34 items found for ""
Blog Posts (18)
- Amiens, a Northern France gem
Home to the famous World War I battlefield of the Somme Valley, Amiens is a dainty town situated in northern France, just over an hour’s train trip from Paris. Its quaint houses, peaceful streets and tranquil canals – in addition to its rich history and accessible location – make it a relaxing and enjoyable trip away for everyone. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Amiens with some Australian friends last September when I was living in Paris. By early evening the weather was crisp and breezy, and we strolled along the canals admiring the soft pastels of the buildings and the flowerpots bursting with colour. Searching for a restaurant offering some warmth in the form of meals or electrical heating led us to a cozy ‘Australian’ restaurant by the canal’s edge. The group was ecstatic to get their hands on a steak, but I was just grateful to be warm because I had not adequately equipped myself for the cold (note to the reader: a jumper will not suffice in late September, pack warm). Amiens is home to the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady (Notre Dame). It is the tallest gothic church in France at a height of 42 metres and was commissioned by the Bishop of Amiens in the 20th century to replace a smaller cathedral that had burned down in 1912. Its intricate, detailed exterior in addition to its stunning, high-arched interior make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Visit late afternoon to see Notre Dame turn gold as the sun sets. From July 8 through September 18 each year, crowds flock to the cathedral to feast their eyes on the 50-minute, free-of-charge ‘Chroma’ light spectacle. During the show, the cathedral is illuminated by various coloured spotlights to mimic how it appeared when it was originally painted; check out France Travel Solutions' social media pages for a sneak peek of the show! The lights are also used to create optical illusions, such as the cathedral swaying from side to side and spiraling inwards. For more information on show times and details, click here. Take advantage of the peaceful early-morning atmosphere of Amiens’ town centre and explore wherever the cobblestone paths guide you. Some of the most beautiful sights from my whole France trip were found on my hour-long Sunday morning stroll in Amiens. I found a pond full of swans gliding their way through the chilly morning water, and a small street lined with brightly painted houses that lead to a beautiful view of the Notre Dame. As I wandered through town, I caught a whiff of freshly baked pastries and bread coming from a cute corner-store boulangerie. It felt like I'd landed in heaven. On Sunday around midday, we piled into the tiny hatchback and made the short drive to the Somme Valley to visit the Australian national war memorial. The details of the war are exceptionally documented in the ‘sometimes harrowing, often moving’ John Monash Centre at the memorial. The exhibition includes interactive experiences and an audio tour which I highly recommend. I entered a small cinema from the main exhibition room, which displayed a five-minute, three-dimensional war video capturing the Somme Battle from the perspective of the ANZACs. The sound effects of bombs exploding and strobe lights to depict gun rounds firing made the experience very realistic. I walked out of that room crying at the horror that many of the Australian men who fought wouldn’t have been much older than me. A warning: some graphics were disturbing (serious injuries, blood) but for me, the experience was incredible despite the discomfort. Approximately 215,000 Australian service personnel were sent to France during the war. The graves of some soldiers lie at the memorial centre, and the names of 10,719 casualties whose grave locations are unknown line the three enormous wing walls surrounding the memorial’s central viewing tower. The eerily whoosh of the wind hushed me into a solemn silence as I looked out over the dull landscape, seemingly tainted by the tragedies of a once-battlefield. One quote from the John Monash Centre stuck with me about how every victory celebrated by the French is equally a celebration of gratitude to the courageous and selfless Australians who served as an ally to the country all those years ago. Before coming to France, my great-uncle assured me, “Don’t worry. The French love Aussies — we helped them in the war!” However, when recalling my weekend to my French host mother, it was unbeknownst to her that Australia was France’s ally in WWI, let alone that a memorial existed in their honour. Amiens is a hidden gem of the French countryside, packed with opportunities to delve into the cultural and historical aspects of the country. One weekend is enough to visit Amiens but should you be lucky enough to spend more time there, a morning row on the river or a group tour may also be on the cards. Amiens is one of the locations on the 'Jewels of the North' tour in 2024. Click here for more info or to register your interest.
- Why Travel with France Travel Solutions?
Why Travel With France Travel Solutions? Overseas travel is, for most people, one of life’s most rewarding and exciting experiences, particularly now in the wake of Covid. However it can also be overwhelming. There is often a lot to plan and organise and it can be scary to have to worry about semantics of time and organisation - particularly in a country where the primary language isn’t English! Luckily, France Travel Solutions is available to make sure your trip to France carries all the wonders and life-enrichment these adventures are supposed to have, without the strain! Read on to find out more reasons to travel with France Travel Solutions! Photo cred: Ange Costes A French Perspective Unlike other agencies, France Travel Solutions is owned and run by a French native, our very own Maud Dunne. Growing up in France gave Maud a great passion and love for the many diverse and beautiful regions of her home country. Now, after living for many years in Australia Maud is a uniquely perfect person to organise tours for Australians in France – familiarity with the people of Australia coupled with her comprehensive knowledge of France mean that she has a rare understanding of both her customers and the country they will explore! Tours organised by Maud always benefit from her deep connection with the country, taking travellers to the less commercialized hidden gems that people would not usually see. Additionally Maud through devoted commitment to finding the best of the best, and by virtue of growing up in the country has a wide network of connections across France. This means you will always receive experiences, stays, and care from authentic and reliable French locals. Our tours are also run by exclusively French individuals (who can of course speak English) so you will always have an expert on hand to help with culture shock! In fact, where cultural differences may lead to confusion for the lone traveller, with French tour guides you have the opportunity to gain insight into the lives and traditions of your fellow human internationally. Most importantly, having native French tour guides and operators mean that your experience will be rooted in seeing the culture of France with the familiarity and respect of a native. Photo Cred: Ange Costes A Stress Free Holiday Stress can get in the way of having a good time and truly taking in the advantages of cultural change and immersion. That’s why we take such care to ensure you never need to be stressed in your travels! Help is available at every stage of your journey, and someone is always available to answer questions and quell anxieties. Packing, currency exchange, all the small intricacies that can overwhelm you as you prepare for travels can be advised upon by FTS. One of the most stressful aspects of travel is trying to cultivate a working itinerary for a country you are unfamiliar with and then having to consistently keep up with the times you’ve laid out. With France Travel Solutions this stress is totally removed and managed by us. Your itinerary will be carefully planned by Maud and then managed by your tour guide – meaning you can just enjoy yourself. You will be driven to and from most locations so no need to worry about reading a map in French or driving on the wrong side of the road! Frolick, have fun, and let go of the responsibility! Photo: The Chateau of Chenonceau - one of the many places available to visit on our tours! Small Tours FTS tours are really set apart by our small group tour structure. Instead of upwards of 20 people crammed into a bus, our tours average about 6 people per tour! This means you will actually have the opportunity to befriend your fellow travellers and tour guide and form a sense of community and kinship as you explore. It further means you have more say in your activities and the specifications of your tour, as it is catered specifically to you and the few others traveling with you, as opposed to a massive unidentifiable crowd. Photo Cred: Ange Costes Bespoke Tours New tours are always in development to so we can offer different experiences of the wonderful country of France. However, for those who have something precise in mind, we are happy to offer bespoke tours! This means designing your own personal tour based on whatever experience you are after. You will have all the perks of our usual tours -stress-free, organised with native knowledge and advice – as well as the luxury of having each step perfectly catered to your desired adventure. Regardless of what you are after, we have a tour for you ! Culture, gastronomie, history, terroir – we have something for everyone. Our tours are personal, lovingly and carefully made, by an absolute expert in French and Australian culture, and thus offer you a chance to step into France and really take it in without the distraction of flashy tourism traps and stressful schedules to manage hanging over your head. Book a France Travel Solutions tour today!
