Road Scholar : Home
Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris: Cities of Inspiration

Program Number: 19401RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/19/2014 - 10/2/2014; 10/31/2014 - 11/13/2014; 4/24/2015 - 5/7/2015; 5/8/2015 - 5/21/2015; 5/29/2015 - 6/11/2015; 7/10/2015 - 7/23/2015; 9/4/2015 - 9/17/2015; 9/18/2015 - 10/1/2015; 10/30/2015 - 11/12/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Netherlands/Belgium/France
Price starting at: $4,397.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 29; 12 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Journey through three countries to experience fascinating cities that encapsulate much of European history, culture and modern life: energetic Amsterdam; The Hague, judicial capital of the United Nations; baroque Antwerp; Brussels, de facto capital of the European Union; medieval Bruges and Ghent; and incomparable Paris.




Highlights

• Attend the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the largest in the world, where 20 million tulips and other flowers from all over the world are traded each day.
• Explore two of Belgium’s breathtaking medieval cities: Bruges and Ghent.
• Enjoy an expert-led field trip to Monet’s gardens at Giverny to see the colors and shapes that so inspired the artist.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on city streets, many with cobblestones; stairs. Public transportation/Subway used throughout program.




Date Specific Information

9-19-2014, 10-31-2014, 4-24-2015, 5-8-2015, 5-29-2015, 7-10-2015, 9-4-2015, 9-18-2015, 10-30-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 4 nights; coach to Brussels (Belgium), 4 nights; train to Paris (France), 4 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Amsterdam (Netherlands)
4 nights

Behold the famous Amsterdam canals on an expert-led boat excursion before exploring the city center by foot. Continue to the Amsterdam Historical Museum to delve deeper into its urban history. A lecture on Dutch masters from Rembrandt to van Gogh sets the stage for a field trip to the renowned Rijksmuseum to view their masterpieces. Discover The Hague, the legal capital of the world, and make a stop at Scheveningen, The Hague’s famous seaside resort area.



Coach to Brussels (Belgium)
4 nights

En route to Brussels, enjoy an expert-led walk through the old city center of Antwerp and step inside the Cathedral of our Lady, which houses famous Rubens paintings. Absorb the unique character of Brussels, shaped by the coexistence of French and Flemish cultures. See the Royal Palace at Laken and the Atomium, and admire the work of Brueghel, Bosch and the Flemish Primitives at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts.



Train to Paris (France)
4 nights
Departure

A breathtaking view of Paris by night is the ideal way to begin your stay in the “City of Light.” Take an expert-led excursion to the Ile de la Cite, where Paris began. Venture to the Palace of Versailles to take in its visual wonders and fascinating history. Examine the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, a former train station converted into an Impressionist museum. Explore the artistic neighborhood of Montmartre including Place du Tertre and Sacre Coeur.




