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Best of France - Trafalgar Guided Vacation

 

Overview

Hotel description:

14 days | 12 nights

Journey from Carcassonne with its enchanting city walls to Biarritz and through the Loire Valley. Marvel at Avignon's famous bridge, see the landing beaches in Normandy and visit Claude Monet's home in Giverny.

Trafalgar Highlights

  • Connect with Locals: Return to 17th-century France and join the de Montferrier family on their farm near the famous Château de Villandry for a delightful Be My Guest lunch. (Day 10)
  • Stays with Stories: Step back in time with a stay in the regal 16th- and 17th-century Château de Beauvois. (Day 10)
  • Hidden Treasure: Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.
  • Local Specialist: For included sightseeing in Carcassonne and Paris.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Walking tour in Paris and Carcassonne with a Local Specialist.
  • ORIENTATION of Paris, Beaune, Lyon, Avignon, Monaco, Nice, Arles, Lourdes and Bordeaux.
  • VISIT the Hospices de Beaune, Château Villandry, D-Day Museum, Claude Monet's home at Giverny and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
  • VIEW the Papal Palace in Avignon, the Royal Palace and Cathedral in Monaco, Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena in Nice, St Bernadette's Grotto in Lourdes, Esplanade des Quinconces in Bordeaux, the Abbey of Mont St. Michel and the D-Day Beach of Omaha in Normandy.
  • SEE the Roman Amphitheatre and the Cathedral in Arles.
  • SCENIC DRIVE through Dordogne and Loire Valley.

Travel Highlights

  • Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
  • Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • Hand-picked Insider Experiences
  • Optional Experiences and free time
  • All porterage and restaurant gratuities
  • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
  • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
  • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
  • VIP entry to many sights

What's included

Package inclusions

  • Round-trip flights to Paris (if flight and tour package option is chosen)
  • 12 nights of accommodation
  • 19 meals (12 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 Connect With Locals lunch, and 4 dinners)
  • Transportation by luxury air-conditioned coach
  • Porterage (1 piece of luggage per passenger)
  • $50 CAD credit voucher for an Optional Experience (described in the itinerary below; 1 voucher per person)
  • English-speaking travel director
  • Earn Aeroplan® Miles


Itinerary


Day 1        Depart Canada

Fly to Paris.

Day 2        Welcome to Paris
All the flavours of France come to life on this unforgettable journey that kicks off in Paris, the City of Lights. Spend your day meandering past its iconic landmarks in search of hidden treasures before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive through the city to see some of its most magnificent sights lit up at night.

Meal(s): Welcome reception

Day 3        Paris - Beaune - Lyon

We travel south to Burgundy, past the Côte d'Or vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits St. Georges. The colourful geometric roof tiles of the 15th-century hospices are a sight to behold as we arrive in the medieval town of Beaune before continuing to Lyon, the gourmet capital of France. Perhaps spend your evening delving into the delicious delights for which Lyon is justifiably famous.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast

Optional Experience

  • Beaujolais Gourmet Dinner & Old Town Discover (69 EUR): Enjoy an evening drive along the beautiful Saône River and taste the most acclaimed French cuisine. You'll discover Lyon's secrets, from the Gauls to the medieval old town. A UNESCO World Heritage city, Lyon is also the gastronomic capital of France and our chef will prepare a mouth-watering three course dinner, with local wines included.


Day 4        Lyon - Avignon - Monaco - French Riviera
We stop in the heart of Provence and the city of Avignon, what was once the Papal Seat in the 13th century and today remains as an important place of pilgrimage. See the Papal Palace and the bridge made famous in the song, "Sur le Pont d'Avignon." Journeying through the fields of Provence, immortalized in the great works of such artists as Van Gogh and Cézanne, we arrive in the sophisticated Principality of Monaco, where we will view the cathedral where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace were married. This evening we enjoy a Regional Meal in Monaco before arriving at our hotel.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast, Regional meal

Day 5        French Riviera Free Day
The sun-kissed shores of the French Riviera are yours to explore today. An Optional Experience could see you visit the hilltop town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a popular haunt for actors seeking a relaxing retreat.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast

Optional Experience

  • St. Paul, Corniche Drive, Perfumery & Meal (83 EUR): First we'll travel to the medieval hilltop town of St. Paul to visit this artists' paradise. We'll continue along the Riviera, travelling on the Basse, Moyenne and Grande corniche roads with their spectacular views, to a local restaurant for a delicious meal including drinks.


Day 6        French Riviera - Arles - Carcassonne
Visit Arles with its honey-coloured façades, Roman ruins and Camargue culture, enjoying some time at leisure to explore this beautiful city. Alternatively choose to take an Optional Experience to gain a deeper understanding of Vincent Van Gogh and local history with our resident expert, before winding your way through the Corbières Hills and Cathar landscapes en route to the fortified city of Carcassonne. Join a Local Specialist to explore this exquisite ancient town, view the Cité, which is said to have inspired Walt Disney for his Castle of Sleeping Beauty, and see the double ring of ramparts spanning some 3 kilometres with 52 towers.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast, Dinner with wine

Optional Experience

  • On the Trail of Vincent Van Gogh (23 EUR): Discover the secret stories and life of Vincent Van Gogh, as you stroll through the ancient streets and squares of this enchanting provincial town with our resident Local Specialist.


Day 7        Carcassonne - Lourdes - Biarritz
We drive toward the Pyrénées this morning and arrive in Lourdes, the global center of the Marian pilgrimage. You will have an opportunity to see the Basilica perched atop St. Bernadette's Grotto where the young girl is said to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary. We travel north to the Basque Coast of Biarritz where we spend the night.

Meal(s): Breakfast breakfast, Dinner with wine

Day 8        Biarritz - Bordeaux
Journeying through Les Landes, we arrive in the wine capital of Bordeaux whose stunning Garonne riverfront and age of Enlightenment history and architecture have made it one of France's most visited cities. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the bi-annual wine fair attracts buyers from all over the world. Spend some time seeing the sights during your orientation of the city, including the magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast

Optional Experiences

  • Highlights of the Pyrénées (41 EUR): Join us on a beautiful drive up into the Pyrénées, where we'll catch a funicular train to ascend through mountain pastures to the top of these magnificent mountains, finding ourselves in Spain. You'll have time to enjoy some Basque hospitality before our descent, with a drink included. Weather permitting.
  • St. Jean de Luz, Jewel of the Basque Country (40 EUR): With your Local Specialist, discover the town where Louis XIV met his bride, Spanish princess Maria Theresa. Rich in Basque heritage, you'll visit the house of Louis XIV, see the church where they married in 1660 (complete with hanging sailing ships inside) and sample the most famous patisserie created for the event, the macaron. Later have time to explore this unique seaside town's 400-year history, weekly market and beautiful beach.


Day 9        Dordogne Excursion 
The lush green valleys and hills of the Dordogne take centre stage today during a scenic half-day included excursion. We drive to St. Emilion, whose wine heritage dates back to Roman times and return to Bordeaux this evening for some free time to explore the city at leisure. See the glittering reflection of the Place de la Bourse in the Garonne River, tease your taste-buds with delicious Bordelaise cuisine or meander through the city's historical centre admiring its beautiful architecture by night.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast

Optional Experience

  • Secrets of the Bordelaise with Lunch or Dinner (80 EUR): We'll journey through the rolling vineyards of the Bordeaux region to our favourite French Château Estate. Enjoy a guided tour of the vineyards and cellars before a wine tasting, all while learning the secrets of the French wine-making process. Later, discover the World Heritage monolithic church of St. Emilion, before dining in traditional Bordelaise style, with drinks included. May be operated without dining for €49.


Day 10        Bordeaux - Loire Valley 
We meander through the Garden of France, stopping at the beautiful fairy-tale Château Chenonceau, which spans the River Cher. One of the most remarkable castles ever built, Chenonceau features stunning landscaped gardens and priceless collections of Renaissance furniture, tapestries and art. Connect With Locals and meet the Montferrier family on their farm near the famous Château de Villandry for a special Be My Guest Tourangelle dining experience where you enjoy traditional French hospitality. Visit the gardens at Château Villandry before arriving at one of Trafalgar's Stays With Stories.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast, Connect With Locals (lunch)

Day 11        Loire Valley - Mont St. Michel - Normandy Beaches 
We travel through the patchwork landscapes of Brittany to the extraordinary island-town of Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast, featuring its impressive Norman Benedictine Abbey. Follow the Liberty Highway to St. Lô and on to Omaha Beach where your Travel Director will provide an excellent account of the poignant events that took place here and changed the course of history in Europe. Reflect on the bravery of the young men who sacrificed their lives for freedom and visit the D-Day Landing Zone to learn in detail about how the operation was planned and executed. Arrive later at your hotel where you dine tonight.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast, Dinner with wine

Day 12     Normandy Beaches - Giverny - Paris  
We travel west towards Paris, stopping at Giverny to see the house and gardens that once inspired Claude Monet's exquisite impressionist works of art. This evening,  consider a trip to one of the city's renowned cabarets.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast

Optional Experiences

  • Moulin Rouge Cabaret & Dinner (162 EUR): Enjoy dinner and cabaret, including wine and champagne, at the world-famous Moulin Rouge - the original Paris cabaret. Immortalized by the award-winning film of the same name, this Parisian institution features 60 dancers and entertainers and over 1,000 costumes!
  • Notre Dame & Latin Quarter (33 EUR): A guided drive through Paris' bohemian Left Bank with our Local Specialist brings us to amazing Notre Dame to discover one of the world's most famous Cathedrals and the epitome of Gothic architecture. Afterwards, take a stroll through the delightful Latin Quarter, a medieval maze of winding cobblestone alleyways where you'll have free time to enjoy the sidewalk bistros, boutiques and hidden squares.
  • Nouvelle Eve Cabaret & Dinner (139 EUR): One of the oldest and most elegant revue theatres in Paris, Nouvelle Eve is a hidden gem, where you'll meet the director and two of the cast members before enjoying a four-course dinner with wine. You will then experience unparalleled Parisian entertainment - including the world-famous Can-Can.


Day 13        Paris Sightseeing and Free Time
Join your Local Specialist on a journey through the historic neighbourhoods of Paris to see where the locals live and shop. Our short insider walk will take you off the beaten tourist track, but a real favourite among Parisians. Ascend to the second level of the Eiffel Tower for panoramic views across the city - see the Seine snake its way through the city and the grand boulevards and beautiful gardens stretch out below. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the sights on your terms. See the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, enjoy a leisurely café au lait in quiet surrounds or consider an Optional Experience to the opulent Palace of Versailles. This evening we celebrate an epic adventure with your Travel Director and newfound friends at a Farewell Dinner.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast, Farewell dinner

Optional Experiences

  • Seine Cruise & Paris Illuminations (38 EUR): Paris at night is a city transformed. Enjoy this superb City of Lights on a leisurely cruise along the River Seine. Afterwards, as we drive through this amazing city, we'll stop at some vantage points for you to capture the fascinating sights on camera. In summer, this trip may take place before sunset.
  • Versailles Palace & Gardens (65 EUR): Built for the Sun King, Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles was the envy of every European ruler. Your Local Specialist will take you through the State apartments and famous Hall of Mirrors, with free time to stroll the symmetrical tree-lined gardens. Please note: this optional experience is subject to availability.
  • 2CV Experience (60 EUR): View the hidden gems of Paris in classic style! Enjoy a guided drive around France's most Iconic city in France's most iconic car - the 2 CV (a.k.a. deux chevaux). Drive off the beaten track and let your personal Parisian driver give you all the insider facts about Paris. Note: the price is per person, with a two-person minimum for each car. If you would like three people in the rear seat, the price will be €40 per person.


Day 14        Paris - Return to Canada 
For now it's time to bid a fond au revoir to the Best of France and your fellow travellers at the end of a magical and memorable holiday. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.

Meal(s): Buffet breakfast

 

Accommodations

Additional fees might apply
The hotels listed below are presented as examples for your reference only. Where “or similar” is indicated, guests will stay at a hotel of the same star rating. The hotel accommodations will be communicated to the consumer or travel agent prior to departure.

Twin Room

Unless otherwise indicated, guests will stay in a standard room at all hotels during the trip. The location and corresponding hotels are as follows:
  • Paris: Mercure 17 Batignolles or similar (1 night)
  • Lyon: Novotel Gerland Musée des Confluences or similar (1 night)
  • French Riviera: Best Western Plus Massena/Montaigne & Spa or similar (2 nights)
  • Carcassonne: Mercure Port de la Cité or similar (1 night)
  • Biarritz: Radisson Blu or similar (1 night)
  • Bordeaux: Novotel/Mercure Château Chartrons or similar (2 nights)
  • Loire Valley: Château de Beauvois ‘Stays With Stories' or similar (1 night)
  • Normandy Beaches: Mercure Omaha Beach or similar (1 night)
  • Paris: Mercure 17 Batignolles or similar (2 nights)

Room occupancy: 2 adults travelling together

Single or Triple occupancy option: Travellers who prefer to stay in a single occupancy or a triple occupancy room can call us book: 1 866 529-2079. Subject to availability.

 

Important notes

2019 Tour Start Dates
July 7, 14, 21
August 4, 18
September 1, 8, 29
October 6


*Non-definite departure dates

Departure Dates:
Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange your departure flight to arrive on or before the Tour Start Date.

Airport transfers:
On arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport transfers will operate at 8:00am, 11:00am, and 2:00pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8am and 11:30am.

Pre-paid gratuities option:
For an additional $158 CAD per person, travelers can pre-pay gratuities for the Travel Director and Driver. Call us at 1 866 529-2079 to add this option to your reservation.

Optional Experiences:
Prices listed in the itinerary are valid as of November 1, 2018 and are subject to change without notice.