Featuring Chateaux, Medieval Cities, and the Normandy Beaches
Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the River Seine as you drift past some of the most famous landmarks in French history; travel back to the Norman invasion when you stand before the impressive UNESCO Bayeux Tapestry; dine at a traditional bouchon where you will sample Lyon’s cuisine. You’ll come to know Paris your way – by coach or Metro; you’ll explore Avignon and step inside its 14th century papal palace; ponder history at Normandy’s Memorial Peace Museum and Omaha Beach Cemetery. Explore Monaco and take in the Casino of Monte Carlo and the Cathedral of Monte Carlo; Delight in a tour and tasting at a local winery; and learn the secrets of perfume making in Grasse, the perfume capital of the world.***
October 15-29, 2020
Paris, Seine River Cruise, Mont St. Michel, Normandy, French Riviera, Omaha Beach, Chateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley, 2-Night Chateau Stay, Avignon, Nice, Monte Carlo, Monaco, and more; Hotel, Air, Taxes, 16 Meals. Passport required. $5299 Double; $6549 Single**
($200 discount if booked by April 16, 2020)
Day 1: Overnight Flight
· Day 2-3: Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile, Paris
· Day 4-5: Normandy Hotel, Normandy
· Day 6-7: Hotel Oceania, Saint-Malo
· Day 8-9: Chateau de Beauvois, Loire Valley
· Day 10-11: Mercure Lyon Centre Saxe Lafayette, Lyon
· Day 12: Mercure Pont d’Avignon, Avignon
· Day 13-14: Splendid Hotel & Spa, Nice
Day 1 & 2: Thursday, October 15, 2020 and Friday, October 16, 2020: Depart for a journey through France. Bask in the rich history, art, culture, and romance of its celebrated cities and charming villages. Your tour opens in beautiful Paris. Celebrate the beginning of a fabulous trip with a sunset river cruise past famous glittering landmarks along the River Seine, which divides the north from the south of Paris into what is known as the right bank and the left bank. Head to one of Paris’ local restaurants for a savory French dinner. (D)
Day 3: Saturday, October 17, 2020: Start your day by taking in the most iconic sights of Paris on a panoramic coach tour. With your local guide, you’ll see the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde, and the bustling Place Vendome. Take advantage of a free afternoon to write your own story. Perhaps you will choose to partake in an optional guided tour at the famous Louvre. (B)
Day 4: Sunday, October 18, 2020: Set off for the Normandy coast, where the largest invasion in history took place during World War II. Enjoy an insightful visit to the Memorial Peace Museum, built to commemorate those who died in the epic battle of Normandy in 1944. Later, see the remains of the artificial Mulberry port built near Arromanche-les-Bains – where the allies resupplied their lines during the liberation of France – before making your way to the hotel. (B)
Day 5: This morning visit the Omaha Beach Cemetery with time to stop by the new interpretive center, and see the stars and stripes raised over the graves of the valiant soldiers who gave their lives in the Battle of Normandy. Then, walk through Pointe du Hoc Ranger Memorial and see where the 2nd Ranger Battalion scaled the 100-foot cliffs on D-Day to seize the fortified enemy position. Next, make your way to Sainte Mère Eglise, the heart of the American Airborne operations on D-Day, and visit its parachute-shaped Airborne Museum. You will also visit other landing beaches such as Utah and Juno. (B, D)
Day 6: Tuesday, October 20, 2020: Travel back in history when you stand before the impressive UNESCO Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot embroidered cloth depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. Enjoy some free time to explore the historic town on your own. you’ll fall in love with the streets lined with half-timbered houses and the ramparts that overlook this picture-perfect port village. Then it’s off to Saint-Malo, Brittany’s renowned coastal village. Here you’ll be immersed in beautiful beaches, striking blue water, and views of the fortified Old Town where you’ll enjoy a wonderfully prepared local dinner. (B, D)
Day 7: Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Le Mont St. Michel, the “Wonder of the West.” Resting on the border between Normandy and Brittany, this world famous pilgrimage site sits on the edge of the sea and become an island at high tide. Take in the breathtaking views as you stroll through the old city at the base of the village before exploring one of the most beautiful abbeys in France, dating back to the 11th century. Return to Saint-Malo and enjoy time to relax or explore independently. (B)
