30 September 2016
Get a real feel for French history, landscapes and culture on this nine-day tour of the country. You'll see the iconic sights of romantic Paris, spend a night living like the aristocracy in an authentic château, explore the towns of Dijon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence and, of course, have plenty of opportunities to sample delicious local food and wine, and to relax on stunning beaches.
Today you'll arrive in Paris, famous as one of the world's most beautiful and romantic cities. Your tour begins with a welcome meeting and dinner this evening, but until then you have the day free to begin exploring the museums, art galleries, shops and restaurants – or just to relax and enjoy some of the city's famous cafe culture.
You have a full day to explore Paris today. You'll want to see iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées, perhaps visit the Louvre, and spend some time relaxing in Tuileries, Plantes or Luxembourg gardens.
You'll travel to an idyllic French chateau today, spending the night amid spectacular scenery. You'll have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful surrounds here, indulging in some of the delicious local cuisine and taking the time to explore the local French countryside.
Leave Paris by train today and journey to Dijon, which should take around three hours. From your base in Dijon, discover one of France’s wealthiest provinces in the region of Burgundy. Perhaps visit the Mustard Museum in your spare time to learn about the history and gastronomy behind this world famous condiment. It may not sound like the most exciting activity, but this a great attraction. Take a walk around the city and look up to find medieval and Renaissance architecture dotted on every street. Be sure to try some local cuisine in the evening, as this region is famed for it.
After breakfast this morning, you'll have some free time before visiting one of the region’s most famed wineries in Beaune. On arrival to the 'wine capital of France', lunch at the Michelin-recommended restaurant of La Caveau des Arches. Hidden in the vaults beneath a 16th-century fortified bridge, you'll have the opportunity to try dishes such as roasted veal filet mignon or scallop risotto. Afterwards, enjoy a wine-tasting session in one of Beaune's local cellar doors.
Use your free time here wisely, as there are lots of sights and activities to keep you busy. Taking the train to Arles is a popular option, as the city has an abundance of Roman monuments and a strong association with the arts. If you stay within Avignon, comb the city's own impressive collection of art. Perhaps hire a bike to see more of this picturesque valley and head to one of the city's amazing bakeries. You can even put a baguette in your basket. In the evenings, there are many small French bistros that serve up great cuisine that's native to the region.
Today you're at leisure to visit some of the nearby Provencal towns, such as Orange and Nimes, or the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard. You may like to take the local train to Arles to explore the many Roman buildings, including an amphitheatre, as well as the ancient necropolis, where 80 generations of the town's inhabitants have been buried.
Leave Avignon behind this morning and continue your French journey to the French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) town of Aix-en-Provence. Boasting its rustic French appearance, high-end shopping and a pure Provencal climate, Aix is the ideal place to finish your French adventure. Wander around Roman ruins to soak in some of the region’s stormy history and get lost in the medieval tangle of streets - with old mansions dating back as far as 16th century. If you're an artistic soul, don't miss out on the Centre d`Art Caumont. Perhaps visit a Musee des Calissons and learn how the special sweets of Provence earned their fame, or just sit back next to one of town's fountains and watch the world go by. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your travel companions on your last night.
Your 'Highlights of France' adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There are no more activities planned and you're able to leave the accommodation at any time.
Standard fr £1824pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated