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"Trip of a lifetime"
The itinerary covered visits to most of the cities I always dreamed of visiting. It was a good value for the money and a trip of a lifetime.
Welcome to the vibrant British capital where you will spend the next two nights, enjoying the pomp and pageantry of a city that effortlessly combines old and new.
Join a Local Specialist this morning for a tour of the iconic and unexpected sites of London, including Big Ben, the imposing Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Spend a leisurely afternoon shopping on Carnaby Street, consider visiting one of London's museums or wander along the Thames watching ambitious Londoners pound the pavements.
This morning meet your Travel Director and bid farewell to England, watching the mystical White Cliffs of Dover disappearing in the distance as you travel by ferry across to France in the company of your Travel Director and fellow travellers. We'll pass the bloody World War battlefields of northern France en route to romantic Paris, where we will join newfound friends for a Welcome Reception, including dinner and drinks, and an orientation drive through the dazzling City of Light.
Explore the iconic and unexpected sights of Paris with your Local Specialist, which will take you past the grand Champs Élysées and Arc de Triomphe, where we pay tribute to the brave men and women who fought for France. Visit the 13th-century church of St. Severin and enjoy a stroll through the Latin Quarter. Spend the rest of the afternoon on your very own journey of discovery. Stroll along the Seine admiring the work of artists who have set up their easels next to the river, shop in the Marais district or find a cosy bistro with great views of the city. This evening, consider indulging in the colourful nightlife of Paris and attend a famous cabaret show.
A patchwork of colours provide a beautiful backdrop for our journey through France's rolling countryside to the Burgundy wine region. We visit the region's capital, Beaune, renowned for its 15th-century Hôtel-Dieu, to admire its colourful geometrically patterned Burgundy tiled roof. Next, we cross the border to Geneva where we will spend the next two nights.
Explore the City of Peace today - the dramatic Alps and scenic Lake Geneva provide the perfect backdrop for an enjoyable morning of sightseeing. Join your Travel Director on an orientation of this small city to view the Reformation Monument, and see the Old Town, United Nations Building and Red Cross headquarters. Continue along the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva, arriving in the celebrated Chexbres wine region where we will 'Connect With Locals' at a Be My Guest lunch. Delve into Vaud traditions and generations of expert winemaking at the 15th-century vineyards of Cave Champ de Clos. Returning to Geneva, the rest of the day is at leisure. Wander through the Botanical Gardens and admire the gigantic outdoor flower clock made with colourful blooms that change seasonally.
The idyllic playground of southern France takes centre stage over the next two days as we journey to Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera. 'Dive Into Culture' and let the heady scents of French perfume infuse your senses during a visit to the Fragonard Perfumery in the village of Grasse. Here you'll gain a deeper understanding of the art of creating beautiful fragrances.
Soak up the sophistication of Nice, which for long has lured sun-worshipping aristocrats and tourists in search of a quiet seaside sojourn. Against the backdrop of colourful Italian and French façades, we drive along the Promenade des Anglais and see Place Massena during our orientation of the Bay of Angels. Spend the rest of the day discovering the Old Town. Consider a quiet coffee at one of the sidewalk cafés or dip your toes in the warm Mediterranean waters.
Travel along the southern coastline of France, stopping at the Principality of Monaco to see the famous Prince's Palace of Monaco, built as a Genoese fortress and home to the Grimaldi family since the 13th century. Cross the border into Italy and visit Pisa and its Square of Miracles to view the Leaning Tower and Baptistery, said to be the largest in Italy. We arrive in the Cradle of the Renaissance this evening where we will enjoy dinner at our hotel.
This morning, join a Local Specialist who will reveal the story of the wealthy Medici family who influenced the art and architecture of what became one of the cultural centres of the world. You'll visit the Piazza della Signoria with its beautiful statues and palazzi and enjoy views of the magnificent marble Duomo and Ponte Vecchio on whose arches were built the shops of successful merchants 674 years ago. Learn about the quality and workmanship of one of this city's historic industries at a demonstration of Florentine leathercraft. Then, drive across the Veneto plain to Venice, where you'll spend the next two nights.
Glide through the turquoise waters of the Venetian Lagoon by private launch to Guidecca Island. 'Dive Into Culture' and witness the centuries-old Venetian tradition of glassblowing. See the Bridge of Sighs and the ornate Doge's Palace before spending the afternoon at leisure exploring the city's labyrinthine alleys and ornate bridges that span almost 200 canals. Enjoy an evening drink at a charming trattoria on the water, shop up a storm in the alleyways of Le Mercerie or consider an Optional Experience to the colourful fishing island of Burano for a delicious meal.
Today we cross the picturesque Apennine Mountains and journey through the rolling gold and green landscape of Tuscany and past the hilltop towns of Orvieto and Orte, arriving later in Rome, the Eternal City.
Join a Local Specialist to uncover the treasures of a city whose history spans millennia. Venture to St. Peter's Basilica to view Michelangelo's Pietà, hewn from the most 'perfect' block of Carrara marble, and travel across the Tiber River into Ancient Rome. Here you will see the Circus Maximus, which once played host to exhilarating chariot races, and view the Colosseum where brave gladiators and slaves met their fate. This evening we exchange stories about our epic journey through Europe with newfound friends and our Travel Director at a Farewell Dinner.
For now it's a fond arrivederci to our Travel Director and travel companions at the end of a memorable holiday together. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.
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