Simon Aplin was a good listener and very responsive to questions and feedback as we planned the trip. Importantly, his feedback proved to be accurate. The hotel and restaurant bookings were interesting and varied but at a uniform quality level. The guides were consistently excellent. Suggestions for walks and places to visit were well thought out. The pace of the trip was reasonable given our time limitations. Simon took the trouble to meet us when we were in Beaune. The office staff in Canada were also very professional and responsive. A very good description of the trip would be “smooth and very fun.” We will definitely use them again if we decide to do another major trip in a place with which we are unfamiliar.
I wanted to take my son on a World War II battlefield tour of Europe–we went to Normandy (US & British beaches, Pegasus Bridge, Pont du Hoc, St. Mere Eglise, German gun positions, US cemetery and other sites such as Bayeux Tapestry, Normandy Museum etc), Luxembourg Cemetery, Bastogne, Maginot Line, Verdun (WWI), Arnhem and Nijmegen, Dutch National Liberation Museum, a Dutch concentration camp, Munich, Nuremberg and Dachau.
I contacted Wendy Perrin and she made the introduction to Simon. I explained we are history buffs and like to eat. Simon took care of everything–I cashed in some frequent flyer miles to get us to Europe and Simon took over from there. He arranged everything from pickup at the airport to all our hotels, transportation and most importantly guides. Simon also made reservations at restaurants for us but also left days where we had no reservations (he gave us some recommendations). He recommended excellent hotels and they were all in great locations where we could walk out of the hotel and walk to about 90% of all our restaurants. This allowed us to also see the local area. His guides were all excellent. They would pick us up from the hotel and double check what we wanted to see, make any changes (Nice flexibility which came in handy in Arnhem and Nijmegen as well as Munich) and go on from there. I did not want any tour cut short due to time and that never happened–we got to see everything we wanted (plus more) and there were a couple of really big surprises. You have to go to Fort de Fermont at the Maginot line which is outstanding–we had a private tour and it was fantastic. We wanted to see Nijmegen and the guide made an immediate adjustment and recommended the National Liberation Museum which was fantastic and got to meet and discuss with a gentleman who personally witnessed US paratroopers landing on his farm. Truly a wonderful experience and an honor.
This was almost a 2-week trip and they provided all train tickets and sent them ahead of time to us. Any last minute tickets were given to us by our guides. Three of the hotels were 4 or 5-star properties. There was 1 hotel we choose as it was perfectly located but more “rustic”–we really needed just a roof over our head so it worked out well (in Metz)–it was 5 minutes walking to 30+ restaurants and was a great location to get to our other sites. Overall very pleased–was a trip of a lifetime. Simon provided a piglet (love the name) that had day by day, contact names, etc. So, in the end, we covered a lot of ground (France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands & Germany) but very doable.
Our travel took place at end of July and ended middle of August. None of the sites were crowded (even though it’s holiday time in Europe). Simon recommended and made reservations at a number of restaurants and they were all excellent–we had flexibility (which we did a couple of nights) where we cancelled the reservation he had made (In Europe they hold that table no matter what so it’s a courtesy to do that) and tried Indonesian food in Amsterdam (try the rice table–its a multi course dish) and Italian food in Metz (yes–I know it’s France but there are some good restaurants that serve other nationalities besides French). If you are interested in WWII (and WWI) Simon and his team do a great job!
When we landed in France, I realized I had left our three sets of train tickets at home. Simon was on a family vacation. It was a Saturday and Zoe was not in the office. They did provide an emergency number. Our driver that was taking us to the train station called the emergency number and resolved everything. It was excellent service!!
Our guides in Bordeaux and Normandy were excellent. We learned so much!
They did reserve the Jules Verne restaurant for us. I was delighted! In addition upon arriving home, Trufflepig sent flowers to welcome us home. What a surprise!
Working with Simon was rewarding. He was very patient, as we had numerous emails and several conversations as to just what I and my family wanted to see. And of course, those plans changed quite a bit (at one point we thought of popping into Germany a bit, but eventually had to drop that as adding in too much). The “piglet” listing all destinations, hotels, suggested dining, and more importantly, providing every contact phone number and email one might need, was incredibly useful. He worked with us on hotels (amazing hotels), sights, and saw to it that every place we went to eat (and they were all amazing, food-wise) was informed of our dietary needs. And the guides on our guided tours were all wonderful. So, thumbs up!
Wow. What a great experience. Simon helped create something really special for my son and I when we went to the Euro championships in July of 2016. He created a great mix of soccer, culture, and history spread across Paris, Lyon, and Marseille. Simon found wonderful little side trips and great hotels that made every day a highlight and really captured a local feel. His attention to detail really made a difference.
We were very pleased with all the arrangements and felt Jack and Simon listened to our wants and desires and filled them. We stayed in several centuries-old hotels that inspired awe. The restaurant line up was terrific. The guides and activities oriented around wine and food and were varied and interesting (we learned a lot about Burgundy wine and history), and delicious!
Simon Aplin helped me plan a driving trip through Normandy. His professionalism, attention to detail and follow up were all top-notch. I will definitely use his services when traveling in that part of the world again.
In May 2016, we spent a couple of weeks on a road trip in France and Italy. Many of the arrangements were made by Simon Aplin of Trufflepig. Not all of them, since I have family in Paris and Milan, but in between those two cities, Simon planned a wonderful route for us. Before we left he had asked us in detail about our interests and preferences in order to tailor the trip to our tastes. After picking up the car in Paris, we toured the Côte d’Or for a few days. We then drove to Milan via Lac du Bourget in the French Alps, where we stayed in a wonderful old-world hotel with a view over the lake and a Michelin-starred restaurant. After Milan we spent several days in the Luberon area of Provence, where we visited small towns, restaurants and chateaux we’d never have known about if it hadn’t been for the ‘Piglet’. This is the comprehensive travel guide that Simon put together for us, with suggestions on routes, the local culture in each area, attractions, food, local manners and phrases to use. It was not only useful but frequently hilarious, and acted as our constant companion on the trip. Thanks for a great adventure, Simon!
We worked with Jack Dancy for our trip from Normandy south to Toulouse in May. Our trip started with a little taxi glitch due to a strike, but we were directed to a different town and different rental company. Our accommodations were nice and the B&B owners were all excellent. Our restaurant reservations didn’t work out so well but the recommended restaurants were all top-notch.
Simon Aplin planned a great trip to France for my wife and me. Our guide in Normandy was truly remarkable in his knowledge of, and love for, his subject, and the hotels in both Normandy and Paris were comfortable, well-located, and extremely warm and welcoming.
We thoroughly enjoyed the entire crew of our barge in Provence, the Napoleon. The crew went out of their way to make us feel at home and catered to our every whim, including some things that probably weren’t on the schedule. By the time our week was over, we felt that we were leaving family behind. Although everyone on the boat did an exemplary job, two people in particular stood out. Robert, the chef, far exceeded my expectations (which were pretty high going in) for the creativity and variety of his menu selections; he was even able to accommodate my wife’s faux-vegetarian concerns with a great deal of originality. Louise, our tour guide, bus driver, and food and wine shopper, seemed to be everywhere and was more than capable of handling everything that was thrown at her. I have no doubt that if the captain had awoken one morning with a bad head, she would have driven the boat.
The only slight blemish on our trip (and I almost hesitate to mention it) relates to the fact that, upon our arrival in Paris, we were taken for a French taxi ride—both figuratively and literally. We followed Simon’s instructions about locating the taxi stand and were pointed to a specific taxi by the starter. The driver told us he was also an Uber driver and he didn’t have a (visible) meter, which should have been my first clue. To make a long story short, our trip to the train station cost us €120 and when I told him I was expecting to pay around €55, he attributed it to the “traffic,” in spite of the fact that we still made the trip in about an hour (including the time it took him to generously stop at an ATM for me to get the money to pay him), as expected. This disparity is further borne out by the fact that our ride from the hotel to CDG on Sunday morning took about an hour and cost €59, pretty much as expected. Reminds one a little of the Biblical phrase about “finding a stranger and taking him in. . . .”
In any case, it was an outstanding trip, and we appreciate Simon’s efforts on our behalf and his attention during the trip.
Jack Dancy was great to work with. He had a total knowledge of each market we visited, from Normandy to Loire to Bordeaux and arranged everything to our complete delight. I was especially pleased with the hotels he picked – fantastic roomy rooms so we never felt cramped while traveling. The guides he selected for us at our stops were top notch and spoke excellent English. Overall, this trip was a 10!!!