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Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $280 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline.
All breakfasts. All dinners.
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.
Paris City Sightseeing, Excursion to the Palace of Versailles, RER train to Paris
Visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral
Eiffel Tower Level Two: Optional Eiffel Tower Summit (subject to availability), Optional Dinner on the Eiffel Tower
Departure transfer, TGV train Paris-Avignon, Arrival transfer
Tour director-led walking tour in Avignon
Excursion to the Pont du Gard and Nîmes: Visit to the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct, Tour director-led walking tour in Nîmes, Visits to the Roman Amphitheater and the Maison Carrée
Tour director-led walking tour in Aix-en-Provence
Excursion to Monaco and Èze: Visit to the Fragonard perfume factory in the hilltop village of Èze
Tour director-led walking tour along the 'Promenade des Anglais' in Nice
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.
Time permitting, you may want to head to Montmartre, Paris' highest hill and its most celebrated bohemian district. Artists still flock to the charming Place du Tertre, as they did when Toulouse-Lautrec painted the French Cancan dancers at the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Visitors enjoy panoramic views of the city as they make their way to the Sacré-Coeur, the white-domed basilica that anchors the Parisian skyline.
Set out on a coach tour of the city in the company of a local guide. 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, discover the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
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.
Then, take a stroll around the Main Gardens.
Return to Paris using the efficient RER transit system.
Enter Notre-Dame de Paris. This cathedral has presided over centuries of glorious and somber French history, from its construction in the Middle Ages to its desecration during the French Revolution, and the coronation of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1804. Admire its bas-reliefs, statuary, gargoyles, and remarkable rose windows.
Take an elevator to the deuxième étage of the most famous cast iron structure ever built, la Tour Eiffel, for an unforgettable panorama of Paris.
Ascend to the third level of the tower.
Enjoy a three-course dinner at the restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel located on the first level of the Eiffel Tower.
Today, there's the excitement of a ride on a Train à Grande Vitesse (no clickety-clacks on these smooth rails) all the way down to Avignon, au coeur de la Provence.
Enjoy a walking tour led by your courier. See the imposing fortress-like Palace of the Popes. Other landmarks include the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms, the Saint-Bénézet Bridge (le fameux Pont d'Avignon!), the central Place de l'Horloge, and the charming rue des Teinturiers.
Marvel at the Romans' engineering genius at the Pont du Gard, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC which delivered 44 million gallons of water each day to the Roman city of Nemausus (Nîmes).
On a walk through the city's historic center, you will see impressive ruins such as the Porte d'Auguste, a Roman gate built at the entrance to the Via Domitia when Colonia Nemausus was founded by the Romans in 28 BC.
You may take a stroll in town, and perhaps shop for local specialties such as fragrant perfumes, fine olive oils, or the attractive fabrics called tissus provençaux. Nîmes also gave us the less colorful but ubiquitous blue cloth known as "denim," a deformation of the name of the fabric first woven in this city and called serge de Nîmes.
Visit the Maison Carrée (a Roman temple which Thomas Jefferson used as a model for Virginia's State Capitol Building), and the Roman amphitheater, which is better preserved than Rome's Colosseum.
Your combination ticket also allows entrance, if time permits, to the Roman ruins known as the Tour Magne, built in the 1st century BC.
Today, depart Avignon and head toward the familiar silhouette of la Montagne Sainte-Victoire, often featured in Cézanne's paintings.
Discover the historic district of the "City of a Thousand Fountains" as you stroll along its best-known avenue, the Cours Mirabeau, past monumental fountains from the 17th century. Other landmarks include the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville with its open-air cafés and the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, whose Romanesque cloisters house a famous triptych, The Burning Bush, painted in 1476.
Continue over the parched hills of the Massif des Maures on your way to the capital of the French Riviera. This is the Côte d'Azur, celebrated for its sunny climate, the turquoise Mediterranean, and the vedettes de cinéma who inhabit the surrounding hills.
Board your coach for an excursion today.
Discover a picturesque Provençal village perched atop a towering cliff, high above the Mediterranean Sea.
In Èze, enter the Parfumerie Fragonard and learn about the esoteric artistry of the "nez" - the perfumers nicknamed "Noses" who compose renowned perfumes from a workstation known as a perfume organ.
Discover the Principality of Monaco, a fabulous display of white buildings and winding roads set into steep hillsides. See the harbor, Monte Carlo and its Grand Casino, favored by the world's well-to-do, the Cathedral and the Prince's Palace, which Prince Rainier once shared with his bride from Philadelphia, Grace Kelly.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Of course, in Nice there's the famous crescent of the beach: as all beaches in this region it may be a touch pebbly, but the deep blue water looks great!
Enjoy a walking tour along the Promenade des Anglais, which is said to be Europe's most handsome boulevard (see the luxury yachts from the world over). Venture down side streets into the Old Town, known as Vieux-Nice.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Art lovers may want to visit the colorful Musée Matisse or the Musée Chagall, the latter highlighting one of the artist's major works, Le Message Biblique.
Choose to travel back in time at the Musée de Terra Amata, set on the site of a paleolithic hunters' camp some 400,000 years old, which is one of the earliest human settlements known in Europe. See stone tools, the hearth and the human footprint, most likely Pithecanthropus.
Le retour, hélas... Your plane awaits. This time the earth rotates towards you, allowing an arrival in the U.S. only shortly after you left Europe! You're eager to share your adventures with family and friends.
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