PANDEMIC TRAVEL Absolutely wonderful! Provence and the French Rivera were magical places. Philip and team’s recommendations on lodging were spot on. They blended luxury with authenticity in a way that fit for our family (two adults, two young teens). Adding tremendous value was the coordination and pairing of a driver/guide for the day outings. I can’t imagine it being nearly as enjoyable without them! Just fantastic tours of villages.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Philip and Sarah planned a 5-day trip to Brittany in August 2022 for our family of four. They secured one of the best guides we have ever had in our travels—Herve was so incredibly knowledgeable and accommodating. Due to a forest fire, we were unable to visit the Arthurian forest of Broceliande as originally planned. Herve pivoted immediately and we spent that day exploring the Gulf of Morbihan and the pedestrian-only island, Ile aux Moines. A special shout-out to Herve for graciously guiding us on Mont St. Michel on the Assumption Holiday. (That’s a holiday in France and although we knew that the site would be even busier than usual, that’s the only day we could go.) So even though we visited the Mont with about 10,000 of our closest friends, Herve was good cheer throughout. And gamely walked both to and from the Mont on the causeway! Bretagne is such a beautiful part of France overlooked by Americans: I highly recommend Dinard, the Hotel Castelbrac in Dinard, and the private boat tour of the Emerald Coast that Philip and Sarah arranged.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had a wonderful honeymoon with Phillip Haslett’s team. We had a great itinerary that helped us check many things off our bucket list and even add a few new things to it. In Normandy, we stayed at a perfectly located hotel, Villa Lara, which is owned and managed by a family. The rooms were comfortable, large, and had all the bells and whistles you could want. From Bayeux, we took a D-Day tour with a guide who had interviewed veterans of WW2, as well as people living in the area, and amassed a collection of stories that make the sites come alive and give you a more intimate connection to the events. Another guide, Giselle, who hails from Brazil but came to France as a college student at the Sorbonne and has a doctorate in history, made Mont St Michel so interesting. We learned about the medical texts that were amassed there during the time of the abbey and how this knowledge was lost in the French Revolution when much was burned and destroyed. We saw the tides and Giselle shared stories of how she has twice had to call for helicopters to rescue people.
From Normandy, we arrived in Beaune in Burgundy. Here we stayed at the Hotel Le Cep. The hotel upgraded us to an executive room with a large balcony. The room was large and comfortable, albeit a bit dated, and could use a new mattress but exuded that old-world charm. The location was perfect. In Beaune we met Brendan, a Brit who has been living in France for over 30 years. He started as a barge captain and has since become an expert on the wines of France. He has personal relationships with numerous wineries large and small. We saw the famous vineyards of Romanée-Conti and visited other vineyards and wineries. We mostly had tastings with smaller family houses that do not export to the U.S. We sat with family members tasting 5-15 different wines at each house. Each afternoon we were treated to a picnic consisting of local charcuterie and wine in a beautiful spot. At Domaine Daniel Séguinot et Filles, we sat at the table with the family and the bottlers who came in their special truck to bottle last year’s wine. Daniel is quite the character who kept bringing different wines, from premier cru to village appellation and different vintages. In between our wine tasting adventures, Brendan took us to historical places and UNESCO sites. We even visited a Roman bridge from over 2,000 years ago. We then moved north to Chablis and stayed at Chateau Vault De Lugny, a family-run hotel with a one-starred Michelin restaurant on site. Breakfast is basic and offers no hot dishes. This hotel is isolated and would require a car to get to town. We opted to bring in sandwiches for our second night, as we didn’t want to eat from the same prix-fixe menu twice. The grounds were beautiful and the room large. We would not recommend this hotel to anyone with trouble walking, as even entering the bathroom required climbing stairs. From this location, we continued with Brendan and visited other family wineries and learned about the northern wines of Burgundy. We left feeling knowledgeable and with a better understanding of wine in general. Mostly we left with a huge appreciation of the families who have inherited and continue this vocation steeped in history, hard work, and a bit of the magic that the land gives to each vineyard, depending on where they are located.
We then had a driver take us to Paris to finish our honeymoon. We had planned this portion ourselves but were surprised with a WOW Moment: We were picked up and driven to a lovely afternoon cruise of the Seine, dining on a 3-course meal with a wine pairing from Alain Ducasse. It was a wonderful treat as we dined on gourmet food and wonderful wine, and cruised past some of Paris’ iconic sites.
There were some communication gaps in the planning process and a few hiccups on the ground, but Phillip did a great job combining our interests in history, culture, art, wine, and food.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had the pleasure of working with Philip and Julie for 2 1/2 years due to COVID. Both were easy to work with and very accommodating as things evolved. We originally approached Philip about a tour after our cruise on the Savoir Vivre. He and Julie proposed a tour of Northern Burgundy to complement our cruise through Southern Burgundy. When COVID came we postponed everything twice. Once we were scheduled for 2022 we asked them to plan a pre-cruise tour. They proposed several days in the Champagne region.
We landed at CDG and were escorted through customs. The US airlines are having operational issues. Our connecting flight was delayed so we missed our flight to CDG. Our driver, Thomas, had texted me his phone number so I called and left him a late night voice mail giving him our new flight information. I also emailed Julie with the same info. When we arrived at CDG I had a text from Thomas and an email from Julie confirming the new times. Our “meet and greet” escort was at the gate and was an excellent escort. When our luggage had not arrived he quickly put us in touch with an Air France supervisor who handled everything.
