French Highlights

French Highlights
Stroll along the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter, chat with vendors selling French cheeses and pastries, explore the lavish Châteaux de Chambord in the Loire Valley, and venture across the Viaduc de Millau, the world’s highest bridge, to Montpellier.
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Day 1 Start tour
Day 2 Bonjour Paris
Meet your tour director and check into hotel
Paris city walk
Île de la CitéNotre Dame Cathedral visitÎle St. LouisLatin Quarter visit
Dinner in Latin Quarter
Details: Paris city walk
This city was made for walking. Stroll grand boulevards with sweeping views of the city, pristine parks with trees planted in perfect rows, and narrow streets crowded with vendors selling flowers, pastries and cheese. Then head to the Île de la Cité, a small island in the Seine, to see Notre Dame Cathedral.
Details: Louvre visit
The world's largest art museum, the Louvre is housed in a Medieval fortress-turned-castle so grand it's worth a tour itself. You walk through the 71-foot glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei and added in 1989, and step into another world--one with carved ceilings, deep-set windows, and so many architectural details you could spend a week just admiring the rooms. The Mona Lisa is here, as well as the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (the headless statue, circa 200 BC, discovered at Samothrace). The Louvre has seven different departments of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and antiquities. Don't miss the Egyptian collection, complete with creepy sarcophagi, or the collection of Greek ceramics, one of the largest in the world. (Please note the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.)
Day 3 Paris landmarks
Paris guided sightseeing tour
Arc de TriompheChamps-ÉlyséesEiffel TowerChamp de MarsÉcole MilitaireLes InvalidesConciergerieTuileriesPlace VendômeOpera House
Optional  Versailles guided excursion  $80
State ApartmentsHall of MirrorsGardens of Versailles
Details: Paris guided sightseeing tour
What's that huge white arch at the end of the Champs-Élysées? The Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 after his victory at Austerlitz. Your licensed local guide will elaborate on this, and other Parisian landmarks. See some of the most famous sites, including the ornate, 19th-century Opera, the Presidential residence, the ultra-chic shops of the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, and the gardens of the Tuileries. You'll pass the Place de la Concorde, where in the center you’ll find the Obelisk of Luxor, a gift from Egypt in 1836, and the Place Vendôme, a huge square surrounded by 17th-century buildings. Spot chic locals (and tons of tourists) strolling the Champs-Élysées. Look up at the iron girders of the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World's Fair to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. See Les Invalides (a refuge for war wounded), the École Militaire (Napoleon's alma mater), and the Conciergerie (the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept during the French Revolution).
Details: Seine River cruise
See the city from the water on an hour-long cruise along the River Seine. The Seine cuts right through Paris, dividing the city in half. See the Eiffel tower rising up on the Left Bank, the walls of the Louvre on the Right Bank. A guide will point out other monuments and architectural marvels as you pass, many of which are illuminated by clear white light at night.
Day 4 Paris--Loire Valley
Travel to Loire Valley (via Chartres & Chambord)
Château de Chambord photo stop
Authentic French brasserie dinner
Details: Chartres Cathedral visit
Built on an ancient worshipping ground to house a piece of the Virgin Mary’s veil (which is still on display), this 13th-century Gothic church is best known for its windows. With over 20,000 square feet of stained glass, visiting Chartres can be like walking around inside a large jewel. But don’t spend all your time looking up—on the floor is the only surviving medieval labyrinth. The faithful travel the winding 300-yard path on their knees to reach the image of paradise at the centre. Ouch.
Day 5 Loire Valley castles
Loire châteaux tour director-led sightseeing
Azay-le-Rideau visitChâteau de Chenonceau visit
Troglodyte Village guided visit
Details: Loire châteaux tour director-led sightseeing
France’s aristocrats began building defensive castles in the Loire Valley in the 11th century. A few hundred years later, their descendants created pleasure palaces among the lush green forests and wandering waterways. Today, sumptuous Renaissance castles stud the banks of the silvery Loire River, the longest in France. First stop: Azay-le-Rideau. This castle’s limestone turrets and slate spires are set on an island in the middle of the Indre River. Almost completely surrounded by water, the castle mixes Gothic and Renaissance styles to fairy-tale effect. But few castles can compete with Château de Chenonceau. Built on a series of arches over the Cher River, Chenonceau was designed by a woman in the 16th century. It was once inhabited by Catherine de Medicis, who commissioned the delicate spirals and the formal gardens, and had the bridge covered by a two-story stone gallery.
Details: Dinner in Troglodyte Village
Dug by men from the XIIth century onwards to extract the stone, “the tuffeau” destined for building, The Cave aux Moines was used as far back as the beginning of the XXth century to cultivate mushrooms. The beginning of the cave and the first metres of the galleries were used by people to live; that kind of living was called the "troglodytes". Here people and animals lived as a community.
