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

Program Number: 19358RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/27/2014 - 10/10/2014; 8/31/2015 - 9/15/2015; 6/2/2016 - 6/17/2016; 9/12/2016 - 9/27/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Germany/France
Price starting at: $3,888.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; History & Culture
Meals: 34; 12 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 12 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 Leonardo da Vinci

This deluxe two-deck river ship that was built in 2003. It can carry up to 144 passengers in its 72 cabins, all of which have an outside window. The ship's facilities include a restaurant, lounge, bar and sun deck.

Comfortable, well-located hotels; comfortable cabins aboard deluxe two-deck river ships.
Meals and Lodgings
   Villa Montparnasse
  Paris, France 3 nights
   MS Léonard de Vinci
  Saarbrucken, Germany
Cochem, Germany
Koblenz, Germany
Rudesheim, Germany
Eberbach, Germany
Strasbourg, France
6 nights
   Hotel Hannong
  Strasbourg, France 3 nights
 Villa Montparnasse
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Villa Montparnasse is a quaint hotel 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 comfortable and is one block from a pedestrian street featuring restaurants and shops. It is within walking distance of two different metro lines both with direct access to the main monuments of Paris.
  Contact info: 2, rue Boulard
Paris,  75014 France
phone: +33 (0)1 56 80 34 34
  Room amenities: In each room there is satellite TV, air conditioning, a mini-bar and a safe.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour front desk with English-speaking staff, bar / lounge, laundry service, smoke-free environment. Wifi is available in the lobby. Participants should be aware that hotel rooms in Paris are often considerably smaller than hotel rooms in the United States.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MS Léonard de Vinci
Type: Riverboat
  Ship Information: The MS Léonard de Vinci is a deluxe two-deck river ship that was built in 2003 and refurbished in 2011. It is 105 meters long and can accommodate 144 passengers in its 72 cabins, all of which have windows.
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67080 France
phone: +33 (0)3 88 76 44 44
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a shower and toilet, hairdryer, satellite TV, and safe.
  Facility amenities: Dining room, lounge, bar and dance floor, central heating, gift shop, radiophone, radar, large sun deck with deckchairs, fully air-conditioned.
  Smoking allowed: No

 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 after: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for reservations.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins with an orientation meeting at the program hotel in Paris. You will be staying at Villa Montparnasse that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the program hotel in Strasbourg. You will be staying at Hotel Hannong 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:  Paris
  Nearest city or town:  Gonesse
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Charles de Gaulle Airport
  Transportation to site: 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.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Strasbourg
  Transportation from site: Individual travelers may take a taxi to the airport.
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 USA
(Saturday, September 27)
 Depart From: International flights to France.

Day 2: Arrival and Orientation in Paris
(Sunday, September 28)
 Arrive To: Arrivals in Paris and transfers to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel and take time to relax before meeting for orientation and dinner. 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.
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Paris- Liberation Tour and Louvre
(Monday, September 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will take the metro for our Occupation and Liberation tour. With your local expert guide, discover areas of Paris under German occupation and discuss the resistance and liberation.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a field trip to the Louvre, where you will have time for self-exploration. Investigate the wing or collection of masterpieces that most peaks your interest.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy a cruise on the Seine River.
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: L'Île de la Cité / Free Time
(Tuesday, September 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will take the metro for a discovery of L'Île de la Cité, heart of Paris and the location where the city was founded. It is dominated by the gothic cathedral Notre Dame de Paris.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to explore Paris at your own pace.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy the city lights on a bus tour.
Accommodations: Villa Montparnasse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Paris / Embarkation
(Wednesday, October 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will check-out of the hotel and travel by coach to board the ship in Saarbrucken. There will be a short stop en-route and a lunch will provided. Due to the length of the drive, there will be no stop in Verdun or at the cemetery.
 Lunch: En route to the ship.
 Afternoon: We will board the MS Léonard De Vinci.
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: MS Léonard de Vinci
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Bernkastel / Cochem
(Thursday, October 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet on board.
 Morning: We will go on a city tour of Bernkastel known for its half-timbered houses and weathervanes on rooftops. Enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard. We will then return to the ship and cruise towards Cochem. As we sail, you will discover the exceptional landscapes of the picturesque Moselle Valley.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an on-board lecture titled, "Verdun and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in World War I."
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: MS Léonard de Vinci
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Cochem / Koblenz
(Friday, October 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet on board.
 Morning: We will take a field trip to Cochem. Nestled 350 feet over the Moselle River, you will discover Reichsburg Castle and its flamboyant gothic style architecture. Afterwards, we will return to the ship for lunch and depart for Koblenz.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: There will be an on-board lecture titled, "The Rhine in the Imagination of Artists and Tourists."
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Enjoy some free time to discover Koblenz.
Accommodations: MS Léonard de Vinci
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Koblenz / Rudesheim
(Saturday, October 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet on board.
 Morning: Marvel at the most beautiful section of the romantic Rhine. Throughout this cruise, you will sight numerous castles among the famous vineyards, and the legendary Lorelei rock. Lorelei is also the name of one of the beautiful Rhine Maidens who, legend has it, lured navigators of this river to their dooms with their alluring singing, much like the sirens of ancient Greek myths. Most famous is the poem Die Lore-Ley by Heinrich Heine, which tells of the titular female as a kind of siren luring shipmen to distraction with her singing, who then crash into the riverbed rocks. Heine's poem was labelled as, "written by unknown writer" during the Third Reich because it was too popular to ban it completely for its Jewish authorship.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: We will set off by tourist train, enjoy some tasting of the famous wines of the region, and have a guided tour of the mechanical music cabinet museum.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Take some free time in Drosselgasse, which is the heart of Rudesheim's old town. It is full of beautifully decorated restaurants. Live band entertainment, brass instruments, and dance music play all day and all night during the summer in the many wine taverns and open-air garden taverns along the 144-metre-long narrow cobblestone pedestrian street. Built in the 15th century, Drosselgasse was used by boat owners to transport items from the river to homes in the town.
Accommodations: MS Léonard de Vinci
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Mannheim / Heidelberg / Eberbach
(Sunday, October 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet on board.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for Heidleberg with an exterior visit of the castle.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an on-board lecture titled, "The Roman Empire and its Borders." Afterwards, enjoy a walk in the medieval city of Eberbach before dinner.
 Dinner: On board.
Accommodations: MS Léonard de Vinci
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Eberbach / Mannheim
(Monday, October 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet on board.
 Morning: There will be an on-board lecture titled, "Towns, Printing, and Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire."
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy sightseeing on your own in the economic and cultural capital of the Rhine-Neckar Triangle.
 Dinner: Gala dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Léonard de Vinci
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Disembark Strasbourg / Coach to Colmar / Haut Koenigsbourg
(Tuesday, October 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet on board.
 Morning: We will disembark from the ship and depart by coach for a field trip to the Haut Koenigsbourg. Next, we will take the coach for a visit of Colmar.
 Lunch: In Colmar.
 Afternoon: We will explore Colmar before checking-in at the hotel in Strasbourg.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Petite France / Palais de Rohan
(Wednesday, October 8)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: We will take a city walk in Strasbourg and visit La Petite France and the cathedral.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a field trip to the Palais de Rohan and Strasborug city museums. There will be a guided introduction and then time for individual exploration.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Lecture and Parliament in Strasbourg
(Thursday, October 9)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: There will be a presentation led by the guide titled, "France, Germany, and the Rhine from Ancient Times to the European Union."
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will take the coach to the European Union. There will be a tour of the Debating Chamber of the Parliamentary Assembly and then a conference lasting approximately one hour on the role of the Council of Europe in the European political field. In addition, there will be an on-site lecture focused on modern Europe.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a restaurant in Strasbourg.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Departures from Strasbourg
(Friday, October 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel.
 In Transit: Departure transfers from Strasbourg. 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
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

All Along the Rhine: Recipes, Wine and Lore from Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Holland

Author: Kay Shaw Nelson

Description: A tribute to the Rhine Valley, its history, culture and especially its food in 130 authentic recipes.

Baroque and Rococo Art

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Description: An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe.

Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages

Author: Alain Erlande-Brandenburg

Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.

Eyewitness Guide Germany

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Featuring color photography, excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.

Eyewitness Guide Paris

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeous, well illustrated and filled with maps, this compact book provides an excellent overview of the French capital, its history, traditions and sights.

Fodor's Paris' 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This shirt-pocket map and guide includes essential information on the city's history, highlights and sightseeing, ideal for a short visit to the City of Light.

Germania, In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History

Author: Simon Winder

Description: Winder's witty, entertaining and opinionated portrait of German culture is both an illuminating history and a wonderfully digressive exploration of the powerful and often confounding nation.

In a German Pension

Author: Katherine Mansfield

Description: Mansfield's first published work, which pierces the bourgeoisie at a Bavarian spa town in 13 interconnected stories. Frau Fischer, the narrator, is wonderful -- and entertaining.

Michelin Green Guide Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A guide to Alsace, Champagne and Vosges in the classic Michelin style.

Michelin Map Midwest Germany 543

Author: Michelin

Description: A regional map of at a scale of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Hessen, Rheinland-Pflatz and Saarland at a scale of 1:350,000.

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.

Prost! The Story of German Beer

Author: Horst D. Dornbusch

Description: The Munich-based aficionado weaves history and culture with the marvels and mysteries of German beer in this brief, authoritative guide.

The Blue Flower

Author: Penelope Fitzgerald

Description: Set in the Age of Goethe, this exquisitely written short novel is a fictional account of the life of the Romantic poet Novalis. It paints a vivid picture of German intellectual and mercantile life in the late 1700s.

The Burgermeister's Daughter, Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town

Author: Steven Ozment

Description: Meticulously researched and absorbing, this narrative by a Harvard historian traces the legal battle of the daughter of a well-to-do family who was thrown out of her home and disinherited in 1525.

The German Way

Author: Hyde Flippo

Description: This clever A-to-Z guide to quirks, attitudes, behavior and customs is a terrific resource for travelers seeking insight into why the Germans, Austrians and Swiss do what they do.

The Gothic Enterprise, A Guide to Understanding the Medieval Cathedral

Author: Robert A. Scott

Description: An enthusiast, Scott delves into the history, design, architecture and wonder of Europe's medieval cathedrals and great Abbey churches.

The Improbable Voyage

Author: Tristan Jones

Description: Jones, an inveterate Welsh sailor, adventurer and storyteller, channels Eastern Europe circa 1985 in his tale of a tough voyage along the Rhine and Danube to the Black Sea.

The Rhine, Culture and Landscape at the Heart of Europe

Author: Roland Recht

Description: This beautifully illustrated, oversized survey of the history, geography and culture of the Rhine shows cities, villages and sights along the river from its source in the Alps to the North Sea.

The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000

Author: Mark Cioc, William Cronon (Introduction)

Description: A scholarly, well-researched environmental history of the Rhine, particularly its role in European economic and national history over the last 200 years.

Wallpaper City Guide Strasbourg 2012

Author: Wallpaper City Guides

Description: This pocket guide highlights all that is stylish about the French city that hosts Europe’s parliament.

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