20781
France
Survey of France: Paris, Provence, the Wine Regions and More
Learn the stories behind the grand Châteaux, exquisite cuisine, picturesque vineyards and ever-evolving culture of Paris as you dive deeper into world-renowned icons of France.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20781RJ
Length
22 days
Starts at
5,889
Flights start at
800
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22 days
21 nights
48 meals
20 B 18 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Departures From the U.S.
In Flight
DAY
2
Group Arrival in Paris / Transfer to Bayeux
Bayeux
L,D
Churchill Hotel

Morning: Arrivals at the Charles De Gaulle Airport and transfers to the Bayeux program hotel.

Lunch: En route to the hotel.

Afternoon: Check in at your hotel and take the afternoon to unpack and relax. In the late afternoon, 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.

DAY
3
The Normandy Landing Beaches
Bayeux
B,L,D
Churchill Hotel

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning the coach will depart for the Caen Memorial, a major museum commemorating WWII. This is a self-guided visit, so you may wander at your own pace through the different galleries focusing on WWII, the Cold War, and peace.

Lunch: At the Caen Memorial.

Afternoon: The coach will depart for Bayeux where you will enjoy an independent discovery of the legendary tapestry that is part of UNESCO's "Memory of the World" registry. Take some time to linger over each of the 58 scenes which depict in exquisite detail the Norman invasion of England.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
4
Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery
Bayeux
B,L
Churchill Hotel

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning there will be a lecture titled, "The Landing at Omaha." Your expert will lead you through the American landing on Omaha Beach. You will learn about the ferocity of this battle and look at the landing from a number of perspectives.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: The coach will depart for the U.S. Normandy American Military cemetery where we will pay our respects with a wreath laying ceremony before exploring the cemetery and the visitor center. Next, our expert will lead us to Pointe du Hoc to learn about the Ranger Assault. Later, we will take an excursion to sample the region's renowned apple brandy at the Château d'Englesqueville, where the first U.S. monument to WWII soldiers was built.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
5
Mont Saint Michel
Tours
B,D
Best Western Central

Activity note: Today's activities incude travel by coach. At Mont Saint Michel, there is a walk of 0.56 mile from the bus car park to the shuttle, (each way) and many flights of steep steps to climb, as well as dark and narrow passages in the Abbey. Bring a flashlight and walking stick if needed.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will depart by coach to explore a place the locals call "Le Mont" - better known as Mont Saint Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will depart for Tours. (3.5 hours with a rest stop en route).

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
6
Chateau Azay le Rideau and the Gardens of Villandry
Tours
B,L
Best Western Central

Activity note: Today's activities includes walking on flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will head off by coach for the castle at Azay-le-Rideau. Built on an island in the middle of the Indre, what you see today was created by a wealthy financier of Francis I, Gilles de Berthelot, who wanted to reconcile innovative ideas from Italy with the French style of construction. Listed as a historic monument by UNESCO, the castle at Azay-le-Rideau has preserved, with the passing years, all the refinement, elegance, and grace of an exceptional Renaissance chateau.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy a stroll through the famous gardens at the castle of Villandry. Laid out on three levels in a happy marriage of beauty, diversity, and harmony.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
7
Châteaux of the Loire Valley: Amboise and Chenonceau
Tours
B,L
Best Western Central

Activity note: Today's activities include walking up steps and steep paths in Amboise. Please note there is no elevator.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will take a field trip to explore some of the most beautiful Loire Valley châteaux; beginning with Amboise, a favorite residence of the French Monarchy. Among them was Francis I, a generous patron of the arts who initiated the French Renaissance by bringing many Italian artists to his royal castles, including Leonardo da Vinci. There will be a lecture en route on the French Renaissance. This morning will also take us to the Leonardo da Vinci museum.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue to the Château of Chenonceau. Beautifully situated upon the Cher River, it is called “the Ladies’ Château” due to the women who built it and influenced its design. Stroll Diane of Poitier’s elevated garden and the contrasting garden of Catherine de Medici. We will enjoy a wine tasting before returning to Tours.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
8
TGV Tours / Bordeaux
Bordeaux
B,L,D
Hôtel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche-Ona

Activity note: Today's activities include 2 hours 45 minutes of travel by TGV.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, the coach will drop us off at the TGV station. We will depart for Bordeaux with luggage (2 hours 45 minutes).

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will take a field trip on foot through Bordeaux’s historic center, including Saint-André Cathedral, a UNESCO listed monument. You will have the chance to taste the famous “canelé,” the signature pastry of Bordeaux. We will then take the coach to check-in at the Bordeaux hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
9
The Bordeaux Wine Region
Bordeaux
B,L
Hôtel Bordeaux Bayonne Etche-Ona

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will take a field trip to St. Emilion to explore several centuries of history and legends, from the time of the monk Emilion to the carving out of the amazing monolithic church. You will be able to see paintings in the Chapelle de la Trinité and learn the secrets of the catacombs. In addition, you will have the chance to taste the wines of St. Emilion.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will return to Bordeaux. You may take some free time to stroll the pedestrian streets of the historic center, just footsteps from your hotel.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
10
The Walled City of Carcassonne
Carcassonne
B,L
Best Western Hôtel Le Donjon

Activity note: Today's activities include four hours of coach travel from Bordeaux to Carcassonne with a rest stop en route. Carcassonne is a walled medieval city with only pedestrian access. There is a slight incline from the entrance gate to the château. There will be walking on stone payment.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, the coach will depart from Bordeaux to Carcassonne. (Four hours with a rest stop en route).

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will take a guided walking exploration of Carcassonne. (1 hour 30 minutes). You will also have some free time in Carcassonne to explore.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
11
Pont du Gard / Uzès
Arles
B,L,D
Hotel Le Calendal

Activity note: Pont du Gard requires a good amount of walking.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The coach will depart for Pont du Gard, an aqueduct bridge built in A.D. 60 by the Romans to supply water to Nimes.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, the coach will depart to visit Uzès, a town with superb Renaissance architecture. You will have some free time to explore before we depart for Arles.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
12
Arles / Les Baux de Provence
Arles
B,L
Hotel Le Calendal

Activity note: Today's activiites include walking on cobblestone streets in Arles and Les-Baux-de-Provence. Please note that Les-Baux-de-Provence is rather steep and buses cannot enter the city in Arles and therefore walking from the bus to the site is required.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will have a lecture titled, "Arles France's Roman Roots in the South of France." We will then have a walking tour of Arles to learn about the games enjoyed by the Romans in the amphitheater, a splendid and complex piece of architecture which still remains standing in the middle of the city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, the coach will depart for Les Baux where will visit the area as well as an oil factory.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
13
Avignon / Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Arles
B,L
Hotel Le Calendal

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will explore the medieval city of Avignon on foot. You will have the option to take a tour of the Palais des Papes where we learn about the history of the papacy in Avignon. If time allows, you can then individually visit the Saint Benezet Bridge, known as "Le Pont d'Avignon," made famous by the children's song.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: The coach will depart to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We will then take a field trip to a winery.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
14
La Garde Ardhemar / Lyon
Lyon
B,L,D
Hotel Best Western Charlemagne

Activity note: Today's activities include walking on cobblestone streets in Lyon.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The coach will depart to La Garde-Adhémar, a perched village overlooking the Rhone Valley. A walk through the Botanical Gardens is a feast of sights and scents, with its aromatic collection and medicinal plant collection. We will continue up the Rhône River valley to Lyon, situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers. On the summit of Lyon’s highest hill, La Fourvière, take in an awesome view over the city and surrounding countryside.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will descend from La Fourvière Hill on the funicular. Explore the Old Town of Lyon on foot and walk through the fascinating traboules; although a couple of Old Lyon's traboules date from Roman times, most were constructed by silk weavers in the 19th century to facilitate the transport of silk in bad weather. Resistance fighters found them equally useful during WWII. We will then take a water taxi to Perrache before transferring to the Lyon hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

DAY
15
Lyon
Lyon
B,L
Hotel Best Western Charlemagne

Activity note: Today's activities include walking on cobblestone streets in Lyon.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Today you will explore the Renaissance Quartier of Lyon.

Lunch: At a bouchon, a traditional restaurant where the emphasis is on a convivial atmosphere and hearty cooking.

Afternoon: Take the afternoon to explore Lyon independently.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
16
Beaune - Colmar
Colmar
B,L,D
Best Western Grand Hotel Bristol

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, we will take a field trip to Beaune, which is located at the heart of the Burgundy wine region. We will visit the Hospices of Beaune, with its exquisite Burgundian-Flemish architecture and preserved medieval décor. The hospices hold an annual wine auction, which is known as the “greatest charity sale in the world,” whose proceeds benefit the hospital.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue on the journey around France, traveling from the Burgundy region to the Alsace-Lorraine. Arriving in Colmar, a field trip to the Bartholdi Museum explores the history and works of the French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty. We will then check-in at the Colmar hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant where you will taste the specialty of Alsace, a “choucroute garni.” (Sauerkraut with sausages and potatoes) A vegetarian selection will also be available.

Evening: This evening, we will take a field trip to explore Colmar on foot at night. When the lights twinkling on the Lauch River reflect upon the timber-framed buildings – a mixture of French and German architecture, they make Colmar one of the most pleasing towns to stroll in the region.

DAY
17
Strasbourg / The Alsace Wine Route
Colmar
B,L
Best Western Grand Hotel Bristol

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, walk with your local expert through 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 Cathedral of Notre Dame of Strasbourg.

Lunch: Enjoy a specialty of Strasbourg, the Quiche Lorraine.

Afternoon: An afternoon excursion will take us through the Alsace wine route. We will travel through picturesque villages and vineyards and have a wine tasting in Riquewihr.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
18
Reims: Cathedral and the Capitulation Museum
Reims
B,L,D
Best Western de La Paix

Activity note: Today's activities include travel by coach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will have a morning departure to Reims with a rest stop en route.

Lunch: At a local restaurant near the cathedral.

Afternoon: We will discover Reims Cathedral, one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture of the 13th century, where Clovis, first king of the Franks was baptized in 498 and where many of France’s kings were crowned. We will continue to the Capitulation Museum, where on May 7, 1945 at 2:41 a.m., General Eisenhower had set up his supreme headquarters. The Allied Forces brought an end to a war that had waged on for more than five years, by obtaining the capitulation of the Third Reich. We will then depart to check-in to the Reims hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

DAY
19
Champagne Cave / Château-Thierry
Paris
B,L,D
Best Western Hotel Anjou Lafayette Opera

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart for the village of Epernay, the center of the champagne production, to learn how this sparking wine is produced during a visit of a champagne cellar. We will then depart by coach for Vise.

Lunch: Taste champagne made by a small, independent wine maker and lunch on local cheese, bread and charcuterie at the wine cellar.

Afternoon: The coach will depart this afternoon to retrace the stories of the World War I battles of Château-Thierry at the memorials that commemorate the men who fought and lost their lives here. We will then continue on to Paris.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

DAY
20
Musée Marmottan Monet / Versailles
Paris
B,L
Best Western Hotel Anjou Lafayette Opera

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Learn about Monet and Impressionist paintings on a field trip to the musée Marmottan Monet.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will continue to Versailles, the opulent palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Visit the palace and its Hall of Mirrors, then enjoy some time to explore the gardens on your own.

Dinner: On your own.

DAY
21
Paris: The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre
Paris
B,D
Best Western Hotel Anjou Lafayette Opera

Activity note: The visit to the Louvre involves a good amount of walking.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will explore the iconic symbol of modern Paris, the famous Eiffel Tower on an exclusive behind the scenes visit. Learn the history from its construction by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 to its present day use in telecommunications. Learn how the elevators are controlled in the machinery room. Gain special access to the technical area under the first level of the Tower, with its breathtaking view. We will then continue to the Louvre, where you can explore at your own pace.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Use the afternoon to explore at your own pace.

Dinner: View Paris from the water, a completely different perspective, during a farewell dinner aboard a Seine River cruise boat.

DAY
22
Departures
In Flight
B

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: Departure transfers to Charles de Gaulle Airport. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar learning adventure and we look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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