Best of France

Discover the Best of France on an exploration of Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Monaco, Arles, Bordeaux and more. 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 Carcassonne with its enchanting city walls. Marvel at Avignon’s famous bridge, see the D-Day Landing beaches in Normandy and visit Claude Monet’s home in Giverny.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Paris

All the flavours of France come to life on this unforgettable journey that kicks off in Paris, the City of Light. Spend your day meandering past its iconic landmarks in search of hidden treasures before joining your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive through the city to see some of its most magnificent sights lit up at night.

Hotel: Millenium Opera

Day 2: Paris – Beaune – Lyon

We travel south to Burgundy, past the Côte d’Or vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin and Nuits St. Georges. The colourful geometric roof tiles of the 15th century Hospices are a sight to behold as we arrive in the medieval town of Beaune before continuing to Lyon, the gourmet capital of France. Perhaps spend your evening delving into the delicious delights for which Lyon is justifiably famous. Why not meander up the city’s narrow cobblestone lanes lined with pastel pink and yellow façades in search of a cosy bouchon for a tasty dinner with newfound friends?

Hotel: Novotel Gerland Musée Des Confluences

Day 3: Lyon – Avignon – Monaco – French Riviera

We stop in the heart of Provence and the city of Avignon, what was once the Papal Seat in the 13th century and today remains as an important place of pilgrimage. See the Papal Palace and the bridge made famous in the song – sur le pont d’Avignon. Journeying through the fields of Provence, immortalised in the great works of such artists as Van Gogh and Cézanne, we arrive in the sophisticated Principality of Monaco, where we will view the cathedral where Prince Ranier and Princess Grace were married. This evening we enjoy a Regional Meal in Monaco before arriving at our hotel.

Hotel: Best Western Plus Massena, 2 nights

Day 4: French Riviera

The sun-kissed shores of the French Riviera are yours to explore today. Meander along Nice’s elegant Promenade des Anglais treading in the footsteps of the aristocrats of yesteryear, relax on the beach with your fellow sun-worshippers or perhaps visit the charming hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence, a popular haunt for actors seeking a relaxing retreat. In your free time you have the opportunity to soak up the fresh sea air and perhaps indulge in delicious Salad Niçoise overlooking the beautiful Bay of Angels.

Day 5: French Riviera – Arles – Carcassonne

Visit Arles with its honey-coloured façades, Roman ruins and Camargue culture enjoying some time at leisure to explore this beautiful city. Alternatively choose to take an Optional Experience to gain a deeper understanding of Vincent Van Gogh and local history with our resident expert, before winding your way through the Corbières Hills and ‘Cathar’ landscapes en route to the fortified city of Carcassonne. Join a Local Specialist to explore this exquisite ancient town, view the Cité, which is said to have inspired Walt Disney for his Castle of Sleeping Beauty, and see the double ring of ramparts spanning some 3km with 52 towers.

Hotel: Mercure La Cite

Day 6: Carcassonne – Lourdes – Basque Coast

We drive toward the Pyrénées this morning and arrive in Lourdes, the global centre of the Marian pilgrimage. You will have an opportunity to see the Basilica perched atop St. Bernadette’s Grotto where the young girl is said to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary. We travel north to the Basque Coast of Biarritz where we spend the night.

Hotel: Radisson Blu

Day 7: Biarritz – Bordeaux

Journeying through Les Landes, we arrive in the wine capital of Bordeaux whose stunning Garonne riverfront and age of Enlightenment history and architecture have made it one of France’s most visited cities. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century and the bi-annual wine fair attracts buyers from all over the world. Spend some time seeing the sights during your orientation of the city, including the magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces.

Hotel: Novotel, 2 nights

Day 8: Dordogne Excursion

The lush green valleys and hills of the Dordogne take centre stage today during a scenic half-day included excursion. We drive to St. Emilion, whose wine heritage dates back to Roman times and return to Bordeaux this evening for some free time to explore the city at leisure. See the glittering reflection of the Place de la Bourse in the Garonne River, tease your taste-buds with delicious Bordelaise cuisine or meander through the city’s historical centre admiring its beautiful architecture by night.

