Discover the main highlights of Paris, enjoy a cruise on the Seine and visit lavish Versailles before heading to Avignon, the ‘City of Popes’. Enjoy small-group excursions through the beautiful countryside of Provence, visit medieval cliff-perched towns & a typical Provencal market and taste world-renowned wines of the Rhône Valley. Perfect for the independent traveller, this tour has it all with plenty of free time to enjoy & explore on your own!
Welcome to Paris! After arriving at Paris airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or start exploring your new surroundings.
Today enjoy a stunning and complete half day sightseeing tour of Paris in a deluxe air-conditioned minibus including all the major sites and 3 stops* plus Seine cruise. You will see the Place de la Concorde with its Egyptian obelisk, fountains & statues, the Madeleine Church, the gorgeous 19th-century Opera Garnier, Rue le Paix with its luxurious jewellery stores and Place Vendome with the column dedicated to Napoleon. We drive along Rivoli street and the elegant Champs Elysées Avenue toward the Arc de Triomphe, before proceeding to see the Eiffel Tower* built for the Universal Exhibition in 1889. After a short photo stop, you will follow the Seine river bank where most Paris’ major historical buildings are located - Le GrandLend le Petit Palais, the Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid, the Tuileries gardens, the Place des Vosges in the Marais district with its narrow medieval streets, the Bastille square and its columns celebrating the French revolution. Crossing over to Ile de la Cité, we reach the famous Notre Dame Cathedral* where we stop for 20-minutes, before continuing on the left bank of the Seine to see the Latin Quarter, Le Pantheon, the Luxembourg Gardens, St Germain & St Sulpice Churches and Les Invalides, crossing some of the city’s famous bridges - Alexandre III, Pont Neuf - along the way. Finally, we visit the "village" of Montmartre* where you will have another 20 minutes to stroll around the Sacre Coeur Basilica and the Place du Tertre where local artists & painters display their works. All along this tour, our professional guide will tell you about the 2000 years history of Paris. Following the city tour, enjoy a one-hour cruise with audio-guide on the Seine River to discover the 32 bridges & viaducts and the main monuments of Paris for a different perspective. No return to the hotel; tour ends at the cruise location which is close to the Eiffel Tower and walking distance to Champ Elysées. This tour has a duration of approximately 4 & 1/2 hours with a maximum of 8 participants during the city tour. The remainder of today is free to continue exploring on your own. (B)
Following breakfast, you will be picked up for a guided excursion to one of France's most iconic attractions, the lavish estate of Versailles. Travelling by deluxe mini-van, our guide will tell you about the history of this famous palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, while en route. You will then tour the splendid State Apartments including the Hall of Mirrors, King and Queen’s bedrooms with an audio-guide (provided in multiple languages). This self-guided tour will take approx 1 hour 15 minutes and afterwards, your guide will go with you to admire the gorgeous gardens designed by Le Nôtre. Return to Paris and afternoon at leisure. (B)
This morning you'll make your way to the railway station where you will board a first-class train to Avignon. On arrival, transfer independently to your centrally located Avignon hotel and check-in. The remainder of the day is yours to start exploring this beautiful historic city on your own. Also known as 'The City of Popes' for having been the retreat of Popes during the 14th century, Avignon it is one of Europe's oldest towns which can trace its history to pre-historic times and still today monuments & buildings of all ages abound. Overnight accommodation at the selected hotel. (B)
On today's full-day excursion, you will visit the most beautiful monuments and spots in Provence. Departing from Avignon, the tour starts by visiting the hill-top town of Roussillon, famous for its red and yellow ochre cliffs and ochre-washed façades and where on Thursdays you can enjoy the local market. Continuation toward the medieval hilltop village of Gordes considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its fortified castle and church dominate the typical houses entirely made with the local stones called ‘lauze’. If visiting on a Tuesday, make sure to stroll through the local market in Gordes. Next, we drive to Fontaine de Vaucluse where you'll walk up to the cave from which the River Sorgues emerges. This impressive resurgence spring hasn't revealed its secrets yet and many speleologists have searched in vain the exact depth of the well. Free time for lunch on your own in Gordes or Fontaine de Vaucluse. Continue to Pont du Gard and visit the best-preserved aqueduct of the Roman period, dating back to the 1st century and listed by UNESCO (entrance fees included). In Les Baux de Provence enjoy free time to visit this medieval village located on a rocky spur in the Alpilles mountain range, admiring its historical centre, beautiful 16th-century houses & the Romanesque style St-Vincent Church. A photo stop at the Antiques in Saint Rémy de Provence, the Triumphal Arch and Mausoleum located in an olive-tree field, is planned before returning to Avignon. On Sundays only, the order of visit will change to include a stop in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, a village famous for antique shops & its Sunday open-air antique market, one of the most colourful and typical in Provence. Return to Avignon for overnight accommodation. (B)
This morning you'll visit one of France's most prominent wine regions. Departing from Avignon, your tour begins in Orange with a panoramic tour of the city and its Roman monuments, the Triumphal Arch and Antique Theatre, one of the best-preserved theatres from the Roman period, with entrance ticket and audioguide included. We then proceed to Châteauneuf du Pape for a scenic drive and sightseeing in the vineyards followed by a wine-tasting in a cellar. This tour offers a good introduction to the wines of the Rhône Valley and you'll learn about "terroir", grape varieties, vinification and ageing cellars. This tour has a duration of approximately 4 hours 30 minutes and the remainder of the day is free to enjoy as you please. (B)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way to Avignon train station or the airport to begin your journey back home. Au revoir! (B)
Please note some sightseeing tours do not operate daily and itinerary will be modified to suit.