Attention 2020 Travelers! Enrollments received by December 1 get a $250 discount.
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.
Arrival transfer, Drive-through tour in Brussels, Grand-Place, Manneken-Pis
Bruges guided walking tour: Visits to the Basilica of the Holy Blood and to the Church of Our Lady
Optional Seine River cruise
Paris City Sightseeing, Excursion to Versailles, RER train to Paris
Visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral
Visit to the Louvre Museum
Eiffel Tower Level Two: Optional Eiffel Tower Summit, Optional Dinner on the Eiffel Tower
Departure transfer, TGV train Paris-Lausanne, Arrival transfer
Excursion to Montreux, Chillon and Gruyeres: Chillon Castle guide
A short night passes quickly, sped on by the thrill of anticipation. Your jet airplane touches down with the dawn in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.
Discover this cosmopolitan city on a drive-through tour: see landmarks such as the Royal Palace and the Gothic Town Hall.
Stop for photos at the Grand-Place, heart of the Old Town, which is surrounded by the magnificent façades of guildhouses and of the Gothic Town Hall.
Walk to Rue de l'Étuve, located off the Grand-Place, to meet the Manneken-Pis. This 1619 bronze statue depicting a little boy who saved Brussels, according to local lore, has become an emblem of the city's tenacity.
Travel to Bruges, once a modest fortification against Norman invaders, later a world-famous trading center and cradle of Flemish art, now a beautiful reminder of medieval times and pageantry.
In the company of a local guide, explore this delightful city, which is crisscrossed by little canals lined with 16th-century gabled town houses like the Old Recorder's House. Bruges was one of the wealthiest cities in all of Europe during the Middle Ages. The town's merchants made their fortunes from the cloth trade. With the profits, they constructed impressive public buildings, including the ornate City Hall and the soaring Belfry on the Markt (market square).
Visit the Heilig-Bloedbasiliek to see panels painted by Pieter Pourbus in 1556. Behind the basilica's ornate façade, you will find a lower chapel in the Romanesque style and, above, the Flamboyant Gothic Chapel of the Holy Blood. You will also visit the Onze-lieve-Vrouwekerk, a church which houses a marble Madonna and Child sculpted by Michelangelo.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
You may want to admire the rich collections of Flemish paintings at the Groeninge Museum.
You may want to visit the Kantcentrum to see how the renowned Belgian lace is handmade according to ancient techniques.
Enjoy a boat ride along Bruges' picturesque canals.
Your coach takes you across the scarred battlefields of World War I to Amiens, the ancient capital of Picardy. Like Bruges, Amiens was a prosperous city during the Middle Ages thanks to its textile industry.
The medieval Golden Age of Amiens is reflected in its cathedral, a jewel of Gothic art that holds the two records in France: the tallest nave and the greatest interior volume. During your visit, you will see the soaring vaults, the magnificent rose window, and bas-reliefs. Part of the nave's pavement is an octagonal labyrinth of black and white stone that was reconstructed in 1894, based on the original medieval design created in 1288.
Board your coach and proceed to the "City of Light."
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.
See Paris transformed into a wonderland like no other during a cruise along the River Seine.
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.
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.
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.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Check out the Carrousel du Louvre, a cultural and commercial galleria located below the museum. You may want to window shop there, have a bite to eat, or ponder at the inverted glass pyramid, as do all fans of Dan Brown's mystery novel The Da Vinci Code.
Plan a visit to the Père Lachaise Cemetery and its illustrious residents. Jim Morrison of The Doors either read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, or should have. The two artists lie buried not far from one another. (Move over Abélard, Balzac, and Delacroix!).
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."
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.
Availability permitting, you'll ascend to the third level of the tower.
Enjoy a three-course dinner at the restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel.
There's an exciting ride aboard a high-tech TGV train, which will whisk you away through the hills of Burgundy. Your destination: Switzerland and the lakeside city of Lausanne, on the shores of Lac Léman.
The reflection of the French Alps in the lake's dark blue waters is a sight not soon forgotten.
The remainder of the day is free to plan as you wish.
Walk along the shop-lined streets around the cathedral, which is Switzerland's finest Gothic building.
The International Olympic Committee is headquartered in Lausanne's lakeside district of Ouchy. You may want to visit the Olympic Museum, which retraces more than 2,200 years of sports history, from the games of the ancient Greeks through to the modern revival of the Olympic Games in 1896 to our time. Don't miss the park to view its landscaped grounds and sport-related statuary.
Time to explore your surroundings today on a magnificent drive through lakeland, monuments and mountains.
Enjoy a sightseeing stop in the glamorous heart of the Vaud Riviera , the lakeside resort of Montreux, famous for its annual jazz festival.
Visit the romantic castle of Chillon, which so moved Lord Byron. Notice the poet's initials carved into the rock walls of the dungeon.
A guide will accompany you on your Chillon Castle visit.
Travel up into the mountains to the town of Gruyères, which stands high on a rocky crag, its Renaissance houses and single main street nestled within ramparts.
There's chocolate in your flight bag as you head to Geneva's airport!
A la prochaine fois!/ Your jet awaits. You will arrive home later today, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.
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