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Food & Wine: France through Bordeaux & the Loire Valley

11 days Food & Wine
France is the ultimate destination for food and wine lovers. Taste the bold red wines of Bordeaux; the foie gras, cheese and decadent artisan offerings of the Dordogne Valley; and the reds, whites and rosés of the Loire Valley’s château country.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 28 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and unpaved paths, with some steep stairs and hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 4 wine tastings, 1 cooking lesson

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of France

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Toulouse today.

Toulouse 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Toulouse

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Toulouse, known as la ville rose (the Pink City), thanks to its grand red brick buildings. Meet your fellow travelers and Tour Director at a welcome dinner this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Toulouse

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out with a local guide for a walking tour of Toulouse.

• Explore the Place du Capitole, a square lined with grand government buildings

• Admire the city’s historic mansions and the Basilica of St. Sernin 

• Stroll through an outdoor market to browse fresh flowers (seasonal)

• Board the Maison de la Violette, a barge anchored on the Canal du Midi that celebrates all things violet

Enjoy a free afternoon in Toulouse or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Medieval Carcassonne: Castles & Cassoulet $99pp* Details

Carcassonne

Visit the UNESCO-recognized Cité of Carcassonne today with a local guide leading the way. You’ll walk through the citadel, where fortified city walls surround the castle, Gothic cathedral and medieval streets. After exploring the citadel, enjoy free time to visit Château Comtal, an impressive medieval castle, or explore the Bastide Saint-Louis and the banks of the Canal du Midi. Then, continue on to the town of Castelnaudary for dinner. Your meal includes the signature dish of cassoulet, a meat and white bean stew that originated in the town, and is served with pairings of local wines.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Bordeaux 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Bordeaux

  Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Continue on to Bordeaux for a guided sightseeing tour of its UNESCO-named historic district. 

• Stop at the Place des Quinconces, one of the largest city squares in Europe

• Drive along the Garonne River, stopping at Place de la Bourse

• Pass the lively hub of the Place de la Comédie and the Grand Théâtre

Later, enjoy a wine tasting in Pessac-Léognan, a wine growing area in the Graves region.

Day 5: Free day in Bordeaux

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Bordeaux or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Arcachon Bay Cruise: Oysters & Wine Tasting $125pp* Details

Known as “le Bassin” to locals, Arcachon Bay is a nearly enclosed bay that offers visitors pristine water views. Hop aboard a boat and take a scenic cruise around the bay, passing Île aux Oiseaux, an island in the middle of the bay that’s known as the oyster capital of the world. Back on shore, enjoy an oyster tasting paired with a glass of white wine. Then, have lunch accompanied with wine in the town of Arcachon. Afterward, stop at the dramatic Dune du Pilat, Europe’s largest sand dune, which frames a portion of the bay.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $135)

Dordogne Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Périgueux via Saint-Émilion & Bergerac

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tastings

Pass by breathtaking countryside scenery en route to the hidden gem town of Périgueux, making two stops along the way. 

• Visit a vineyard estate in Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to tour the wine cellar and taste full-bodied, deep reds

• Outside of Bergerac,sample sweet white wines and foie gras, a gourmet specialty of the region

• Enter Château de Monbazillac, where you’ll discover how its residents lived during medieval times

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Périgueux

  Included meals: Breakfast

With your Tour Director leading the way, take a walking tour of Périgueux. 

• Stroll this charming town’s quaint streets 

• View Roman and medieval architecture

• Stop by the outdoor markets where you can sample fresh produce, goat cheese, foie gras and truffles (seasonal)

Enjoy a free afternoon in the Dordogne Valley or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Rustic Dordogne Valley: Medieval Villages & Farms $59pp* Details

Delve deeper into the culinary expertise and medieval charm of the Dordogne Valley. Make your way through the picturesque countryside to the village of Pezuls to visit a goat farm and taste the best goat cheese imaginable. After free time for lunch in Sarlat, explore the city with a local guide, winding through tiny medieval streets and past well-preserved architecture. Your tour highlights the city’s artisan products and includes an aperitif and foie gras tasting. Depending on the season, you may get the chance to try other local specialties, such as the famous Perigord Black Truffles.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $69)

Loire Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: The Loire Valley via the Cognac region

  Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Set out for the Loire Valley, stopping en route in the elegant city of Jarnac to visit the iconic Courvoisier Distillery for a cognac tasting and dessert pairing.

Day 9: Châteaux country & cooking lesson

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting, Cooking lesson

Make your way through château country to the heart of the Loire Valley for a full day of exploration. 

