Get to know France from the inside on this exciting vacation. From Paris, head north to Rouen, then Honfleur, an overnight in Caen, and the historic Normandy D-Day landing beaches from World War II. On to Bayeux, the enduring beauty of Mont St. Michel, Angers with its cathedral, and along the Loire Valley for two overnights. Travel through the countryside famous for its cognac and champagne production and visit Poitiers, a picturesque town of Roman heritage, as well as seaside La Rochelle. Spend a night in Bordeaux and continue through the Dordogne to the cliffside village of Rocamadour before reaching Toulouse. An orientation tour shows you medieval Carcassonne on the way to Nîmes, Pont du Gard, and an overnight in Avignon. Visit Arles, made famous by Van Gogh, and the enchanting town of Aix-en-Provence. Next up: the magnificent French Riviera. Head northwest via the Route Napoleon, visiting a perfume workshop in Grasse, then carry on to Lyon on the banks of the Rhône and Saône Rivers. Stop in the delightful town of Beaune, the region’s wine capital. Return to Paris, the “City of Light,” with included sightseeing of the main attractions and leisure time to soak in the romantic atmosphere.
Day #1 Arrive in Paris, France. Check into your hotel. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Paris–Rouen–Honfleur–Caen. Drive first to the fine old city of Rouen and walk through its center, rich in gothic architechture. Next, stop in lovely Honfleur and then in the world-famous seaside resort of Deauville. Overnight in Caen. (B,D)
Day #3 Caen–Normandy Landing Beaches–Bayeux–Mont St. Michel. Time to see Caen before a visit to the legendary beaches where the Allied troops landed more than 60 years ago. The highlights are Arromanches, St. Laurant, and the American Cemetery at Omaha. Next, journey to Bayeux, where you can admire the famous tapestry (entrance fee extra). Then, southwards to the unique beauty of Mont St. Michel, which stands on an island reached by a causeway, for an overnight. (B)
Day #4 Mont St. Michel–Angers–Loire Valley. Time this morning to enjoy a visit of Mont St. Michel before a mid-morning departure to Angers to visit its cathedral. Then, along the banks of the Loire to Amboise for two overnights. A chance this evening to join an optional dinner at a typical local restaurant. (B)
Day #5 Loire Valley. Time at leisure or join the optional excursion to see some of the most spectacular castles of the Loire, steeped in the history of noblemen and kings since the 11th century. Gothic spires, medieval turrets, great fortresses, and beautiful châteaux make for splendid panoramas. (B,D)
Day #6 Loire Valley–Poitiers–La Rochelle–Bordeaux. Travel on the comfortable Autoroute L’Aquitaine as far as Poitiers. Next stop is the picturesque town of La Rochelle, situated on the Atlantic coast. Continue westwards into the world-famous Cognac region to visit the Hennessy museum in Cognac. Then, journey to Bordeaux for an overnight. (B,D)
Day #7 Bordeaux–Dordogne–Rocamadour–Toulouse. Time for an orientation walk of Bordeaux, then drive into the heart of one of France’s most scenic regions, the Dordogne. Stop in the dramatically located medieval town of Rocamadour, perched high upon a cliff. Southwards by way of Cahors to Toulouse for an overnight. (B,D)
Day #8 Toulouse–Carcassonne–Nîmes–Pont Du Gard–Avignon. Drive this morning along the Autoroute des Deux Mers for an orientation walk in Carcassonne. Then, continue eastwards to Nîmes, an elegant city famed for its busy boulevards shaded by lotus trees. Also visit the famous Roman amphitheater. Get a view of the Maison Carrée, one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the whole of France. Short picture stop at the famous Pont du Gard, before reaching Avignon for an overnight. (B)
Day #9 Avignon–Arles–Aix en Provence–French Riviera. South this morning to visit Arles, the most famous of all the Provence towns, known the world over by the paintings of Van Gogh. Stop in Aix-en-Provence to see its main street, the Cours Mirabeau, lined with plane trees and its 17th-century palace, houses, and fountains. Finally, to the French Riviera on the shores of the Mediterranean. Don’t miss the optional evening excursion. (B)
Day #10 French Riviera. Take the opportunity today to enjoy all the amenities of the French Riviera. (B)
Day #11 French Riviera–Grasse–Lyon Area. First to Grasse for a visit to a perfume workshop. See more of Provence and follow one of France’s great panoramic routes, the one Napoleon took on his return from Elba in 1815. From Grenoble, join the expressway to the Lyon area. (B,D)
Day #12 Lyon Area–Beaune–Paris. Travel through the picturesque vineyards and fields of Burgundy to medieval Beaune, the region's wine capital since Roman times, where you visit the famous Hôtel-Dieu before continuing to the French capital and “City of Light,” Paris. Don't miss the optional evening cabaret show, a real Parisian spectacle. (B)
Day #13 Paris. Included sightseeing with a local expert starts with an inside visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. Then, many of the best-known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides, and Champs Elysées. Optional excursions are also available to the Palace and Gardens of Versailles and, to celebrate the success of your tour, a French farewell dinner might be just the ticket. (B)
Day #14 Paris. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)