France & San Sebastian

Posted by Henri de Vastey on 06/24/2006

On 21 June 2006, I returned from a 14-day custom trip with Passports with 46 kids and 4 chaperones. This was my first trip with Passports having previously traveled with ACIS and NETC. It was a wonderful experience and success! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Passports took in our requested venues, massaged them, and neatly fitted them in a fantastic itinerary. Details, as necessary, were adjusted on the terrain. It was a superb and delightful experience for every kid. Everything went as smoothly as one would expect. Of the 4 hotels, only one was a 2-star and inconveniently located but we were warned and prepared. As justice would have it, we even benefited from more “double” rooms than we deserved in all 4 hotels including the other 3-star hotels! Moreover, we scored a free (about $50 per ticket) upgrade to the Moulin Rouge from the Paradis Latin we had paid for! We over-nighted in Paris, Reims, La Rochelle, and Biarritz where a few lucky souls had their windows or balconies overlooking the Atlantic waves less than 100 meters away. We lunched and sunbathed in San Sebastian, Spain! ! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Most of our kids, all Class of 2006 and Class of 2007, were open-minded about eating “duck”, “foie gras”, and “fish of all kind”. We avoided all American-like meals and restaurants except for the inescapable lure of McDonald’s. The most fabulous meal was a Passports-provided lunch at the Chateau de Chissay ( some 8 kilometers from the Chateau de Chenonceau. ! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Any headaches or mischief we endured as chaperones between 8 and 21 June were of our kids’ making and not of Passports doing. ! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Of the 46 American kids and 4 chaperones, none suffered any indignity from the French. All were fully appreciated in Paris, Reims, La Rochelle, and Biarritz. The young women were gladly whistled at by the young French men. There might have been one unwelcome advance with inappropriate gestures near a flea market! The waiters and waitresses stood for 100's of pictures. Old ladies in grocery stores lines helped them with their grocery purchases. Wine makers, champagne makers, and pepper growers were delightfully proud to welcome and educate them about their livelihoods. We even got to “disco” from 10:30 PM to 1:00AM at a safe disco in Biarritz under chaperones supervision. ! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If Passports’ future prices do not become unreasonable, I will definitely plan another custom trip covering yet another slice of beautiful France with Passports in the summer of 2008. ! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Feel free to contact me at for questions or more details.

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