Driving Adventure FAQ

This trip sounds really fun, but I’m not a “group trip” type of person.  How does the Mini Cooper Tour differ from other group trips?

There are a few group activities such as the wine events and a casual gathering at a small bistro on the first evening, but guests should feel free to explore on their own if that’s what they prefer.  Most people, though, find that driving around the south of France rally style is much more fun than doing it alone.

A convoy of Mini’s attracts a lot of attention, smiles, and photo opportunities!

Why do you provide round-trip airport transfers?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just pick up the car at the airport?

Well, no.  Mini’s are delivered to the hotel.  Upon arrival at Nice CoteD’Azur airport you’ll be met in the arrivals terminal and transferred to Le Hameau in St Paul de Vence.  I just don’t think anyone hopping off an 8 hour transatlantic flight really wants to take the time to pick-up a rental car and search for their hotel.

What about jet-lag?

We do recommend arriving in France at least two days prior to the first day of the trip in order to mitigate the effects of jet-lag.  We will be more than happy to provide assistance with travel plans, flights, etc.

How large, or small, will the group be?

The group will consist of at least 3 cars (plus the lead car) and no more than 7 cars.

If we have 7 cars we’ll usually add an additional lead car.

Tell me about the hotel I’ll be staying in in St paul de Vence.

Hotel Le Hameau is a charming property ideally located just below the medieval village of St Paul de Vence (a walk up to the village takes about 10 to 15 minutes).  Le Hameau has a secured parking lot, boutique art shop, pool, bar, air-conditioned rooms, WiFi in the front lobby, and a kitchen that serves snacks and drinks until 5 pm.

Please note: The rooms are small compared to hotel rooms in the states but that’s really the case throughout Europe.

What are the Mini Coopers like?

Le Stuff has contracted with a local agency to provide late model Mini Cooper Cabriolets for each of our trips. Cars are delivered to the hotel on the first day of the trip and picked up after your departure on the final day.  Vehicles are no more than six months old and have low mileage.  All Mini’s are front wheel drive/120 hp and have automatic transmission with a manual shift option.  Pre-programmed Navigation Systems ensure that, should you split from the group, you’ll never be in doubt about your next destination.

Once I arrive at Le Hameau can I just hop in my Mini and go?

Mini’s are available on arrival day, but you will have to endure a quick vehicle orientation and sign one or two forms before you can hit the road.

Are fuel and insurance included in the trip price?

Fuel is not included in the price.  On average, cars will require two fill ups (once during the week and then a final top-off at the end of the trip, though if you’re a bit heavy-footed it may be more).  Le Stuff purchases the maximum amount of insurance possible for each vehicle.  In car rental lingo this means we “buy down the excess” to its lowest limit of 500 Euros.

The excess is the maximum amount (500 Euros) the renter will be liable for should there be an accident.  According to the terms of our agreement with the car rental company, the driver is responsible for the excess.  Before you embark on your trip Le Stuff will require the passport number of each driver as well as one valid credit card per vehicle.  The credit card will be “blocked off” (not charged) by the rental car company for the amount of 500 Euros for the duration of the trip.

What’s a typical day like on a Mini Cooper Tour?

Usually we’ll gather at the hotel between 9:00 and 9:30 in the morning (after a hearty breakfast) for a quick rundown of the day’s route (each one carefully designed to take advantage of light traffic conditions, days of the week, etc.).

Then we drive!

Each day has at least one or two destination points (a particular village or vineyard) where we’ll stop for lunch, a wine tasting, etc.

Restaurant recommendations will be provided by your guide.

After lunch we’ll meet at a pre-determined time and continue our exploration of the south of France!

Driving normally winds down in the late afternoon so that guests can have plenty of time for a rest before heading out to dinner.

OK, I’m ready to book!  What information do you need from me?

A 30% deposit (per person) is required to reserve your spot on the Mini Cooper trip.

We’ll also need passport information for each traveler as well as one valid credit card per couple (see information on insurance above).  Pricing is based on room classification so you’ll need to specify which room you would like to book.  Le Hameau is a small hotel with only 17 rooms, so suites and superior rooms are on a first-come first-serve basis.

Please send deposits to:

Bascom & Chick Travel
P.O. Box 130814
Birmingham, Al 35213

Questions?  Contact me at dirkdominick@gmail.com. 

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