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The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles 2014

Post-trip: Aix-en-Provence, France

Perhaps you'll extend your stay in Italy and France in Aix-en-Provence, where you'll discover the winding lanes and relaxed atmosphere that inspired the paintings of Cezanne. In a four-night discovery that unveils the French countryside as well, you’ll explore the natural beauty of a region rich with deep springs, ochre canyons, and mountain slopes. From medieval villages to a World War II military cemetery, you’ll savor the many faces of lovely Provence.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 4 nights in Aix-en-Provence at the First-Class Hotel Aquabella or similar
5 meals: 4 breakfasts and 1 dinner
Included tours: Aix-en-Provence, Provencal villages & the Luberon Mountains
Exclusive Discovery Series event: Rhone American Cemetery visit
All transfers
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    As your vacation to The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles comes to a close, you'll enjoy breakfast and travel overland to the Rhone American Cemetery. Established just days after Allied troops landed and began an offensive against the German Army in southern France and the Rhone Valley, the cemetery commemorates one of the important battles that followed the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. Today, in an exclusive Discovery Series event, you'll visit the memorial site where 861 American soldiers are buried in a twelve-acre complex near the city of Draguignan. Since 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, this is sure to be a special visit.

    Arriving in Aix-en-Provence late this morning, enjoy free time for lunch on your own. Then join a guided walk thru the city, which includes a visit to post-Impressionist painter Cezanne's former studio.

    This evening, dinner is on your own.

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    This morning, join an optional half-day excursion to the City of Popes, Avignon, where you'll tour the Old Town, visit the famous Papal Palace, and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

    Or, spend the morning exploring Aix-en-Provence on your own. You may consider a visit to the charming Vieil Aix, north of Cours Mirabeau. The neighborhood is all narrow lanes, pretty squares, and detailed architecture—with endless places to browse and shop. Perhaps you’ll visit a callison shop, where you’ll see how candied fruit and almond treats—and other regional specialties—are made.

    Enjoy dinner on your own this evening.

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    Today, we discover Provencal villages and the gems of the Luberon Mountains. You’ll delight in a motorcoach ride as well as the villages themselves.

    First, you'll visit the arid cliffs, quarries, and canyons of Roussillon. It takes its name from the French word for red (rouse), the color of so much of the earth and stone found here.

    After lunch on your own, you'll discover the Vaucluse region, which boasts an array of natural treasures, including the Fontaine de Vaucluse, a deceptively serene pool which is one of the most powerful springs on earth, yielding a flow of 150 billion gallons a year. The biggest spring in France—and the world’s fifth-largest—it runs at least a thousand feet deep (the bottom, as yet, has not been discovered).

    Late this afternoon, you'll return to Aix-en-Provence, where dinner is on your own.

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    Today, get to know Provence at your own pace in a full day at leisure.

    Or, join us for an optional tour to Arles, the town beloved by the artist Vincent Van Gogh, where you will view sites featured in his work. You’ll also visit the colossal hilltop Roman amphitheater, where 21,000 spectators thrilled to gladiator fights in the first century and where bullfights are held today—20 centuries later. After a light lunch in a local restaurant, you will have free time to explore on your own.

    This evening, toast your discoveries during an included Farewell Drink and Dinner with your fellow travelers in a local restaurant.

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    • Meals included:

    Today, you’ll transfer to the airport in Marseilles for your return flight home.