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A Taste of France by Sea

Program Number: 21030RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/5/2013 - 8/19/2013;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: France/England
Price starting at: $3,987.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 37; 12 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

France is renowned for its storied vineyards and wine-making traditions — but there’s much more to discover in its picturesque countryside. Journey along the coast of France, from fascinating medieval towns to bucolic farmland, and experience the beauty of sprawling vineyards, exquisite chateaus and historic communities.




Activity Particulars

Walking and standing for up to two hours at a time; cobblestones; stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Southampton (England), 2 nights; aboard Minerva, 10 nights; London, 1 night.



Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.


Days 2-4: Arrival London (England) / coach to Southampton / embark Minerva / At Sea:

View historic and modern battleships at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard —home of the Royal Navy — and take a field trip to the D-Day Museum. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



Days 5-6: St-Malo (France) / At Sea:

Walk through the old town of St-Malo and enjoy a field trip to the fortified abbey of Mont St. Michel, once a Benedictine monastery.



Day 7: La Rochelle / Cognac / Saintes:

Sample Hennessey cognac during a field trip to their famous cellars, and enjoy lunch in the former Roman city of Saintes.



Day 8: Bordeaux:

Experience the essence of Bordeaux as you sample wines at a prestigious chateau, and make stops at the Place de la Bourse, Gambetta Square and the Monument aux Girondins.



Days 9-11: St-Emilion / At Sea:

Spend a day in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St-Emilion, where the commune’s walls, churches and catacombs date to medieval times, and sample merlot wines at a nearby chateau.



Day 12: St. Peter Port, Guernsey:

Enjoy an independent exploration of St. Peter Port, walking along the town center and exploring its 12th-century church.



Day 13: Honfleur, Normandy. Pays D'Auge:

Sip apple brandy at the historic slate-roofed Château du Breuil and its copper distillery, and enjoy an afternoon of independent exploration in Honfleur.



Days 14-15: Portsmouth / disembark / coach to Brighton / coach to London / departure:

Marvel in the beauty and history of the Brighton Pavilion, built for King George IV and renowned for its oriental exterior and interior.



MV Minerva

This stylish, newly upgraded vessel is operated by a long-established British company and boasts a loyal following of British travelers. It offers its 350 passengers two restaurants plus al fresco dining, a cinema, two bars, a library/card room, a swimming pool, a gym and a sauna. The spectacular Orpheus Lounge provides panoramic views of your surroundings.


Meals and Lodgings
   Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel
  Southampton, UK:England 2 nights
   MV Minerva
  At Sea, USA 10 nights
   Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
  London Heathrow Airport, UK:England 1 night
 Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel stands in a Grade II listed 500-year old building, famous for hosting Jane Austen's 18th birthday party.
  Ship Information: N/A.
  Contact info: 34-35 High Street
Southampton,  SO14 2HN UK:England
phone: +44 2380 386460
web: www.mercure.com
  Room amenities: All bedrooms are non-smoking and have WiFi access, flatscreen TV with satellite channels, hair dryer, iron and board, safe, tea and coffee making facilities and direct dial telephone. Air Cooling. 220/240 V AC and 110/120 V AC.
  Facility amenities: Brasserie style Signature Restaurant and Oak Bar. WiFI internet access at a fee. Dry cleaning at a fee.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to travelinfo@roadscholar.org
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MV Minerva
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: A new wrap-around panoramic Observation Lounge, the Orpheus Lounge and Bar, at the forward end of the Promenade Deck.
  Ship Information: Gross Tonnage - 12,449. Length - 437 ft Beam - 66 ft Draft - 19 ft Cruising Speed - 14 knots Passenger Decks - 6 Stabilisers - retractable fin 350 passengers 181 passenger cabin facilities
  Contact info: N/A
N/A,   UK:England
phone: +004723675678
web: www.swanhellenic.com
  Room amenities: All cabins have private facilities, air-conditioning (centrally controlled), TV and radio, vanity table/writing desk and chair, direct-dial telephone, hair dryer, binoculars and safe.
  Facility amenities: Choose to enjoy your Guest Speakers’ talks in the Darwin Lounge, the Orpheus or Livingstone Lounges or in the comfort of your cabin. You might be tempted to remain in the peaceful surrounds of the Orpheus Lounge at the top of the ship to admire panoramic views of passing wildlife, iconic coastlines or Minerva’s arrival in a new port. Relax in the informal Veranda or the conservatory-style Shackleton Bar with its comfortable cane chairs and potted palms, before taking a leisurely stroll around the expansive promenade deck to enjoy the fresh air. Hide away with a good book in the peaceful surrounds of the Library, where you may also enjoy a game of backgammon or fit the last piece in the jigsaw. Play a spot of Bridge in the Card Room, work out in the Gym or indulge yourself in the Salon Centre or with a relaxing dip in the pool on Promenade Deck. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are arranged on an open sitting basis and may be taken in the The Swan Restaurant or the Veranda. 44 Balcony cabins 100 Outside cabins (74% outside cabins including 23% balcony cabins) 2 Restaurants Orpheus Lounge Internet Lounge Livingstone Lounge Darwin Lounge Shackleton & Wheeler Bars 5000-volume Library/Card Room Boutique and Gift Shop Swimming Pool Gymnasium, Sauna and Spa Services Complimentary Launderette with Washers and Dryers Beauty Salon Medical Centre Telephone, Fax and E-mail Facilities TV, Hairdryer and Personal Safe in Every Cabin
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Close to Heathrow Airport.
  Contact info: 140 Bath Road.
Hayes, Middlesex.,  UB3 5AW UK:England
phone: +44 20 8759 6311
web: www.radissonedwardian.com
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal number and voicemail, satllite TV and pay movies, in room safe. In room bar, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar. Complimentary wireless internet access, business centre, newsagents, health spa and fitness centre.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to travelinfo@roadscholar.org
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch is served in the Southampton hotel at 12:30pm. Welcome meeting and introductions at 5:00pm. You will be staying at Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast which ends at 10:00am. Check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participant Information Form. **IMPORTANT: REGISTERING FOR YOUR CRUISE ONLINE** Swan Hellenic requires all guests to provide full passport details, including address and telephone number. They also require next of kin contact information in case of an emergency. This information must be received no later than 60 days prior to departure. Passengers must visit the website at www.swanhellenic.com - click on "Already Booked" then "Required Passenger Information" to enter your details. The embarkation date is the date you board the ship. Furnished data will be provided to foreign government immigration officials and is required for on-board administration. PLEASE NOTE: Your cruise documents will not be issued prior to your online registration, and embarkation onto the ship may be denied. If you did not receive a booking number or if you need assistance registering online, please contact our program department at 1.866.359.5966 and someone will assist you.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and buses available to Southampton and to central London.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Southampton
  Transportation to site: Trains/coaches available. The Heathrow Express departs the airport every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes add 6 minutes from T5.) to London Paddington. An Express single costs £16.50 (2010 prices), 1st Class is £26, return is £32. Paddington Station is situated in the west end of central London. It connects to the Bakerloo, District and Circle lines on the London Underground. If travelling to Southampton, take the Heathrow Express to London Paddington and cross London by underground to reach London Waterloo or London Victoria where trains leave for Southampton Central every 30 minutes and take 1 hour 14 minutes. a single journey costs approx. GBP24
  From End of Program
  Location:  London Heathrow Airport
  Transportation from site: Hoppa bus from hotel to Heathrow terminals. Heathrow Express to central London's Paddington Station.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Monday, August 5)
   
 In Transit Overnight: Overnight flight from North America.

Day 2:
(Tuesday, August 6)
   
 Arrive To: London Heathrow and transfer by car or coach to Southampton.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the hotel in Southampton.
 Afternoon: Check in and relax before a welcome meeting and introductions at 5:00pm in the hotel.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
(Wednesday, August 7)
   
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to explore Nelson's HMS Victory and the Trafalgar Experience; Mary Rose and HMS Warrior 1860 and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
 Lunch: Taken in the No 7 Boathouse at the Dockyard.
 Afternoon: The field trip continues with a harbour boatride to view modern warships at dock
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: D-Day Museum. Embarkation.
(Thursday, August 8)
   
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the D-Day Museum and Overlord Tapestry in Portsmouth. Lunchtime embarkation
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Check into your cabins and relax before dinner. Ship safety meeting. Sail at 5:00pm.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: At leisure. Shipboard activities.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: St Malo for Mont St Michel, Brittany.
(Friday, August 9)

Note: Steep climb in old town from town to Abbey, steps in Abbey. Walking 21/2 hours on some cobbles. Swan Hellenic rated 3.20-30 minute walk from coach park to public shuttle bus stop into Mont St Michel.



