Attention 2020 Travelers! Enrollments received by March 15 get a $200 discount.
Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $240 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Three-day Metro pass in Paris (zones 1-3). Barcelona Metro Pass 10 Rides (Zone 1).
All breakfasts. All dinners. Crêpes dinner on Day 3. Tapas dinner on Day 5. Paella dinner on Day 6.
Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.
Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.
passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.
Tour director-led walking tour in the Île de la Cité with Notre-Dame Cathedral: Île Saint-Louis
Paris City Sightseeing: Local Guide
Optional Excursion to Versailles by RER train: Visit to the State Apartments and Hall of Mirrors
Visit to the Louvre Museum
Tour director-led walking tour in Montmartre: Visit to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica
Seine River cruise
Departure transfer, Flight Paris-Barcelona, Arrival transfer
Tour director-led walking tour down Las Ramblas
Barcelona City Sightseeing: Local Guide, Montjuïc Hill, Visit to the Sagrada Familia Basilica, Visit to Parc Güell
Optional Boqueria Food Market lunch cooking class
Tour director-led walking tour in the Gothic Quarter: Picturesque medieval lanes of the Barrio del Born
Weeks, or even months of preparation come to fruition at last as you board your airplane bound for Europe and the glittering jewel at her heart, Paris, the "City of Light." Bienvenue!
Settle into your hotel, then set out to explore one of the world's most beautiful capital cities.
Explore the island that was the very heart of the ancient city which the Romans called Lutetia as well as the center of medieval Paris.
Visit its most famous landmark, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. It has presided over centuries of glorious and somber French history, from its construction in the Middle Ages to its desecration during the French Revolution, followed by the Coronation of 1804, when the 35-year-old Napoléon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French. Admire the sanctuary's bas-reliefs, statuary, gargoyles and remarkable rose windows.
Cross the footbridge to the Ile Saint-Louis, the second in the pair of islands on the Seine. This quiet enclave in the center of the city has always attracted well-known residents, from Voltaire and Baudelaire in past centuries to Président François Mitterrand and the intelligentsia in our time. Its main street is lined with fine restaurants, boutiques and antique shops. Don't miss Berthillon, the best ice cream parlor in Paris!
Set out on a coach tour of the city. On the Right Bank of the River Seine, see Napoléon's Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, and the exuberant Opéra Garnier. On the Left Bank, you'll drive by the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
A local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Paris, will accompany your group.
Dinner this evening will introduce savory and sweet crêpes garnished with a selection of fillings.
Travel into the western suburbs aboard a RER train headed for Versailles.
Enjoy a bit of relevant French history today at the palace where the Sun King, Madame de Pompadour and Queen Marie-Antoinette all come to life. In this ultimate example of Baroque architecture, you will marvel at the lavish decoration, abundant gilding and exuberant ornamentation, particularly in the Royal Apartments of Louis XIV and in the Hall of Mirrors. Imagine the sense of self-importance that must have inflated the egos of these kings and queens.
If time allows, you may want to enrich your royal experience with an optional visit to the Petit Trianon and Marie-Antoinette's Hamlet, located within the grounds, about a mile and a half from the palace.
Then, take a stroll around the Main Gardens.
Explore the park. Buy refreshments at a booth, or enjoy the picnic you may have planned earlier by purchasing typically French food at a market. In season, opt for a ride on the tourist train, rent a bike, or rent a boat to row down the length of the Grand Canal.
Visit the grand Musée du Louvre. Walk along restored galleries, view ancient treasures, and don't miss the underground galleria beneath I. M. Pei's glass pyramid. You will see Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Vénus de Milo, and many other masterpieces.
Enjoy a walking tour on Paris's highest hill and its most celebrated bohemian district. Artists still flock to Montmartre's charming Place du Tertre, as they did when Toulouse-Lautrec painted the French Cancan dancers at the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.
Discover panoramic views of the city as you make your way up to the Sacré-Coeur for a visit to this white-domed basilica, which anchors the Parisian skyline.
See Paris transformed into a wonderland like no other during a cruise along the River Seine.
Enjoy the sweeping panorama of Spain as you fly to Barcelona, its chief port and second-largest city. ¡Bienvenidos!
Since it hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, this city has become one of Europe's most vibrant centers.
Get set to discover the vibrant capital city of the ancient kingdom of Catalonia. Note its elegant 19th-century boulevards, parks and fountains.
Settle into your hotel, then walk around your neighborhood. Practice your Spanish (or Catalan, if you can!).
Get acquainted with the string of shaded avenues stretched from the elegant Plaça de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument, which marks the spot on the waterfront where the explorer stepped ashore in 1493 after his voyage of discovery. Landmarks along the way include elegant palaces such as Palau Güell (designed by Gaudí in the 1890s and now a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site as one of the first Modernist buildings), the Opera House (Gran Teatre del Liceu, inaugurated in 1848), and Plaça de la Boquería, with the city's most colorful market.
For dinner this evening, experience tapas, the delightful and varied snack-like servings, which are a specialty of Spain, there's something to please every taste!
A tour will introduce landmarks such as the wide avenues called Las Ramblas, the medieval Gothic Quarter around the cathedral, Modernist landmarks such as the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, and Plaça de Catalunya, the lively heart of Catalonia's capital city.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of the region, will accompany your group.
You'll go up Montjuïc Hill for a panoramic view of the city, the the colorful harbor district, and the Mediterranean coast.
Visit the extraordinary-looking basilica whose construction was planned in the 1870s. Antonio Gaudí worked for more than forty years to create a unique and huge sanctuary still far from completion. The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia combines elements of Gothic architecture and the tenets of the Modernista movement associated with Gaudí.
Enjoy a visit to Gaudí's most colorful creations on exhibit in Parc Güell, notably the mosaic-decorated pavilions and the cavernous Room of a Hundred Columns.
Enjoy some free time in Barcelona today.
You may want to pay a visit to the Mercat de la Boquería, located off the Ramblas avenue. This award-winning market, ("Best Market in the World 2005," among awards), is stuffed with all imaginable cooking ingredients. See spices, seafood, meats and dairy, fruits and vegetables, bread and pastries, wine and handmade pasta. You'll be able to rub shoulders with farmers offering their local harvest, fishermen with their catch-of-the-day, and butchers displaying the freshest and most varied selections of meat and poultry. Olives and cured hams abound of course, for this is Spain. Plan a picnic!
This evening, enjoy a traditional paella dinner. This typically Spanish dish offers a flavorful combination of the finest of rice cooked with spices, sauteed Mediterranean vegetables, and a choice of either chicken or seafood.
Enjoy some free time in Barcelona today.
Make plans with your tour director.
Consider a stroll through the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona's medieval district. Its focal point is the great Gothic Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia (also called La Seu), known for its unusually wide nave and its cloisters surrounding a tropical garden. Other landmarks include the Palau de la Generalitat (Catalonia's Parliament), Casa de la Ciutat (the Town hall) and the ancient royal palace where Christopher Columbus met Isabel and Ferdinand upon his return from the Indies.
Follow a professional chef on a tour of the Mercat de la Boquería, which has received the "Best Market in the World" award. It's proof that Barcelona is far more than the world's capital of molecular cuisine. The stalls are filled with a wealth of spices, seafood, meat and dairy, fruits and vegetables, bread and pastries, wines, as well as olives and cured hams.
Next, join your chef around a kitchen counter and learn new techniques as you prepare tapas as appetizers, a main dish, and a dessert; all typical Spanish dishes, and all made with high-quality ingredients. Then, sit back and enjoy the meal you prepared. ¡Buen provecho!
Enjoy a walking tour with your Tour Director in the tight maze of streets found in the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona's medieval district, where the focal point is the great Gothic cathedral. Other landmarks, all dating back to the 1300s, include the Palau de la Generalitat (seat of Catalonia's Government), Casa de la Ciutat (Barcelona's Town Hall) and the former royal palace where Christopher Columbus met Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand upon his return from the Indies in 1493. Several of the mansions now house museums.
Nearby lies the medieval quarter known as Barrio del Born. Explore its maze of alleyways and squares, including Passeig del Born, where jousting tournaments were once held. This picturesque neighborhood, which is home to the Picasso Museum, has become a fashionable enclave within the old town.
¡Adios España! Barcelona's airport recedes, and you're 500 miles closer to home with each hour in the air. You'll be back! For now, race the sun westward, arriving home later today, eager to share your experiences with family and friends.
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