Accommodations
Amsterdam: Stylish four-star hotel near the picturesque Vondelpark. Brussels: Four-star hotel in city center. Paris: Four-star hotel in the lively Latin Quarter.
Meals and Lodgings
   Park Plaza Vondelpark
  Amsterdam, Netherlands 4 nights
   Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
  Brussels, Belgium 4 nights
   Villa Montparnasse
  Paris, France 4 nights
 Park Plaza Vondelpark
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: This first class hotel is located in the heart of the city center, right next to the Vondelpark, just a few tram stops away from the main museums and shopping streets. The Central Station and the famous Dam Square are easy to reach by tram. The hotel has been recently renovated and is comprised of three former mansions.
  Contact info: Koninginneweg 34-36
CZ Amsterdam,  1075 Netherlands
phone: +31 20 6646111
web: www.parkplaza.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a hair dryer, safe, TV, telephone, free wireless Internet access, mini fridge and coffee & tea making facilities.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, lounge, laundry service, free wireless Internet access throughout the hotel and one Internet computer terminal in the lobby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: n/a Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre is located in the heart of the European Capital. The well-known Grand Place and the cultural center are only a 15-minute stroll away, accessible via the pedestrian street La Rue Neuve lined with shops, cafés and restaurants.
  Contact info: Avenue du Boulevard 17
Brussels,  B-1210 Belgium
phone: +32 22051511
web: www.thonhotels.be
  Room amenities: Each room has air conditioning, mini bar, telephone, hairdryer, television, pay television, trouser press, and facilities to make coffee and tea.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, lounge, restaurant, fitness center, sauna, air conditioning, laundry facilities and a safe box at reception. There is no free wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Villa Montparnasse
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Villa Montparnasse is a quaint hotel found on the left bank of the Seine. The colonial-style residence is located in the 19th century intellectual elite neighborhood opposite the famed Montparnasse Cemetery, and next to the apartment where Simone de Beauvoir lived. This hotel is both charming and very comfortable and is one block from a pedestrian street featuring restaurants and shops. It is within walking distance of the Cartier Foundation and two different metro lines both with direct access to the main monuments.
  Contact info: 2 rue Boulard
Paris,  75014 France
phone: +33 156 80 34 34
web: www.villa-montparnasse.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, safe, free wireless Internet access in the lobby and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, lounge, 24-hour front desk, smoke-free environment, air conditioning and free wireless Internet access in the lobby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Amsterdam, Netherlands. 4:00 PM Introduction to the program at the hotel. You will be staying at Park Plaza Vondelpark that night.
  End of Program:
Paris, France. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Villa Montparnasse the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station (approx. 10 Euro), then take a tram to Emmastraat (approx. 3 Euro).
To Start of Program
  Location:  Amsterdam
  Nearest city or town:  N/A
  Nearest highway: A9, A10
  Nearest airport:  Amsterdam/Schiphol Airport
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. This will take about 20 minutes and cost approx. 35 Euro. Alternatively, you may take a train from the airport to Amsterdam Central Station (10 Euro) and then take a taxi to the hotel (approx. 15 Euro).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Paris
  Transportation from site: Take a taxi from the hotel to the airport. The cost is between 60 and 80 Euro and takes about 45 minutes. Or you may ask the hotel for assistance in arranging a shuttle transfer. Alternatively, Paris Shuttle, a third party service, offers discounted shared shuttle and private transfer rates to Road Scholar participants (about 10% discount off their published rate). By using the web link below, you can take advantage of these rates and book your transfer for departure in Paris. You will need to pay in advance with a credit card to confirm reservations and print your own voucher. www.parishuttle.com/index.php
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: In Transit
(Friday, October 31)
   
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrivals
(Saturday, November 1)
   
 Morning: Arrival in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). Meet group outside of customs. Arrive at hotel and drop off luggage; rooms will be available at 2:00 PM.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in the neighborhood of the hotel.
 Afternoon: We will meet at 4:00 PM in the hotel lecture room for an introduction to the program.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Park Plaza Vondelpark
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Highlights of Amsterdam
(Sunday, November 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Experience the famous Amsterdam canals on a guided excursion by canal boat before exploring Amsterdam's old city center on foot.
 Lunch: Set lunch at the museum restaurant.
 Afternoon: A guided field trip to the Amsterdam Historical Museum to take in the history of this great city.
 Dinner: Tonight we will enjoy a traditional Dutch Indonesian Rice Table.
   
Accommodations: Park Plaza Vondelpark
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Artistic Amsterdam
(Monday, November 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture on Dutch paintings from Rembrandt to Vincent van Gogh. Enjoy an audio guided excursion at the Rijksmuseum to see masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the city and museums of interest on your own.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Park Plaza Vondelpark
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Flourishing Amsterdam
(Tuesday, November 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Discover the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the largest flower auction in the world, where over 20 million flowers from all over the world are traded on a daily basis. We will enjoy a guided excursion through the auction house, followed by a visit to a company that specializes in breeding new varieties of roses.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We pay a visit to The Hague, the legal capital of the world, with a stop at Scheveningen, one of The Hague’s eight districts and famous seaside resort.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Park Plaza Vondelpark
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Antwerp en route to Brussels
(Wednesday, November 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Departure by coach from Amsterdam. En route to Brussels, a stop in Antwerp makes for a delightful afternoon. From the medieval riverside fortress to modern waterfront creations, Antwerp is full of enchantments.
 Lunch: Lunch near Antwerp Market.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a guided walk through the old city center of Antwerp highlighting the Cathedral of our Lady which houses famous Rubens paintings. Check into hotel in Brussels.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Highlights of Brussels
(Thursday, November 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: A guided city walk through the old city center of Brussels.
 Lunch: Lunch on the famous Rue des Bouchers.
 Afternoon: Once in Brussels, a city whose character comes from the coexistence of French and Flemish cultures, a guided bus excursion brings the city to life. See the Royal Palace at Laken and the Atomium. Learn about the European Union as you view the most important buildings of the EU quarter, including the European Parliament.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant with a view over the famous market square of Brussels.
   
