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The French Travel Team

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Alison Linn - Sales Manager

Having worked in the travel industry for many years Alison have been lucky enough to visit some extraordinary places, however she will always come back to France. You can’t go past the culture of Paris, the glamour of the Cote D’azur and the charm of French villages.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? With good reason France is the most visited country in the world, France has something to offer for everyone! If it’s an active adventure holiday you enjoy, then there is no better country then France to get off the beaten track and out in the countryside with some of the most beautiful cycling and hiking trails you will find anywhere in the world. If you prefer a more relaxed holiday, you can’t beat a stroll around the hill top villages, you will never get board exploring the cobbled lanes and little squares of these special little towns.

What is your favourite region and why? Provence, for its lively markets with fresh produce straight from the source, anyone who loves their food can’t help but be inspired by the pride the farmers take in what they grow and sell. Even if you’re not a cook it’s nice to grab a coffee, get in amongst the locals and sample some of amazing food.

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France Eating cheese on the grass near the La Basiloque du Sacre Coeur. There was just something really special about watching the crowds go by and soaking up the atmosphere on my first trip to Paris.

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? Eating! You can easily fill up a day with a market visit and a tour of the bakery’s and patisseries. Alternatively I find cooking classes really special, there are options to take a class in a Parisian chefs home, and it’s lovely to be able to take a little bit of their knowledge about food home with me.

Why everybody should visit France? Its many centuries of interesting history shows through in the diverse and beautiful architecture, the well kept Chateaux alone make it a must see destination, if you combine the architecture with the culture and delicious food it will leave everyone wanting more.

Why would you cruise in France? It’s lovely to get off the highway unpack and just relax. Some of the most beautiful villages in France are along the waterways and there is no better way to discover them then by Barge or boat.

Karine Da Silva- French Travel Specialist

Karine.....

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? France has this unique atmosphere and it is full of attractions. There is a region of France for everyone. If you love food, there is the french capital of Gastronomy and wherever you go you can find great restaurants and markets If you love history and architecture, you can go from the Battlefields to the amazing old century buildings and monuments, discover a different old street from south to north of the country. And if you like to drink, there is no better place to be. There is always an excuse to open a bottle of champagne or appreciate a beautiful wine.

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France My wow moment in France was a cruise on the River Seine and dinner at the Eiffel Tower. It was an unbelievable night. It started with a relaxing cruise and finished up in the most iconic place in the world. I felt that it was a dream come true. It was my first time at the Eiffel Tower and it was perfect. The food was great and the view was breathtaking. After the dinner, I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and I can definitely say this was my wow moment.

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? My perfect day in Paris is walking through the city, discover nice bistros and restaurants along the way, get lost in the ancient streets of the Latin Quarter and St Germain, discover new places that I haven't seen yet. Return to the places that I love. I'll be honest, I never get tired to see the Eiffel Tower and their surroundings Have time for some shopping, because they have clothes to die for. red wine and be chatting.

Why everybody should visit France? France is charming, interesting and cultural. Each region offers something special. You can experience being in an old country, full of history and architecture. See how the wine and Champagne is made from a small producer to a big distributor. Visit Chatteaus, Cathedrals and Palaces. Try all the typical food and all the different grape flavours in your wine. It is the place to go.

Why would you cruise in France? You can relax through the canals, stop in the small villages, cycle around the countryside and return to your adventure. Leave behind all traffic and worries and enjoy your moment in France.

Constance Prudhomme - French Travel Specialist

Constance came to FTC with a wealth of knowledge about in France has she has been travelling all around France via her personal and professional experience.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? There is so much to see in France and that is why it is so unique. They are so many different landscapes, food and cultural heritage to experience and discover on a such small land. I grew up surrounded by lovely restaurants, beautiful market, heritage building and breathtaking sceneries.

What is your favourite region and why?If I had to pick, it would be Dordogne / Perigord, just go there and will understand why I am in love with this part of France! Périgord has a beautiful cuisine, especially its duck and goose products, such as foie gras. The landscape is so rich and packed with history that it makes you dizzy ! It is like to do a jump back into time from cave men with Lascaux cave to the medieval period with all the bastides. One of my best experience was to canoe along the Dordogne river and enjoy all these beautiful castles and villages.

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France When I saw the Pope Palace in Avignon for the first time, it definitely had a huge wow factor on me! It is very impressive to be surrounded by so much power and history!

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? I love to catch up with my family and friends who live there and visit something new that I have never done before in Paris or near by. This year it was the Cathedral Saint-Denis ( first gothic Cathedral) and Vaux-le-Vicomte castle who inspired Louis the XIV to build Versailles.

Why everybody should visit France? For its amazing food, its culture and all the different landscapes which are changing so fast on such a short distance, you can’t be bored! You will have a very different experience between a stay in Monaco and a stay in the Alps or in Paris.

Why would you cruise in France? It is one the best way to visit France at a slow and relaxing pace without packing and unpacking for few days. Also the canal du Midi is heritage by itself as it was build during the XVIIth century so it is quite impressive to be able to float on it since all this time!

Benjamin Massi - French Travel Specialist

Ben is born in Nice.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? What makes France special and unique is its way of Life, its art de vivre. French people love life, they love culture, they love their history and they love their language. They have their own way of seeing life. They could spend hours talking about food, get passionate when talking about politics and love their traditions! It is sometimes seen as arrogance by foreigners, but when you spend some time in France you see that it's just that the French are happy with the way they live life, and are not really very interested in changing that. France is not all about Paris, real France is the country side!

What is your favourite region and why? My favourite region in France would be my own region, La Cote d’Azur. It is one of the rarest places in this world, where you can be at the beach in the morning tanning and skIing one hour later. La cote d’azur is blue sky, shinning sun, flowers, a beautiful seaside, the snowy mountains behind you and the sound of the cicadas. To enjoy it, grab a glass of rose and let your imagination go wild! No wonder why the best painters in the world spent some times there!

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France I always get a wow moment when I eat in France. Good traditional food with matching wines in an amazing square, looking at people walking in front of me.!

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? For me a perfect day in Paris is a cold day, in winter. Winter is the best season to visit Paris. Paris is all about the museums, the lights, the nice cafes and shopping. You will see the Parisians getting dress to walk the dogs and to buy the baguette!

Why everybody should visit France? Because France is trying to protect is own culture, its own language, its history and its gastronomy.

Why would you cruise in France? To let the good time rolling!.

Natalia Machado - French Travel Specialist

Natalia has been in the travel industry for the past three years working in retail both locally and overseas! Preferring the road less travelled; ask her for advice on where to go for a unique experience. She loves organising detailed itineraries and making holiday planning a fun and easy process.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? France is unique because there is something for everyone – history, culture, food, wine, shopping, adventure, luxury, and relaxation. It can be fast or slow paced depending on your travel style.

What is your favourite region and why? It is a tie between Burgundy and Corsica as it represents two of my favourite things in life: wine and beaches. Burgundy is heaven to switch off from the rest of the world, stay in a beautiful chateau, and see different wineries while appreciating the local culture. Corsica because there aren’t many places where you can sit back and relax on the beach while over looking snow capped mountains. Corsica also has so many beaches to choose from, including secluded ones, even in peak season. Both spots are a self drive traveller’s dream.

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France My “wow” moment is a tourist cliché - it was the first time I ever saw the Eiffel Tower. It had been a dream of mine since I was little. On my first day there, I rented a bike and drove from my apartment in Marais along the Seine. I had to simultaneously contain my excitement and dodge traffic as the Eiffel Tower started to peek through the scenery. Even a two hour wait in line didn’t damper my spirits! Later that week, a family member drove me there at night to see it sparkle – so cool

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? Now that I have seen all the typical tourist spots, my ideal day would involve people watching, good food and getting lost in the streets of Marais.

Why everybody should visit France? Two words: Food and wine

Why would you cruise in France? For the ultimate laid back luxury experience, a crewed canal barge is the perfect way to cruise in France. Being all inclusive, it means that you won’t have to worry about a thing once you arrive as it will all be looked after for you. Want to ride a bike for a few hours along the river and have a picnic prepared for you? Done. Want someone to drive you around as you spend a day wine tasting? Done. Want to stay on board, eat great food, lay back and relax? Done, done and done.

Sylvain Martre - French Travel Specialist

He is passionate about France and for everyone to visit his home country. He grew up in Picardy and I studied in Amiens, a place visited by many Australian thanks to a great bound between France and Australia to commemorate First World War and remember the sacrifice of young Australians.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? France’s location at the crossroad of European civilisations makes it a unique destination. It has borders with Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. It has diverse landscapes from North to South and West to East with natural borders, great coastline and sea border with Atlantic and Mediterranean, mountain ranges, rivers and lakes. You also get a great diversity in French gastronomy and wines, as well. France is also my home country and it’s very special to me as my family lives over there. I have good memories of France, growing up. It’s one unique country with lots of destinations inside, a fairly small place compared to Australia. I don’t drive and I really like using the trains that are actually very easy and my preferred way of travelling through France. It does take you everywhere and whenever I go back I try to visit places I have not been before. I just discovered Bordeaux recently and during my next holiday I would love to visit the middle, Auvergne next time, as my ancestors come from this region.

