France the French way


Escorted Tours 2012 – France and Portugal

Posted: 2011-10-18

John Reese - your guide!

For nearly twenty years my job has enabled me to regularly escort groups through France and Europe. It is at this time of the year when I love planning where I am going to take people on tour for the following year.

For the year 2012 I have chosen to revisit some of my favourite areas from previous tours. Each tour lasts about two weeks. So for next year I will be taking small groups from the French Riviera through south west France to the Dordogne Valley and Bordeaux in June. Then in September to make the most of the wine harvest we will be travelling through the Dordogne Valley for the first week and then flying to Lisbon, Portugal, to begin 11 days of exciting touring there.

Why tour with me?
My passion and speciality over the last twenty years has been France. Getting to know its people, culture, history, food, wines, festivals and its unique regions better than most. Each tour encompasses many different experiences not just focussing on one thing. I want people to understand the country they are travelling through, to understand the people, and at the same time to be inspired and moved by what they see.  But most importantly I want you to have a holiday – I take the angst out of travelling! I see my role as an educator, an entertainer, and a friend!

So this is what I have planned for 2012:

The South of France – from East to West

June 2 to 17, 2012

Experience the beauty of the Riviera!

This tour travels from the fishing village of Villefranche sur Mer, near Nice, in the east, through to the heart of Provence in the Rhone Valley, then on through the Languedoc region, before exploring the Dordogne Valley, ending in Bordeaux. We begin in the Riviera by following the lives of the great impressionist and abstract artists of the early 20thcentury, before seeing beautiful boat harbours, beaches and villas impossible to imagine. Then in Provence we experience the quintessential village life enjoying magnificent scenery and light, as well as markets, wine and food, as well as understanding the important place this region holds in European development. We then experience the pink flamingos and oyster farms of the Camargue as we head through to medieval Carcassonne where we delve into the mysteries of Dan Brown and the Cathar wars. After exploring the Canal du Midi we drop in to the beautiful Dordogne Valley where you will be transported into a verdant picture postcard scene, where we are going to explore breath-taking Chateaux, prehistoric caves and one of the most beautiful gardens in France, and even try our hand at truffle hunting! Then we head towards Bordeaux where we are going to see the best of wines in the richest surroundings from Sauternes, to St Emilion, to Pauillac in the Medoc – you will never look at wine the same again!

Dordogne River

This will be a tour of bright blue skies and sunshine as I introduce you to all there is to know about France and especially the south of this country. The variations from region to region are astounding, and the contrasts you will see will amaze you. This will be a tour that makes a difference!





The Three Ps – Perigord, Portugal and Paris

September 3 to 19, 2012

This year I travelled through both the Perigord (Dordogne Valley) and Portugal with a group, and I loved it so much I just had to show my travellers these gems – this tour especially has been timed to maximise the wine harvest which will be in full pace.

Geese - a feature of the Perigord region

We will start with 6 nights deep in the Dordogne Valley where we are going to explore the land of Foie Gras, Magret de Canard and perched medieval Chateaux. We are going to explore caves where we will see art work from 20,000 years ago which is as advanced as anything we see today. We will visit the glorious gardens of Eyrignac and enjoy the wonderful rolling green hillsides so rich in forest and fauna. We will see places such as Roque-Gageac, Domme, Sarlat. As we move down the valley toward St Emilion where we will stay at a Chateau amongst the vines we will be in the heart of the vendange (harvest). Tractors laden with grapes will hold us up on the narrow roads as we explore the Premier Cru wines of St Emilion, Sauternes, and the Medoc, being tempted by and tasting wines such as Chateau Guiraud, Lynch-Bages, Pichon Longueville etc.

Marvao - a dramatic village in the Alentejo, Portugal

Then we will head to Lisbon, Portugal, where I can’t wait to blow you away with this extraordinary country. We have eleven days in Portugal and we will start in the wonderful city of the great explorers, Lisbon, before travelling to coastal walled villages seeing Obidos and Alcobaca, before heading inland into the rural Alentejo region. Wait to be surprised at this extraordinary land of cork trees and impressive views. Then we proceed to an even greater highlight as we descend in to the renowned Duoro Valley, called the “valley of gold” for a number of reasons. Prepare to have your breath taken away! Then we head to Porto for the last night.

This is a tour of exceptional beauty. The scenery and the friendliness of the people take priority over lessons of historical importance, although by the end of the tour you will well understand this great country.

Need more information?

If you are interested in joining me on one of these tours, contact me ( and I will send you detailed tour descriptions and prices. Please note that I take a maximum of 8 pers, so contact me quickly so you don’t miss out on a place!