The Troubadours Educational Tour

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The Troubadours tour map

The Troubadours

10 Days Paris 3 • Bordeaux 1 • Sarlat-la-Canéda 1 • Arles 1 • Nice 2

Accommodations

Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $320 per person.

Transportation

Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.

Meals

All breakfasts. All dinners.

Guides

Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.

Inclusions

Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.

Travel Protection

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.

Days 1-2: Arrival Paris

Arrival transfer

Day 3: Paris

Paris City Sightseeing, Excursion to Versailles, RER train to Paris

Visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral

Optional Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show: One-way transfer

Day 4: Paris

Optional Visit to the Louvre Museum: Louvre Guide

Eiffel Tower Level Two: Optional Eiffel Tower Summit, Optional Dinner on the Eiffel Tower

Seine River cruise

Day 5: Paris - Bordeaux

Departure transfer, TGV Train Paris-Bordeaux, Arrival transfer

Excursion to St. Émilion: Monolithic Church

Tour director-led walking tour in Bordeaux

Day 6: Bordeaux - Sarlat-la-Canéda

Scenic drive through the Dordogne Valley

Day 7: Sarlat-la-Canéda - Arles

Tour director-led walking tour in Carcassonne

Day 8: Arles - Nice

Tour director-led walking tour in Arles: Amphitheater and Roman Theater

Visit to the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct

Day 9: Nice

Optional Excursion to Monaco and Èze: Fragonard perfume factory in hilltop village of Èze

Day 10: Departure

Departure transfer

Days 1-2: Arrival

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.

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.

Day 3: Paris City Sightseeing, Excursion to Versailles, RER train to Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, Optional Moulin Rouge

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.

Visit to the State Apartments and Hall of Mirrors

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.

Visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral

Cross the River Seine to get to the boat-shaped island known as the Ile de la Cité, the very heart of the ancient city which the Romans called Lutetia. There, visit 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 (the 35-year-old upstart crowned himself emperor, with the Pope and all of Europe watching). Admire its bas-reliefs, statuary, gargoyles and remarkable rose windows.

Free time in Paris

The remainder of the day is free to plan as you wish.

You may wish to visit the Musée de la Parfumerie Fragonard housed in the Théâtre des Capucines, a theater built in 1900 that was transformed into a museum in 1993. Its collections illustrate the history and manufacture of perfume. A mini-factory with a 19th-century copper distilling apparatus demonstrates the extraction of essences. Visitors also learn all about the esoteric artistry of the "Noses."

Optional Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show

This evening, enjoy a show at the Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill). There's indeed a windmill on the top of this famous building, which is one of the landmarks of the district known as Pigalle, at the foot of the Montmartre hill. The Moulin Rouge presents a truly fantastique cabaret show, albeit a little risqué!

The transfer back to the hotel is provided for the 11 pm show.

Day 4: Paris, Optional Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise

Enjoy some free time in Paris today.

You may want to take the colorful Métro to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the rive gauche. Paris' oldest church, with a Romanesque steeple dating back to 1014, is surrounded by a quartier long popular with artists and writers. Check out celebrated cafés such as the Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots and the Brasserie Lipp which count Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Ernest Hemingway among their famous patrons.

Take a stroll along the glamorous Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which stretches for more than a mile from the Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette encountered Dr. Guillotin's invention and their fate. The obelisk at the center of the square was presented by Egypt to France in 1831 and dates back to the 13th century BC, a relic of Ramses II. In the vicinity stands the Palais de l'Elysée, built in 1718, which now serves as the residence of the President of the Republic. At the other end of the avenue, the Arc de Triomphe looms over the city's craziest rotary. (You may want to climb up to the monument's platform for a great overview of the area!)

Optional Visit to the Louvre Museum

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.

Louvre Guide

The insights of a national museum guide help you to rediscover the masterpieces, delve into a particular theme, or focus on one artist's pieces. Tours are aimed at art enthusiasts and novices alike.

Eiffel Tower Level Two

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.

Optional Eiffel Tower Summit

Availability permitting, you'll ascend to the third level of the tower.

Optional Dinner on the Eiffel Tower

Enjoy a three-course dinner at the restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel.

