The itinerary for this tour was stunning. The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte was our first highlight. The beautiful views from the cupola were breathtaking. The extensive gardens in the traditional French style complemented this magnificent castle not too far from Paris. The story of its owner was intriguing. To be able to stand where Joan of Arc watched the dauphin being crowned Charles VII in the massive cathedral of Reims is a treat for every lover of history.
The vineyards surrounding Épernay were beautiful and we were able to sample champagne from a wide variety of Champagne houses. The dry white wines of Chablis and the wines from Burgundy were also delightful. Beaune was such an interesting city and in particular the Hospices of Beaune, created in 1443, were truly inspirational, demonstrating how one kind man could devote his life to providing the poor with medical care so long ago.
Lyon is a city full of wonderful surprises and there is something to interest everyone. We were able to share in the celebrations on the night France won the World Cup and the city was truly “jumping”. The scenery is spectacular in the Alpine valleys and we had to time to enjoy the views. The Sisteron Citadel was so impressive as it towered over the town. The story behind Chartreuse, the liqueur created by the monks from the Grande Chartreuse monastery, was fascinating.
Our entry to Provence was everything that we wanted it to be. The sight of lavender fields in bloom as far as the eye could see and the scent of the perfume filling our lungs were unforgettable. The fact that so much of our travel was through quiet villages away from the usual hordes of tourists, and the fact that we had many opportunities to mix with the locals, made this trip even more special.
Our guide was brilliant and she did everything in her power to ensure that we all had the best experience possible. The accommodation was always of a very high standard. I am looking forward to my next Back-Roads tour.