Grand Tour Of France
Youve seen photos of the Eiffel Towernow is your time to see it in person. Youve studied and read about D-Days Normandy Beachesnows your chance to visit them. Youve heard about Frances famous winesnows your chance to see the Bordeaux wine-growing region. All of this and much more are included on this tour of France that begins and ends in Paris. History buffs are sure to be amazed by the many historic towns and attractions on this tour. Immerse yourself in ancient Roman history with a stop at Pont Du Gard bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 1st Century. Visit the amphitheatre in Arles, the city with the most Roman remains outside of Rome. Go back in time to the Middle Ages with a visit to the clifftop town of Rocamadour. Walk by the ancient battlements in the beautifully preserved, medieval town of Carcassonne; and visit Beaunes Htel-Dieu charity hospital, built in 1443 after the Hundred Years’ War left many of the town’s population destitute. On the route Napoleon, follow in the footsteps of Napoleon when he returned from Elba.
Coming to recent history, see Normandys landing beaches, where Operation Neptune was launched on June 6, 1944. Art history fans will enjoy a visit to Aix-en-Provence, the birthplace of painter Czanne, and a stroll around the 17th-century Cours Mirabeau, a lively area with fountains, elegant homes, and famous cafs. In Grasse, the worlds perfume capital, visit a perfume workshop. Spend time in the Loire Valley with its spectacular vineyards and castles. Discover Dordogne, one of Frances most picturesque regions, showcasing many charming villages. Of course, no France tour is complete without visiting the French Riviera, and youll have plenty of time to explore this beautiful area on the Mediterranean Sea. This value-minded tour through France is truly a vacation of a lifetime!
ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE
Check into your hotel and spend free time strolling around Paris. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travel companions.
PARIS – ROUEN – HONFLEUR – CAEN
Drive first to the historical capital city of Normandy, Rouenone of the most prosperous cities of medieval Europe. Walk through its center, rich in Gothic architecture. Next, visit lovely Honfleur, known for its picturesque port and houses with slate-covered facades. Continue to Caen.
CAEN – NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES – BAYEUX – MONT ST. MICHEL
Time to see Caen before visiting the legendary beaches where Allied troops landed more than 75 years ago. Experience the most moving sites at Arromanches, St. Laurent, and the American Cemetery at Omaha. Next, journey to Bayeux, home to the famous tapestry, listed by UNESCO, depicting William the Conquerors epic battle in 1066 (entrance fee extra). Then, on to the unique beauty of Mont St. Michel, which stands on an island accessed via a causeway.
MONT ST. MICHEL – ANGERS – CHTEAUX COUNTRY
Time to enjoy a visit of Mont St. Michel before departing for Angers to visit its cathedral. Then, travel along the banks of the Loire River to reach the enchanting Chateaux Country. This evening, join an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Spend the day at leisure or take an optional excursion to see some of the most spectacular castles of the Loire Valley, steeped in the history of noblemen and kings since the 11th century. Gothic spires, medieval turrets, great fortresses, and beautiful chteaux make for splendid panoramas.
CHTEAUX COUNTRY – LA ROCHELLE – BORDEAUX
This morning, spend some time in the picturesque town of La Rochelle, situated on the Atlantic coast, then enjoy a scenic drive through the Bordeaux wine region. Stop for a wine tasting session at one of the celebrated cellars. On arrival in Bordeaux, enjoy an orientation walk of the city center.
BORDEAUX – DORDOGNE – ROCAMADOUR – TOULOUSE
Discover one of Frances most scenic regions, the Dordogne. Stop in the sacred medieval town of Rocamadour, dramatically perched high upon a cliff. Built on three successive levels, Rocamadour is both a place of legend and history where old stone houses, majestic towers and an impressive castle were built on the cliff edge of the Alzou Canyon. Continue southwards to Toulouse.
TOULOUSE – CARCASSONNE – PONT DU GARD – AVIGNON
Travel to Carcassonne, immerse yourself fully in the medieval atmosphere of the city and discover its secrets on a guided tour. Then, stop for a picture at famous Pont du Gard, one of the wonders of Antiquity, and the finest remaining example of an ancient aqueduct built 2000 years ago by the Romans.This architectural gem, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, is set in a beautiful, unspoilt natural setting. Upon arrival in Avignon, free time to explore the old quarter featuring an amazing architectural and historic heritage, such as the Palace of the Popes.
AVIGNON – ARLES – AIX-EN-PROVENCE – FRENCH RIVIERA
Visit Arles, known all over the world for Van Goghs paintings. Admire the famous Roman amphitheatre, then continue to Aix-en-Provence. Walk down its main street, the Cours Mirabeau, lined with plane trees in the French tradition, and the 17th-century palace, houses, and fountains. Finally, head to the French Riviera on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Take time to enjoy all the amenities of the French Riviera at your own leisure. Tonight, maybe join the optional Monte Carlo by Night excursion to see the Principality of Monaco.
FRENCH RIVIERA – GRASSE – LYON AREA
The first stop today is Grasse, to visit a traditional perfume workshop. See more of the Provence region and follow one of Frances great panoramic routes, the Route Napoleon, which Napoleon, French military leader and emperor in the 1800s, took on his return from his exile in Elba in 1815. From Grenoble, join the expressway to the Lyon area.
LYON AREA – BEAUNE – PARIS
Travel through the picturesque vineyards and fields of Burgundy to medieval Beaune, the regions wine capital since Roman times. Stop to visit the famous Htel-Dieu. Return to the French capital of Paris.
Discover the glorious ville lumires (City of Lights) and its many boulevards and monumental buildings. On your included sightseeing tour, a local expert will guide you through Parisian history, tradition, and modern living. Optional excursions are also available to complete your experience.