Day 1 :
- Depart from home for Brussels, Belgium:
Day 2 :
- Arrive in Brussels:
Meet your Tour Director and enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing tour of Belgium. Chocolate and comics (home of Tin Tin creator Herge). Surrealism. French fries. The headquarters of the European Union. Art Nouveau. Brussels combines Hapsburg-era elegance with modern business and big-city bustle. See the city's historical heart on a walking tour led by your Tour Director. Start at the cobblestone Grand-Place, a central square lined with ornamental gables, medieval banners, and gilded façades. Look at the 15th-century Town Hall and the King's House, lining the Place. Then walk to the Manneken-Pis. Tired from so much strolling? Buy a bag of Belgian pralines for fortification.
Day 3 :
- Tour Bruges:
Travel to Paris via Bruges. Then enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing of Bruges.
Day 4 :
- Tour Paris:
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Visit 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. 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.) End the day with a pleasant night walking tour of Montmartre & Sacre Coeur.
Day 5 :
- Optional Loire Valley full day excursion:
Appreciate centuries of history in the beautiful chateau of Chenonceau. Visit Chartres Cathedral to see its lofty stained glass windows. Admire the contrasting spires and flying buttresses that make it one of the world's finest examples of Gothic architecture.
Day 6 :
- Guided excursion to Versailles:
The ultimate palace, Versailles was built by Louis XIII, and housed the royal family and its groveling court from 1682, when the Sun King moved in, to the French Revolution. Everything in Versailles is worth a look, from the 250-foot-long Hall of Mirrors, with themed salons- "war" and "peace" -on either side, to Marie Antoinette's faux country hamlet. When being a queen became too much to bear, she would pretend to be a commoner, tending her sheep and wearing peasant clothes. (Please note Versailles is closed on Mondays.)
- Eiffel Tour Ascent:
LEAP Activity | Seize the Château!
This costume workshop is a lively role-play activity that puts you in the shoes of the monarchy, clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie, or peasantry to explore the issues underlying the French Revolution.
Day 7 :
- Tour Geneva:
Travel to Geneva on the TGV (Europe's fastest train). Then enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing tour of Geneva. Mary Shelley wrote her famous novel "Frankenstein" in Geneva, and the city itself might be said to reflect the stitched-together nature of Frankenstein's monster - a cosmopolitan population with a traditionally Swiss focus on banking, a history of both austere Protestantism and extravagant bohemianism, cutting-edge internationalism wedged around Old World style. Explore the contradictions with your Tour Director, who will lead you to the immense United Nations, the beautiful Lake Geneva (look for the Jet d'Eau, which shoots water up to 450 feet in the air), and the charmingly crowded medieval Old Town.
- Travel to Lausanne:
Day 8 :
- Tour Lausanne:
Visit Montreux and the Château de Chillon. Emerging grandly from Lake Geneva, the stately Château de Chillon is one of Switzerland’s most famous castles. The medieval fortress, an array of turrets, towers, and heavy stone walls, once served as the rather un-summery summer home of the Dukes of Savoy. In the 1800s it became a state prison, made famous in a poem by Byron. Today you can still see where the Romantic poet scratched his name in a column of the prison dungeon.
As you tour Lausanne you'll have the opportunity to tour a Chocolate factory. For dinner enjoy a delicious Fondue dinner.
Day 9 :