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France, Belgium & The NetherlandsCountry Roads
Duration: 16 days Visiting: France
Welcome to Paris.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. In the evening, why not walk through old town Nice, ending in Cours Saleya where dinner is at your leisure at one of the many lovely bistros?
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. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to visit to the medieval village of Eze and its hill-top Botanical Gardens for a spectacular view of the coastline?
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.
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.
Free Time in Avignon.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Avignon. Why not take the chance to visit Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the most picturesque villages in France, where you can visit an Olive Mill and sample some of the finest olive oil in France? During your free evening, perhaps visit Villeneuve-les-Avignon and enjoy a delicious meal served in stunning surroundings?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Au revoir Paris.
Your departure transfer will arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 or 11:00.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
Paris at night is a city transformed. Enjoy an evening introduction to this superb 'city of lights' as we take a leisurely drive admiring the gorgeous buildings that adorn the banks of the River Seine. We will stop to allow you to capture some of these fascinating sights on camera. In summer, this excursion may take place before sunset.
Adult Price: EUR 21.00
The Premier Cru village of Fixin is your destination for this evening. Our visit begins at a winery, where a third-generation winemaker will take us to see some of his vines before he walks us through the elaboration process. Then he'll take us to a 16th-century cave to taste a selection of his wines. Later, we'll enjoy a wonderful dinner, sampling the rich flavours of Burgundy
Adult Price: EUR 76.00
We take a scenic drive through the most prestigious vineyards of Burgundy - the Cote d’Or, where every village sign reads like a wine list. Arriving in Beaune we will discover this charming city on a walking tour, taking in the architectural jewel of the region - the Hospices.
Adult Price: EUR 31.00
The varied seasonal conditions of the Alps has resulted in an honest, robust cuisine fashioned from local ingredients. A spectacular, scenic drive high into the mountains, takes you through the national reserve of the Aiguilles Rouges, (Red Peaks) to a former farmer's lodge, now lovingly converted into a restaurant. You are welcomed with an apéritif before enjoying a delicious dinner of traditional Savoyard specialties. Wine is included.
Adult Price: EUR 68.00
With your Tour Director, drive through one of the most famous cities in the world. Renowned for its film festival, you'll also discover Cannes' beautiful buildings and seaside charm.
Adult Price: EUR 22.00
Follow the narrow winding cobbled alleys through Eze village; a medieval gem filled with old stone archways, flower decked houses, shady squares and gurgling fountains. Visit the hill-top Botanical Gardens, where an impressive collection of cacti, sculptures and other rare plants surround the remains of an ancient chateau. After resting your feet by the contemplation pool, make for the high point of your visit, literally, where there are fabulous panoramic views over the coast.
Adult Price: EUR 27.00
Enjoy a walk with your Local Expert through the historic and colourful maze of alleyways and streets of the Old Town in Nice. See Piazza Rozzetti, stroll along Rue Droite and finish in Cours Saleya for dinner at leisure in one of the hundreds of bistros and outdoor restaurants. Coach transfers are included.
Adult Price: EUR 22.00
Gazing at the majestic Rhone river, facing the Popes’ Palace and the world famous Pont d’Avignon, Villeneuve was a residence for Cardinals in the 14C. Many monasteries remain. This evening enjoy drinks and mouth-watering cuisine, served in stunning surroundings, a feast for all the senses.
Adult Price: EUR 68.00
Les Baux has a reputation as one of the most picturesque villages in France. The village is set atop a rocky outcrop in the Alpilles mountains, crowned with a ruined castle. After exploring the winding streets and taking in the panoramic views, continue to a small family-owned olive mill on the plains below. Meet the family, inspect the fruit and mechanised press and learn about the production process. Then it's back outside to the shade of a nearby fig tree for a well-deserved sample of the award winning olive oil.
Adult Price: EUR 34.00
Vincent Van Gogh painted some of his most celebrated works while living in Arles. We'll see what inspired him as we take a guided tour through this beautiful old Provencal town.
Adult Price: EUR 27.00
The magnificent formal gardens of Eyrignac Manor House are the perfect place to have a wander as you admire the superb topiary and magnificent rose garden. They're undoubtedly among the most beautiful gardens in the Perigord region and have a unique collection of sculptures and plants. This beautiful garden has been the passion of the same family for 500 years
Adult Price: EUR 25.00
Locally known as the “Grande Aygue”, the River Dordogne wends through the local countryside. For several centuries, the river was a commercial centre for the valley and river boats or Gabarres, passed by with captains at the helm. Join us for a cruise on a Gabarre replica and admire the magnificent view that the valley has to offer, including some of the most prestigious chateaux of Perigord. Later on, enjoy a drinks and cheese with your companions.
