I began traveling internationally in 1992; in doing so, I embraced Europe Through the Back Doors by Rick Steves, the book that launched my passion for traveling. I have adapted Rick’s travel philosophy to accurately reflect my own values regarding traveling as a local.
TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY by Rick Steves ~ endorsed by Karen
• We travel all the way to Europe to enjoy differences ~ to become temporary locals. You will experience frustrations. Traveling is often stressful, as we don’t always have everything at our fingertips to feel comfortable and at ease. For instance, eating between meals is often inconvenient in France; most restaurants close between 2-7pm. Certain truths that we find “God-given” or “self-evident,” such as friendly waiters, ice in drinks, bottomless cups of coffee, hot showers, and bigger being better, are suddenly not so true. For the overall well-being and enjoyment of the group, it is essential that politeness and discretion be maintained at all times, even, or rather especially, during times of distress.
• One of the benefits of travel is the eye-opening realization that there are logical, civil, and sometimes, even better alternatives.
• Travel, like the world, is a series of hills and valleys. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something’s not to your liking, change your liking.
• If there is a negative aspect to the image the French have of Americans, it is that we are big, aggressive, impolite, rich, loud, superficially friendly, and a bit naïve. Americans tend to be noisy in public places, such as restaurants and trains. Our raised voices can demolish France’s reserved and elegant ambience. Talk softly. This is particularly true in Paris, less so in the Provinces.
• While the French look bemusedly at some of our Yankee excesses ~ and worriedly at others ~ they nearly always afford us individual travelers all the warmth we deserve.
• France is an understandably proud country. To enjoy its people, you need to celebrate the differences. A willingness to “go local” ensures that you’ll enjoy a full dose of French hospitality.
WHY TRAVEL WITH KAREN?
- Meet the real French: Having been married to a Frenchmen, the ties with my in-laws and our French friends, in addition to my extensive time in ~ and passion for ~ France, give me an inside track that I use to create original, yet authentic experiences. I am a French-speaking dual American-French citizen with a comprehensive understanding of French culture and French food.
- Travel as a small group: Be welcomed everywhere you go as a group of friends, rather than a hoard of tourists; enjoy access to special places and people not available to “tourists” or larger groups.
- Enjoy culturally enriching and personalized experiences: All activities and outings are organized exclusively for you to ensure a genuine French experience. My established relationships with professionals in France ~ Master Chefs, Professional Guides/Historians, Viticulturalists, Oenologists, Agriculturists ~ provide access to in-depth discovery and learning of French tradition and culture.
- Experience the culture in a more direct way: Rather than being a tourist in a hotel, I prefer to offer you the opportunity to be a “local.”
- In Paris, stay in a beautifully furnished apartment; you will love being able to shop at the neighborhood outdoor market, and getting to know your local butcher, grocer, baker, pastry maker, and pharmacist ~ all part of the experience of living in Paris.
- In both Normandy/Brittany, as well as Greece, stay in beautiful, high quality bed & breakfasts; the intimacy with the owners provides an enriching and fuller experience.
- In Provence, enjoy the unique opportunity to stay in in a beautiful, high-quality traditionally built Provençal home for 7 nights, followed by 3 nights in a beautiful, high quality bed & breakfast.
- Stay in comfort and beauty: Each accommodation, based on double occupancy, is chosen for authenticity, character, beauty, and comfort. All rooms offer private bathrooms.
- Travel with a true culinary enthusiast: As a Culinary Instructor, I am able to offer tips and information about French cuisine and culinary traditions in France, as well as the “savoir vivre” to seek out the highest quality local and regional specialties.
About Travel Hostess Karen Gros
Travel Dates: 2017-18 Regularly Scheduled Tours
9 Days in Paris
October 9 – 17, 2017 (2 openings)
October 16 – 24, 2018 (8 openings)
10 Days in The South of France ~ Provence
September 23 – October 3, 2017 (Full)
September 29 – October 9, 2018 (8 openings)
10 Days along The Country Roads of Normandy & Brittany
September 13 – 23, 2018 (4 openings)
Celtic Sea Salt Marshes of Guérande: Optional 2-Day Add-on
Available with Normandy/Brittany tour
14 Days in Greece ~ Athens & the Greek Isles
May 19 – June 2, 2017 (Full)
October, 2019 (Booking open as of March 1, 2018);
please contact Karen to be added to list.
Travel to France & the Mediterranean with Culinary Instructor Karen Gros
Exclusive tours for small groups of 8-10 people
Private activities & excursions focusing on food, tradition, history, culture, and people
Unique experiences not available elsewhere …
Become acquainted with locals, meet & cook with great chefs, travel in comfort & beauty