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Slow Tours since 2007

Slow Tours was established as a tour operator in 2007, running 8-day tours in all the beautiful regions of France, in the best seasons of Spring and Autumn. Delightful tours, no rushing, small groups, where we went off the beaten track, had a lot of fun, visited so many chateaux, beautiful rivers, lakes and beaches, and indulged ourselves and our guests in delicious wine-tasting and gastronomic meals.

Why Slow Tours?

  • Customer Service: Hand-picked partners in whom we trust to deliver great service.
  • Best Selection: The best range of escorted and self-guided small group tours in Europe to choose from
  • Secure payment: Secure booking onsite through Stripe, the largest online provider of financial payment services.
  • Support: Contact us for support services on any of our tours - email or telephone support.
  • Reviews: Customer reviews available, and being constantly updated

Where did the idea of 'Slow Tours' come from?

Director of the company. Carol Haslam had lived in France for 6 years. During that time, many of her Australian friends visited, commenting that the best time they spent in France was when Carol took them out on day excursions while staying in the studio apartment attached to her Mediterranean villa, where she lived with two of her children. Guests who stayed on and hired cars found it stressful. Those who took tours in large coaches covering too many cities and travelling on auto-routes found them too busy and impersonal. They hated staying just one or two nights and moving on early in the morning, and preferred to stay long enought to unpack their bags for a more relaxed and 'at home' feeling. Above all, the moment an umbrella or flag went up to herd them back onto a bus, was almost always at the same moment they had started to enjoy themselves, and wanted to extend their time where they were visiting.

So Carol took notes of what was good, what was missing, what needed to be changed and found a niche in the market for tours which were in smaller groups, more personalised, at an easy pace with flexible itineraries.

Established in 2007

In 2007, after much planning and visiting suitable accommodation for guests in France (converted farmhouses, chateaux and manor houses with gardens), Carol created 'Slow Tours' - a business which was at that time on the leading edge of the 'Slow Travel' movement, and connected with the 'Slow Food' concept. In small groups, with flexible itineraries, visiting important sites, with many 'off-the-track' visits, a range of local good food restaurant, bistro and cafe experiences, wine-tasting and much more, Carol has been running tours in many regions of France, and across the border into the Italian lakes area.

Slow Tours Europe

In 2014, after 7 years of running up to 10 x week-long tours a year, a new website was required to keep up with the changing technical environment. With help from some of the team, Carol decided to develop the business further. Over previous years, some of Slow Tours clients had asked if Carol knew other tour operators who ran similar tours in other European countries. Trawling the internet finding such businesses was not a short nor an easy task, but friendships were made with similar businesses, and this was the foundation of the new 'Slow Tours Europe' as a tour operator and wholesaler.

A new website was finally launched in February 2016, with regular additions of new partners' tours - cycling tours, walking tours, bike & barge tours, food tours, wine tours, boat and bike tours, sail and bike tours, language schools with excursions, and more, still retaining the original small group minibus 'exploring and culture tours'.

Tourism vs Travel - the Slow Tours philosophy

You may ask what the difference is between travel and tourism. This is our view

  • Travel broadens the mind; is a way to learn about different cultures and ways of living; it helps people to find friends in other places, to learn about their culinary specialites. It allows the traveller to expand his or her knowledge of another country's history and goeography, its language and art, music and architecture, flora and fauna. We come in small numbers, valuing and protecting the environment and way of life of the people and countries we visit.
  • Tourism is often disliked by locals because of the overwhelming volume of people arriving in one place at one time. It is mass volume for creating wealth for the multi-national corporations, although occasionally, some of the local businesses benefit from them being there.

We walked a mile in your shoes....

We work with over 80 partners in Europe, small, medium and family businesses. We run some of our own tours, but where we find a local business running tours with the same philosophy as us, we work with them instead of setting up in competition with them. We select our partners, we check out their tours, we are determined to offer the best service to our clients, and feel this is how we can do that in a way which is sustainable and good for everyone. 

A large range of tours in Europe

By June 2017 over 400 tours were on the website, hand-picked, great partner companies, and many of the tours checked personally. We have done the hard work so clients can select the Slow Tour of their choice, book and pay online. For a more personal experience, an email or telephone contact is provided on the website.

As the company grows so does the team, and there is a really enthusiastic one at Slow Tours, with a back office of great people involved in the development of the company.

Slow Tours Team

Carol Haslam

Director (and occasional tour guide), Carol has an IT background in systems analysis, and over 30 years as a business consultant, and 12 years in the travel business. She is bilingual French and speaks enough German, Italian and Spanish to get by.

Tenneale Brennan

Sales & Marketing, with 10 years experience as a travel consultant, a very important requirement for online bookings. Tenneale is a creative and innovative person with great experience in Social Media.

Back Office :

Chris Jenner - Marketing Strategy - Chris had us up and running in no time

Lowen Partridge - Pear Tree Brand Strategy who keeps us on track with our branding strategy

Zac Bailey and his team - Our technical and website gurus

Zoe Dixon - A warm welcome to our new intern from Flinders University

A growing company

As the company develops further, we are looking for tours which fit our criteria and as we find new partners our offering will continue to grow. The Slow Tours Travelers Club has been created to show our appreciation to people who book tours with us. All you need do to become a member is to travel with us! Benefits are in receiving first offers on early bird specials and a discount on future tours.

For further information on our tours, our partners and Club membership, please contact us at [email protected]

Check out all Slow Tours and use the search feature to find your favourite European experiences.

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