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Package details include
Your adventure begins in Paris, the City of Light and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Enjoy an evening welcome reception and orientation drive before departing the next day for Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. Beaune is one of France's key wine centers and home to the most famous annual wine action in France, the Hospices de Beaune. Sample regional wines at a cellar beneath the Hospices de Beaune before continuing your gastronomical explorations with tastings of regional specialties in Lyon.
Journey south to Provence and the walled city of Avignon. See the Palace of the Popes, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest Gothic structure in the world before arriving in Nice on the French Riviera. Enjoy a day at your leisure on this gorgeous stretch of the Cote d'Azur, or "Azure Coast" because of the deep blue color of the Mediterranean Sea.
While in Nice, also spend time exploring neighboring Monaco, long favored by the rich and famous, before turning west back through Provence to the city of Arles. Tour its Roman ruins before heading into the Pyrenees and the town of Carcassonne. A UNESCO World Heritage site, hear amazing stories on a guided tour of Carcassonne’s spectacular ramparts and towers which served as the setting for the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
Continue to the Atlantic Coast before turning north to Bordeaux, the world's major wine industry capital. The annual wine fair held here attracts buyers from around the globe and you’ll get a chance to sample local vintages yourself on a half-day excursion. Also visit the picturesque Dordogne region, best known for the enchanting medieval "Bastide" villages.
Then on to the Loire Valley for a tour of the Château of Chenonceau, a truly exceptional estate with stunning gardens and priceless Renaissance furnishings. Savor an authentic dining experience in a 17th century farmhouse before continuing north to the iconic island town of Mont St. Michel and the D-Day Landing Beaches. Conclude your whirlwind vacation with two nights in Paris, a city tour and an evening cruise on the Seine River to see the lights of Paris at night.
• 12 nights in First Class hotels: 1 night in Paris, 1 night in Lyon, 2 nights in Nice, 1 night in Carcassonne, 1 night in Bayonne, 2 nights in Bordeaux, 1 night in Tours, 1 night in Omaha Beach and 2 final nights in Paris
• 18 meals - Daily breakfast and 6 dinners
• On-tour transportation by deluxe motor coach
• Services of a professional Travel Director
• Seine Cruise & Paris by Night plus unique Insider Experiences
• Airport transfers on arrival and departure days (conditions apply)
• All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes
Day 1 - Arrive in Paris
Welcome to Paris, the City of Light. Relax after your journey or take a wander through the streets of this beautiful city. Tonight, meet for a welcome reception with your fellow travelers and travel director and then enjoy an orientation drive through the city to take in some of the breathtaking sights.
Accommodation: Novotel Tour Eiffel – 1 night
Day 2 - Beaune and Lyon
Drive south into the Burgundy wine country, past the Côte d’Or vineyards, Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits St. Georges. Engaging Experience: Arrive in the medieval town of Beaune and sample delicious regional wines at a local wine cellar. Tonight in Lyon, try out some of the gourmet specialties for which the city is justifiably famous.
Accommodation: Novotel Lyon Gerland – 1 night
Day 3 - Avignon to the French Riviera
Engaging Experience: Stop in Avignon to see the Papal Palace. This walled city became the seat of European religion for 70 years when the original Papal leaders fled Rome in the 14th century. Your tour of the picturesque Old Town includes the Palace of the Popes built for the Pope and his court. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest Gothic structure in the world. Also see the bridge made famous in the song, Sur le Pont d’Avignon.
Continue through Provence, a picturesque area favored by artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne, to the Principality of Monaco. This small city state is both a constitutional monarchy and home to many of the rich and famous. Explore the cathedral, where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace were married. Later, enjoy a regional meal in Monaco with your fellow travelers.
Accommodation:B4 Nice Plaza or Garden Beach – 2 nights
Day 4 - French Riviera
Spend today as you wish. The Côte d’Azur is a sparkling and pristine stretch of famous coastline. You might like to lounge on the beach, shop in elegant boutiques or perhaps visit the hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence. This evening, why not dine in one of the many pleasant local restaurants?