- Mont Saint-Michel, an island village
By Hannah Noye It’s hardly possible to believe that Mont Saint-Michel is not a fictional place from a fairytale, such is its out of this world beauty. This stunning tidal island located off the coast of Normandy, France is known for its beautiful medieval architecture, rich history, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The island is dominated by the famed Abbey of Saint Michel, a towering Gothic structure of turrets and brick that sits atop a rocky outcropping. The surrounding winding streets and long alleys, lined with medieval houses and quaint shops and restaurants are testaments to the islands long and storied past. Mont Saint-Michel was first used as a monastery in the 8th century, when the bishop of Avranches founded a small chapel on the island. Over the years, the monastery and Abbey grew in size and importance, eventually drawing pilgrimage from those all over Europe. In the centuries that followed, Mont Saint Michel became a symbol of French resistance against English invaders. During the Hundred Years War, the island was besieged several times, but it always managed to hold out against the English forces. It wasn't until the 17th century that Mont Saint Michel was turned into a prison, a role it continued to serve until 1863. Today, Mont Saint Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in France. It is interesting enough to simply take a day to walk around the unique layout of the island and its little gems – the views of the surrounding landscape and the ocean stretching into the distance are gorgeous. If you seek more historical insight into the islands past, then you can take a guided tour of the Abbey and island with the expert knowledge of a passionate French local. The Abbey is a real highlight, a beautiful and massive echoing building with high ceilings and windows, a sacred space in many ways. There are also several exhibitions and museums available that offer cultural and historical displays. Mont Saint-Michel is located in a tidal bay which can rise and fall very quickly. The tides as they move around the sides of the island can be a source of relaxation and introspection. It is a beautiful environment in which you can enjoy a quiet moment and the spectacular beauty of Normandy. Mont Saint-Michel celebrated its 1000th year anniversary on April the 8th this past month. In its 1000 years it has never ceased to attract visitors with its beauty and cultural significance. Accessible only via a pedestrian bridge, or a causeway, and without the cars and other modern machinations of modern life, it is a place perfectly preserved despite the passing years. See its magnificent silhouette and medieval architecture on our Jewels of the North tour next year!
Other Pages (16)
- France Travel Solutions
Wonderfully curated French tours for a lifetime of memories Browse through the tours that are coming up below La Belle Vie 2023 - Tour France's Famous Wine Regions From / To: Paris to Paris Number of Guests: 8 maximum Maps: Show Map Date: 26 June to 11 July SORRY YOU MISSED OUT Prices (TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY) $5850pp twin share $6990 single 16 Days Learn More A Taste of France 2023 – Live with the locals, like a local. From / To: Paris to Bordeaux Number of Guests: 8 maximum Maps: Show Map Date: 28 August to 8 September Prices (TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY) $4290 pp twin share $4990 single 12 Days SORRY YOU MISSED OUT Learn More Jewels of the North 2024 – Delve into France’s northern historical and culinary heritage. From / To: Paris to Paris Number of Guests: 8 maximum Maps: Show Map Dates Tuesday 23 April – Wednesday 1 May [special ANZAC dawn service] Tuesday 14 May – Wednesday 22 May Tuesday 16 July – Wednesday 24 July Tuesday 24 September – Wednesday 2 October Prices (TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY) $3890 pp twin share $4750 single 9 Days Learn More La Belle Vie 2024 - Tour France's Famous Wine Regions From / To: Paris to Paris Number of Guests: 8 maximum Maps: Show Map Dates Monday 8 April – Tuesday 23 Avril (possibility to combine with Jewels of the North special ANZAC) Monday 29 April – Tuesday 14 May (possibility to combine with Jewels of the North) Monday 1 July – Tuesday 16 July (possibility to combine with Jewels of the North) Monday 9 September – Tuesday 24 September (possibility to combine with Jewels of the North) Prices (TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY) $6490pp twin share $7650 single 16 Days Learn More A Taste of France 2024 – Live with the locals, like a local. From / To: Paris to Bordeaux Number of Guests: 8 maximum Maps: Show Map Dates Monday 29 April – Friday 10 May Monday 30 September – Friday 11 October Prices (TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY) $4890 pp twin share $5650 single 12 Days Learn More
