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Courtesy of an enforced break due to a stomach flu, I have been able to catch up on some travel research for our forthcoming 2014 trip to France. Readers will know that I am a great fan of the Rick Steves guide books, the books on France being co-authored by Steve Smith. I subscribe to the Rick Steves channel on You Tube and it is an excellent resource. Today I have done an armchair tour of France with Steve Smith as my guide and it is excellent. For those of you contemplating a trip to France, viewing of this clip may well useful.

Five tours are described – Paris in Seven Days, Paris and the Heart of France, French Riviera in Seven Days, Loire to the South of France, and the Wine Regions of Eastern France (you can find out more about them here).  While I am more likely to be an independent traveller rather than a member of a tour group, the clip has some very valuable hints such as the best times to visit attractions, how to avoid the tourist throngs, making the most of cities at night, and much more. The tour also opened my eyes to parts of France which I had not really contemplated visiting such as the Loire and Burgundy districts which I may now consider.  Jill Grant from A Walker’s World here in New Zealand, has previously provided me with information on some of the Cycling Europe  bike tours in these districts and they certainly are enticing.

Watching the part of the video devoted to the Paris tour, makes me realise how much we missed on our first visit -The Marais district, Montmartre, and Versailles to name but few, and also how much more we could have seen in Nice.  I am sure I will be watching it again and again, but in the meantime I need to research further and can use this armchair tour and some excellent blogs as my guide – you can see some of my favourite travel blogs in my blogroll, including Eurocheapo which always has good advice, one of the most recent being this persuasive article about staying on the Ile Saint-Louis in Paris – sounds good to me!