11-Day Italy, Switzerland and France Tour from Paris with Airport Transfers
We’ll begin our Paris adventure with a drive along the famous Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde, which played a key role in one of darkest chapters of the French Revolution. You’ll also get to see the iconic Arc de Triomphe. Next we’ll head to L’Hotel National des Invalides, which houses Napoleon’s tomb and a number of other monuments relating the military history of France. Next we’ll travel on coach through the Parisian suburbs to the splendid Palace of Versailles, residence of the royal family until the start of the revolution in 1789. We’ll return to Paris in the evening. After dinner you may want to avail yourself of the optional cruise along the river Seine. Tips:Effective January 1, 2018, we will take a stop at Eiffel Tower right after L’Hotel National des Invalides. You can either take time to explore the neighborhood and have some lunch or scale the Eiffel Tower. Choice is yours.
The second day of our Paris experience begins with a visit to the Louvre, the grande dame of art museums. Here you will set your eyes upon some of the highest-valued masterpieces of the Western world, including the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Mona Lisa. After lunch we’ll head to Boulevard Haussmann, a shopper’s paradise in the heart of Paris, where you will be free to shop till you drop. Accommodations for the evening will either be in Paris or a neighboring city. Before you leave this captivating city don’t miss the world-famous cabaret shows at Lido and Moulin Rouge (optional). Tips:Effectively January 1, 2018, you can take a optional cruise along the river Seine after your visit of the Louvre. It is a great sightseeing option that offers splendid views of iconic Parisian landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral and Pont Alexandre III.
We will depart for Switzerland in the morning, first passing through Basel – situated at the intersection of France, Germany and Switzerland – before arriving in Lucerne, where you see the Swiss city’s famous landmarks including Chapel Bridge, Water Tower and some immaculately preserved Baroque and Gothic buildings.
After breakfast, we’ll head south to the design and couture-conscious city of Milan. On our tour of the city you will see Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the oldest shopping arcade in the world; the legendary opera house La Scala; the storied Sforza Castle; and the ostentatious Milan Cathedral. Then it’s off to Venice, the city of over 150 canals spanned by over 400 bridges. We’ll stay overnight in Venice or a neighboring city.
After breakfast, we’ll take you through this fascinating city of ornate palaces, lyrical waterways, captivating churches and impressive architecture. In San Marco Square you’ll see the Basilica di San Marco, one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture, and the Bridge of Sighs connecting the old prison to the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace. Afterwards, you’ll get a chance to see some traditional Venetian craftwork at a demonstration by Murano glassblowers. An optional gondola ride on the Grand Canal will put the finishing touch on a glorious day in Venice. Accommodations in the evening will either be in Rome or a neighboring city.
After breakfast we’ll head directly to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, originally built by Constantine the Great in 324 AD, then reconstructed between 1506 and 1615 under the direction of several famous architects including Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo. You may also join the optional Sistine Chapel tour to view Michelangelo’s famous frescoes. Next you’ll see the famous Trevi Fountain, the lavish Baroque showpiece where people flock to throw coins into the water – an action which is said to ensure that you’ll return to the city again one day. After lunch, take a step even further back in time as you visit Italy’s unrivalled Roman relics. An optional guided tour of the Colosseum, built in AD 72, comes highly recommended. History comes to life as you imagine yourself witnessing gladiatorial combat inside the spectacular amphitheatre. You may also choose to walk at your leisure around the outside to admire the facade of this ancient wonder. After the Colosseum, get up close to the nearby Arch of Constantine, which dates back to the fourth century AD, then spend some further free time enjoying Rome, sampling the rich and creamy delights of gelato. After some free time you can either visit Basilique Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) near Piazza della Repubblica, or head directly to the nearby Mitsukoshi Department store for some serious shopping.
On this day you will be introduced to the sights and sounds of Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. We’ll head up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of Florence, then to a local workshop to see how Florence’s fine leather goods are made. Afterwards, we’ll set out on foot to the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River, the Duomo, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Uffizi, which houses one of the finest art collections in the world. At Pisa, our last stop of the day, you will be free to wander; be sure to have your camera ready when you enter the Square of Miracles and the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery come into full view.
A breathtaking drive along one of the most sublime stretches of Mediterranean coastline awaits as we say goodbye to Italy and hello to Monaco. Our walking tour will take us first to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, then on to the Courthouse, the Oceanographic Museum and Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the resting place of Grace Kelly. We’ll then travel to the Fragonard Perfume Factory to learn about the perfume-making process. At the end of the guided tour you will be able to purchase one of the fragrances for yourself. Next we’ll visit Nice for a sampling of the scrumptious local cuisine. We’ll stop over in Cannes to see the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, host of the city’s annual international film festival, and then make our way to Avignon Nord to check in to our hotel.
Complimentary airport pick-up and drop-off
10-night hotel accommodations
Breakfast (coffee or tea, juice and bread)
Ground transportation in air-conditioned motorcoach
Professional tour guide
Mandatory Service Fee: EUR 7.00 per day, per person, payable to the guide
From 5/1/2018 onwards, a city entrance tax and overnight city tax of EUR15 per person, per day will need to be paid for Paris. This amount will need to be paid in cash to the tour leader prior to