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Insight Vacations Scenic France and Northern Spain (Summer 2017) (E336)

14 Days starts and ends in Paris Print
Tour Style: Regional Trip
Europe & Britain 2017/18
Visits: France, Spain

Witness some of the most idyllic areas of France as you circle the country. Add a little Spanish influence with two nights in northern San Sebastián. Insight Inclusive tours now include all evening meals and sightseeing experiences.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Paris: Enjoy a guided walk through the Latin Quarter, famous for its Sorbonne University.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and ascend to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Tours: Visit the city known as the gateway for the Loire Valley.
  • La Rochelle: Join a Local Expert to explore the cobbled streets, secret passageways and covered arcades of the Old Quarter. The arch beneath the Great Clock leads to the well preserved le Vieux Port, still guarded by two mighty medieval towers.
  • Bordeaux: A Local Expert unveils some of the finest 18th Century architecture in France. Drive along broad leafy boulevards, past monuments which recall the days of trading success; the façades of the quaysides, Grand Théâtre, Triangle d'Or and magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces all helped Bordeaux earn inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
  • Sarlat-la-Canéda: Visit this beautiful town.
  • Biarritz: Stop in the Bay of Biscay.
  • San Sebastian: Join a Local Expert for a guided walking tour of the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constitucion, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Ascend Monte Igueldo for beautiful views over the town and La Concha Bay.
  • Pamplona: Explore the well-preserved medieval core, the famous Estafeta Street and Castle Square where Hemingway would sit with coffee, while writing 'The Sun Also Rises'.
  • Montpellier: Enjoy an orientation tour of this university town.
  • Arles: Visit the town famed for inspiring the works of Vincent van Gogh
  • Monaco: Drive on part of the Grand Prix circuit. See the Grimaldi Royal Palace. See the tomb of Princess Grace.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Cognac: Learn about the double-distilling and ageing process, and enjoy a tasting on a guided tour of a distillery.
  • Saint-Emillion: Sample some of the region's wines with an expert vintner together with a dinner of local specialities.
  • Saint-Emillion: At a rustic family-run countryside bistro, savour an authentic Highlight Dinner.
  • Montpellier: In a picturesque restaurant, enjoy a memorable Highlight Dinner of regional cuisine and local entertainment.
  • Paris: In a picturesque restaurant, enjoy a memorable Highlight Dinner of regional cuisine and local entertainment.
  • 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 2 three-course table d’hôte Dinners (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.”

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Paris: Ascend to the viewing platforms of the Eiffel Tower and enjoy glorious panoramas.
  • Lascaux II Caves: These caves contain some of the oldest and finest prehistoric art in the world. For preservation reasons, they have been replicated in all their glory.
  • Lourdes: Join the emotive candlelight procession through the streets of Lourdes - an unforgettable experience!
  • Carcassonne: See the Château Comtal, a fortress within a fortress.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Monestier: Dating back to the 16th century and set amidst the famous vineyards of this beautiful and unspoiled region, Château des Vigiers is an internationally renowned luxury Hotel, in a secluded and tranquil setting.
  • Monte Carlo: The Hotel Columbus enjoys a stunning location overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the Princess Grace Rose garden and the mountains.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges', expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a foreign land.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • Personal radio headsets, gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel. Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel WiFi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Airport transfers at scheduled times on the first and last day of your escorted journey.

