The Art of France & Spain

The Art of France & Spain
Explore Paris’ iconic monuments and artistic masterpieces housed in the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, stop by the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and discover Madrid’s historic city square and the world’s finest collection of Spanish art in the Museo del Prado.
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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
Dinner in Montmartre
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: 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 4 The art of Paris
Picasso Museum visit
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 5 Paris--Basque Country
Travel to San Sebastián
San Sebastián tour director-led sightseeing
Playa de la ConchaPalacio de MiramarHotel de Londresharbor & Old Quarter
Monte Igueldo Lighthouse visit
Details: Travel to Biarritz on the TGV (Europe’s fastest train)
Take France’s fastest train to coastal Biarritz, whose fame as a favorite bathing spot for international royalty earned it the nickname “The Queen of Beaches and the Beach for Kings.” Once a whaling town, Biarritz now boasts some of the best surfing in Europe, fantastic views along the Basque coast, and a relaxed resort atmosphere.
Details: Biarritz tour director-led sightseeing
Although originally a whaling port, Biarritz was transformed into a retreat for the affluent after Empress Eugenie (wife of Napoleon III) began travelling there.
Details: San Sebastián tour director-led sightseeing
Though one of Spain’s most popular resorts, San Sebastián is not just beaches. With your Tour Director you’ll visit the old quarter, centered around Plaza de la Constitución (known to locals as “La Consti”). Look for the numbers on the balconies around the square – the plaza was once used for bullfighting, and those balconies were rented as private boxes for spectators. The nearby Saint Vincent church, built in the 1500s, is the city’s oldest standing monument.
Day 6 Basque Region--Madrid
Travel to Madrid via Bilbao
Details: Guggenheim Museum visit
Enter the home of the late Peggy Guggenheim who dedicated her life to the advancement of 20th century art and donated her home and art collection so that the public could appreciate and experience modern art. Explore this small yet important museum to see masterpieces by Picasso, Dalí and more.
Day 7 Madrid landmarks
Madrid guided sightseeing tour
Calle MayorGran VíaCibeles FountainPuerta de AlcaláColumbus SquareRoyal Palace visit
Optional  Toledo guided excursion  $70
Toledo Cathedral visitChurch of Santo ToméSt. Mary’s Synagogue
Details: Madrid guided sightseeing tour
Get a taste of Spain's cultural, political and economic center with a tour led by a licensed local guide. See Madrid's mix of traditional and modern as you visit the Royal Palace, an 18th-century masterpiece. The enormous Baroque palace currently has more rooms (2,800) than any other European palace, but it was originally supposed to be four times as large. The palace is dripping with porcelain, jeweled clocks, amazing ceiling frescoes—the most magnificent, in the Throne Room, was done by the Venetian artist Tiepolo when he was in his seventies. Next take a look at the Neoclassical architecture of the Prado Museum and the Puerta de Alcalá triumphal arch, built to honor Carlos III’s entry into Spain.
Details: Tapas dinner
Tapas purportedly originated when bartenders set a small plate ("tapa") over patrons' glasses of sherry and wine to keep the flies out. The bartenders started piling the plate with cold cuts, olives, or salad, and the bite-size snack was born. (We're unsure how they kept the flies out of the cold-cuts... maybe that's how the sandwich was invented?) Over time, these working-class snacks have become more elaborate, with each region adding its own specialties and cooking techniques to create unique tastes and combinations.
Day 8 The art of Madrid
Madrid city walk
Puerta del SolPlaza MayorPlaza de España
Details: Madrid city walk
Life in Madrid is centered around talking, toasting and tapas-eating. In a walk through this crowded and social city, your Tour Director will help you get to know the lay of the land. Then stroll over to the Puerta del Sol, the bustling city center. Next, you'll relax at the Plaza Mayor, a grand square where every sort of human drama has taken place—trials of faith, public burnings of heretics, royal marriages, the canonization of saints, and countless balls and bullfights. End at the Plaza de España for a stop at an outdoor café.
