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A grand adventure of France - world renowned wines, snow-capped mountains, sun-drenched beaches, magnificent châteaux, Roman remains, excellent food and battlefield history.
Step back in time and explore the fairy tale towns of picturesque France in style with Insight Vacations.
- An expert Insight Tour Director
- Luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom
- Personal radio headsets
- Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your hotel
- Complimentary coach and hotel WiFi
- Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days
- Côte d’Azur: Walk through the old streets of Monaco to see the Palace and Tomb of Princess Grace.
- St-Paul-de-Vence: Discover how this hilltop town became a refuge for artists.
- Arles: See the ancient two-tiered amphitheatre built by the Romans in the 1st century AD and which is still used for plays and concerts today.
- Lascaux II Caves: This caves contain some of the oldest and finest prehistoric art in the world. For preservation reasons, they have been replicated in all their glory.
- Paris: See the monuments, museums, buildings and bridges on a Seine River cruise through the heart of Paris.
- Bayeux: The tapestry is actually a 70m long embroidery that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Look out for King Harold with an arrow in his eye!
- Normandy Beaches: Join an emotive journey tracing the story of the D-Day landings. With a Local Expert visit the American Military Cemetery of St. Laurent and appreciate the valor of Rudder's Rangers among the bunkers of Pointe du Hoc.
- Mont-St-Michel: Savour your first sight of the fortified island of Mont-St-Michel. Cross the causeway for a guided tour through the maze of halls and vaults of the massive abbey.
- Château d'Ussé: Visit the fairy-tale castle, Charles Perrault's inspiration for his tale 'Sleeping Beauty'.
- Villandry: Beside the Cher River stands Villandry Castle, surrounded by France's finest formal gardens.
- Chartres: Inside magnificent Chartres Cathedral, marvel at the stained-glass windows, a riot of rich blues and reds, justly considered the finest medieval glass in France.
Day 1 - Welcome to Paris
After arriving in Paris, be transferred to your hotel. Relax and settle in, or start exploring this great capital. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
Accommodation: Pullman Montparnasse, Paris (D)
Day 2 - Troyes, Chablis & on to Dijon
Troyes, in the Champagne region - its magnificent core of medieval buildings is appropriately shaped like a champagne cork. Continue to Burgundy, once a powerful duchy and synonymous with fine wine. Stop in the quiet village of Chablis which gives its name to one of the most famous French wines. Join an expert vintner for a taste and introduction to these refreshing, steely whites. Move on to your hotel in Dijon.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel La Cloche, Dijon (B)
Day 3 - Free time in Dijon
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy the Burgundian capital of Dijon. Its many handsome buildings recall the time when the Duchy of Burgundy was more powerful than the Kings of France. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit the wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune? In the evening, don't miss the chance of an optional Burgundy wine tasting and traditional dinner in the Grand cru village of Fixin.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel La Cloche, Dijon (B)
Day 4 - The mountaineering mecca of Chamonix
Head towards the Mâconnais and Beaujolais before turning east into the Alps. A scenic symphony awaits you as you ascend into the high Alps and climb towards Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest mountain. Your destination is the fashionable ski resort of Chamonix. Why not take a spectacular drive into the mountains in the evening for a traditional Savoyard style dinner?
Accommodation: Le Prieuré, Chamonix (B)
Day 5 - Lakesie Annecy & on to Grenoble
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, embark on a beautiful drive to the lakeside town of Annecy. Enjoy free time for lunch in the Little Venice area or perhaps take a boat trip? Then it's off to Grenoble, the ancient capital of the Dauphiné region.
Accommodation: Mercure Grenoble President (B, D)
Day 6 - The French Riviera & Nice
Glorious mountain scenery will be yours to enjoy as you travel along a spectacular route, used by the Emperor Napoleon when he returned from his first exile to try to take the throne of France once more. Continue to the French Riviera and the elegant resort of Nice.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice (B)
Day 7 - Exploring Nice, Monaco & the Cote d'Azur
Wake up ready to rub shoulders with the jet-set on the glamorous Côte d'Azur. Unlock the secrets of the French perfume industry with a visit to a perfumery, where fragrance experts waft exclusive scents from stoppered bottles. Then drive along part of the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco and walk with your Tour Director through the old town to see the Royal Palace, yacht-filled harbour and the cathedral, housing the tomb of Princess Grace. The rest of the day is set aside for you to enjoy the French Riviera at your own pace.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice (B)
Day 8 - Journey through picturesque Provence to Avignon
Visit the medieval village of St-Paul-de-Vence, perched high above the Riviera beaches. A walk through its winding streets reveals elegant fountains, vine-covered stone walls and views of mountains and sea. Continue to Aix-en-Provence to see the sumptuous mansions lining the Cours Mirabeau, before continuing to the pretty village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Enjoy a wonderful introduction to the famous wine, taste the difference for yourself and learn about the various grape varieties that are allowed in the final blend of the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine. Journey on to Avignon for the next three nights.
Accommodation: Grand Avignon Hotel (B, D)
Day 9 - Arles & Avignon
(Relaxed Start) Head to the beautiful town of Arles, ancient capital of Gaul and follow in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh during an orientation tour. Next, see the greatest of the Roman remains, the incredible three-tiered Pont du Gard. See the remaining arches of the 12th century Pont Saint-Bénézet, the Pont d'Avignon of the famous song and walk through the medieval battlements to the town centre, dominated by the fortified Papal Palace. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Accommodation: Grand Avignon Hotel (B)
Day 10 - Free time in Avignon
(Relaxed Start) This day is at leisure for you to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Avignon. Why not take an optional experience to Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the most picturesque villages in France with its superb stone fortress and Renaissance facades? Or maybe visit an Olive Mill and sample some of the finest olive oil in France?
Accommodation: Grand Avignon Hotel (B)
Day 11 - Journey to the citadel of Carcassonne & to Albi
Cross the fertile Languedoc region, before heading inland to the fortified town of Carcassonne. Travellers are often amazed at their first sight of this medieval gem. The city has a complete set of ramparts and a medieval keep. Enjoy an orientation of Albi, known for its amazing cathedral and the birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec.
Accommodation: Hostellerie Saint Antoine, Albi (B, D)
Day 12 - Cahors, Rocamadour & Sarlat
(Relaxed Start) Stop in Cahors, famous for its ‘Black Wine', and see the Pont Valentré before heading to Rocamadour. A resting place for pilgrims on their way to Spain, the medieval town is perched on a cliff side above the Alzou River. After some time to explore, make your way to the beautiful town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, its medieval core blessed with fine historic golden limestone houses.
Accommodation: Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat (B, D)
Day 13 - Exploring the Dordogne Valley
Start the day with a morning drive into the stunning Valley of the Dordogne to visit Lascaux II where the world-famous prehistoric cave paintings have been faithfully reproduced. Later, sample some of the local Dordogne specialties.
Accommodation: Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat (B)
Day 14 - Paris, the City of Lights
Onwards to immerse yourself in the beautiful city of Paris. En route to your hotel, stop for a photo of the Eiffel Tower. At night, why not try a French cabaret show?
Accommodation: Pullman Paris Bercy Centre, Paris
Day 15 - Paris, Romantic Capital on the Siene
Sightseeing in the morning with a Local Expert shows you Notre Dame Cathedral and the façades of the Louvre. Drive from the Place de la Concorde along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, enjoy a Celebration Dinner followed by a relaxing Seine cruise.
Accommodation: Pullman Paris Bercy Centre, Paris (B, D)
Day 16 - Rouen, Honfleur & the Normandy Beaches
Follow the River Seine to Rouen, capital of Normandy, to admire its ancient cathedral - a masterpiece of the Gothic style and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet - then wander through the narrow streets beneath the Great Clock to the old market square. Here, a superb modern church commemorates the burning of Joan of Arc on this very spot in 1431. Your route continues into the rich dairy lands of Normandy and stops in the charming fishing town of Honfleur, which has somehow escaped the ravages of time. Then drive past Juno and Gold beaches, both played a part in the 1944 Normandy landings, and continue to your hotel perched on the historic coast where the D-Day landings took place.
Accommodation: Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin (B, D)
Day 17 - Bayeux & D-Day Landings
There are poignant reminders of WWII as you drive along some of the beaches of the D-Day landings. Visit the D-Day Museum and see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. Travel back in time as you visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum which chronicles the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of St. Laurent near Omaha Beach before following the route of the Rangers and visit the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc.
Accommodation: Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin (B)
Day 18 - Mont-St-Michel, St-Malo & the Normandy Beaches
Journey through ‘Bocage country' for a visit with a Local Expert of the hilltop abbey of Mont-St-Michel. The abbey stands on an island and is reached by a causeway across the shining sands. Behind the outer ring of defences, huddles the small town - its one street containing shops, cafés and hotels. Continue along the Emerald Coast to stunning St-Malo, situated on the Rance Estuary and one of the most charming places in France. At your leisure, you can walk around the ramparts of the thick city walls, offering fantastic views over the old town and the bay. By night, the town's medieval maze of winding streets are abuzz with quaint bars and restaurants.
Accommodation: Le Nouveau Monde, St-Malo (B)
Day 19 - Scenic drive along the Loire Valley to the Chateau de Rochecotte
Head south to follow the valley of the Loire, passing the moated castle at Angers. Cross the Loire to Saumur, where a local vintner will guide you through tastings of the region's delicious wines. Journey to the fairytale Château d'Ussé. After a fascinating tour of the castle that inspired Charles Perrault to write 'Sleeping Beauty', continue on to your château hotel, where you can relax like royalty in sumptuous surroundings.
Accommodation: Château de Rochecotte, Loire Valley (B)
Day 20 - Villandry experience
Head to Château de Villandry, the ‘Jewel of the Loire' and visit the glorious gardens. Ensure you don't miss the water garden, ornamental garden and kitchen garden – a stunning sea of fragrant green herbs, silvery cabbages, and purple basil. From here, return to your own superb château for relaxation and free time. At night, your Celebration evening starts with a glass of Champagne and continues with excellent service and delicious dishes in the most wholesome setting, ensuring the memory of your meal will linger long after you've returned home.
Accommodation: Château de Rochecotte, Loire Valley (B, D)
Day 21 - La Beauce & Chatres to Paris
Driving through the vast wheat fields of La Beauce, Chartres Cathedral looms large on the horizon. Auguste Rodin called it the ‘Acropolis of France', and once inside you can marvel at the beautiful stained-glass rose window which floods the cathedral with colour and light. From here, return to the French capital, where your Tour Director introduces you to all the fabulous sights including Notre Dame Cathedral and the immense façades of the Louvre. Behold the vast Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine once stood, then drive down the Champs Elysées to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe. After dark, the City of Light really lives up to its name when the monuments, buildings and bridges are lit up in all their glory. For that special touch of excitement and glamour don't miss the chance to experience one of the world-famous cabaret shows.
Accommodation: Pullman Paris Bercy Centre, Paris (B)
Day 22 - Au revoir Paris
Departure transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 & 11:00 (B)
Europe 2018 Preview
- 2018 tours at 2017 prices
- 10% saving (shown) if paid in full before December 14th 2017
- First option on air deals when released (before offered to general public)
- Pay a $200 deposit to guarantee your place on the tour, no price increases once a deposit is paid - if the tour price decreases, the difference will be refunded to you
- Save an additional 5% if you have traveled with Insight before
- Price advertised is per person, twin shar
- Single supplement applies to solo travellers
- Tours subject to minimum numbers to run, please ask your consultant for more information on guaranteed departure dates
- Itinerary subject to change without notice
- Insight Vacations terms and conditions apply.
- Credit card fees of up to 2.5% may apply.
- Price includes 10% early bird discount if paid in full by December 14th 2018
*Terms and conditions apply: see RAC Travel general terms and conditions