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Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 1 Depart U.S. for France
Day 2 Arrive in Paris
  • Château d'Amboise Visit 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 inventions.
  • Continue to the Loire Valley
  • Loire Valley The 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.
Day 3 Loire Valley
  • Château d'Azay-le-Rideau Considered 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 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.
  • Vouvray Vineyards Cave Cellars Tour Specializing in white grapes, this region can produce some of the finest vintages in all of France.
Day 4 Loire Valley
  • Château de Blois This “Versailles of the Renaissance” was the preferred residence of French kings for a century.
  • Château Chambord Tour 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.
Day 5 Loire Valley - Paris
  • Travel from the Loire Valley to Paris En route we will explore Chartres and Versailles.
  • Chartres The 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 Cathedral Visit 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 windows.
  • Versailles Experience 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.
  • 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.
  • Explore the City via Public Transportation In 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 Cruise Experience 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 trip.
  • Dinner in a Local Restaurant
Day 6 Paris
  • Visit the Conciergerie Located 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 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.
  • Explore the Marais Quarter Its 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 Paris.
  • Place de la Bastille Visit the location where on July 14, 1789, an angry Parisian mob stormed the notorious prison and freed the prisoners.
  • Pompidou Center This 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.
Day 7 Countryside Excursion
  • Château de Malmaison Discover 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 Pierrefonds Visit 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
Day 8 Paris
  • Arc de Triomphe Ascend 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 Tuileries Walk 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 Museum Tour 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 Invalides Visit 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 Napoleon.
  • Dinner in the Latin Quarter 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 9 Paris
  • Ascend the 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.
  • Musée d'Orsay Visit 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 Fashion Paris 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 fashion.
  • Montmarte 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.
  • Sacré-Coeur Basilica Visit 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.
Day 10 Depart Paris for the U.S.