Europe  France

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Duration: 13 days 12 nights

Description: This 13-day tour gives you a comprehensive and detailed tour of all the important sights and scenes of France. You can view the scenic Paris skyline from atop the Eiffel Tower; and enjoy the best wine in Bordeaux and Burgundy wine country. The tour also includes visits to Cannes Film City, Avignon, Château Chenonceau Palace and Brittany.

Day 1- Welcome to the City of Lights –Paris. Ranging from architecture to cuisine, the tour will introduce you to many regional delights and specialties.

Relax after your journey or take a walk through the streets of this beautiful city. In the evening, meet up with our fellow companions and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. Later, enjoy an orientation drive through the city to take in some of the breathtaking sights.

Day 2- The next day we drive south into Burgundy wine country, past the Côte d’Or vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits St. Georges. After reaching the medieval town of Beaune, you can sample delicious regional wines at a local wine cellar. Then we proceed to Lyon where during the evening we can try out some of the city’s famous dishes.

Day 3 – Our next stop is Avignon where we visit the Papal Palace and the bridge that gained popularity in the song, ‘sur le pont d’Avignon’. We then travel to Traverse Provence, a picturesque area patronized by artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne and reach Monaco. This small city state is both a constitutional monarchy and home to many rich and famous people. While in Monaco, visit the cathedral, where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace are buried. In the evening, join your companions for a Highlight Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.

Day 4- There are no tours planned for the next day and you are free to spend it as you wish. You can visit the Côte d’Azur, a sparkling and pristine stretch of French coastline. You can lounge on the beach, shop at elegant boutiques or perhaps visit the hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence.

Day 5- Our next stopover is Cannes. You can visit the Cannes’ most famous street- Boulevard de la Croisette and also view the Film Festival Centre where the Cannes Festival is held annually. Then cross the Alaric’s Mountain to reach Carcassonne, a walled city and UNESCO World Heritage site that was extensively restored in the 19th century. Join the local city tour and visit the double ring of ramparts featuring 53 towers. The famous movie ‘Robin Hood- Prince of Thieves’ was filmed on location in and around Carcassonne.

Day 6- Next day we wind our way through the Corbières Hills and ‘Cathar’ landscapes toward the Pyrenées. At the holy site of pilgrimage, Lourdes, visit the Basilica on top of St. Bernadette’s grotto. We then move on to Biarritz, where you can enjoy a walk along the world-famous surfing beach. Dinner arrangements have been made at your hotel.

Day 7- We then move north along the west coast through Les Landes to reach the classical town of Bordeaux. Located near the River Garonne, Bordeaux is one of the world’s major centres of wine making. Wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the city’s annual wine fair attracts buyers from all over the world. Your orientation tour will bring you to sights like the magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces.

Day 8- The next stop is the renowned wine village of St. Emilion. Take a half-day excursion through the beautiful Dordogne countryside, best known for its medieval ‘Bastide’ villages. Built on narrow grid streets during the 13th & 14th centuries, these villages have central covered market squares and strong rampart walls that protected the villages during the war. Spend the rest of the day either relaxing or shopping for souvenirs.

Day 9- We then continue north through the Poitou Charentes region to reach the Loire Valley. Our next stop is the beautiful Château Chenonceau, located near 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. In the evening, join your fellow travelers for a special Be-My-Guest dining experience.

Day 10- Our next destination is Brittany where you can visit the island-town of Mont St. Michel, featuring the Abbey and picturesque streets. Then travel to the Liberty Highway to St. Lô and the D-Day landing beaches, where your Travel Director will explain in detail the momentous events that took place here. Next pay a visit to the D-Day museum and learn in detail about how the operation was planned and executed. Dinner arrangements are in place at your hotel.

Day 11- Next you will head south-east towards the River Seine Valley. There will be a stopover at Giverny where you can visit the house and gardens of Claude Monet. One of the founders of French Impressionism, many of his famous paintings were inspired by this spectacular garden. Moving on, we reach the French capital by evening. To light up the night, you can consider visiting the city’s renowned cabaret venues.

Day 12- The sightseeing tour in the company of a local guide takes you to places like Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and the Champs Élysées. One must not miss viewing the unique Paris skyline from the second level of the Eiffel Tower. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the city sights on your own and shopping for souvenirs. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner in the company of your Travel Director and fellow companions.

Day 13- Say ‘au revoir’ to your fellow travelers and continue with your onward journey.