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Best of France

Places Covered: Paris, Beaune's Burgundy Vineyards, French Riviera
Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Day
Tour Cost: $3059

DAY 01

Friday - Arrive in Paris

Arrive in Paris, “City of Lights”; transfer to your hotel on your own. The rest of the day is at leisure to rest, relax and enjoy the endless delights of Paris. In the early evening, join your Tour Manager for a Welcome Drink and orientation on the wonderful journey that awaits you in France. Afterwards, a delightful cruise on the River Seine introduces you to the sparkling beauty of Paris at night

Overnight: Paris

DAY 02

Saturday - Paris City Tour

Drive along the impressive Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, Concorde Square, and the iconic Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris. On to the celebrated "Rive Gauche", the vivacious Left Bank, where artists, philosophers and writers in a long-gone era flourished in the artistic community at Montparnasse. View the imposing Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the Latin Quarter, home to many of France's higher education establishments, such as the Sorbonne. Pass the colorful Luxembourg Gardens, the second largest park in Paris and garden of the French Senate, housed in the Luxembourg Palace. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure

Optional: Louvre Museum Tour (PM)

Optional: Montmartre & Illuminations with dinner (PM)

Overnight: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 03

Sunday - Champagne Tasting, Dijon

Travel from Paris to the famed Champagne region with its magnificent stretches of vineyards as far as the eye can see. This historic province in the northeast of France, formerly ruled by the Counts of Champagne, is best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name. In Epernay, visit one of the renowned cellars, learn more about the process and enjoy tastings of this very expensive bubbly delight. Its main boulevard is the elegant residential Avenue de Champagne, with its timeless neoclassical villas and Victorian town houses. Then to Dijon, once home to the Dukes of Burgundy, a vast center of wealth and power. View the striking Dijon Cathedral and the Ducal Palace, a remarkably well-preserved Gothic structure that served as royal residence for the estates of Burgundy. Dinner and overnight in Dijon, also known as home of the tasty mustard

Overnight: Dijon

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 04

Monday - Beaune's Burgundy Vineyards, Lyon

Depart Dijon via the Route des Grand Crus to Beaune, celebrated capital of Burgundy wines, nestled in the heart of France's finest vineyards. The facilities and cellars of many prominent wineries, large and small, are situated in Beaune itself. This walled city still displays its original battlements, ramparts, moats and an historical "old town." A walking tour takes you to the lively central square, with its gourmet cafes, fashionable clothes and local wine stalls. At the Hotel-Dieu de Beaune, founded to help the poor and needy, see the original building converted to a museum - a perfect example of 15th century French architecture. We then drive south to 2000 year-old Lyon at the meeting of the Rhone and Saone Rivers. Upon arrival, visit Place Bellecour, an enormous square in the heart of the city flanked by a famed statue of Louis XIV. Ascend Fouvière Hill to view the Roman amphitheatre and magnificent gardens that overlook the city

Overnight: Lyon

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 05

Tuesday - Fields of Provence, French Riviera

Heading south, pass the Olympic city of Grenoble at the foot of the French Alps on our route to the colorful landscapes of Provence, inspiration for the early Impressionist painters. Here, Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso created their masterpieces inspired by the region's incredible beauty and soft light. Travel through fields of lavender, olive groves and pine forests to the picturesque fortified town of Sisteron, nestled between the mountains and the sea, with its hilltop villages and impressive remains of 14th century walls. Our drive continues towards Cannes, the "star" of the dazzling French Riviera, famous for the International Film Festival, glitzy hotels, supercharged cars and beautiful people. Tonight, at dinner, a taste of the French Riviera's specialties

Overnight: French Riviera

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 06

Wednesday - Full Day at Leisure on the French Riviera

A full day to enjoy the countless extravagant delights of the Cote d'Azurand our resort in the quintessential Mediterranean twin towns of Antibes and Juan-Les-Pins, known for its long sandy beaches and energetic nightlife. Relax on the beach, suntan at the pool, shop to your heart's content and just "people-watch" from a seaside café. Don't miss the optionalexcursion to the Picasso Museum at Chateau Grimaldi, where he painted and lived. Tonight, see glamorous Monte Carlo's lights glisten as we travel along the magical seaside Corniche on the optionalnight tour

Optional: Picasso Museum Tour (AM)

Optional: Monte Carlo by Night (PM)

Overnight: French Riviera

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 07

Thursday - Avignon City Tour, Montpellier

Begin the day with a visit to a French perfumery. Hear about the many ways to produce this major export and try some of the popular fragrances. The aromas are amazing! Next, on to Avignon, the "City of Popes" named after seven popes who reigned there during the 1300s. Admire the Place de l'Horlorge, the city's main square and the vast Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), a fortress-like palace that once served as the papal residence. View the Pont d'Avignon, the medieval bridge that's a landmark of the city. Lunch in the historic center on your own before traveling to the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River dating from 19 AD, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. End the day in the bustling and vibrant city of Montpellier. Evening at leisure

Overnight: Montpellier

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 08

Friday - Carcassonne, Lourdes, Candlelit Procession

Travel to Carcassonne, Europe's largest ancient fortified city with its over fifty towers and turrets, still standing today, providing expansive views of the city below. Stroll along the cobbled streets to the St. Nazaire Basilica, adorned with magnificent stained glass and intricate carvings. Browse the shops selling medieval wares, and perhaps taste some of the local peasant stews at a café in the medieval town. Our journey continues to Lourdes, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, that rose to international fame in 1858 when visions of the Virgin Mary were described at the Grotto of Massabielle. The town is now a major site of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of reported miraculous healings. Witness the stirring candlelight procession tonight, which has unfailingly taken place since the 1800s. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes

Overnight: Lourdes

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 09

Saturday - Lourdes Visits, Wine Tasting in St. Emilion, Bordeaux

In Lourdes, visit the sacred church, sanctuary and grotto where the apparitions took place and behold the healing water spring from the grotto, believed to possess healing properties. Time to reflect on your own before departing this holy city. Afterward, drive north through magnificent rolling landscapes to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Emilion. In this fertile area, viticulture was first introduced by the Romans and further intensified in the Middle Ages. The tradition was carried on by the monk Emilion, who was the first to begin commercial wine production. Views of the city include Romanesque churches and fascinating historical ruins stretching along steep and narrow streets. Enjoy a wine tasting and then free time to wander on your own in this delightful town before continuing to Bordeaux. A lovely evening tonight! Dinner together at a local restaurant in Bordeaux accented by fabulous wines and local flavors

Overnight: Bordeaux

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10

Sunday - Tour of Bordeaux

Morning tour of Bordeaux, on the crescent-shaped Garonne River, with its rich architectural and cultural heritage. Bordeaux is distinguished for the wines that bear its name, considered by connoisseurs to be amongst the best in the world. The city tour begins at the Place des Quinconces, the largest square in Western Europe with its mighty pillar centerpiece, the Girondist Column. In the historic Old Town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, view the beautiful Grand Theatre built in 1780 and the Victory Arch, an amazing piece of Roman architecture. The afternoon is yours to independently explore this beautiful city. Choose to stroll down Rue St. Catherine, a main pedestrian thoroughfare running through the historic district, or, browse the charming boutiques in the lively center of Bordeaux. In the late afternoon, perhaps join the optional tour to the Medoc countryside, where many of the famous wine estates are located. This evening, an optional dinner in the Bordeaux countryside will complete the day

Optional: Bordeaux Countryside with Dinner (PM)

Overnight: Bordeaux

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11

Monday - Cognac Tasting, Chateau of Blois, Loire Valley

Depart Bordeaux to the enchanting town of Cognac, world-famous for the grape-based spirit produced here for over 300 years. Visit one of the cellars, hear about the history of cognac and enjoy a tasting! Onward to Blois, in the very heart of the magnificent Loire Valley, brimming with treasures waiting to be discovered. For centuries, royalty and nobility built their magnificent chateaux here, inspired by the lush forests and rich farmlands. Tour the elegant Chateau de Blois, residence of French kings and queens, a site indicative of the power and daily life at court in the Renaissance. The royal apartments, furnished and embellished with magnificent décor from this era, are classified as a Museum of France, overflowing with more than 35,000 works of art. Arrive at your hotel in the Loire Valley for dinner and overnight

Overnight: Loire Valley

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12

Tuesday - Farewell in Paris

Our day in the Loire Valley starts with a view of fairy-tale Chateau de Chambord, the largest residence in the valley, designed and built in the 16th century for Francois I. In 2000, UNESCO gave official recognition to the Loire Valley for its outstanding architectural heritage, combined with its exceptional untouched natural surroundings. The day continues with a return visit to Paris and time at leisure to independently discover this city with its never-ending surprises - for one last time. Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner together in a Parisian bistro, including wine as we bid au revoir to our new found friends and a fascinating journey through France

Overnight: Paris

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13

Wednesday - Depart France

Bon Voyage! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight on your own.

Meals: Breakfast

Special Features

  • Drive along the Champs Elysees to the iconic Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris
  • Travel to the famed Champagne region with tastings of this bubbly delight
  • View the striking Dijon Cathedral and Ducal Palace, remarkable Gothic structures
  • Drive via theRoute des Grand Crusto Beaune, celebrated capital of Burgundy wines
  • Visit Avignon, “City of Popes” and Nimes with its spectacular Roman monuments
  • Witness the stirring candlelight procession in Lourdes and behold the holy waters
  • Wine and Cognac tastings throughout our journey in the wine country
  • Tour the elegant Chateau de Blois, residence of kings and queens in the Loire Valley

Escorted Package Includes

  • 12 nights First Class accommodations
    • 3 nights Paris
    • 1 night Dijon
    • 1 night Lyon
    • 2 nights French Riviera
    • 1 night Montpellier
    • 1 night Lourdes
    • 2 nights Bordeaux
    • 1 night Loire Valley
    • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
    • Hotel Porterage
    • All transfers (Except airports)
    • 18 meals: 12 breakfasts, 6 dinners with wine
    • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
    • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
    • Services of local guides in Paris, Dijon, Lyon, Avignon, Carcassonne and Bordeaux
    • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring

2015 Dates & Prices

Price Per person

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