About Best of France Travels

Best of France Travels first welcomed guests to France in 2000. Company creator and tour manager, Carol Etheridge, was a former French-language teacher who studied and lived in Paris. As Carol herself will tell you: “After the experience of living in France, my primary goal became: “How to get back there – as soon and as often as possible”.
Carol later made a career change and became a successful French import boutique owner. Through her yearly buying trips to France, she discovered tiny villages and out of the way places in the countryside that she didn’t know existed. Being able to discover new aspects of France and immerse herself once again in life in France, Carol knew that her life was about to change. Her boutique clients delighted in hearing Carol’s stories from her travels in France and often asked if she could take them with her, and so Best of France Travels was born!

For over 22 years, Carol has shared her love of France with hundreds of happy travelers on new discovery tours of France. She has made the decision to retire from leading and managing tours, and is thrilled to pass the baton to her friend, fellow Francophile, and long-time group travel specialist, Shannan Carter.

Best of France Travels will continue to offer the exceptional France discovery tours it is known for; and with Carol’s blessing, it will expand in the coming years to include some new destinations in France. But don’t be surprised if you see Carol pop-up on tour in the future!

Meet Shannan – Owner & your Best of France Travels Tour Guide

So how does an Australian end up in France you ask? I’ve always had a love of travel and foreign languages which is a result of being a child of an Air Force parent and our family lived in many different countries as I was growing up! During my final year of high school, I was beyond fortunate to be selected by Rotary International to travel to the French-speaking region of Belgium as an exchange student. It was for a one year program and I can definitely say in the most positive way, that experience changed my life!

Almost immediately after my high school graduation, off I went on a big adventure to the other side of the world where I could put my French language skills to the test! It was early on in my exchange year that I went on holiday to Provence with my host family. There was something about the small village and the local culture which found a permanent place in my heart. I visited other parts of France during that exchange year and it was those experiences which led me to exclaim with 100% certainty that “one day I will live in the south of France”.

From incredible immersive travel experiences around the globe with groups, my passion was always being able to share my France with groups. I’m thrilled to not only live in southern France, where the colors, the people, and the culture bring me great joy; but I am honored that I am able to support others in their discovery of this beautiful country I now call home.

I am also honored to receive the baton from my friend, Carol, and continue her legacy of providing exceptional travel experiences in France. This is a team effort and an exciting time for both of us, and Best of France Travels! We thank all our loyal guests for their continued support as we move into 2024 and well-beyond!

“The French air cleans up the brain and does good – a world of good.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

What is my experience?


Education: I studied French and Chinese Mandarin at The University of Newcastle, Australia, and was also awarded a French Government study scholarship to Paris and Toulon during my teaching career. I was also fortunate to travel a number of times to both France and Belgium during my university and teaching years.

Teacher: As a high school French teacher, my students might have thought I was a little theatrical in my instruction at times, but I wanted to instill my love of the French language, the culture and the fun of language learning as best I possibly could! Our school was in a somewhat remote location, so trips to France were geographically a little far for us and a budget-challenge at the time, but we weren’t too far to be able to travel to the French overseas territory of New Caledonia! I traveled with a group of students from a mix of grades for a week in the South Pacific paradise of Nouvelle-Caledonie, where they were able to live the language and discover that people really do use the language, and that the French culture was alive and thriving!

Post-teaching career, I have worked with schools, colleges and adult groups across the globe on their French language and world history programs to France. I love experiential travel for any age. I am also a firm believer that positive teaching and learning moments, especially during travel opportunities, can change the world.


Living in France: As an educator I was fortunate to have an opportunity to immerse myself in the French language and culture during a professional scholarship program provided by the French Government. It was for French language teachers with a focus on pedagogy (method of teaching and learning), and French arts and culture. We studied in Paris and Toulon and participated in many wonderful cultural activities with local families and other educators. My home is now in Carcassonne, France, where I have lived since 2021 and I absolutely love it!

Practical experience: We listen to our guests and we learn. We have learned to slow down a little bit and how to organize our days to the best advantage of our travelers. We appreciate that nobody likes long bus rides. Our travelers are on vacation and want free time to relax. We have learned that customer service is a priority in restaurants and hotels. We know that authentic experiences and meeting people make the BEST memories.

As your guide, I have 23+ years of leading and guiding groups around the world with having direct input into the tour planning and operations. Best of France Travels is unique with what we offer our guests. We pride ourselves on offering well-paced, relaxing, exciting and inspiring tours so that you feel truly immersed in the culture and have the opportunity to truly discover France.

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Why I love what I do:

The people I meet and the friends I make as a France tour guide are the most important reasons I love what I do. A favorite part of each day is the mornings at breakfast together, anticipating what the day holds for us. I love when my travelers tell me about their own discoveries at the end of the day. I enjoy the “Show and Tell” on the bus and our travelers’ delight in sharing what they bought, what culinary treats they tasted, who they talked to, and how friendly people have been to them. Many of our travelers have made lifelong friends on our tours. They plan new tours and continue to travel with us and their new friends. No matter how many times I revisit a place, each time is different because our guests make all the difference!

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Allow me to share this passion and experience with you!

I invite you to travel to discover France and its varied regions with a passionate and experienced France tour guide. Come to France to visit a region in depth and soak up the French way of life. You may take this home with you and discover that you have adopted the French style of taking things slow and easy, savoring life. You will be inspired to recreate these experiences and may find that your quick morning coffee becomes a café au lait (finally, a use for that milk frother!). You may cook more with fresh ingredients, walk more, and will very likely become a bit more particular about your wine and chocolate. Dinner or breakfast on your terrace, perhaps? Discover life in France and create memories to last a lifetime.

Relax, learn, wonder, be amazed, appreciate, savor, live in the moment, make your own discoveries, meet new people, try different things, have a real vacation, be a traveler – not a tourist.


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust


Pack your bags and let’s go!

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