, 2023
I'm so glad that we found KimKim to help us with our trip to France. We wanted a customized experience and KimKim and our travel agent Amandine really stepped up to provide a once in a lifetime trip. After I explained to Amandine what we were looking for and gave her our budget she provided suggestions for tours and accommodations. We went back and forth for a while until we nailed down all the specifics. She organized amazing tours that we would have probably missed if we had tried to plan this trip on our own. All the tour guides were punctual, extremely friendly and provided a ton of information about the places we visited. We had so many wonderful tours and experiences - here are a few highlights.
We enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Seine River on our first night. It was an amazing meal with live entertainment and very friendly and informative servers and we loved seeing Paris lit up a night from the Seine River.
For our Louvre visit Amandine arranged for a personal tour guide David. He is fantastic with so knowledge and passion of the art and the museum. He made our visit to the Louvre fun and informative. I would definitely book him again on our next visit to the Louvre.
For our visit to Versailles we had a "skip-the-line"and self guided half-day tour from Paris. Versailles is a must see although very crowded. We would have liked a little more time to visit the gardens but overall we enjoyed the museum and learned a lot about French history.
While in Paris we took a small group tour to Normandy to visit the D-Day Invasion beaches and the American Cemetery. Our tour guide was informative and provided a thorough tour of the beaches and museums and cemetery. He also took us to a nice restaurant for lunch and was a pleasant guide throughout the day.
We took the high-speed train from Paris to Avignon which was a real treat. The train is clean and a relaxing way to travel though France. Amandine pre-booked the train tickets so we had no issues navigating the journey.
We arrived in Avignon around noon and joined a small group tour to the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region. Our tour guide was amazing - she was informative about the wine growing process in this area and its history. We visited two wineries for some great tastings.
After a relaxing day to ourselves in Avignon we went on a "All of Provence in One Day" tour. This was a great day - we visited Roussillon, a photo stop of Gordes, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Port du Gard, Les Baux and Saint Remy.
After an amazing time in Avignon and the surrounding region we took a train to Aix-en-Provence. That afternoon we did a Gourmet Historical Walking tour of Aix with our tour guide Lucy. She helped us navigate the streets of Aix and we visited some amazing gourmet shops for some local sweets and wine and cheese. We learned a lot about the history of Aix and its wonderful charm.
The following day we had another small group tour to visit Arles, Saint Remy and Les Baux villages. While this tour somewhat overlapped with the All of Provence in One Day tour we took from Avignon we enjoyed having more time to explore Saint Remy and Les Baux villages. There was a market going on in Saint Remy when we arrived so we enjoyed exploring all the stands and experiencing the French market day. We had a tasty relaxing lunch in Les Baux at a restaurant that our tour guide Thomas suggested. Thomas was a lot of fun and very knowledgeable of the villages we visited.
Next was our Gourmet Stopover in Marseille. We took to train from Aix to Marseille and our tour guide Sebastien met us at the train station - he went out of his way to collect us from the train station because initially we were supposed to meet him at the start of the tour. Sebastien guided us through the historical part of Marseille and we visited several gourmet shops that provided some tasty treats. We first visited a wonderful chocolate shop that makes chocolate with olive oil. The host was friendly and informative and she provided us with variety of products to taste. Then we visited a biscuit shop to taste their excellent cookies shaped like sardines. We visited a great wine/cheese shop and had a good time visiting with the owner and learning more about the cheese and wines in the region. We also visited an ice cream shop and tasted some awesome ice cream and visited with the owner who herself is a real treat. We visited the beautiful cathedral in Marseille and ended our tour at a shop that provided a Pastis tasting as well as local artisanal tapenades. Sebastien was a delight and we really enjoyed our time with him and the owners of the shops we visited.
We took to a train from Aix-en-Provence to Nice for our final few days on the French Rivera. We spent our first afternoon on a small group tour to Monaco, Monte Carlo, and the village Eze. Our tour guide was great - she took us through some beautiful areas and stopped to let us take in the amazing views. We had some free time in Eze, Monaco and Monte Carlo. Monaco was preparing for the Grand Prix race which was exciting to see.
The next day we met Rosa Jackson for a market tour, cooking class and lunch. This was one of our highlights of the trip. Rosa is passionate about the food available at the market in Nice and she guided us through the market as she purchased food for our cooking class and lunch. Then we went to her kitchen and our group prepared a wonderful lunch using the ingredients she purchase at the market. It was a relaxed and fun time. Once our meal was prepared we enjoyed the fruits of our labor and a little wine. If you're into food this is a "must do" while in Nice.
We also did a small group tour to Port-Grimaud and Saint-Tropez. Our tour guide gave us the option of getting from Port-Grimaud to Saint-Tropez via her van or the local ferry. Most of our group took the ferry which was a unique treat. We had enough time in Saint-Tropez to do a little shopping and had a great lunch at at Le Bagatelle Restaurant.
Overall this trip to France was beyond our expectations. Amandine arranged our transportation from Charles de Gaulle airport to our hotel in Paris and our transportation from our hotel in Nice to the Nice airport for our trip home. Both drivers kept in touch with us and were punctual, friendly and had comfortable/clean cars. Amandine also arranged all the train transportation tickets which really helped eased our anxiety around navigating strange train stations. Our hotel accommodations were great - we told Amandine our requirements and she delivered. All the hotels were comfortable, clean, quiet, and the included breakfasts were great.
We will definitely use KimKim for our international trips again.
We enjoyed staying at A la Villa Des Artistes while visiting Paris. The location is convenient to the Metro and there are lots of restaurants and shopping within walking distance. Our room was sizable for Paris with a large comfortable bed. The room was extremely quiet which was surprising given how close the hotel is to some major thoroughfares. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The breakfast had a nice variety and the dining area was clean and comfortable. I would stay at this hotel again.
This hotel is in a great location in Avignon - very close to the train station, lots of restuarants and the Palais des Papes. The room was quite large and the bed was very comfortable. The staff were friendly and helpful. Breakfast was great - lots of tasty options. We would definitely stay in this hotel again.
Our stay at Hotel Aquabella was amazing with all the amenities of a large hotel and spa. There is a large pool and the hotel provides robes and flip flops for the pool and spa. The restaurant was very good and a nice option when we were too tired to venture out for a meal. The room had a king-size bed which is hard to find in France. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The breakfast options were varied and very tasty. I loved the fresh squeezed orange juice every day. I would definitely stay at this hotel again.
La Villa Nice Promenade is a nice hotel and located very close to the beach and lots of restaurants and shopping. The room was a bit small and didn't have much seating aside from the bed. The bed was large enough and comfortable and it was quiet at night. The room had a walk-in shower which is a bonus in France since most hotels have a bath/shower combo. The location is convenient to all of the Nice attractions and there is a large grocery store across the street. I think the thing we missed the most is a nice view - our balcony just overlooked the parking lot/courtyard. Breakfast was just okay - the eggs/meats were cold and not very well seasoned. However, there were a variety of pastries, breads and cold-cuts/cheese. Staff was friendly and helpful.