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What We Did

Our Tour

We spent two weeks traveling down the eastern side of France, starting in the champagne capital of Reims and ending in beautiful Aix-En-Provence. Along the way, we had many memorable experiences. Click the link above to get specifics on this tour, dates available and how to sign up.

Before the tour, my friend and I explored other parts of France, mainly Paris, Bordeaux and Normandy. After the tour, we visited Nice, Cannes and Antibes. We also ventured into Italy and explored Cinque Terre, Rapallo, Santa Margherita and Portofino. On a separate back-to-back trip with my family, we hit Amsterdam, London, Paris again, the Dordogne Valley and Bordeaux again. Can you ever have too much of Bordeaux or Paris? I think not. An epic couple of months and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  

Rick Steves Eastern France tour route and how long we stayed in each location.

Our Tour Route

This map details our route. The numbers in the circles show how many nights we stayed in each location. At each location, we did some amazing side trips and you will see them on each destination page. As you can see on the map, we were traveling right along the borders of Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The influences of these neighboring countries were quite prevalent in the food, architecture and culture. 

How We Got Around

On this tour, we traveled by bus. Our bus was big, comfortable, and only about half full, so we all had room to spread out. Our driver's name was Luc. He was very familiar with the route and had done it many times. I felt completely comforatble with him at the wheel. If you're curious about what it's like to travel this way, check out this Rick Steves segment on their tour buses.

Rows of seats and passengers inside the tour bus on our Rick Steves Eastern France tour.
Our two maximum size carry-on suitcases and two travel bags that turned out to be too large and bulky for comfortable travel.

Our suitcases and bags were too big

What Lessons We Learned

Being rookie tour travelers, there were many lessons learned. The tour portion was very smooth, but we were on our own before and after the tour. For that part of our trip, we knew there were a lot of moving parts and mistakes would be made. And they were. We just had to roll with it, make mental notes and keep going.  

  1. When they say "pack light", heed that advice. Our luggage was as big as was allowed and crammed full of things we could have done without. It made getting around tricky, especially getting on and off trains.

  2. If you're booking a train on an app, don't assume there is only one destination with the name you want.  I thought I was booking a train to Bruges, Belgium and it turned out to be Bruges, France. Big oops!

  3. Also when on trains, it helps to follow along with the map on your phone when you're close to your destination. You may not be able to understand the announcements on the upcoming stops and watching a map helps.

  4. Always carry water. We made the mistake of not having any a few times and we were very sorry.

  5. Be sure to say "Bonjour" when you enter a place or want to talk to someone. Even if you don't know any other French word,  this one is important. French people consider it rude when people don't use this greeting.

  6. Taxis can be a challenge. Look up what the fare should be before you take your ride and make sure they take a credit card. 

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