- France Travel Solutions
Journey through the Somme, Normandy, and Brittany, experiencing those iconic sights and landmarks you’ve always longed to see. Visit Monet's dreamy gardens at Giverny, Amiens Cathedral, the historical Bayeux Tapestry and many more hidden treasures that will bring history to life! "Jewels of the North" Announcing our new tour 2024! Delve into France’s northern historical and culinary heritage. I want to know more! Our tour in April includes an ANZAC dawn service Jewels of the North 2024 - Departing April, May, July, and September "Jewels of the North" Explore the culinary heritage and delve into a historical journey that will offer an excellent overview of the jewels of the North of France! Journey through the Somme, Normandy, and Brittany, experiencing those iconic sights and landmarks you’ve always longed to see. Experience the breathtaking natural wonder of the famous Normandy seaside, Brittany's medieval half-timbered villages, the magical Mont St-Michel, the prestigious Saint-Malo and luxurious Deauville! Also on the journey is Monet's dreamy gardens at Giverny, Amiens Cathedral, the historical Bayeux Tapestry and many more hidden treasures that will bring history to life! During our tour in April, we will join the ANZAC dawn service at Somme. This is a special edition of"Jewels of the North" tour and will be a truly moving experience. You will honour the memory of all WWI soldiers at the Villers-Bretonneux site of remembrance, an experience that promises poignant and precious memories that will remain etched in our minds. Four Departure dates for 2024 Tuesday 23 April – Wednesday 1 May [special ANZAC day tour] Tuesday 14 May – Wednesday 22 May Tuesday 16 July – Wednesday 24 July Tuesday 24 September – Wednesday 2 October I want to know more! France Tours 2023 2024 Departing April, May, July, August, and September. "A Taste of France – Live with the locals, like a local." Last chance to book for 2023! Enjoy a full slice of the good life in France. Join us on a voyage through the riches of France and discover the cuisine, history and landscapes that make this beautiful country unique. Choose and design your own private tour or join my popular small group tour package. Champagne, Rosé, Red, white, we invite you to try them all! With moderation and the right balance of culture and tradition, your unique experience will be rich in emotions, enhancing your senses. We’ll seek out some gastronomic gems and treasured vineyard areas. Each region has a unique terroir and different traditions for you to explore! Get ready for a bubbly start, in the heart of Champagne, the place to be for real bubbles! In Burgundy, you will live like a local strolling in the city famed for its mustard and rolling vineyard. Your two days in Dijon will be a marriage of gastronomy, wine, culture and education. The famous bridge in the traditional Provençal town of Avignon with the very impressive Pope's Palace will be our base region for the next three days. Discover the Provence where is good to live! Can you hear the cigales? We won’t miss the impressive Carcassonne citée on our way to the famous Bordeaux region where we will stay four nights. Sightseeing the largest Europe sand dune, cruising and eating seafood in Arcachon Bay, and trying renowned wine in Medoc, will be some of your wonderful memories of your unforgettable twelve days of leisure around beautiful France. I want to know more! Follow us on Instagram Subscribe to our newsletter now - Don’t miss out! Subscribe Thanks for subscribing!
- France Travel Solutions
A Taste of France 2023 – Live with the locals, like a local. 12 days Max 8 Guests Prices (TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY) $4290 pp twin share $4990 single Overview Itinerary Inclusions Contact Download Itinerary PDF Overview Enjoy a full slice of the good life in France. Join us on a voyage through the riches of France and discover the cuisine, history and landscapes that make this beautiful country unique. Departure Dates 2023 August 28 - September 8 (4 places left) Overview Itinerary Itinerary 2023 Tour Inclusions Accommodation 11 nights in boutique accommodation or traditional guesthouse Your Tour Team Experienced bilingual Tour Leader and Chauffeur Transport Premium minibus transportation Access to your choice of visit, and the flexibility of transportation from your Tour Leader Entry Admissions Champagne tasting session in Pouillon and Epernay Tour visit of 2 Champagne Estate Half-day cruise discovering Arcachon Bay and la Dune du Pilat Entrance and visit to two wineries with tasting in the famous Medoc, Bordeaux region Meals 7 European-style breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch, 2 traditional dinners with locals Inclusions contact