   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: The ship docks at St Malo at 9:00am. The ship is berthed in the inner harbour an easy walk into the old town and ramparts for independent exploration.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Take an afternoon field trip to the unique fortified abbey of Mont St Michel built on the summit of a rocky tidal island with access by causeway at low tide. Guided tour of the Abbey which was a Benedictine monastery and then, 73 years after the French Revolution a political prison. Free time for independent exploration. Journey of 1 hour each way. 6 hours in total.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Minerva departs St Malo at 7:15pm. Shipboard activities.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: A day at sea cruising from St Malo to La Rochelle in the west of France.
(Saturday, August 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Swan Hellenic lectures at 9:30am and 11:30am. Times are subject to change.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Road Scholar lecture by David Smith "Freedom Fries and French Fries-French National Identity". Welcome cocktail party.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: La Rochelle/La Pallice. Cognac tasting.
(Sunday, August 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Minerva docks at La Pallice-La Rochelle at 8:00am. Situated in a picturesque bay, the port is naturally sheltered by the Islands of Ré an Oléron. Field trip from the Gateway to Cognac. La Rochelle is the main port of call for the town of Cognac approximately 80 km. The Charente river region features some of the world-famous vineyards of Cognac as well as ancient towns studded with Romanesque treasures. In Cognac, you will visit the famous Hennessy cellars, crossing the Charente River by boat to step into the distillation area; here you will be introduced to the grand traditions involved in the manufacture of cognac including the swan’s neck-shaped alembic stills that are used to this day. Enjoy a sample of Hennessy’s cognac. After lunch in a local restaurant visit the town of Saintes, a former Roman city and an important town on the Pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela, including a photo stop at the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre.
 Lunch: Included in a local restaurant..
 Afternoon: Field trip continues. 5:00pm David Smith lectures on "French Food and Wine".
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. Depart La Rochelle at 11:00pm.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Historic Bordeaux and Chateau wine tasting.
(Monday, August 12)

Note: Limited and easy walking, involving some steps.



   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Swan Hellenic lecture at 9:30am. Minerva docks at Bordeaux at 11:45 am. Shipboard activities in the morning.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Discover the highlights of historic Bordeaux, including the Quai de Chartrons, where the Bordeaux wine trade has its roots, the splendid Place de la Bourse, the 15th century Cailhau Gate and Gambetta Square. You’ll also see the elaborate Monument aux Girondins in the Place des Quinconces. Drive out of Bordeaux through a landscape of vineyards to a prestigious château to visit the wine cellar and sample two local wines. Hot and cold refreshments available.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. Minerva is docked in Bordeaux overnight.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: St Emilion.
(Tuesday, August 13)

Note: .



   
 Breakfast: On board ship
 Morning: Discover the attractive regions of Pomerol and St Emilion, heartland of the Merlot grape, which produces delicious, rich, round wines. The vines on the “hill with a thousand châteaux”, reach right up to St Emilion’s 13th century town walls and surrounding moat, dug out of solid rock. You will visit the main monuments of the town: the collegiate church and its magnificent cloister from the 12th century, the ramparts and the market place. Beside the church, the catacombs include a charnel house and a number of sepulchres from the 11th and 12th centuries. During your walking tour you will also see the Cadene Gate and the King’s Tower. Enjoy some free time in the village before visiting a nearby château where you will be guided through the wine cellars and offered a tasting of two local wines.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy shipboard activities or take an independent exploration of Bordeaux. 5:00pm David Smith lectures on "The Cultural Heritage of Brittany".
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. Depart Bordeaux at 11:00pm.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Belle- Ile-en-mer.
(Wednesday, August 14)
   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Minerva sails towards Belle Ile. Swan Hellenic lectures at 9:30am and 11:30am.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Arrive Belle Ile for a scenic coastal drive.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: The ship departs at 8:00pm.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Lecture.
(Thursday, August 15)
   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Swan Hellenic lectures at 9:30am and 11:30am.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: 2:30pm David Smith lectures on "Art: From Monet to Gaugin".
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: St Peter Port, Guernsey, the Channel Islands.
(Friday, August 16)

Note: Moderate activity with more walking, possibly including short steep inclines and steps.



