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Traveling on a group tour to France is a fabulous choice for a European vacation experience whether a first time traveler to France or a seasoned traveler to the country. And, traveling on an Off the Beaten Path small group, cultural walking and foodie tour provides exceptional and privileged insider experiences at unparalleled value that multi-destination and non-France based tour companies cannot match!
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Read What Off the Beaten Path Tour Guests Say…
We asked some of our 2013 and 2014 Provence Tour Guests the following question at the end of their Provence Tour – “Would you recommend our Best Adventures in Provence Tour to a friend?” The positive responses, feedback and testimonials were overwhelming, and truly illustrated that our passion and love of Provence shines through on every Tour! Click here to read the Testimonial Page of our website – (opens in a new window), Click here to read guest feedback on Facebook – (opens in a new window) OR Click the following link to visit our BLOG – France Off the Beaten Path – (opens in a new window). We have also included some of our guests’ responses below.
2 Very Heart Warming Letters of Testimony
Below is an email message that our May 6-11, 2014 Tour guest Ed Ulmer wrote to his Travel Agent, and shared with us…
We’re back from the French trip and want to thank you for helping us put it together. The flights worked, the hotel in Avignon was great (more of a classic European hotel than one would find in American chains) and the time in Provence was delightful. We thought the T***k small group tour of Italy was very good, but the Off The Beaten Path tour run by Christy Destremau was significantly better. The group was more congenial, smaller and, most important, had two extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful guides. They met us at the train, took us on all of the tours, joined us for lunch and dinner each day and were available to answer questions on any subject related to Provence and its history as well as providing in-depth commentary on all things French. The effect was that this was a far more personal, relaxed and private gathering among friends than one might find in a more standard tour. Christy handles a number of other tours in France (she and her family have lived there for years) and should prove to be a useful contact for you for any clients you may have who are interested in personalized visits to France. I took the liberty of giving her your card with all of the McCabe contact information and would be happy to drop by your office this week to give you a short précis of the trip. It was great and you should try it yourself!
Below is an email message that our June 10-15, 2014 Tour guest Nancy O’Toole sent us after her return home…
Back home from our two weeks of back to back tours in Provence. Happy to share our feedback…Two very different tours. Your Best Adventures in Provence tour gets a RAVE review compared to Carol’s B**t of F****e T*****s tour that we did right after yours. Your tour was terrific fun!! Loved that all of the wine during the trip was included in your tour price and Cassis day was one of many highpoints. I will never forget that wonderful day; the ride on the boat was fabulous. I overheard my husband tellling our friends that your tour was 1st class. I have to agree. I was very impressed with how knowledgeable our guides were. Your tour definitely has an advantage over others…yours was so much more personalized, and it was obvious that you are known and warmly welcomed by everyone! In two years we plan to bring our daughters and their husbands to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We look forward to traveling with you again. Thanks for everything including the delicious olive oil.
The greatest reward working in this industry is receiving wonderful messages and feedback from happy tour guests like the Ulmers and the O’Tooles!! Thanks Ed and Mary and Nancy and Terry!!
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
“Absolutely!! YES we will recommend this tour to our friends and family!We were very pleased with the hotel accommodations, places visited and variety of activities. The people in our group were terrific, the gourmet meals were fantastic, and we were very appreciative of the care and concern taken to accommodate a variety of interests and preferences. This is the most fun and flexible tour we have ever been on!! Bravo Christy! You are a phenomenal host! Thanks for an enjoyable time in Provence!! We felt pampered and cared for!” –Ralph and Sandy Mayer, San Diego, California (pictured with Off the Beaten Path, LLC owner Christy Destremau)
“YES, We will enthusiastically recommend this trip to friends and family!! It is great to be with tour guides who are smart, well informed and eager to see that we are having a great experience. We enjoyed everything about this trip. Hotel and meals were outstanding! The thing we enjoyed the most was the congenial attitude created by the guides and driver. It was so easy to be with everyone. Every day was different, different experiences, different locations and very magical! This has been an outstanding experience and we surely would want to share it with people that we care about. Merci Beaucoup! How did you manage to put together such a great group of guests?!” –Jordan & Anita Waldman, San Diego, California (referred to the tour by 2013 guests Ralph and Sandy Mayer-their feedback above)
“YES!! We loved our attentive, hard working guides, the varied and well chosen activities. The accommodations are very high quality and the food from the cooking class, bistrot and dinners were all a highlight of the trip. Very favorable ratio of quality to cost…VALUE in other words. This trip far exceeded our expectations! Thank you for such a fun and beautiful week!” –Dick and Frances Ugoretz, San Diego, California (referred to the tour by 2013 guests Ralph and Sandy Mayer-their feedback above)
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
“ABSOLUTELY YES! I will recommend this trip!! Everything was terrific – I didn’t need to think – I just needed to be there, pace myself so I could taste all the great foods. The villages visited were beautiful and the walks wonderful! This is a perfect trip for those who want to explore the food and beautiful Provence countryside while getting some exercise. Our guides were terrific. Thank you for a very memorable experience!” –Leslie Lindenbaum, Long Island, New York
“Yes, no doubt I will be recommending this trip to friends, family and travel agents. I hope to be coming back myself!! This was without a doubt one of the best times of my life!!! Apart from it being a bit warm, I can’t think of anything I would have changed except of course more time to spend in this beautiful part of the country. I loved it all especially the day at the farmhouse cooking. I love to cook and facilities were a dream as were our hosts! Our guides could not have been better hosts, guides and friends. They truly made the trip run smoothly but more than that there was nothing they wouldn’t do to make sure you were thoroughly enjoying yourself. As you see I am a fan and could go on and on, but as usual have to run to catch up with the group. I’ve made some wonderful friends and couldn’t be happier except if I were staying!!!” ––Karen Lewis, Nashville, Tennessee
“Yes, I would happily recommend the tour and company as nothing was too much trouble for our guides. Our guides were the warmest of hosts. The five days were filled with magical moments. I loved cooking class and our chef, all of the restaurants and the villages especially Cassis. Again thanks to our wonderful hosts. I had high expectations and they were were all surpassed! This was truly the experience of a lifetime! Thank you so much.” ––Gill Hall, Victoria, Australia
“Absolutely Yes! Loved the walks, Cassis, Roussillon, Gordes, and our favorite thing was the cooking class! Food and wine were plentiful and wonderful, and the hotel was comfortable and staff was great. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this trip! Loved the picnic. Our driver and guides were fantastic! and awesome! They took what would’ve been a great trip and made it a truly memorable trip of a lifetime. We will never forget our 30th anniversary. We plan to be back!” ––Dave and Elizabeth Neithamer, Midland, Michigan
“Yes, we would definitely recommend the trip and would take another ourselves! Guides made the trip! They complemented each other beautifully, were knowledgeable and entertaining! Loved the program in Cassis and the wonderful restaurant overlooking the sea. Kudos to our guides for making a special trip to the train station to pick us up when our train arrived late, and for helping us find lavender oil.” ––Hap and Gerry Snyder, New York City, New York “YES!!
I was initially told about this trip by an acquaintance who had signed on for the trip but had to cancel. She is now so envious of my experience! I would definitely recommend this to others – overall the hotel was wonderful, food was excellent and the staff skilled.This trip was one adventure from begining to end. Our guides were the perfect guides – both were super knowledgeable and entertaining. They kept us organized and on schedule all while entertaining us with their knowledge and information. There isn’t anything that I would have changed. All the activities were so interesting that I didn’t want to miss anything! who” ––Barbara Lingo, Nashville, Tennessee
“YES This was a once in a lifetime vacation for us. We enjoyed the small group atmosphere and unpretentious welcoming nature of our guides and everyone we met during the tour. Very good guides – they work very well together and offer lots of information with a bit of humor. The walks just got better and better each day with more spectacular views. The guides, the food and service was extraordinary, and will not be replicated in our travels for a long time to come!” ––Alan and Laura Lecours, Gansevoort, New York
“YES would definitely recommend this trip/group! I tend to avoid group travel to do my own thing BUT this was absolutely the best in this type of travel! I loved the trip – one of the best I’ve taken. The walks were great, the cooking lesson was a highlight, the small towns were charming and the guides were perfect – knowledgeable, charming and perfect foils for each other.” ––Barbara Morris, Gansevoort, New York
“YES I would recommend this trip to friends who like to walk and be active. I loved everything we did on the trip! I loved the guides, they were very considerate, helpful and knowledgeable about the region. The villages were delightful, and the food was delicious and beautifully presented. The cooking class was fun and tasty! The other guests on the trip were also fun and very interesting. Thank you!!” ––Anita Dunlap, Pacific Palisades, California
“YES we would for all of the following reasons and more – Loved, loved, loved our cooking day, the activities, the cooking class and our guides were amazing! Thank you for a great trip!” ––Tony and Christine Beck, Adelaide, Australia
“Aboslutely YES! I loved the people, fellow travelers, guides, hotel staff. This was a wonderful experience. Great guides, very knowledgeable, charming and very aware of everyone in the group and what they might need. It was fantastic that I didn’t know or care what day it was. Thank you!” ––Sharan Marshall, Huntingtown, Maryland
“YES as long as they are fit and active. I really enjoyed this trip. Loved that our guides were flexible. There were enough choices to make everyone happy, and the food was great. Loved the cooking class. This is a great trip for food and wine lovers!” ––Pat Hofmann, Huntingtown, Maryland
“YES we will! First and foremost we like the planning Christy put into making this an extraordinary trip. But then of course, she chose wonderful guides to carry out her vision. The guides were perfect, they complement each other so well. They have made everything so fun! The tour was wonderful. Our favorite things were Gordes and Roussillon villages–and the walk through the poppies, vineyards and orchards with the picnic food from the market. The bistrot lunch, the cooking class, the Cassis boat ride and the lunch in Cassis were all outstanding. How fun it was to see what was for dinner each day too, and trying so many different foods we don’t normally have at home. We loved making new acquaintances and enjoying all of the wines, it was all up at the top of our list. We are sad to leave! Merci Love you guys!” ––Joe and Kathy Roah, Long Beach, California
“YES, Great experience! Profesisonally guided. Good choice of locations to visit. And though this is my 4th or 5th visit to the south of France, this is the best tour! I really liked the walks, the cooking experience, the hotel. The guides were fun, approachable, knowledgeable, patient, helpful and profesional. And our bus was the perfect size (discreet).” ––Soh Keng Tan, Singapore
“YES – Definitely! I will recommend OTBP to my friends and I will come back again and also join you for Bordeaux and Loire Valley walk. I have had a wonderful time in Provence. The program is very well designed. Just enough amount of walking, shopping and very good meals. Keep up the good work. You are the BEST! Have a wonderful summer!” ––Ms. SiaouSze Lien, Singapore
“YES we would recommend this to friends who enjoy good food and being pampered. We loved the walks and passing by the poppy fields. The cooking class was fun and the day in Cassis was wonderful. So was the lunch at Cassis! All of the meals were great!! ” ––Mr. Kai-Yuen Wang and Ms. Mina Chan, Singapore
“YES Definitely will recommend to friends. This trip was well organized. Love the walks through the various villages. The poppy fields were a delight. The hotel was excellent and meals very good quality. The service was wonderful–we enjoyed our guides and their sense of fun and humor, they were extraordinary as guides–punctual, courteous, cheerful and knowledgeable. Thank you for making my trip memorable!” ––Ms. Mary Ong, Singapore
“YES, relaxing and yet enough activities to keep occupied and exercise to allow for eating all of the great food. This place is beautiful. Our guides were great, they made the atmosphere fun and memorable. The walks were good., and I really enjoyed the cooking class. Very professional operation.” ––Ms. Chiet Ping Chong, Singapore
“YES We would recommend the tour to others. It was a good combination of activities. Cooking class was exceptional. Our guides’ historical knowledge was enlightening and their local knowledge helped us appreciate the culture. The choices of restaurants was excellent. The hikes were beautiful. All arrangements were great and things went smoothly. Thank you for a fun week!” ––Dennis and Bevery Fitzpatrick, Key Largo, Florida
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
“Yes, the reason why we really liked this tour was because it was a small group (who all got along so very well and very seamlessly), and most of all liked the fact that we weren’t hopping around from hotel to hotel – staying in one hotel for the entire tour was definitely a perk we appreciated!! Initially we thought we would be able to maneuver around the region on our own but are so glad we didn’t attempt it. Off the Beaten Path took us to wonderful areas and treated us to some fabulous meals!! We loved every day we were here!! Our favorites were the walks-getting to walk through different scenery on each, cooking class and market day. Au revoir Provence! We’ll miss our guides too!” –Rob and Jane Disch, Watchung, New Jersey
“Absolutely!! One hotel, all the planning done for us, the group size is optimal, truly able to relax, spectacular food, and time in the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The walks were fantastic, lots of great photo ops, and cooking class were our favorites!! Thank you to our guides for making us feel immediately at home. We learned a great deal, laughed much, relaxed completely and felt no stress. What could ever be better!?!” Bill and Ruthanne Wright, Centennial, Colorado
“Yes, would recommend due to – small group, wonderful guides and hotel (only one hotel, no moving was great!), choice of villages to visit without spending a long time getting to them, and guides shared the culture of the country, not just the sights. Guides and driver were excellent. Food was great/well above average as was the wine. Cooking school was a highlight, we learned a lot. Seeing the calanques of Cassis was a treat. Your pre-tour communication and suggestions were very helpful.” –Kenneth Doss and Peggy Cannon, Holland, Michigan
“We would definitely recommend the trip to friends who like to sit back and relax, who enjoy food and wine, beautiful scenery and colorful markets and villages and making friends. We liked the hotel in its tranquil setting and a short walk into the town. The garden and swimming pools are beautiful, and the room is very comfortable with all the necessary facilities and amenities. We had two very professional guides. They made sure everything went as organized. We enjoyed the stories and history told about Provence during the tour. The guides were also great at taking pictures for the group and accommodated all of our special requests. All of the meals are fine dining and up to Michelin standard. We were provided with more than what we could drink, and enjoyed that our food was matched with different local wines. We also enjoyed all of the walks through different countryside each day, and the cooking class!! We enjoyed making lots of new friends from different countries -these are very memorable moments together. In one word, this trip is the “essence” of Provence!” –Francis and Lilian Lee, Hong Kong, China
“Yes – We enjoyed everything about the trip and will recommend to friends! The villages were interesting, the explanations were excellent and the food was very good, especially loved the Cassis and Gordes lunches! We thought it was all FABULOUS!” –Richard and Trude Skolnick, Santa Monica, California
“Yes we would without a doubt!! The tour showcased a very beautiful part of France and gave us a good “French experience” one which we will never forget!! We enjoyed the food, walks, local and historical information, the weather, the company and especially the villages we visited.Our guides were very experienced and we were very satisfied with their expertise. The hotel was a great “home away from home”, and our group bonded very well! Thank you for some great memories!!” –Ron and Faye Atkinson, Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia
“Absolutely, would recommend without reservation. We had a fabulous time!! Our guides were knowledgeable and very personable, the hotel location was good and convenient to town and activities were very fun.” –Donald and Kaye Kelley, Austin, Texas
“Yes! Loved the walks, each covered different ground! Loved the variety of villages and the well organized, efficient excursions. LOVED cooking class!! Beautiful room at the hotel. Many great meals and wines! We liked that the guides took very good care of us.” –Seth and Kristy Cain, Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
“Yes! We will definitely recommend your Provence Tour to our friends and family! The trip met our expectations. We did a lot of diverse things that the area offered, and it was a great learning experience. Our guides were attentive to our needs and their knowledge of history added to our cultural experience. We loved the hotel! AND, the food and wines were awesome!!! This was a true holiday!” Sarah Bennett, Abby Boor, Mary Ann Boor, Washington, D.C. (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“Absolutely! We will recommend this Provence Tour! The tour allowed us to see in only a few days, such an extraordinary cross section of the French countryside. The trip would have easily been very different had our guides not been just awesome – they made this an amazing tour and were both so informative and really cool folks to hang out with. This tour was perfectly organized and just a blast every step of the way!! One of our favorite meals was in Cassis, and the boat ride along the coast was amazing! Cooking class was alos another highlight of the trip for us.” -brothers Jonathan and Andrew Nadreau, Wilton, Connecticut – (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“Yes, I would recommend this trip to a friend. Our guides made everyone feel comfortable, they accommodated a lot of needs and were a lot of fun. The cooking class was a definite highlight, LOVED the trip to Cassis. Lunch locations were all great, BUT Cassis was SPECTACULAR!! The food and wines were great! The tour stops were great! I especially loved Saturday’s walk in the Luberon. Overall, everything was great – certainly met my expectations and would recommend highly to others! Thank you!!” -Joan McCourt, Wilton, Connecticut – (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“Yes we would without reservation recommend your Provence Tour to our friends and family for all of the following reasons – A++ for the guides, the visits, cooking class, food and wine!! We especially loved the day in Cassis!! The hotel was great, comfortable with a perfect location and friendly staff. THANK YOU!!!” -James and Lucette Dunlap, Aurora, Ontario, CANADA – (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“Yes, we feel that this tour was a great way to get to see southern France.Overall we enjoyed the small personal feeling of the tour. It was nice staying at one hotel, but seeing a variety of towns while getting history of those towns enroute. Walking through the countryside and seeing everything up close was wonderful. The variety of food and wine was something that we would have never been able to duplicate on our own. Great food, wines, nice choice of towns to visit-each one had something a little different to offer, and we loved the cooking class!” -Rocco and Sue Malandrino, Chicago, Illinois – (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“YES! I would definitely recommend this trip to a friend! We loved the hotel, the food was to die for and the guides were both interesting and knowledgeable. The cooking class was fantastic, and the boat tour along the coast of Cassis was so much fun! The towns of Gordes and Roussillon were breathtaking! I also liked our small group. We all got along beautifully. We will always remember our trip to Provence! Merci!” -David and Karen Tatak, Chicago, Illinois – (Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“YES of course I would recommend this trip!! The food was fantastic, cooking class was great, the guides were informative and fun, the locations were great, what’s not to like? The Mas des Carassins was very good! I liked everything! Just to emphasize: Our guides were wonderful!! I have been to this area of France before, but they put a new light on it!!” –Nancy Johnson, Denver, Colorado
“Yes – The tour allowed us to see more and eat in much better restaurants than we could ever have done on our own. This was a well organized tour, our guides were friendly and very helpful, meals were outstanding with a nice selection of different local wines each day. Thank you for a great week!” –Greg Corning and Madelyn Ruiz, Sunnyvale, California
“Yes- Abolsutely! Every day was my favorite! Amzing experience, something I never thought I would be able to do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I will never forget this week. We had so much wonderful food! Our guides were fabulous! Will recommend to everyone! The level of service, hotelquality, destination, exclusive restaurants, history lessons. Our cooking class chef was lovely, she made me feel so welcome in her home. Cassis – Amazing. Great blend of sea and mountain destinations. Walks were great. Thank you so much!!” –Lisa Lyons, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
“Yes, I would definitely recommend to friends!! This tour was very special in the way it combined activities and provided alternatives and choices daily. Our guides were excellent – always attentive to the needs of the group and individuals in the group. Every activity I participated in was great. I especially loved the Mas des Carassins, the boat ride in Cassis, the cooking class (in such a beautiful setting) and all the villages we visited. It was a great way to make new friends and a fun adventure to share with the friend who joined me on this trip. Well done!!” –Sharon Weinberg, Denver, Colorado
“Absolutely! Especially for women single or traveling together. We had excellent guides, a great group – a good mix of singles and couples, fabulous meals, great variety. Maybe the hotel could heat on of the pools just slightly.” –Susan Hubbard, Prairie Village, Kansas
“Yes, I enjoyed every aspect of the tour. Of course Provence is fantastic, that makes it all easy. But the food was exceptional, hotel was great and excursions were interesting and beautiful. I would recommend this trip because – there was a variety of activities, the walks were not too long or too difficult, everything was well organized, guides were delightful, great internet access and food was great!” –Sharon Bauer, Wichita, Kansas