• Stroll through the stalls of an outdoor market to pick up regional specialties (weather dependent)

• Step inside the historic, extravagant Château de Chenonceau 

• Settle in for a picnic overlooking the picturesque castle and gorgeous grounds

• Visit a local vineyard to taste the region’s reds, whites and rosés and take a short walking tour 

• Try your hand at preparing local specialties during a cooking lesson led by professional chefs and enjoy the meal you create

Paris 1 night Hotel info

Day 10: Travel to Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Paris, where you’ll gather with your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to continue exploring Paris.

Add Paris Starting from $449 pp

Paris: the city of life, love and light—not to mention food and wine. From the markets of Le Marais to the bistros of Montparnasse, you’ll find beauty, history and delicacies at every turn. So take a seat at a sidewalk cafe to watch the Parisians do their thing—and don’t forget to order something delicious.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend some more time exploring the City of Light’s architecture, scenery and culinary delights—from artisanal cheeses to sweet macarons—on a guided tour. 

• Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées in view of the Arc de Triomphe

• Pass the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on an island in the Seine River 

• See the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier opera house and Place de la Concorde, the city’s grandest square

• Marvel at the eclectic and iconic architecture of the Louvre

• Take a culinary walk, stopping at local shops to taste typical French specialties

Day 12: Free day in Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Montmartre Wine Tasting & Dinner $125pp* Details

Start off your evening with a walk through Pigalle’s cabaret-lined streets, passing by Moulin Rouge on the way. Then, take a funicular ride to the top of Montmartre, the highest point of the city, and explore the lively area around the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Afterward, enjoy a French wine tasting led by a local expert and a delicious three-course dinner.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $135)

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 4 wine tastings, 1 cooking lesson

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of France

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Toulouse today.

Toulouse 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Toulouse

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Toulouse, known as la ville rose (the Pink City), thanks to its grand red brick buildings. Meet your fellow travelers and Tour Director at a welcome dinner this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Toulouse

  Included meals: Breakfast

Set out with a local guide for a walking tour of Toulouse.

• Explore the Place du Capitole, a square lined with grand government buildings

• Admire the city’s historic mansions and the Basilica of St. Sernin 

• Stroll through an outdoor market to browse fresh flowers (seasonal)

• Board the Maison de la Violette, a barge anchored on the Canal du Midi that celebrates all things violet

Enjoy a free afternoon in Toulouse or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Medieval Carcassonne: Castles & Cassoulet $99pp* Details

Carcassonne

Visit the UNESCO-recognized Cité of Carcassonne today with a local guide leading the way. You’ll walk through the citadel, where fortified city walls surround the castle, Gothic cathedral and medieval streets. After exploring the citadel, enjoy free time to visit Château Comtal, an impressive medieval castle, or explore the Bastide Saint-Louis and the banks of the Canal du Midi. Then, continue on to the town of Castelnaudary for dinner. Your meal includes the signature dish of cassoulet, a meat and white bean stew that originated in the town, and is served with pairings of local wines.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Bordeaux 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Bordeaux

  Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Continue on to Bordeaux for a guided sightseeing tour of its UNESCO-named historic district. 

• Stop at the Place des Quinconces, one of the largest city squares in Europe

• Drive along the Garonne River, stopping at Place de la Bourse

• Pass the lively hub of the Place de la Comédie and the Grand Théâtre

Later, enjoy a wine tasting in Pessac-Léognan, a wine growing area in the Graves region.

Day 5: Free day in Bordeaux

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Bordeaux or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Arcachon Bay Cruise: Oysters & Wine Tasting $125pp* Details

Known as “le Bassin” to locals, Arcachon Bay is a nearly enclosed bay that offers visitors pristine water views. Hop aboard a boat and take a scenic cruise around the bay, passing Île aux Oiseaux, an island in the middle of the bay that’s known as the oyster capital of the world. Back on shore, enjoy an oyster tasting paired with a glass of white wine. Then, have lunch accompanied with wine in the town of Arcachon. Afterward, stop at the dramatic Dune du Pilat, Europe’s largest sand dune, which frames a portion of the bay.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $135)

Dordogne Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Périgueux via Saint-Émilion & Bergerac

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tastings

Pass by breathtaking countryside scenery en route to the hidden gem town of Périgueux, making two stops along the way. 

• Visit a vineyard estate in Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to tour the wine cellar and taste full-bodied, deep reds

• Outside of Bergerac,sample sweet white wines and foie gras, a gourmet specialty of the region

• Enter Château de Monbazillac, where you’ll discover how its residents lived during medieval times

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Périgueux

  Included meals: Breakfast

With your Tour Director leading the way, take a walking tour of Périgueux. 

• Stroll this charming town’s quaint streets 

• View Roman and medieval architecture

• Stop by the outdoor markets where you can sample fresh produce, goat cheese, foie gras and truffles (seasonal)

Enjoy a free afternoon in the Dordogne Valley or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Rustic Dordogne Valley: Medieval Villages & Farms $59pp* Details

Delve deeper into the culinary expertise and medieval charm of the Dordogne Valley. Make your way through the picturesque countryside to the village of Pezuls to visit a goat farm and taste the best goat cheese imaginable. After free time for lunch in Sarlat, explore the city with a local guide, winding through tiny medieval streets and past well-preserved architecture. Your tour highlights the city’s artisan products and includes an aperitif and foie gras tasting. Depending on the season, you may get the chance to try other local specialties, such as the famous Perigord Black Truffles.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $69)

Loire Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: The Loire Valley via the Cognac region

  Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

Set out for the Loire Valley, stopping en route in the elegant city of Jarnac to visit the iconic Courvoisier Distillery for a cognac tasting and dessert pairing.

Day 9: Châteaux country & cooking lesson

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Wine tasting, Cooking lesson

Make your way through château country to the heart of the Loire Valley for a full day of exploration. 

• Stroll through the stalls of an outdoor market to pick up regional specialties (weather dependent)

• Step inside the historic, extravagant Château de Chenonceau 

• Settle in for a picnic overlooking the picturesque castle and gorgeous grounds

• Visit a local vineyard to taste the region’s reds, whites and rosés and take a short walking tour 

• Try your hand at preparing local specialties during a cooking lesson led by professional chefs and enjoy the meal you create

Paris 1 night Hotel info

Day 10: Travel to Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Paris, where you’ll gather with your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to continue exploring Paris.

Add Paris Starting from $449 pp

Paris: the city of life, love and light—not to mention food and wine. From the markets of Le Marais to the bistros of Montparnasse, you’ll find beauty, history and delicacies at every turn. So take a seat at a sidewalk cafe to watch the Parisians do their thing—and don’t forget to order something delicious.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend some more time exploring the City of Light’s architecture, scenery and culinary delights—from artisanal cheeses to sweet macarons—on a guided tour. 

• Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées in view of the Arc de Triomphe

• Pass the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on an island in the Seine River 

• See the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier opera house and Place de la Concorde, the city’s grandest square

• Marvel at the eclectic and iconic architecture of the Louvre

• Take a culinary walk, stopping at local shops to taste typical French specialties

Day 12: Free day in Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Montmartre Wine Tasting & Dinner $125pp* Details

Start off your evening with a walk through Pigalle’s cabaret-lined streets, passing by Moulin Rouge on the way. Then, take a funicular ride to the top of Montmartre, the highest point of the city, and explore the lively area around the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Afterward, enjoy a French wine tasting led by a local expert and a delicious three-course dinner.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $135)

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Bordeaux, France
  • Dordogne Valley
  • Amboise, France
  • Paris, France
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.    

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and unpaved paths, with some steep stairs and hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Toulouse and depart from Paris. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. 
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. 

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. 
  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. 
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag. 

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to France.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to goaheadtours.com and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.

Cuisine

  • Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. 
  • For a picnic with French flair, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, pâtés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. In the cities, sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, while mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from cafes. In restaurants, the prix fixe option is a popular way to enjoy a set three- or four-course menu for a good price.
  • Although lunch is generally served from noon until 2pm, dinner is served from 7:30pm onward. Those wishing to eat earlier can stop at a cafe, where light entrées and sandwiches are available throughout the afternoon and evening.
  • The town market plays an important role in daily French life. Peruse the stalls to find freshly baked breads, locally grown produce, handmade cheeses, cured meats and more.
  • Some of the must-try local foods on this tour include cassoulet, oysters, foie gras, goat cheese, Tarte Tatin, wild game and truffles (when in season).
  • France's wine regions offer some of the most famous varietals in the world, from robust reds in Bordeaux to crisp whites in the Loire Valley. The Dordogne Valley is known for its sweet whites and the famous brandy produced in the Cognac region bears its name.

Electricity & air conditioning

  • France operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and uses Types C, E or F plugs with two small, round pins. 
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other electrical device without a built-in converter.  
  • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel. 
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). 
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Paris.

Currency

  • You will use the euro in France. 
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. 
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. 
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.

How's the weather?

  • Bordeaux, France
  • Dordogne Valley
  • Amboise, France
  • Paris, France
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.    

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets and unpaved paths, with some steep stairs and hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Toulouse and depart from Paris. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. 
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. 

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. 
  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. 
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag. 

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to France.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to goaheadtours.com and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.

Cuisine

  • Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. 
  • For a picnic with French flair, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, pâtés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. In the cities, sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, while mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from cafes. In restaurants, the prix fixe option is a popular way to enjoy a set three- or four-course menu for a good price.
  • Although lunch is generally served from noon until 2pm, dinner is served from 7:30pm onward. Those wishing to eat earlier can stop at a cafe, where light entrées and sandwiches are available throughout the afternoon and evening.
  • The town market plays an important role in daily French life. Peruse the stalls to find freshly baked breads, locally grown produce, handmade cheeses, cured meats and more.
  • Some of the must-try local foods on this tour include cassoulet, oysters, foie gras, goat cheese, Tarte Tatin, wild game and truffles (when in season).
  • France's wine regions offer some of the most famous varietals in the world, from robust reds in Bordeaux to crisp whites in the Loire Valley. The Dordogne Valley is known for its sweet whites and the famous brandy produced in the Cognac region bears its name.

Electricity & air conditioning

  • France operates on the European standard 220-240 volts and uses Types C, E or F plugs with two small, round pins. 
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other electrical device without a built-in converter.  
  • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel. 
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). 
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Paris.

Currency

  • You will use the euro in France. 
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. 
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. 
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great Trip

I just returned from the Food and Wine Tour through Brodeaux and the Loire Valley ending in Paris. This trip was awesome. The castles, vineyards the food tastings and the countryside was excellent. The Tour Director Adoram S.made the trip. He gave us the history of the regions we were in, he was funny and in tune with all of the guests needs and wants. He went above and beyond his duty by taking side trips to show us things, going to the grocery store to buy food so we could have a picnic and spending his free time with us showing us the sights. If this is how all your Tour Directors are, I commend you for choosing them. I would definately tour with Go Ahead Tours again if there was a possibly of having Adoram as my Tour Director.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: KS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome!

The food and wine tour through France was the first food and wine tour we've done. The itinerary, wine tastings and food was excellent. Not to mention what made the whole tour, our tour director, Adoram. He went above and beyond to ensure we had the best tour possible and his attention to detail and addition of special little touches not on the tour itself were spectacular. We also had a small group, which was great. Much more personal than a larger group. I would highly recommend this tour and definitely Adoram.

 

Hi Penny! We're delighted to learn that you enjoyed your first food and wine tour. We're glad that your Tour Director went the extra mile for your group and that he enhanced your overall experience. Thank you for recommending this tour, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 15, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ON

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

I'm hooked!!

My friend and I returned from the Food and Wine Tour in France - Bordeaux and Loire Valley in May 2016. I wasn't sure what to expect or if it would be my cup of tea (or in this case "glass of wine!), however, it far exceeded anything I could have wished for. Our tour leader, Pascal, was amazing and full of wit and charm, and he bent over backwards to help make this such a memorable trip for myself and the other 23 travellers on the tour. We all got along wonderfully and I couldn't have asked for better travelling companions on this amazing holiday. Before the trip, I had booked two excursions (Medieval Carcassonne, and the Rustic Dordogne Valley) and while on tour I also booked the Arcachon Bay Cruise. All three excursions were amazing in their own right. Although I'm not fond of oysters, I'm glad I went on the Arcachon Bay cruise as it was a lovely outing - first we cruised around the bay in the morning, then visited one of the villages for some oyster and wine tasting, before heading in the afternoon to the sand dunes which were so high - trust me, it was quite the workout walking up the dunes (although you could take the stairs for an easier climb). The view of the sea from atop the dunes is beautiful and worth the climb. I also loved visiting the goat and alpaca farm in the Rustic Dordogne Valley tour, which was hosted by a very gracious family along with their 3 dogs. We sat outside under the trees sampling locally produced wine and cheese - such a very relaxing and enchanting day! France is a beautiful country and the French people are very kind, warm and gentle. We ended our tour in Paris, which, I have to say is my favourite city in the world and have visited it many times, each time endearing me closer to it. The trip couldn't have been more perfect. I enjoyed meeting fellow travellers on the tour - all who were so friendly and cheerful, and Pascal, our forever patient and amazing tour leader was an absolute wealth of information - merci Pascal! I am very excited to plan for my next trip with Go Ahead Tours - perhaps the Food and Wine Tour through Burgundy and Champagne, although many tours are very tempting. It will be a difficult decision to make, but it sure will be fun figuring out which tour to try out next!!

 

Hi Laura! We certainly share your affinity for France! Between the lovely people and the breathtaking sites, it’s an incredible destination with so much to offer. We’re pleased that your Tour Director, as well as your tour group, added another layer of enjoyment to your overall experience. It’s also great to know that you had a good time on the optionals you booked. The goat and alpaca farm sounds so peaceful! We truly appreciate your feedback, and we look forward to your next tour. Let us know when you’re ready to plan it!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 08, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

JJ is great!

JJ was our tour director for the second time and was just as much fun and interesting to listen to. We saw things on this tour that if we were by ourselves would never have found or seen. We learned a lot and had a great time.

 

Hi Virginia! We're so glad you enjoyed your tour and found your Tour Director to be engaging. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 15, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 11/5/2015

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great tour

Our France tour; Food and Wine through Bordeaux and the Loire Valley was fantastic! Our tour director, Adoram, was terrific going out of his way to add to our enjoyment. He was able to add some sites not on the original itinerary and went out of his way to set us up with restaurants and local information. We were scheduled to travel to Paris the morning after the terrorist attacks but Adoram and Go Ahead responded extremely well to the changing situation. Although we did not make it into Paris the changes to the planned activities that were arranged on the fly made for a great memory even while thinking about the tragedy. Wine and food tasting in France by definition would be something to look forward to and the venues selected by Go Ahead were fantastic. Touring cities and towns not on the normal tourist destination lists as well as some that are was great. My wife and I enjoyed the small group of fellow travelers and would highly recommend this tour.

1 / 2
 

Dear Howard, Welcome home, and thank you for telling us about your time on tour. We’re so happy to hear you had a positive experience, despite the tragedy in Paris. Like you, we were all saddened and shaken from the events of that night. Fortunately, we have an extremely knowledgeable, proactive, and strategic Emergency Services team who go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure our travelers are safe. We’re so glad you felt cared for and satisfied with the last minute itinerary changes. We’re also glad to learn that you enjoyed your Tour Director, Adoram. We’re very proud to work with such fantastic people! Again, thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful review. We hope to welcome you on another Go Ahead tour soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 31, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great time and tour

I was so impressed by the knowledge and history the Tour Director knew, he made it very fun and great learning experience. The food and wine were some of the best I have ever had. France will be one of my favorite places to go.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/10/2015

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director

Jean Jacque L. was delightful!!! His knowledge and humor made our trip most memorable!!! He was able to accommodate all of us no matter the age range. Next tour to France we will request to be with him for sure!!!

1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

What a great tour!

This is the second Food & Wine Tour that my husband and I have taken with Go Ahead and it was a wonderful experience. Our Tour Director, J-J, was great and we had ample opportunities to visit wineries, small farms, local open markets, as well as the lovely towns and cities of Southwest France and the Loire Valley...and of course to sample their wares. The cooking class was fun, especially since we had a small compatible group of 22 people, By the time we reached Paris for our return to the States, I was wishing we had a few more days to enjoy France. Getting there and back, in overcrowded and underserved flights, was no fun, but we realize Go Ahead has no control over that issue. Fortunately, the tour itself made up for that.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/5/2015

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: QC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Christophe, Best Tour Director !!!

Un immense merci à Christophe H. de nous avoir fait découvrir une fantastique région de la France ! Un guide qui est un amoureux de son pays, qui connaît son histoire et ses secrets........ Son enthousiasme est contagieux........ L'extraordinaire excursion de la Baie d'Arcachon et des dunes de Pilat, ou tu m'a aider à réaliser un rêve ! Du Château Haut Brion à chez Plou, les visites de vignobles où tu as si bien traduit les connaissances de ses vignerons ! Tes petites attentions spéciales tout au long du voyage, les surprises...les extras et surtout, les fous rires ! Claude et moi retournons dans ta belle région l'an prochain et c'est grâce à toi, nous aimerions tellement que tu sois à nouveau notre guide ! Merci Go Ahead !

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Simply fantastic

This tour had a nice balance of history and culture(food and wine!) We learned a little about each area, and then we got to sample the local wine and food, all of which were delicious. There was more dry wine tastings than sweet, which is exactly what we wanted, but there were some good sweet wines paired with foie gras. On top of the regular tour, there were 3 perfect excursions. I highly recommend doing all three: Carcassone, Arcachon, and Sarlat. Because we did three excursions, we did not end up with a lot of "down time" in some cities, but honestly I think these were more time-worthy than just wandering around Toulouse and Bordeaux. Carcassone and Sarlat were so unique, and Arcachon was a relaxing day on the bay. Of course, one of the most pivotal parts of our excellent trip was our tour guide, Cristophe. He was so knowledgable about the history of all the areas, but also he was passionate about food and wine. Additionally, he made it a priority to get to know everyone in the group, and he kept us laughing the whole way. I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this tour! Can't wait to come back to France.

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