Colleen doesn’t do this often, but she’s going on the same Joyful Vegan Trip for a 3rd time! Why, you ask? Well, imagine celebrating the holiday season in a region filled-to-the-brim with quaint Christmas markets in super cute medieval villages nestled in hill-side vineyards with mountains on one side and the Rhine River and Germany on the other, and with Paris thrown in for good measure (because…um…Paris!)…
Can you blame her!!
This is fast becoming a World Vegan Travel/CPG Vegan Trips tradition and there are few places in the world we’d rather be to celebrate the Christmas holidays: beautiful Alsace, France!
Part French, part German, and 100% Alsatian, this is a place unlike any other in France. A veritable fairy tale land sprinkled all over with perfectly preserved walled medieval villages that look as though they’ve popped up from a children’s bedtime story. Colorful higgledy-piggledy half-timbered houses lean against each other, overlooking a backdrop of rolling countryside striped with vineyards as far as the eyes can see. Add a string of mountain-top castles to keep guard and you’ll quickly agree there is no better place than this idyllic little corner of Europe in which to spend the Christmas holidays.
If you can imagine yourself exploring medieval alleyways with a cup of mulled wine in hand, then this is the trip for you! We’re taking over a 16th century inn and transforming it into Vegan Centrale while we go about exploring the region in a comfortable and relaxed way.
Colleen and her team of experienced tour leaders and guides have worked very hard to create a trip that will showcase this amazing area of France, all the while focusing on giving our fellow vegan (and vegan-friendly!) travelers an array of experiences and activities that’s in line with their particular interests.
Come enjoy all of this with vegan author and animal advocate Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and 20-28 like-minded new friends, all in deluxe & cozy comfort in our very own hotel, and despite being in France, never EVER having to worry about plant-based food!
Mulhouse train station and Basel EuroAirport, France
March 31st, 2022
Alsace is an amazing place, full of memorable sights, the cutest villages and cozy Christmas markets. But we feel it’s our hotel and local guide that really makes the trip!
Our home for 6 nights is Auberge La Couronne, in the small town of Ensisheim, on the south end of Alsace. Located midway between Colmar and Basel, and close to the hub city of Mulhouse, it’s a great location for which to go out and explore the region every day. But it’s the staff that makes it truly special. Everyone, from management to the housekeeping, is extremely friendly and helpful, and all of them jump wholeheartedly into making our trip as vegan as possible. The chef and his staff create what we think is the best vegan French cuisine anywhere, and they are not afraid to tackle local and French favorites. Expect local specialties like choucroute, tarte flambée and black forest cake, as well as famous French fare like croque-monsieur, bourguignon, hachis parmentier, and more. Even cheese fondue makes an appearance!
Learn more about our amazing 16th Century Inn here.
Once we hit Alsace, we’ll have an addition to our group: our local French guide, Muriel! We’ve tried for many years to stomp her with random questions about the local history and culture, but she’s been able to give us an answer every time.. even if it means a trip to the library! Muriel is also able to share her encyclopedic knowledge of the area (including the Black Forest and Basel!) while making sure it’s kept entertaining. That’s good because we often surprise our travelers with a bit of trivia on our last day 😉 You can learn more about Muriel here.
Do note that the itinerary below is subject to change. Some activities, times and even days may get switched around, but once you sign up you will be kept updated. Please rest assured that if anything does change, it will be for the best and make the trip even better. We’re hoping that the itinerary below should, at the very least, whet your appetite — pun definitely intended!
Solo Travelers can choose to:
SINGLE ROOM AVAILABILITY: due to the number of rooms at our 16th Century Alsace inn, a maximum of 4 single rooms will be available for booking and they will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.
SHARING ROOM WITH ANOTHER SOLO TRAVELER: if you prefer to share a room and not pay the single supplement, we will put in touch with another traveler of the same gender who also wants to room. You can see if you’re a good fit and reconfirm your booking.
