Prior to your Bordeaux River Cruise Tour, you'll get the chance to explore Paris at length. Often referred to as the "City of Light," the French capital is one of Europe's most stunning and influential metropolitan centers, featuring renowned landmarks and world-famous art museums—combined with romance, style, and a certain je ne sais quoi that make it one of the world's leading travel destinations.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations: 4 nights at the Superior First-Class Les Jardins du Marais or similar
- 5 meals: 4 breakfasts and 1 dinner
- Exclusive services of a Grand Circle Program Director
- All transfers
- Included tours: Paris, Giverny
- 2-day Metro pass
- Now included for 2015
- Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
Depart today on your flight to Paris.
Arrive this morning or afternoon in Paris. You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
You have the balance of the day to relax after your overseas flight. You might choose to join your Program Director for an orientation walk to get better acquainted with the area around your hotel.
Later, celebrate your arrival in France with a Welcome Drink. Ask your Program Director for suggestions for dining on your own this evening in the "City of Light."
After breakfast this morning, enjoy a half-day panoramic tour introducing you to the city's classic highlights. You'll see the Eiffel Tower from different perspectives as you travel along the famed Champs-Élysées. View the Arc de Triomphe (commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and completed in 1836) which stands at the end of the Champs-Élysées at a large central roundabout where twelve elegant, tree-lined avenues converge.
This afternoon, you'll dine on your own and have free time to explore. Perhaps you'll trace the city's past at the ornate Renaissance-style Hotel de Ville, built in the 14th century when Paris moved its location from two islands on the Seine to the mainland. Or you might explore the Place des Vosges, the city's oldest square.
This evening's dinner at a local restaurant is included.
Your day is at leisure to do as you please. You may want to visit the Musee d'Orsay, known as much for the building in which it is housed as for its superb collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau artists. It was classified as a Historical Monument in 1976 and inaugurated as a museum in 1986. Or, perhaps you’ll explore the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Place de la Concorde, or take advantage of the fine shopping to be had in Paris’s fashionable shops and boutiques.
This evening, join an optional outing to a lively French cabaret performance and dinner. You'll find out why this kind of theater has been celebrated for so many years—in both France and throughout the world. The price of this tour includes dinner, a cabaret show, and all transportation.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to discover more of the city's highlights.
Or, embark on an optional excursion to the Palace of Versailles—the former home of 3,000 princes, ministers, and servants. Your guided tour will take you through the palace's Grand Chambers, the renowned Hall of Mirrors (where the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed in 1919), and the Royal Chapel. You'll view the luminous decor in marble, chased bronze, and gold leaf, as well as Rococo-style woodwork and Italian-style painted ceilings. You'll also have time to visit the expansive French gardens at your leisure. Please note: Due to limited space, this optional tour must be reserved at least 30 days prior to departure and cannot be booked on-site. Versailles is the most-visited attraction in France. To ensure that all guests are able to view the exhibits, the time you spend in each room is limited by palace staff. Expect lines at the entrance in peak season, even for groups with reservations. Versailles is not wheelchair accessible.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll set out for the countryside to see the lovely landscapes that inspired Claude Monet. He first witnessed the village of Giverny while looking out a train window in 1883, and the unique light of the Seine Valley kept him in residence for 43 years. He stayed here until his death in 1926, and you'll find his grave in the family vault at the town's Romanesque church.
Explore the artist's home and gardens, left by his son Michel to the Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1966 and now a museum dedicated to the great painter. The house is furnished as it was when the leader of the Impressionist School lived here, including his precious collection of Japanese engravings.
The gardens have been replanted, and as you stroll through them, you'll see with your own eyes the landscapes that have graced countless Monet paintings. You'll spot the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden shaded by weeping willows, its pond still full of the water lilies that so permeated his work. "I want to paint like the birds sing,” Monet said. Perhaps you'll agree that the idyllic setting in Giverny would lend itself to his dream. After, enjoy free time and lunch on your own. Please note: The Giverny tour is available on April through mid-October departures only. For March and November departures, you'll visit to a local museum in Vernon housing celebrated paintings by Monet, followed by free time and lunch on your own.
Later this afternoon, you'll transfer back to your hotel and join the rest of your fellow travelers as you begin your Bordeaux: Vineyards, Vintages & Châteaux River Cruise Tour.
Enjoy a Welcome Drink before setting out for dinner on your own to enjoy one of Paris' myriad bistros and restaurants.