“Yes – We would recommend this trip to friends! The food, activities, tour guides and fellow travellers all exceeded our expectations. It was the best vacation I ever had! Our guides really made our trip! Their knowledge of the area was wonderful. Traveling as a group allowed us to do and see so much more than we would have experienced alone. Our guides made this such an exceptional experience, and I will sincerely miss them.” –Ed and Kathy Simmons, Sussex, New Jersey
“Absolutely!!! Our guides were top notch–terrific! We loved them. They ensured our safety and well being throughout the trip! We loved our group!! Great age range, well matched (though we know you have little control over that). Great value as well, incredible food, delicious wine (and plenty!), top of the line excursions. We would change nothing about the tour! We loved the lunches and dinners! Awesome people throughout. By taking the tour, we were able to see and do things we would not have otherwise-we would have missed so many memory making moments. We want return for the Loire Valley tour soon. Great job!!” –Friends -Tina Losinger and Susanne Weisman, Austin, Texas
“YES – Overall this is a very good trip, an excellent taste of Provence! Great guides and a very fun and interesting tour!! Thanks!” –Bob and Dianne Newberry, Newport Beach, California
“Yes – I would recommend it to my friends. I especially enjoyed cooking class and the chef’s garden. Both guides were fantastic and very knowledgeable. I think it was a very beautiful experience and might do it again someday, maybe in the spring. THANK YOU (MERCI!)” –Susan Janson, Tuscon, Arizona
More Guest Testimonials “Our family of 4 with two adult sons have just returned from the Loire Vally trip with Christy and Off the Beaten Path. It was one of our favorite trips. Our sons loved it too!!! The combination of gorgeous chateaus with excellent and knowledgeable guides, and the cooking classes and meals with top Michelin chefs was fabulous!!! The hotel was comfortable, perfectly located and we had the best rooms in the Chateau. Our two guides stayed in the hotel with us. Sometimes the best trips aren’t necessarily the most well known. This company deserves to be! It’s wonderful!!! After about 15 worldwide trips including most continents, my sons ranked this one up near the top. Plus, 14 people in the group. We like small groups and good food and fabulous sights. This took the cake!! Would return in a flash!!” –Connie and Ken Yonan, Chicago, IL – (Loire Valley Tour)
“Hi Christy and everyone. We had a fabulous time in the Loire and had so much fun with our group! We missed you all in Paris! Thanks for your wonderful “tour guidance” in France. It was quite a memorable trip.” Added message sent to us by Steve and Michelle – “We enjoyed 5 wonderful days with Christy’s tour of the Loire Valley Sept. 12 – 17, 2012. It was absolutely one of the best tours we’ve taken, and our 2nd tour with France Off the Beaten Path (first one was in Provence in 2006). Christy and her staff saw to the group’s every need, they were warm, accommodating and had every excursion well planned out. We visited remarkable Chateaux, ate at wonderful Michelin Star restaurants in the Loire and had a thrilling Hot Air Balloon ride at the end (which I think was one of the highlights for us). In addition, we were lucky to have an absolutely perfect group of fellow travellers and made many friendships we hope to foster back at home. We enjoyed very personalized and truly “off the beaten path” experiences with cooking classes/demonstrations, cheese and wine tasting and more. We hope to join another tour in the future with France Off the Beaten Path! Thank you, Christy, for a wonderful time in the Loire Valley!” –Steve Keller and Michelle Tidwell, San Francisco, CA – (Loire Valley 2012 Tour, 2006 Best Adventures in Provence Tour)
“The hotel accommodations were lovely! We thoroughly enjoyed our group; they were fun, intelligent and accommodating! Loved all of the cooking classes, each one was so different from the other. Our guide was very knowledgeable, efficient and facilitated our trips to the castles in a friendly and cordial manner.I always wanted to visit the Loire Valley and love cooking immensely and wanted to share a unique experience with my daughter. Thank you Christy for a fabulous week!!” –Marianne Gold and adult daughter Alexandra, Jupiter, Florida (Loire Valley Tour)
“We loved Christophe and Angelique’s cooking class and dinner – it was very special! Hot air ballooning was wonderful. Christophe Cosme and Damien were fantastic! Right balance between leisure time and organized activities and we especially loved no hotel hopping!! Good chateau history/gossip and duration of history explanation. Thanks Christy for taking pictures during the trip and sharing them with us. And, thanks again for a fabulous time in the Loire!!” –Tim and Nina Ku, Middletown, Connecticut (Loire Valley Tour)
Visit our Testimonials Page to read even more feedback from our Tour Guests!
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