Please note that sharing a room may not be possible if COVID19 is still an issue in France. We don’t foresee this will be the case in late 2022, but if it should arise that we can no longer offer a single room, then solo travelers will need to pay the single supplement (1000$). Signing up as a solo traveler means that you agree to pay the single supplement should we no longer be able or allowed to offer shared rooms to our solo travelers.
We expect this trip to sell out quickly so ensure your spot on the trip and sign up early by paying the sign-up deposit (1500$/person).
The deadline for this trip to be confirmed will be March 31st, 2022. If the trip isn’t confirmed by or before that date, the sign-up fee will be fully refunded. If the trip is confirmed, the sign-up fee and subsequent payments are non-refundable. Please see our cancellation policy section below for more information.
In order to sign up, fill in the form on this page. Any problems or questions? Email us!
If you are signing up as a solo traveler, do so quickly! We have limited single rooms. Please read our single travelers section for more information and the single supplement cost.
Following the sign-up fee and trip confirmation, you will need to pay 50% of the trip’s cost by April 15th 2022, with the final payment coming 3 months before the trip’s date: September 3rd, 2022.
Following the sign-up deposit, the remaining balance will be due in 2 installments:
We can work with you on a payment plan: pay your trip in the usual 2 installments, or opt for several. Contact us to discuss what works best for you!
We currently accept US DOMESTIC BANK TRANSFERS, INTERNATIONAL WIRE TRANSFERS and CREDIT CARDS PAYMENTS. Once you sign-up, we will send you the necessary information for you to make your payment.
EXTRA PAYMENT FEES
Online Bank Payment – US only: also called eCheck or ACH, we do not charge a fee for this, although your bank may do so. Please inquire with them directly.
International Wire Transfer: for those outside of the US. We do not charge any fees for this method, although your bank most likely will. Please inquire with them directly, and do mention that our bank is located in Mauritius, so they can give you the correct fees amount.
Credit card payment: the following fees will be added to the total:
Since our trips are highly catered and made of activities that need a lot of planning and organization, all payments (the initial sign-up fee, 50% deposit and final payment) are all non-refundable. This is because we must forward payments for accommodation, transportation, suppliers, etc. very early on, in order to privatize our accommodation, activities and our meals.
The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably introduced some degree of anxiety and incertitude regarding international travel. Our policy is that, should there be a need to cancel the trip (ie covid19 reasons, natural disaster, human conflict, etc) before the trip’s deadline, then the sign-up fee (only) will be refunded, minus processing fees (ie bank, transfer, etc). These are usually small amounts.
If the trip needs to be canceled once we have started to accept the post-signup fee payments (50% deposit and final remaining balance), we will strive to refund as much as possible or offer a voucher for future CPG Vegan Trips, whichever we can best negotiate with our on-the-ground partners and suppliers. We will really try our best!
Please note that the refund of your sign-up fee will only apply if we cancel the trip. Our policy is to not run a trip if Covid-19 imposes too many restrictions for the enjoyment of the trip, such as:
If the trip does go ahead (ie none of the above apply) and you are unable to attend the trip for any personal reasons, even related to covid-19 (ie your own country changes its travel/quarantine policy, you contract the virus, etc), there is unfortunately no refund. The trip needs to be canceled by us, if we believe it can not run in accordance with our high standards of quality.
Should you still need to cancel for any reason once you have signed up, we will offer your spot to the first person(s) on the waiting list. If we are able to fill your spot, we will refund all payments made, minus processing fees. Having said that, do note that there is no guarantee we will be able to fill up your spot. For this reason, again, it is a good idea to get solid trip insurance when you first sign up.
Arriving late or leaving a trip in progress will not result in a refund, and no refunds will be made for any unused portion of the trip.
TRAVEL MEDICAL INSURANCE – MANDATORY
This is a World Vegan Travel requirement. You will need to provide a policy and emergency contact number in order to join the trip. This can be done just prior to the trip’s date.
Trip Insurance (ie. covering your flight tickets, luggage, etc.) is definitely recommended as well, but not mandatory.
The itinerary is therefore subject to change, especially if we find an experience that we believe would make the trip even better.
