Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Head straight to the heart of Paris on a walking tour of the le de la Cit, the island in the Seine where the city was first settled. Cross the stone arches of the Pont Neuf, or New Bridgewhich is actually the oldest bridge in Paris! The rest of the day is yours to explore the City of Light. Choose to climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower, satisfy your sweet tooth at a chocolate-tasting workshop, or explore inside the iconic pyramid of the Louvre, home to treasures such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Travel outside the city to the village of Giverny, and visit the home of Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Wander around weeping willows and green lily ponds in the gardens that inspired some of his greatest works of art. Then head to Honfleur, a colorful port town sitting where the Seine meets the English Channel. Enjoy lunch and stroll the streets of this seaside community, where many great artists have painted the rainbow of fishing boats afloat in the harbor. Later, continue to Bayeux, an ancient city that has been sacked by Vikings, conquered by the English, and occupied by the Germans in World War II.
This morning, delve into the story of D-Day and the battle to liberate France during a hands-on, sensorial World War II history experience. Feel the weight of real GI equipment, try on a field jacket, and taste the chocolate bars carried in soldiers kits. Climb aboard a military vehicle and drive to the nearby Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, the first American World War II cemetery established on European soil. After lunch, spend a free afternoon exploring historic Bayeux. Later, learn the delicate art of making crepes before gathering for a delicious dinner.
Venture to the amazing Mont-Saint-Michel, an island stronghold perched on a rock off the Normandy coast. Built in the eighth century, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been attacked and besieged, but rarely capturedperhaps due to the quicksand that surrounds the fortress at low tide! Head out on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to wander winding lanes and cobbled streets, climbing from the base of the mountain to its crowning medieval abbey. Meander through the cloister of the monastery or discover the islands history at a museum. Return to Bayeux and choose to view the incredible Bayeux Tapestry, tracing the Norman conquest of England in colorful embroidery.
Say au revoir to Normandy and enter the lush green Loire Valley. Set foot inside the amazing cave dwellings known as troglodyte homescharming houses built in and around cliff-side caverns. On an underground walk, delve into the geological history of the region and learn about the local troglodyte lifestyle. Continue to the ancient city of Blois, perched above the lovely Loire River, and enjoy a free evening to relax or explore this hillside citys many staircases.
Wake up this morning and head out on the water for a canoeing excursion along the Cher River. Paddle past picturesque medieval towns to the incredible Chteau de Chenonceau. This fairy-tale castle spans the river, while the gardens enclose sculpted hedges, a fantastic fountain, and a tricky maze. Later, venture to the last home of Leonardo da Vincithe spectacular Chteau du Clos Luc. Young travelers can pick up a special inventors notebook and set out to invent a machine using da Vincis ingenious tips and tricks.
Today, be amazed by the Hall of Mirrors in the magnificent Palace of Versailles, a World Heritage site. Imagine yourself decked out in velvet and gold as you stride between sparkling rooms on a guided tour, or explore the endless winding pathways in Versailles vast gardens. Return to Paris and enjoy a free afternoon to wander the banks of the Seine, munch on macarons, or shop in elegant boutiques. In the evening, gather for a farewell dinner.
Depart at any time.