Day 5 - Arles and Carcassonne
Visit the town of Arles, with free time to explore the city. Engaging Experience: Pass Alaric’s Mountain to Carcassonne, a medieval walled city and UNESCO World Heritage site that was extensively restored in the 19th century. See the double ring of ramparts featuring 53 towers during your sightseeing tour with a local guide. The film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was filmed on location in and around Carcassonne.
Engaging Experience: See the Roman amphitheater and its cathedral in Arles. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheater could seat over 20,000 spectators and hosted entertainment such as chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it is still in use and draws large crowds for bullfighting, plays and concerts
Accommodation: Mercure Porte De La Cite or Best Western Le Donjon – 1 night
Day 6 - Lourdes and Bayonne
Wind your way through the Corbières Hills and Cathar landscapes toward the Pyrenées. See the Basilica on top of St. Bernadette’s grotto at Lourdes, a holy site of pilgrimage. Dine tonight at your hotel in Bayonne.
Accommodation: Best Western Le Grand Bayonne or Le Bayonne Hotel & Spa – 1 night
Day 7 - Bordeaux
Follow the west coast north through Les Landes to the classical town of Bordeaux. Built on the River Garonne, this is the world’s major wine industry capital. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the bi-annual wine fair held in the city attracts buyers from all over the world. See the sights including the magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces during your orientation.
Accommodation: Mercure Centre or Novotel Mercure Omaha Beach – 2 nights
Day 8 - Dordogne Excursion
Enjoy a scenic half-day excursion through beautiful countryside and picturesque scenery in the Dordogne region, best known for the enchanting medieval “Bastide” villages. Drive to the renowned wine village of St. Emilion, possibly one of the most famous towns with ties to wine production. Later, return to Bordeaux where you will have free time to explore the city.
Day 9 - Loire Valley to Tours
Continue north through the Poitou Charentes region to the Loire Valley. Visit the fairytale Château Chenonceau, which straddles the River Cher. One of the most remarkable castles ever built, Chenonceau features stunning landscaped gardens and priceless collections of Renaissance furniture, tapestries and art.
Engaging Experience: Join your fellow travelers this evening for a special dining experience in a 17th century traditional farmhouse.
Accommodation: Mercure Tours Nord – 1 night
Day 10 - Mont St. Michel and Omaha Beach
In Brittany, visit the iconic island town of Mont St. Michel, featuring the Abbey and picturesque streets. Then follow the Liberty Highway to St. Lô and the D-Day landing beaches, where your travel director provides an excellent account of the momentous events that took place here. Pause and reflect on the courage of those who gave their lives. Visit the D-Day Museum and learn in detail about how the operation was planned and executed. Arrive later at your hotel where you dine tonight.
Accommodation: Mercure Omaha Beach – 1 night
Day 11 - Giverny to Paris
Head towards the valley of the River Seine. Stop at Giverny and visit the house and gardens where Claude Monet lived for most of his life. One of the founders of French Impressionism, many of Monet’s most famous paintings were inspired by this spectacular garden. Continue on to Paris for hotel check-in and time to refresh.
AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Following dinner this evening, enjoy a leisurely riverboat cruise on the Seine River to see the lights of Paris at night. Afterwards, photograph iconic sights on a drive through the city.
Accommodation: Novotel Tour Eiffel – 2 nights
Day 12 - Paris Sightseeing
Engaging Experience: Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, the Champs Élysées – see all these landmarks and more during your sightseeing tour with a local guide. See the unique skyline from the second level of the Eiffel Tower, where you enjoy panoramic views across the city. Spend the rest of the day seeing more sights and shopping. Or simply relax and watch the world go by! This evening, celebrate with your travel director and new-found friends at a farewell dinner.
Day 13 - Depart Paris
Say au revoir to your fellow travelers at the end of a magical and memorable vacation.