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Best of France

Saint Emilion
14 Days from $2,844 per person

Enjoy France à la carte – châteaux, chic beach resorts and delicious cuisine served with a dash of French Riviera, medieval Bastide villages and a healthy helping of Bordeaux. 

Journey through the romantic Loire Valley to the beaches of Biarritz and Carcasonne with its enchanting city walls. Cross Avignon's famous bridge, see the D-Day Landing beaches in Normandy and visit Claude Monet's home in Giverny.

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Paris, the City of Light. France is a diverse and fascinating country with so much to offer. From architecture to cuisine, your trip reveals a host of regional delights and specialties. This evening meet for a Welcome Reception with your fellow travelers and Travel Director and enjoy an orientation drive through the city to take in some of the breathtaking sights including the Champs Élysées and the Arc d'Triomphe.
    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Novotel Center Tour Eiffel
  3. Drive south into Burgundy wine country, once home to the powerful Dukes of Burgundy, past the Côte d'Or vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits St. Georges. Arrive in the medieval town of Beaune to discover the treasures in the 15th century Hospice de Beaune. Tonight in Lyon why not try out some local specialties for which the city is justifiably famous.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Novotel Gerland
  4. Stop in Avignon to see the Papal Palace and the bridge made famous in the song, ‘sur le pont d'Avignon'. Traverse Provence, a picturesque area favored by artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne to the Principality of Monaco. This small city state is both a constitutional monarchy and home to the rich and famous. View the cathedral, where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace were married. Later enjoy a Regional Meal in Monaco before arriving at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:Best Western Plus Massena
  5. Spend today as you wish. The Côte d'Azur is a sparkling and pristine stretch of famous coastline. You might like to lounge on the beach, shop in elegant boutiques or perhaps visit the hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence. This evening why not dine in one of the many pleasant local restaurants.
    meal(s):BB
  6. Visit the town of Arles with free time to explore the city. Pass Alaric's Mountain to Carcassonne, a walled city and UNESCO World Heritage site which was extensively restored in the 19th century. See the double ring of ramparts featuring 52 towers during your sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist. ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' was filmed on location in and around Carcassonne.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Best Western Le Donjon Authentic Accommodations
  7. Wind your way through the Corbières Hills and ‘Cathar' landscapes toward the Pyrenées. See the Basilica on top of St. Bernadette's grotto at Lourdes, a holy site of pilgrimage.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Radisson Blu
  8. Head north through Les Landes to the classical town of Bordeaux. Built on the River Garonne, this is the world's major wine industry capital. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the bi-annual wine fair held in the city attracts buyers from all over the world. See the sights including the magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces during your orientation.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Novotel Center
  9. Enjoy a scenic half-day included excursion through beautiful countryside and picturesque scenery in the Dordogne region, best known for the enchanting medieval ‘Bastide' villages. Drive to the renowned wine village of St. Emilion, possibly one of the most famous towns with ties to wine production. Later return to Bordeaux where you will have free time to explore the city.
    meal(s):BB
  10. Continue north through the Poitou Charentes region to the Loire Valley and stop to visit the beautiful fairytale Château Chenonceau. One of the most remarkable castles ever built, Chenonceau features stunning landscaped gardens and priceless collections of Renaissance furniture, tapestries and art. This evening join your fellow travelers for a special Be My Guest dining experience where you enjoy typical French hospitality.
    meal(s):BB, BG
    hotel:Mercure Tours Nord
  11. Travel through Brittany to visit the island-town of Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast, featuring the abbey and picturesque streets. Follow the Liberty Highway to St. Lô and on to Omaha Beach where your Travel Director provides an excellent account of the momentous events that took place here. Pause and reflect on the courage of those who gave their lives. Visit the D-Day Landing Zone and learn in detail about how the operation was planned and executed. Arrive later at your hotel where you dine tonight.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Mercure Omaha Beach
  12. Head south east towards the valley of the River Seine. Stop at Giverny and visit the house and gardens where Claude Monet lived for most of his life. One of the founders of French Impressionism, some of his most famous paintings were inspired by this spectacular garden. This evening in the glittering capital, Paris, consider a trip to one of the city's renowned cabaret venues.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Novotel Center Tour Eiffel
  13. This morning your Local Specialist reveals not just where, but how real Parisians live and shop, showing you the enchanting hidden squares and secret passages of one of Paris' oldest historical neighborhoods. This short insider walk finishes at one of Paris's loveliest squares, little known to outsiders, but a real favorite of the locals. See the unique skyline from the second level of the Eiffel Tower, where you enjoy panoramic views across the city. Spend the rest of the day seeing more sights and shopping for souvenirs. This evening celebrate with your Travel Director and newfound friends at a Farewell Dinner.
    meal(s):BB, FD
  14. Say ‘au revoir' to your fellow travelers at the end of a magical and memorable vacation. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.
    meal(s):BB
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30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment

Meal Summary

12 nights, 12 hot buffet breakfasts, 7 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Return to 17th century France and join the de Montferrier family on their farm near the famous Château de Villandry for a traditional three-course Tourangelle dinner accompanied by local wines

Authentic Accommodations

  • Located in the heart of the citadel of Carcassonne, the Best Western Le Donjon combines the comfort of modern facilities with the charm of its medieval architecture

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Carcassonne and Paris

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Insider walking tour in Paris
  • City tour in Carcassonne
  • Orientation of Paris, Beaune, Lyon, Avignon, Monaco, Nice, Arles, Lourdes, Bordeaux
  • Visit the Hospice de Beaune, Château Chenonceau, D-Day Museum, Claude Monet's home at Giverny, The Eiffel Tower
  • View the Papal Palace in Avignon, The Royal Palace, Cathedral while in Monaco, Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena in Nice, St Bernadette's Grotto in Lourdes, Esplanade des Quinconces in Bordeaux, the Abbey of Mont St. Michel and the D-Day Beach of Omaha while in Normandy
  • See the Roman Ampitheatre and the Cathedral in Arles
  • Scenic drive through Dordogne and Loire Valley.

Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Arles

On the trail of Vincent Van Gogh

Adult Price: € 23

Discover the secret stories and life of Vincent Van Gogh, as you stroll through the ancient streets and squares of this enchanting provincial town with our resident Local Specialist.

Biarritz

Highlights Of The Pyrénées

Adult Price: € 40

Join us on a beautiful drive up into the Pyrénées, where we’ll catch a funicular train to ascend through mountain pastures to the top of these magnificent mountains, finding ourselves in Spain. You’ll have time to enjoy some Basque hospitality before our descent, with a drink included. Weather permitting.

St Jean De Luz, Jewel Of The Basque Country

Adult Price: € 38

With your Local Specialist you’ll discover the Maison Louis XIV and the Maison Rose where Louis XIV met his bride, Spanish princess Maria Theresa. You’ll also see the church where they married in 1660 (complete with hanging sailing ships inside) and have time to explore this unique seaside town’s 400 year history and beautiful beach.

Bordeaux

Secrets Of The Bordelaise With Lunch Or Dinner

Adult Price: € 80

We’ll journey through the rolling vineyards of the Bordeaux region to our favourite French Chateau Estate. Enjoy a a guided tour of the vineyards and cellars before a wine tasting, all while learning the secrets of the French wine-making process. Later, discover the World Heritage monolithic church of St. Emilion, before dining in traditional Bordelaise style, with drinks included. May be operated without dining for €49.

Lyon

Beaujolais Gourmet Dinner And Old Town Discovery

Adult Price: € 69

Enjoy an evening drive along the beautiful Saône River and taste the most acclaimed French cuisine. You’ll discover Lyon's secrets, from the Gauls to the medieval old town. A UNESCO World Heritage city, Lyon is also the gastronomic capital of France and our chef will prepare a mouth-watering three course dinner, with local wines included.

Nice

St Paul, Corniche Drive, Perfumery and Meal

Adult Price: € 83

Discover the medieval hill top town of St. Paul, known as an artists’ paradise. You’ll travel along the Riviera on the spectacular corniche, stopping off at a local perfumery. Finally, join us for a delicious meal and drinks at a local restaurant.

Paris

Nouvelle Eve Cabaret And Dinner

Adult Price: € 139

Join us for dinner with wine included at one of the most prestigious cabaret shows in town, where you’ll watch an evening of exciting acts, stunning tableaux and wonderful entertainment – including the world famous Can-Can. A Parisian night you’ll never forget.

Moulin Rouge Cabaret And Dinner

Adult Price: € 162

Enjoy dinner and cabaret, including wine and champagne, at the world-famous Moulin Rouge – the original Paris cabaret. Immortalized by the award-winning film of the same name, this Parisian institution features 60 dancers and entertainers and over 1000 costumes!

Notre Dame And Latin Quarter

Adult Price: € 33

A guided drive through Paris' bohemian Left Bank with our Local Specialist brings us to amazing Notre Dame to discover one of the world's most famous Cathedrals and the epitome of Gothic architecture. Afterwards, take a stroll through the delightful Latin Quarter, a medieval maze of winding cobblestone alleyways where you'll have free time to enjoy the sidewalk bistros, boutiques and hidden squares.

Seine Cruise And Paris Illuminations

Adult Price: € 38

Paris at night is a city transformed. Enjoy this superb 'City of Light' on a leisurely cruise along the River Seine. Afterwards, as we drive through this amazing city, we’ll stop at some vantage points for you to capture the fascinating sights on camera. In summer, this trip may take place before sunset.

Versailles Palace And Gardens

Adult Price: € 65

Built for the Sun King, Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles was the envy of every European ruler. Your Local Specialist will take you through the State apartments and famous Hall of Mirrors, with free time to stroll the symmetrical tree-lined gardens. Please note: this optional is subject to availability.

Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
asterisk 1 Apr 17 14 Apr 17 checkmark $2,995pp
asterisk 15 Apr 17 28 Apr 17 checkmark $3,095$2,863pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,095 $2,863 pp
29 Apr 17 12 May 17 checkmark $3,175pp
6 May 17 19 May 17 checkmark $3,275pp
20 May 17 2 Jun 17 checkmark $3,275$3,029pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,275 $3,029 pp
27 May 17 9 Jun 17 checkmark $3,275$3,029pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,275 $3,029 pp
3 Jun 17 16 Jun 17 checkmark $3,275$3,029pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,275 $3,029 pp
10 Jun 17 23 Jun 17 checkmark $3,275$3,029pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,275 $3,029 pp
17 Jun 17 30 Jun 17 checkmark $3,275$3,029pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,275 $3,029 pp
24 Jun 17 7 Jul 17 checkmark $3,275$3,029pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,275 $3,029 pp
8 Jul 17 21 Jul 17 checkmark $3,095$2,863pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,095 $2,863 pp
15 Jul 17 28 Jul 17 checkmark $3,095$2,863pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,095 $2,863 pp
22 Jul 17 4 Aug 17 checkmark $3,075$2,844pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,075 $2,844 pp
12 Aug 17 25 Aug 17 checkmark $3,075$2,844pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,075 $2,844 pp
19 Aug 17 1 Sep 17 checkmark $3,075$2,844pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,075 $2,844 pp
asterisk 26 Aug 17 8 Sep 17 checkmark $3,095$2,863pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
2 Sep 17 15 Sep 17 checkmark $3,250$3,006pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,250 $3,006 pp
9 Sep 17 22 Sep 17 checkmark $3,250pp
16 Sep 17 29 Sep 17 checkmark $3,295pp
$3,295 pp
23 Sep 17 6 Oct 17 checkmark $3,295$3,048pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,295 $3,048 pp
30 Sep 17 13 Oct 17 checkmark $3,225$2,983pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,225 $2,983 pp
7 Oct 17 20 Oct 17 checkmark $3,225$2,983pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,225 $2,983 pp
asterisk 14 Oct 17 27 Oct 17 checkmark $3,095$2,863pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$3,095 $2,863 pp

Special Rate Solo Rooming: These departures include 25-100% discount on our standard single supplement.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $930 p.p.

Triple Discount: $10 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $64 per person.

Airport transfers: On arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport transfers will operate at 8:00 am, 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8:00 am and 11:30 am.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to France must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering France.

  • The currency in France is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in France, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in France. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges. 

  • The French have an ongoing love affair with food and wine. Meals are lovingly prepared and consumed leisurely through a bevy of appetizers and main courses, usually accompanied by a number of wines. Boeuf bourgignon (beef stew with wine, herbs and vegetables), coq au vin (chicken cooked with bacon in a white wine and herb sauce) and bouillabaisse (fish stew) are featured on many menus. Cheese lovers will not be disappointed with hundreds of varieties to choose from.  And no visit would be complete without a visit to a pâtisserie, with its delicate pastries you will definitely be tempted.

    Wine is the most popular drink in France and is consumed at both lunch and dinner. Coffee is generally served black, unless a café au lait or café crème (with milk) is requested. For a simple and inexpensive lunch or snack, stop by a local bakery or food cart for a baguette au jambon (ham sandwich), crêpes, or a buckwheat galette filled with melted gruyère cheese and mushrooms. Many restaurants also offer a simple three course menu at a reasonable price.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • In France, a 15% service compris is included by law in the price of food and drink. Tipping in addition to this service charge is never expected, but always appreciated. If you’d like to leave something extra, keep in mind that even in the fanciest restaurants, people rarely tip more than 5-10%. A good rule of thumb is to leave an extra €1 for every €20 spent. Rather than adding gratuity to your credit card slip, leave coins in the tray where the check was presented to ensure that your waiter receives it.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Reviews

Friday, June 10, 2016
Best of France
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : The reservations were handled in an efficient and professional manner.
Vacation : Many of the stops were geared towards shopping rather than learning about the culture. Ex. At St. Paul de Vence we could have visited a museum.
Friday, June 3, 2016
Best of France
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Daniel did an excellent job of arranging every item.
Vacation : Great places visited, wish I had faster thoughts to decide what to do with the little bit of free time.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for letting us know. We will share your comments with Daniel and we are very pleased that you enjoyed your trip. We hope to see you again very soon.

Grand European Travel
Friday, June 3, 2016
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Best of France
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Very nice tour.
Vacation : The buffet breakfasts in the hotels were not good. One hotel, the room set up for the breakfast was too crowded. The Radisson was the best hotel of the whole trip. I would give Novotel 2 stars. Would not stay there again.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Best of France
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Except for the hotel in Nice
Vacation : krista Taylor, was the best tour director we ever had. She was fantastic. She made the trip wonderful.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Our Travel Directors are the best! Thank you for sharing your comments.

Grand European Travel
Thursday, June 2, 2016

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