“After many visits to Geoff and Jennifer’s shop in Akaroa to purchase French treasures when I discovered they were taking a Brocante Tour to France I was ready for it! My mother and I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure. We visited many little places that you would never find yourself and met some characters along the way. There was also the opportunity to enjoy the local tourist spots and learn some history. This trip was more than we ever expected. I would recommend this tour to anyone who would like to travel somewhere off the beaten track, have lots of fun and find some wonderful goodies."
We have always travelled overseas on our own, so the decision to join you both on your Brocante Tour in France this year was made initially,purely out of a desire to get larger items we purchased home easier and also to maybe visit places we would not have found on our own.
But to our delight, we found that we all had that common love of treasure hunting for antiques and collectables - that is the essence of Brocante buying, as well as an appreciation of the French way of life and their food.We found you both to be very knowledgeable tour guides and your itinerary was well thought out, with a good mix of sightseeing and markets and flexible enough to suit everyone.
Our accommodation was a beautiful old building, with an amazing history, in very picturesque countryside and was lovely to come back to at the end of the day.
There was lots of laughter and good food and after a week together, we are certain that those in our group will remain good friends for a long time to come.
Pauline and Mike Gillespie. 11/2015
Having always wanted to travel to France, when we heard Jennifer was planning a brocante trip in September 2015 for customers from The French Shop we were absolutely delighted - here was our chance to go with the added benefit of having someone who spoke the language (not to sure my schoolgirl french from 35 years ago would cut the mustard!) and knew their way around France (not to mention shopping for all manner of lovely French things!)
After numerous emails and meetings and talking things through with Jennifer and Geoff, we decided we would arrive a couple of weeks ahead of the brocante tour and explore a little of France by ourselves. By this time our youngest son had decided he would also like to see a little of France, with stopovers in LA and London on the way but would head home before we joined the brocante section of our trip - the thought of fossicking through dusty old things and antique shops was not his idea of a fabulous time!
We arrived in Paris via the Eurostar from London and spent five days exploring the city with the help of Jennifer's walking maps - an excellent way to get to know the city. We then took the train from Paris to Agen where we picked up a rental car and then spent a week travelling through the Dordogne region to the Loire valley, having booked accommodation ahead. Once again we followed Jennifer's advice on places to visit and were not disappointed - the countryside was beautiful, the villages along the way were just gorgeous and the french people we met were friendly, welcoming and helpful.
After having said our goodbyes to our son in Tours, we took the train to Azay-le-Rideau and met up with Jennifer and Geoff and Chris and Tracey our fellow guests. The brocante trip was the icing on our cake! We had the most wonderful time exploring all manner of brocante - from village halls to small and large depots, to antique shops and antique markets, met some very interesting characters!, explored some beautiful chateaus and countryside, had absolutely fabulous meals and fabulous accommodation at the wonderful hunting lodge - very rustic and charming! (loved the fireplace!). We bought some beautiful items, some very interesting items (still looking on the web to see if we can find out more about some of them!) and had just the most wonderful experiences along the way!
Jennifer and Geoff were wonderful hosts - they were very helpful and knowledgeable (we were very pleased to have their help at the markets!) and we would do it again in a heartbeat! We loved France and know we will go back and explore more and would love to join them on another brocante tour- the three weeks we were there just wasn't long enough!
Sue and Paul Johns. 11/2015
If, like me, you have ever dreamed of wandering through French villages, staying in beautiful historic locations and browsing the antique shops and brocante markets, then this is the tour for you!
Jennifer and Geoff have done all the hard work and all you need to do is sit back and enjoy an absolutely magical experience, with a small group of like-minded travellers . From providing beautiful accommodation; organising delicious meals; giving us language tips; helping us to explore chateaux; and driving us in a comfortable mini-van to special (and sometimes secret) brocante experiences - right down to their slick systems to package and freight our treasured purchases back to New Zealand - the Maxwells had thought of, and prepared everything.Parfait!
I’m so glad that I took the plunge and joined them for the 2016 Loire Valley tour. It’s an experience I will always treasure, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
This was our second Brocante tour in France with Geoff and Jennifer whose company we greatly enjoy.The 2015 tour in the Loire district was excellent and we purchased some lovely bits and pieces especially tapestries and antique linen.
The Langedoc is a very different district with even more historic villages. Lagrasse itself is very picturesque with its medieval abbey, river and historic town.We stayed in in an immaculate little hotel/homestay in the wall of the village with a private courtyard and very comfortable rooms.
The Maxwells had put together a full itinerary with historic visits and brocante/antique shopping most days. Highlights for us were the day in Carcassonne with its antiques in the town and historic castle, and the fantastic antique shops in Pezenas where we spent a full day. We also had some hilarious dinners out as a group with generally excellent food.
We have loved doing these tours - being taken to places we would never find on our own and being advised on purchases we would be probably be too hesitant to tackle on our own. Not to mention the delivery of our purchases back to NZ for us to re-discover!
Chris and Tracey Pottinger. 10/2016