Adult Price: EUR 30.00
Why not enjoy an evening of excitement and glamour and a glass of champagne at a dazzling French cabaret show? Depending on availability it might be dinner with wine and cabaret at the world famous Moulin Rouge – the original Parisian cabaret – immortalized by the award winning film!
Adult Price: EUR 162.00
One of the oldest and most elegant revue theatres in Paris, Nouvelle Eve is a hidden gem where you’ll meet the Director and two of the cast members before enjoying a four-course dinner with wine. You will then experience unparalleled Parisian entertainment – including the world-famous Can-Can.
Adult Price: EUR 139.00
eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65
Adult Price: EUR
A lovely drive takes us along the Seine to the village of Giverny, where the impressionist artist Monet lived for the last 43 years of his life. With our Local Expert, we'll see the decor of his house, fascinating for its blend of colours. However, it's in the garden where the spirit of the artist is most revealed. A spectacular array of colour is created by poppies, delphiniums, lupins, peonies, irises and roses, while the water garden is a wistful dream of bamboo, willow and rustic bridges sweeping over the water lilies, one of Monet's favourite subjects.
Adult Price: EUR 49.00
Paris (Contemporary) - France
Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine is the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. This modern, recently renovated, property offers luxurious accommodation and close proximity to the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Dijon (Traditional) - France
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.
Nice (Traditional) - France
The Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice is set on a stunning seafront location along the famous Promenade des Anglais.
Avignon (Traditional) - France
Avignon Grand Hotel is sat at the foot of medieval ramparts close to the historical town centre.
Paris (Contemporary) - France
The Le Méridien Etoile is centrally located in the 17th arrondissement and just a short drive from key sights such as the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées. Contemporary, yet comfortable furnishing bring about a homely sense throughout the hotel and guest rooms.
Our guests rate us
11428 independent user reviews received during the past year.
04 November, 2018
Trip: I loved the French countryside, just beautiful and always something interesting to look at, the hilltop villages were great but finding a town like Albi which I would never have thought of visiting if Insight had not taken us there was so good. I did think a few of the places were we had dinner were below par, one in particular was awful and one was way too expensive for what we had to eat, This was not an included dinner experience and not very enjoyable.
Service: The excursions were good, accommodation was good, food good most of the time, bus driver was fantastic and we were well looked after.
02 November, 2018
Trip: Well done in time allowed
01 November, 2018
Trip: The Country Roads of France itinerary is outstanding. The French people we encountered after the tour that we mention some of the locations to were surprised and delighted that we had been to some of the destinations.
Service: Insight Vacations are a very professional company, but you could always contact a real person.
31 October, 2018
Trip: We had been to France before many years ago but not to half the places on this tour so we really enjoyed all we saw. It was a great itinerary, going through some really lovely country and we saw and learned so much. One of our favourite places was Chamonix and we wished we could have somehow had another night there.
Service: Our Tour Director, Laura Spiers was fantastic. We cannot praise her enough. She was so helpful to us all, always polite and caring and her general and historical knowledge of France was second to none. She managed to get us all in the right places at the right time and took care of all our needs. Our driver Denis was also great. We felt totally safe and secure in his hands and he also was so helpful and kind to us all.
28 October, 2018
Trip: Every place we visited was full of pleasant surprises
28 October, 2018
Trip: Really great itinerary which covered a lot of ground. It would have been nice to have more included activities in Paris though. Not sure why we made a stop in Chambery - not much to see there.
Service: Great itinerary which covered a lot of France. Tour director was very knowledgeable and the flourishes were appreciated. Unfortunately some of the expected Optional Experiences were removed at the start of the tour and others were cancelled due to 'low numbers'? This was very disappointing as we expected all of the confirmed Optionals to proceed as we had planned for them.
25 October, 2018
Trip: Saw a lot of great sights in the maximum of days.
Service: Yes, this was my second trip with Insight Vacations. Like the first time the tour director, accommodations and sights were wonderful. I plan to use your company in the future.
21 October, 2018
Trip: All good stops. Hi lights for me were cave paintings, Monets gardens, food walk in Paris and Pont du Gard which I had not heard of.
Service: Took us to all the right places! Great coach and great tour guide!
21 October, 2018
Trip: UNESCO sites are awesome. Enjoyed all
Service: Locations, most hotels, some meals, good companions and overall service.
21 October, 2018
Trip: Very good choice of destinations
Service: Choice of places to visit was great. Tour guide was wonderful with her service and knowledge. Pace of the tour was moderate making it easy for everyone.
21 October, 2018
Trip: itinerary, scenery, tour guiding all combined together as a wonderful trip.
Service: Very very good quality service
21 October, 2018
Trip: Like the itinerary. Hotels and food uneven. Great in places like Dijon and Niece. Not so god on others..