   
 Morning: The ship docks at 8:00am in St. Peter Port, the principal town on the island of Guernsey. Guernsey is second-largest of the several Channel Islands located 30 miles west of France's coast of Normandy and 75 miles south of Weymouth on the south coast of England. It is a British Crown Dependency but with its own sense of independence and own currency, A tender service will operate at during the afternoon from the ship to St Peter Port for those who wish to explore independently. The town centre and 12th century parish church of St Peter are within easy walking distance of the quay
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Independent exploration of St Peter Port. Minerva departs at 5:00pm.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Lunch

Day 13: Honfleur, Normandy. Pays D'Auge.
(Saturday, August 17)

Note: Moderate activity with more walking, possibly including short steep inclines and steps.



   
 Breakfast: Included.
 Morning: Drive through the Auge region, characterised by fields, wooded valleys, cider orchards and dairy farms, manor houses and chateaux to Breuil en Auge, to visit the historic slate-roofed Château du Breuil and its copper distillery. The château dates from the 16th-17th centuries and has been home to noteworthy families over the years. You can also sample some calvados, apple brandy aged in oak casks in the cellar of the castle, before returning to Honfleur. In Honfleur visit St Catherine’s Church, a 15th century church constructed entirely of wood by carpenters from a local shipyard; the interior ressembles an upturned boat. Stroll past the tile-covered salt warehouses, the old port and its picturesque quayside and the Lieutenancy – the 16th century house in which the King’s lieutenant, the Governor of Honfleur, once lived
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Independent exploration of Honfleur. See the Harbor, the Old Dock and Sainte Catherine's Church.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Disembarkation Portsmouth. Brighton Pavillion.
(Sunday, August 18)
   
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Disembark after breakfast. Journey by coach to the seaside town of Brighton. Built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823, the Royal Pavilion is remarkable for its exotic oriental appearance both inside and out. This magnificent royal pleasure palace was revered by fashionable Regency society. The Royal Pavilion is also home to some of the finest collections and examples of the chinoiserie style in Britain.
 Lunch: Taken out in Brighton.
 Afternoon: Continue on to your hotel near Heathrow Airport. Check in and relax.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner in the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15:
(Monday, August 19)
   
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Take the public transport Hoppa bus to Heathrow terminals. Flight departures to North America.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  London Heathrow Airport Central London
There are endless possibilities for an evening in London: The theater, a walk along the South Bank, guided walks, historic pubs, trend-setting restaurants, a stroll through SoHo. For additional information, visit www.timeout.com/london/
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Berlitz : France Pocket Guide


Author: Berlitz


French : Phrase Book and Dictionary


Author: Carol Stanley and Phillipa Goodrich


France and Her People


Author: Antoinette and Geoffrey Sainsbury


France Today


Author: John Ardagh


Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong


Author: Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow


The Secret Life of France


Author: Lucy Wadham


Talk to the Snail


Author: Stepehn Clarke


The Discovery of France


Author: Graham Robb


The Loire


Author: Vivien Lowe


Discovering the History of Brittany


Author: Wedny Mews


New Larousse Gastronomique


Author: Larousse


Le Nouveau Guide France


Author: Open University In French


Cross Channel


Author: Julian Barnes


Bonjour Tristesse (French)


Author: Francoise Sagan translator Irene Ash


The Outsider


Author: Albert Camus (translation)


Young Nicolas


Author: Sempe/Goscinny translator Stella Rodway


The Four Hundred Blows


Author: Francois Truffaut


Masculine Feminine


Author: Jean Luc Goddard


Amelie


Author: Jean-Pierre Jeunet


Midnight in Paris


Author: Woody Allen




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