What is your favourite region and why? It is very hard to choose but my pick is Alsace over other regions. I visited it recently as I have family there, in Strasbourg. You can easily walk through la Petite France and it’s picture perfect and very joyful with colourful flowers everywhere and it is very clean and very elegant city. Strasbourg cathedral is a pure marvel of gothic style and is quiet mysterious in a way with its astronomical clock. I love the typical Alsatian restaurant called the “Winstub” where you really need to book in advance as their capacity is very small; at the end of the meal they served you “eau de vie” or water of life, made with local fruits (prune, cherries, Mirabelle etc.…). I enjoy Alsatian white wines like Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, late harvest wines “vendanges tardives” served with local Foie Gras that is different than in South West; it’s cooked with local wine and is often served with “pain d’epices” or ginger bread. It actually goes very well together. For me, even though you are still in France, it’s very exotic and different of other regions, it makes me feel I am in a Brothers Grimm fairytale, almost in an imaginary country, but it’s actually very real and its part of France! You can hear the locals talking to each other in Alsatian and feel totally somewhere else. So Alsace has a very rich cultural heritage and own identity well worth discovering!

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France My first time at the Moulin Rouge show, I was sitting quiet close to the stage and I can still remember the sounds of the costumes pearls clicking and the catchy tunes, “c’est féerique!!!” truly a “wow” moment. It’s kind of kitsch but the quality of the show was definitely above my exceptions. It’s a very entertaining and dazzling show! Jaw dropping!

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? I would start with breakfast at the restaurant My Bourgogne near Place des Vosges, I love this symetrical square and it makes you feel special when looking at the architecture around. I will then do some shopping in the trendy Marais, check its boutiques and novelty shops, seat down at a terrace for another coffee and looking at people passing which is a very Parisian way of spending your time, I will then take the opportunity to visit one my favourite museum, the Picasso Museum I have not seen since it has been renovated. I would walk all the way towards towards the Seine River, crossing the Pont Neuf (actually the oldest bridge in Paris), I like walking along the Quais de Seine on its left bank. I will probably visit the Orsay Museum, I actually prefer this Museum over the Louvres, as I have fond memory of visiting it with school as a kid. I will have lunch in any French bistros around, for a today’s special meal like a steak with “beurre maître d’hôtel” (or a parsley butter) on top and frites and a ¼ pitcher of red wine. Later on, I like the idea of a sunset in Montmartre by the Sacre Coeur! The best view over Paris…

Why everybody should visit France? It is really a destination for everyone, from city break in Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux and smaller towns and villages. It’s difficult not to love France. I like the diversity of the activities in France may it be museums and exhibitions, food and wine experiences or any sporting activities, cycling through France; for couples maybe a romantic escape or anniversary celebration, for families with children, France offers something special for everyone. I would also always recommend combining a city break in Paris or Lyon with a more regional destination for a country feel like in Burgundy, as an example. There so much more than Paris!

Why would you cruise in France? I have actually discussed the possibility of a self drive boat holiday for week next year with friends and I am contemplating the Canal du Midi or possibly a less busy canal, like the Charente by my sister town, Saintes. I will be very happy to do a Cognac cruise. The name already sounds very tempting! I have been to Cognac before and I would like my friends to discover it too. I think of being by the water very relaxing for me, the slow speed of the boat about 5km an hour also contributes to a more relaxing feeling of a slow paced holiday. It would be ideal with family and friends. Even I have been to this region before, it would be another way of discovering this area…

Alexandra Fayan - Business Development Manager

Although Alex is very proud to tell anyone who might mistake her for a French national that she in fact comes from Belgium, she not only shares the same accent (don’t tell her!) but also the same passion for her neighbouring country as her French colleagues.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? France has so many beautiful monuments and each house or castle you will come across is a living proof of its rich history. France boasts so many different landscapes in the one country, from the buzzing and trendy Paris to tiny quaint villages and vineyards only a few hours away. In the Winter, I love its wide ski slopes, the apres ski and a delicious raclette dinner and in the Summer, I love going for walks in the countryside or sun baking on one of its beautiful sun drenched beaches. France is home to my favourite ice cream shop and of course it is the birth place of Champagne!!

What is your favourite region and why? Dordogne: Think picturesque villages, castles, beautiful footpaths and cycling paths, this region is rich in history and will have you feel like you have been transported to a movie set. And to top it all, some of the best food as I looove foie gras!

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France Going for a dip in Cavalaire, the colour of the water was simply stunning, we climbed a few rocks to get to a particular spot, it was magical!

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? Breakfast at a sidewalk cafe and watch the world go by, walk around on the different bridges and along the Seine, hire a bike and cycle to the Jardins des Tuileries, grab a crepe for lunch, check the funky boutique in the Marais then relax on the place des Vosges. Next stop is a walk on the Ile Saint Louis which is like a little Village in the middle of Paris, follow with ‘apero’ at Pershing Hall, dinner in a brasserie then off to Montmartre to see the amazing views of Paris by night.

Why everybody should visit France? See above! France has this ‘je ne sais quoi’ that you will not find in another country!

Why would you cruise in France? Where to start…Breathtaking scenery, gourmet food, some of the best wines, sights and local markets to discover along the way.

Lea Granado - Marketing Manager

Lea was born in Tours, in the Loire Valley, an hour by train from Paris. The Loire Valley region is famous for its beautiful Chateaux along the Loire river. You can discover amazing vineyards and taste all that french gastronomy has to offer.

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? Do you love wine and great food with a bit of “ Je ne sais quoi” , France is just a unique destination thanks to a rich history, beautiful landscapes and a great diversity in culture and people. So much to do in such a small country!

What is your favourite region and why? My favourite regions are Normandy and Britanny. I love the Mont St Michel, crepes and cider! C’est la vie!

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France Classic but amazing! My dinner at the Jule Verne restaurant at the Eiffel Tower! Amazing Sunset View of Paris and Amazing meal in one of Ducasse most famous restaurant!

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? Go to the boulangerie and buy croissant , spend the day shopping at Galeries Lafayette, buy a Longchamp bag and drink Champagne at the Buble Bar. Relax the all afternoon at Luxembourg Garden eating La Duree Macaron

Why everybody should visit France? Paris, French Riviera, tour de France, Amelie,… so many reasons to visit France!

Why would you cruise in France? I would like to be the captain of a Self drive canal boat in Canal du Midi, I would do a stop in beautiful villages included my favourite town… Carcassonne!

Sophie Meunier - Product Manager

Born in Paris, Sophie loves this city and knows it like the palm of her hand! However, she also loves to relax in Provence or eat some snails and drink some wine in Burgundy!

Why do you think France is such a unique destination? France is really special for many reasons, for me the best reason is that every region is different and has its own gastronomy, culture and architecture. I love the fact that you don’t need to travel 1000km to see something different. The most unique feeling is to get lost in Paris and visit the little streets you are in this big city and suddenly you feel like you are in a small village, it definitely makes it a really special destination.

What is your favourite region and why? It is a really difficult question as, as I said before all the regions are really different and beautiful. I love the lavender in Provence, the stunning villages and their caves in Dordogne, I also love Normandy for its history and Burgundy for its wines and gastronomy, I love Ile de France with beautiful Paris and its 100000 museums, restaurants, monuments and all the chateaux around like Versailles and its gardens. I think it just depends on my mood!!

Describe a “wow” moment you have had in France I think the “wow” moment is when my friends got married in Dordogne in Saint-Amand-de-Coly, one of the most beautiful villages of France. Weddings are always beautiful, but the peace and beauty of this place was just perfect for such an amazing moment, this village is definitely a treasure in France.

What is the perfect day in Paris for you? I am born there, so for me as perfect day in Paris starts in an apartment with a great view over Paris really early when the sun goes up. Going outside in the cold and see all this people all fashionable running around. Me I like to walk another pace and watch them, I get my croissant in one of the oldest bakery in France and my day can start. I walk around go to the Art Decoratif museum and see the exhibition of the moment, get some lunch in the Bastille area. My afternoon would involve some more walking around the fashion shops in the Marais and gourmet shops in Saint Germain des Pres. To end my day perfectly I meet some friend and we go to see either the Moulin Rouge show or the Lido show. Simple and perfect.

Why everybody should visit France? I think France is an easy place to travel; everybody should go because whatever is their goal for their holidays they will love it. If they want to relax they will love spending time on a crewed canal barge and being spoilt, if they want to do active holidays they can go on hiking or cycling tours for weeks and visit France, if they love History they will love the Somme, Normandy and Brittany, if they love architecture, Paris, Bordeaux and Provence… If they like food they can certainly go everywhere!

Why would you cruise in France? Cruising is such an easy and perfect way to visit regional France. I think it is amazing for holidays, either if you drive or someone drives for you. It is a great way to visit France. You stop somewhere you go to the market by bike visit the little villages of France. I think it guarantee unforgettable holidays!

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