Travel Paris, Loire et le Midi and let France be France! Prepare yourself for a beautiful mixture of classic Parisian cool with a southern landscape that will leave you feeling like you stepped into a painting.
- Depart for Paris, France:
- Arrive in Paris: Meet your tour director and check into hotel
- 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. 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.) Then end your day with a grand ascent up the Eiffel Tower.
- Versailles Excursion: Tour the ultimate palace, Versailles, which 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.)
- Travel to Loire Valley and visit the Chartres Cathedral: Journey to the Loire Valley, stopping to see Chartres Cathedral on the way. Built on an ancient worshipping ground to house a piece of the Virgin Mary’s veil (which is still on display), this 13th-century Gothic church is best known for its windows. With over 20,000 square feet of stained glass, visiting Chartres can be like walking around inside a large jewel. But don’t spend all your time looking up—on the floor is the only surviving medieval labyrinth. The faithful travel the winding 300-yard path on their knees to reach the image of paradise at the center. Ouch.
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.
- Tour the Loire Valley: While touring the Loire Valley enjoy a visit to the Château de Chenonceau and Chateau d'Amboise.
Slice, dice, and stir! Savor the French country lifestyle by creating (and eating) traditional Loire Valley cuisine.
- Avignon: Travel to Avignon on the TGV (Europe’s fastest train). See the charming walled city of Avignon, which for a time was the seat of the papacy. See the town square, where a merry-go-round from 1900 amuses patrons at the surrounding sidewalk cafés. Enjoy visiting Palais des Papes and Pont d'Avignon. Then travel on to Provence.
- Pont du Gard: A true masterpiece of ancient architecture, the Pont du Gard aqueduct is one of the most beautiful Roman constructions in the region. Discover more about this startling monument as you follow the course of its history through the ages.
- Nîmes: Enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing tour of Nîmes amphitheater and visit Maison Carrée.
Which is mightier—the pen or the sword? You decide! Learn basic calligraphy and fencing moves to gain new insight into old-world traditions.
- Nice: Travel to Nice via Aix-en-Provence and enjoy a tour-director led sightseeing tour of Côte d'Azur's largest city. The beautiful city of Nice spills down the hillsides to pebble beaches that line the shore. Your Tour Director will show you around the narrow pedestrian streets and tiny squares of "Le Vieux Nice" (Old Town), which is sprinkled with old palaces and mansions. Stroll down the Promenade des Anglais, which runs parallel to the water. Backed by Nice's grand hotels, the Promenade was built in the 19th century for the British who flocked here en masse.
Make a sales pitch for a masterpiece by Cezanne, Monet, or another artist whose works highlight Provencal landscapes. Understand the impact that the light and landscape had on these artists.
- Tour Monaco: Enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing tour of the Monaco Cathedral, Monte Carlo Casino and Prince’s Palace.
- Depart Nice for home: