Frequently Asked Questions
Please review before registering for your trip.
Q. How many people will be on the trip?
The maximum number of people is 18, so you won’t feel like you’re part of a huge group.
Q. This trip seems a little more expensive than the other P&P trips I’ve been on.
That’s right, it is a bit more expensive, for two reasons. First, in Sarlat we stay at a higher grade of hotel than usual – the luxurious 4-star Plaza Madeleine hotel with a spa, swimming pool and particularly nice bar. Second, all the places we visit in the Périgord are spread out, so we’ll need group transport everyday.
Q. Why aren’t lunches and dinners included in the price?
Restaurants that accept tour groups are usually the last places we want to eat. And we hate eating at long tables where we haven’t got a choice about what to order. Instead, we’ll find typically French places for lunch, and, in Sarlat, there are lots of restaurants to sample at dinner. You can choose where you eat, and with whom and how much you want to spend.
Q. What’s the best way to get to Bordeaux?
As of this writing (airline schedules are always subject to change), we strongly recommend flying:
Note that these flights are actually operated by Air France, so you can book them through either airline. At the airport, you’ll check in at Air France even if you book through Delta.
If you’re not coming from Washington, DC, then you might still try to get on the Delta flight from Paris to Bordeaux as your connection.
It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you book a flight that arrives before noon in Bordeaux. We’ll pick up everyone from the airport at 1pm for the drive to Sarlat.
If your flight is scheduled to arrive before noon but is delayed, we’ll wait for you before setting off for Sarlat. But if you’ve booked a flight that arrives after noon, you’ll be responsible for getting yourself to Sarlat.
Q. Do we have to fly to Bordeaux? What about taking the train from Paris?
It would be a very long train trip. You’d have to travel from Paris (TGV from Charles de Gaulle airport) to Bordeaux, and arrive in time for our 1pm pick up time at the Bordeaux airport. If you missed that time, then it would be another 2-hour and 45 minute train ride to Sarlat, where our trip begins. We don’t recommend the train.
If you fly to Bordeaux (you must choose a flight that arrives before noon), we’ll pick you up at the airport and drive you to Sarlat.
Q. Do I have to pay a single supplement?
No. This trip is priced based on each person having his or her own hotel room.
Q. I’m coming with a spouse or partner and we want to share a room. Do we both have to pay the full rate?
For people who share a room, we offer a discount of $150 each. We’ve priced the trip primarily for people to have their own rooms, because French hotel rooms just aren’t as large as those in the U.S. But of course you can share a room if you prefer.
Q. Do you require us to buy travel insurance?
We strongly recommend it. In particular, you’ll want to have trip cancellation insurance in case something happens and you can’t come at the last minute, and also medical evacuation insurance which will fly you home if needed. Remember that Medicare is valid only in the U.S., so if you’re on Medicare, you’ll definitely want some basic medical insurance. The best time to purchase your travel insurance is right when you pay your deposit for the trip.
And please read the trip Terms and Conditions carefully for our cancellation policy.
Q. I’d like to stay on for a few days in Bordeaux. Can you arrange that?
Normally we could, but in this case, Bordeaux will be almost completely booked up the weekend after our trip, due to the big Marathon du Médoc that weekend. Our hotels can’t supply us rooms after our trip. You can, of course, try to book a room yourself somewhere else. Or, if you’d really like to delve into Bordeaux, we suggest our pre-trip extension there.
Q. Tell me about the trip leaders.
Donna Morris has lived in Paris, France for the last ten years. She founded her business, Best Friend in Paris, in 2009 with her signature tour, Follow Me, an experience for her clients that helps them see Paris with the same love and appreciation for the City of Light that she has. She has developed and organized Politics and Prose trips to Paris, Provence and the Loire Valley. She speaks fluent French.
Sheila Campbell of Wild Blue Yonder has been organizing Politics & Prose trips for several years, in countries including France, South Africa, England and Italy. In her day-to-day work, she’s a group retreat leader who understands how to ensure everyone is involved and having a memorable experience. She lives in Washington, DC, where she was a docent at the National Gallery of Art for many years. She speaks tourist French.
Q. What is the Hotel Plaza Madeline like? What about the hotel in Bordeaux?
It’s a quite sophisticated hotel, beautifully designed, with a spa and swimming pool. We particularly love sitting outside at the bar in the evenings.
For the final night in Bordeaux, we’ll be using two related hotels, located very near each other in the old town. (There’ll be a trip leader with you in each hotel.) Both hotels are typically French, with small but nicely appointed rooms.
Q. What’s included in the breakfast at the Plaza Madeleine?
Breakfast is definitely a treat here. There’s a wide selection of croissants, rolls and pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, cereal, French yogurt and so on. But – unlike many continental hotels — they also have eggs and bacon or sausage every day.
Q. Is there internet access at the hotel?
Yes, free wifi comes with your room.
Q. What will the weather be like?
It’s hard to say for sure, but it should be sunny and slightly cool – but warm enough most nights to sit outside at dinner. It’s always a good idea, of course, to come prepared for rain, so do pack an umbrella, a light jacket and – most important of all – very comfortable walking shoes.
Q. What to wear?
Wear just what you would at home – casual jeans, slacks or skirts, even for eating out at night.
Of course, for any place where you need a reservation, you’ll want to dress appropriately. But let comfort rule your choices.
Q. I don’t speak French. Can you help me figure out what to eat?
Absolutely. We’ll provide a list of common menu terms, and let you know how to do things like ask for the check.
Q. Is it safe to walk around by myself at night in Sarlat and Bordeaux?
As in any city, it makes sense to be aware of your surroundings after dark. But these are small cities with lots of charm, and our hotels are located where there are lots of people about. You can feel quite comfortable walking around after dark.
Q. When do I need to sign up by?
The sooner you put down your deposit, the better. This trip will, we believe, sell out very quickly.
Q. Do I need an international cell phone?
It’s always convenient to have one, but it’s not necessary. If you bring a laptop, smartphone or iPad, you can always use Skype over wifi; that’s one of the least expensive ways to reach people in the States.
If you do want a phone, you can rent international phones at many major airports, or you might want to check in with your cell provider to see if you can buy an international calling package for the time you’re here.