JULY 2017

 

 
About Intimate France — We travel every spring and fall to Europe's most beautiful destinations. Our small groups (between eight and 16 travelers) guarantee you the utmost in personal service and attention to detail. Learn more about us or contact Intimate France.
 


JOIN US ON ONE OF OUR EXCEPTIONAL 2017 TOURS —
SEATS STILL AVAILABLE!

 

Josephine Baker's castle (Dordogne tour)

 

                                                                                

 

FALL 2017 —

STILL TIME TO ENROLL

 

DORDOGNE, FRANCE
SEPTEMBER 3-15, 2017

 

 

Why build four walls when a cliff face is handy? Cottage, village of St. Cirq, Dordogne.

 

You'll want to join us on this tour if:

• You love, love, love beautiful stone
French villages

• The thought of dining in the region French people consistently rate as having the country's best cuisine makes your mouth water.

• You want to learn more about the Médoc, considered by many to be France's finest wine region.

• Your imagination runs wild at the thought of 15,000-year-old cave art.

• The idea of troglodyte (cave dweller) homes intrigues you.

• You long to know more about 1930s-era African American singer-dancer-activist Josephine Baker and her fairytale castle, Les Milandes, high above the Dordogne River.

• Your foodie imagination kicks into high gear at the thought of a gourmet lunch in a Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking Bergerac's vineyards.

 

DORDOGNE TOUR INFO HERE

 

                                                                                  

 

 

OUR COMPLETE 2018 TOUR LINEUP

 

 

Perched village of Gordes (Provence tour).

 

• Comfortable hotels and charming inns – all with private bath
• The stunning perched villages of the Côte d'Azur – Eze, Gourdon
• Principality of Monaco • Colorful outdoor markets • Fine wines
• Modern art – Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Renoir, Cocteau
• Outstanding cuisine, including lunch in a Michelin-starred restaurant
• Charming, walled St. Paul de Vence, with its fountains and chic boutiques
• Museums known the world over – Fondation Maeght, Nice Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art
• Cathedrals, castles, markets, cafés, art, fine dining, exceptional wines

• 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
• Wine tasting opportunities • Walking tour of Aix-en-Provence
• The ochre-colored village of Roussillon, and perched village of Gordes
• Lodging in a comfortable inn in the vineyards, featuring outstanding cuisine
• Avignon, with its Palace of the Popes
• The Pont-du-Gard, France's most renowned Roman aqueduct

• Three nights in the beautiful fishing port of St. Jean-de-Luz
• Glittering Biarritz, a Belle Epoque seaside resort
• Pristine villages in the French Pyrénées – Ainhoa, Espelette, St. Etienne-de Baïgorry
• San Sebastián, with its curving bay and lively promenade
• The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
• Pamplona, famed for running of the bulls

 

Dordogne, France, September 16-28, 2018

• The village of Brantôme, folded into a bend of the Drônne River

• Lunch at a restaurant holding the coveted Michelin star
• 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 IV, replicating the cave paintings called the "Sistine Chapel of antiquity"
• Art, villages, castles, fine dining, gorgeous scenery, gourmet picnic

 

NEWS FLASH!

 

INTIMATE FRANCE JOINS 21ST CENTURY
 

 — INNOVATION 1, CREDIT CARDS

 

Use Plastic to Pay For a Tour
 

By George Nevin

Founder-owner, Intimate France

 

At Intimate France, we resisted the lure of newfangled technology for a long time, but we've finally capitulated. Beginning with tours in spring 2018, use your Visa-Mastercard-Discover card to make tour deposits and final payments.

 

Go to this page to find signup options for 2018, including using a card as payment of the deposit and/or tour balance.

 

If you would rather just ask us about using a card, please call us at (800 676-1247) or email us at info@intimatefrance.com.

 

 

— INNOVATION 2, SOCIAL MEDIA

 

We're Now Listed on TripAdvisor

 

As of late June 2017, Intimate France Tours has a presence on Tripadvisor. See us here.

 

This listing is brand-new, so don't expect to find much content yet, but we're asking all recent tour participants to rate us. So, in a few days or weeks, you'll be able to read reviews of our tours from actual travelers. I find reviews such as these most helpful in evaluating hotels, restaurants and, yes, tours. 

 

Enjoy!

 

                                                                                 

 

INTIMATE FRANCE TOURS
JOINS 21ST CENTURY (SORT OF)

 

• Accepts Credit Cards
• Now Listed on Tripadvisor
    

see below

                                                                                 

 

 

A NEW(ISH) WAY TO SEPARATE
TRAVELERS FROM THEIR MONEY

By George Nevin

Founder-owner, Intimate France

 

Standing at the front desk of a large hotel near London's Heathrow Airport, I could not believe my ears.

 

While waiting for my bill, I witnessed two Americans paying their own bills. Each was asked by the desk clerk, "Do you want to pay in pounds or dollars?"

 

The first American, a man in his 30s, said without hesitation, "Dollars." The second man, a bit older, said, "It doesn't matter."

 

Folks, it matters. Never, never choose dollars when paying abroad.

 

These two Americans were (choose your verb — "taking advantage of" or "being taken advantage of by") something variously called dynamic currency conversion or cardholder preferred currency, in which a purchase made abroad can be denominated in dollars rather than in the local currency.

 

This bit of financial skullduggery was, as far as I can tell, cooked up by merchants and third-party financial services (with the connivance, in some cases, of the credit card companies themselves) to part tourists from more of their cash, and for no other reason. Here's how it works:

 

Card customers traveling overseas are asked in hotels, restaurants and shops if they want to pay in dollars (in the case of Americans) or in foreign currency. This is proposed as a "convenience" to the cardholder, but the only convenience I can detect is knowing exactly how much in dollars the bill will come to.


That is fine as far as it goes, but what isn't explained is that by using dynamic conversion, a very disadvantageous (to the consumer) exchange rate is used. So the purchase ends up costing the traveler more.

 

How much more? In many cases around 5 percent, and possibly as much as 8 percent. This isn't a huge sum for a meal of €50 or even €100, but for something like a long stay at a nice hotel, you could end up paying $50 or $75 more on a stay costing, say, €1,000.

 

Again, this is not a huge amount, but it gets the consumer virtually nothing in return.

 

The way to avoid this scam when abroad is to check all credit card slips carefully, before signing them. Merchants are required to ask the consumer if he/she wishes dynamic conversion, but in my experience many fail to do so. You only learn that dynamic conversion is being used when you examine the charge slip, where the conversion rate being used is printed.

 

So, particularly in large shops, hotels and restaurants in popular tourist areas, look over all charge slips carefully before signing, and don't hesitate to make the merchant void the charge and reissue it in local currency in the event a "mistake" was made.

 

And you might consider doing what I have done — place a yellow sticky note on the card itself as a reminder both to yourself and to merchants that you won't stand for this type of nonsense.

 

 

Just Back from France and UK


By George Nevin

Founder-owner, Intimate France

 

In late June, we returned from our Intimate France spring tours — Normandy & Brittany, France, and Devon & Cornwall, U.K.

 

As always, we enjoyed great sights, lovely vistas, stirring monuments and churches, and of course fine food and wine.

 

On May 27, I took a night off from my group and treated myself to a special meal at the Hôtel Quatre Salines, in Brittany but only a few kilometers across the border from Normandy.

 

It was a five-course extravaganza, mostly seafood; every bite from first to last was delicious.

 

Here, in pictorial form, is that meal.

 

 

The amuse bouche — a goat cheese mousse, a chive foam, one perfect tomato slice and a parmesan tuile.

 

 

The first course — a langoustine ravioli with a plank of seared melon and a shellfish emulsion.

 

 

The main course — pan-fried scallops served in their shells.

 

 

The cheese course — Pont l'Eveque, comte and local goat cheese.

 

 

The perfect dessert — chocolate ganache over soft nougat on a crunchy cookie base.