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Our London & Paris family vacation is an exciting journey through the annals of time, where different chapters of history come to life around every corner. Picture yourself ruling England from inside Windsor Castle... but don't wind up a "prisoner" in the Tower of London. Take a bicycle ride through the Royal Parks, and stay stealthy on a spy walk. Ride a double-decker bus... the London Eye in a private capsule... and a speedboat on the Thames! Get a taste of London at restaurants in Soho. Cross the English Channel aboard the Eurostar. Step into the 17th century at the opulent Palace of Versailles... discover the Louvre's treasures on a scavenger hunt... see street artists at work in Montmartre... and visit Notre Dame Cathedral, from which Quasimodo gazed out over Paris in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and a "living" witness to over seven centuries of Paris' history... have lunch at the Eiffel Tower...
Day 1: Arrive London and take a tour by private double-decker bus
Tour begins: 3:00 PM, The Royal Horseguards. A transfer is included from London's Heathrow Airport to The Royal Horseguards hotel, centrally located near Buckingham Palace and the Royal Parks. Board your private double-decker bus, a London icon, for a fun-filled sightseeing excursion that introduces some of the most famous sights in London. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
Day 2: The Tower, the Thames by speedboat and soaring on the London Eye
Be prepared for a Beefeater's hearty welcome at the infamous Tower of London - a castle, menagerie and a prison through the centuries; today it houses the Queen's priceless Crown Jewels. You'll wander through turreted passageways to the Bloody Tower and view the gems, before joining us for lunch at the Tower. Later, board a speedboat at St. Katherine Pier for a Thames River adventure* that ends at the London Eye. Next your view of the city shifts to vertical, as you ascend in a private egg-shaped capsule 450 feet above the river on this futuristic observation wheel. Tonight's dinner is a real Tauck Exclusive as you embark on a "progressive dinner" thought fashionable Soho. Explore many of Soho's most historical sites and landmarks led by an expert foodie guide - and enjoy food tastings at some of the best Soho restaurants where you'll meet the owners and hear their stories.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: Windsor Castle, bicycling in the Royal Parks and a West End show
English kings and queens have called Windsor Castle home for over 900 years; today you'll discover how English royalty really live on a guided visit. You'll know if the Queen is in residence by the flag that flies over the Round Tower. View Queen Mary's Dolls' House, a miniature palace with working chandeliers, a grandfather clock that chimes on the hour, a water system, and a tiny wine cellar that contains real wine. This afternoon, hop on a bicycle* for a ride through London's Royal Parks, where fantastic "green" routes take you through some of London's prettiest areas and away from traffic and congestion. After dinner on your own, it's off to London's West End Theatre District to attend a performance of a hit show!
Day 4: Mummies and more at the British Museum plus a London spy walk
It's true that many of London's treasures can be found out and about, but wait until you discover some of the famous objects inside the 250+-year-old British Museum. Grown from a collection of "curiosities" presented to King George II in 1753 to one of the world's most remarkable museums, you'll find yourself in the largest covered public space in Europe. Your guide will introduce you to the highlights of a beloved institution dedicated to telling the story of world cultures - perhaps viewing the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics; marbles removed from the Parthenon in Athens during the Ottoman Empire; Egyptian statues and mummies; and much more. The afternoon brings you back outdoors for a London Spy Walk, an entertaining mix of stories and sights that will have you playing a part in Britain's underground world of intelligence gathering and espionage. Will you rescue the girl before the silos explode? Who will interrogate the white cat? Find out during your last night in London!
Meals: B, L
Day 5: Under the Channel & through the "Chunnel" via Eurostar train for your family's Paris tour
Travel aboard the high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris; your crossing under the English Channel will take about two hours and fifteen minutes - the fastest time ever. Your first taste of Paris is the special joie de vivre atmosphere of hilltop Montmartre, where poets, writers and artists have practiced their crafts for centuries; a guided walking tour may reveal them at work. Check into your hotel, right next to the Tuileries Garden, then join us for dinner at an authentic Parisian brasserie where you will experience a real taste of life in Paris!
Meals: B, D
Day 6: An opulent château at Versailles and lunch at the Eiffel Tower
Today takes you about an hour outside the city for a guided visit to Château de Versailles, built by King Louis XIV and the largest palace in Europe, revealing a realm of grandeur and riches beyond the imagination of the Montmartre artists of his time; it would cost more than $2 billion to build this sprawling palace complex today! Explore the opulent palace with a local guide and view the exquisite gardens, among the most extraordinary and famous in the world. Return to Paris, where your family enjoys a special treat - lunch at the Eiel Tower and a guided visit of the first floor. An afternoon sightseeing tour introduces you to landmark city sights; the evening is free to enjoy Paris as you wish.
Meals: B, L
Day 7: Treasure hunt in the Louvre, Notre Dame & Paris as you please
This morning at Musée du Louvre, one of the world's most famous museums, you'll meet some of its "residents," like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa or famed stautes such as Venus de Milo and Winged Victory. You'll also get an entertaining introduction to the history of art by joining in the fun of a Louvre scavenger hunt and then, close by, visit the Tuileries Garden - a leafy public park with fountains, basins and a carousel that is one of the most popular in Paris. Then visit 800+-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral, whose flying buttresses, gargoyles and twin bell towers were made famous in Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The afternoon is left free for exploring as you like. Join us tonight for a farewell dinner, featuring an interactive magic show full of humor and fun.
Meals: B, D
Day 8: Journey home
Tour ends: Paris. Fly home anytime; a transfer is included from The Westin Paris - Vendôme to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport. You should allow a minimum of 3 hours for your flight check-in.
In London, visits to the Tower, Windsor Castle & British Museum; double-decker bus tour, spy walk, speedboat ride, London Eye & a West End musical; in Paris, visit to Versailles, Notre Dame & Montmartre; scavenger hunt in Louvre
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