Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE. Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore France’s vibrant capital city. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
PARIS. Paris is a world-class city that probably has more familiar landmarks than almost any other city in the world. During the included sightseeing tour with a Local Guide, view the famous. Later, feel like a French aristocrat on the optional walking tour through the expansive Palace of Versailles. This evening, why not join an optional welcome dinner? (B)
PARIS–MONT ST. MICHEL–ST. MALO. Depart from the City of Light and travel towards the unique beauty of Mont St. Michel. This distinctive 8th-century abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that creates an inspiring scene as it stands sentry on a small island just a kilometer off the French coast. Later, drive along the shoreline to the fortified seaside resort of St. Malo. (B)
ST. MALO–BREST. This morning, visit the ancient walled city of St. Malo. Situated on the English Channel, this attractive port town has a notorious past as the home of corsairs and pirates. Spend some free time walking along its cobblestone streets, and admiring the granite mansions that line the characteristic lanes and squares, encircled by massive ramparts. Travel across Brittany to coastal Brest, nestled in a beautiful natural harbor. Heavily bombed in 1944, the city center was completely rebuilt after the war. See the Pont de l’lroise, a cable-stayed bridge spanning the Élorn River—an amazing architectural feat. (B,D)
BREST–CARNAC–NANTES. Follow the coastal road towards Carnac, catching glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean. Carnac is known for its STANDING STONES that were erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany—one of the most extensive Neolithic collections in the world. Visit one of the sites with a Local Guide and learn about the mystery of the Carnac stones. Then, head for Nantes, located on the Loire River. Visit the CASTLE of the Dukes of Brittany, and the CATHEDRAL of St. Peter and St. Paul, which took 457 years to complete and features a unique external pulpit. (B)
NANTES–LA ROCHELLE–ROCHEFORT–BORDEAUX. Two coastal towns are on the agenda today. First, stop at picturesque La Rochelle, situated off the Atlantic Coast in the Bay of Biscay and known as La Ville Blanche (the White City) due to its luminous limestone facades that reflect the bright sunlight. Next up: historic Rochefort with its naval beginnings that date back to Louis XIV. Continue to Bordeaux. (B,D)
BORDEAUX. Built on the banks of the Garonne River, Bordeaux is known as the “Pearl of Aquitaine” and is a flourishing port town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to 362 historic monuments, some dating back to Roman times. Join your Local Guide for a walking tour featuring all the important highlights, including Esplanade des Quinconces, one of the largest squares in Europe. The afternoon is at leisure or maybe join an optional excursion. (B)
BORDEAUX–DUNE DU PILAT–LES LANDES–BIARRITZ. Drive to Arcachon today to see the amazing DUNE OF PILAT, the highest sand dune on the continent. Then, sit back and enjoy a scenic drive through the Landes of Gascony, the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe. Later, arrive in Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy seaside resort. (B)
BIARRITZ–SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN–BILBAO–SANTANDER. Leave France and cross into Spain’s Basque Country to visit San Sebastian, one of just two European Capitals of Culture in 2016 and considered a foodie hotspot! On to Bilbao, where you’ll discover a colorful tapestry of architecture, history, natural beauty, and tantalizing cuisine. Enjoy free time for leisure activities—maybe visit the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, considered one of the 20th century’s great architectural masterpieces. Later, head to the port city of Santander, a renowned tourist destination for Spanish elite in the 19th century. (B)
SANTANDER–BURGOS–SALAMANCA. Heading inland, stop in Burgos, former capital of the unified Kingdom of Castile-León for five centuries. Visit the magnificent limestone CATHEDRAL of Santa Maria, dating back to the 13th century and where the legendary national hero El Cid is buried. Continue on to Salamanca. Be sure to spend some time wandering around the Spanish-baroque Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful plazas in Spain. (B,D)
SALAMANCA–ÁVILA–SEGOVIA–MADRID. Journey to Ávila with its medieval town walls and many towers. Join the guided walking tour of the MEDIEVAL WALLS. Next, arrive in pretty Segovia, set on a rocky hill. Visit its landmarks, awe-inspiring Roman AQUEDUCT and gothic CATHEDRAL before heading to Madrid. (B)
MADRID. Not only is Madrid capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spanish rightly say it is the nearest thing to Heaven. This morning, enjoy the city’s main highlights on the included guided sightseeing tour. Consider also joining an optional excursion to one of the many important sights surrounding Madrid. (B,D)
MADRID. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)