Insight Vacations Tour Itinerary

Day: 1 Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Day: 2 Welcome to Paris
Transfers leave Charles de Gaulle Airport for the tour hotel at 08:30, 11:00 & 13:30. After checking-in, the capital's grand boulevards and famous landmarks are yours to explore. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception and an opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.(WD)
Day: 3 Paris, the ‘City of Light’.
Sightseeing in the morning with a Local Expert shows you Notre Dame Cathedral and the façades of the Louvre. Drive from the Place de la Concorde along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Skip the long queues at the Eiffel Tower and ascend to the viewing platforms for superlative panoramas of the city. In the evening head to the St. Michel area for a delicious evening of French specialities, followed by a tranquil river Seine cruise for expansive views of the 'City of Light'.(BB / RD)
Day: 4 Loire Valley and La Rochelle.
Head southwards to the valley of the Loire River, lunch time finds you in the town of Tours. Then head for the 'white city' of La Rochelle, one of France's loveliest coastal towns.(BB / RD)
Day: 5 La Rochelle, Cognac and the Purple Périgord
(Relaxed Start) Join a Local Expert to explore the cobbled streets of La Rochelle, and discover the secret passageways and covered arcades of the Old Quarter. The arch beneath the Great Clock leads to the well preserved old port, still guarded by two mighty medieval towers. Drive through the placid vine-clad landscapes of the Charente Valley to medieval Cognac, a name synonymous with brandy. Join a guided tour to learn about the double-distilling and ageing process, where the precious liquor takes on its famous golden glow. Now enter Aquitaine, paradoxically named land of water but in fact famous for its wines. Follow the Dordogne Valley to your internationally renowned luxury hotel, dating back to the 16th century.(BB / DW)
Day: 6 Bordeaux and St-Emilion.
(Relaxed Start) This day is devoted to the grandeur of Bordeaux, where a Local Expert unveils some of the finest 18th century architecture in France. Drive along broad leafy boulevards, past monuments which recall the days of trading success; the façades of the quaysides, Grand Théâtre, Triangle d'Or and magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces all helped Bordeaux earn inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage list. In the evening, join the locals for a dinner of local specialities and wine tasting.(BB / RD)
Day: 7 Sarlat-la-Canéda and the Dordogne Valley
(Relaxed Start) A morning drive takes you into the stunning Valley of the Dordogne to visit Lascaux II where the world-famous prehistoric cave paintings have been faithfully reproduced. Later, make your way to the beautiful town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, its medieval core blessed with fine historic golden limestone houses. The evening's authentic Highlight Dinner is pure Périgord on a plate, served at a rustic family-run countryside restaurant.(BB / HD)
Day: 8 Biarritz and San Sebastián.
(Relaxed Start) Head south across the farmlands and forest of the Landes. Stop in Biarritz on the magnificent Bay of Biscay - favourite home of Empress Eugenie - today it affords a nostalgic glimpse into the elegant early 20th century. Cross into Spain and continue to the Basque city of San Sebastián. On arrival, join a Local Expert for a guided walking tour of the Old Quarter. See the numbered balconies of the Plaza de la Constitución, a reminder of the days when bullfights were held in the square. Ascend Monte Igueldo for beautiful views over the town and La Concha Bay.(BB / RD)
Day: 9 The Old Fortress City of Pamplona.
(Relaxed Start) The morning is devoted to Pamplona, renowned for its San Fermin fiesta, the 'Running of the Bulls'. Explore the well-preserved medieval core, the famous Estafeta Street and Castle Square where Hemingway would sit with coffee while writing 'The Sun Also Rises'. Return to San Sebastián for an afternoon at leisure. Spain's northern Basque country has evolved into the best place to eat in the Western world, so why not discover the city's rich gastronomic tradition in the heart of Lo Viejo (Old town) tonight?(BB)
Day: 10 Journey to Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees
(Relaxed Start) Cross back in to France and continue to Lourdes, one of Europe's most popular pilgrimage centres. Visit the miraculous grotto, drink the spring waters credited with curative powers and join the torchlight procession - a moving experience never to be forgotten.(BB / DW)
Day: 11 Medieval Carcassonne and Montpellier
(Relaxed Start) Continuing east, you arrive at the medieval citadel of Carcassonne. Entering the UNESCO listed site is like stepping back in time; the city has a complete set of ramparts, a medieval keep, even a sports ground for jousting! Visit the Château Comtal, a fortress within a fortress, offering exhibits, informative video and tour of the inner ramparts. Continue to the old University town of Montpellier for an orientation tour. In the evening, enjoy a memorable Highlight Dinner of regional cuisine and local entertainment in a picturesque restaurant.(BB / SE)
Day: 12 Inspirational Cote d'Azur Experience
(Relaxed Start) Travel to the sun-baked landscapes of Provence today. The town of Arles and surrounding countryside were an inspiration to Van Gogh, with the fields of sunflowers he so loved to paint. Spend some time exploring the seductive streets and historic central square with its Town Hall, obelisk and fountain. Our home for the next two nights is the Principality of Monaco, ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century. Unlock the secrets of the French perfume industry with a visit to a perfumery. This evening enjoy a Provencal dinner at a local restaurant.(BB / RD)
Day: 13 Monaco
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, drive along part of the Grand Prix circuit. Then walk with your Tour Director through the old town, see the Royal Palace, where the Grimaldi family live, the yacht-filled harbour and visit the cathedral, housing the tombs of the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. In the evening, join your new-found friends for a Celebration Dinner with local wine before your last chance to try your luck in one of the casinos of Monte Carlo. It's a perfect finale to your visit to France and Spain.(BB / CD)
Day: 14 Au revoir French Riviera.
Bid au revoir to the sunny French Riviera in the morning. Insight's airport transfers arrive at Nice Airport at 06:15 and 09:00.(BB)

Available Room Types: Single, Twin, TwinShare, Triple

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