Intimate France Tours e-News

Issue 4, February 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

Tour 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



Paula and Paul –
a (sort of) Love Story


    On my first tour to Provence, on the first day, Paula fell in love.

    It happened this way – Paula was 45, cute and single. We had checked into a charming hotel in the 17th century part of Aix-en-Provence.

    Paula and her roommate, Patricia, were assigned a room in the highest part of the hotel, three stories above the stone street below

    That first morning, Patricia came down to breakfast. "Where is Paula?" I asked. "Oh, she's still up in the room halloo-ing across the street to this worker on the roof of the building opposite."

    Paula had awakened that morning to the sight of roofers replacing tiles. One of the workmen was dressed alluringly in a t-shirt and a Speedo swimsuit. As the morning warmed, the t-shirt came off. Paula was captivated.

      Eventually, Paula came down to breakfast, not to eat, but to tell me, "There's this guy on the building across the street, and he's trying to tell me something. Can you help?"

     We went outside. The roofer (who had re-donned his shirt) was waiting at ground level.         He was a small, powerfully built man, and he had one word to say to Paula – "Abeille."

    Bees?" I said. "What about them?"

    The man introduced himself as Paul and explained that he was a beekeeper and he wanted to take Paula home to see his bees. I translated, and her face lit up. Oh, yes, she wanted to go.

    It was arranged that Paul would pick Paula up in front of the hotel at 4 o'clock, and she'd be back by 7, when we had plans to walk to dinner. And so it came to pass.

    At 7, Paula joined the rest of the group. She clutched a towel to her chest; inside was an angel sculpted out of cement – Paul was a artist as well as a roofer.

     At his home, a "caravan" in the country (we would say trailer), he did indeed have a hive of bees, she said, as well as one grape vine, one olive tree and a small vegetable patch.

    After she had toured his domain, he made it clear (using sign language and pantomime, as neither of them spoke a word of the other's language) that he'd love her to stay the night.

    She modestly declined, so he presented her with the cement angel and drove her back to Aix.     Paula walked to dinner that evening with stars in her eyes.

    We left Aix the following morning, to Paula's surprise – she had not checked the schedule I'd given everyone.

    For the next two weeks, she thought constantly about Paul and his bees and trees.

    On her return to the States, the two of them exchanged letters and phone calls (painful ones, with very few words uttered but loads of angst) but the love affair was never meant to be. Paula and Paul never saw each other again.





    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.






Help us design our 2013 tour lineup!

Where would you like to go with Intimate France in 2013? Just about any European destination is possible. Maybe England's Devon and Cornwall have been calling. Or you'd like to see Northern Spain, or the High Pyrénées of France and Spain. Tell us your opinion here.

A Dordogne

Picture Gallery

    France's Dordogne region has the perfect combination of castles, lovely villages and towns, superior food, art, unspoiled landscape and fine wine. It's the best France has to offer. For proof, we offer these images. (Intimate France tours Dordogne from Sept. 2-14, 2012. More information.)





Our Dordogne tour begins in the pretty wine village of St. Emilion, built in a natural bowl and surrounded by renowned vineyards. This view over the red tile roofs shows the bell tower of the principal church.



The Château of Montfort towers over the Dordogne River. A few years ago I was privileged to tour the castle grounds (the château itself is not open to the public). At that time our guide told us it was owned by a Middle Eastern oil billionaire, who would arrive periodically with his wives and household retainers in a parade of Mercedes limousines.



The busy town of Périgueux holds a lively market every Wednesday in the square in front of the cathedral. Périgueux being only 75 miles from the Atlantic, fresh seafood is readily available, such as the coquilles St. Jacques (scallops) advertised here.



St. Léon-sur-Vézère is classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Its Romanesque church, dating from about 1100, is an architectural treasure.



The village of Carennac, on the banks of the Dordogne River, is another attractive village on the Most Beautiful Villages list. The honor is well deserved.



The town of Sarlat is one of the prettiest in all of France. Houses are built of a locally quarried limestone that gives buildings a warm glow, an effect that is enhanced in the evening, when gas lights illuminate the old streets.



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.