Intimate France Tours e-News

Issue 3, January 2012



At Intimate France, we specialize in small groups - usually eight travelers or fewer, never more than 16. Read more about how we are different.



Provence, France - April 29-May 11

Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra.Tour begins and ends at Marseille Airport.

(more information)


Normandy-Loire Valley, France -

May 13-25

Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra.Tour begins and ends at Charles de Gaulle Airport., Paris

(more information)


Dordogne, France - Sept. 2-14

Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra.Tour begins and ends at Bordeaux Airport.

(more information)


Austria: Alps, Abbeys & Vienna - Sept. 16-28

Your priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra.Tour begins at Munich Airport, ends at Vienna Airport.

(more information)







George Nevin


intimate France Tours



'If you love France so much, why not just move there?'


    When i tell new acquaintances what I do for a living, they often ask, "Will you ever live in France (or in Europe) permanently?"


    My answer is that although I love visiting Europe, I prefer to live in the United States.


    It comes down to the fact that life in Europe is hard, and life here in the U.S. is easy. Relatively speaking, of course.


    Here's just one example: opening a bank account. In California, you simply walk into a bank, speak to a banker in the lobby, produce some basic identification and leave a check as an initial deposit.


    Opening a bank account in France, by contrast, exposes you to the weird world of Catch-22 you've probably only read about. A friend who moved from California to France had the occasion once to attend a party at a friend's house in Carcassonne. During the evening, she was introduced to the manager of a local bank branch.


    Later, she had occasion to go into this bank branch and asked to open an account. "Oh, no," the clerk told her. "That is just not possible. You are not French."


    "But," my friend protested, "I have met the branch manager."


    "Oh," said the clerk, "that's different." And the forms for initiating the account magically appeared.


Those slow washing machines


    One other example involves the simple act of washing your clothes in a  machine. Why does the wash cycle take so bloody long?


    I posed that question to an English ex-pat living in rural France. His answer: "Because everything in France takes a long time."


    My guess was that the French don't wash their clothes as often as we do, so when they do launder them, they need to get them very, very clean.


    The real reason, I now know, is that slow wash cycles, with long pauses between tumbles, save energy, which is hideously expensive in France. (And, come to think about it, that's another reason to live in the United States.)







    After 25 years of travel and research, we founded Intimate France in 1994 to share our accumulated wisdom and exciting discoveries with you. In the  years since then, we’ve taken hundreds of Americans to France, Italy, Spain, Croatia and the Alps.


    Our small groups (never more than 16) assure the utmost in personal service, attention to detail and flexibility.

    Our small group size allows us to take care of you and your needs the way you deserve. Our long familiarity with Europe has taught us the hidden, authentic visits and sights not in any guidebook.


    Our cheerful, experienced, bilingual guides love Europe with a passion and want to share this feeling with you. Our carefully planned itineraries feature a multitude of enriching visits – all included in the tour price. Optional excursions at additional expense are virtually non-existent.  


At Intimate France, we believe that cookie-cutter hotels, tourist-oriented restaurants and fast-paced sightseeing are barriers to enjoying the real Europe.   


      Over time we have discovered small, family-run hotels, local bistros and insider sights. You’ll visit the top attractions in each town while also having experiences that are more typically European.





I first encountered parmesan crisps in Italy, but they're also common in France and elsewhere in Europe. They are absolutely scrumptious as a light hors d'oeuvre, perhaps with a glass of chilled prosecco (Italian sparkling wine). They are dead easy to make and a sure crowd-pleaser. Hint – make more than one recipe, as they keep well.



makes 9 crisps

3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-        Reggiano)
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a lightly greased baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a Teflon-coated baking sheet.

In a small bowl stir together Parmesan and flour. On prepared baking sheet spoon level tablespoons of mixture in mounds 4 inches apart and spread mounds gently into 3 1/2-inch-long ovals.


Bake crisps in middle of oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool crisps completely on baking sheet and remove carefully with a metal spatula.


Crisps may be made two days in advance and kept between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature.





We have extended our special discount on our tour of gorgeous Dordogne to January 31, 2012. This special discount of $100 per person is in addition to our regular $100 discount for early signup (see below). On your signup form, mention the code 'Dordogne on Sale.'


Dordogne is our most popular tour for a good reason – the villages, landscape, food and wine are the best France has to offer. More information.



Signups received by January 31, 2012, earn a discount of $100 per person for tours in 2012. More information on How to Book.

Signs of the Times

    We've seen signs ... oh, yes, we have. The streets, highways and byways of Europe are crowded with signs, many of them  instructive, useful, essential or ... funny.




Don't even think about entering. Granada, Spain


.    in France, 'betteraves' are beets. And yes, this sign warns that you can skid on slippery sugar beets, spilled on the road and mashed to a pulp. Rural France, north of Paris.



    What – it's forbidden forever? Northern Italy



    It turns out donkeys are only prohibited after 8 p.m. Medina, Fes, Morocco.



    Who knew 'depigeonnisation' was a real word? Paris, near the Louvre.

Why Dordogne? Because It's the Best!



 Château des Milandes, former Josephine Baker home


    Anyone who wants to tour France's single most beautiful region should head straight to the Dordogne.


    Located about 50 miles inland (east) from Bordeaux, Dordogne is a lush and idyllically quiet land of rolling hills, forests and fields, cliffs and stone villages, and exceptional food and wine.


    Because of its long tradition of agriculture, as well as being isolated from major north-south and east-west travel routes, this region has retained its placid charm.


    Here, in classic reverse order, are the top 10 reasons to visit Dordogne:


10. The wine is wonderful, plentiful and affordable.

 9. Ducks and geese outnumber people.

 8. It's peaceful, because it's not really on the way to anywhere.

 7. People have lived here in comfort and plenty for 500,000 years.

  6. See the French paradox in action – eat, drink and be healthy and happy.

 5. Europe's original (cave) artists lived here, the Van Goghs of prehistory.

 4. There are more beautiful villages per square kilometer here than anywhere else in France.

 3. The French consistently vote Dordogne's food the best in the country.

 2. The Saturday farmer's market in Sarlat is second to none.


And the number one reason to visit the Dordogne:


 1. The Brits have discovered it – and they need to learn to share.


More information on Intimate France's 2012 Dordogne tour.



Provence, France - April 29-May 11

Detailed itinerary


Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra. Discounts available. Tour begins and ends at Marseille Airport.t.

  • Boat ride on the sparkling Mediterranean from the fishing port of Cassis
  • Stately Aix-en-Provence, one of France's loveliest towns
  • Perched villages - among the most beautiful in Europe
  • Exciting, colorful outdoor markets
  • Many meals include wine at no extra cost
  • The ancient Abbey of Senanque
  • The wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape
  • The ocher-colored village of Roussillon
  • Lodging in a comfortable inn in the vineyards
  • Avignon, with possible visit to the Palace of the Popes
  • The stunning, ruined fortress of les Baux-de-Provence

Normandy-Loire Valley, France - May 13-25

Detailed itinerary


Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra. Discounts available. Tour begins and ends at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris.

  • Comfortable hotels and charming inns - all with private bath
  • The gardens, studio and home of Claude Monet in Giverny
  • Old Bayeux, and its most famous sight, the Bayeux Tapestry
  • Outstanding cuisine, including meals at renowned restaurants
  • D-Day beaches & monuments, including the American Cemetery
  • Magnificent Chartres Cathedral, with world-class stained glass and statues
  • Old Rouen, capital of Normandy, including a monument to the martyrdom of Joan of Arc
  • Belle Epoque resorts of Deauville and Trouville
  • Outdoor markets
  • Fresh seafood - some of the best in France
  • Stunning coastal scenery
  • Abbey of Mont St. Michel
  • Local cheeses, cider & calvados
  • Cathedrals, castles, markets, cafés, art, fine dining, exceptional wines

Dordogne, France - Sept. 2-14

Detailed itinerary


Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra. Discounts available. Tour begins and ends at Bordeaux Airport.

  • The village of Brantôme, folded in a bend of the Drônne River
  • Ancient Périgueux, already a center of commerce and learning in Celtic times
  • Lunch at a restaurant holding the coveted Michelin star
  • St. Jean-de-Cole, one of France’s most beautiful villages
  • Historic Sarlat, containing a remarkable ensemble of renaissance buildings
  • Hilltop Domme, looking over a vista of rivers, cliffs and fields
  • The riverside villages of la Roque Gageac and Beynac
  • Dordogne River cruise
  • Lascaux II, replicating the cave paintings called the “Sistine Chapel of antiquity”
  • The stone village of St. Emilion, source of exceptional wines
  • Art, villages, castles, fine dining, gorgeous scenery

Austria: Alps, Abbeys & Vienna - Sept. 16-28

Detailed itinerary


Tour priced at $3,895 per person sharing accommodation. Singles $550 extra. Discounts available. Tour begins at Munich Airport and ends at Vienna Airport.

  • Comfortable hotels and charming inns – all with private bath
  • Magnificent Vienna - palaces and monuments of a faded empire
  • Stately Innsbruck, capital of the vast Alpine wonderland of Tirol
  • Outstanding frescoes of Klosterneuberg
  • Soaring Alps, thundering waterfalls, deep valleys, icy glaciers
  • Medieval villages on the Danube - Durnstein, Melk
  • Outdoor markets
  • Picture-perfect Hallstatt, beside its mountain lake
  • Explore a salt mine
  • The baroque abbey of Melk
  • Medieval Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart
  • Cathedrals, castles, markets, cafes, art, fine dining, exceptional wines



Make an Intimate France tour your best trip ever.