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Secrets of France

Sainte Croix, Orleans
11 Days from $3,225 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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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 secret regional delights and specialties. Relax after your journey or take a wander through the streets of this beautiful city. This evening, meet for a Welcome Reception with your fellow travelers and Travel Director. An orientation drive shows you sights such as the Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe.
    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Les Jardins Du Marais
  3. This morning board the fast TGV train to Bordeaux. Wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the biannual 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. Tonight join your companions for a Regional Meal at a local restaurant.
    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:Best Western Bayonne Etche Ona
  4. This morning visit the Dune du Pilat, Europe's tallest sand dune on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. A short drive will bring you to Arcachon, a town famous for its oysters. Why not sample some fresh at one of the beachside cafes during your free time. Later arrive back in Bordeaux where you have time to explore the city or perhaps join an Optional Experience to the nearby town of St. Emilion.
    meal(s):BB
  5. This morning visit picturesque Moissac on the banks of the Tarn River. The town is a stop on the Way of St. James, the pilgrim walk to Galicia. Visit Saint-Pierre Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a Be My Guest lunch where you have the opportunity to learn about the culture and food from this region. Later arrive in Albi, birthplace of the famous French artist Toulouse Lautrec. View the UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral which dates back to the 13th century.
    meal(s):BB, BG
    hotel:Mercure Bastides Authentic Accommodations
  6. This morning stop in the fortified town of Villefranche de Rouergue where you can explore the narrow streets and squares. At Rocamadour, a town built onto a cliff face, visit the Sanctuary and view the Black Madonna with your Local Specialist. During your free time why not try some of the regions local produce such as goat's cheese, walnuts and foie gras?
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Le Quercy
  7. This morning visit Sarlat-la-Canéda and wander through the markets where the local people shop for fresh food. Visit Lascaux, famous for its caves with paintings thought to date back over 17,000 years. The caves are now protected and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    meal(s):BB
  8. This morning visit the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane where in 1944 a Nazi attack razed the town to the ground. Your Local Specialist will describe the attack and why the town has been left as a reminder of the horrors of war. Later during your orientation of Orleans view the Sainte Croix Cathedral and the statue to the ‘Maid of Orleans' – Joan of Arc.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Empreinte
  9. This morning visit the historic town of Versailles. Why not join an Optional Experience to the palace and gardens which have played a huge part in French and European history. Later arrive in Paris. Tonight why not consider attending a Parisian Cabaret?
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Les Jardins Du Marais
  10. Today visit the second level of the Eiffel Tower with great views across the city. Later 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's 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. The rest of the day is yours to explore Paris. Why not travel to the Montmartre area with its local artists, visit Notre Dame or a famous museum? You could join an Optional Experience to Monet's Gardens in Giverney. Tonight join your Travel Director and fellow companions for a Farewell Dinner.
    meal(s):BB, FD
  11. This morning after breakfast, say ‘au revoir' as your memorable vacation through France comes to an end. 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

9 nights, 9 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 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, Oradour-sur-Glane and Paris

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Insider walking tour in Paris
  • City tour in Rocamadour and Oradour sur Glane
  • Orientation of Bordeaux, Arcachon, Moissac, Albi, Villefranche de Rouergue, Brive-la Gaillarde, Sarlat la Caneda, Orleans
  • Visit Dunes du Pilat, Saint-Pierre Abbey, Rocamadour Sanctuary, Lascaux II Caves, the Eiffel Tower
  • View the Bay of Arcachon, Albi Cathedral and Sainte Croix Cathedral in Orleans
  • See Esplanade des Quinconces, Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe

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.

Albi

Albi Experience

Adult Price: € 38

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

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.

Brive La Gaillarde

Castles and Cruise of the Dordogne

Adult Price: € 46

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

Adult Price: € 54

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

Adult Price: € 69

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

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!

Giverny House And Gardens Of Claude Monet

Adult Price: € 49

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

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.

Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
18 May 17 28 May 17 checkmark $3,450pp
$3,450 pp
10 Aug 17 20 Aug 17 checkmark $3,395$3,225pp Early PaymentPay by Apr 27
$3,395 $3,225 pp

 

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 $870 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $71 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 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.

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