The Art of France & Italy

The Art of France & Italy
Explore Musée d’Orsay’s sweeping galleries, wander the immense Louvre, tour Accademia, the first established art school in Europe, visit Italy’s Ufizzi Gallery housing masterpieces by Da Vinci, and see the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museum.
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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: Musée d’Orsay visit
You wouldn't think a railroad station would make a great museum, but the sweeping ceilings, huge walls of glass and beautiful neoclassical flourishes of the former Gare d'Orsay (Orsay rail station) make this the perfect, appropriately elegant setting for the collection of 19th- century art held here. The Musée d'Orsay's eighty galleries contain paintings, sculpture, belle époque furniture, photographs, objets d'art, and architectural models. You'll see some of the most beautiful paintings in Europe, including Renoir's "Moulin de la Galette" and Manet's "Déjeuner sur l'herbe."
Day 3 Paris landmarks
Paris guided sightseeing tour
Arc de TriompheChamps-ÉlyséesEiffel TowerChamp de MarsÉcole MilitaireLes InvalidesConciergerieTuileriesPlace VendômeOpera House
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: Louvre guided tour
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. But check out the art on the walls. 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.)
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.
Details: Crêperie dinner
Tonight for dinner, enjoy a speciality from the Brittany region of France: crepes. Creperie restaurants are very popular in Paris and you will be able to choose from the variety of toppings (ham, cheese, egg, peppers, spinach, cream--or a combination!) to create your favorite savory crepe (called "galette") before you enjoy a local favourite: a sweet crepe served with chocolate, fruit or jam.
Day 4 Loire Valley
Optional  Loire Valley châteaux excursion  $155
Château de Chambord photo stopChâteau de Chenonceau visitChâteau d'Amboise visit
Farewell dinner in Montmartre
Details: Montmartre tour director-led sightseeing
The steep hilly area of Montmartre has been associated with artists for years. The name Montmartre is attributed to the many martyrs that were tortured and killed here.
Day 5 Paris--Florence
Overnight train to Milan
Details: Giverny guided excursion (April-October only)
Claude Monet discovered this tiny farming village when he looked out the window of a stopped train. Impressed by its beauty, in 1883 he and his family moved into the pink stucco house where he spent the next 40 years planting his extensive gardens and creating some of the world's most beautiful Impressionist paintings. Spend some time wandering through the riot of natural color in the Clos Normand and watching soft light shine on the delicate Japanese bridge and lush water lilies that inspired some of his most famous works. See Monet's studio, preserved just as he left it, with supplies and sketches scattered around. Neglected for years and badly damaged during WWII, the house and gardens took 10 years to restore, but are now back in their full glory. Which just leaves one question: With all that weeding and fertilizing, how did Monet have time to paint?
Day 6 Florence landmarks
Florence guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Palazzo VecchioPiazza della SignoriaChiesa di Santa CrocePonte VecchioDuomo visitleather workshopGates of ParadiseGiotto’s Bell TowerDante's House
Italian pizza dinner
Details: Travel to Florence from Milan
Please note overnight trains from Paris to Florence and Rome are no longer operating. Overnight trains from Paris will now terminate in Milan, transfers by bus to Florence will be organized as a replacement service.
Details: Florence guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Immerse yourself in the charms of old-world Firenze, a red-brick splendor set in the rolling green hills of Tuscany. The birthplace and focal point of the Italian Renaissance, Florence still has the masterpieces to prove it. Brunelleschi’s elegant Duomo (dome) dominates the skyline, and around every corner is an architectural triumph filled with wall after wall of incomparable art. Your local licensed guide will take you to Giotto's Bell Tower and the aptly named Gates of Paradise, the bronze east doors of the Baptistery that spurred the burgeoning Renaissance. The boy guarding the Palazzo Vecchio with his slingshot is just a copy of Michelangelo’s David; the real statue is over at the Accademia. Don’t overlook the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli at the Chiesa di Santa Croce, and definitely don’t overlook Florence’s amazing leather goods. Check them out when you visit one of the area’s famed workshops.
Details: Accademia visit
Founded in 1563, the Accademia was the first school in Europe established to teach drawing, painting, and sculpting. Michelangelo's David (the biblical hero who slayed Goliath) is the most famous work on display.
Day 7 Pisa
Optional  Pisa guided excursion  $70
Baptistery visitLeaning Tower
Details: Uffizi Gallery guided visit
Today you will visit one of Italy's most famous museums. The Ufizzi Gallery was orginally built in 1560 as an administrative centre for the Florentine State. It now houses the largest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. You will view the famous 'Birth of Venus' by Botticelli and 'The Baptism of Christ' by Da Vinci and many other works of art.
Day 8 Florence--Rome
Travel to Rome
Rome city walk
Spanish StepsTrevi FountainPantheonPiazza Navona
Details: St. Francis of Assisi Basilica visit
A small town of narrow streets and medieval walls, Assisi might never have been famous had it not been the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order. Today it is a major destination for religious pilgrims and art lovers alike. You’ll explore the Basilica of St. Francis, built in the 13th century to hold the saint’s body. Ironically, the body was hidden so well in the basilica that it took 600 years of digging to find it.
Details: Rome city walk
Baroque-en hearted? Revive your spirits with a walk past Rome's most beautiful and unusual Baroque fountains. At the foot of the Spanish Steps, elegant cafes once favored by visiting Brits and Americans surround the central fountain. The water pressure here was so low that the artist had to sink the fountain into the ground to get any water going through it, so he went ahead and designed the fountain to look like a sinking ship. There's no shortage of water pressure at the nearby Trevi Fountain, a Baroque extravagance designed by master sculptor Bernini. At the Pantheon, you'll see the largest concrete dome ever constructed. An oculus, or hole, in the dome lets sunlight into the beautiful temple, dedicated to all the gods.
Day 9 Rome landmarks
Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel visitSt. Peter’s Basilica visitColosseum visitPiazza VeneziaForum Romanum visit
Authentic trattoria dinner
Details: Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Gods and gladiators, glory and gore. Ancient Rome lives on in its spectacular monuments, flavoring the frenetic present with tastes of the past. Don a space-age Whisper headset to get the inside scoop on the most spectacular, the Colosseum, a grisly battle arena that seated more than 45,000. An enormous retractable roof awning system kept spectators cool on sunny days. The nearby Forum provides a glimpse into everyday ancient life, with markets, meeting places, and temples all combined into one vast space. Move into Christian Rome at St. Peter’s Basilica, the triumphal Renaissance church flanked by rows of columns radiating outward like welcoming arms. Within the church Michelangelo’s masterpieces are on display, the “Pietà” in the main church and the recently restored ceiling frescoes and “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel. Continue your trek through time at Piazza Venezia, site of the enormous monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Italy’s first king, and of the Palazzo Venezia, where Mussolini set up his headquarters and from whose porch his mother was said to eavesdrop on citizens below. (The Sistine Chapel is closed on most religious holidays and Sundays, except for the last Sunday in each month).
Day 10 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 10 Start extension to Sorrento
    Travel to Sorrento
    Cameo workshop
    Details: Pompeii guided excursion
    Stop to see the city where time stood still, literally. Once an important Roman city with 20,000 residents, Pompeii was frozen in time nearly 2000 years ago, when Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city under 30 feet of mud and volcanic ash. Forgotten for centuries after the eruption, Pompeii was discovered in the 1600’s and is now completely excavated. On your tour you will learn how Romans of all classes lived their lives--not only from large public structures, but from details like political graffiti, bars, and street signs.
    Day 11 Sorrento--Rome
    Travel to Rome
    Details: Capri & Blue Grotto excursion
    From the Bay of Naples the island of Capri is less than an hour away by boat. Weather permitting, you will take a boat to the Blue Grotto, where sunlight reflected from beneath the water bathes the cave in a silver-blue light.
    Day 12 End tour
    Map of the Art of France & Italy tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 7 overnight stays (9 with extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • 1 overnight stay in couchette sleeping berths on train
    • Full European breakfast daily
    • Lunch as per itinerary
    • 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
    • Guided excursion to Giverny
    • Seine Cruise
    • Guided sightseeing tours with high-tech headset as per itinerary
    • 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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    3094.00 total fee
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