Details: Prado guided visit with Whisper headsets
Visit the Museo del Prado, home of works by Spain's great masters, including Francisco Goya, Diego Velázquez, and El Greco.
Details: Flamenco evening
Originating from gypsy music and dance in Southern Spain, flamenco dancing has become a Spanish institution. Dancers use intricate footwork and elaborate arm gestures to convey the mood of the music, which can range from lamentation to celebration. Learn about the history of Flamenco, watch dancers perform and give it a whirl yourself!
Day 9 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 9 Start extension to Barcelona
    Travel to Barcelona via Zaragoza
    Basilica of the Virgin of Pilar visit
    Day 10 Barcelona landmarks
    Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
    Gaudí’s Sagrada FamíliaMontjuïc HillPark Güell visit
    Barcelona city walk
    Mercat de la BoqueríaLas RamblasColumbus Monument
    Details: Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
    See brilliant Barcelona, a city of graceful Gothic churches, wrought-iron balconies and wide, grand avenues filled with outdoor cafés. Throughout the city, daringly innovative buildings sit side-by-side with the medieval past. A licensed, local guide will show you some of the high points of this architectural showcase. First stop: the pointy spires of the La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family), a half-finished church complex that became the obsession of Barcelona's famously eccentric architectural genius, Antoni Gaudí. Then step back to the past with a journey up to Montjuïc (Hill of the Jews). See the fortress built atop an ancient Jewish cemetery. Site of numerous battles to control Barcelona, this hill was also the location of the 1992 Olympics.
    Details: Barcelona city walk
    Flowers, pedestrian boulevards, and decorative pavement make Barcelona a great walking city, and your Tour Director will show you where to stroll. See the Mercat de la Boquería, where the bright colors of fruits and vegetables, spices, fresh seafood and meat -- not to mention about a hundred different types of cheese -- vie for space in the market stalls. In the city center you'll see the Monument a Colom, a towering statue of Christopher Columbus. Gaze at the city stretched out before you, the mountains in the distance, and the Mediterranean Sea at your back. Then it's on to the best walk in the city, Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian street that offers up the carnival of urban Barcelona. Have your palm read or browse through the strip's famous open-air shops. Enough walking for one day? Pull up a chair, order a café con leche, and watch the parade of street performers from your seat.
    Details: Tapas dinner
    Tapas purportedly originated when bartenders set a small plate (''tapa'') over patrons' glasses of sherry and wine to keep the flies out. The bartenders starting piling the plate with cold cuts, olives, or salad, and the bite-size snack was born. (We're unsure how they kept the flies out of the cold-cuts... maybe that's how the sandwich was invented?) Over time these working-class snacks have become more elaborate, with each region adding its own specialties and cooking techniques to create unique tastes and combinations.
    Day 11 Barcelona
    Paella dinner
    Details: Picasso Museum visit
    Take an unparalleled glimpse into the development of Picasso’s genius. Bringing together the Spaniard’s early and late works, the museum traces the evolution of Picasso’s art from his realism-based schoolboy exercises of the 1890’s through his Blue Period in 1904, and then jumps into the artist’s remarkable late work. A series of 1950’s oil paintings shows Picasso’s explorations of Velazquez’s Las Meninas, in which he transforms the original into a perspective-shifting explosion of color and line. Visit includes the use of audioguides.
    Day 12 End tour
    Map of the Art of France and Spain Educational Tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 7 overnight stays (10 with extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • Full European breakfast daily
    • Dinner daily
    • Full-time services of a professional Tour Director
    • Visits to select attractions as per itinerary
    • 1 Paris Métro carnet
    • Seine Cruise
    • High-speed TGV train to Biarritz
    • Flamenco Evening
    • Tapas Dinner
    • 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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    3011.00 total fee
    Basic Options

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