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Reviews of France Magnifique

France Magnifique

From $2,999 pp*

13-15 Days • 17-20 Meals

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  • Disappointing, chaos and more chaos

    • Service
      1star
      I recently returned from St Martha's 100th Anniversary Trip, France Magnifique. I have travelled with Collette before. The trip before this was excellent. I couldn't sing enough praises about our tour guide Kathy Fil. This trip however was not the same. The tour guide, Beth Meredith, could use some time management skills as well as compassion. I think the tour guide must take into account the group she has been assigned to lead. This particular group was mostly older adults, many with mobility issues. In our initial brochure it describes "moderate physical activity". That is so wrong on so many levels. Climbing to the top of Mont St Michel is hardly a moderate walk. Beth's favorite phrase during this trip was "just a short walk". I understand that many of the locations we visited or stayed at have historical value and a large tour bus can not park or even get near the entrance. So why does Collette choose these particular hotels and/or restaurants ? How can they expect older adults to walk a mile with their carry on luggage in the pouring rain on cobblestone ? Doesn't seem realistic to me. At some locations there was a van available to transport those who needed assistance. Of course, it could only take a few tourists. Many times, people who really did not need the assistance jumped into the van and left those who truly needed it behind. Most often, they would not offer a second vehicle. Also there was the issue of time management. Beth never allowed enough time to get from one place to another at our expense. We were denied entry into the restaurant on our first night in Paris. By the time we got to a restaurant, it was after 9:00 pm and we had been up for for over 24 hours. Also because of this mismanagement of time, quite often we barely had enough time to eat lunch with the "free time" we were given. Restaurants in France do NOT hurry. If we were lucky, we were able to finish our lunch and get to the bus on time. There was never any time to explore the area we were in. In Lyon for example, we got to the hotel at 9:30 pm and we leaving early the next morning. In Avignon, we arrived in the evening, while it was pouring rain. The following day was our trip to Tarascon, the highlight of our trip to visit the final resting place of St Martha. If we went on that tour, we saw nothing of Avignon. Having us leave at 4:00 am to get to the airport was ridiculous. Our bags had to be out at 3:00 am. Why couldn't we have spent the last night in Marseille ? We were out for our final dinner together, it would have been easier to travel to Marseille after dinner than to be up practically all night. That brings up another point. Why aren't ALL dinners included ? This trip was not inexpensive. I have travelled on other group tours that ALL dinners were included. It seems we are getting less and less service for MORE money. This trip was supposed to be the crown jewel of St Martha's Centennial Celebration. Instead it was non stop chaos and disappointment. Having travelled with Collette before I expected better than this. I think I deserved better than this as did the rest of our group.
    • Tour
      1star
      I recentlyt returned from St Martha's 100th Anniversary Trip, France Magnifique. I have travelled with Collette before. The trip before this was excellent. I couldn't sing enough praises about our tour guide Kathy Fil. This trip however was not the same. The tour guide, Beth Meredith, could use some time management skills as well as compassion. I think the tour guide must take into account the group she has been assigned to lead. This particular group was mostly older adults, many with mobility issues. In our initial brochure it describes "moderate physical activity". That is so wrong on so many levels. Climbing to the top of Mont St Michel is hardly a moderate walk. Beth's favorite phrase during this trip was "just a short walk". I understand that many of the locations we visited or stayed at have historical value and a large tour bus can not park or even get near the entrance. So why does Collette choose these particular hotels and/or restaurants ? How can they expect older adults to walk a mile with their carry on luggage in the pouring rain on cobblestone ? Doesn't seem realistic to me. At some locations there was a van available to transport those who needed assistance. Of course, it could only take a few tourists. Many times, people who really did not need the assistance jumped into the van and left those who truly needed it behind. Most often, they would not offer a second vehicle. Also there was the issue of time management. Beth never allowed enough time to get from one place to another at our expense. We were denied entry into the restaurant on our first night in Paris. By the time we got to a restaurant, it was after 9:00 pm and we had been up for for over 24 hours. Also because of this mismanagement of time, quite often we barely had enough time to eat lunch with the "free time" we were given. Restaurants in France do NOT hurry. If we were lucky, we were able to finish our lunch and get to the bus on time. There was never any time to explore the area we were in. In Lyon for example, we got to the hotel at 9:30 pm and we leaving early the next morning. In Avignon, we arrived in the evening, while it was pouring rain. The following day was our trip to Tarascon, the highlight of our trip to visit the final resting place of St Martha. If we went on that tour, we saw nothing of Avignon. Having us leave at 4:00 am to get to the airport was ridiculous. Our bags had to be out at 3:00 am. Why couldn't we have spent the last night in Marseille ? We were out for our final dinner together, it would have been easier to travel to Marseille after dinner than to be up practically all night. That brings up another point. Why aren't ALL dinners included ? This trip was not inexpensive. I have travelled on other group tours that ALL dinners were included. It seems we are getting less and less service for MORE money. This trip was supposed to be the crown jewel of St Martha's Centennial Celebration. Instead it was non stop chaos and disappointment. Having travelled with Collette before I expected better than this. I think I deserved better than this as did the rest of our group.

    Thank you for traveling with Collette to France and we're very disappointed to hear about your experience on tour. Your feedback and the feedback from your group has been reviewed internally. We have issued a monetary refund, travel voucher and letter of apology to everyone in your group as a customer service gesture.

    Collette Support
    • Service
      5 stars
      Our trip was truly "Magnifique"! From the first night's boat tour of the Seine to the very emotional mass in the crypt of St. Martha in Tarascon on the last day. we were excited about each day's activities. Our tour guide, Beth, was exceptional, always pleasant, dealing with every situation with patience and grace, often sharing her incredible knowledge of the countryside as we passed towns not included on the tour en route to our next destination on our bus. Her guided tours were amazing: her grasp of the language, the customs, and the country's history and sights was encyclopedic! The coach was always clean and comfortable, as were our hotel accommodations. The included group dinners were delicious, but we also enjoyed having a few evenings on our own to explore the city we were visiting and its cuisine. On the trip, which included many couples we already knew, we strengthened old friendships and were blessed to create new ones. Thank you for 12 days we will always remember!
    • Tour
      5 stars
      Our favorite memorable experience is hard to pinpoint. We enjoyed everything on the tour. The highlight was our once in a lifetime visit to Tarascon, where our pastor was able to celebrate mass for us in the crypt of St. Martha. It was an emotional experience that we will never forget and feel so very blessed to have experienced. Our tour highlights also would include our 2 days in Normandy, at the WWII sites. A personal highlight was being chosen to assist the chef at our final night's dinner as he made creme brulee - such fun!
    • Service
      5 stars
      Everything went smoothly. Tour manager was knowledgeable.
    • Tour
      5 stars
      Tour was as described and visit to Tarascon which is St Martha’s burial place was nice visit.

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