. Welcome to Paris! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a [LF] welcome dinner with wine at one of Paris’ lively restaurants. Then, enjoy an orientation drive to get a first impression of the “City of Light.” (D)
Day 2: Paris.
Guided sightseeing features the highlights of Paris, like the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, and Champs-Elysées. Visit magnificent NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL and admire its Rose Window, and for a panoramic view, take the elevator to the second floor of the EIFFEL TOWER. Choose from exciting optional excursions, like to the magnificent Palace and Gardens of Versailles and evening excursions. (B)
Day 3: Paris–Honfleur–Deauville–Bayeux.
A pleasant drive through the rural area west of Paris takes you to the picturesque town of Honfleur with its enclosed harbor, and the elegant resort of Deauville on the coast. Time to explore both towns before heading to Bayeux, where you can admire QUEEN MATILDA’S TAPESTRY, depicting in extraordinary detail William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. (B)
Day 4: Bayeux–Normandy Beaches–Mont St. Michel–St. Malo
. Along the Normandy Beaches, scene of the Allied Forces’ landing on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, arrive at the famous ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL, spectacularly perched on a rocky isle in the Gulf of Saint Malo, and enjoy an included lunch. This evening, enjoy [LF] a special dinner with wine at restaurant La Table d’Henry, where you can try out specialties of the region. (B,L,D)
Day 5: St. Malo–Loire Valley.
Enjoy a scenic drive through Brittany to the Loire Valley for your overnight stay in Blois. (B)
Day 6: Loire Valley–Chenonceau Castle–Bordeaux.
Visit the 16th-century castle of Catherine de Medici, lovely CHENONCEAU, a fairytale castle with a moat, drawbridge, 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 with wine at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 7: 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 [LF] an exclusive WINE TASTING at Château Soutard awaits you. (B,D)
Day 8: 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, you can join the memorable rosary and candlelight procession. (B,D)
Day 9: Lourdes–Carcassonne–Nîmes.
From Lourdes to the beautifully preserved, medieval, walled town of Carcassonne for a leisurely walk on the ancient BATTLEMENTS and time to explore the town on your own. Continue to pretty Nîmes for your overnight stay. Find out what both this city and Genoa, in Italy, have to do with jeans! (B,D)
Day 10: Nîmes–Aix-En-Provence–Nice–Monte Carlo.
This morning, 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. Later, head for Nice. Join your Tour Director for a walk along the Promenade des Anglais. Spend the next two nights in Monte Carlo. (B)
Day 11: Monte Carlo.
Enjoy this enchanting resort on the Côte d’Azur at your own pace. Browse through the elegant shops or you may wish to join an optional excursion to the famous artist town of St. Paul de Vence. (B)
Day 12: Monte Carlo–Grasse–Grenoble.
Arrive in Grasse, where an expert will give [LF] a lecture about perfume making in the famous Fragonard PERFUME FACTORY. You will get a special little gift to take home with you. Next, drive along the spectacular Route Napoleon through the French Alps past medieval towns to Grenoble. (B,D)
Day 13: Grenoble–Lyon–Dijon.
Leave the Alps and arrive in Lyon. Orientation features a panoramic view from FOURVIÈRE HILL with its basilica to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city and its Roman ruins. Then, drive north into Burgundy, where road signs read like the wine list of an expensive restaurant. On to Dijon, which was the capital of Burgundy from the 11th to the 15th centuries. During your orientation, hear about the various dukes who ruled over the area, then have the rest of the afternoon to browse the shops and enjoy this charming city. (B,D)
Day 14: Dijon–Paris.
Enjoy a ride on the high-speed TGV TRAIN to Paris. In the afternoon, an optional excursion to the magnificent Louvre Museum is available to admire the Mona Lisa, and to the Moulin Rouge dinner show, the best way to say, “Au Revoir, Paris.” (B)
Day 15: Paris
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)