Thomas was waiting for us and took us to Reims by way of Chateau Thierry. He was a great driver and guide. Fiona, who was delightful, met us and we toured several Champagne houses as well as Reims Cathedral and a morning cruise. Fabian filled in one afternoon and Frederick delivered us to the barge on Sunday. Both did great jobs. Julie stayed in touch with us on the luggage in case we would need to have it delivered to the barge. We did not but her attention was very reassuring.
Our Northern Burgundy experience was delightful also. We were picked up Saturday morning at the barge mooring and we toured several villages with Brendan, who was our guide in Northern Burgundy. He did a wonderful job also. He was very knowledgeable and well connected. We were based in Chablis and definitely developed a taste for it. Sadly we had to leave. Patrick delivered us to the airport and had coordinated with our “Meet and Greet” escort who saw us through the airport.
We appreciate all that was done for us and highly recommend Philip’s crew.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL For our first major trip since Covid, France was a perfect destination. We had been to Paris a number of times in the past, but we had never explored the South of France or the French Riviera to any extent. What made this trip so special was having knowledgeable guides who would give us the background for what we were seeing. With guides lined up daily to show us the highlights of the area, there was structure for our days. After ten days in Paris we took the amazingly fast TGV train to Avignon, where we explored the South of France. We were there for five nights before heading to the Riviera. We had wanted to explore the coast hotels as well as some of the villages in the surrounding area. After five nights there our tour company recommended that we travel north again and spend our last night in Chantilly because of its convenience to CDG airport. That turned out to be very good advice. Everything about the trip was perfect! What stands out about the experience is the quality of the guides. Knowledgeable guides who were fluent in English make a big difference in the enjoyment of each day. Also, the quality of the hotels was impressive. We knew some of the important highlights in the City of Paris which we wanted to explore, but we knew very little about the South of France. Our tour company had specialists in the areas where we were traveling, so we relied on them to guide us in the selection process. Sorting out our preferences and fine tuning our selections seemed tedious at times, but our tour company was very quick to respond to our questions and assisting us in making decisions.
Traveling can be done on a shoestring, which is not the case when one selects a tour company. However, I feel the benefits of using a good tour company definitely justify the added costs.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Philip and his team planned the most incredible 3-week vacation for our honeymoon! Everything exceeded our expectations and we could not be more thrilled. Every hotel was unique and luxurious with fabulous accommodations and staff. We had several walking tours and wine tours, all of which were fantastic. The guides for each tour were extremely friendly and knowledgable. The overall itinerary was perfectly planned–we felt as though we had enough time in each city and we had a good combination of activities planned versus down time. The hotels chosen for us all had very delicious restaurants attached–some Michelin-rated.
Overall, our time traveling was seamless and without any road bumps. I greatly appreciate all the hard work Philip’s office put into planning our trip. They were flexible with altering the itinerary until it met our exact needs. The app they used for our itinerary was also extremely helpful! They went above and beyond to provide driving directions to each hotel and activity as well. This truly deserved 5 stars. Thank you!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL I cannot say enough great things about Philip, and our constant contact Evane! And even our Paris contact, Sarah! We always had someone readily available throughout our 5-week trip for any questions, concerns or changes we wanted to make!
We decided on a last minute trip to France, and Philip was more than up to the task by scheduling a zoom call to discuss everything we wanted for our trip. We gave them no easy task with a month’s notice to plan a trip starting on February 26th to March 22nd, and then surprising them by adding another week (with only a week’s notice) while we were on the trip!
They created a perfect itinerary for us. We had never been to France and were overwhelmed with all that France had to offer. We didn’t know what to expect or what would be best to see during that time of year so all their suggestions and planning were invaluable to us. It felt like most places were all to ourselves, due to their impeccable planning during the off-season. Particularly scheduling our skiing after all the French school breaks, something we would have no idea about if we planned the trip ourselves. They sent us plenty of options for hotels, mostly 5-star and some 4-star, when the hotel was on par to any 5-star accommodation or the location was too cool to pass up. They gave us a plethora of options while steering us in the right direction since we wanted to stay in some more off-the-beaten path towns and some in more central locations, helping us decide which would be best in all of our destinations. Some of our hotels even gave us upgrades for both rooms, while making sure our rooms were adjoining or close to each other. All in all, we stayed in Paris for a few days three times and they made sure to put us in a new arrondissement each time so we could see as much of Paris as we could. Philip, Evane, and Sarah were truly so patient and accommodating dealing with all of us.
At first, we were a little hesitant to travel but we were more than ready to pack our bags for over a month and finally go somewhere! Philip made sure to tell us what the current situation was in France and made us feel way more at ease about going to a different country during this time. Now looking back, I don’t even know why we were worried because it was such an easy process to get the vaccination pass on our phone or a test at a pharmacy. Only once did covid come up during our entire trip, when Sarah immediately contacted us about our previous guide testing positive so we all took a test with luckily negative results. She was so prompt to keep us informed and made sure we got tested immediately. In terms of covid, we felt safer in France than here in the States.
We wanted to do a road trip around France so we could see as much as we could while still having a few days in each place to relax. Philip and Evane mapped out some smaller and cool towns that we could stop at while on our drives. They literally provided us a Google map with all the stops and drive times. They provided great lunch suggestions for us to eat at in each stop, and my dad’s favorite was in Dolceacqua overlooking one of the bridges that Monet painted while on our way from Fossano to St Paul de Vence. We have driven in a handful of other countries but we didn’t know what to expect driving in France, and through the mountains with potential snow, etc. Philip and Evane advised us on what parts of the trip would be best to drive ourselves and what areas would have lots of traffic or any headaches, etc. so it would be best to have a driver. I cannot thank them enough for those recommendations and it definitely added to our smooth trip.
We had a few days in Paris to adjust to the time change before going to Champagne, where they arranged a private visit to Veuve Clicquot. Then we drove to Chamonix, where Evane arranged for a private ski guide that was invaluable as we would have never been able to ski as much of the mountain as we did and go to all the best spots to view the Alps and Mont Blanc. Also, it was so helpful because we have some skiers and snowboarders in the family so we were able to bypass any long flat parts that might make it difficult for any of us snowboarders.
Philip and Evane even added the Piedmont region in Italy (a small addition they included since I told them how much my dad loved Italy and us being so close by), filling our time there with lots of Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Then we drove to Nice but stayed in smaller St Paul de Vence with day trips around to see Eze, Monaco, Antibes, and all the spots along the Riviera.
Eventually worked our way to Provence and went around the region with William, our fantastic guide. Finishing off with a few days in Paris but adding some time in-between up in Normandy before leaving from CDG.
I cannot say enough about how much we loved our guides all throughout our trip. Sebastien in Lyon, took us to his family-owned winery in the Beaujolais and a private demonstration of weaving in Lyon. In Provence, I don’t think my family can say enough nice things about William. He went above and beyond to make sure our packages got shipped back to the U.S. and along with our hotel, found the best option that would not be outrageously expensive. Marie Ange was everything Google and the Internet could only tell you after some seriously extensive research on Paris. My sister and I are so thankful for her knowledge of vintage stores in Paris and helping us bargain at the flea market. Diane was absolutely amazing and told us everything and anything about Normandy. Nothing was lost in translation because she was an American living in France – made it very easy for us to walk away with all the knowledge we had hoped for when visiting the beaches and important sites. I cannot recommend any of these guides enough, and thank you to Philip and his team for being able to get such amazing guides for us our whole time there! They really made the trip surpass all of our expectations.
We had a decent amount of last minute additions and decisions, and they did not hesitate to respond as soon as possible to accommodate all our requests and needs. My sister decided later on that she was going to join us in France, and Evane amended the entire itinerary to accommodate all of us. This also included us changing our flights while we were there and her making all the necessary changes to our itinerary. We also loved France so much that we decided to extend the trip another week! Giving Sarah, our Paris contact, only a week to plan an adventure up to Normandy and a few days in Paris. Honestly, we owe Sarah (and Evane) our lives! She looked up every hotel in Paris because it was beginning to be the high season in the city and everything (literally) was booked up. She did not hesitate to find us the best 5-star options in a location we had yet to stay in without a crazy price tag.
We are beyond thankful to Wendy for putting us in contact with Philip and cannot wait to go back. Without a doubt we will be contacting Philip next time. It was a trip of a lifetime where it never felt like too much time in each destination but it will always never be enough! Thank you for making us fall in love with France!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My wife and I took a long awaited celebration of our 25th Anniversary and our 50th Birthdays to Provence, France April 15-23. Philip planned a terrific trip which wound up being one of the best weeks of our entire lives! He listened very carefully to our list of wants and desires and the result was a perfectly paced yet action-packed week. We visited wineries, explored several old and charming towns, ate in 3-Michelin-star restaurants as well as fantastic low key cafes, shopped and took a hike in the footsteps of Van Gogh. We have fallen in love with Provence and will definitely going back. I am looking forward to seeing Philip’s plan for your next trip there!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL In the midst of Covid uncertainty but dying to get back to international travel, two friends and I decided to plan and book a relatively last-minute trip to France in September 2021. We are all seasoned and typically pretty independent travelers, but decided that the additional complications of pandemic travel warranted getting some help with this trip. Philip and his team were great in reconciling our different wants and budgets to quickly put together a trip that all three of us loved, and patient with our multiple itinerary revisions. We were originally planning to just focus on Provence, but when we said we’d be open to adding a few days elsewhere, Philip suggested we also add a few days in Lyon, which we did, and which was a highlight of our trip – our guide Sebastien was great and we really enjoyed our time with him both in Lyon itself and the visit to his family’s winery in Beaujolais, as well as his fantastic restaurant recommendations – he had connections everywhere, including getting us a last minute table at his friend’s Michelin-starred restaurant, which was probably the most memorable meal of our trip. Patrick, our guide in Provence, was great as well, and we really felt that we were able to see quite a bit of Provence in a week and were well taken care of (though we definitely got the sense, after hearing some of Patrick’s stories, that we certainly fell on the lower budgetary end of the travelers they are typically guiding!). We also really enjoyed all of the hotels, especially the apartment at La Divine Comedie in Avignon that was both stunning and a good solution for all three of us to have our own space for a few nights, and the Villa Saint Ange in Aix, which was such a gorgeous, quintessential Provencal hotel.
We felt safe everywhere we traveled in France – we spent a few days before our tour started in Paris, and obtained Pass Sanitaires at a pharmacy there (we were unable to secure them through the online request system, which had just started before our departure), which we were required to show at virtually every attraction, restaurant, etc. that we visited. In addition, at the time we visited, case numbers were lower in France than in the US, and we were mostly outdoors (and found most people to be wearing masks indoors or in crowded markets). All of our guides volunteered that they were vaccinated (as we all were as well). Getting the Covid test for our return to the US turned out to be as simple as stopping by a pharmacy tent in Aix-en-Provence to get swabbed and coming back 10 minutes later to receive our results and pay. All in all, it was a very welcome return to travel and a trip that we would definitely take again.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My husband and I booked a very special trip, our honeymoon, with Phillip Haslett this past December. We wanted to do a road trip through Europe. Our trip consisted of multiple moving parts, and Phillip helped give us the honeymoon of our dreams. He was there for us to help guide us with COVID necessities and shared his expertise on each place. My husband and I wanted to enjoy romantic, luxurious hotels, and every single one Phillip booked was incredible. What was so nice was he made sure each was different as not to compete with each other. Each time we arrived at a new place we both could not stop smiling and saying “Wow”!
We started off in Geneva, Switzerland where we kicked off our trip with a Christmas market that was across the street from our hotel. Our next stop was Gastaad, which felt like a winter wonderland. After that we drove to Chamonix, where we stayed in what was my husband’s dream spot at the top of Mount Blanc. It was truly something, we had to take the most charming red train to get to our hotel. The stars there were unlike we had ever seen. After Chamonix we drove to Fossano, Italy, where we visited a castle and stayed in a suite that felt as if we were in an old Italian romance novel. Next, we went to Monte Carlo, where our hotel key gave us access to the Monte Carlo Country Club. My husband is an avid tennis fan and this was really special for us. We enjoyed the famous American Bar, and the people of Monte Carlo couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming. We stayed on the top floor and had the most incredible view of the city and water. We even were across from Rafa Nadal’s suite. Following Monte Carlo we went to St Paul de Vance where we relaxed in a spa hotel with a Mediterranean influence. Our trip’s pace started to slow down a bit on this second half which was really nice. Phillip was able to get us reservations for meals at some exceptional places. Next was Aix in Provence where we stayed at a dreamy chateau. After that we went to Avignon where we stayed across from the Pope’s Palace. It felt as if we were in a castle. We had a car and it was very difficult driving through the narrow roads, but we made it and it was a fun part to look back on. We ended our trip in Paris on New Years Eve. It was a trip of a lifetime and we both were thrilled with our experience.
Covid wise, travelers do need to have their proof of vaccination. We had to get a Covid Passport, which was relatively easy to do. Pretty much every place we went to asked to see our Covid Passport upon entry. Getting a COVID test prior to return was a bit tricky. It all worked out but because we needed to have a rapid test 24 hours before arrival the timing was tough. We were traveling to Paris from Avignon on the high speed train, and it was New Years Eve, which meant many pharmacies closed early. We had to get our test in Paris to meet the 24 hour requirement. Thankfully we found a pharmacy that would do it, but it did take up almost 2 hours of our night. To enter Switzerland we needed an Entry Pass filled out beforehand, and it was a bit confusing and difficult to do. Phillip was easy to get a hold of, made some phone calls, and helped us with the process. It was the middle of December and things were rapidly changing again; we felt confident in Phillip and he was a huge help to us.
I don’t think we could have planned such a remarkable trip without Phillip’s help, knowledge, and expertise. We had just planned our destination wedding and were a bit planned out. We wanted something to remember forever, that would blow us both away. This trip delivered and then some. He gave us a multitude of options and listened to what we wanted. We felt he was also very honest, upfront, and informative. We are so grateful for your recommendation, and look forward to booking another trip in the future! Thank you so much!!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Philip Haslett and his group were fantastic. They arranged about two weeks of activities within France for our family. All the guides and activities that we participated in were amazing. Also, they arranged transportation for us within France, which was greatly appreciated. It was so nice to have someone waiting at the airport to pick us up during each stop. I would highly recommend Philip to anyone visiting France.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We spent the first two weeks of December in Provence, the Riviera and Paris on an enjoyable trip planned by Philip Haslett. After we canceled two trips for late October because of COVID, we jumped on Wendy’s offer from fourteen trip specialists who were designing trips to areas safer from COVID. One was Philip Haslett who specializes in trips to Provence and the Riviera. We’d been to Provence in 2015 and loved it; this was a good way to go back, see things we had missed and also see the Riviera, which neither of us had spent much time in. We settled on a two-week trip staying outside Nice, in Aix-en-Provence and Avignon ending with four nights in Paris. This was far from high season for Provence and the Riviera so we expected to see few tourists. Our sense of this being a relatively safe choice was aided by France’s requirement for a vaccination health pass to get into almost anywhere – restaurants, hotels, museums and shops. At least, we figured, most of those we encountered would be vaccinated. In fact, we had to show our passes almost everywhere.
Philip creates elegant itineraries designed around memorable experiences. He’ll send you to the “major” sights if that’s what you want, but he especially likes to expose clients to lesser-known gems. When he learned we’d seen much of Provence, he suggested we also explore the Cote d’Azur and created a wonderful itinerary focused on memorable experiences and lesser-known sights. The hotels he chose were excellent; we especially liked Mas de Pierre in the hills northwest of Nice. Our rooms in all hotels were both comfortable and spacious—a combination less often found in France. The experiences were memorable to say the least. Philip suggested a glassblowing class in Antibes. We’d watched Netflix’s Blown Away, a glassblowing reality competition, so our ears perked up. It was a wonderful morning during which my husband and I made three glass pieces each – two vases, one bowl, two perfume bottles with fancy stoppers and my favorite, my jellyfish in a glass globe. Didier Saba, our glassblower, shipped them to the U.S. for us. The Riviera has lots of museums but Philip sent us to one of his favorites – the remarkable MACM – Museum of Classical Art–in the hilltop village of Mougins. We didn’t just tour this small museum that intersperses antiquities with Old Masters and modern art; Philip arranged for the museum director to spend three hours guiding us through it. What an enlightening experience. He arranged much of a day black-truffle hunting outside Salon de Provence, which was interesting and surprisingly educational. (They use dogs now, not pigs, because dogs can be trained with food to back away from a truffle it finds. Pigs don’t, which is why many truffle hunters are missing finger tips.) We had a delightful seven-hour private cooking class in Aix-en-Provence with a former chef who emailed us all the recipes for the dishes we’d made. We went horseback riding in La Camargue, the wetlands area south of Arles between the two branches of the Rhône River. La Camargue is famed for its white horses, bulls raised for French bullfighting (the bullfighters have to snatch a ribbon from between the bull’s horns, not kill it), and pink flamingos. We had fun riding through this region on the ranch of a former bullfighter and seeing the bulls and horses he and his elegant wife raise. We missed the flamingos due to a flat tire in our rental car that derailed our birding expedition. A don’t-miss experience was Hotel Mirande’s Table d’Haute dinner in Avignon. We dined in the hotel’s tiny cellar kitchen on a nearly all-French evening (except the chef and sommelier who spoke English), which tested my vocabulary but engaged us with locals and Belgian tourists. In Paris we did three tours including a fascinating history of the French fashion industry. We did much more but these were highlights.
