Trip to France - Sep 9 - Sep 20, 2018
This was a perfect trip for us! We are not ready nor do we ever want to be in a crowd of lots of other tourists who are just like us; we have always enjoyed exploring and being on our own and/or with a few close friends. We realize, however, that we are not country experts and that "stuff" happens especially when you are older and also living in a more complicated world. So, having assistance and local support should we have needed it was incredibly reassuring. For us, KimKim and Berangere helped us shape travel experiences that were individualized and allowed us to delve deeper into the culture than we have done in the past. We had a wonderful time and we thank Berangere very much.
We more than appreciated having drivers to help us get to and from airports and train stations. The drivers were always on time, polite, respectful, friendly and very helpful.
Our first stop was in Honfleur which we loved. It would have been fun to spend one more day there but then we would have had to give up a day somewhere else...a difficult trade-off. I loved the hotel Les Maisons de Lea; our room was cozy and the hotel people were very kind and friendly to two tired Americans. It was a great place to begin our trip.
Although we had booked the hotel du Luxembourg in Bayeaux on our own, you should know that it was also a wonderful place to stay. The two tours in Normandy were excellent. Our guide to Mount-Saint-Michel was very knowledgeable and she was clearly dedicated to helping us understand the history of this amazing structure in the context of history and times in which it was built. Unfortunately, Steve was not able to share the experiences of the D-Day beaches as he was not well but I had an amazing day and I was very comfortable touring on my own. The guide went out of his way to ensure everyone in the group saw what he/she had come to see and it was a very moving experience to imagine where my Dad had probably been in a mine sweeper off shore on that day.
We appreciated having first class seats on the train to Paris and the assistance of our driver to ensure we were in the right place to get on the train. We stayed at the hotel Le Clos Medicis in a fairly large room on the first floor. We were grateful to not have stairs to navigate with small but heavy suitcases. After our two experiences in Normandy where we felt so warmly welcomed, however, we were a little unsettled by a much more subdued welcome at this hotel. We enjoyed being in a neighborhood that was new to us (previously stayed in the Marais). One of our favorite tours of the whole trip was with Sylvie to the Louvre. We felt as though we were with a friend and loved walking to the Louvre with her as well as visiting the museum; we had been to the Louvre before but it was great to have Sylvie give us more detail and history than we had gleaned on our own.
We liked breaking up the trip so that we had a few days in Paris before we went to Bordeaux.
Again, our driver helped us navigate the Monparnasse train station so that we were at the right place at the right time for our train to Bordeaux. Although, we had to do some coordinating with our driver once we arrived in Bordeaux, we did eventually find each other and we enjoyed our ride with him to the hotel Particulier. A great hotel---especially the breakfast!
The day after we arrived in Bordeaux, we were scheduled for the small group tours of Arcachon and Le Medoc. Both were great tours. We loved climbing up the dune, having oysters and visiting Le Medoc. However, it was LONG day which started at 8:30 AM and we did not get back to the hotel until well after 8:00 PM which was definitely too late for us. Based on that, we changed our schedule so that we could do two half day tours in the following two mornings. We appreciated their willingness to accommodate us. The tours were all excellent and led by exceptionally knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides.
Back to Paris and le Clos Medicis: Our new room was at the top of building and did require some minimal stair climbing from the elevator which we managed just fine but because we both have knee issues, this could have been problematic. We enjoyed our river cruise and finally (after three other tries), I actually made it to the top of the Eiffel tower!
What else can I say??? We had a great trip.
Thank you for all.
Wendy and Steve