I stumbled upon Sue Aran’s French Country Adventures through a French blog I follow and decided to look into it. I have traveled to Provence many times and loved it but had not planned to go again. However when I read the details of the Tarn/Provence tour, it called my name. Sue was easy to contact and answered all my questions over the next few months, and I cannot say how pleased I was with this trip. We only changed hotels (actually fabulous B&Bs) twice. She drove an 8-person van, but our group numbered only 5 so we had loads of room. As a small group, we bonded and became real friends. Sue’s itinerary was a perfect blend of structure and serendipity, and she was extremely knowledgeable about the area. She had suggestions for excursions in villages – museums, cooking classes, a tour of an ochre mine, markets, etc. – but the group was able to decide. This tour is billed as “slow travel” which appealed to me, and I think it was just that, perfect. I would go with her again. 5 stars!
Mary Ann Miller, Jacksonville, Florida
Paul and I had a lovely time following your lead around Pays Basque. Thank you for an easy paced tour and restful accommodations at La Reserve. A highlight for me was walking through the small towns. The big treat was the Guggenheim lunch at the best seat in the house. The little market basket I bought traveled safely home, cushioned by Tissage de Luz fabrics, and filled with memories.
Molly Miles and Paul Ostroff, Lake Oswego, Oregon
Sue is an informative professional, and congenial guide to her beloved France. Well versed in the history and architecture of the areas visited, she offers insight into the times and customs of the era and area. She easily engages with each client and I am certain that most, if not all, become friends. She goes beyond what your expectations may be. This was our second tour and I eagerly look forward to the next.
Elizabeth and John Quinn, Winchester, Virginia
I enjoyed meeting you (especially the quiet conversations in the mornings), and I like the entire concept of slow travel that you have developed. It gives one time to drink in the area and the culture, and I had an opportunity to do that. There was so much that was wonderful about the trip. La Reserve at Saint Jean de Luz is an excellent hotel choice. I loved the drives in the country and the visits to so many small French villages. San Sebastian and Bilbao were highlights. France is indeed a lovely country.
Lynn Nunes, Gresham, Oregon
Have you imagined a very special tour meeting all your personal requirements; small size; focus on complete experience of local scenery, local food, avoiding crushing crowds? A tour of Gascony is the answer to your dreams! Small size tour group (6 or less). Accommodations in a beautiful chateau. Sue arranges to pick you up, provides daily transportation, historical background, timely rest stops, and reservations at superior restaurants for meals. All questions leading up to travel are answered quickly, no gaps in information. All your needs are met. Just a perfect adventure!
Cheryl Callahan & Norman Miner, Hopkinton, New Hampshire
Charming villages, fabulous food, and wonderful accommodations, all without the detailed planning and worries about local transportation and translations we have often had to deal with ourselves. This is what you get with French Country Adventures. Sue Aran makes it all happen effortlessly, and slow travel is the only way we want to travel in the future.
Kathy and Paul Cames, Winter Gardens, Florida
My wife, Marti, and I just returned from our second adventure with Sue; last year Gascony and late this September Provence. It was – in a word—Glorious! We arrived back home holding visions of incredibly deep blue skies, olive groves, vineyards, illuminations of Van Gogh paintings on limestone quarry walls, beautiful wines and cooking to match. Our small inn was delightful and located in the pedestrian friendly, historic heart of Uzès an ancient town with beginnings in Roman times. Sue was, and is, a wonderful guide, companion and friend, and as a bonus we had the pleasure of spending time with her husband, Colby, a very talented and fascinating gentleman. We’ve never had a better trip and we’ll be back!
Chip and Marti Corley, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Thank you for a wonderful trip full of so many fantastic experiences and memories! The weight I gained was totally worth every bite. I’ll be watching your website for future opportunities!
Kathy and Paul Cames, Winter Garden, Florida
Stuart and I had a great time on our French adventure! I thought our group was a particularly good and fun group! We all had some good laughs and plenty of Armagnac and delicious food and wonderful outings.You are an amazing lady and a terrific tour guide…no matter who cancelled, you didn’t get rattled….you just stayed calm and made alternate arrangements. Tom was also wonderful with his great knowledge of wine and Armagnac and a lot of fun!
Karen and Stuart Monroe, Winchester, Virginia
We had such a marvelous time with you for those ten days. I miss it all – the markets, the food, the ambience, the cheese. No, the bread! I will be making French bread here shortly! The trip definitely re-invigorated my cooking mojo for which John is very happy. I have been picking my figs from the bush daily and have two batches of jam down and one cake so far.Thank you for a wonderful trip full of so many fantastic experiences and memories!
