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FRANCE

Christmas in France: Joyeux Noël

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Road Scholar
Program #20444RJ
13 Days | 12 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Dec 15 — Dec 27, 2014

Expand all
Day One: Monday, December 15 - Departures from the U.S.
In Transit: Flights depart the U.S.

Type: Hotel

Description: A purely Alsatian town with streets lined with decorated carved-wood homes, an authentic Louis XVI facade... Welcome to Hôtel Saint-Martin, set between the Church of Saint Martin and the Old Customs House (Koifhus). Infused with charming spirit, the hotel shines out in the heart of Colmar. Refined atmosphere, attentive hospitality, romantic décor with its Renaissance turret overlooking an inner courtyard with a superb spiral staircase... this handsome dwelling has everything to ensure the perfect success of your holiday or business stay. Its relaxation and reading areas (tourist information available) with free WiFi provide peace and quiet to ensure absolute relaxation at all times. Simply step across the threshold and the old town with all its history are yours: Unterlinden and Bartholdi museums, the Pfister House and House of Heads as well as Little Venice and Tanners’ District... Colmar, also famous for its Christmas markets and music festival, is a must stopover place for gourmet dining along the Alsatian Winery Trail.

Contact info:
38 Grand Rue
Colmar, 68000 France
phone: +33 3 89 24 11 51
Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Tuesday, December 16 - Arrival Strasbourg and Orientation
Morning: Arrivals and group transfer from the Strasbourg Train Station to the hotel.

Afternoon: Check in at your hotel and take the afternoon to unpack and relax. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Lodging: Hotel St Martin

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: A purely Alsatian town with streets lined with decorated carved-wood homes, an authentic Louis XVI facade... Welcome to Hôtel Saint-Martin, set between the Church of Saint Martin and the Old Customs House (Koifhus). Infused with charming spirit, the hotel shines out in the heart of Colmar. Refined atmosphere, attentive hospitality, romantic décor with its Renaissance turret overlooking an inner courtyard with a superb spiral staircase... this handsome dwelling has everything to ensure the perfect success of your holiday or business stay. Its relaxation and reading areas (tourist information available) with free WiFi provide peace and quiet to ensure absolute relaxation at all times. Simply step across the threshold and the old town with all its history are yours: Unterlinden and Bartholdi museums, the Pfister House and House of Heads as well as Little Venice and Tanners’ District... Colmar, also famous for its Christmas markets and music festival, is a must stopover place for gourmet dining along the Alsatian Winery Trail.

Contact info:
38 Grand Rue
Colmar, 68000 France
phone: +33 3 89 24 11 51
Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Wednesday, December 17 - Colmar / Gertwiller Gingerbread and Obernai
Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Your guide will give a presentation on Alsace's Culture and Christmas traditions. Afterward, enjoy a guided walking visit of the old town of Colmar, seeing the festive illuminations with its theme of "The Magic of Christmas."

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: The coach will depart to Gertwiller where we will visit the famous Gingerbread House. Afterward, we will continue by coach to the medieval town of Obernai and enjoy free time at the gourmet traditional market.

Dinner: On your own.

Lodging: Hotel St Martin

Meals Included: Breakfast
Type: Hotel

Description: A purely Alsatian town with streets lined with decorated carved-wood homes, an authentic Louis XVI facade... Welcome to Hôtel Saint-Martin, set between the Church of Saint Martin and the Old Customs House (Koifhus). Infused with charming spirit, the hotel shines out in the heart of Colmar. Refined atmosphere, attentive hospitality, romantic décor with its Renaissance turret overlooking an inner courtyard with a superb spiral staircase... this handsome dwelling has everything to ensure the perfect success of your holiday or business stay. Its relaxation and reading areas (tourist information available) with free WiFi provide peace and quiet to ensure absolute relaxation at all times. Simply step across the threshold and the old town with all its history are yours: Unterlinden and Bartholdi museums, the Pfister House and House of Heads as well as Little Venice and Tanners’ District... Colmar, also famous for its Christmas markets and music festival, is a must stopover place for gourmet dining along the Alsatian Winery Trail.

