We regularly receive emails from visitors in France who relate they are lost in trying to find information on how to get from one place in France to another. The latest asked us for help in getting from Compiegne to Pierrefonds by bus. On such occasions we refrain from advising them to book one of our private tours in France, and instead we suggest they seek the Office de Tourisme (official tourism office) of the community they are trying to reach.
Finding the official tourism office of each community is easy: search ‘tourism office + the name of the community’ and it will normally appear in the first returns. If you have a red Michelin guide for France, the telephone number of each official tourism office is listed in the first paragraph for each community that is listed.
Most official tourism offices in France have at least one person who speaks English, and their offices are a gold-mine of information on how to get to and from their community and near-by points, using public transportation. They also provide information on the opening hours and fees for visiting places of interest in their community. They further inform you about special events, such as annual iris or cartoon festivals. If you ask for it, they will mail or email you a wealth of documentation including maps and brochures, frequently in English, that you can then study at your leisure.
Don’t bother asking them for a specific recommendation for a particular business, whether it is a restaurant, hotel, or haberdasher. They can not be seen to favor one establishment versus another. But you can ask them for a list of all of the establishments of a particular sort in their community, they will provide one. If, after receiving your list, you don’t know who to choose, consult us. If we know the establishments, we will inform you of our favorites. We have no compunctions about those.