Elizabeth and Paul Quinn, Winchester, Virginia
Bruce and I enjoyed the day immensely and learned a lot from Sue and the people she arranged for us to meet. She was extremely thorough in her preparation to ensure she was organizing things that fitted my brief (despite the short notice and being very busy at the time) and she came up with a full day of activities for me and my husband. I was really impressed with her local knowledge, contacts and her easy demeanor. As a freelance travel writer I’ve now got enough material for several articles. Sue’s a terrific ambassador and really knows her stuff – she was absolutely fabulous!
Deborah & Bruce Mackie, Canberra, Australia
The highlight of my recent trip to France was the extraordinary day I spent in Lourdes. From the moment Sue met me at the airport I knew I was in good hands. Our day was planned to perfection with ample time to see everything I had expressed interest in, enough explanation without getting bored or overwhelmed and plenty of time for pictures, lunch and shopping. Sue is a very knowledgable and personable guide who exceeded my expectations on all levels and Lourdes is a spiritual journey not to be missed.
Donna Toscana, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Our trip was fabulous! The scenery was spectacular, the villages charming and the food delicious. Spending time with Sue was a delight. We will certainly tell all of our friends about our wonderful time in France with her and recommend her tours.
C.C. Hall, Los Angeles, California
We are home and reflecting upon our very enlightening and personalized time in France. We shall remember the Gers as a lovely pastoral area dotted with the occasional bastide village or quiet town. Sue, thank you for sharing with us and increasing our perceptions of The French Way of Life. It was really wonderful experiencing a little corner of France in a big way.
Karl and Sharon Molin, Fairfield, California
We’re back at home for a month after our second adventure with you and still enjoy sharing photos and memories with family and friends. Two weeks with Sue in the Pays Basque was fun, interesting and at the same time delightfully relaxed. Every day we explored another town, often Market Day in that town. Best of all, we stayed in only two hotels centrally located to minimize packing and moving. Thank you for taking us to your favorite cafés to taste local food, guiding us to little shops specializing in Basque chocolates, and showing us the unique towns of the area. Thank you also for guiding us to art museums and fabulous cathedrals, plus driving us through some of the most beautiful countryside in France.
Sandy Davis, Los Angeles, California
To capture the essence of our five or six long travel adventures with Sue Aran in France, we would need to write books or make movies. These times ranged from the hilarious to the deeply profound. Always the unexpected, with Sue’s keen and generous eye toward beauty, unique personalities, and new discoveries. Sue is brilliant at making the experience easy, and the France that she shares is transforming.
Lou Oma Durand and Ken Patten, Gig Harbor, Washington
Greg and I speak often of our time spent with you. The conversations, maps and suggestions you made for us, the laughter, visiting your friend, the elderly grand dame and being invited into her wine cave resplendent with award winning bottles of Armagnac, shopping flea markets, but most of all being invited into your house for a gorgeous home prepared meal. We’ve never been treated so lovingly and generously by a virtual stranger. As I said in France, you were a large part of our enjoyment of your adopted country.
Greg Roats and Woodleigh Hubbard, Bainbridge Island, Washington
What a wonderful guide you were – sensitive to our interests and also to our ability as senior travelers. We are grateful to have had the benefit of your knowledge of history, art, and architecture which added to our appreciation of the places we visited. This was our second trip with you, and now we look forward to the third. Merci beaucoup.
Marvin Forrest, Santa Barbara, California
Just a note to say how very much we enjoyed our time in the Gers. It’s hard to find the words to express it but Marti had tears in her eyes all the way to Amsterdam. It was a real pleasure meeting and spending time with you and I’m hoping things will fall in place for a trip to Provence before too long – pure heaven.
Chip and Marti Corley, Lookout Mountain, Georgia
French Country Adventures was the perfect reprieve from Los Angeles. I’d never seen rolling hills until my visit, nor the darling blonde cows roaming the area. Scenic is an understatement. If you’re looking for peace with a bit of adventure this is the tour for you. Sue will show you hidden corners of Gascony, not just the famous stops. Depending upon your itinerary she’ll make sure you see amazing locations like the famous pilgrimage village of Rocamadour, including its castles and caves, as well as the tiniest, most charming fortified village in France. Come with an appetite because there is fantastic food at every corner!
Sarah Skerritt, Santa Monica, California
My trip to Gascony with Sue as my tour guide was full of wonderful discoveries and experiences. Gascony is one of the most beautiful regions in France to which I have traveled and I have been to most of France. I loved interacting with the locals and the wide community of ex-pats. Sue is a wonderful student of the history of this region and will show and tell you in detail. The ease of pace, the richness of flavors, the charming villages and Gascony’s diverse history is unable to be adequately described, but should definitely be experienced.
Carolyn Sullivan, Reno, Nevada
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, Santa Barbara, California
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, 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, 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 and Jack Litewka 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, 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, Seattle, Washington