DAY 1 - ARRIVE PARIS ( 2 NIGHTS )
Bienvenue à Paris, your launchpad for an epic adventure through the highlights of France and magnificent Barcelona. Spend your first day in the City of Light exploring the art, architecture and culture of this romantic destination. Meander through the cobbled lanes of Montmartre, visit the Mona Lisa in the Louvre or relax in the manicured gardens watching the world go by. This evening, join your fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and orientation drive past some of the city's most impressive sights, including the grand Champs Elysées and Arc de Triomphe.
Welcome Reception Hotel: Pullman La Defense
DAY 2 - PARIS SIGHTSEEING
Spend the morning in the company of a Local Specialist who will share with you the hidden squares and secret lanes of Paris, revealing how real Parisians live and shop. Later we ascend to the second level of the Eiffel Tower, peering down through its magnificent wrought iron lattice work to the grand boulevards and meandering Seine below. The rest of your day is yours to explore the city sights at your leisure. Walk along the Seine and admire the talents of street artists and performers, amble through the scenic hilltop village of Montmartre or relax with a café au lait watching the world go by. This evening, consider soaking up the glamour of Paris with an Optional Experience to a popular Parisian cabaret.
DAY 3 - PARIS - CHARTRES - CHENONCEAU - LOIRE VALLEY
Visit Chartres, an important place of pilgrimage on The Way of Saint James, with its inspiring French Gothic Art cathedral, renowned for its stained glass windows and two contrasting spires. We journey through the scenic rolling landscape of the Loire Valley, past beautiful villages and fairy-tale castles. View the impressive Château de Chambord, a marvel of French Renaissance architecture. Visit the picturesque Château de Chenonceau, which straddles the River Cher, before joining your travel companions and the de Montferrier family on their farm near the famous Château de Villandry for a traditional three-course Be My Guest Tourangelle dinner accompanied by local wines.
Buffet Breakfast/ Be My Guest Dining Hotel: Mercure Tours Nord
DAY 4 - LOIRE VALLEY - LYON
Travelling through the heart of France, we arrive in the gastronomic capital of Lyon where we'll join a Local Specialist for a tour of the old city revealing its rich cultural heritage. Wander through the quaint traboules of France's largest Renaissance city and marvel at the inspiring cityscape from Fourvière Hill. We dine at our hotel this evening, with the rest of the night yours to explore the city. See the glittering Renaissance façades lit up at night, attend a world-famous opera or amble along the river - a peaceful end to a busy day.
Buffet Breakfast/ Dinner with wine Hotel: Mercure Centre Saxe Lafayette
DAY 5 - LYON - AVIGNON - NICE (2 Nights)
From Lyon, we drive to Avignon, a Papal Seat in the 14th century and today a place of pilgrimage. See the Papal Palace, one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, and the famous bridge immortalised in the French song - Sur le pont d'Avignon. Enjoy a Cultural Insight into local wine production and indulge in a glass of the local vintage on a Provençal terrace with beautiful views. This afternoon we arrive in the seaside retreat of Nice where an orientation tour will introduce you to this coastal city which has been a favourite among aristocrats for centuries. Amble along the famous Promenade des Anglais and through the checker-board pavement of Place Masséna, before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.
Buffet Breakfast Hotel: Ellington
DAY 6 - NICE - EXCURSION TO MONACO
This morning enjoy an excursion through splendid seaside scenery, before visiting Monaco and Monte Carlo to see the exquisite casino built by Charles Garnier in the 19th century. This afternoon relax on the sun-kissed shores of the Côte d'Azur. Retreat to the beach with your fellow sun-worshippers, relax at a café overlooking the Bay of Angels or take a stroll along the Promenade.
DAY 7 - NICE - ARLES - CARCASSONNE
We travel north to the Camargue centre of Arles with its honey-coloured façades and Roman ruins before continuing through the wheat and lavender fields of Provence immortalised in the works of Cezanne and Van Gogh. Arriving in the exquisite fortified city of Carcassonne, we join a Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of the Cité that spans some 3km and features 52 towers.
Buffet Breakfast/ Dinner with wine Hotel: Best Western Le Donjon
DAY 8 - CARCASSONNE - FIGUERES - BARCELONA SIGHTSEEING (2 Nights)
DAY 9 - BARCELONA
Spend the day soaking up the vibrant spirit of Barcelona. Ramble up Las Ramblas and people-watch in the Plaça de Catalunya, explore the whimsical architecture of Gaudi dotted across the city or consider an Optional Experience to Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. A further option is a meander up to Montserrat to visit its Benedictine monastery and see the mysterious Black Madonna, the patron saint of Catalonia. This evening, join your Travel Director and travel companions for a memorable Farewell Dinner with wine at a traditional Spanish restaurant.
Buffet Breakfast/ Farewell Dinner
DAY 10 - DEPART BARCELONA
It's time to draw the curtain on an unforgettable holiday in France and Barcelona. Say 'Adios' to the bustling streets of Barcelona and your travel companions. Return airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.
# WHAT'S ALWAYS INCLUDED
- City tour in Lyon, Carcassonne and Barcelona
- Scenic drive through the Loire Valley
- Insider walking tour in Paris
- Orientation of Paris, Avignon, Nice, Monaco and Arles
- View Château de Chambord, the Papal Palace of Avignon, the Promenade des Anglais and Place Masséna in Nice, Monaco's Royal Palace and Cathedral, the Roman Amphitheatre of Arles and Sagrada Familia and Colombus Monument in Barcelona
- Visit the Eiffel Tower, Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley and the Dali Museum in Figueres
- Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi
- Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
- Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
- Hand-picked Insider Experiences
- Optional Experiences and free time
- Porterage and local charges included
- Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
- An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
- All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
- Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
Follow the spine of France's wine country before heading to buzzing Barcelona on this Regional Explorer trip. Visit the cities, valleys and coastlines of France and Spain that inspired great artists to create masterpieces as remarkable as the destinations you will visit, from the Champs Élysées in Paris to Barcelona's Las Ramblas, weaving through the alluring Loire Valley, French Riviera and medieval Citadel of Carcassonne.
- Hand-picked 4 star accommodation