Day 1 :
Depart from North America
- Flight to Paris:
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.
Day 2 :
- Arrive in Paris:
Our 24-hour tour director will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure. We will have use of a private coach and driver while touring for the next eight days.
- Travel to Bayeux:
Bayeux was the first town to be liberated after the Normandy invasion, but escaped the war with little damage, allowing its charming streets to be preserved. A walk through town reveals a wealth of 15th through 19th century buildings and streets lined with cafes and shops.
- Tour the Bayeux Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux):
The Cathedral was consecrated in 1077 in the presence of William the Conqueror.
- Visit the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux:
The Museum is home to one of the most famous tapestries in the world. The tapestry is actually embroidery on a band of linen, 231 feet long and 20 inches wide. It depicts 58 scenes in eight colors, telling the story of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy.
- Head to the Normandy Region:
The Normandy region comprises 360 miles of coastline bordering lush farmland and bustling market towns. Despite its natural beauty and gastronomic delights, the area is primarily known for its history: from William the Conqueror to WWII. It is perhaps this rich heritage, along with the verdant surroundings, that inspired the Impressionist movement, begun here in the 19th century.
- Hotel check-in:
Our base for the next night will be in the Normandy area, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
Day 3 :
Explore the Bayeux Area and Normandy Beaches
- Visit the Utah Beach Museum:
The museum is housed in an old German bunker. We will get an intimate look at how the D-Day landing took place through a short film and by seeing the personal items the soldiers carried.
- Normandy American Cemetery:
Experience the solemn serenity of the Normandy American Cemetery. Overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, the memorial grounds contain the graves of 9,387 soldiers, each marked by a white marble cross or Star of David.
- Visit the German Battery at Longues-sur-Mer:
The Batterie allemande near Bayeux in Normandy is a well-preserved German coastal defense battery with four guns used on D-Day still in place.
- Arromanches 360:
Unique in the region, Arromanches 360 is the only circular cinema in France. With its 360 degrees projection over nine high definition screens, you will be plunged to the heart of the action among the fighters on D-Day, experiencing all the intensity of this great moment that was the landing of the Allied forces in Normandy.
- Soldiers’ Stories:
Using first-hand accounts of US servicemen involved in the D-Day landings in June 1944, put yourself in the shoes of the soldiers to assist in a better understanding of what they experienced.
- Travel to Monte St. Michel Area:
Enjoy the scenic ride as we travel from Normandy Beaches to Monte St. Michel Area.
- Hotel check in:
The Mont St. Michel area, which will be our base for the next night. While here, we will enjoy breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
Day 4 :
Explore the Mont St. Michel to Tours Area
- Mont St. Michel:
The misty silhouette of Mont St. Michel is one of the most enchanting sights in France. This small island, capped by an imposing monastery, is surrounded by a huge tidal plain. The tidewaters regularly rush in to cut it off from the mainland. Its steep, narrow, winding streets give the impression of traveling back in time, and the experience is one of the most haunting in Europe.
- Tour the Abbaye du Mont St-Michel:
Known as the “Marvel of the West," walls surround the church and the three-tiered collection of 13th-century buildings that rise to the church’s pointed spire. We will enjoy breathtaking views over the bay, which features the strongest tides in Europe.
- Travel to Tours Area:
Today we will travel from Mont St. Michel to the Tours area. Our base for the next two nights will be the Tours area, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
- First Concert Performance:
Your first concert performance is today. Venue options include Chapelle Saint-Jean, which dates from the 13th century and was built by the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. Today it is one of the major Gothic art masterpieces in Anjou, and one of many local churches in Thouars, Chenonceau, or Angers. In Tours, there is the famous St-Sulpice, known for its acoustics and a site to perform sacred repertoire.
Day 5 :
Explore the Loire Valley
- Visit the Fabulous Château Chenonceau:
The Chateau was given by Henri II, son of Francois I, to his lover Diane de Poitiers. After the king’s death, his wife Catherine de Medici evicted Diane, replanted the gardens, and hosted lavish parties as a snub to her competitor.
- Tour the Château Chambord:
The largest and most recognizable of the Loire chateaux, the Château Chambord is unforgettable. Our visit to this 400-room “hunting lodge” includes Leonardo da Vinci’s Double Helix Staircase and a tour of the elaborately decorated roof.
Day 6 :
Travel from Tours to Paris
- The City of Chartres:
On our way to Paris, we will visit the city of Chartres. Located near the border of the Loire Valley, it was one of the first urban conservation sites in France. With its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, and stone bridges, the venture has successfully retained the town’s unique charms.
- Visit Chartres Cathedral:
The Chartres Cathedral is the jewel in the crown of medieval churches in Europe. The stone church is a testimony to the religious fervor of the Middle Ages. Chartres boasts an unrivaled expanse of sculpture, as well as one of Europe's most impressive collections of stained glass windows.
- Visit Versailles:
Experience Versailles, a palace commissioned by Louis XIV around Louis XIII’s hunting lodge. In addition to viewing the spectacular Gardens, our visit includes the ornate State Apartments, highlighted by the magnificent Hall of Mirrors. Versailles set the standard for royal opulence in the 17th century; this overindulgence set the stage for outrage and the ensuing French Revolution 100 years later.
- Travel to Paris:
Paris is one of the most iconic cities in the world, filled with culture and history, monuments and museums. Known as the City of Light, Paris is a million things to a million people. No writer has ever been able to truly capture Paris in words, and only the experience of being there can begin to express the grandness and magic of this incredible city.
- Hotel check-in:
For the next three evening(s) we will enjoy the convenience of our centrally located Paris hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
- Eiffel Tower:
Ascend to the top of Paris’ most recognizable landmark, the Eiffel Tower, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889. The wrought-iron tower was not meant to be permanent, and the first permit was only for 20 years. But by that time, it had proved to be a valuable communication device for radio. It is now France’s global icon and has hosted over 200 million visitors.
This evening, indulge in French cuisine at a local Parisian restaurant.
- Second Concert Performance:
Your second concert performance is today. Venue options include historic Gothic masterpiece Notre Dame and La Trinité, where Messiaen served as organist and where Hector Berlioz had his funeral. In addition, there is Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, The American Church in Paris, and the Église de la Madeleine, another of our most popular venues for attracting good audiences. Finally, the Église St- Roch regularly hosts concerts. It is an excellent venue for visiting choirs and has good facilities and very organized publicity.
Day 7 :
Peruse through Paris
- Arc de Triomphe:
Ascend the Arc de Triomphe, a massive triumphal arch commissioned by Napoleon. Today, it is a symbol of Paris and is home to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- Walk Through the Jardin des Tuileries:
Explore the neo-Classical gardens outside of the entrance to the Louvre and continue to La Place de la Concorde for a magnificent view of the Champs Élysées. Time permitting we will explore the Champs Élysées, which offers a beautiful look at Parisian life and architecture.
- Tour the Renowned Louvre Museum:
A local specialist will guide us through the museum. We will see Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the imposing Coronation of Napoleon, and many of the finest paintings and sculptures from Western civilization.
Tonight, we will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in the Latin Quarter, a section of the city that dates back to the Roman times; it is generally associated with artists, intellectuals, and political unrest.
Day 8 :
Perform in Paris
- Notre-Dame Cathedral:
Visit the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. Work began in 1163 on a spot that had been a holy shrine since Roman times. Over the centuries, the cathedral has been the scene of some of France's most momentous occasions, including the coronation of Napoleon.
- Visit Sacré-Coeur Basilica:
Sacré-Coeur Basilica is a huge white church that dominates the Parisian skyline. Construction of the church began in 1875 and ended in 1914, just before WWI. Inside, we can admire the stained glass and some of the world’s largest mosaics.
- Dinner and Place du Tertre:
Tonight, we will ascend to the Montmartre area of Paris, where we will have dinner in a local restaurant. This area was made famous in the late 19th century as an artists’ haunt. We will also spend time in the Place du Tertre, a square known for its local artwork.
- Third Concert Performance:
Your third concert performance is today. Venue options include historic Gothic masterpiece Notre Dame and La Trinité, where Messiaen served as organist and where Hector Berlioz had his funeral. In addition, there is Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, The American Church in Paris, and the Église de la Madeleine, which is another of our most popular venues for attracting good audiences. Finally, the Église St- Roch regularly hosts concerts. It is an excellent venue for visiting choirs and has good facilities and very organized publicity.
Day 9 :
- Depart from Paris:
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our Tour Director accompanies us to the airport on our final day.