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Marie Cruickshank said at 15:46 on Saturday 30th of April 2016:

Bill, thank you so much for this and it is great to hear from you again. Tell me more about what happened in Paris!! Sounds intriguing! Hopefully I'll get back to Paris again in the autumn, followed by Lyon and a cookery course and then to stay with some lovely elderly French friends in St Remy de Provence! Do keep in touch and you find my email on our website as I can't put it here for some reason! Best Wishes Marie.

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Bill Mitchell said at 15:18 on Saturday 30th of April 2016:

Marie, it has been 6 years since you rescued two lost Yanks in Paris. I was cleaning some files and your card fell out of the pile. It looks as though you are still thriving and helping travelers out. I sent you an email with some recent pics, but it was on the allowed list for your email. We haven't forgotten your help.

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Tommy Calhoun said at 3:14 on Friday 15th of May 2015:

Marie: Thank you so much for putting for putting us in contact with Mark in Bordeaux. He is helping us replace the tour we had contracted. I did not expect you to do this and not receive compensation for your part. That was very kind of you, but you do have a business to run. I am sure we will be in contact with you in the future as we do want to return to Scotland and we want to do a tour in Ireland as well. After all the Calhoun's went from Scotland to Ireland and then on to the Colonies! I am so glad you have had benefit from some of our referrals. I give you information out to all that I hear are planning on going to Scotland, Ireland, and France. If you have any plans on expanding to Italy please let me know. Thanks again, Tommy and Lee Ann Calhoun

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Anita & Jeff Cook and Family said at 11:05 on Monday 16th of September 2013:

We would once again like to thank Marie and her Team for their exceptional planning and assistance for our trip to France. We worked with Marie in 2008 for a trip to Scotland and again, this summer (2013) for France. She provides her personal details, that are extremely helpful, that you will NOT find in any travel book. She definitely understands her customer and meets their needs. Her recommendations for hotels, to monuments, palaces, cathedrals, all sightseeing, restaurants, driving the countryside, tips at each location are invaluable. However, the Chateau was the highlight of our trip --- even for my 16 and 18 year old children --- it was a very special evening. Accommodations, company, the meal, conversation, everything --- so special, different and simply perfect. You really did feel like you were visiting with your friends in the countryside for an overnight --- never felt like you were in a “hotel”. The Count and Countess have truly created something special and clearly go out of their way for their guests. Highly, highly recommend a stay at the Chateau. If you are thinking of a vacation, first stop should be a discussion with Marie and her Team as her web site states, “trip made easy” is very accurate. Thank you again. The Cook Family

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Stephanie, Mark and Harrison Reisinger USA Repeat clients said at 10:58 on Sunday 11th of August 2013:

Hi Marie, We just returned from a most outstanding vacation in France. Thank you so much for putting together the perfect trip. Vannes was wonderful and reminded us of Annapolis only older. I cannot say enough about the hospitality of the de Vanssays at Chateau Le Barre. That was my favorite part of our trip Thanks to Marney we saw many unique places we would never had know to explore. The hotel in Paris was in a perfect location and served a wonderful breakfast. Thank you again, Stephanie and family

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Carol Ostiguy - repeat client USA said at 14:03 on Monday 6th of August 2012:

