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Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $320 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.
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
Optional Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show: One-way transfer
Optional Visit to the Louvre Museum: Louvre Guide
Eiffel Tower Level Two: Optional Eiffel Tower Summit (subject to availability), Optional Dinner on the Eiffel Tower
Seine River cruise
Departure transfer, TGV Train Paris-Bordeaux, Arrival transfer
Excursion to St. Émilion: Monolithic Church
Tour director-led walking tour in Bordeaux
Scenic drive through the Dordogne Valley
Tour director-led walking tour in Carcassonne
Tour director-led walking tour in Arles: Visits to Arles' Amphitheater and Roman Theater
Visit to the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct
Optional Excursion to Monaco and Èze: Visit to the Fragonard perfume factory in the hilltop village of Èze
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.
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."
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.
Enjoy some free time in Paris.
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!)
Enter the Musée du Louvre and walk along grand galleries filled with treasures. See Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Vénus de Milo sculpted between 130 and 100 BC, the 19th century painting depicting The Coronation of Napoléon among many other masterpieces.
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.
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.
See Paris transformed into a wonderland like no other during a cruise along the River Seine.
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.
Pause in Saint-Émilion, a village nestled amid vineyards that 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 and earned this ancient town a UNESCO World Heritage label as a cultural landscape.
Take time to walk with your tour director through the village's very steep streets, lined with ancient houses, on your way to the collegiate 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.
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.
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, and the house of the poet Étienne de la Boétie, who was the dear friend of the famous 16th-century philosopher Michel de Montaigne.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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!
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.
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.
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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