Seine River cruise

See Paris transformed into a wonderland like no other during a cruise along the River Seine.

Day 5: Train to Bordeaux, Excursion to St. Emilion, Bordeaux Walking Tour

One of the world's fastest trains, the Train à Grande Vitesse, is your means of transport. It whisks you away to the elegant city of Bordeaux, set in the heart of one of France's most famous wine-growing regions.

Excursion to St. Emilion

Stop in the world-famous town of St. Emilion, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, nestled amid vineyards which produce some of the most renowned Bordeaux wines. The Romans planted the town's first grape vines back in the 2nd century AD, thus starting an industry that thrives nineteen centuries later.

Take time to walk with your tour director through the village's very steep streets, lined with ancient houses, to the collegiate church.

Monolithic Church

A visit is included to the Eglise Monolithe, an underground church said to have been carved out of the cliff by the disciples of Emilion, a Breton hermit who arrived in the region in the 8th century.

Tour director-led walking tour in Bordeaux

Discover major landmarks such as the Place de la Comédie and the Grand Théâtre, a model for theaters built around the world in its time, including the Opéra Garnier in Paris. Then, follow the quay along the Garonne River to the Place de La Bourse to view its reflecting pool, known as the Water Mirror. Continue to the Saint-Pierre district, cradle of the city, to see Square Vinet and its Mur Végétal, the Porte Cailhau city gate, and the famous Pont de Pierre.

Day 6: Dordogne Valley, Sarlat

The Dordogne Valley offers one of the great scenic drives of Europe, with medieval castles, dramatically-plunging landscapes and precariously-poised villages hugging cliffsides. During the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), this region was a constant battlefield for the French and the English, who both built fortresses along the river.

Arrive in Sarlat, one of the best-preserved Renaissance towns in France. The town has retained many of its ancient buildings, turrets, twisted streets and passageways. Time seems to have stood still for centuries.

If you walk around the town's center, you'll see the 16th-century Cathédrale Saint-Sacerdos, the former Bishop's Palace with its Gothic windows as well as the house of the poet and philosopher Etienne de la Boétie, who was Montaigne's dear friend.

Day 7: Carcassonne, Arles

Your journey continues to the medieval gem of Carcassonne, whose walls rebound with images of knights-in-armor and tales of heroism and romance. This fortified city goes back to Roman times but is better known for its extensive medieval ramparts. The great Narbonne Tower was large enough to store pork from 1,000 pigs and 200 sides of beef, along with enough fresh water to supply the town for six months.

Your tour director will take you on a walking tour within the impressive fortifications which enclose the Château Comtal and old houses piled haphazardly along winding streets.

Continue east to Provence and the "Little Rome of the Gauls," where Vincent van Gogh lived and worked in the late 1880s.

Enjoy the evening in this charming town of winding ruelles and evocative Roman remains.

Day 8: Arles Walking Tour, Pont du Gard, Nice

Stroll along narrow cobblestone streets, virtually unchanged over the last hundred years and replete with evidence of times gone by. Besides the Amphitheater, landmarks include a Roman theater, the eerie Alyscamps (a Pagan and Christian burial ground which fascinated Dante, van Gogh and Gauguin), and the magnificent Church of St. Trophime, the city's former cathedral and Provence's finest Romanesque sanctuary.

Visit the largest Roman amphitheater north of the Alps, built around AD 90, and the Roman Theater, which dates back to the 1st century BC.

Travel to Nice via the Pont du Gard

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).

Journey on to the glittering 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.

Day 9: Nice, Optional Excursion to Monaco and Eze

Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, said to be Europe's most handsome boulevard (see the luxury yachts from the world over).

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.

Try a pissaladière (local pizza) or a salade niçoise for lunch.

Of course, there's the beach: it may be a touch pebbly, but the water looks great!

Optional Excursion to Monaco and Eze

Board your coach for an excursion today.

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.

Sightseeing stop in Èze

Stop in the picturesque village of Èze, perched atop a towering cliff high above the sea.

Fragonard perfume factory in hilltop village of Èze.

Visit Èze's Fragonard perfume factory and learn about the esoteric artistry of les "nez."

Day 10: Departure

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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