Day 9: Bordeaux – Loire Valley

We meander through the Garden of France, stopping at the beautiful fairy-tale Château Chenonceau, which spans the River Cher. One of the most remarkable castles ever built, Chenonceau features stunning landscaped gardens and priceless collections of Renaissance furniture, tapestries and art. Join your fellow travellers and the Montferrier family on their farm near the famous Château de Villandry for a special Be My Guest Tourangelle dining experience where you enjoy traditional French hospitality.

Hotel: Mercure Tours Nord

Day 10: Loire Valley – Mont St. Michel – Omaha Beach

We travel through the patchwork landscapes of Brittany to the extraordinary island-town of Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast, featuring its impressive Norman Benedictine Abbey. Follow the Liberty Highway to St. Lô and on to Omaha Beach where your Travel Director will provide an excellent account of the poignant events that took place here and changed the course of history in Europe. Reflect on the bravery of the young men who sacrificed their lives for freedom and visit the D-Day Landing Zone to learn in detail about how the operation was planned and executed. Arrive later at your hotel where you dine tonight.

Hotel: Mercure Omaha Beach

Day 11: Omaha Beach – Giverny – Paris

The City of Light shines brightly as we have an evening at leisure to explore Paris by night. This evening in the glittering capital, consider a trip to one of the city’s renowned cabaret venues.

Hotel: Millenium Opera, 2 nights

Day 12: Paris

Join your Local Specialist on a journey through the historic neighbourhoods of Paris to see where the locals live and shop. Our short insider walk will take you off the beaten tourist track, but a real favourite among Parisians. Ascend to the second level of the Eiffel Tower for panoramic views across the city – see the Seine snake its way through the city and the grand boulevards and beautiful gardens stretch out below. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the sights on your terms. See the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, enjoy a leisurely café au lait in quiet surrounds or consider an Optional Experience to the opulent Palace of Versailles. This evening we celebrate an epic adventure with your Travel Director and newfound friends at a Farewell Dinner.

Day 13: Depart Paris

For now it’s time to bid a fond au revoir to the Best of France and your fellow travellers at the end of a magical and memorable holiday. Airport transfers are available.

2018 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
April: 01$4,250.00$5,450.00
April: 08, 15, 22$4,275.00$5,475.00
April: 29$4,325.00$5,525.00
May: 06, 13, 20, 27$4,325.00$5,525.00
June: 03, 10, 17$4,325.00$5,525.00
June: 24$4,225.00$5,425.00
July: 01, 08, 15, 22, 29 $4,225.00$5,425.00
August: 05, 12, 19$4,225.00$5,425.00
August: 26$4,325.00$5,525.00
September: 02, 09, 16, 23$4,325.00$5,525.00
September: 30$4,295.00$5,495.00
October: 07, 14, 21$4,295.00$5,495.00
2019 Dates & Prices
March: 31$4,695.00$6,055.00
April: 07, 14, 21$4,695.00$6,055.00
April: 28$4,750.00$6,110.00
May: 05, 12, 19, 26$4,750.00$6,110.00
June: 02, 09, 16$4,750.00$6,110.00
June: 23, 30$4,650.00$6,010.00
July: 07, 14, 21, 28 $4,650.00$6,010.00
August: 04, 11, 18$4,650.00$6,010.00
August: 25$4,750.00$6,110.00
September: 01, 08, 15, 22, 29$4,750.00$6,110.00
October: 06, 13, 20$4,750.00$6,110.00

Inclusions 
Meals: 12 breakfasts, 7 dinners
Transport: Airport Transfers & Luxury air-conditioned coach
Accommodation: 12 nights
Guide: An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary
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Jewels of South West France

Delicious oysters. Exquisite wines. Take time to savour the finer things in life on this journey of discovery through Southwest France. Starting in Bordeaux (just a two-hour train journey from Paris), we’ll seek out the region’s gastronomic gems and treasured vineyards – travelling over soaring mountains, along the Atlantic coast, and into enchanting castles and otherworldly caves as we go.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Bordeaux – Arcachon Bay – Biarritz

Where better to begin our journey than Bordeaux? After meeting the group, we’ll move on to Atlantic Ocean-fringed Arcachon Bay, where we’ll get our first taste of coastal cuisine with fresh oysters and a glass of local wine from one of the port’s traditional cabins. We’ll then stop to see the Great Dune of Pilat – Europe’s highest sand dune, with panoramic views over the bay. Then: to round off our first day, we’ll gather together in Biarritz for a welcome dinner.

Hotel: Hôtel Georges VI or similar, 2 nights

Day 2: Biarritz – Bayonne – Biarritz

Today we’ve a full day to spend taking in the beauty of the French Basque Country. First, we’ll indulge our cultural sides in Bayonne – an art and history hub just a short drive away from Biarritz. While we’re here, we’ll discover a local family business going back three generations at the Bayonne Ham Museum – where we’ll indulge in a ham tasting before returning to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure time.

Day 3: Biarritz – Lourdes – Midi-Pyrenees

Today we’ll turn to the east – and (briefly) on to beautiful Pau. We’ll then travel through the Midi-Pyrénées region (along roads made famous by the Tour de France), pausing en route at the spiritual town of Lourdes – where we’ll see the likes of the Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes and the Massabielle Grotto. In keeping with the spirit of our surroundings, we’ll check into comfortable rustic accommodation before tucking into this evening’s dinner.

Hotel: Hostellerie des Cèdres or similar

Day 4: Midi-Pyrenees – Cathare Country – Carcassonne

Following the trail of knights, we’ll continue our own crusade through the Midi-Pyrénées and past picture-perfect bastides. In Cathar country, we’ll visit a local winery and enjoy a glass of the region’s speciality – a sparkling Blanquette. Our final stop of the day will be medieval Carcassonne, where we’ll enjoy an included dinner together before resting our heads in our hotel – one of only two that lie within the old city walls.

Hotel: Hôtel Le Donjon or similar, 2 nights

Day 5: Carcassonne

Today you’ll be free to discover Carcassonne’s chivalric secrets at your own pace. From the alleys, passageways and 52 towers of the UNESCO-listed medieval citadel (which dates back two millennia) to the Château Comtal and its ramparts, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

Day 6: Carcassonne – Albi

Today we’ll leave the stronghold of Carcassonne behind and make tracks to the ‘red city’ of Albi. Here, we’ll get our bearings on a walking tour – stopping off at the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum on the way. Set within the Palais de la Berbie, this fascinating museum houses the largest public collection in the world devoted to the Albi painter.

Hotel: Hostellerie Saint-Antoine or similar

Day 7: Albi – Sarlat

This morning we’ll take to the water for a cruise on the River Lot in a traditional wooden gabare boat – enjoying unrivalled views of the clifftop village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (recently voted ‘France’s favourite village’) as we go. Later, we’ll move on to Sarlat – one of the most beautiful towns in the Dordogne.

Hotel: Grand Hôtel de Sarlat or similar, 3 nights

Day 8: Sarlat – Beynac-et-Cazenac – Sarlat

On the itinerary today: a stroll through stunning Sarlat, followed by a delightful visit to the riverside town of Beynac-et-Cazenac and its magnificently well-preserved medieval château – which has kept watch over the Dordogne from its clipptop position for nine centuries. Afterwards, we’ll return to Sarlat for dinner.

Day 9: Sarlat – Vezere Valley – Sarlat

Today our travels through the Dordogne will take in the prehistoric paintings of the UNESCO-protected Lascaux Cave – which was discovered when it was happened upon by a group of teenagers back in 1940. After a stop at pretty Les Eyzies village, we’ll follow the ‘Royal Road’, winding between craggy rocks and flowing rivers until we get to a local truffle farm – where local guides will give us an exclusive lesson in seeking out the rare delicacies. Tonight, we’ll come together for one last farewell dinner.

Day 10 – Sarlat – Saint-Emilion – Bordeaux

We’ll spend the final day of our tour in historic Saint-Émilion, a village perched above beautiful rolling countryside and countless vineyards. Here, we’ll have the chance to sample some of the region’s ‘heavy reds’ and say a final santé. We’ll then return to Bordeaux, where our tour will end.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
May: 13, 20$5,099.00$6,629.00
June: 10$5,099.00$6,629.00
June: 24$5,009.00$6,629.00
July: 01$5,009.00$6,629.00
August: 19$5,009.00$6,629.00
August: 26$5,099.00$6,629.00
September: 10, 17$5,099.00$6,629.00
September: 24$5,009.00$6,629.00
October: 07$5,009.00$5,459.00

Inclusions 
Meals: 9 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 4 Dinners
Transport: Premium Mini-coach transportation
Accommodation: 9 nights boutique accommodation
Guide: Experienced Back-Roads Driver and Tour Leader
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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