The wine, cuisine, art and landscapes of France ignite the senses on a journey to romantic Paris, chromatic Provence and the sparkling French Riviera.
Land cost $4,399 CAD per person based on double occupancy
International airfare additional.
Relax during extended stays in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Nice. Travel by high-speed train from Paris to Provence to sample wines in a Chateau and visit a farm for a cheese tasting. Stroll the spectacular gardens of the Villa Rothschild with their stunning views of the Mediterranean. Cruise the river Seine, learn perfume making, hunt for truffles and explore charming villages and gorgeous coastlines – this is the essence of France.
Allons-y! Ignite the senses on a journey to romantic Paris, chromatic Provence and the sparkling French Riviera. Mouthwatering cuisine, stunning views, art and history create a trip that shows you the true essence of France.
Welcome to Paris, the brilliant capital of France. A 3-night stay in the “City of Light” showcases its vibrant atmosphere, cuisine and history. Meet your fellow explorers this evening over dinner as you toast “santé” to the beginning of a grand adventure.
Do as the locals do as you step aboard Le Métro* – your main mode of transportation while in Paris. As you learn to navigate the city via underground with your Tour Manager, embrace the freedom to set off later as you wish. The first stop is at the Île de la Cité, the island set in the heart of Paris. During a walking tour, take in the progress of restoration efforts of the awe-inspiring Notre Dame Cathedral and view the imposing Conciergerie, the last prison of Marie-Antoinette. Later, glide along the Banks of the Seine (UNESCO) on a river cruise taking in views of the Eiffel Tower and the city’s famous bridges. Spend the afternoon as you please. Perhaps you’ll stroll along the grand Champs-Élysées or join an optional guided tour of the Louvre Museum.**
Experience Paris at your own pace today. Perhaps you’ll venture to bohemian Montmartre, pausing to observe modern artists at work in Place du Tertre. Or journey to Versailles** on an optional visit to the Royal Palace of King Louis XIV, the “Sun King.” Tour the State Apartments and Hall of Mirrors with an expert guide before exploring its famous gardens that took over 40 years to complete. This evening, choose to explore more of the culinary scene of the “City of Light” with a gourmet dinner before spinning the wheels of time from the backseat of a retro Citroën 2CV car.
Au revoir, Paris! Grab your bags and let a TGV*** – France’s high-speed train – whisk you away to colorful Provence. Upon arrival take in the countryside on your way to a nearby wine-producing Château. After visiting the cellars, get to know the flavors of Provence during a tasting of the estate’s wines. Arrive in Aix in the late afternoon and make yourself at home for the next 4 nights. This evening savor the flavors of Provence during a tasting dinner in a local restaurant.
Let a memorable epicurean adventure commence with a truffle hunt**** led by a local chef and trained, truffle-sniffing dogs. Avant la chasse (the hunt), visit a goat farm nestled among rich landscapes that inspired van Gogh, Picasso, and Renoir to learn secrets of regional cheese production and sample the results. Then savor a lunch featuring freshly prepared Provençal specialties whipped up by your chef. Back in Aix, the balance of the afternoon is yours. Perhaps you’ll take a stroll along Le Cours Mirabeau. This tree-lined, pedestrianized avenue is dotted by fountains and cafés cherished by locals and visitors alike.
Journey to the fishing village of Cassis. Sheltered by the Calanques National Park on one side and the mighty Cap Canaille on the other, Cassis charms with its multicolored houses and array of small fishing boats, yachts and sailboats quietly bobbing in the town’s harbor. Then, explore the National Park’s coves and inlets by land or sea because it’s your choice! Relax on a scenic cruise for views of the towering cliffs -OR- challenge yourself on a hike***** through the Mediterranean shrub to view the rugged landscape from above. No matter your choice, once back in Cassis make the most of your free time, perhaps tasting a traditional bouillabaisse fish stew before returning to Aix in the mid-afternoon.
The day is yours to explore Aix-en-Provence at leisure. Perhaps you’ll visit the atelier (artist studio) of Aix’s most renowned citizen, Paul Cézanne, frozen in time since the painter’s death in 1906. Or you may choose a full day optional tour exploring the historic village of Saint-Rémy with its bustling weekly market and the cobbled streets of Les Baux-de-Provence, a picture perfect hilltop village. Before returning to Aix, experience an impressive multimedia presentation at the Carrières de Lumières. Making use of a former quarry, iconic works of art are projected onto the surrounding rock, accompanied by stirring music.
This morning, traverse southern France en route to the French Riviera. Pause in Grasse to learn the secrets of perfume making during a hands-on workshop led by an expert perfumer, affectionately referred to as “Nez” (Nose). Arrive in Nice in the late afternoon, and settle in for a 3-night stay in the leading resort town of the Côte d’Azur. This evening taste Mediterranean-inspired French cuisine during dinner at a local restaurant.
This morning it’s your choice! On a guided walking tour, discover Nice’s famed flower market and be enchanted by the brightly colored blooms before exploring the atmosphere of the Old Town and its bustling food market -OR- journey to historic St. Paul de Vence, situated atop a hill overlooking the beautiful countryside. Explore this charming walled medieval village, soaking in its distinctive light said to have inspired artists such as Matisse and poet Jacques Prévert. Back in Nice this afternoon, bask in the sunshine at a local café or perhaps take in an artist’s perspective at the Chagall National Museum.
Head to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the crown jewel of the French Riviera, where you’ll visit the impressive Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Uncover the lush gardens replete with lovely views of the Mediterranean Sea. Your visit to the villa is complete with a celebratory lunch served in the Villa’s charming tearoom. Gaze over the Bay of Villefranche as you compare notes and experiences with fellow travelers as you say “au revoir” to the magic of France.
Your tour comes to a close today, leaving you with many fond memories of the essence of France.