France - Belgium - Holland
Meet your fellow tour members at our hotel around 6:00 p.m. Enjoy a light snack and welcome drink, followed by an orientation tour and a get-acquainted walk in the City of Light.
The day is all yours to explore the wonders of the French capital and visit the sights you want to see. With your Paris Museum Pass you'll have access to many great sights and it allows you to bypass lineups saving you time. This evening we'll gather under the Eiffel Tower and have dinner together. Later, we'll stroll along the Seine then take a walk up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
Today we head south and stop at Chambord the largest and most extravagant of the Loire chateaux. After a picnic lunch we drive deep into the heart of France and begin to uncover this country's hidden jewels. We start with an overnight at the beau village of St. Benoit de Sault.
After a lazy morning in St. Benoit de Sault we head for one of France's most scenic regions, the Dordogne. You'll arrive in medieval Beynac with time for a get-acquainted walk before dinner.
We start the day with a short but scenic drive to Sarlat and mix with the locals in the bustling market. An hour to the east brings us to the dramatic cliff-hanging town of Rocamadour. Enjoy an evening stroll admiring its warmly lit medieval charm.
We'll head directly to Cite de Carcassonne, a double-walled fortified city, complete with towers and turrets, dating back to the 3rd century. Upon arrival, we'll check in to our hotel and, after a short break, we'll head in to this fortified city just as the crowds head out. Visit the shops before they close and find the g\reatest Romanesque fortified city virtually to ourselves.
This morning we head for the Mediterranean sea where we'll stop at a beach for a midday break. Anyone for a dip before lunch? We settle into our hotel in Arles in time for a walking tour of the historic centre. You'll have the evening free to wander and sit, following the footsteps of Van Gogh.
It's market day in Arles, where we'll spend our morning amongst the local shoppers. We'll head to Nimes and visit some of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture, the 2000 year old amphitheatre and the nearby ancient temple Maison CarreÈ. Our day continues with a drive to the perfectly preserved Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard.
We ascend the great Massif Central on our way to the forgotten department Lozere. We stop for lunch in the delightful village of Meyrueis before winding through the Gorge du Jonte. We end our day in the quaint town La Canourgue.
Today we explore the Tarn Gorge visiting the medieval towns of St. Enimie and St. Chely du Tarn. In the afternoon adventure down the Tarn in a canoe or kayak. For supper we'll enjoy local cuisine as we dine up high in the Aubrec.
We'll take time to check out the morning market in the local square before heading cross country. We'll drive all day passing Gustav Eiffel's splendid Viaduc de Garabit, on our way to the pleasant village Senlis on the outskirts of Paris. We arrive in time to wander the cobbled streets and explore the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
After a short drive we stop at Vimy Ridge and visit the poignant Canadian war memorial to the 66,000 Canadians who lost their lives in the Great War. We continue north through Flanders leaving France. Our day ends in Ghent, the flower city and real diamond of Belgium. Admire the wealth of awesome architecture as you enjoy a stroll along the gloriously illuminated canals.
We visit Brussels "the Capital of Europe." Head for the Grand Place "the most beautiful square in the world" with its magnificent guildhalls and 15th century Town Hall. Explore the back streets lined with chocolate shops and lace making. Maybe sneak a peek at the Manneken-Pis before proceeding north to the Netherlands. We arrive in Amsterdam with ample time to relax. We gather later for an evening stroll through the heart of Amsterdam and its Redlight district.
Today we'll visit the Anne Frank house, followed by a walking tour of historic Amsterdam. You then get a lesson on how the trams operate as we take a ride to Vondel Park for a picnic lunch. You'll have the afternoon free to visit one of the many renowned museums or to cruise the canals. Later, we meet at a Dutch pancake house for our final dinner together.
If you're heading home, Schiphol airport is a quick 15 minute train ride from Central Station. You may decide to stay in Holland and visit the open air museum at Zaanse Schans or take a train to Haarlem. Danku en Totstraks!