Day 1: New Zealand – – Paris
Depart New Zealand today to begin your French Adventure.
Day 2: Paris (D)
All the flavours of France come to life on this unforgettable journey that kicks off in Paris, the City of Light. Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, take a group transfer to your hotel (please refer to the Fine Print section of this page for important transfer details). 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 3: Paris – Beaune – Lyon (B)
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?
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Beaujolais Gourmet Dinner And Old Town Discovery. Enjoy an evening drive along the beautiful Saône River and taste the most acclaimed French cuisine. You’ll discover Lyon’s secrets, from the Gauls to the medieval old town. A UNESCO World Heritage city, Lyon is also the gastronomic capital of France and our chef will prepare a mouth-watering three course dinner, with local wines included.
Hotel: Novotel Gerland Musée Des Confluences
Day 3: Lyon – Avignon – Monaco – French Riviera (B,D)
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
Day 5: French Riviera (B)
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.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): St Paul, Corniche Drive, Perfumery and Meal. First we’ll travel to the medieval hill top town of St. Paul to visit this artists’ paradise. We’ll continue along the Riviera, travelling on the Basse, Moyenne and Grande corniche roads with their spectacular views, to a local restaurant for a delicious meal including drinks.
Hotel: Best Western Plus Massena
Day 6: French Riviera – Arles – Carcassonne (B,D)
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.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): On the trail of Vincent Van Gogh. Discover the secret stories and life of Vincent Van Gogh, as you stroll through the ancient streets and squares of this enchanting provincial town with our resident Local Specialist.
Hotel: Mercure La Cite
Day 7: Carcassonne – Lourdes – Basque Coast (B,D)
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 8: Biarritz – Bordeaux (B)
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.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Highlights Of The Pyrénées. Join us on a beautiful drive up into the Pyrénées, where we’ll catch a funicular train to ascend through mountain pastures to the top of these magnificent mountains, finding ourselves in Spain. You’ll have time to enjoy some Basque hospitality before our descent, with a drink included. Weather permitting.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): St Jean De Luz, Jewel Of The Basque Country. With your Local Specialist, discover the town where Louis XIV met his bride, Spanish princess Maria Theresa. Rich in Basque heritage, you’ll visit the house of Louis XIV, see the church where they married in 1660 (complete with hanging sailing ships inside) and sample the most famous patisserie created for the event, the macaron. Later have time to explore this unique seaside town’s 400 year history, weekly market and beautiful beach.
Day 9: Dordogne Excursion (B)
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.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Secrets Of The Bordelaise With Lunch Or Dinner. 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.
Day 10: Bordeaux – Loire Valley (B,D)
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 11: Loire Valley – Mont St. Michel – Omaha Beach (B,D)
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 12: Omaha Beach – Giverny – Paris (B)
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.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): 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!
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Notre Dame And Latin Quarter. A guided drive through Paris’ bohemian Left Bank with our Local Specialist brings us to amazing Notre Dame to discover one of the world’s most famous Cathedrals and the epitome of Gothic architecture. Afterwards, take a stroll through the delightful Latin Quarter, a medieval maze of winding cobblestone alleyways where you’ll have free time to enjoy the sidewalk bistros, boutiques and hidden squares.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Nouvelle Eve Cabaret And Dinner. One of the oldest and most elegant revue theatres in Paris, Nouvelle Eve is a hidden gem, where you’ll meet the Director and two of the cast members before enjoying a four-course dinner with wine. You will then experience unparalleled Parisian entertainment – including the world-famous Can-Can.
Hotel: Millenium Opera
Day 13: Paris (B,D)
See all the famous sights during your morning sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist. View the Champs Élysées, Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Ascend to the second level of the Eiffel Tower for a breathtaking view of the city. Spend the rest of the day exploring the sights that interest you. This evening celebrate with your Travel Director and travelling companions at a Farewell Dinner in a local bistro.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): 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.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): Versailles Palace And Gardens. 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 famous Hall of Mirrors, with free time to stroll the symmetrical tree-lined gardens. Please note: this optional is subject to availability.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies): 2CV Experience. View the hidden gems of Paris in classic style! Enjoy a guided drive around France’s most Iconic city in France’s most iconic car – the 2 CV (a.k.a. deux chevaux). Drive off the beaten track and let your personal Parisian driver give you all the insider facts about Paris. Note: the price is per person, with a two-person minimum for each car.
Hotel: Millenium Opera
Day 14: Paris –– New Zealand (B)
Group transfers to the airport are available for your homeward flight. Pending flight departure times, you may wish to make your own way to the airport and spend a few more hours exploring the city (please refer to the Fine Print section of this page for important transfer details).
Day 15: New Zealand
Arrive home today.