Contact info:
38 Grand Rue
Colmar, 68000 France
phone: +33 3 89 24 11 51
Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Thursday, December 18 - Christmas Market of Strasbourg / Sauerkraut and m...
Christmas Market of Strasbourg / Sauerkraut and mulled Wine / Alsatian Cooking Class in Colmar

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We will travel by coach to Strasbourg, one of the biggest Christmas Capitals in France. Explore on foot the old town, including Notre Dame Cathedral and the picturesque district, "La Petite France," with its magnificent half-timbered houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Lunch: Enjoy sauerkraut (choucroute) at a traditional restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit the traditional Christmas market, the oldest in France. Taste traditional mulled spiced wine. The coach will then depart Strasbourg and travel through the wine route, stopping at the village of Riquewihr. Later, enjoy a cooking class where you will learn how to prepare some Alsatian Christmas dishes with a local chef in Colmar.

Dinner: At the cooking studio. Partake in your meal and enjoy an Alsatian wine tasting.

Lodging: Hotel St Martin

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Nestled at the corner of the Passage du Grand Veneur, the Villa Beaumarchais echoes the charm of typical lanes of the Place des Vosges.

Contact info:
5 rue des Arquebusiers
Paris, 75003 France
phone: +33 (0)1 40 29 14 00
web: www.villa-beaumarchais.com

Room amenities: Cable television, complimentary newspaper, air conditioning, phone, internet access, minibar, wake-up calls, private bathroom, bathrobes, hair dryer, pay movies, in-room safe

Facility amenities: Buffet breakfasts, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, WiFi, safe.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Friday, December 19 - Strasbourg / TGV / Paris
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: The coach will take us to the Strasbourg train station where we will take the TGV to Paris. We will then board the coach to transfer to the hotel via Musée d'Orsay.

Lunch: At the Musée d'Orsay.

Afternoon: Continue the afternoon at the Musée d'Orsay for a self-guided visit using the museum's audio guide system. Musée d'Orsay has the largest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world. We will then depart for the hotel by coach.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Lodging: Villa Beaumarchais

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Nestled at the corner of the Passage du Grand Veneur, the Villa Beaumarchais echoes the charm of typical lanes of the Place des Vosges.

Contact info:
5 rue des Arquebusiers
Paris, 75003 France
phone: +33 (0)1 40 29 14 00
web: www.villa-beaumarchais.com

Room amenities: Cable television, complimentary newspaper, air conditioning, phone, internet access, minibar, wake-up calls, private bathroom, bathrobes, hair dryer, pay movies, in-room safe

Facility amenities: Buffet breakfasts, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, WiFi, safe.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Six: Saturday, December 20 - Montmartre and Notre Dame
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: The guide will lead a presentation titled, "France's History, Regions, and Traditions." Next, we will board the coach for a field trip to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. Admire the nativity scene and learn about Christmas traditions at Sacre Coeur.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: End the afternoon on a driving trip of Paris' main sites and monuments. Enjoy the sites as the holiday lights alluminate. During this tour, there will be an en-route lecture titled, "Paris: Capital of France, City of Light." We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Lodging: Villa Beaumarchais

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Nestled at the corner of the Passage du Grand Veneur, the Villa Beaumarchais echoes the charm of typical lanes of the Place des Vosges.

Contact info:
5 rue des Arquebusiers
Paris, 75003 France
phone: +33 (0)1 40 29 14 00
web: www.villa-beaumarchais.com

Room amenities: Cable television, complimentary newspaper, air conditioning, phone, internet access, minibar, wake-up calls, private bathroom, bathrobes, hair dryer, pay movies, in-room safe

Facility amenities: Buffet breakfasts, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, WiFi, safe.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Seven: Sunday, December 21 - Opéra Garnier and the Grands Boulevards
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Take delight in a guided tour of the Opéra Garnier followed by a walk on the Grands Boulevards to enjoy the festive and animated window displays in the big department stores, Place Vendôme, and Place de la Madeleine.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Stop at the famous pastry shop, Ladurée, for a gourmet Parisian dessert. Afterward, enjoy free time in Paris.

Dinner: On your own.

Lodging: Villa Beaumarchais

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Nestled at the corner of the Passage du Grand Veneur, the Villa Beaumarchais echoes the charm of typical lanes of the Place des Vosges.

Contact info:
5 rue des Arquebusiers
Paris, 75003 France
phone: +33 (0)1 40 29 14 00
web: www.villa-beaumarchais.com

Room amenities: Cable television, complimentary newspaper, air conditioning, phone, internet access, minibar, wake-up calls, private bathroom, bathrobes, hair dryer, pay movies, in-room safe

Facility amenities: Buffet breakfasts, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, WiFi, safe.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Eight: Monday, December 22 - The Market and the Marais District
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of a traditional Parisian open-air market. Here, you will truly be able to experience Parisian Paris. We will gather for a wine tasting as well as charcuterie and fromage.