Philip and his expert team including Evane Pasquier and Sarah Latrous were creative, attentive and responsive. Like the best of Wendy’s experts, Philip is good at responding to what you’re interested in but also in intuiting what you don’t know you might enjoy. We never would have known about MACM; if we hadn’t gone there and been guided by the museum’s director, we would have missed a memorable experience.
The trip was not without flaws. We learned the hard way not to stay at a hotel for three days that has closed its restaurant. My husband got food poisoning and we could get only very limited food. And don’t rent a car that doesn’t have even a donut spare tire but a container of goop to be pumped into the flat. Traffic along the Cote d’Azur was a nightmare and this wasn’t tourist season! Obviously not Phillip’s fault but true nonetheless. Going to Monaco without a guide was an exercise in frustration, as we got lost repeatedly. We thought we’d be fine with Apple Car Play but we found on all our recent trips to Europe that GPSs all-too-often lead rental car drivers astray. It seems Apple Car Play does too since we got lost several times driving through deserted hill towns. The downside to going offseason was amplified by the low volume of tourists traveling in December. We saw few except French ones and galleries and restaurants were closed all over the place. The hill towns above the Riviera were especially disappointing; half the fun comes from popping in and out of the many galleries and boutiques, but most were closed.
Philip’s guides were well chosen – knowledgeable and engaging. We’re grateful to Remy who helped me find rapid COVID tests in Aix when we had to rule out COVID in case it wasn’t food poisoning. I was glad to find it wasn’t and went off for a day of wine tasting in Cassis and on to Marseilles with Remy while my husband slept the day away. Our food tour in Nice with Franck turned out to be more a political and literary history of Nice, which was enlightening as well as enjoyable. We would happily have Philip design us another trip. Kudos to him and his team.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Philip arranged a flawless adventure for my husband and me! From the moment our plane landed in Nice, France, to the moment we departed from Paris to return to Chicago we experienced a memorable experience! Look no further for the best travel advisor!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Wendy, thank you and the team in the Dordogne for another WOW trip.
We contacted Phillip to arrange our week long tour of the Dordogne. Phillip responded to our trip request right away and put us in touch with his team. Evane Pasquier was delightful to work with and arranged for our transfers, guide, drivers, train tickets, museum entries and apartments.
Our tour guide Sandra was outstanding. She put together an awesome itinerary based on our initial requests and then enhanced our suggestions based on her extensive knowledge of the area.
We were treated splendidly everywhere. At almost every site we visited, Sandra was greeted by proprietors and other guides in a way that made it obvious to us that she is quite well known and respected in the area. Her personal knowledge of the area and its history were such an added bonus to our tours. Any last minute changes to our itinerary were never a problem. Sandra simply made everything work seamlessly.
With regards to Covid, our CDC cards were accepted everywhere before we got our Pass Sanitaires. Everyone we came into contact with were compliant with the guidelines and we certainly felt safe with the precautions in place. (We returned to Paris from the Dordogne for another 10 days, so we didn’t need the Covid test until our return trip from Paris.)
In Paris, we just went to a pharmacy near our apartment for the return Covid test.
The French people seem more willing to follow mask mandates and vaccine/testing requirements than some places in the US. We did see some of the vaccine protests in Paris, but weren’t bothered by them in any way. Other than the traffic jams created by the roads blocked by the police to keep cars away from the protestors.
Although we have lost track of the exact number of trips, we have been to Paris and France over 30 times in the last 21 years and it was so wonderful to be back. (We have been three times since the July reopening and plan to move for at least a year next summer).
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had an amazing trip to the Dordogne in late September. Philip Haslett, with his associate Evane, planned a fabulous itinerary that included all of the villages, castles, restaurants and historic sites on our wish list. Evane saved the day for us upon arrival – we had privately arranged an apartment, but it did not live up to expectations. Within an hour, Evane had us booked into a lovely, historical apartment. Prior to departure, Evane stayed in communication with us regarding the Covid travel requirements for France. Once we obtained our Passe Sanitaire, it was completely smooth. Our QR codes were scanned at restaurants and other venues and we had no trouble whatsoever. We were based in Sarlat, and had daily excursions with our private guide / driver, Sandra. I must add that Sandra was an outstanding guide, so personable and incredibly knowledgeable about the area. We loved Sandra’s “add-on” suggestions and would not hesitate to utilize the entire team on another trip. It was a lovely vacation, not crowded at all, and the locals seemed truly pleased to have us back.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We are so glad that we used Philip and his team to help us plan our trip to Provence. They guided us through the COVID requirements, even as the restrictions seemed to change daily. From the moment we arrived in Aix-en-Provence, we knew we were in good hands. Our guide, William Templer, was incredibly knowledgeable and was able to convey the long history of the region in a way that made it come alive. We had told Philip that we were interested in Provence’s Jewish history and William took us to an ancient synagogue that was hundreds of years old with artifacts dating back to the 17th century. We were taken to areas of Marseille that we would not have seen on our own, and we went to small towns that were surrounded by vineyards, lavender and sunflower fields. Gorgeous! We climbed up seaside cliffs that bordered the Mediterranean, amazed by the ruggedness and beauty. And I could go on about the museums, the extraordinary meals and the tucked-away shops and small fairs that he took us to. It all happened seamlessly, but it was evident that time and thought went into planning our days. Once again, The WOW List helped us make the very most of our vacation.