Marie - Returned home a week ago, having had a terrific holiday -my second vacation through you at Scotland Made Easy! Now for France. I took the TGV from Paris to Biarritz to the lovely Chateau --my favorite accommodation of the five. Not only was the room lovely, the breakfast very good but Isabelle was a treasure. She had all kinds of maps, information, suggestions for my drive thru the Pyrenees. I visited Bayonne and enjoyed Bayonne more than Biarritz or the other coastal towns. I even bought a beret from a place specializing in berets--in honor of my French Basque ancestors. Pau--got lost several times before finding the Villa Navarre--found with the help of people in a bar and a nun walking by who spoke English. It was quite a scene--pointing, conferring, etc. These are the things I especially remember from trips-interesting "conversations" with the locals. The Villa Navarre-a lovely spot, great breakfast,good location. On Sunday, I headed out for RT 918 across the Pyrenees, the route of the Tour de France. I decided I should fill up the gas tank (a very cute Fiat 500). BUT, I discovered that most petrol stations do not have a person on duty and that both of my credit cards were rejected by the petrol machine. I was able to persuade a Frenchman, who spoke no English, and me using sign language, to use his credit card and I would give him euros. Disaster averted--another priceless adventure. Rt 918 is a must route--many hairpin turns, serious elevation, horses roaming free, still some snow, fog and magnificent scenery. I finished that drive with a visit to Lourdes--what a commercial nightmare. But I finally got to the Basilica for a lovely service. Carcassonne--even with a map, I spent over one hour trying to find Les 3 Couronnes. After getting conflicting directions from 5 different groups of people, none speaking any English, I finally found a woman who spoke perfect English who took pity on me and said, "Follow me". The Les 3 Couronnes was nice with a perfect view of the walled city. Adequate breakfast. I headed out on the route of the Cathars--fascinating stuff. I bought a book. I climbed up to the ruins of the Castle of Puilaurens, built in the13th century. The rocky path was also that old--very treacherous footing but worth of climb and view. I stopped of Foix and Mirapoix and found a wonderful green market to buy bread, cheese, and sausages. Toulousse--a total disaster in terms of getting to the hotel --even with a map. Too many narrow, one-way streets and too much construction. I got to within 1/2 block but couldn't go left because of the one-way. After one hour of real frustration, I headed to the railway station, turned in the car and took a taxi to the Grand Hotel. What a lovely accommodation, although I didn't need an accommodation with a downstairs sitting room and an upstairs bedroom. The location (apre Fiat) was terrific. I love those little cobbled, twisting streets with the cute shops and Salons de Tea. Paris--after the TGV back to Paris, I tried to use the subway to get to Les Halles--some problem with an accident and I had arrived at commuter time. I took a taxi and was met by Mickael. He fell all over himself accommodating me--the others at the desk were also terrific. The breakfast was adequate but the location of the hotel was perfect. If I got turned around, I just looked for the giant cranes remodeling Les Halles. And the Top Tour bus pass was great--first time I've done that in Paris. As a result, I didn't need to use the Metro--just the Top Tour and walked, walked, walked. I tried one of your restaurant recommendations--Le Restaurant de Comptoir--fantastic tartare de boeuf. Talked with two French ladies about eating and how slim French women are--very interesting. I also tried a recommended spot in the Marais--good salade nicoise. I have a recommendation for you--L'Epicerie on Montorgueil (one of my favorite streets)--English menu and again a terrific tartare de boefu which you can order so that you mix the ingredients yourself. It was a memorable trip--loved every minute, except the being lost. My next trip, I will get GPS in my car. Thanks for booking a wonderful holiday and I'll keep you in mind when I get ready to do more of the Highlands and the Orkney & Shetland Islands. Carol Ostiguy (USA)

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Lynn and Michael Howarth said at 16:42 on Thursday 30th of June 2011:

Hello Girls Just wanted to tell you what an amazing holiday we had in Paris - only 3 nights but wow. I dont know where to begin it was truly the best short break we have ever had. We had never been to Paris and we have both fallen in love with the city - I am a patriotic person but you can stick London, Paris any day for me. That goes for all four of us - we were blown away. I must admit we were very spoiled and highlight was the lunch with Lionel. Words cannot convey how fantastic that was and I am not ready yet to contact him as I just cannot frame the outstanding time we had - words are inadequate. We also arranged a private tour of the Louvre with Walking Tours of Paris and met Malcolm who had previously been the guide of Prince Charles and Camilla!!! He was brilliant. The Jacqumart Museum was as you say a real gem and I would certainly recommend it. We sailed in front of the huge queue as we had tickets and our guests were gobsmacked. The tour on the bus set the scene and was brilliant. We went on the Seine, up the Eiffel Tower too. The food was just fantastic we went to The Grande Colbert and Auberge St Roch, just round the corner from the hotel and all the food was the best. The Auberge was by far the cheapest (half the price of the other) and the food on a par or even better than the Grande Colbert believe it or not. The hotel is perfectly situated and the breakfast and the meals we had again were good quality. I suppose if I am pickey I would say, because I had been looking on the net quite regularly that the room we had was not as good as I had expected. I am aware that the rooms are small which is what I expected, but it somehow did not look like the ones I had been drooling over when I googled the website. The bed was certainly very comfortable and the room clean and well presented. I would go again like a shot but I think it might just have been me and Mike. I really wanted to know what made our room Superior as we did not have a balcony. Anyway, we were not in there very long and the staff and the place were spot on. I know it cost an arm and a leg for the transfers but it made it so special. It was a very special holiday albeit short but packed to the brim with goodies. I slept for 12 hours plus when I got home I was so exhausted. Thank you for all your kind assistance. Might take a look at your Scotland site next we want to go to Arran and stay in a cottage. Hey ho something for next year. Regards and best wishes Lynn & Michael Howarth

