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France: Making the Old World New Again
Adventure-approved trips just right for right now. 
Text by Costas Christ 
Photo: France

The Guided Tour

After two decades of pioneering itineraries in destinations such as Thailand, Nepal, and India, Australian outfitter Intrepid Travel brings its well-honed intuition for exploration to the Old World. "We wanted travelers to experience the cultural richness and natural beauty of France—but to do it with a kick," says company vice president Jacquie Burnside. The new, jam-packed nine-day excursion begins in Paris, then travels to the Loire Valley, where guests cycle between countryside châteaus. The trip includes a visit to the Grotte de Lascaux (a Cro-Magnon Sistine Chapel) and a 25-mile (40-kilometer) hike along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques pilgrim route—just as summer flowers bloom. It finishes in Provence, where the partaking of sumptuous cheeses and local wines is actively encouraged.

Don't expect private coaches to shuttle you around. When traveling between towns, Intrepid relies on local trains and buses. "We want guests to have as close to a real-life experience as possible; you get that by traveling with local people and doing what they do," Burnside says.
Days: 9

Outfitter: Intrepid Travel

Cost: $1,270

Photograph courtesy of Owen Franken/Corbis

Photo: May 2006 Cover

Pick up  the May 2006 issue for 38 amazing family escapes, wild beaches, and cool festivals, Sebastian Junger's lessons from the road, and the best bikes for summer.

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