Enjoy France à la carte – châteaux, chic beach resorts and delicious cuisine served with a dash of French Riviera, medieval Bastide villages and a healthy helping of Bordeaux. Journey through the romantic Loire Valley to the beaches of Biarritz and Carcassonne with its enchanting city walls. Marvel at Avignon’s famous bridge, see the D-Day Landing beaches in Normandy and visit Claude Monet’s home in Giverny.
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All the flavours of France come to life on this unforgettable journey that kicks off in Paris, the City of Light. Spend your day meandering past its iconic landmarks in search of hidden treasures before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive through the city to see some of its most magnificent sights lit up at night.
PARIS – BEAUNE – LYON
We travel south to Burgundy, past the Côte d’Or vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits St. Georges. The colourful geometric roof tiles of the 15th century Hospice are a sight to behold as we arrive in the medieval town of Beaune before continuing to Lyon, the gourmet capital of France. Perhaps spend your evening delving into the delicious delights for which Lyon is justifiably famous. Why not meander up the city’s narrow cobblestone lanes lined with pastel pink and yellow façades in search of a cosy bouchon for a tasty dinner with newfound friends?
LYON – AVIGNON – MONACO – FRENCH RIVIERA (2 NIGHTS)
We stop in the heart of Provence and the city of Avignon, what was once the Papal Seat in the 13th century and today remains as an important place of pilgrimage. See the Papal Palace and the bridge made famous in the song – sur le pont d’Avignon. Journeying through the wheat and lavender fields of Provence, immortalised in the great works of such artists as Van Gogh and Cézanne, we arrive in the sophisticated Principality of Monaco, where we will view the cathedral where Prince Ranier and Princess Grace were married. This evening we enjoy a Regional Meal in Monaco before arriving at our hotel.
The sun-kissed shores of the French Riviera are yours to explore today. Meander along Nice’s elegant Promenade des Anglais treading in the footsteps of the aristocrats of yesteryear, relax on the beach with your fellow sun-worshippers or perhaps visit the charming hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence, a popular haunt for actors seeking a relaxing retreat. This evening you have the opportunity to soak up the fresh sea air and indulge in delicious Salad Niçoise overlooking the beautiful Bay of Angels.
FRENCH RIVIERA – ARLES – CARCASSONNE
Visit Arles with its honey-coloured façades, Roman ruins and Camargue culture enjoying some time at leisure to explore this beautiful city before winding your way through the Corbières Hills and ‘Cathar’ landscapes en route to the fortified city of Carcassonne. Join a Local Specialist to explore this exquisite ancient town, view the Cité, which is said to have inspired Walt Disney for his Castle of Sleeping Beauty, and see the double ring of ramparts spanning some 3km with 52 towers.
CARCASSONNE – LOURDES – BIARRITZ
We drive toward the Pyrénées this morning and arrive in Lourdes, the global centre of the Marian pilgrimage. You will have an opportunity to see the Basilica perched atop St. Bernadette’s Grotto where the young girl is said to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary. We travel north to the graceful Basque town of Biarritz on France’s Atlantic coast where we spend the night.
BIARRITZ – BORDEAUX (2 NIGHTS)
Journeying through Les Landes, we arrive in the wine capital of Bordeaux whose stunning Garonne riverfront and age of Enlightenment history and architecture have made it one of France’s most visited cities. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the bi-annual wine fair attracts buyers from all over the world. Spend some time seeing the sights during your orientation of the city, including the magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces. Then spend the rest of the day exploring the Port of the Moon on your terms.
The lush green valleys and hills of the Dordogne take centre stage today during a scenic half-day included excursion passing enchanting medieval Bastide villages, fairy-tale castles and dark oak forests. We drive to St. Emilion, whose wine heritage dates back to Roman times and return to Bordeaux this evening for some free time to explore the city at leisure. See the glittering reflection of the Place de la Bourse in the Garonne River, tease your taste-buds with delicious Bordelais cuisine or meander through the city’s historical centre admiring its beautiful architecture by night.
BORDEAUX – LOIRE VALLEY
We meander through the Garden of France, stopping at the beautiful fairy-tale Château Chenonceau, which spans 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. Join your fellow travellers and the Montferrier family on their farm near the famous Château de Villandry for a special Be My Guest Tourangelle dining experience where you enjoy traditional French hospitality.
LOIRE VALLEY – MONT ST. MICHEL – OMAHA BEACH
We travel through the patchwork landscapes of Brittany to the extraordinary island-town of Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast, featuring its impressive Norman Benedictine Abbey. Follow the Liberty Highway to St. Lô and on to Omaha Beach where your Travel Director will provide an excellent account of the poignant events that took place here and changed the course of history in Europe. Reflect on the bravery of the young men who sacrificed their lives for freedom and visit the D-Day Landing Zone to learn in detail about how the operation was planned and executed. Arrive later at your hotel where you dine tonight.
OMAHA BEACH – GIVERNY – PARIS (2 NIGHTS)
This morning we travel south towards Paris, stopping at Giverny to see the house and gardens that once inspired Claude Monet’s exquisite Impressionist works of art. The City of Light shines brightly as we have an evening at leisure to explore Paris by night. Spend your evening meandering along the Seine and admiring the city’s reflection in its dark waters, find the secret night garden of Montmartre or consider a trip to one of the city’s renowned cabaret venues.
Join your Local Specialist on a journey through the historic neighbourhoods of Paris to see where the locals live and shop. Our short insider walk concludes in one of Paris’s loveliest squares, still off the beaten tourist track, but a real favourite among Parisians. Ascend to the second level of the Eiffel Tower for panoramic views across the city – see the Seine snake its way through the city and the grand boulevards and beautiful gardens stretch out below. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the sights on your terms. See the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, enjoy a leisurely café au lait in quiet surrounds or shop for souvenirs in the Latin Quarter. This evening we celebrate an epic adventure with your Travel Director and newfound friends at a Farewell Dinner.
For now it’s time to bid a fond au revoir to the Best of France and your fellow travellers at the end of a magical and memorable holiday. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.
- Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
- Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
- Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
- Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
- Hand-picked Insider Experiences
- Optional Experiences and free time
- All porterage and restaurant gratuities
- Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
- An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
- All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
- VIP entry to many sights