Luxury, luxury, luxury. That’s all I need to say about Philip Haslett and his team’s approach to our trip. It was amazing from start to finish. Everything we did and everywhere we went in our week in Paris and Provence was characterized by luxury. The Bauminere in Les Baux de Provence was one of the finest hotels at which we’ve ever stayed (the breakfasts alone will WOW you) and even little details like S-class Mercedes transfers were the epitome of French luxury. Cheers, Phillip!
Phillip is the real deal. He knows the South of France so well. His team is professional and always responsive.
Philip Haslett was amazing. He totally listened to what we wanted for a three generation trip to Provence and the Riviera. We enjoyed a wonderful cooking class in Aix en Provence and an outstanding glassblowing experience in Antibes. Our boat ride to the Lerins Islands that left from Cannes exceeded expectations. We had two guides, one for the Provence area and one for the Riviera. Each was fabulous. While we never meet most of the guides that we use through Wendy’s WOW list, Philip made an effort and met us at our hotel outside of Provence, walking us in to Aix for our cooking class. I highly recommend Philip.
Philip helped us on very short notice to plan a week in Provence. He listened to what we wanted and gave excellent suggestions and recommendations. We had never been to the region before and he took away the guesswork and set us on course for a memorable, fun-filled fabulous experience. We did not have a moment where we wasted time figuring out where to go or what to do; we got up each morning with a clear plan that allowed us to go at the pace we wanted, see as much (or as little) as we wanted that day and at the end of each day we marveled at our good fortune. We want to return as soon as possible and when we do, we will reach out to Philip again. We spent a full day with his guide in the Southern Rhone visiting wineries and felt very much the insiders (the Obamas visited the same vineyard as we did, the same market, the same towns, etc. so tell me: how bougie are we now?!) We loved the hotel where we stayed and received over the top service from the concierge with whom Philip is on a first-name basis. We also enjoyed our guide in the city of Aix-en-Provence. So glad to explore that city with an expert because we appreciated it so much more than if we had bumbled about on our own and our guides could not have been any more charming or informative. Philip is easy going and managed my pre-trip anxieties with aplomb. As someone who frets over the details, I would say that Philip handled my needs and our itinerary skillfully and professionally and made me feel confident, at ease, and very much like an insider having an exclusive and curated experience of the South of France. My husband, who has traveled extensively, gives two enthusiastic thumbs up, as well. Cheers!
Philip and his team created the perfect itinerary for my daughter and I. They listened carefully to our desires and interests and matched the trip accordingly. They were responsive and timely in their planning which took away any stress we might have had. The local guides we had in Provence were amazing! Fun, knowledgeable, and adaptable. We had requested an active trip and we were not disappointed, We went horseback riding in the Camargue region, biking in Luberon, canoeing in the Verdon Gorge. At a moment’s notice, our guide would head up the hill so we could see a great view, or walk around the remote and charming area of Lacoste. The restaurant suggestions were spot on. We loved everyone. We could not have been happier with the service provided and would highly recommend Philip to anyone planning a trip to France, especially Provence.
My family just enjoyed an absolutely amazing 2 week trip beginning in Paris and ending in Barcelona. Undoubtedly – our favorite segment of the trip was our 6 day visit to Provence which was planned by WoW Travel expert, Philip Haslett. We had a multi-generational group of 7 (grandparents, parents and 3 college aged children) — so it was initially a challenge to develop itinerary to be enjoyed by all. There are so many beautiful areas in southern France. Philip was able to help me narrow down our wish list, select beautiful accommodations, and set an active itinerary to explore and hike the region.
From the moment we arrived via train in Aix-en-Provence to the time that we were dropped back off in Avignon to continue our journey in Spain, we were well taken care of, in fact spoiled! We especially loved our driver guide, Nordine who was able to transport us all over the region, share his knowledge, and make adjustments for us on the fly (when we were running late, even running to pick up groceries while we were hiking!). Our hiking guide, Jean Bernard, also spent 4 days showing us unique trails, sights — unbelievable vistas and views. We would never have been able to see so many beautiful sights and understand history, etc of what we were viewing on our own.
Our only regret is that we did not have more time to spend at the idyllic Bastide de Moustier – what a beautiful setting or the Bastide de Gordes at the Villa de Constance (with our fabulous butler, Claire – who really went out of her way to take care of us!) They are truly special properties with amazing staff.
In summary, we transferred 7 people and their luggage 4x, stayed at two different properties, went on 4 amazing hikes, kayaked, visited countless unique Provence towns around Gorge du Verdon & Luberon area, enjoyed excellent restaurants and French wine, all seamlessly – thanks to Philip and his staff!
Phillip and Julie designed a wonderful trip for our family. With 3 teenagers it can be tough to keep everyone fully captivated, but the trip to Provence that was curated was fantastic. They designed an itinerary which kept us busy and was tailored to our interests. One of the most popular days was a visit to the Camargue region and a visit to the La Mirande ranch. What a great experience—not one that you’d be able to create on your own. The accommodations were top notch… very comfortable for our family. The guides were knowledgeable and engaging and knew exactly what would be of interest. A memorable trip! Would definitely recommend them.
Philip is wonderful! Accommodating, down to earth, humorous, and a total expert in the region!
We enjoyed our tour with him tremendously and hope to repeat our visit soon.
When you are in a new place, you want an insider who will be a wizard, who will wave a magic wand and poof—everything is taken care of masterfully. The selection of memorable hotels, restaurants, cars, and tours. But it all starts with asking the right questions and Philip and Julie spent the time to inquire about exactly what our interests and tastes are to create what will be a memory we have for the rest of our lives. Do you like crowds or quiet places? What type of decor and service? Athletic? How athletic. These questions enabled him to conjure up the perfect trip.
Philip Haslett and Julie on his team designed the perfect trip to the South of France for us. My husband and I travel a lot and like to explore independently. Philip and Julie designed an itinerary that allowed us to drive from one beautiful village to another using a detailed GPS map they provided with magnificent stops and suggestions along the way. Philip knows all the secrets of Provence and the French Riviera because he lives there. Having a WOW moment to use during this trip, Philip surprised us by personally taking us on a driving tour in a classic Citron CV2! It doesn’t get any more French than that! Thanks to Philip and Julie’s relationships we were treated as VIPs at every stop. Can’t recommend Philip highly enough.
My family and I had a really good time in Provence with some highlights like glass blowing, bike riding, cooking class and lunch at the special truffle restaurant Bruno’s- beautiful and delicious.
Philip was flexible with changing plans at the last moment and his driver-guides were superb, as were the hotels.
You’ll have a great time for sure.
Philip is located in Provence, but he made himself available late at night his time, which was convenient for me calling from California. He was very practical and informed and listened very well to what we were looking for. His combination of English fluency (Philip is originally from England) and strong local knowledge was great.
The particular tour guides he gave us in Paris and Provence were good and excellent, respectively.
It was my husband’s 80th birthday. We are active New York people. Having stressed this on the phone with Philip Haslett—our travel agent for Provence, Albi, Aveyron, Carcasonne, and beyond—we had long (starting at 9:30 daily, our choice) exciting days and evenings. We focused on history and art and Philip filled the itinerary and hooked us up with extraordinary guides who were delightful to be with as well as smart. From the private tour in the Pope’s Palace in Avignon to the Matisse Chapel in Vence, the new Frank Gehry building in Arles, and the Chateau La Coste—we were happy visitors! Philip handpicked each hotel, made sure our accommodations were special, and even joined us for a few days when we visited Albi. Great journey.
My husband and I asked Philip to help us plan a week in Provence in October 2017 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Everything about the trip was perfect, from the pre-trip e-mails back and forth about hotels, restaurants, and sites, to the actual trip itself. We were happy not to have to drive ourselves on the narrow, windy roads with endless roundabouts, and happy not to have to find parking spots in crowded towns. Our driver and guide, Philippe, took care of everything for us, always with good humor and endless patience. We stayed in the countryside in beautiful old hotels and especially loved the Hotel Baumaniere. I originally thought it would be too fancy for us, but Philip persuaded me that it would be perfect, and it was. We had our 50th anniversary dinner in the 2 Michelin star restaurant there, complete with a chocolate anniversary “card”. The other nights we wanted to try something different, and Philip kindly arranged for a taxi those nights so we could have dinner in small typical cafes in neighboring towns.
Our excursions were designed perfectly also. We particularly loved the canoe trip to the Pond du Gard and the private tour of the top level of the aqueduct, a perk not available to the general public. One whole day was devoted to a tour of the Luberon, including the towns of Lacoste, Menerbes, Gordes, and Roussillon. We enjoyed seeing the towns and were happy to have a chance to get out and walk to see the towns up close. All in all, a wonderful trip, perfectly planned and executed, a memorable celebration for us.
All in all, a wonderful trip, perfectly planned and executed, a memorable celebration for us.
Philip Haslett and his associate Judy were resourceful and creative. My boyfriend and I enjoyed a spectacular cooking class the first day in Nice, which was a smart decision. The chef, Rosa, educated us on the flower/ produce market of Nice, selecting the ingredients for our 5-course meal, and teaching us about the rich culture of Nice. This experience set the tone for the trip. Philip and Judy were instrumental with their other recommendations including the hotel, excursions to Eze, Monaco, St. Paul de Vence, transportation. Philip’s personal touch, connections, and contacts made a huge difference. We ultimately were a little too booked and needed to relax, so we couldn’t get to every activity we desired; this knowledge of how we like to travel comes with travel experience! I highly, highly recommend Philip.
Our trip to Burgundy and Provence was a very difficult trip to plan for many factors: We only gave them a couple of weeks to plan, 9 people coming and going at different stages, traveling with a 6-year-old, the busiest season in France, changes to the itinerary and/or restaurants on a daily basis … and they truly outperformed all my expectations. Phillip saved our trip. We were having a lot of trouble with the Burgundy /Provence Coast part of the trip until he jumped in to help us. At that point all the black clouds began to go away, they responded in a way I was truly not expecting. They were in constant contact and solving issues, bookings, tours, changing hotels, getting train tickets, you name it. They always responded and solve any changes in 6 hours or less, they got us to the best places, they absolutely know where you should go and what time you should do it. From the balloon flight to the wine tasting, they made this trip unforgettable.
On one of the trains, we lost our passports and their help and trouble shooting was outstanding. We managed to finish the trip and get back home with a big smile.
Phillip has a wonderful team, I would recommend anybody to look for him. They are truly amazing.
July, Philip and Michael in Burgundy deserve more than a line, they make this a great travel specialist.
You could literally ask for anything and they found a way.
Philip Haslett and his team certainly go above and beyond to make every distinct detail of your trip and experience one that is of the utmost quality. Not only was he very prompt in his response to my unique demands and requests for a trip to Provence and the île de Ré, he came back with honest answers and solutions based on my very specific needs. This makes him incredibly versatile when it comes to tailoring any trip! We look forward to working with Philip in the years to come!
Philip and Sarah on his team planned the most memorable trip for my family in Bordeaux, France. Philips efforts are incredibly authentic, genuine, and filled with passion. Philip made the effort to visit Bordeaux to meet my family which made our trip even more special and personal. We had a lot of specific desires, and nothing was impossible or out of the question. My entire family is very grateful and appreciative of all of the hard work by him and his team. The attention to detail and timeliness in response is very difficult to find. Philip is now even assisting in planning our wedding! Truly, Philip is a wonderful person, who is fantastic at what he does. We will definitely remain in touch with him. We hope to meet Sarah in the future, who was incredibly wonderful to work with, in every respect. A+ !
Philip was just wonderful…he had great, interesting and off the beaten path ideas for excursions. He provided transportation at a reasonable rate and excellent guides. He was always available to talk…I had a million questions…and he was so kind. I was traveling with my husband, daughter and her boyfriend. My husband and I stayed closer to our chateau because it was so amazing we didn’t want to leave. Chateau Saint Martin( Philip booked it for us). My daughter and her boyfriend were much more adventurous, so Philip found them hikes and all day adventures.
The last time we went to the area my husband and I rented a car and tried to explore on our own…we explored more tight streets trying to make a ten-point turn than I would like to remember. I highly recommend using a driver: You can see more and get around so much easier. It’s the way to go! Albeit pricier.
Philip also recommended great restaurants and made the reservations for us…which is helpful if your french didn’t get much further than your 8th grade syllabus.
I give Philip the highest grade! Enjoy your trip!!
We had an amazing three days in Provence organized by Philip Haslett. All unique experiences—surprising and wonderful and memorable. Just a few of many highlights—a tour of the villages of the Luberon in an antique Citroen convertible with our guide, Philippe, at the wheel; a visit to the first organic farm in France, with a tour of the farm and surrounding area by the 7th generation farmer/owner in his horse and buggy; a picnic in the countryside; a private tour and tea with the current owner of the beautiful Benedictine Abbey, Saint Andre; and a Chagall music/art show in the old quarry of Carrieres des Lumieres in Baux de Provence. Philip arranged our hotel, La Mirande in Avignon, which was gorgeous, and all of our dinner reservations. We fit a lot into our three days and can’t wait to go back. We would absolutely have Philip plan future visits and would hope that we would have the same driver/tour guide, Philippe, who was delightful.
Symphony of Provence and Beyond, August 2016
My husband and I recently returned from an awesome 8 August days traveling throughout Provence and beyond, planned by Philip Haslett. We asked them to handle it all – trip planning, transportation, booking hotels, guiding and transfers. An “eclectic view of Provence” was our request – a variety of experiences with emphasis on artists and textiles, culture and history of the area, seeing remote villages, enjoying local foods. Philip is both flexible and creative and obviously delights in helping his clients truly enjoy their experience. In the process we were treated as if invited guests being shown around by one who loves and knows their area intimately. The planning was insightful, the guiding masterful, and he avoided crowds in August! Whenever Philip said, “trust me, you really must see this!”, there were never any regrets from following his suggestions. The real magic Philip’s symphony of immersive experiences carefully crafted personally for us. The days played out with the perfect ebb and flow of color, wonder, adventure and quieter moments. Path and pace selections were orchestrated with an underlying sense as to variety and our energy levels, and without overload. The final product was so much more than we could have imagined! And, there of course there was the winning personality of our guide! A huge thanks to Philip and team, and to Wendy for making the recommendation!
We saw “Provence and beyond”, including Albi, a day at the French Riviera, and the balance of our time in Provence. I asked Philip if he could help us see the art of the Toulouse Lautrec’s estate that is housed in Albi (after being rejected by the Louvre) and attend an organ concert in the massive and intricately decorated brick medieval cathedral. He was delighted to make this happen with a 2 night stay in there, and stops along the way to and fro for strolls through medieval villages. As we drove towards Provence, I was wondering how this could be topped! Not to worry, the rest of the plan was filled with fascinating adventures and whimsical moments.
Highlights of the Riviera and Provence included seeing medieval villages, Roman ruins, churches, art exhibits (Cezanne, Picasso, Chagall), museums of history and culture, the exquisite shop of Edith Mezard (including the pop-up-shop of Pierre Cardin’s latest collection), the ochre trail of Roussillon, antiques in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and even a whimsical cork screw museum. And of course there was always ample time for our requested necessaries – shopping, ice cream, dark chocolate (can there ever be enough?), local food specialties, and taking a huge number of photographs
There WOW moments, but the grand finale of our art experiences really must be mentioned – the art and music multimedia production at the Carrieres de Lumieres. This year the entire show features the art works of Marc Chagall. They use 100 projectors and 27 speakers to project 3000 digitized images of art works and coordinated soundtrack onto the interior walls and floor of a former hillside rock quarry. These walls vary from 20-46 feet high, providing 54000 square feet of “canvas”. The impact is massive! One can walk around and see different images from each direction since the same art piece is not showing simultaneously on each surface. This image and sound production is completely immersive and profoundly moving. Philip offered this as the surprise grand finale of our art experiences, and it did not disappoint! We are still in awe!
We highly recommend Philip Haslett and team for trip planning in Provence, the Riviera, and beyond!