Accommodations: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels
(Friday, November 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We visit the Royal Museums of Fine Arts - Museum of Ancient Art. Enjoy a guided exploration of the museum, which will highlight the work of Brueghel, Bosch and the Flemish Primitives.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to continue to explore the museum or another place of interest.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9: Medieval Belgium
(Saturday, November 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: We travel by coach to one of the gems of Belgium, medieval Bruges, where we will have a guided walking excursion through the old city center.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we visit the medieval city of Ghent, where the Industrial Revolution started in the 19th century.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in Ghent.
 Evening: Coach back to Brussels.
   
Accommodations: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Paris / Musee d'Orsay
(Sunday, November 9)

Note: Your luggage will be transferred for you from Brussels to Paris via a luggage van. It will be available at your Paris hotel upon check-in.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning we transfer from Brussels to Paris via TGV (high speed train). Upon arrival in Paris transfer to the Musee d'Orsay.
 Lunch: Lunch at the museum restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy a discovery of the Musée d’Orsay. A former train station converted into a museum, the Musée d’Orsay houses one of the most important collections of Impressionist art in France. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to unpack and relax.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: This evening enjoy a city lights excursion by coach en route back to the hotel after dinner.
   
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Ile de la Cité
(Monday, November 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Ile de la Cite is one of two natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris, it is the center of the city and the location where the city was founded. Take the metro from the hotel to Ile de la Cite and enjoy an expert-led exploration along with a visit to the island's gothic cathedral, Sainte Chapelle.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy some free time to explore Paris on your own.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Monet's Gardens at Giverny / Palace of Versailles
(Tuesday, November 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning enjoy an expert-led field trip to Monet’s gardens at Giverny to see the stunning foliage that inspired the great artist.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy an expert-led discovery of the Palace of Versailles, the French royal chateau from 1682 until 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant that is within walking distance from the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: The Louvre and Montmartre
(Wednesday, November 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy a self-guided visit of the Musee du Louvre using an audio guide created exclusively for Road Scholar participants, containing informative commentary by lecturers sharing their passion for highlights of the Louvre.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Accompanied by your Paris expert, explore the artistic neighborhood of Montmartre, including Place du Tertre and Sacre Coeur. After returning to the hotel in the early evening, enjoy some free time to relax before dinner.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant within walking distance from the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Departures
(Thursday, November 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to the Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) for return flights.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Paris Bateaux Mouches
Bateaux Mouches offers evening cruises along the beautiful Seine. The cruises depart from Pont de l'Alma in the 8th arrondissement. For additional information, visit www.bateaux-mouches.fr
  Centre Pompidou
The Centre Pompidou is a hub of contemporary art in Paris. The building itself is a work of experimental ingenuity. For additional information, visit www.centrepompidou.fr
  Les Invalides
Les Invalides provides the final resting place of Napolean Bonaparte, as well as the home of the Musee de l'Armee, the museum of the French Army. For additional information, visit www.invalides.org
  Amsterdam Anne Frank House
In this museum, you will visit the house where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while in hiding, in occupied Holland. For additional information, visit www.annefrank.org
  Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum holds the biggest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world and a varied collection of other 19th-century art. The artists represented include Impressionists, Post-Impressionists and others: Van Gogh’s friends and contemporaries, those who inspired him, and those who drew inspiration from him. For additional information, visit www.vangoghmuseum.nl
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


A Moveable Feast


Author: Ernest Hemingway


Description: A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.



