Why Choose French Country Adventures?
First, I want to say that I have lived in France, and I have returned to visit many regions of the country more than twenty times. This last trip, led by Sue Aran, was absolutely the most relaxing and enjoyable experience of all. There was no need to find our way, or to study local maps. We were completely spoiled by a most knowledgeable guide. Sue drove us through picturesque small towns and villages in Gascony, and the Pays Basque. Our eyes feasted on gorgeous rolling hillsides, historic villages, farm lands, vineyards, and castles. Best of all, Sue arranged our schedule so that we always arrived in a town on “Market Day” and let us browse through their stands of delicious cheeses, perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables, olive oils, tableware, linens and basketry. At each stop, Sue knew the best café for Petit Déjeuner, and the most interesting restaurant for lunch. Her local knowledge of people and places made this trip comfortable, fun and thoroughly interesting.
-Sandy Davis, retired travel agent, Los Angeles, California
I had a completely delightful experience touring the Southwest of France with Sue this past October. She showed us a portion of France that was completely different than the big city life in Paris. Being with Sue allowed me to experience the uniqueness of the small French towns of Gascony.
-Marvin Forrest, retired psychotherapist, Santa Barbara, California
Sue Aran provided an excellent tour of Gascony and the villages in the region. It was so relaxing to be driven around this beautiful country. Sue has a wealth of information about the history of the Gascony region, and was an excellent translator for this non-French-speaking tourist. She introduced me to her favorite chocolatier, the open markets in the villages, and her favorite pastry shops. I highly recommend her tour. You most certainly will want to revisit the area as I’m going to do.
-Marlis Dejongh, court reporter, Seattle, Washington
Last November I traveled to various charming villages around Gascony with Sue Aran. I knew very little of the rich history in this area of France. Sue gave me an insider’s tour of every village. We visited the local flea markets, indulged in freshly made hot chocolate, walked the ancient cobbled streets that the Cathars traversed, tasted Armagnac at a family-run distillery, and enjoyed traditional Basque food. Besides exploring all the wonderful villages, the countryside itself is breathtaking. I can’t wait to join Sue for another amazing experience.
-Elizabeth Chester, nurse, Santa Monica, California.
There is a love of the land and Sue’s affinity with every landscape, farmhouse, castle and small town cathedral we passed that made the journey through the French countryside a grand adventure like no other. The visual masterpieces found around every bend in the road were heightened by the joy I sensed, coming from her heart, as she offered the gift of France from the same place where she had claimed France for herself. I felt less like I was “touring” and more like I was sharing a France that mattered to her and not just the France we all find in travel books. Her selfless gift of sharing is evident through her true sense of place in this amazing country. Knowing her to be an accomplished photographer, I felt at home knowing she held the same importance for the visual collection of ones experience that I do as a visual artist. That alone made my trip to this visual wonderland so much more satisfying as I gave in to her judgement of choices of where to visit. I felt like she had absorbed my preferences and customized my visit to fit my visual appetite. I thank her for an experience that I will always return to in my mind again and again.
– John Fehringer, artist, Juneau Alaska.
Sue knows the Gers so intimately and it is so wonderfully un-touristed and full of treasures. I often think of that perfect square town and that perfect round village – their locals, their shops, that ice cream!!!! And the hill town, Lectoure, with its lovely market.
– Jane Ellis, author, Berkeley, California
As a traveler in Europe, I was introduced to Sue Aran in June 2014 by a mutual friend and enjoyed 2 weeks as a French Country Adventurer. With Sue as my guide, I became part of a world of fine foods and wines, fascinating people and age-old crafts, stunning architecture, bucolic landscapes, richly-textured history with a style and relaxed pace far different than I had ever known. Sue’s passionate knowledge of the market towns and local cuisine, history, art, nature, and her acquaintance with many local vendors and characters, coupled with her love of sharing places, stories and things that only a resident explorer would know, make French Country Adventures a truly unique opportunity to experience la France profounde, the deep, rural countryside of France. La vie set belle!
– Aysha Griffin, certified business coach, writer/editor, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Going on a tour can be an exciting way of seeing an area that you are unfamiliar with, don’t know the language and would like to be able to just relax without all the worry of what, where, how and when. Traveling with Sue as my guide was just that. Her French is excellent, she knows her way around, has favorite places and people she wants you to see, meet and experience. What we did! Here’s a glimpse: Farmers’ markets in more than one town. Fresh doughnuts. Croissants and coffee in many towns. Chocolate. New friends, garden parties. Laughter. Antique markets. Wishing I’d brought a trunk! Apricot tart. Regional wines. Gardens, trees, countryside, winding roads, sunsets, naps, cats, more flowers. Churches, farm houses, the music of the French language. The bones of the experience are enhanced by the calming atmosphere of Sue herself. We were never in a hurry. She was always willing to stop for a photo or just stop to admire the countryside. Another tour another time to do even more.
– Janna Wachter, opera singer, performance artist, Seattle, Washington