Full buffet breakfast daily; 1 lunch with a drink; 7 three-course dinners with wine, including a special welcome dinner in Paris and a special dinner in 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 with wine at one of Paris’ lively restaurants. Then, take the elevator to the second floor of the EIFFEL TOWER to get a first impression of the “City of Light.”
Paris. In the morning, an optional excursion is available to the lavish Palace and Gardens of Versailles. Guided sightseeing features the Paris’ main highlights such as the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Champs-Elysées, and more. Visit magnificent NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL and admire its Rose Window. An exciting optional excursion to the artists’ hill of Montmartre, followed by a cruise on the Seine River is available.
Paris–Honfleur–Bayeux. A pleasant drive through the rural area west of Paris takes you to Honfleur with its enclosed harbor. Time to explore this picturesque town before heading to Bayeux, where you can admire QUEEN MATILDA’S TAPESTRY, depicting in extraordinary detail William the Conqueror’s conquest of England.
Bayeux–Normandy Beaches–Mont St. Michel–St. Malo. On to the Normandy Beaches, scene of the Allied Forces’ landing on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Stop at OMAHA BEACH and visit the AMERICAN CEMETERY. Enjoy an included lunch before you visit the famous ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL, spectacularly perched on a rocky isle in the Gulf of Saint Malo. (B,L)
St. Malo–Essé–Angers–Loire Valley. Enjoy a scenic drive through Brittany and stop in Essé to visit [LF] La Roche-aux-Fees, a dolmen dating back to 3500-3000 BC. Then, enter the Loire Valley, and stop in Angers for an orientation of this beautiful town on your way to Blois. 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 [LF] dinner with wine at the well-known Brasserie Bordelaise restaurant.
Bordeaux. Excursion to St. Emilion. In the morning, you can join an optional excursion to Arcachon. Situated at the southern entrance of the Atlantic Ocean, Arcachon Bay is crowned by Europe’s largest sand dune, the Dune de Pyla. This afternoon, your highlight is a visit to St. Emilion, where an exclusive WINE TASTING at Château Soutard awaits you.
Bordeaux–Biarritz–Lourdes. A wonderful stop at the coast to visit 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 this evening, join the memorable rosary and candlelight procession.
Lourdes–Carcassonne–Nîmes. 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 for your overnight stay. Find out what both this city and Genoa, in Italy, have to do with jeans!
Nîmes–Grasse–Nice. This morning, arrive in Grasse, and visit the famous Fragonard Usine Historique, where [LF] an expert will give a lecture about PERFUME-MAKING. Then, drive along the Mediterranean coast and the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice, where you will stay for two nights.
Nice. Enjoy this enchanting resort on the Côte d’Azur at your own pace. Visit the beach or browse through the elegant shops; you may wish to join an optional excursion to the famous artist town of St. Paul de Vence. An optional excursion to Monte Carlo is available.
Nice–Aix-En-Provence, France–Lyon. Drive through the splendid vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon and arrive at Aix-en-Provence, one of France’s most elegant cities. It was the birthplace of painter Cézanne, and has always attracted artists from all over the world. Follow your Tour Director for a walking tour through the center of the town. Then, join the main highway of France, the Route du Soleil, to Lyon, and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and its Roman ruins from FOURVIÈRE HILL
Lyon–Dijon. Start today with [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. During your orientation, hear about the various dukes who ruled over the area, then there is time to browse the shops and enjoy this charming city.
Dijon–Paris. Enjoy a ride on the high-speed TGV TRAIN to Paris. Tonight, dinner and a lively cabaret show at one of Paris’ nightclubs might just be the ticket!
Paris. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.