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Vera said at 10:51 on Wednesday 29th of September 2010:

Hi Marie: I've been holding back from contacting you, knowing that you are busy in France yourself. I'll be reporting a bit at a time on my trip, as I get my thoughts organized. I already have an assignment to write about La Brettesch in Brittany. I want to tell you in detail about some of the places I stayed that you have not personally seen, because they definitely belong on your list, and it would be wonderful if you could visit them. One, of course, is the absolutely fascinating”manoir”. The owner, Brigitte, had the good fortune of getting a book on the history of the place from the family that owned it for centuries, so she is full of stories. I must say, I have never stayed before in the home of the mistress of an important nobleman in service to the King of France. I have never stayed in a building enclosed (partially, at least) by a moat. (Partially because the Germans tore it up during the war.) I have never had the privilege of being in the main room of the country chateau that once was the main entrance, until the Revolutionaries tore down the tower that led to the "front door" (1st floor, European style). You see how it went? Brigitte not only is the hostess and historian, but also the web master and an artist. She embroidered all of the needlework tapestries (from kits, but they look authentic) and makes WONDERFUL collages of found objects. Her artistry shows in the table decor in all the rooms. Above all, I loved the authentic feel of everything, even with all the "mod-cons" as the Brits say. The only tiniest detraction was that she serves a very basic continental breakfast--juice, coffee/tea,basket of breads. Somehow in such a grand dining hall (which once was actually the storage room for hanging meats, etc.) with a knight in armor looking on from the corner, and a view of the impressive dovecote out the window, you except more. AT least some cheese. We also had trouble finding it. Although she is convinced that her directions on the web site are adequate, and the way is clearly marked with her signs from Pleudhem, that village does not show on the maps we had, and we could not locate her on the GPS we were trying to use, and her web site directions are vague. Apparently we are the only people who have ever had trouble finding her (I don't really believe that). But if you are going, and certainly if you are sending someone there, be sure to arm them with directions. I hope you'll be able to visit. Now I'm back to sorting pictures and will download my overfull brain in another piece to you later this week. Thanks so much for all your wonderful help, and particularly for the night at the historic manor, which we really enjoyed. - Vera

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Blair and Cyndy Monie said at 8:44 on Monday 26th of July 2010:

Marie, we can’t say enough about our trip to France, with your help. We had an incredible time, and both the hotel in Paris and little hotel in Provence were perfect. We had such a good time, wandering the countryside and enjoying the food and wines. Your choices were perfect, and we want to do it again! Thank you so much for all your help. I can’t wait to call you for our next trip. All the best and much love to you, Blair and Cyndy Monie

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Michelle Catucci said at 1:43 on Tuesday 20th of July 2010:

Michelle Catucci, Vice President Stores, Mid West USA, Louis Vuitton, said after her holiday to France earlier in the year, through France Made Easy - Marie takes care of all the research needed for a great driving vacation! She saves me the time and effort of mapping an interesting route, selecting a great hotel, and guides me to visit only the places I'll find most interesting. I highly recommend her services for Scotland or France and have many times. The fact that she came to visit me while on my trip to Scotland was the icing on the cake. The inn she booked for me in France was sublime! Can't wait to plan my next visit to France with her. Great Results, Expert, High Integrity I hired Marie in 2008, and hired her more than once. Michelle Catucci VP Stores Mid West USA Louis Vuitton

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