Château d'AmboiseVisit this one-time royal residence that was used to greet royal pilgrims
en route from Paris to Santiago, Spain, during the Middle Ages. Leonardo da Vinci is thought
to have designed the spiral staircase; the small chapel features a plaque marking the burial
place of Leonardo.
Le Clos Luce (The House of Light)Explore the plush palace where Leonardo spent the last years
of his life. The house does a wonderful job of recreating the everyday atmosphere that
Leonardo enjoyed in his final years. We will see sketches and models of his incredible
Continue to the Loire Valley
Loire ValleyThe Loire Valley, the “Garden of France” and “Cradle of the French Language,” is a cultural
landscape of great beauty, containing historic towns and villages, great architectural
monuments, and lands that have been cultivated and shaped over the centuries. This is an
enchanted place filled with vineyards, flowers, and rolling green hills, and dotted with more
than a thousand chateaux. It is the gentle pace of life, however, that charms visitors most.
Château d'Azay-le-RideauConsidered the most beautiful chateau in the
Loire, it gracefully rises out of the waters of the River Indre. Azay was a pleasure palace,
lived in during fine weather, and today is often considered a Renaissance museum because
of its period furniture, portraits and tapestries.
Château ChenonceauThe 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.
Vouvray Vineyards Cave Cellars TourSpecializing in white grapes, this region
can produce some of the finest vintages in all of France.
Château de BloisThis “Versailles of the Renaissance” was the preferred residence
of French kings for a century.
Château ChambordTour the largest and most recognizable of the Loire chateaux. Our
visit to this 400-room “hunting lodge” includes Leonardo da Vinci's Double Helix Staircase and
a tour of the elaborately decorated roof.
Day5Loire Valley - Paris
Travel from the Loire Valley to ParisEn route we will explore Chartres and
ChartresThe city of Chartres, lying near the border of the Loire Valley, 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.
Chartres CathedralVisit Chartres Cathedral, 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
VersaillesExperience the 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.
LEAP: Seize the Chateau!Experience the French Revolution through role play. Using Audio Guides you will find yourself
in the shoes of the monarchy, clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie or peasantry to explore the issues
underlying the French Revolution.
ParisParis 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.
Explore the City via Public TransportationIn Paris, the cost of public transport is included for all group sightseeing. Escorted by our
Tour Director, we will be able to experience the city in the same manner as the local people.
Seine River CruiseExperience the perfect introduction to the beauty of Paris on a Seine River Cruise. We will
pass under many graceful bridges and view important landmarks on both banks during our
Dinner in a Local Restaurant
Visit the ConciergerieLocated near Notre-Dame Cathedral, this splendid gothic palace was
named for the king’s official (The Keeper) who maintained order within the palace walls.
During the French Revolution, it housed up to 1,200 prisoners, including Marie Antoinette.
Notre-Dame CathedralWork 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.
Explore the Marais QuarterIts history stretches back to the beginning of the city. The
Marais features magnificent shops and cafes and is a perfect place to take in the Parisian
lifestyle. While here, we will get a view of the La Place des Vosges, the oldest square in
Place de la BastilleVisit the location where on July 14, 1789, an angry Parisian mob stormed
the notorious prison and freed the prisoners.
Pompidou CenterThis colorful combination of steel, glass, pipes and tubes
houses the National Museum of Modern Art.
Dinner in a Local Restaurant
Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel)Visit the ethereal Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) on the Île de la Cité in the heart of the city.
Commissioned by Louis IX, the tiny Gothic marvel features 15 of the most spectacular
stained glass windows in Europe, depicting over 1,000 religious scenes. It was originally built
to house religious relics, including the Crown of Thorns.
Château de MalmaisonDiscover Cardinal Richelieu's 17th century estate, which was used as
a retreat for Napoleon and Josephine. Our tour will take us through the State Apartments of
Josephine and Napoleon and we will have an opportunity to view a moody portrait of
Napoleon by David.
Chateau de PierrefondsVisit a beautiful castle salvaged and restored under Napoleon III.
This quintessential castle has a moat, drawbridge, round towers, and double sentry walks;
and features a detailed reconstruction of medieval military architecture.
Dinner in a Local Restaurant
Arc de TriompheAscend the massive triumphal arch commissioned by Napoleon. Today, it
is a symbol of Paris and is home to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Jardin des TuileriesWalk through 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.
Louvre MuseumTour the renowned Louvre Museum with a local specialist guide. 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.
Hôtel des InvalidesVisit the Hôtel des Invalides, an imposing building commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 for his
wounded and homeless veterans. We will also visit the gilded Dome Church, one of the finest
examples of 17th century French architecture. It is highlighted by the massive Tomb of
Dinner in the Latin QuarterTonight 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
Ascend the Eiffel TowerAscend 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
Musée d'OrsayVisit the Musée d'Orsay, which is housed in a former railway station. It features mainly
French art from 1848-1915, and is best known for its impressionist masterpieces by Monet,
Degas, Renoir and Cezanne.
Paris FashionParis is one of the most important centers of fashion in the world. We will visit the elegant
stores of Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette for a first-hand look at the latest trends in
MontmarteTonight 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.
Sacré-Coeur BasilicaVisit the 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.