About France Custom Tours
Together, we have more than 50 years of experience directing tours throughout Europe. In that time we have built up a wealth of practical knowledge. Our team of knowledgeable contacts throughout France specializes in military and local history, art, gastronomy, wine and gardening. All are keen to share their enthusiasm with you.
We can offer custom tours, such as Wine Tours, D-Day Tours and First World War Tours. We can also help you locate facilities for golfing, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, sailing, windsurfing and the many other activities this vast area has to offer.
I first became enthralled with France fifteen years ago - so much so that I gave up my investment job in England and returned to college in London to study French. Twelve years ago I started taking tours around France and Europe and delight in sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for the different regions. I have a passion for history, particularly French and Military in a country so steeped in both. In addition I have studied Cordon Bleu cuisine and wine at Leiths in London. What better place to indulge these tastes than the wine regions, markets and restaurants of France. I have toured extensively in France and have lived in different regions. I met my wife Gigi, an American living in Paris. When we married we decided on Normandy as a perfect place for raising a family.
We bring together a wealth of information on great places to visit and delightful things to see and do in France. In addition we have built a team of like-minded tour professionals. It is very rewarding to work with our clients, building a tour based on our knowledge and their desire to experience the holiday of a lifetime.
Benefit not only from our knowledge and passion but also from the convenience of having us take care of all the arrangements, driving, and parking. We assist you with language and cultural differences. We save you time finding the places you want to see, in arranging accommodation, and in discovering the best restaurants and shopping.
Having been inspired by my French teacher at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, my first trip to France was as an exchange student with a French family living in Paris. I fell in love with France. After three months of living in the Latin Quarter on the Boulevard St Germain, life was never to be the same. My father persuaded me to return to the United States to complete my education. So armed with my degree in International Business and French, I returned to France to be part of the 1992 opening hospitality crew of Euro Disney.
After Disney I escorted American students on tours throughout Europe and then joined Insight Tours, an adult coach tour service. After ten years as a European tour leader, living for a while in Florence, Venice and Padua studying Italian, I returned to Paris where I met my husband. We were married in the beautiful Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy where we set up our family home and where we have two rental cottage ("gîtes") close to the D-Day Landing beaches. We are now enjoying life in the French countryside, raising our two children.
I was born in Oxfordshire, England, and educated at Durham University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. I moved to Paris more than twenty years ago to study Art History at the Sorbonne and have lived here ever since. I currently hold postgraduate degrees from the Sorbonne and Southampton and am writing my Doctoral Thesis on "The Golden Age of Illustrated Travel Books 1820-1850".
Licensed as an Official Guide Lecturer for the past 15 years with the French Ministry of Tourism and Culture, I am authorized to guide in the principal Paris Museums and Collections. Concentrating on cultural and historical aspects of French life, I work regularly with Embassies and various official delegations, ambassadors and elected officials.
I am an expert in art, architecture, and antiques; an Expert Appraiser in Fine Arts from the Southampton Institute, England. My Master's dissertation was on a Parisian monk's 1260 chronicle of the Kings of France. I have written an audio guide to Paris so that visitors can discover Paris on their own. I am also an expert on the great battlefields of Europe (World War One and World War Two) and host members of the US and French military. My 2004 Audio CD on the 1944 D-Day Landings in Normandy was issued for the 60th Anniversary Commemoration.
I am English, and a graduate in History from Oxford University. Most of my professional life was spent in book publishing.
My wife, Susan and I decided to move to Normandy in 2003, and have made our home in the heart of the countryside, not far from the historic town of Bayeux. We had visited the region on our first vacation together in 1968, and returned there may times, coming to love the history, architecture, cuisine, people and landscape of this part of France. Since settling in Normandy, I have pursued my long-standing interest in the Allied Invasion of France during June, 1944 and the subsequent battles of that campaign. I specialize in giving tours to veterans and their families, to serving soldiers of the USA and Great Britain, and to all those interested in the liberation of France. I also conduct tours of the Battle of the Bulge (the Ardennes), Operation Market Garden (Arnhem and Nijmegen ), and Monte Cassino in Italy.
I am English, with a degree in Mathematics and a postgraduate certificate in Education. I started out my professional life as a math teacher and then became a computer programmer for twenty years, and then teaching maths again. However for the last twenty years, my real passion has been the Maginot Line and the surrounding areas of France and Belgium. In 2006, I moved to Sedan, on the Maginot Line in France and now work as an English teacher and tour guide in the Ardennes. My tours are mainly of the Maginot Line and the German breakthrough in May 1940, but also World War I and the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. In my spare time, I teach drums to children.
From John Bromage: "I have yet to meet anyone who knows more about local military history and the Maginot line. Richard conveys his information with passion and authority. Mostly he emphasizes that he is only giving his opinion, but the way he explains things, it is difficult to disagree with his theories even though they may contradict traditional thought. He is also incredibly good looking."
Anthony Bay is English by birth (and bilingual in French), and started work as a freelance photographer in London followed by a 6 year stint as a Diplomat with the British Foreign Office. He entered the travel industry as a founding Director of deluxe travel company Abercrombie and Kent Europe with whom he worked for 22 years designing product for the American market into Europe, and also guided 3 or 4 of their most prestigious groups per year (and also five Abercrombie and Kent "Around the World by Private Jet" tours)
In 2006 Anthony moved to Provence where he continues to live with his family. He designs itineraries in the region and guides most of the clients, and is also a National Guide of France. He has been awarded the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist award for Provence and France for several years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.