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Country Roads of France

Duration 16 days

Destinations visited :
  • France
    ,

Consider this your ‘Tour de France’ — a 16-day guided tour that embraces the best of the country, from fortified towns and fine wines. Drive along the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco, stopping to step inside its cathedral, where Princess Grace has been laid to rest. In Avignon, play pétanque, a bocce-like sport, then celebrate your new skills with a fine French aperitif. Travel to Carcassonne, a fortified city complete with ramparts and a medieval keep. Drive through the Valley of the Dordogne, then feast on a farm-to-table dinner paired with regional wine in Sarlat-La-Caneda. In Paris, embrace the City of Light’s most beloved sites: marvel at the Eiffel Tower, gaze at Louvre’s glorious facades, and be driven down the posh Champs Elysées to Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe.

Take a look at your day-by-day itinerary or contact us on 0207 620 8952 to find out more.

DAY 1

Welcome to Paris.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. Airport transfers depart from Charles de Gaulle Airport for your hotel at 08:30, 11:00 and 13:30. Relax and settle in, or start exploring this great capital, before joining your Travel Director and fellow guests at 17:30 for a Welcome Dinner at a cosy Left Bank bistro.
Hotel: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
Meal: Dinner with Wine

DAY 2

Troyes, Chablis and on to Dijon.
Journey to Troyes, in the Champagne region, famous for its magnificent core of medieval buildings, appropriately shaped like a champagne cork. Continue to Burgundy, once a powerful duchy and synonymous with fine wine. Stop in the quiet village of Chablis which gives its name to one of the most famous French wines. Join an expert vintner for a taste and introduction to these refreshing, steely whites. Continue on to your hotel in Dijon.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Dijon La Cloche.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 3

Free Time in Dijon.
Enjoy the Burgundy capital of Dijon. Its many handsome buildings recall the time when the Dukes of Burgundy were more powerful than the Kings of France. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit the wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune? In the evening, don’t miss the chance of an optional Burgundy wine tasting and traditional dinner in the Premier Cru village of Fixin.
Hotel: Grand Hotel Dijon La Cloche.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 4

Chamonix.
Travel towards the Mâconnais and Beaujolais before turning east into the Alps. A scenic symphony awaits you as you ascend into the high Alps and climb towards Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain. Your destination is the fashionable ski resort of Chamonix. In the evening you may choose to try a local pierrade at a local trendy eatery in a traditional chalet. This Optional Experience provides the chance to try a typical regional meal, cooked on a table barbecue using on a hot stone.
Hotel: Chalet Hôtel Le Prieuré, Chamonix.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 5

Lakeside Annecy and Chambéry.
In the morning, embark on a beautiful journey to the lakeside town of Annecy, dramatically situated between lake and mountains, it’s a medieval spectacle and a summer getaway for the French and the Swiss locals. Enjoy free time for lunch in Little Venice, aptly named for the network of canals criss-crossing through the Old Town. Explore the city’s many lovely bridges at your leisure or perhaps embark on a boat trip on Lake Annecy? Continue on to Chambéry, appreciating views of woodlands, traditional villages and mountain peaks along the way. Enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with locally sourced ingredients, and served with wines from the local region.
Hotel: Mercure Chambéry Centre Hotel.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 6

The French Riviera to reach Nice.
Glorious mountain scenery will be yours to enjoy as you travel along a spectacular route, used by the Emperor Napoleon when he returned from his first exile to try to take the throne of France once more. Continue to the French Riviera to reach the elegant resort of Nice. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore as you wish.
Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 7

Monaco and the Côte d’Azur.
Wake up ready to rub shoulders with the jet-set on the glamorous Côte d’Azur. Unlock the secrets of the French perfume industry with a visit to a perfumery, where fragrance experts waft exclusive scents from stoppered bottles. Then enjoy a drive along part of the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco and walk with your Travel Director through the old town to see the Royal Palace and yacht-filled harbour. Your exploration continues as you visit inside Monaco Cathedral, housing the tomb of Princess Grace. The rest of the day is set aside for you to enjoy the French Riviera at your own pace.
Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 8

