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The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles 2015

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Pre-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.

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 services of a local Grand Circle representative
All transfers
Now included for 2015:
Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
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    Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Marseilles. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.

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    You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time and hotel check-in policy, you may not be able to check into your hotel room immediately upon arrival at your hotel. After checking into the hotel, the afternoon is yours to rest or explore the neighborhood. This evening, you will have a Welcome Drink with your fellow travelers as well as a briefing, before dinner on your own.

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    After breakfast this morning, enjoy a guided walking tour of the lovely town of Aix-en-Provence, which includes a visit to post-Impressionist painter Cezanne's former studio. You'll discover narrow lanes, pretty squares, and detailed architecture in a city full of artist studios. 

    After the tour, enjoy lunch on your own and then an afternoon at leisure. Gather again with your fellow travelers this evening for dinner at a local restaurant.

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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, featuring myriad places to browse, shop, and meet locals. 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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    • Meals included:

    Today, continue on to Cannes, where you'll join the rest of the travelers on The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles.