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Secrets of France

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Sainte Croix, Orleans
Tour Style: First Class
11 Days from $3,285 per person

A foodie frenzy awaits you in the south-west corner of France – the gastronomic centers of Bordeaux, Sarlat-la-Canéda and Dordogne promising a culinary feast of ruby red wines, fresh oysters and foie gras. Explore the region's bustling village markets, medieval cities and the prehistoric paintings at Lascaux Caves before returning to Paris and the historic town of Versailles.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. The bustling boulevards of Paris roll out the red carpet, welcoming you to an unforgettable Hidden Journey across the City of Light, your launchpad to an in-depth exploration of one of the world's most fascinating destinations. On arrival to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport transfers will operate at 8 am, 11 am and 2 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. From delectable French cuisine to Roman and Medieval architecture, your trip delves into a host of secret regional delights and specialties. Amble through the city's leafy avenues and labyrinthine lanes to hidden squares and tiny bistros for a tasty café au lait or two before joining your fellow travelers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation of the city's greatest sights including the Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe.

    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
  3. We board the TGV high-speed train to Bordeaux a region famed for its centuries-old tradition of fine wines and gourmet culture. See the sights of this splendid historic city during an orientation tour, including views of the expansive Esplanade des Quinconces. Spend some time at leisure meandering through the Port of the Moon and admiring its age of Enlightenment charm. This evening, join your travel companions for a delicious Regional Meal at a local restaurant.
    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:Best Western Etche Ona
  4. The sandy shores of Dune du Pilat, which span some 2.7km, provide a dramatic vista for our morning before we drive to the colorful fishing village and oyster capital of Arcachon, where you'll have time to watch fresh oysters being shucked and perhaps enjoy them with picturesque views over the bay from one of the beachside cafés. We return to Bordeaux for an evening at leisure. Watch the glittering Palais de la Bourse shimmering in the Garonne as the sun sets, indulge in delectable wine tastings or join an Optional Experience to the nearby town of St. Emilion, a charming historical vineyard.
    meal(s):BB
  5. Meandering from the Garonne to the banks of the Tarn River, we visit the artistic town of Moissac, a stop on the way of St. James, the pilgrim walk to Galicia. Visit the medieval Saint-Pierre Abbey, with its tympanum that depicts the Apocalypse of the Book of Revelation. Enjoy an unforgettable Be My Guest lunch with the Guffroy family and learn about Garonne farm-life in a beautiful French setting. Later arrive in Albi, built around a fortified UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral dating back to the 13th century. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure exploring the quaint cobblestone lanes of this Episcopal City.
    meal(s):BB, BG
    hotel:Mercure Bastides Authentic Accommodation
  6. Set against the foothills of Mont-Leuze with the natural harbor stretching as far as the eye can see, Villefranche de Rouergue is our first stop today where we will have time to meander through its narrow streets and quiet squares before traveling to the pilgrimage center of Rocamadour, dramatically carved out of a cliff face. Join a Local Specialist to view the Shrine of the Black Madonna, celebrated for its healing powers. Then spend the rest of your afternoon and evening allowing the bold and buttery aromas and flavors of the Occitania region to infuse your every sense.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Le Quercy
  7. Our stop this morning is in beautiful Sarlat-la-Canéda where we wander through the medieval squares lined with honey-coloured façades and rub shoulders with the locals as they shop for their daily produce at the town's charming markets. We visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lascaux, famous for its cave paintings of animals that date back over 17,000 years. The caves are now protected, but an included visit to the replica cave will give you rare insights into the prehistoric cave art that reflects great hunting endeavours.
    meal(s):BB
  8. This morning, we visit the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane where in 1944 a Nazi attack left hundreds of its inhabitants dead and razed the town to the ground. Learn about the attack and why French President Charles de Gaulle left the town intact, as a stark reminder of the horrors of war. This evening we stay in a national heritage site of France, at a historic chateau in Loiret, which has had a colorful history dating back to the early 13th century and once hosted Catherine de' Medici and King Charles IX.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Chateau D'Augerville Authentic Accommodation
  9. The opulence of Versailles is explored today as we visit the small town on the outskirts of Paris where King Louis XIV and his descendants once made their home. Delve into five centuries of history and join an Optional Experience for an in-depth visit of the Royal Palace with its gleaming Hall of Mirrors and The Battles Gallery. Meander through the exquisite gardens and admire the art of symmetry reflected around every turn. We arrive in Paris for an evening at leisure exploring the romance of a city that has as much verve at night as it does during the day. Perhaps consider embracing the pageantry of Paris at a colorful Parisian cabaret tonight.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
  10. Spectacular views from the second level of the Eiffel Tower are ours to enjoy this morning. See the Seine snaking its way through the city center and the gleaming Louvre pyramid in the distance. Join your Local Specialist who will share a rare insight into the hidden squares and secret passages of Paris's oldest historical neighborhoods. Your short insider walk concludes in one of the city's loveliest squares that remains off the beaten tourist track. This afternoon is yours to soak up the sophistication and flair of Paris. Amble along the cobblestone lanes of Montmartre admiring the works of street artists, visit Notre Dame or perhaps join an Optional Experience to the exquisite Gardens of Monet in Giverny. Tonight we join our Travel Director and fellow companions for a Farewell Dinner to celebrate an enchanting journey through France.
    meal(s):BB, FD
  11. After breakfast we bid au revoir to Paris as our Hidden Journey through France comes to an end. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport at 8 am and 11.30 am. Conditions apply.

    meal(s):BB

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

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • The Guffroy family shares tales of Garonne farm-life and the beautiful French countryside over a traditional lunch from the south west of France using ingredients straight from the farm

Authentic Accommodations

  • Located on the banks of the Tarn in an 18th century-listed water mill, the Mercure Albi Bastides promises perfect riverside views across the World Heritage town of Albi

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Rocamadour and Paris

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Insider walking tour in Paris
  • City tour in Rocamadour
  • Orientation of Bordeaux, Arcachon, Moissac, Albi, Villefranche de Rouergue, Brive-la Gaillarde, Sarlat la Caneda
  • Visit Dune du Pilat, Saint-Pierre Abbey, Rocamadour Sanctuary, Lascaux II Caves, the Eiffel Tower
  • View the Bay of Arcachon, Albi Cathedral
  • See Esplanade des Quinconces, Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe
  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
17 May 18 27 May 18 checkmark $3,850$3,465pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
26 Jul 18 5 Aug 18 $3,650$3,285pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
23 Aug 18 2 Sep 18 $3,650$3,285pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Sep 18 23 Sep 18 checkmark $3,795$3,416pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
4 Oct 18 14 Oct 18 $3,825$3,443pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now

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 $860 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $97 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.

Shared Rooming: Room Share and Triple Rooms are not available on this trip.

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 24 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.

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

Albi

Albi Experience

Enjoy a walking tour of this historic UNESCO World Heritage listed town with your local specialist.You’ll also visit the museum of acclaimed artist, Toulouse Lautrec, who was born nearby.

Bordeaux

Secrets Of The Bordelaise With Lunch Or Dinner

We’ll journey through the rolling vineyards of the Bordeaux region to our favorite 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.

Brive La Gaillarde

Castles and Cruise of the Dordogne

Take a voyage through history as we visit Beynac, one of the most beautiful villages in France and a focal point of the Hundred Years’ War. With the Dordogne river acting as a border, the French and English vied for dominance from their respective fortresses of Beynac and Castelnaud. Then, from prehistoric Roque Gageac, we’ll board a traditional Gabare boat and relax on a cruise on the most scenic part of the Dordogne.

Collonges La Rouge with Dinner

Wander through this stunning red sandstone village surrounded by vineyards and walnut trees. Later, we'll enjoy a wonderful meal in one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Paris

Versailles Palace, Gardens And Fountains

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 Hall of Mirrors, with free time to stroll the symmetrical tree-lined gardens as the fountains play. This optional is subject to availability.

Nouvelle Eve Cabaret And Dinner

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

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!

Giverny House And Gardens Of Claude Monet

Today, with our Local Specialist, we'll visit the charming former home of the greatest Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, which inspired his magnificent water lily paintings. Our coach will take us to the village of Giverny where we’ll enjoy a tour of the delightful house, gardens and famous Japanese bridge.

Seine Cruise And Paris Illuminations

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.

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