Picturesque Provence to Avignon.
Visit the medieval village of Saint-Paul de Vence, perched high above the Riviera beaches. A walk through its winding streets reveals elegant fountains, vine-covered stone walls and views of mountains and sea. Continue to Aix-en-Provence to see the sumptuous mansions lining the Cours Mirabeau, before continuing to the pretty village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Enjoy a wonderful introduction to the famous wine, tasting the difference for yourself as you learn about the various grape varieties that are allowed into the final blend of the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine. Continue to Avignon, your home for the next three nights.
Hotel: Avignon Grand Hotel.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 9

Arles and Avignon.
Head to the beautiful town of Arles, the ancient capital of Gaul, and follow in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh during an orientation tour with your Travel Director. See the greatest of the Roman remains, the incredible three-tiered Pont du Gard. View the remaining arches of the 12th century Pont Saint-Bénézet and the Pont d’Avignon of the famous song. Walk through the medieval battlements to the town centre, dominated by the fortified Papal Palace. The rest of your day is at your leisure.
Hotel: Avignon Grand Hotel.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 10

Free Time in Avignon.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Avignon.
Hotel: Avignon Grand Hotel.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 11

Carcassonne and to Albi.
Cross the fertile Languedoc region, before journeying inland to the fortified town of Carcassonne. Travellers are often amazed at their first sight of this medieval gem, known for its fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a complete set of ramparts and a medieval keep. Travel on to Albi, the birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec. During your orientation with your Travel Director, marvel at iconic sites including the views of Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the famous awe-inspiring cathedral, before spending the remainder of the evening at leisure.
Hotel: Hôtel Saint Antoine, Albi.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 12

Cahors, Rocamadour and Sarlat.
Stop in Cahors, famous for its Black Wine, and see the Pont Valentré. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the open air market – full of fresh, seasonal produce and local delicacies, it’s an experience to delight all of the senses. Travel to Rocamadour and enjoy free time to explore this medieval town perched on a cliff side above the Alzou River and known as a resting place for pilgrims on their way to Spain. Continue to the beautiful town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, its medieval core blessed with fine historic golden limestone houses.
Hotel: La Hoirie, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 13

Exploring the Dordogne Valley.
Start the day with a morning drive into the stunning Valley of the Dordogne to visit Lascaux II where the world-famous prehistoric cave paintings have been faithfully reproduced. On return to your hotel, sample some of the local Dordogne specialties when you visit a local farm.
Hotel: La Hoirie, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 14

Paris, The City of Light.
Travel onwards to immerse yourself in the beautiful city of Paris where on arrival you are free to explore this fascinating city as you wish. As evening descends, the City of Light lives up to its name as the monuments, buildings and bridges are lit up in all their glory. For that special touch of excitement and glamour don’t miss the chance to join an Optional Experience to one of the world-famous cabaret shows.
Hotel: Le Méridien Etoile, Paris.
Meal: Breakfast

DAY 15

Romantic Capital on the Seine.
During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the imposing facades of the Louvre, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysées to Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe. In small groups, venture into areas where Parisians go about their daily lives, with your local foodie guide. Explore small shops such as a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier, all tiny, but wondrous and a treat to all senses as you sample the delicacies along the way. You are in for a memorable evening starting with a delicious Celebration Dinner at the historic restaurant La Coupole, serving delicious French cuisine and wine.
Hotel: Le Méridien Etoile, Paris.
Meal: Breakfast,Dinner with Wine

DAY 16

Au revoir Paris.
Your departure transfer will arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 or 11:00. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.
Meal: Breakfast

Authentic Dining

  • Chablis: Taste one of the most famous white wines in the world. Treasure the purity of flavour and rapier-like effect on the palate with an expert vintner.
  • Chambéry: Savour a delightful Farm-to-Table Dinner prepared with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and accompanied with local wine.
  • Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Embark on a Côtes du Rhone experience to a famous wine village, where you sample wine with an expert and gain a few tips about what to look for in a robust red – its colour, fragrance and legs are all as important as the taste.
  • Cahors: See the Pont Valentré as you enjoy a tasting through the markets.
  • Dordogne Valley: Sample some of the delicacies of the area when you visit a local farm.
  • Paris: Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Parisian life. Taste local delicacies in a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier off-the-beaten-track on a gourmet walking tour.
  • Paris: Rendezvous with your friends at a typical French bistro for a rousing Celebration Dinner with wine. Bon appétit!
  • Dining Summary: 15 Breakfasts (B) and 7 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Stay in Style

  • Dijon: The 5-star Grand Hotel Dijon La Cloche boasts a supreme view over the prestigious Place Darcy and has been welcoming prominent world figures since the 15th century. The luxurious refined decor and timeless interior garden offer guests every comfort and privacy.
  • Albi: Hotel Saint Antoine is centrally located with landmarks at your doorstep such as the Albi Cathedral, Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the Tarn River.
  • Normandy: L’Hôtel du Golf is located just 10 minutes from Deauville Beach, known as a weekend getaway for Parisians. With it’s Tudor-style facade and tasteful, modern interiors, relax in comfort during your stay. Perhaps play a round of golf on one of the three 9-hoole courses, known as some of the most beautiful in France.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Bastille Day: Celebrated across France on 14 July, Bastille Day commemorates the end of the French monarchy. Witness the remarkable display of fireworks lighting up the warm summer sky and perhaps join in one of the traditional balls.
  • Troyes: Explore the medieval heart of the Champagne capital.
  • Dijon: Listen as your Travel Director tells you about the history of Dijon, the capital city of the Burgundy region.
  • Chamonix: Stay in France’s mountaineering capital.
  • Annecy: Enjoy free time in the Little Venice area.
  • Nice: Enjoy exploring the beautiful coastal town of Nice on the French Riviera.
  • Côte d’Azur: Visit a perfumery to learn about the French perfume industry and discover your signature scent.
  • Monaco: Enjoy a drive along part of the Grand Prix circuit. Wander the old town to see the Royal Palace and the yacht-filled harbour and visit the cathedral to see the Tomb of Princess Grace.
  • St-Paul de Vence: Discover the beauty of this hilltop town and why it became a refuge for artists.
  • Aix-en-Provence: See the mansions of the Cours Mirabeau.
  • Avignon: During a city orientation learn about the history behind this medieval city. See Pont Saint-Bénézet, also known as Pont d’Avignon, and pass the medieval battlements to the town centre to see the Papal Palace.
  • Pont du Gard: See the ancient Roman bridges of Pont du Gard that cross the Gardon River.
  • Arles: Hear more about the city that is famed for being the inspiration behind the Van Gogh paintings during a city orientation.
  • Carcassonne: Enjoy an orientation of this fortified town and see the fortress, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Albi: This is the birthplace of artist, Toulouse Lautrec. Walk the town and marvel at the awe-inspiring cathedral.
  • Rocamadour: Visit this medieval cliff top town.
  • Sarlat-la-Canéda: See the golden limestone buildings.
  • Lascaux II Caves: These caves contain some of the oldest and finest prehistoric art in the world. For preservation reasons, they have been replicated in all their glory.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Scenic Drives: Relax and enjoy the scenery of the French countryside as you travel through Burgundy, the High Alps, along the Route Napoleon and French Riviera, past Cote d’Azur, Avignon, the Languedoc Region and through the Dordogne Valley.

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight’s luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert’s fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.
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Country Roads of France

Consider this your ‘Tour de France’ — a 16-day guided tour that embraces the best of the country, from fortified towns and fine wines. Drive along the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco, stopping to step inside its cathedral, where Princess Grace has been laid to rest. In Avignon, play pétanque, a bocce-like sport, then celebrate your new skills with a fine French aperitif. Travel to Carcassonne, a fortified city complete with ramparts and a medieval keep. Drive through the Valley of the Dordogne, then feast on a farm-to-table dinner paired with regional wine in Sarlat-La-Caneda. In Paris, embrace the City of Light’s most beloved sites: marvel at the Eiffel Tower, gaze at Louvre’s glorious facades, and be driven down the posh Champs Elysées to Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe.