France - history & culture 

Tailor-made tours for small private groups - friends, families & social groups


From earliest times - the emergence of France & Germany out of the post-Roman world - right through the story of the 20th century, from World War I to the Cold War.



The countries today, through their cities, their architecture and their lifestyles.


Where we go in France 

  • Paris - walking tours
  • Normandy - Rouen & Caen, D-Day beaches; Mont St Michel
  • Hauts de France - the new name taking in Picardie & the Nord / Pas de Calais area. Coast, cathedrals & cities
  • Grand Est - Champagne, Lorraine, Alsace, including the great cathedral of Reims, Metz & Strasburg
  • Centre / Val de Loire - land of chateaux (Chambord, Blois, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Riddeau) & Lakes (Brenne Regional Park)
  • Occitanie - See our separate Occitaine page for more.

How we operate

We organise tours DIRECT with you – we have no public list of tours. Rather, we respond to enquiries by suggesting ideas and itineraries to suit your interests, with prices & dates specific to you.


We handle numbers from 2 to 20 – families, small groups of friends, social and retirement clubs, etc. We meet you at the start point in a private minibus or small coach (for 4 or more people) - or, if only 2 or 3 of you, we can step aboard your rental car.

We do not organise any flights or train tickets.


For an idea of our per-head prices see Prices & References

  • Start and finish (you book your own flights or train):
    • Paris
    • Caen or Rouen (for Normandy)
    • Amiens or Lille (for Hauts de France)
    • Reims, Metz or Strasburg (for Grand Est)
    • Tours, Orléans or Chartres (for Centre / Val de Loire)
    • Toulouse or Montpellier (for Occitanie)
  • Tailor-made itineraries of different durations possible: let’s discuss (
  • We arrange itineraries, hotels, transport, site entries and provide personal guiding. We delivery quality personal service.


The church of Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, above the Paris roofscape

The tip of the Ile St Louis - with the towers of Notre Dame rising over the Ile de la Cité

Depending on group size and how much you have seen of Paris before, we can put together a programme that includes a mixture of city walks, museum visits, and explorations of the lesser-visited quarters.


Take a walk from the Bastille through the Marais district with fine 17th century mansions, the bustling Jewish quarter, and remains of the 13th century city wall leading down to the Seine. Or explore the 19th century Nouvelle Athenes quarter between Pigalle and the Gare St Lazare, including the Museum of the Romantics, heading on to the Park Monceau and the intriguing Musée Nissim de Camondo overlooking it - a snapshot of the life of an early 20th century patron of the arts.


Consider a minibus tour of Paris  by night to see the lights of the Champs Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, and major landmarks such as the Invalides. See Paris - an itinerary for more photos and ideas.



Normandy stretches from Monet’s Garden in its south-east corner to the giant chalk cliffs at Etretat in the north, and from Mont St Michel in the south-west to the cathedral city of Rouen in the east.


It includes the D-Day Beaches and the lands fought over afterwards - stretching down to Falaise, with the castle where William the Conqueror was born, and a striking new museum commemorating the story of civilians in Normandy in World War II.


Normandy is the apple orchards of the beautiful Pays d’Auge countryside, and the beaches and cliffs at Dieppe where Canadian soldiers suffered in an August 1942 raid.


See Normandy - some itineraries for some suggestions.

The bridge at Monet’s Garden

Bayeux Cathedral

The cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, scaled by U.S. Rangers on D-Day


Hauts de France 


This large, new region takes in Picardy – including the Somme, Amiens, and the beautiful Bay of the Somme – and the former Nord / Pas-de-Calais region, with the Channel cliffs, the big cities of Lille and Arras, and the Canadian World War I memorial at Vimy Ridge.


It includes the striking cathedral at Amiens (the largest in volume in France), the Louvre-Lens offshoot of the Louvre museum in Paris, some of the major World War I sites, beautiful open, rolling countryside, and two interesting inter-war sites in Roubaix: the ‘La Piscine’ art gallery in a former municipal swimming pool, and the Villa Cavrois, the modernist family home of a textile magnate.


For more see Hauts de France - some itineraries.

Cratered landscape of the Battle of the Somme

The River Somme

The open roads of eastern France

Grand Est 


Another of the new ‘mega-regions’, Grand Est takes in, from west to east, Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace.


This includes the champagne fields between Reims and Epernay, de Gaulle’s home at Colombey-Les-Deux-Eglises, the great medieval cathedrals of Reims, Metz and Strasbourg, the Verdun & Argonne battlefields of World War I, the Vosges Mountains, Maginot Line forts near the German border, and the Surrender Room in Reims where German forces surrendered at Eisenhower’s HQ in May 1945.


A stunning mix of open, rolling countryside, huge forests, great cities, and some off-the-beaten track villages in Lorraine particularly.


See Grand Est - some itineraries.

From the top of Reims cathedral

Champagne fields at Epernay

Centre – Val de Loire


This region starts at Chartres in the north, taking in the most historically significant stretch of the huge Loire River between Sancerre and Tours, and reaches south past the cathedral city of Bourges to the empty Brenne Regional Park with many small lakes and villages - a major site for birds.


The big-site chateaux of Chambord, Blois, Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau and Villandry are all in this region, along with the cities of Tours and Orléans. It’s wine-growing country too.


See Centre - Val de Loire - some itineraries.

The chateau & gardens of Villandry

The vineyards at Sancerre

The tombs of Eleanor of Aquitaine & Henry II, Fontevraud

Occitanie  Pyrénées - Méditerranée


The new ‘mega region’ of Occitanie includes the regions of Languedoc - vineyards, medieval villages, Mediterranean coast, limestone Causse scenery - and Midi-Pyrénées: stunning architecture (the Romanesque cathedral in Toulouse; the 21st-century Millau Viaduct spanning an entire valley), high-tech (the A380 Airbus plant in Toulouse) & Pyrenean scenery.


See our separate Occitaine page for more.

A hilltop village in Languedoc

Dr Thomson’s Tours

Tour Operator & Private Guide


All text, maps & photos © Dr Thomson’s Tours Ltd.

Website design by Joseph Thomson

Last updated March 2019

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Dr Thomson’s Tours