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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ's

What is your COVID-19 protocol?

This protocol is in effect as of March 2021. It follows the French National Protocol for Transportation companies.

- All passengers must wear a mask during time of transport
- Driver/Guides must wear a mask during time of transport
- Only one passenger is allowed in front if the vehicle has three spaces
- Two passengers are allowed per row of seats unless they are of the same family or are traveling together as a group.
- Hand Sanitizer availble inside the vehicles
- Vehicles are regularly ventilated
- Vehicle is disinfected at least 2 times per day
- Passengers take their personal waste with them
- It is forbidden to eat inside the vehicles
- Sanitary measures and social distancing is in effect during all visits

What happens in case of a lockdown or a curfew?

If you are allowed to travel to France, make sure that you have the proper insurance when it comes to COVID-19 situation. We do not take care of personal insurance. You are only insured when traveling in our vehicles and during the visits.

What is your cancellation policy at the moment?

Our cancellation policy for all our tours is that you can cancel your tour up to 24 hours before your tour date with no penalty. We will refund your tour at no extra charge.

Tour Guides

What is a licensed or certified tour Guide?

A licensed or certified tour Guide is a guide that has obtained a university level diploma named 'License Professionnelle de Guide Conférencier'. This diploma is equivalent to a BA Degree and includes thorough knowledge in History, Art History and Architecture. Licensed / certified guides are authorized to conduct guided tours anywhere in France in historical city centers, cultural sites, monuments and museums.

What is a Driver / Guide?

Driver / Guides are the ones who conduct most of our private & shared tours in the various destinations where we operate. All of them hold a certificate that is mandatory and that allows them to transport a maximum of 8 passengers. This certificate has to be renewed every 5 years and a medical examination, especially for the eyes, is also compulsory.

In addition, a great number of our drivers are also official guides which means that they have passed a Bachelor's degree and have obtained their official tour guide certificate. If a visit of a historical city center, a museum, a monument is included on your tour then you will be in the hands of one of our expert driver/guides.

Is it possible to book a driver and a guide for a tour?

Yes it is possible for us to include both a driver and a guide for your private tours. This option means that you will have the full attention of your guide who will make commentaries during driving time and as you visit monuments or museums. Booking a driver and a guide means that you will make the most out of your travel here in France.

Free Tours vs Paid Tours?

As you have probably noticed, all our guided walking tours are paid tours. As a licensed tour guide myself, I cannot imagine one second promoting and operating free tours as a Tour Operator. However, I can completely understand the notion of free tours and the interest of some travelers to join this type of experience. So here are my reasons why our tours are paid tours and will stay that way.

1. We only employ Licensed / Certified tour guides for all our guided walking tours in France. This means that you will be in the hands of a qualified professional that has studied History, Art History, Architecture and so much more.

2. Tour Guiding is a real job and not a summer job. Even though in some parts of France working in the tourism industry means a seasonal job, most tour guides get to work nearly all through the year. Typically, most of our guides work from March to end of November which makes for quite a season as they can sometimes work 7/7.

3. Our guides are local guides or have lived in the city long enough to guide there. A great majority of our guides are French Nationals but not only. Many guides originate from the city or region where they guide. If our guides are not French Nationals, they are guides that have been selected for their knowledge of the area and are, of course, licensed tour guides.

4. As we are the ones designing the tours we can adapt any guided walking tour to your wishes. Whether you are a fan of Architecture, Museums, History, Food & Wine or Arts & Crafts, our travel experts will create a personalized itinerary just for you and your knowledgable licensed tour guide will be the one conducting the tour.

Tranfers

Do you organize transfers all over France?

Yes, we organize transfers all over France since 2005. We will take care of your transfer personally in the regions where we operate. In the other regions, we will organize your transfer with one of our preferred suppliers. All our transfers take place in premium vehicles and are done by English speaking drivers.

What type of vehicles are used during your transfers?

We only use premium vehicles for all our transfers. From sedans that can take up to 3 persons to premium minivans that will transport up to 7 persons with lugagge, your transfer will take place in a smooth and relaxed way.

Do your drivers speak English or any other languages?

Yes our drivers speak English. If ever there was no English speaking drivers available for a service we will let you know beforehand. We will always try to find a driver that has a minimum level of English in any case. For other languages, you will need to make a specific request and our team will do their best to answer your demand.