Lunch: On your own in the Marais District.

Afternoon: Take this opportunity to explore the neighborhoods of the Marais District, including what was historically the Jewish Quarter and perhaps browse Europe's largest collection of modern art at the Pompidou Center.

Dinner: Near the hotel.

Lodging: Villa Beaumarchais

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Boutique Hotel

Description: The former house of the music composer Darius Milhaud, Hotel Artea combines the charm and the quality of an old Aix townhouse with modern facilities. Just a few minutes from the pedestrian heart of Aix-en Provence, the Théâtre de Provence and the Cours Mirabeau, Hotel Artea is the perfect base for exploring this lively town. The SNCF train station is only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

Ship Information: n/a

Contact info:
4 Boulevard de la République
Aix-en-Provence, 13100 France
phone: +33 (0)4 42 27 36 00
web: http://www.hotel-artea-aix-en-provence.com/en.php

Room amenities: 50 rooms are spacious, simply furnished in traditional style and have air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television with English language channels, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, soundproof windows, private bathroom with bathtub and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Elevator, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, Baggage Storage, All Spaces Non-Smoking (Public and Private), Air Conditioning, Meeting Room, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: TBD
Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and reservations.

Check out time: 11:30 AM

Day Nine: Tuesday, December 23 - Paris / Aix-en-Provence
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We will take a coach transfer to Gare de Lyon where we will then travel by TGV to Aix-en-Provence.

Lunch: En route.

Afternoon: We will take the coach to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Lodging: Hotel Artea

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Boutique Hotel

Description: The former house of the music composer Darius Milhaud, Hotel Artea combines the charm and the quality of an old Aix townhouse with modern facilities. Just a few minutes from the pedestrian heart of Aix-en Provence, the Théâtre de Provence and the Cours Mirabeau, Hotel Artea is the perfect base for exploring this lively town. The SNCF train station is only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

Ship Information: n/a

Contact info:
4 Boulevard de la République
Aix-en-Provence, 13100 France
phone: +33 (0)4 42 27 36 00
web: http://www.hotel-artea-aix-en-provence.com/en.php

Room amenities: 50 rooms are spacious, simply furnished in traditional style and have air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television with English language channels, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, soundproof windows, private bathroom with bathtub and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Elevator, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, Baggage Storage, All Spaces Non-Smoking (Public and Private), Air Conditioning, Meeting Room, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: TBD
Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and reservations.

Check out time: 11:30 AM

Day Ten: Wednesday, December 24 - “13 Desserts’” Market of Aix-en-Provence / Caliss...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Learn about Provence's "art of living" and its traditions in a lecture at the hotel. Then enjoy a guided walking visit to the Christmas market in Aix, including a stop at the traditional "13 desserts" market. Afterward visit a Calissons factory and discover how this delicious local specialty is made. No visit would be complete without a tasting. Calissons are a delicious candy made of a paste of candied fruit and ground almonds topped with a thin layer of white icing.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore Aix-en-Provence.

Dinner: Enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner.

Lodging: Hotel Artea

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Boutique Hotel

Description: The former house of the music composer Darius Milhaud, Hotel Artea combines the charm and the quality of an old Aix townhouse with modern facilities. Just a few minutes from the pedestrian heart of Aix-en Provence, the Théâtre de Provence and the Cours Mirabeau, Hotel Artea is the perfect base for exploring this lively town. The SNCF train station is only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

Ship Information: n/a

Contact info:
4 Boulevard de la République
Aix-en-Provence, 13100 France
phone: +33 (0)4 42 27 36 00
web: http://www.hotel-artea-aix-en-provence.com/en.php

Room amenities: 50 rooms are spacious, simply furnished in traditional style and have air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television with English language channels, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, soundproof windows, private bathroom with bathtub and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Elevator, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, Baggage Storage, All Spaces Non-Smoking (Public and Private), Air Conditioning, Meeting Room, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: TBD
Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and reservations.

Check out time: 11:30 AM

Day Eleven: Thursday, December 25 - Santons de Provence
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy free time in Aix-en-Provence.

Lunch: Enjoy Provençal Christmas foods.

Afternoon: Travel to the village of Aubagne to visit the santons exhibition. Enjoy a field trip to the old town of Aubagne, including “le Petit Monde de Pagnol" nativity scene, a reconstruction of the landscape of hills of Aubagne, with 200 figurines that depict characters from the movies and life of Marcel Pagnol. The field trip continues to Allauch, a typical Provencal village. Visit its traditional creche with more than 300 santons.

Dinner: On your own.

Lodging: Hotel Artea

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Boutique Hotel

Description: The former house of the music composer Darius Milhaud, Hotel Artea combines the charm and the quality of an old Aix townhouse with modern facilities. Just a few minutes from the pedestrian heart of Aix-en Provence, the Théâtre de Provence and the Cours Mirabeau, Hotel Artea is the perfect base for exploring this lively town. The SNCF train station is only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

Ship Information: n/a

Contact info:
4 Boulevard de la République
Aix-en-Provence, 13100 France
phone: +33 (0)4 42 27 36 00
web: http://www.hotel-artea-aix-en-provence.com/en.php

Room amenities: 50 rooms are spacious, simply furnished in traditional style and have air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television with English language channels, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, soundproof windows, private bathroom with bathtub and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Elevator, Soundproof Rooms, Heating, Baggage Storage, All Spaces Non-Smoking (Public and Private), Air Conditioning, Meeting Room, Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: TBD
Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and reservations.

Check out time: 11:30 AM

Day Twelve: Friday, December 26 - Santons Factory
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: We will take the city bus to visit the Santons factory and learn about the Provençal figurines of the nativity scene, the various stages in the mold creation, painting and firing. The Provençal word "santoun" means “small saint." Santons are handmade from clay by craftsmen. They represent the inhabitants of the village visiting the Christmas crèche: pétanque players, fishmongers, doctors, bakers, shepherds, etc. Here, the traditional crèche is in fact an ideal model of a Provençal village and its inhabitants.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Watch a French subtitled movie by the famous filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, filmed in Provence.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a restaurant.

Lodging: Hotel Artea

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Thirteen: Saturday, December 27 - Return to the U.S.
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Group transfer to Marseille airport. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Paris
Musee Jacquemart-AndreThe Jacquemart-André Museum, founded by collector Édouard André and his portraitist wife Nélie Jacquemart, is in an opulent mid-19th-century residence on one of Paris’ posher avenues. It has furniture, tapestries and enamels, but is most noted for its paintings by Rembrandt and Van Dyck and Italian Renaissance works by Bernini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Donatello, Mantegna, Tintoretto, Titian and Uccello. Don’t miss the Jardin d’Hiver (Winter Garden), with its marble statuary, tropical plants and double-helix marble staircase. Just off it is the delightful fumoir (the erstwhile smoking room) filled with exotic objects collected by Jacquemart during her travels. The salon de thé is one of the most beautiful in the city.
For additional information, visit: www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com
Musee National du Moyen AgeThe National Museum of the Middle Ages is housed in two structures: the frigidarium (cooling room) and other remains of Gallo-Roman baths dating from around AD 200, and the late-15th-century Hôtel de Cluny, considered the finest example of medieval civil architecture in Paris. The spectacular displays at the museum include statuary, illuminated manuscripts, weapons, furnishings, and objets d’art made of gold, ivory and enamel. But nothing compares with La Dame à la Licorne (The Lady with the Unicorn), a sublime series of late-15th-century tapestries from the southern Netherlands now hung in circular room 13 on the 1st floor. Five of them are devoted to the senses, while the sixth is the enigmatic À Mon Seul Désir (To My Sole Desire), a reflection on vanity.
For additional information, visit: http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/
Musee de L’OrangerieLocated in the southwestern corner of the Jardin des Tuileries, this museum, with the Jeu de Paume, is all that remains of the once palatial Palais des Tuileries, which was razed during the Paris Commune in 1871. It exhibits important Impressionist works, including a series of Monet's Decorations des Nymphéas (Water Lilies) in two huge oval rooms purpose-built in 1927 on the artist's instructions, as well as works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Sisley, Soutine and Utrillo.
For additional information, visit: www.musee-orangerie.fr/
Rue du Faubourg Saint-HonoréThe rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is a street in the 8th arrondissement. Although relatively narrow and nondescript (especially in comparison to the avenue des Champs-Élysées), it is cited as being one of the most fashionable streets in the world, thanks to the presence of virtually every major global fashion house.

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
Currently selected:Prices Starting At:

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
11 nights of accommodations
22 meals: 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
14 Field trips
3 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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