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Uber changed the way we travelled, AirBnB personalised the way we holiday, and now, Tour de Friends is redefining tourism in Europe. The new travel service is shaking up the French tourism industry by offering a unique, customised way of traveling and discovering France by way of the people who know France best – its people.

Mehdi Merred, one of the owners of Tour de Friends, is a native of France and an accomplished cook and wine connoisseur. Together with his wife Aleeta, the duo aim to showcase the country through cultural immersion with unique travel experiences that emphasise the cuisine, artisans and countryside.

The French Alps tour is set to offer skiing aficionados the best of European winter © Albouy Carole

The French Alps tour is set to offer skiing aficionados the best of European winter © Albouy Carole

With Tour de Friends, visitors are invited to immerse themselves for a week in the authentic French way of life. This includes meeting wine grape growers, bakers, farmers and other local producers who form the very fabric of French culture and cuisine. Through personal interactions with these artisans, Tour de Friends' guests learn traditions and savoir-faire that tourists desire.

Each tour will features cooking classes for the opportunity to pair and taste wine while preparing gourmet meals. To enhance cultural authenticity, Tour de Friends doesn't compromise with quality and luxury on the other. Visitors stay at luxurious chateaux, villas and castles carefully selected as a comfortable escapade from everyday life.

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Additionally, the operators also host several special tours in unique areas of France each year.  In the spring and late summer, visitors get to uncover the splendours of the Cote d'Azur countryside while completely immersing themselves in authentic Provence culture. A chance to discover Bordeaux and the world-renowned wine of the Southwest region of France awaits travellers in the summer and fall.

Savour some of the best wines from the Alsace Lorraine region ©  Simon Gurney

Savour some of the best wines from the Alsace Lorraine region © Simon Gurney

During the festive holiday period in December, Tour de Friends invites visitors to discover the Alsace Lorraine region that offers a perfect combination of the French culinary wonders and the German Christmas spirit. In this kick-off to the Christmas holidays, customers stroll the marches de Noel (Christmas markets) on a discovery of this world-renowned wine region.

Skiing aficionados can also opt for the French Alps tour, held during the winter months of January to March. Taking place in the heart of the French ski haven, visitors will experience some of the best skiing in Europe along with breath-taking views of snow-covered mountains. And when the cold seems too much to bear, rest assured the warm hospitality of villages such as Chamonix, Megeve and La Clusaz are just short strolls away. 

Tour de Friends limits each tour to just eight people at a time in order to provide a high level of personal attention and care. Prices for each tour begins from $2500 per person and include food, lodging and activities. For more information visit www.tour-de-friends.com.

Main photo credit: © Konstantin Kalishko