Full buffet breakfast daily; 7 three-course dinners including dinners at a local restaurant in Paris and Bordeaux
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE. Welcome to Paris! At 5:30 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant and an orientation drive for a first impression of this magnificent city.
PARIS. In the morning, an optional excursion is available to the impressive Palace and Garden of Versailles, built by the “Sun King,” Louis XIV. Guided sightseeing features the Opéra, Madeleine, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and a visit to the impressive COURTYARD of Les Invalides, a complex of buildings, originally meant as a home and hospital for war veterans, which houses various museums as well as the Dome Church, burial place of Napoleon. This evening, why not join an optional cabaret show?
PARIS–CAEN. EXCURSION TO NORMANDY BEACHES. Arrive in Caen and visit the fascinating MEMORIAL MUSEUM FOR PEACE with its great exhibits and audiovisual show about the Battle of Normandy. Continue to the Normandy Beaches, scene of the Allied Forces’ landing on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Stop in Arromanches and see the Mulberry Harbor. Then, drive to OMAHA BEACH for a picture stop and visit the AMERICAN CEMETERY and memorial.
CAEN–MONT ST. MICHEL–SAINT-MALO. Visit the famous ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL, with a history going back to the 8th-century and spectacularly perched on a rocky isle. Look forward to another highlight: [LF] in the corsair city of Saint-Malo ride the LITTLE TRAIN, the best way to fully discover the historic walled town with Saint Vincent’s Cathedral and St. Peter’s Gate. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Gulf of Saint-Malo.
ST. MALO–ESSÉ–ANGERS–LOIRE VALLEY. Drive through Brittany and stop in Essé to visit [LF] LA ROCHE-AUX-FEES, a dolmen dating back to 3500-3000 BC. On your way to the Loire Valley, enjoy an orientation of the beautiful town of Angers. This evening, you may wish to sample traditional cuisine at a local restaurant.
LOIRE VALLEY–CHENONCEAU CASTLE–BORDEAUX. Visit the 16th-century castle of Catherine de Medici, lovely CHENONCEAU, a fairytale castle with a moat and towers. Continue to Bordeaux, and join your Tour Director for a walking tour through this pretty city on the Garonne River. Tonight, savor dinner at the well-known Brasserie Bordelaise restaurant.
BORDEAUX. EXCURSION TO ST. EMILION. A morning at leisure offers the opportunity to join an exciting optional excursion. Later, enjoy a highlight visit to St. Emilion for an exclusive WINE TASTING at Château Soutard.
BORDEAUX–BIARRITZ–LOURDES. Stop in Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy seaside resort. Continue to Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the GROTTO where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858, and join the memorable Rosary and candlelight procession this evening.
LOURDES–CARCASSONNE–NÎMES. Travel from Lourdes to the beautifully preserved, medieval, walled town of Carcassonne for a leisurely walk by the ancient battlements and time to explore the town on your own. Continue to Nîmes and find out what both this city and Genoa, in Italy, have to do with jeans!
NÎMES–GRASSE–FRENCH RIVIERA. This morning, arrive in Grasse, and visit the famous Fragonard Usine Historique, where [LF] an expert will give a lecture about PERFUME-MAKING. Then, enjoy spectacular views as you drive along the Mediterranean coast and the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
FRENCH RIVIERA AT LEISURE. A full day at leisure on the enchanting Côte d’Azur gives you a chance to visit the beach or browse through the elegant shops. To make the most of your stay, optional excursions are available to the famous artist town of St. Paul de Vence and to Monte Carlo.
FRENCH RIVIERA–AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE–LYON. Aix-en-Provence, one of France’s most elegant cities, was the birthplace of painter Cézanne, and has always attracted artists from all over the world. Join your Tour Director for a walking tour through the center of the town. Next is Lyon, the second largest city of France. Drive to FOURVIÈRE HILL, and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and its Roman ruins before arriving at your hotel.
LYON–DIJON. Sit back and relax during [LF] a PRIVATE CRUISE on the Rhône and Sâone Rivers with a Local Guide, who will explain the sights. Time to walk through OLD LYON and see the Murales, examples of trompe l’oeil, started by a group of students in the ‘70s. Continue to Dijon, capital of Burgundy and famous for mustard. During your orientation, hear about the various dukes who ruled over the area, admire the architecture, and learn about toits bourguignons (Burgundian polychrome roofs).
DIJON–PARIS. Ride the high-speed TGV TRAIN to Paris, where an optional excursion to the artists’ hill of Montmartre, followed by a relaxing cruise on the Seine River, is available.
PARIS. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.