"This was our fourth trip with David and Sue to Europe. Every
time we return home, we say "That was a trip of a lifetime," (you
could say that about any of our trips with them).
We started our journey with a visit to the Champagne region around Epernay.
Saw Champagne being made and drank some! Spent the night in a GREAT B &
B and then on to Colmar in Alsace, for two nights, which was a part of Germany
from 1870-1918 thus much German architecture and cuisine.
Then made our way to Interlaken, Switzerland, where we took a cog railway to the
Jungfraujoch for a true taste of the Alps. It was everything we dreamed it would
be. Postcard perfect.
Our accomodations in Interlaken could not have been better.
We stayed at a beautiful villa in the Chianti mountains and lived like a local.
The villa was in a vineyard where they grew their own grapes and made wine.
Which we sampled and bought a case and sent it
Each day we went to a different hilltop town, ate incredible food (we wonder how
Sue found these restaurants) and met the locals.
My wife fell in love with Florence. We had been to Florence before but had
not seen some of the small neighborhoods within Florence. My wife met an
artist that she had admired for years.
There were 7 of us including David and Sue and we all became best friends. Travelling
on our own, we would not have seen 20 per cent of interesting parts of the country
where the average tourist doesn't go. Imagine traveling with your brother in law
(who you rather like) and he does the work and a sister in law who does all the
thinking/arranging and you have it!
Jim and Dianna Peterson
"My 17 days with Sue and David was everything I expected it to be and
more. I had wanted a small group tour because I knew it would be more personal
and flexible and so it was. We always had somewhere wonderful organised for us
to visit each day and always some free time to do a bit more exploring if we wanted
to but few hard and fast rules which made it so much more relaxing.
We first travelled to Epernay and from the Champagne tunnels to our first dinner
together and then a wonderful sleep in the lovely Bed and Breakfast we stayed
in it was the perfect start to our touring and set the tone...and the very high
standard. After travelling through the Loire and visiting beautiful Chateaux and
many lovely towns and villages we arrived at that wonderful villa in the Dordogne
area where we stayed for 10 days and spent many happy times visiting all sorts
of amazing places.
A highlight for me were the picnic lunches we had some days...made for
a pleasant break. We did eat at some great restaurants but I really enjoyed the
al fresco dining too.
David's safe driving, good humour and patience with any requests for photo
stops and late arrivals was much appreciated. Sue's organisational skills and
fluent French plus great cooking skills at the villa made everything very easy
for us. It truly was a most relaxing tour though with plenty of exercise exploring
beautiful gardens and climbing castle steps to keep us fit. As an extra treat
Sue had organised a cooking class for us with Pascale...what a wonderful day that
Sue and David are very special people who have a huge knowledge and love for France
and it shows in the enthusiasm and energy they shared with us. Would I go again?
Yes...in a heartbeat
Thank you Sue and David for an absolutely wonderful time and for looking
after us so well.
Airlie House Bed & Breakfast
New Plymouth "
"Our twenty one days with Sue and David Sweet couldnt have been
better. All the accommodation was first rate with spacious rooms and ensuites,
beautiful furnishings and comfortable beds.
The itinerary included ancient rock dwellings, cave paintings, numerous and diverse
chateaux, often with beautiful gardens, a porcelain factory tour and canoeing
on the Dordogne river. Plenty of time to sit and enjoy a coffee and people watch
Davids driving was exemplary and their planning appeared effortless although
were sure it wasnt. We loved being able to eat at home
from time to time, Sues cooking is delicious and varied. When often
we did eat out the choices of restaurant were superb, the picnics something to
look forward to.
We travelled with two other guests whose company we enjoyed too - this is the
way to travel, all the planning taken care of and everything truly was paid
in advance, the only thing I paid for while on the trip was French Perfume and
presents for friends.
Thank you Sue and David."
"The day trips through the Dordogne culminating in the road excursion
through the Loire and Champagne to Paris were for me the travel experience of
a lifetime my first visit to France. On reflection, possibly the greatest
contribution David and Sue made was their years of experience in hosting tours
in this part of the country. We were able to profit from their knowledge of the
cities, towns and villages, countryside and sights so that for example the chateaux
we visited were all abundantly worthwhile and in contrast with each other so that
I believe in 10 days we picked the eyes out of what was available.
I felt that in this brief time I had a glimpse of a real part of France rather
than a traipse through tourist traps. We did visit the main attractions e.g. Chateaux
de Villandry and de Chenonceau, the Lascaux caves, the historic town of Sarlat,
etc but as I had had only read about these places or the unusually fond relationship
between Francois I and Leonardo da Vinci, it was breathtaking. Similarly the cafes
and restaurants while being of high quality were varied in sophistication and
menu. It goes without saying that for someone with next to no understanding of
the language, having fluent French speakers guiding us gave a depth to the experience.
