Paris & Southern France
Paris, Provence, and the Cote d’Azur
This bucket-list checking, all encompassing, unique and surprising tour of France will take you on a panoramic, whirlwind adventure you will never forget! Begin with a Parisian escapade—taking you through the highlights of this cosmopolitan city to the cobbled streets of Monmartre. Cruise the Seine, dine at the Eiffel Tower, tour the Palace of Versailles, and have the option to wander the halls of The Louvre, considered by many as the grand dame of world art museums. Ride in first class on the train to Provence and visit Avignon and Palais de Papes before overnighting in the serenity and elegance of an authentic French Chateau!
Absorb the essence of France’s natural side in the territory and towns of Luberon Regional Natural Park, popular for its mountains and rock formations. Visit one of the villages and sample local wines. The medieval walled wonder of Aix en Provence impresses, perched on a hillside and where your boutique hotel awaits. Meander centuries-old streets lined with galleries, boutiques, and brasseries. Explore Marseille and the clear waters of stunning Calanques de Cassis on a boat ride. Top off the tour in the Cote d’Azur, visiting Saint Tropez, Nice and Monaco. Spend your last two nights steps from the beach in Nice, and visit the zoological gardens of Monaco, founded by Prince Rainier III—a must see for any visitor.
Savor the variety of cuisine and the plethora of one-of-a-kind encounters on this exceptional tour through France.
A passport is required to travel to this destination and must be valid for at least six months after your return.
This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain, is required. Some of the most unique sightseeing can be restrictive to motorcoaches, especially in historic areas.
Sun, June 25: Depart Indianapolis on overnight flights to Paris, France.
Mon, June 26: Arrive in Paris, France and begin your adventure on a narrated, panoramic sightseeing tour before checking in to your hotel for the next three nights. Later, get acquainted with fellow group members at a welcome dinner. (Meals: Dinner)
Tue, June 27: Set out for day of fun with a local guide. Cruise along the Seine River, taking in the sights of Paris from a different vantage point. Next, visit the Eiffel Tower and have a delightful three-course lunch at Madame Brasserie on the second level of the tower. The balance of the day is yours for individual pursuits or to take an optional tour to The Louvre Museum. Explore the former palace of the kings of France—now the largest museum in the world covering almost 10,000 years of history! (B,L)
Wed, June 28: This morning, after breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the city’s Monmartre district. Nestled in a charming hilltop neighborhood, this former artists’ village was once inhabited by Picasso and Dalí, and is home to the domed Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Take the funicular from the base to the summit of this steep neighborhood for sweeping views of the city. Have lunch at a typical Parisian brasserie before a visit to the Palace of Versailles, the former royal residence of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. With approximately 60,000 works, the collections of the palace illustrate more than five centuries of French history. This complex reflects the double vocation of the Château: a palace once inhabited by sovereigns and a museum dedicated “to all the glories of France” inaugurated by Louis-Philippe in 1837. After a wonderful day of discovery, enjoy an evening at leisure. (B,L)
Thu, June 29: Transfer to the train station after breakfast for a ride in first class to Avignon, a Provencal city that rests alongside the Rhone River and known as the “City of the Popes.” Pope Clement V moved the papal court to Avignon from Rome in 1309 and Pope Benedict XII commissioned the construction of the Palais des Papes, the papal palace.Enjoy a guided visit of the Gothic-style palace before proceeding outside of the city to the serenity of Chateau de Roussan, where you’ll spend a luxurious evening and overnight stay. Chateau de Roussan is a 17th-century chateau surrounded by a 6 hectare
Park. Guests are invited to explore the library of rare 19th-century books or the chateau’s garden, greenhouse and ponds. A three-course dinner is included this evening. (B,L,D)
Fri, June 30: Today, visit Luberon Regional Natural Park, located in central Provence and part of the French Prealps. The Luberon is a place where time has seemingly stood still for centuries, and where you may still experience the allure of Provencal charm in the fascinating hill-top villages and daily markets, surrounded by the spectacular backdrop of vineyards and lavender—drenched in the influence of van Gogh and Cezanne! The day culminates in the medieval village of Aix-en-Provence, birthplace of artist Paul Cezanne, and known for its romantic streets and Art with a capital A! It is one of the most charming places to visit with its winding cobblestone streets, 16th century fountains, and facades. Check into the Hotel Aquabella & Spa for the next two nights and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. (B)
Sat, July 1: Venture out to Marseille, an ancient city that never ceases to arouse passions in the region of France called Bouches-du-Rhone (mouth of the Rhone River). It owes much of its charm to its geography, stretching along the coast, with the mountain ranges of St. Cyr, Etoile and Estaque at its back, and dozens of breathtaking sea inlets along its rocky coastline. See a bit of the city on a narrated tour before discovering the untouched landscape of Calanques National Park on a tranquil cruise. The park is an area of incredible beauty, spanning the coastline between Marseille and the fishing village of Cassis. Disembark in the romantic and spell-bounding village, edged with colorful fisherman’s houses and welcoming cafes. Enjoy a delightful, relaxing dinner before returning to your hotel in Aix-en-Provence. (B,D)
Sun, July 2: Enroute to Nice, stop in St Tropez, a picturesque Cote d’Azur beach town that first rose to fame after actress Brigitte Bardot took a liking to the small village and starred in And God Created Women, which took place there. Although it is not considered to have the best beach in France, the beach clubs here are world-renowned, and the waters in this bay are moored with the multi-million-dollar yachts of the rich and famous. Take a walking tour and enjoy lunch before continuing to Nice to check into the captivating Hotel Beau Rivage for the last two nights of your tour. Spend the evening at leisure. (B)
Mon, July 3: Nearby Monaco awaits your discovery this morning. Synonymous with extravagance, wealth and opulence, tourism here is mostly oriented towards its luxury hotels, grand casino, mild climate and a princely family quite often in the public eye. Take in the sights with a local guide, including a visit the Zoological Gardens of Monaco, established in 1954 by Prince Rainier III and one of the last royal menageries in the world. Home to nearly 250 animals representing about 50 species, what makes Monaco’s Zoological Gardens unique is that its animals were all donated, or were abandoned and taken in. During the visit, you will be immersed in an almost wild environment right in the heart of the modern principality.
Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying your surroundings in Nice before rejoining the group for a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Tue, July 4: Transfer to the airport in Nice for your flights home. (B)
Crowne Plaza Paris Republique, Paris. Centrally located in a beautiful 19th century building, this recently renovated hotel is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and shops. Enjoy the short walk to the Metro, making this an ideal home base to discover the city of lights. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker, refrigerator • complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • bar • fitness center.
Chateau de Roussan, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. This XIIIth century mansion offers charm with the elegance of a 4-star hotel. Relax, and enjoy the English-style gardens that surround the mansion, along with the library, historic greenhouse, and terrace. Highlights: complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • bar • hot tub • spa services.
Hotel Aquabella & Spa, Aix-en-Provence. Enjoy the peace and tranquility that is to be found by exploring the beautiful property and surrounding town of Aix. Take a moment to yourself at the spa, walk through the delightful Mediterranean garden or go for a swim in the on-site heated pool. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • bar • outdoor pool and hot tub • fitness center • spa services.
Hotel Beau Rivage, Nice. Located in the heart of Old Town Nice, and steps from the Cote d’Azure with its stunning blue waters. This hotel has quite the history with visitors such as Henri Matisse and Tchekhov, it continues to attract artists and intellectuals alike. Highlights: complimentary WiFi Internet access • bar • private beach.
*Subject to change due to increase in exchange rate or fuel surcharge. Triple occupancy on request only.