We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

florida
Level Contributor
1,560 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

I'd be grateful to have feedback on this 8-day itinerary. We do numerous ocean cruises, but have never done a land tour.

One of the things I've wondered about is how rooms are allocated. E.g. in the Provence hotel outside of St Remy, the rooms are very different from on another. Similarly, even in the chain hotels in Monte Carlo and Paris. Wouldn't some rooms have a significantly better view, better bathroom, whatever?

Another question: Is tipping bus driver each day really a requirement? I can see tipping a good tour guide, but I've never tipped bus driver on ship's tours for instance.

Does one have to always eat with others in the group? (I mean for the included meals.)

Do people feel rushed in the morning, i.e. to have to get up early for breakfast for early tours.

Many thanks for any details, reviews, etc.

Westerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,689 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Usually on bus trips the guide and driver are with the group throughout the entire trip and you can tip at the end of the tour. I don't believe Tauks includes guide and driver tips in their land tour price.

As for eating, you have two meals on your own. If you're included dinners are in the hotel and there are other tour groups staying there you may be asked to eat at a certain time. There were times when we were asked to eat between certain hours, say 7 - 9pm. There were tables for two.

If there is a early morning tour and you want to eat breakfast then you will need to be an early riser.

The rooms are allocated based on the number of occupants sometimes on a rotating basis. I have never heard of anyone choosing a room beforehand but you can always ask for a different room during your stay.

florida
Level Contributor
1,560 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Many thanks-- all very helpful.

I have another question: Can you give me even a ballpark sense of how much more the trip actually costs than what the listed price is? I.e. this tour is $4,300 per person. I'm trying to get a handle on how much the 8 days would actually cost (not including air) E.g. about how much in tips? And are there other "hidden" costs that I might not be thinking of?

Thank you very much.

Regina - Canada
Level Contributor
301 posts
139 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Hey Nancy,

We’ve been on two Tauck tours. Neither was the one you’re looking at. So these thoughts are based on different Tauck tours, but are probably similar.

As to how rooms are allocated. When we toured Ireland, we stayed at many small-ish hotels and Inns. All were excellent, but most had various rooms – different sizes, shapes and views. I have no idea how our tour guide decided who stayed where. I suspect it is just random. It’s definitely not based on money being given to the guide – I can say this, because we had undoubtedly the best room/suite at Mount Juliet Conrad, and we hadn’t slipped our guide any extra cash.

On the bus, you start out with a certain seat on Day 1, and then each day you move a little bit – on our tours, you moved back two rows each day. That way, no one individual gets the best seat for the whole tour. And again, I suspect the first day seating is random.

As to tipping the bus driver. You will most likely have one driver for your whole trip – he/she takes you from city to city, and takes you to or from your hotel to specific sites or events.

You will also probably go on guided tours of specific cities with a local guide and driver. For these tours – say a 3 hour tour of Paris – you do not tip the driver or local guide. That has already been handled by Tauck. Our Tauck tour guide was very direct about that, and adamant that you shouldn’t feel the need to tip.

However, the driver who takes you from city to city, is with you the whole trip, and probably deserves a tip. The Tauck literature you receive suggests a per person/per day guide for the tip for your guide and driver. If you don’t like them, or feel they gave you shoddy service, you can certainly decline, or reduce the tip. In both our cases, we tipped more than the suggestion, simply because we felt we got great service from both.

As to the included meals. One of the things we loved about Tauck, was that you could eat when you wanted, and with whom you wanted.

Breakfast was usually a buffet in the hotel. You could come down when you wanted, and sit by yourself, or with others from your tour.

Dinners were usually provided in the hotel restaurant. You simply provided them with the time and number of people in your party – just like a reservation at a restaurant at home. Our tour guide would start prepping us when we got close to our hotel. She would explain what the dining options were - sometimes there’s more than one restaurant in the hotel – sometimes the dinner is at a restaurant outside the hotel (Day 5 of your tour for example), and would encourage us to be ready to make reservations soon after we arrived at the hotel.

On days lunches are provided, they are usually at a specific location, near a tourist site that you’ll be visiting. Usually at these, you can again sit by yourself, or with other tour mates.

Exceptions….

1. The first night is a reception and dinner, so you can get to meet your tour mates and guide. You would simply mingle at the reception, and choose some dinner mates. These usually would have tables of 6 and 8.

2. Last night – same thing – there is a farewell reception and dinner.

3. If you’re out together for the evening dinner – like Day 4 of your tour – then you would all eat together at the same time.

As to “Do you feel rushed in the mornings”….

At the start of your tour, your tour guide will provide a very detailed itinerary for the week. In it will be specific times that the bus will be leaving the hotel in the morning – either for a morning tour, or for the journey to the next city. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect if you asked the Tauck rep on the phone for that detailed itinerary, they might provide it. Or they might at least provide the morning bus times. That might give you an idea as to how rushed you might feel.