DIET RESTRICTION & ALLERGIES
We do try to accommodate everyone’s food restrictions, especially allergies. We can only do so if you let us know of any requirements when you sign up. We begin working with all our hotels and restaurants a long time in advance, and meals are usually locked several months before the trip. At this point, it is often no longer possible to change menus.
In other words: it is your responsibility to alert us of any dietary requirements, restrictions, allergies and needs, when you sign up.
We do realize our prices seem high. However, when compared to many other tours to the region, we are actually comparatively priced when you take into account that our trips include all meals (and vegan to boot!) and drinks, all the tips for drivers and local guides, and many other extras like a amenities/essentials bag, a free laundry day, the support of 2 full time tour leaders (most tours have only one), and, finally, the chance to travel with author and animal advocate Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
It’s also worth noting that there aren’t many 100% fully vegan tours to Alsace. We may be the only one! Veganism is still somewhat of a new concept in France. Our trip cost does factor in the lengthy and hard work done with all our hotels, restaurants and local partners in educating and preparing them for our visit (meals, advocacy, toiletries, etc), which is far beyond any tasks that other tour companies are faced with. This work begins several months before the trip, and approaches full-time hours around 2-3 months prior to the trip’s start date.
We also realize that for many, these types of trips are something they’ve dreamed about for many years. As such, we’ve constructed an itinerary that will make this trip truly memorable in regards to our accommodation, meals, and choice of activities.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and World Vegan Travel work closely together to create JOYFUL VEGAN TRIPS, which are specifically curated by Colleen to ensure the high quality that she has come to be known for. All trips include activities and dedicated time with Colleen, such as Q&A session, round-table discussions, sharing, and more.
Absolutely! We have many people on our trip that sign up as solo travelers. You will have the choice of rooming with another solo travelers of the same gender, or pay the single supplement to get your own private room.
Please see our COST & SIGN-UP section for more information.
You are in charge of your own transportation — whether it be flights, train, bus, car, etc. — to our starting city and hotel, and your return transportation from our departure points. Both of these locations are in the trip info section above.
For your arrival, we ask that you try and arrive early on the first day, as our first meeting tends to be in late afternoon. Do plan ahead adequately to leave you enough time to get to our meeting place by that time. Even better is arriving one or more days before. This would provide you with a chance to take care of jet-lag and visit the town.
Please note that your transportation to our first meeting point is not included.
Our trip finishes up in ENSISHEIM, ALSACE. There are a few options from there. You could choose to return to Paris, or head to another big airport like Frankfurt and ZURICH, by train from Mulhouse (around 20-25 minutes from our hotel). The nearest airport to our hotel is the Euroairport at Basel, Switzerland, about 30 minutes away.
We will provide transfers to Mulhouse train station and Basel EuroAirport airport on departure day, between breakfast and noon only. If you need to leave before or after those times, the transfers are not included.
For citizens of western countries (ie USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc), no visas are necessary for a stay of 90 days or less in the Schengen Area, of which France is a member. Other European citizens do not need a visa to enter France.
Medical travel insurance is mandatory on our trip. We need to have assurances that you are fully covered in the event of a medical emergency, including repatriation. You will need to send us your policy detail and emergency contact number before the trip’s start date.
Trip Insurance (trip cancellation, lost baggage, etc.), on the other hand, is entirely up to you, though we highly recommend purchasing it. It often comes packaged along with medical travel insurance, or you may get coverage simply by paying for the trip using a credit card (inquire with your card supplier).
While of course we cannot predict the future (2020 sure emphasized that point!!) many things are pointing to a yes. Airlines and some medical and travel experts do believe that things look good in terms of returning to some kind of normal by early-to-mid 2021. As our trip is in December of 2022, we sure hope that this is enough time for the pandemic to subside somewhat.
As we are not a travel agency or booking agents, we can’t book any flights or ongoing travel (ie hotels, transportation, etc) for you. However we can surely help with recommendations, suggestions and tips as you look into flights, or extending your holiday. It never hurts to ask, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries whatsoever!
As we’re going to France and Germany at Christmas time, you can expect cold and wet/humid weather. How cold it will be depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re from Canada or Alaska, it will be warmer 😉
Overall expect temperatures to fall anywhere between 5°C (41°F) and 15°C (59°F). Dipping at or below 0°C (32°F) is rare and probably would only occur at night time. Still, you simply never know so best to come prepared with layers. Snow is not uncommon but unlikely during our stay.
Visiting Christmas markets mean some walking, so come prepared with some warm clothing as the temperature will drop in the evenings. We try to visit the markets in the evening when they are at their quaintest with all the beautiful lighting, etc.
It’s a very good idea to pack an umbrella. No need for full-on rain gear (unless you plan on doing lots of hiking).
Some comfy lounging clothes for the time spent all cozied up at our hotel with a book and hot mulled wine is a must!
No need to overpack: we’ll have a laundry day mid-way through the trip. At no time will you need to dress up for our meals, so forget about suits and Sunday dresses.
We will supply you with vegan toiletries which you can use at each hotel, so there’s no need to pack shampoo and soap unless you want to.
If you are coming from outside of Europe, then yes, your mobile phone should work, but do check with your carrier to make sure. It is highly recommended to turn off global roaming unless you carrier can offer you a package for your stay in France. Otherwise you risk being charged exorbitant fees upon you return home!
If you are a UK or other European citizen, your phone should work as usual as Europe no longer has borders when it comes to mobile phone usage. However do check with your carrier to ensure your package qualifies.
If your phone is unlocked (please check with your carrier directly) you can also purchase a French SIM Card from Amazon, and enjoy having a local number and much cheaper data (internet) usage. We recommend the Orange Holiday Europe SIM card. Please follow the instructions that come with the SIM as we do not offer support for this product.
Yes, our hotel has WIFI, and we will also have internet connection on-board our coaches. For the latter, connection speeds may vary, as will the connection itself.
We provide all accommodation, transportation and meals. All expenses during our included activities are taken care of, including tips for guides and drivers.
You will then only need cash for extra purchases such as souvenirs, extra drinks outside of what’s included, extra snacks, etc. There are ATMs in every town and credit cards are accepted in most places. This mostly means Visa and MasterCard, with American Express having quite a lower acceptance rate outside of hotels and higher-end restaurants.
The tour leaders will be carrying extra cash. If you decide to go on an optional activity at the last minute but don’t have enough money, we will be able to help you out and you can simply pay us back when we find an ATM.
For drinks during meals: we have a limited amount of alcoholic beverages (beer and wine) per meal. Any extra drinks on top of what’s provided will require you to pay the suppliers (ie hotel, restaurant) directly. We will make it very clear how much is included before each meal.
Tipping hotel and restaurant staff is not necessary and entirely up to you.
This is generally not a problem, but we do need to be informed at the time of booking so we may prepare the meals accordingly. Please be as precise and detailed as possible. Once on the trip, it is difficult and/or not possible to change our meal plans.
Colleen (and her husband David) is very much another traveler in our group and will be taking the same vehicles and participating in the same activities as the rest of us. You can approach and talk to her at any time, just like anyone else. Having said that, do remember that she will be as tired as everyone after a long day of travel or sightseeing, so we should just be respectful of that as we are of anyone else.
We do have quite a lot of walking activities on this trip, though mostly this will be on flat surfaces in towns and villages.
Youth above 16 years young are welcome. We are currently not accepting any younger children.
There’s no upper age limit, though do note that there is a fair amount of walking on this trip.
We will provide water, juice, coffee, tea, some cocktails and wine/beer during lunches and all dinners and some activities. We will make it clear what’s included and what’s not. Premium alcoholic drinks (ie expensive cognac, whiskey, champagne, etc) are not included. You can pay for those on the spot or sign it to the room and pay when checking out.
World Vegan Travel and Joyful Vegan Trips aim to be a safe place for all LGBTQ travelers. We have a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any sort.
Generally speaking, France is a safe and welcoming travel destination for the LGBTQ community.