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Where France and Germany Meet: Alsace, the Rhine and Paris

Program Number: 19358RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/13/2013 - 10/25/2013; 8/31/2015 - 9/15/2015; 6/2/2016 - 6/17/2016; 9/12/2016 - 9/27/2016;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Germany/France
Price starting at: $3,575.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; History & Culture
Meals: 30; 11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Dotted with hilltop castles and carpeted by Riesling-growing vineyards, the Rhine Valley’s beauty can sometimes overshadow its vital role in understanding the complex, often confrontational relationship between Germany and France. In the Alsatian capital of Strasbourg, on a voyage along the Rhine and in Paris, come to understand how the interactions of two great European powers have shaped the history of the continent.

Activity Particulars

Extensive walking along unpaved lanes and cobblestone streets; some stairs without railings and/or uneven. Participants should be able to stand for at least one hour.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Strasbourg (France), 3 nights; aboard vessel, 8 nights; Paris, 3 nights.

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

Days 2-4: Arrival Strasbourg (France):

Explore the Grande Île, Strasbourg’s medieval city center. Learn about the governance of modern Europe during an expert-led visit to the European Parliament or the Council of Europe. Lodging: Comfortable hotel in historic center.

Days 5-6: Embark vessel / Heidelberg (Germany):

Meet with local faculty at the University of Heidelberg, one of the oldest universities in Europe, and examine the Renaissance ruins of Heidelberg Castle.

Day 7: Eberbach / Mainz / Frankfurt

Learn about the 1,000- year history of viticulture in the Rhine Gorge at the Rheingau Wine Museum.

Day 8: Frankfurt / Ascaffenburg

Sail past the legendary Lorelei Rock to the town of Cochem, where a local expert discusses medieval history in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Day 9: Rudesheim

In Bernkastel, visit a local vineyard and sample some of the much-celebrated Riesling wines from the Moselle valley region.

Day 10-12: Cochem / Bernkastel / Trier / The Moselle Valley

Learn about the legacy of the Roman Empire in the Rhine region during a field trip to Trier, one of the oldest cities in Germany and the birthplace of Karl Marx.

Days 13-16 Saarbrücken / disembark / coach to Paris (France) / departure:

En route to Paris, delve into the story of the devastating Battle of Verdun and pay your respects at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Explore Paris, including the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, the Île de la Cite and a boat excursion on the Seine. Lodging: Comfortable hotel on the Left Bank.

MS Sainte Odile

This deluxe two-deck river ship that was built in 1992 and completely refurbished in 2006. The ship's facilities include a restaurant, lounge, bar and sun deck, and all cabins have an outside window. It can carry up to 131 passengers in its 64 cabins.

Comfortable, well-located hotels; comfortable cabins aboard deluxe two-deck river ships.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Hannong
  Strasbourg, France 3 nights
   MS La Boheme
  Strasbourg, France
Cruising the Rhine and its Tributaries, Germany
5 nights
  Paris, France 3 nights
 Hotel Hannong
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Hannong is located in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, within a 10 minute walk of la Petite France, Place Kleber and Strasbourg Cathedral. The hotel has modern furnishings throughout with charming public spaces decorated with an ecclectic mix of fine art.
  Contact info: 15, rue du 22 Novembre
Strasbourg,   France
phone: +33 3 88 22 63 87
  Room amenities: Rooms features a safe, cable TV, desser and closet, bathrooms have hair dryer and soap and shampoo.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour reception desk staff with fluent English. The hotel has a wine bar where participants can relax and talk about the day's activities. High speed Internet WIFI is free of charge throughout the hotel. Room-service and laundry service are available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for reservations.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MS La Boheme
Type: Barge
  Ship Information: This deluxe two-deck river ship was built in 1995 and completely refurbished in 2011. The ship's facilities include a restaurant, lounge, bar and sun deck - and all the cabins have an outside window. It can carry up to 162 passengers in its 80 cabins.
  Contact info: 12 rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67080 France
phone: +33 825 33 37 77
  Room amenities: All cabins are located above water level and offer panoramic views of the scenery. Spacious and comfortable, they have twin beds or a double bed, with a bathroom (shower, WC and washbasin) and towels provided onboard. They are also equipped with satellite television, radio, hairdryer and safe. All cabins offer the same equipment and are of the same size. The voltage is 220V. A telephone allows you to call other cabins, reach reception or program your wake up call, but you cannot call or be called from outside the boat. Cabins are equipped with towels but washcloths are not provided. Participants may also wish to bring soap and shampoo. The Sun Deck is equipped with recliners and deck chairs.
  Facility amenities: Dining room, lounge/bar, TV and video in the lounge, shop, radiophone, radar, large sun deck, air-conditioning throughout the ship.
  Smoking allowed: No

Type: Hotel
  Description: In the heart of the Marais, around the patio, forget the hustle and bustle of the city. Adjacent to the former royal hunting pavilion, the Villa Beaumarchais is able to offer you a charming stopover, an ideal Paris pied-à-terre.
  Contact info: 5, rue des Arquebusiers
PARIS,  75003 France
phone: +33 1 40 29 14 00
  Room amenities: A/C. Fully equiped bathroom. Minibar.Wifi on demande. Safe.
  Facility amenities: Air conditionning WIFI on demand. Conference room.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: 160€ twin / 150€ single Call the Road Scholar Program Department at 1-866-359-5966.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins at 6:00 p.m. with an orientation meeting at the program hotel in Strasbourg. You will be staying at Hotel Hannong that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the program hotel in Paris. You will be staying at VILLA BEAUMARCHAIS the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses, taxis, and trains are available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Strasbourg
  Transportation to site: Independent travelers may take a shuttle train from the Strasbourg Airport into the city. Trains run approximately every 15 minutes, and the cost is 3.90 euros. From the city center train station, it is a 10 minute walk or a short taxi ride to the Hotel Hannong. Alternatively, you may take a taxi from the airport. There is also a designated group transfer available to independent travelers at no additional cost.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Paris
  Nearest airport:  Charles de Gaulle Airport
  Transportation from site: Independent travelers can take a taxi from the hotel to the airport or can ask the hotel for assistance in arranging a shuttle transfer. Paris Shuttle, a third party service, offers discounted shared shuttle and private transfer rates to Road Scholar participants. The rate they offer is 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. Shared shuttle rates start at 18 euros and private shuttle rates start at 75 euros. (Please note that the website does not indicate that this is a discounted rate for Road Scholar.) You will need to pay in advance with a credit card to confirm reservations and print your own voucher.
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: Departure from the U.S.
(Sunday, October 13)
 Depart From: International flights to France

