Welcome to Authentic Travel and Tours, LLC! Our small group tours offer travelers a variety of places and activities to go off the beaten track, make connections from the past to the present, spend time with local people,and learn from local guides. On some of our tours we offer hands-on art immersion in addition to cultural adventures to the southwestern USA, Ireland, Scotland, and France. Our goal is to create a perfect balance of fun and adventure, and to mix in some history, archaeology, and contemporary culture. Meeting and working with local people, artists and performers is always a highlight, as is walking in and absorbing the landscape. Follow our blog to receive updates on new tours, which will be announced soon! You can also like our Facebook page and will see announcements there as new trips are added.
Our next tour is offered in May, but the deadline is February 20th!
Cave Art, Castles and Cuisine in southwestern France May 9-19th, 2017
A prehistoric pilgrimage in Southwestern France
Featuring renowned archaeologists, local experts on history and culture, and gourmet cuisine. Join us for a unique small group tour in the southwest of France, where you will see spectacular prehistoric art, learn about the fascinating culture and history, and enjoy memorable food and wine! Follow in the footsteps of the people who lived 30,000 years ago and beyond in the Vezere Valley, the cradle of prehistoric art and culture.
We will explore the cave paintings and carvings, most in their original settings, and will probe deeply into the meaning of the images. Expect unique, in-depth interpretations of history and art by renowned archaeologists and guides. There will be hands-on activities, such as trying our hands at painting on rock walls or crafting a prehistoric oil lamp, as well as a demonstration of flint knapping as done by ancient people. Our days will be filled with visits to stunning rock shelters and caves, along with guided tours of picturesque castles and villages that will bring medieval history alive. A highlight will be our following in the footsteps of pilgrims to Rocamadour, a village steeped in history and home of the “Black Madonna”. There will be time to walk a small stretch of the Pilgrim’s Road, which many took onward to Spain to walk the Santiago de Compostela. As we meander through the French countryside, we’ll absorb the striking beauty of diverse landscapes: cliffs with rock shelters, river valleys with castles looming above them, lush farms, walnut groves, woodlands and vineyards. We’ll sample the specialties of the region in local, family run restaurants and find delights in the area markets, such as walnut oil, foie gras, and truffles. We’ll end most days with a very special gourmet meal prepared at our hotel by Chef Laurent. See the full brochure here cave-art-castles-and-cuisine-may-2017
Your tour will be led by scholar, artist and teacher Joan Molloy Slack, who will guide the activities and interpret the range of fascinating things we will see and experience, from rock art to culture and contemporary art. She has been organizing and leading tours for 15 years to Ireland, Scotland, France, and Mexico as well as within the United States, and has specialized in Irish Art History, prehistoric ceramics and textiles, and visual art as it relates to culture. She has been a gallery and art center owners at Riverrun Center for the Arts, (www.riverrunarts.com), a college instructor, a ceramic and fiber artist, museum curator, and holds a Master’s Degree in Prehistoric Ceramics and Visual Art. Joan will bring her knowledge of art history, experience as a museum curator, and her passion for art and culture to our daily excursions. She has been leading small group tours for nearly 20 years.
Watch our Facebook page or follow this site to see new trips as they are posted. An upcoming tour and workshop in felt and eco printing in Ireland September is in the making! Posted soon.
To read about past tours to Ireland, click below, or see some of the other pages on this website.
click here for the flavor of what we offer: Fiber art tour to Ireland 2016
Our Vision: We call our business “Authentic Travel and Tours” because it is just that-the “real deal”. We believe in connection to people and places, which can only be accomplished in small groups and personalized experiences. We value variety, and guarantee to pique your interest, but zooming from place to place will never happen on our tours- we would rather take the time to allow our travelers to get to know a region, its people and its qualities. If you enjoy traveling with a small group, getting off the beaten track and being a traveler rather than a tourist, learning as you enjoy new places and people, and participating in interesting, fun and varied activities, this is the trip for you! We make every effort to assure your comfort and safety, and pay special attention to those important details that make a trip extraordinary. Join us for a creative adventure you will always remember!
Testimonials from past tour participants:
“My travel experience with Joan leading the group was above and beyond my expectation. Joan’s research into so many areas of interest about the sites and folklore made the trip stimulating and insightful without being overloaded. She is a seasoned guide with great “in country” connections and a sincere love of the land she travels. I highly recommend Joan Slack as a tour guide. You will have a wonderful, memorable time. I did.” J.H.
“Joan organizes her trips like she creates her art: beautiful, practical, and full of meaning. I’d never been on a group trip before. Joan’s voyage to Orkney in Scotland was a joy, every day. It’s one of the very best adventures of my life.” C. P.
“If you want dependability combined with unique experiences, attention to details and wonderful connections, this is a great tour to take. Each day has been planned for a balance of activities, a good pace and plenty of enjoyment. Joan’s background and knowledge really makes for a deeper understanding of everything we see.” K.M.W.
“If you have never been on a small group tour, go with Joan. If you have been with someone else, go again with Joan. Her planning, arrangements, and site selections are perfect! You will meet warm, friendly and local people from all walks of life with talents to share. I still have a Bridget’s Cross, made by Joe from our trip, hanging by my door. Happy travels!” A.H.
Authentic Travel and Tours is owned by art history scholar, artist, teacher and writer Joan Molloy Slack, and tours are created and led by her. Assistant leaders, co-leaders and local guides enhance the guiding of each tour. Joan believes that including local people and guides on day trips is essential in creating unique experiences and authentic travel. Her background in research and experiences in the tour locations has enabled her to meet and study with many local guides who are now friends and colleagues, and she shares these very special relationships with you on her tours. She has posted many of her essays about her experiences around the world on the “blog” pages, and we hope you enjoy them!