Essence of Paris and surrounding areas
Spend your first days in Paris to take in its iconic monuments and museums and begin to take the French “air”.
Visit the city’s surroundings attractions, starting with the Versailles Palace, on to the Renaissance castle of Fontainbleau and Chartres Cathedral, one of the most awe-inspiring examples of the Gothic architectural style of the 12th and 13th centuries.
Move from there to Normandy for a stop at the port of Honfleur, the cradle of Impressionism, a real gem that has remained almost unchanged over time. Close by are the D-Day shore and Etretat, a famous seaside resort frequented by writers and characterized by its massive chalk cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean. A little further south along the coast you will find the Abbey of Mont St. Michel standing at the center of an immense bay that witnesses the largest tidal shifts anywhere in Europe.
Loire Valley, land of wine and castles
Continue your France tour through the Loire Valley, where fairy tales sceneries abound! Visit the castles of Chambord and Chenonceau, or choose from among 300 castles in the valley. Visit the city of Bordeaux in Gironde, the most extensive wine producing region of France, home to some of the most prestigious wine labels in the world like Chateuax-Margaux and Mouton Rotchild, and enjoy a great wine tasting. Overnight near the medieval village of St. Emilion, the oldest active wine producing appellation in the Bordeaux region with a history dating back to the ancient Romans.
Carcassonne, return in the Medieval times
On your way to the south of France, a must see is the quaint town of Carcassonne, declared in 1997 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. An extraordinary example of fortified medieval cities, Carcassonne’s unique system of walls played a major role in the history of achieving sovereignty for the region of Languedoc.
Provence, a sensory experience
Before returning to Paris, enjoy some days in Provence, the Lavender region of France, with its mild climate, a gorgeous coastline, the charm of its cities and the high standard of its cuisine. Aix-en-Provence is a fantastic starting point to dive into the wild Camargue area, to retrace the places where Van Gogh set up his easel in Arles. Along the Rhône River make a visit to Avignon, nicknamed the “City of Popes” because of its centrally located palace that functioned for centuries as the main papal residence, will charm you with its 14th century Gothic architecture.