Day 6 Loire Valley--Montpellier
Details: Transfer to Montpellier via Massif Central & Viaduc de Millau
Cross the Viaduc de Millau, the world's highest bridge, with supports taller than the Eiffel Tower. The bridge's innovative design blends almost seamlessly with the surrounding mountains.
Day 7 Montpellier--Provence
Travel to Provence
Provence tour director-led sightseeing
Pont du Gard visitLes Baux de ProvenceArles amphitheater visit
Details: Provence tour director-led sightseeing
Lush lavender fields, olive groves, terra-cotta roofs, and ochre walls lit by golden sunlight...your Tour Director will guide you through the splendor that is Provence. Explore legacies of the Roman Empire like the Pont du Gard aqueduct, a sophisticated work of engineering that is intact after more than 2,000 years, and visit the Nîmes amphitheater. Built by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, it was once the site of gory gladiator and animal combat, and is still used today for performances and bullfights (some things never change). Also see the medieval ruins of Baux-de-Provence.
Details: Pont du Gard visit
A true masterpiece of ancient architecture, the Pont du Gard aqueduct is one of the most beautiful Roman constructions in the region. Discover more about this startling monument as you follow the course of its history through the ages.
Day 8 Provence--Côte d'Azur
Details: Travel to Côte d’Azur via Aix-en-Provence & Cassis
Journey to the Cote d’Azur by way of the tree-shaded boulevards and carved fountains of Aix-en-Provence and Cassis, where the coast is riddled with Calanques. These deep channels, carved into the white limestone cliffs by ancient rivers, make a perfect backdrop for your cruise through the crystalline waters.
Details: Calanques cruise
From the deck of a boat bobbing on the crystalline Mediterranean Sea, get a dramatic view of the craggy limestone cliffs that line the shores.
Day 9 Monaco, Èze & Nice
Monaco & Èze tour director-led sightseeing
Prince’s PalaceParfumerie visit in Èze
Nice tour director-led sightseeing
Vieux NicePromenade des Anglais
Details: Monaco & Èze tour director-led sightseeing
On the Mediterranean coast, five miles from the Italian border, lies the tiny, glittering independent state of Monaco. Ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century, Monaco is the epitome of French Riviera glamour. Your Tour Director will lead you on this brief adventure. Charles III opened a casino in the 1850’s to avert financial straits; needless to say, his plan worked--so well, in fact, that Monaco is a nearly tax-free state. Drop in on Prince Rainier (OK, see his house, the Palais du Prince), and visit a parfumerie in nearby Èze, where rich scents are made from local flowers such as jasmine, rose, and lavender.
Details: Nice tour director-led sightseeing
The Côte d'Azur's largest city spills down the hillsides to pebble beaches that line the shore. Your Tour Director will show you around the narrow pedestrian streets and tiny squares of "Le Vieux Nice" (Old Town), which is sprinkled with old palaces and mansions. Stroll down the Promenade des Anglais, which runs parallel to the water. Backed by Nice's grand hotels, the Promenade was built in the 19th century for the British who flocked here en masse.
Day 10 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 10 Start extension to Italian Riviera
    Travel to Genoa
    Details: Aquarium visit
    To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Genoa's most famous resident, Christopher Columbus, the city constructed an immense aquarium shaped like a ship setting sail. Recently a real-life boat was added to the space, doubling the aquarium's size. See jellyfish, crocodiles, eels, dolphins, sharks, and all manner of other Mediterranean and international sea creatures in this amazing aquarium, one of Europe's most popular.
    Day 11 Cinque Terre excursion
    Travel to Milan
    Details: Cinque Terre guided excursion
    Cinque Terre ("five lands") is a series of five traditional fishing villages strung along the scenic cliffs of the Italian Riviera. Colorful houses and gorgeous views line the road between the five villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore), where wine-making, olive-farming, and anchovy fishing still occupy most of the residents' energies.
    Day 12 End tour
    Map of French Highlights Educational Tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 8 overnight stays (10 with extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • Full European breakfast daily
    • Dinner daily
    • Full-time services of a professional Tour Director
    • Guided sightseeing tours and city walks as per itinerary
    • Visits to select attractions as per itinerary
    • Seine Cruise
    • Calanques cruise
    • Tour Diary™
    • Note: On arrival day only dinner is provided; on departure day, only breakfast is provided
    • Note: Tour cost does not include airline-imposed baggage fees, or fees for any required passport or visa. Please visit our Fees FAQ page for a full list of items that may not be included in the cost of your tour.
    We are better able to assist you with a quote for your selected departure date and city over the phone. Please call 1.888.310.7120 to price this tour with your requested options.
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    3030.00 total fee
    Basic Options

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