Day 8: Thursday, October 22, 2020: Journey south to the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with châteaux and parks, and once the setting for the French court. Arrive in the medieval village of Chinon. Joan of Arc first met young Charles VII here and shared her vision that he would defeat the English during the Hundred Years’ War. Visit the market,* abundant with fresh produce, flowers and local products, and take time to enjoy lunch along the banks of the Vienne River. This afternoon, feel like Royalty when you arrive at your 15th century castle accommodations at the Château de Beauvois. Delve into the history of this site frequented by King Louis XIII as you enjoy some leisure time to explore the grounds or relax on the château’s charming terrace. This evening, delight in gourmet French cuisine in the opulent dining room of your château. (B, D)
Day 9: Friday, October 23, 2020: Embark on a tour of the spectacular Château de Chenonceau, perched along the banks of the Cher River and a jewel of Renaissance architecture with stunning, traditional French gardens. Proceed to the picturesque center of Amboise. Enjoy free time for exploring and getting to know the local culture. Next, tour a local winery and discover some of the Loire Valley’s best wines. (B)
Day 10: Saturday, October 24, 2020: Travel the French countryside to the gastronomical capital of France, Lyon (UNESCO). The city was once an important area for silk production. Today it is famous for its world-renowned cuisine. This evening experience this cuisine firsthand when you dine at a bouchon, a local restaurant that serves traditional Lyonnaise fare. (B, D)
Day 11: Sunday, October 25, 2020: Choose how to spend the day because it’s your choice! Get to know Lyon with a local expert, visiting the Basilica of NotreDame de Fourvier and the historic Old Quarter -OR- embark on an appetizing adventure in Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse food market, where you’ll peruse its many culinary delights and sample some local goods before exploring the area independently. The remainder of the day is your s to do as you wish. (B)
Day 12: Monday, October 26, 2020: Get acquainted with the walled city of Avignon on a morning orientation tour. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. With your free time, perhaps you will discover Avignon’s legacy of being the center of European religion for 70 years when the Papacy moved there in 1309. You might explore some of the 25 rooms of the 14th century papal palace, Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic palace in the world. Filled with priceless frescoes and home to nine Popes, the palace will amaze you. You can also take a relaxing stroll along the river and see Pont Saint-Bénèzet, one of the city’s most iconic sites. (B)
Day 13: Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Travel to Antibes and rub shoulders with Europe’s elite in this Riviera getaway. After some free time to explore, continue to Grasse, the center of the world’s perfume industry. Learn the secrets of perfume making, from extraction to distillation, while vising a famous parfumerie. Then, journey to Nice, the renowned playground of the rich and famous. The evening is yours to explore this seaside destination. (B)
Day 14: Wednesday, October 28, 2020: This morning you’ll feel like a local as you stroll through the colorful and fragrant flower market* in Nice. Then it’s off to discover Place Massena and the lively seafront Promenade des Anglais. Your journey takes you to Monaco, the dazzling gem of the Riviera. A panoramic tour highlights the famous and extravagant Casino of Monte Carlo and the spectacular 13th-century Prince’s Palace. Pause to see the Cathedral of Monaco, the final burial site of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace. Gather for a farewell dinner tonight to celebrate the end of a magnificent trip to France! (B, D)
Day 15: Thursday, October 29, 2020: Set out for home with many magnificent memories. (B)
* Outdoor markets may not be available.
** Single accommodations are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis. Triple accommodations are not available due to hotel restrictions. Please call for availability.
*** This tour requires average physical activity. You should be in good health, able to climb stairs and walk reasonable distances, possibly over uneven walking surfaces and cobblestone streets.
Experience it! Normandy
Discover a place etched in history on June 6, 1944, the day when thousands of allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. Many brave men from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and more gave their lives on this day known today as D-Day and often referred to as the ‘beginning of the end of the Second World War.” Reflect during your visit to the Landing Beaches, dotted with memorials and museums dedicated to the troops who fought here. One of the most poignant beaches is Omaha Beach, home to the largest American cemetery in the region with 9,000 gravestones set in perfect alignment. Throughout your time in Normandy, you will see many reminders of this tragic time and turning point for WWII.