The meeting in NZ before the trip with accompanying notes had allowed us
to gain an understanding of what was available but also gave an opportunity for
us to say what our interests were. I was particularly interested in the history
of the area: the 100 years war, religious strife of former times and any lingering
effects of the Vichy period in French history. I am sure the tour we experienced
was tailored to a considerable degree by the requests of the four of us who participated.
The daily briefings and debriefings were valuable. I did not feel that we were
hurried or that we were wasting time with places of little interest.
Our accommodation at our base and the chateaux in the Loire were clean,
comfortable and of high standard. The fact that we toured as a party of 4 with
our hosts meant that there quickly grew a warmth and camaraderie (if I used the
word, intimacy youd get the wrong idea!) which added to the
experience. Finally the enthusiasm of our hosts for the area, the people and their
culture added to and heightened our own this was just a magnificent experience,
Pam & Peter, New Zealand"
"We spent our last night at a Bed & Breakfast about 100 KM east of
Paris. Sandi and I always say to each other when we leave of a trip that we are
off to another adventure. This trip to France with Dave and Sue Sweet from New
Zealand was the first time that we have gone on a planned trip. Sandi and I usually
fly somewhere, rent a car and travel where Rick Steve's Travel Book says to go,
what to see and where to stay.
We have done that in France, Spain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. This time,
because of the itinerary that Dave and Sue had planned, we saw so much more, met
more of the French people and went to places that Rick Steve does not know about.
We saw caves, parks, churches, medieval towns, castles, perfume factories, restaurants
where only the locals go, wine museums, wineries and even saw the Marquis de Sade's
castle (that is being restored). We did not have one bad day or one bad meal.
French food is so good and they do not load your plate with more than you can
It really was challenging because we were going to spend three weeks with
two other couples that we did not know (nor did they know us). We spent two weeks
in Southern France using a farm house as a base and traveled in a van together
every day. There was not one problem because Dave and Sue and the other New Zealand
couple, Will and Margaret are such classy people. They were all fun and very considerate.
The last week we drove about 200 miles north per day, sightseeing and stopping
at French B&B's (Chambres d'hôte) each night.
I don't know of anything that Dave and Sue could have done better in organizing
and orchestrating the whole three week trip.
Pat & Sandi."
"My husband and I took the 2004 trip to France with Dave and Sue Sweet,
The French Connection. We can't even express what a wonderful trip that was!
We have been on numerous other tours and never experienced anything like this.
We felt like we were family and Dave and Sue took wonderful care of us. We toured
Châteaus and stayed in a farm house in the Dordogne area.
This was a small group. Imagine yourself being on a tour with a small group of
friends that just happened to know everything about where you were going. The
language and all of the places that you would pass by if you were on your own.
No situation arose which wasn't handled with experience. We have friends here
in Calif that are planning on joining them on their next tour of France. This
is definitely a MUST for anyone who wants to experience France and see the beautiful
Dianna and Jim Peterson, San Francisco, California"
"If you want a holiday treat,
TRAVEL with Sue & David Sweet!
I would regard my travel with you both as a fitting 70th 18 day birthday celebration
gastronomically - never have I eaten so much wonderfully fresh & tasty food
washed down with so much great wine. Please thank David for his exemplary display
of driving throughout the tour . . . this enables passengers to be relaxed enough
to enjoy what there is to see.
Betty, Auckland, New Zealand"
"Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times for giving me a such
a wonderful trip, holiday, change of scenery and outlook on life. You both really
gave me a fantastic experience and it is really special to see it all in reality
and not just on TV. Your knowledge and skills with the language etc. really amazed
Sue, Marton, New Zealand"
|"This trip told me two things:
||1 - Travel now while I'm still in shape to do it
2 - Go with you!
Not only do I know that I do not want to try any of what we did alone, but
going with you all was great fun. You are the greatest tour guides, sooo patient
with everyone, I loved the fact that it was only 8 of us, and your trips are so
imaginative. You gave me some wonderful memories!
Pam, Indiana, USA"
"The first 10 days were spent in a rented Château on a 35 ha
private estate surrounded by forest. With a rental van we explored the countryside,
visited famous attractions, ate at restaurants, picnicked by the Dordogne, shopped
or enjoyed a meal by our swimming pool back at the Château. From there
we spent every 2 nights traveling back up towards Paris staying at Châteaus
along the way exploring the Loire Valley, villages and towns. The advantages
of having 2 people that spoke French were getting to know the locals, being able
to shop and order food, going into non tourist areas and stopping to visit an
area that we spotted and wanted to explore. By paying for an all inclusive
holiday, apart from personal items, it was just that. As hosts the Sweets
are brilliant and couldnt have done more to ensure the most memorable holiday.
Would we go again with the Sweets absolutely.
Carol & Francie, New Zealand"
"This is just to say how wonderfully you looked after us, and how much
we enjoyed being with you - you really are excellent hosts, and were much appreciated.
I shall never forget that wonderful countryside and the multitude of castles (even
more than we have in Wales), the beautiful little villages, and the excellent
food - both Chef Sweet and the French chefs!
Mrs Suzanne Hunter, Wales"