Day 2: Group Arrival and Welcome in Strasbourg
(Monday, October 14)
 Arrive To: Flights arrive in Strasbourg in the late morning and early afternoon.
 Afternoon: Check-in at hotel and have time to freshen up and relax before meeting for a welcome orientation and program briefing.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner with an introduction to Alsatian cuisine at a restaurant near the hotel in Strasbourg.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: History of Franco-German Relations & Strasbourg's La Petite France
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: Attend a morning discussion focused on France, Germany and the Rhine from ancient times to the European Union.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Strasbourg
 Afternoon: Walk with your local expert to Strasbourg's la Petite France, a corner of the Grand Île (the Main Island) where the Île river splits up into a number of canals, and cascades through a small area of half-timbered houses. Learn about medieval life in the UNESCO World Heritage city as you stroll this historic quarter and view the magnificent Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in Strasbourg
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Colmar and the Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: This morning travel a short distance from Strasbourg along the Alsatian Wine Route to Haut Koenigsbourg Castle. The chateau, which was built during the 15th century and restored at the beginning of the 20th century, offers insight into clashes between empires and the unique heritage of Alsace-Lorraine.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Colmar
 Afternoon: Enjoy an expert-led walk around the cobblestone streets of Colmar, the "Alsatian Wine Capital." Founded in the 9th century, this canal town features beautiful well-preserved architecture and is the birthplace of the sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, who designed the Statue of Liberty.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore the cuisine of Alsace-Lorraine.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: The European Parliament and the Palais de Rohan
(Thursday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: Learn about the role of the European Union in modern Europe during an expert-led visit to the European Parliament, one of several EU institutions based in this historic city.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Strasbourg
 Afternoon: Enjoy a guided introduction to the Palais Rohan followed by time for individual exploration. This historic building houses three of Strasbourg's greatest collections in the Fine Arts Museum, the Decorative Arts Museum and the Archaeological Museum. In the late afternoon you will board the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS La Boheme
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Rudesheim
(Friday, October 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: This morning in an on-board lecture learn about towns, printing and Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: After arrival in Rüdesheim explore the Rheingauer Weinmuseum Brömserburg; delve into the Rüdesheim area’s 1,000-year winegrowing history in the oldest castle in the Rhine Gorge World Heritage Site.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
 Evening: This evening you may choose to individually explore Drosselgasse, the heart of Rüdesheim's old town.
Accommodations: MS La Boheme
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Koblenz and the Rhine Gorge
(Saturday, October 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: As the boat cruises toward Koblenz, meet for a discussion focused on the Rhine in the imagination of artists and tourists. Savor this morning's voyage along the most scenic part of the river, sailing past the legendary Rock of the Lorelei.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: This afternoon we explore Koblenz, a city built on both sides of the Rhine and steeped in history. Archaeological evidence shows that Koblenz has been settled since 1000 BC.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS La Boheme
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Rudesheim and The Romantic Rhine
(Sunday, October 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: In an onboard lecture learn about the Roman Empire and its borders. Savor this morning's voyage along the most scenic part of the river, sailing past the legendary Rock of the Lorelei.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: After disembarking in Rudesheim, travel by coach to the Eberbach Monastery for a guided visit of the abbey, church, cloister and surrounding buildings. The Eberbach Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery with impressive Romanesque and early Gothic buildings, founded 1136 by Bernard of Clairvaux. In the middle ages the monastery's vineyards were the largest in Europe.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS La Boheme
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Mannheim and Heidelberg
(Monday, October 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: This morning in an on-board lecture learn about Verdun and the Meuse-Argonne offensive in World War I.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: Travel to the city of Heidelberg in Germany's Baden-Württemberg region, which has one of the oldest universities in Europe. Enjoy a guided tour of the Heidelberg Castle on foot (outside only because it's in ruins) and a discovery of the geometric terraces of the Palatinate gardens. Afterward take a coach to Neckarmunzplatz in the old historic city center for a guided tour on foot.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS La Boheme
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: The Battle of Verdun and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
(Tuesday, October 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: This morning disembark from the ship and travel to Paris, stopping en route at site of the Battle of Verdun which was fought between French and German armies in from February to December of 1916. The Ossuaire de Douaumont serves as a sobering reminder of the huge losses during one of the most pivotal battles of the First World War on the Western Front. Then travel to Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, which covers 130.5 acres and serves as the final resting place of 14,246 American soldiers - the largest American cemetery in Europe. With a local expert from the memorial, learn about the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I, during which most of those buried lost their lives.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch in an inn along the way.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Paris in the early evening and check in at your hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant near the hotel in Paris.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: The Occupation and Liberation of Paris / The Louvre
(Wednesday, October 23)

Note: This day includes use of the Paris metro. This underground public transportation system is accessed by going up and down flights of stairs; elevators or escalators are NOT available in the majority of stations.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: This morning a local expert will guide your discovery of the areas of Paris under German occupation. Examine the key figures and events during the resistance and eventual liberation of the city. Begin at the Hotel Meurice, once the German Headquarters, and end at the statue of Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysées.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in Paris.
 Afternoon: Free time to continue your explorations of Paris or join the group for a self-guided visit of the Louvre using an audioguide created exclusively for Road Scholar participants, containing informative commentary by lecturers sharing their passion for highlights of the Louvre.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in Paris.
 Evening: View the City of Lights from the water during a night cruise through the heart of Paris along the Seine.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Paris: Île de la Cité
(Thursday, October 24)

Note: This day includes use of the Paris metro. This underground public transportation system is accessed by going up and down flights of stairs; elevators or escalators are NOT available in the majority of stations.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Accompanied by an expert lecturer and Paris resident, walk through medieval Paris and the Île de la Cité and explore the interior of Notre Dame Cathedral.
 Lunch: Lunch is on your own to sample Parisian cuisine.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time this afternoon, and take the opportunity to explore one of the city's many great museums, beautiful gardens or historic squares. Wander through the Marais district and discover beautiful Place des Vosges and the city's Jewish quarter, or perhaps climb the hill of Montmartre to visit the Sacre Coeur and have your portrait painted in the Place du Tertre.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a restaurant in Paris.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departure from Paris
(Friday, October 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 In Transit: Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport for return flights to the U.S.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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.

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