Is it possible to stop on the way during a transfer?

We organize unique sightseeing transfers that allow you to visit the most interesting sights as you head towards your final destination. Our sightseeing transfers are perfectly adapted to long distance transfers from a city to another. A good example is a transfer from Paris to Normandy where we will include a stop in Giverny Gardens or Rouen depending on your wishes. Our sightseeing transfers are taken care of by professional English speaking drivers or driver/guides depending on your budget and request.

Shared Tours

What is a scheduled, shared or public tour ?

A scheduled, shared or public tour is a programmed tour with fixed itinerary and pre programmed visits that cannot be modified. Individual travelers are grouped together and tour begins at a designated meeting point in the cities where they depart from. The pricing is per person.

What are the benefits of taking one of your shared tours in France?

Our small group Shared tours in France, also known as group tours, offer a number of benefits to travelers. Some of the benefits of shared tours include:

1. Cost savings: Shared tours are typically less expensive than private tours, making them a more budget-friendly option for travelers.

2. Ease of planning: With a shared tour, we handle all of the logistics, including transportation, accommodations, and activities when applicable. This can be especially convenient for travelers who do not want to spend a lot of time planning their trip. For example, all our wine tours in France include the tasting fees & winery visits.

4. Opportunities to meet new people: Shared tours offer the opportunity to meet and socialize with other travelers, which can be a fun and rewarding aspect of the travel experience. Our clients come from all over the world.

5. Expert guidance: Shared tours are often led by local guides who have extensive knowledge of the destination and can provide valuable insights and information about the culture, history, and attractions of the area. A large majority of Ophorus guides are in-house guides and most of them are official licensed tour guides that can conduct visits in towns, museums and monuments.

6. Safety: Traveling in a group can provide a sense of security, especially when visiting a destination that is unfamiliar or where the language is not spoken fluently. All our small group shared tours in France are conducted in English.

How many persons are there per tour ?

Tours are for 7 or 8 persons maximum in most cases depending on the size of the premium vehicle used. In Bordeaux, on certain shared wine tours, the numbers can reach 20 persons maximum.

Do you pick up at hotels or is there a pick up point ?

All our shared tours have a precise departure location that is mentioned on your voucher in each city. If you wish to be picked up at your accommodation then you will need to book a private tour.

What happens if we do not find the meeting point ?

You have to be at the meeting point at least 10 minutes prior to tour departure.
If you are having difficulties finding the meeting point you must call us on our office number +33 556 152 609 so that we may help you find the exact area.
Please note that tours leave on time and if you are not there at the designated area and indicated time the driver/guide will leave.
Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information.

What type of vehicles are used for the tours, do they have A/C and other equipment ?

Our company uses only premium 7 or 8 seater minivans that are recent, comfortable and fully equipped including individual A/C, shaded windows, large leg space and on board. A P/A system is also present in most vehicles so that your guide can make commentaries during driving times.

Who conducts Ophorus shared tours ?

We only employ accredited and licensed tour guides that are also the drivers for all tours that need visits to be conducted by certified guides. Good examples are: the visit of museums, guided walking tours in cities, visit of historical monuments and so on. In some regions, where wine tours prevail (Bordeaux, Alsace, Champagne and Burgundy) the tours are conducted by professional wine guides that are also drivers.

Are entrance fees included during scheduled tours ?

Yes, all the entrance fees for visits mentioned in the itinerary during our scheduled tours are included.

Can we drink or eat on board the minivans ?

We ask that you do not bring any food or beverages on board the vehicles other than the water that is offered during the tour. Regular stops are made so that you can refresh yourself or snack / eat during the day.

Are meals included during the full day tours ?

No, we never include any meals but your driver/guide will point out different options for you to choose from for lunch.

What are your payment conditions & cancellation policy for Shared Tours?

Ophorus requires full payment by credit card, internet payment (through our website) or wire transfer (Wire transfer fees at the charge of the Guest) to make a reservation. We accept payment by AMEX, Visa and MasterCard. There is no charge or service fee for processing credit card payments except with American Express +3%.

For any cancellation, the following fees will be deducted from the refund:
Up to 24 hours prior to departure > no cancellation fees except the booking fees
24 hours prior to departure and less > no refund

All semi private tours depart on time. Clients should present themselves at the allocated meeting point at least 10 minutes before the beginning of the tour. Driver/guide will not wait unless Ophorus has been previously informed that the client
will be late with a maximum waiting time of 10 minutes. Beyond that waiting time, tours will depart and Ophorus cannot be held responsible for clients missing their tour.

Private Tours

What is a private tour ?

A private tour is a customized tour just for you and your party.

What are the benefits of taking one of your Private tours in France?

There are several benefits to taking a small group private tour in France with Ophorus:

1. Flexibility: With a private tour, you have the flexibility to customize your itinerary and spend as much or as little time as you want at each location. Contact us so that our travel experts can send you the most adapted itinerary & program.

2. Personalized attention: A private tour allows you to have the undivided attention of your guide, who can tailor the experience to your specific interests and needs. All our guides are very professional and will do their best to have you enjoy your day trips with us.

3. More convenient: Private tours can be more convenient because you don't have to worry about coordinating with a group and you can set your own pace.

4. Greater comfort: Private tours often offer more comfortable transportation options and can be a more relaxing way to see a destination.

5. Better value for money: Private tours can sometimes be a better value for money, especially if you are traveling with a large group. This is specifically true with our private tours in France if you are traveling with 4 or more persons.

Do you organize pick up and return at hotel for private tours ?

Yes, all private tours include a pick up and drop off at requested location – hotel, airport, train station…

What type of vehicles are used during a private tour ?

Our company only uses premium cars & minivans that can take up to 8 passengers. All vehicles are new or recent, comfortable, spacious and have A/C.

Who conducts Ophorus Private Tours?

All our tours are conducted by English speaking guides that are also, in most cases, the driver. For a more personalized experience, we can also organize any private tour with both driver and guide. For all our private wine tours in France, local guides are all experts in wines and hold wine diplomas or are professional sommeliers. All our private cultural sightseeing tours in France are conducted by licensed guides that are authorized to handle visits in museum, monuments and historical city centers.

Is the price per person or per group ?

All private tours are priced per group and not per person.

What is included on an Ophorus private tour?

Private tours include transportation and the services of an English speaking accredited licensed guide who is also your driver. We never include entrance fees to monuments, museums, attractions, meals, drinks, wine tasting fees. However, you can customize your private tour with us during the booking process. Extras that correspond to your tour will be suggested at time of booking. If you would like to include specific extras or services, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our travel advisors.

Do you include lunch during private tours ?

No, we never include meals during our private tours. However, if you wish to include a meal for your tour we will make the according reservation at no extra cost. We can suggest local restaurants in any destination. Another option is to inquire with your guide in the morning and let him know your wishes so that she/he can make suggestions and adapt the tour.

What are your payment conditions & cancellation policy for Private Tours?

We have very flexible cancellation policies for all our private tours in France. For payment, Ophorus requires a deposit of 30% on booking confirmation with balance to be made at least 30 days prior to arrival (in case of last minute registration payment is expected immediately). We accept payment by credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) or bank transfer (Wire transfer fees at the charge of the Guest). There is no charge or service fee for processing credit card payments except with American Express +3%.

For any cancellation, the following fees will be deducted from the refund:
48 hours before the tour > free cancellation, except the booking fees
Less than 48 hours before the tour > no refund

Shore Excursions

What is a Shore excursion ?

Shore excursions are for the most private sightseeing day tours that are organized specifically for cruise ship passengers. All our shore excursions are conducted by Expert guides that will come and pick you up directly at your Cruise ship. All tours are conducted in premium vehicles that can take up to 7 or 8 passengers. For larger groups you will need to contact us directly for availability and quote.

What are the best Shore Excursions in France?

There are many options for shore excursions in France, depending on your interests and the port you are visiting. Some popular choices include:

1. Wine tastings and tours of the Champagne region from Paris.

2. Sightseeing in Paris, including visits to iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. These day trips can be made from Le Havre, Honfleur or Rouen ports of call.

3. Guided tours of the Palace of Versailles is an ideal shore excursion from Le Havre.

4. Walking tours of the historic city of Bordeaux. An easy shore excursion as Cruise Ships arrive directly in the town of Bordeaux. Wine Tours are also very popular in this destination.

5. Visits to the D-Day beaches and war cemeteries in Normandy can be taken from Cherbourg, Le Havre or Honfleur Cruise Ports.

6. Cooking classes and culinary tours in Lyon, the culinary capital of France. This is perfect for travelers on a River Cruise on the Rhône River.

7. Cultural and historical tours of cities such as Marseille, Nice, and Cannes. A must do if your Cruise Ship docks in Marseille of Villefranche sur Mer.

We program a great deal of private shore excursions in France from all the major Cruise Ports that are conducted by English speaking drivers or driver/guides. It is a good idea to book in advance to ensure availability.

Where does the pickup take place?

We pick you up directly at your ship, as close as security will allow us to go. Return is also at ship unless you have specified a location during the booking procedure.

What type of vehicles are used for the tours, do they have A/C and other equipment ?

Our company uses only premium minivans that are recent, comfortable and fully equipped including individual A/C, shaded windows, large leg space and on board P/A system for commentaries by the guide in many occasions. We can cater for groups up to a maximum of 20 passengers as we feel it is important not to have large groups for a more comfortable experience.

Who conducts Ophorus shore excursions ?

In most locations, we employ expert guides that are also the drivers. We can also operate tours that include the services of both driver and guide for a more personalized experience. Depending on the shore excursion, some guides are proficient in cultural tours, wine tours, battlefield tours or sightseeing tours. All our guides speak impeccable English and, on request, we can also operate the tours in other languages such as Spanish, Brazilian, Italian.

Are Ophorus Shore Excursions in France private or shared?

All our shore excursions are private. It means that we will customize and book a tour for a lead traveler who can travel with family and/or friends or even ‘create’ his own group through cruise or travel forums. If you wish to create your own group, we can set up payment for each participant independently.

Is the price per person or per group ?

The prices for our shore excursions are always per group and not per person.

How long does a tour last ?

Our half day tours usually last from 4 to 5 hours. Our full day tours last from 8 to 10 hours.

What is included in the price ?

Private tours include transportation and the services of an English speaking guide who is also your driver. We never include entrance fees to monuments, museums, attractions, meals, drinks, wine tasting fees. However, for most of our shore excursions you will be able to customize your tour and include the according entrance fees during the booking process. If you are looking to book specific extras, don't hesitate to get in touch with our professional travel advisors.

Do you have a 'return to ship on time' guarantee?

Yes, absolutely. All our shore excursions are programmed in such a way that we carefully take into consideration the timing of your ship. We will always include a sufficient time span in case there is an unforeseen event that might occur. In case you are not back in time at the ship, we will take care of your transport to the next Port of Call and include accommodation and meals when applicable.

What are your payment conditions & cancellation policy for Shore Excursions?

Ophorus requires full payment by credit card, internet payment (through our website) or wire transfer (Wire transfer fees at the charge of the Guest) to make a reservation. We accept payment by AMEX, Visa and Mastercard. There is no charge or service fee for processing credit card payments except with American Express +3%.

For any cancellation, the following fees will be deducted from the refund:
Up to 48 hours prior to departure > no cancellation fees except the booking fees
48 hours prior to departure and less > no refund

In the case of a boat not being able to arrive on time and place for a Shore Excursion we will issue a full refund.

All private shore excursions must clearly specify the name of the ship and the local port of call. Ophorus will not be held responsible if the wrong port of call has been notified during
reservation process. All private shore excursions departing from Bordeaux must specify local port of call: “Bordeaux city port of call” or “Bassens port of call“ or “Le Verdon port of call”.

No insurance for cancellation or assistance is included in the prices mentioned for private shore excursions. Each customer has to check that he or she has the appropriate documents for their journey; a passport (with visa if necessary) or a valid ID card - photocopy is best. No refund will be granted in case of lack or loss of ID documents. Eating, drinking and smoking on board the minivans are strictly forbidden (law of September, 17th, 1977). All passengers are insured during the excursions while in the
vans. The responsibility of Ophorus is limited to our insurance contract clauses.

France Wine Tours

What is Alsace Wine?

Alsace wine is a type of wine that is produced in the Alsace region of France. The wine is named after the region in which it is produced, which is located in the northeastern part of France and is known for its rolling hills, picturesque villages, and ancient castles. Alsace wine is made from a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc. The wine is known for its dry, fruity flavors and aromas, and it is often described as having flavors and aromas of citrus, apple, and spice. Alsace wine is often paired with seafood, poultry, and Asian cuisine.

What is Bordeaux Wine?

Bordeaux wine is a type of wine that is produced in the Bordeaux region of France. The wine is named after the region in which it is produced, which is located in the southwest of France along the Atlantic coast. Bordeaux wine is made from a blend of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The proportions of these grapes can vary depending on the specific wine. Bordeaux wines are known for their full-bodied, tannic flavors and their ability to age well. They are often described as having flavors and aromas of black currant, blackberry, and cedar.

What is Burgundy wine?

Burgundy wine is a type of wine that is produced in the Burgundy region of France. The wine is named after the region in which it is produced, which is located in the eastern part of France and is known for its rolling hills and picturesque vineyards. Burgundy wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes for red wine and Chardonnay grapes for white wine. The wine is known for its rich, complex flavors and aromas, and it is often described as having flavors and aromas of red and black fruit, earth, and spice. Burgundy wines are highly prized by collectors and connoisseurs, and they can be quite expensive.

What is Loire Valley wine?

Loire Valley wine is a type of wine that is produced in the Loire Valley region of France. The wine is named after the region in which it is produced, which is located in the central part of France and is known for its picturesque châteaux, rolling hills, and river valleys. Loire Valley wine is made from a variety of grapes, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. The wine is known for its crisp, fresh flavors and aromas, and it is often described as having flavors and aromas of citrus, green apple, and stone fruit. Loire Valley wine is often paired with seafood, white meats, and cheeses.

Travel Vacation Packages

What is included on your France Travel Packages?

Our travel packages in France usually include return transfers (airport or train station) in the city where the package takes place. We also include different hotel category options so that the price is adapted to all budgets. All our hotels have been carefully selected by our team of travel advisors. The travel packages include a number of day trips that will take you to the most important sights of the area you are visiting. For some destinations we also include a meal when we feel it is important that you taste local food & delicious wines.

What is the group size on your Small Group Travel Packages in France?

At Ophorus we are specialized in small group tours. Typically we use premium minivans that can take a maximum of 8 passengers which makes for a more personalized experience. For our most popular tours it can happen that we use a 16 seater minibus which is the maximum number of persons that we will take on any of our France Travel Packages.

What is an Ophorus Travel Vacation Package in France?

Our France Travel Packages have been designed by our professional team of travel advisors and include all the main services that you would expect on a multi day program. On our travel packages, we have included your arrival and departure transfers, selected boutique hotels that we know will correspond to the expectations of our guests. We also include day trips that include the important landmarks and significant experiences of the region you are traveling in. When appropriate, we also include meals that will have you taste aromatic local food & taste delicious wines.

What is the duration of your France Travel Packages?

Our small group travel packages in France usually last between 4 to 10 days maximum. These packages typically include a specific region of France and will include all the highlights the region has to offer. Our packages can be booked on a private basis for those who would prefer a more personalized experience. Another option is to book our Shared Travel packages in France that will have travel with other guests.

Cancellation policies

What is your cancellation policy for Helicopter Flights?

Helicopter Flight Cancellation Policy:
In case the flight is cancelled due to weather conditions, payment will be completely refunded. In case flight is cancelled by client, the following cancellation fees will be applied:

Cancellation between 1 month and 7 days before flight: 30% of the total price
Cancellation between 7 days and 48 hours before flight: 50% of the total price
Cancellation between 48 hours and 24 hours before flight: 75% of the total price
Cancellation on the day of the flight: 100% of the total price.

What are your payment conditions & cancellation policy for Shared Tours?

Ophorus requires full payment by credit card, internet payment (through our website) or wire transfer (Wire transfer fees at the charge of the Guest) to make a reservation. We accept payment by AMEX, Visa and MasterCard. There is no charge or service fee for processing credit card payments except with American Express +3%.

For any cancellation, the following fees will be deducted from the refund:
Up to 24 hours prior to departure > no cancellation fees except the booking fees
24 hours prior to departure and less > no refund

All semi private tours depart on time. Clients should present themselves at the allocated meeting point at least 10 minutes before the beginning of the tour. Driver/guide will not wait unless Ophorus has been previously informed that the client will be late with a maximum waiting time of 10 minutes. Beyond that waiting time, tours will depart and Ophorus cannot be held responsible for clients missing their tour.
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