A Tall Man in a Low Land


Author: Harry Pearson


Description: Pearson, a British travel writer, journalist and comic is an entertaining guide to Belgium and its traditions, culture, beer and chocolate.



A Worldly Art


Author: Mariet Westermann


Description: This appreciative analysis of Dutch art in its Golden Age (1585-1718) features 100 exemplary illustrations by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch, Frans Hals and other Old Masters.



Amsterdam, A History of the World's Most Liberal City


Author: Russell Shorto


Description: Russell Shorto opens this delightful ode to an adopted city with his daily journey, by bike of course, through his neighborhood to drop off his toddler son. He spins a tale of a diverse city (178 nationalities, more than New York), wrestled collectively from the sea, its coffee shops, canals, personalities and politics with panache.



Amsterdam, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Manfred Wolf (Editor)


Description: Organized by district, these 17 contemporary short stories by modern Dutch writers, including Cees Nooteboom and Geert Mak, are set amid the canals, cafes and neighborhoods of Amsterdam.



Benelux Map


Author: Michelin Travel Publications


Description: Covering the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg at a scale of 1:400,000.



Eyewitness Guide Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp


Author: Rebecca Miles


Description: This superbly illustrated guide features color photos and maps of city neighborhoods, with information on history, culture and sightseeing.



Fodor's Amsterdam's 25 Best


Author: Fodor's


Description: This slim guide to essential highlights includes an excellent map of the city center and can easily be slipped in your pocket.



Frommer's Paris Day by Day


Author: Frommer's


Description: This compact yet remarkably thorough guide, ideal for a short visit, includes recommendations for everything from food to shopping. With a separate fold-out map of the city center and suggested itineraries for visits of one to three days.



Girl With a Pearl Earring


Author: Tracy Chevalier


Description: Chevalier's richly drawn novel imagines the story behind Vermeer's mysterious portrait of a turbaned girl with a pearl earring.



Lonely Planet French Phrasebook


Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet


Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.



Paris Map


Author: Borch Maps


Description: A sturdy laminated map of the city center at a scale of 1:12,000 and all of Paris at a scale of 1:15,000.



Paris in Mind


Author: Jennifer Lee (Editor)


Description: With selections spanning 300 years, this wonderful anthology reflects America's long connection to Paris and the French. The 30 American writers tapped include Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway and David Sedaris.



Paris to the Moon


Author: Adam Gopnik


Description: Gopnik writes with candor and humor about Paris and Parisian ways in these charming reflections on adapting to life in glorious exile.



Parisians, An Adventure History of Paris


Author: Graham Robb


Description: Beginning at the dawn of the French Revolution and continuing, in its own charming, haphazard way to the present, Robb's paean to the City of Light (he's clearly in love) takes in the history of Paris through the stories of Marie Antoinette, Sartre and Simon Beauvoir, Napoleon, Zola, Proust and others, renowned and heretofore unknown.



The Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition


Author: Anne Frank


Description: The classic story of an adolescent Jewish girl's life and thoughts while in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Holland. A new edition with added material.



The Food of France


Author: Waverly Root


Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).



The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France


Author: Ina Caro


Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.



The Secret Life of the Seine


Author: Mort Rosenblum


Description: After losing his Paris apartment, Rosenblum, a born storyteller, takes to a houseboat moored on the Seine. The result is this entertaining tour of the places and people he encounters during his explorations along the river.



The Undutchables


Author: Colin White


Description: A laugh-out-loud, irreverent guide to Dutch character and habits, including how to drink coffee and why you shouldn't even think about haggling over prices.



Tulipomania


Author: Mike Dash


Description: The story of the world's most coveted flower and the extraordinary passion it aroused, this vivid history traces the story of the tulip from its origins on the Turkish steppes to status as an absurdly desired object in Europe and its key role in the financial follies of 17th-century Holland.





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