About my tours: Is this the right tour for you?

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.


  • Meet the real French or Greeks:  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.  During my time in Los Angeles, I became acquainted with Greeks who started a B&B in Santorini; today, it is one of the most coveted places to stay.  We have established relationships on the group with close contacts in both Athens and Sifnos to create a uniquely personal experience.
  • 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 experience.  My established relationships with professionals in France & Greece ~ Master Chefs/Culinary Artists, Professional Guides/Historians, Viticulturalists/Oenologists, Agriculturists ~ provide access to in-depth discovery and learning of French or Greek 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.
    • In Greece, we stay in a lovely boutique hotel in the heart of Athens, a splendid villa overlooking the caldera of Santorini, and each traveler is nestled into their own cycladic home on Sifnos.
  • 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 and Greece, as well as the “savoir vivre” to seek out the highest quality local and regional specialties.

Terms & Conditions

About Travel Hostess Karen Gros

Travel Dates:  2020 Public Tours

9 Days in Paris, France
September 22 – 30, 2020  (6 openings)

14 Days in Greece ~ Athens & the Greek Isles
October 6 – 19, 2020  (FULL)

10 Days in The South of France ~ Provence
This itinerary will be offered in 2021

10 Days in Italy along the Amalfi Coast
This itinerary will be offered in 2021

Travel to France & the Mediterranean with Culinary Instructor Karen Gros
Exclusive tours for small groups of 8-12 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