A fellow who posts on TripAdvisor under the name Peregrinater, has provided an extremely detailed review of his Classic Italy tour with Tauck.

You can review it here

http://www.1mpages.com/ReviewTauckItaly.html

While it is obviously much different than the tour you’re interested in, if you scroll down to the section titled “Day by Day – Our Itinerary at a Glance” – that is the detailed itinerary that the guide provides you on day one- you can see it provides very specific times that the bus will leave in the morning.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Tauck has Travel Forums on their website at www.tauck.com. There is a specific forum for each tour. You might check out the posts there to see if some of your questions have been answered. You could also sign up there, and post your questions.

Good luck planning.

Joe

Regina - Canada
Level Contributor
301 posts
139 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Hey again Nancy,

I was composing my first reply, when you posted your query about the total cost.

I fully understand your issue – there are always extra costs involved, so it’s nice to form a bit of a budget.

First off, consider the meals that aren’t included. I don’t know what meals in France cost, but you can probably ballpark them.

You should incur zero costs getting to and from the airports in France. Tauck should provide the transfers.

There are truly zero extra costs with the Tauck tour. Anything they list in their itinerary will be included in the price. The only thing extra is the tip for the guide and bus driver at the end of the tour.

Sometimes they’ll have an optional activity (like a hot air balloon ride) but this is specifically listed on the website. It doesn’t look likes there’s anything like that on your tour.

Alcohol at meals is not provided – except wine is usually provided at the welcome and farewell dinners. Non alcoholic drinks are included at all meals.

If there are any free afternoons, you would be able to visit some sites on your own. Any costs for these would have to be allowed for. Of course, you don’t have to do anything that costs money – you could just wander the city and enjoy.

Also, consider how you’d get around – if you want to take a taxi, that would be extra.

Hotel activities. I don’t know what’s available at your hotels, but if you were to choose to golf, or something like that, that would be extra.

Shopping.

Will you plan to arrive a day or two early to get over jet lag and/or do some touring on your own? If so, you’d have to allow for hotel and meal costs.

Will you plan to stay a day or two extra at the end to tour on your own? Again you’d have to allow for hotel/meal costs.

As I think back on our tours, the only extra costs during the tour were for alcohol and shopping. And both are under your control.

Again, I’d suggest checking out the Italy trip report (I provided the link in my first reply). He has a section called Extra Expenses.

Have fun,

Joe

florida
Level Contributor
1,560 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Joe-- you are an absolute gem--THANKS SO MUCH!

Regina - Canada
Level Contributor
301 posts
139 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Hey Nancy,

I thought of another expense that is not typically included with Tauck – internet access.

This is a pet peeve of mine, because I feel free internet access should be included with all hotel rooms these days. Especially, the high quality hotels that Tauck stays at.

If you stay at Motel 6, internet is included. But if you stay at a $400 a night hotel, internet is extra. I realize why they do it - it’s a profit centre and many of their guests are on business, so don’t care about the cost. But it still irks me.

I’ve mentioned it to Tauck after both of our tours, but so far they haven’t listened to me. (grin)

On our two Tauck tours, I think only 2 or 3 out of 16 hotels had free internet access. A few had some limited access – maybe 20 free minutes per day. Some had free Wi-Fi in the lobby, but not in the rooms.

Almost all your hotels will be in city centre areas, so finding free Wi-Fi outside the hotel isn’t a big challenge – but if you feel strongly about internet access in your room, you might want to budget for an extra $20 or so per day.

Joe

Mill Valley...
Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

I took the Italy tour last year from Sorrento to Venice. I was a solo traveler, so found my travel agent steared me in the wrong direction, since I was only person alone. Culturious might have been better for me. Too many people (over 35-40 people, and all married).

We SAW much, but experienced very little. I'd just spent an immersion trip in France, so hated to be part of herd on bus. Everyone was lovely, and made a few friends, but comfortable traveling alone, so will not do a Tauck tour of this kind again. No spontaneous activities.

And, as to your question about tipping, we were expected to give every bus driver a TIP. And, of course, we collected money for our tour guide. So it was the most expensive segment of my 3 month European trip. I did Paris on my own, and can go back to Provence on my own - although, for language, may join group again. Hope this helps. Again, am a single traveler -and as a couple you will love it.

Edited: 24 February 2014, 21:24
Tampa, Florida
1 post
Save Reply
8. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

As a single traveler, what tours or companies have you enjoyed ? You indicated that Tauck was all couples . What advice do you have?

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
65 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Joebaba: "... another expense that is not typically included with Tauck – internet access."

Starting in 2013, Tauck provides free/ complimentary internet access in guest rooms for all land tours where internet connectivity is available.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
65 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Tauck : Paris and Provence tour?

Linda G, Tauck is not all couples. I have been on 4 Tauck tours and on every one of them, there were single women. There were single men too on a couple of them. I think they have special prices on certain tour dates for single travellers.