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Experience the very best of British and French culture, journeying between London, Dorset and the picturesque islands of Guernsey and Jersey. Spend 7 glorious nights cruising on the stunning S.S Joie de Vivre, taking in the beauty of Rouen, Giverny, Versailles and Paris. This is a combination of Luxury Gold's The French Connection and Uniworld's Paris and Normandy Seine Cruise.
Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).
Welcome to London
Check in to your luxurious, centrally located hotel. The full day is at leisure to relax, explore ot browse the nearby department stores.
Take part in a half-day sightseeing tour of London's West End and discover Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Your Insight Vacations Representative is also on hand today for help and advice.
London, Beaulieu and Evershot
At 09:00 meet your Travelling Concierge and depart to the West of England. Visit stately Beaulieu in the heart of the New Forest for an afternoon visit to see the world-famous collection of vehicles at the National Motor Museum. Then journey through the New Forest en route to Evershot, our Dorset home for two nights. Later, join your Travelling Concierge for your Welcome Reception, an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
In the footsteps of Thomas Hardy
Join our Local Expert for a walk around the local village where Thomas Hardy drew inspiration for a number of his novels, including 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'. Featured within this story is the Acorn Inn, so stop by for a drink. Later, why not join your Travelling Concierge and explore some of the local villages in the area?
Across the Channel to Guernsey
In the morning, set off along the south coast to the port of Poole. Board your ferry for the crossing to Guernsey adn relax in the Ocean Plus lounge. Alight in St. Peter Port, set on a series of terraces which cascade down to the quayside below. Situated in the heart of St Peter Port, sitting proudly just up the hill from the main shopping street and picturesque quayside, is your elegant accommodation. The Old Government House Hotel, belonging to the Red Carnation group, is the only 5-star hotel in Guernsey. It dates back to the early eighteenth century and was once the official residence of The Lieutenant Governor, the representative of the British Crown in Guernsey. Guests are genuinely welcomed as friends and have come to experience this hotel as their 'home away from home' leaving with memories to treasure. In the evening, join your Travelling Concierge for dinner, which includes a taste and special demonstration on how to make Guernsey's famous Potato Peel Pie.
(Relaxed Start) With a Local Expert, an orientation tour guides you to see Castle Cornet, the fortifications from the Napoleonic wars and German occupation of WWII and a visit to the 'Little Chapel'. Complete your sightseeing of this fascinating island with a visit to the La Vallette Underground Military Museum. In the underground tunnels built by the occupying forces, the extensive collection of original items and documents including many extremely rare pieces collected during this period. With the rest of your day at leisure, perhaps make use of the stunning spa facilities your luxury hotel has to offer or take time to explore the boutiques of the capital's 'Arcade' lanes?
Sail to the Island of Jersey
(Relaxed Start) Set sail for Jersey this morning. On arrival, meet your Local Expert and visit the Jersey War Tunnels, housing a moving exhibit recalling everyday life for the Channel Islanders during the five years of German occupation. Seize a great opportunity to photograph the iconic Corbiere Lighthouse. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. In the evening, celebrate in style with a dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, offering top quality cuisine and great wine.
Jersey at Leisure
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore this beautiful island. Perhaps spend time at one of the stunning beaches, browsing the shops or cafe-hopping?
St-Malo, the City of Corsairs
Transfer to the port for your ferry trip to the stunning Breton port of St-Malo. Surrounded by thick city walls, it was home to many French navigators, among them Jacques Cartier, famous for exploring the east coast of Canada. Join a Local Expert for sightseeing of the restaurant-lined squares and narrow, cobbled streets. In the evening, enjoy your choice of some of the best restaurants in town for your Dine-Around evening.
Mont St-Michel and the Loire Valley
Journey along the Emerald Coast for a guided visit to the hilltop abbey of Mont St-Michel. Standing on an island about half a mile offshore, the abbey is reached by a causeway across the shining sands. Then, head to the Loire Valley and partake in a lively wine tasting, sampling some of the region's finest.
Leonardo and the Loire
(Relaxed Start) Drive to Amboise to visit the Château du Clos Lucé, the 15th century chateau where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life. Later, there will be free time to explore the town or seek out Leonardo's grave before returning to your manor house hotel for a leisurely afternoon.
Head for the grand capital of France. At night, glide along the elegant, tree-lined boulevards that link the Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe. See the Eiffel Tower rise before you. Skip waiting in line, with your special access to the Eiffel Tower. Head up to the 2nd floor for sweeping views over Paris.
Iconic Paris in Style
Wake up refreshed and ready to embrace this romantic city. Join a food connoisseur for a gourmet walk, sampling chocolates, macaroons, cheese and fresh baguettes. On your last night in the City of Light, enjoy a private reception with an opportunity to meet the choreographer at the bohemian and intimate Nouvelle Eve cabaret and then take the best seats in the house for the dinner and show.
Join your Cruise
In the morning, you are transferred to your Uniworld boutique cruise ship, the S.S Joie de Vivre. The rest of the day is free to make yourself comfortable on-board Uniworld's newest Super Ship, designed to reflect the “joy of living”.
Vernon (Giverny), Les Andelys
Monet often painted the little riverside town of Vernon, your first port of call, so you are likely to recognize scenes rendered in his works, on your way to his home in Giverny, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. Choose to travel to his home by a short coach ride, or perhaps by bicycle. Once there, you'll discover how Monet immortalized his home and gardens in his paintings. Later, cruise along the peaceful Seine to Les Andelys, where you may wish to hike up to Château Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart's 12th-century stronghold, offering inspiring views of the Seine. Cap the day off at the festive Captain's Welcome Reception and Gala dinner.
Victor Hugo called Rouen the city with a hundred bell towers. Easily the most famous is the one rising above Notre Dame Cathedral, which you will visit. You will also see the Renaissance clock tower and the bronze cross marking the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Your tour includes stops to sample some delicacies of Normandy, including white cider and Camembert. For a more active experience, perhaps choose to go golfing at Rouen's Mont-Saint-Aignan, just minutes from the city. This 18-hole course offers both veterans and beginners the chance to play in a beautiful setting surrounded by woods.
Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur or Étretat)
In the morning you will travel through bucolic Calvados countryside to the enchanting seaside town of Honfleur. You'll soon discover why impressionist painters came to replicate its inspiring scenery. For those who want to continue their French golf experience, you may want to play at Golf d'Étretat. Perched on the clifftops more than 150 feet (45 metres) above the sea, playing here becomes both a memorable experience and visual feast.
Rouen (Normandy Beaches)
The choice if yours as to how you wish to experience Normandy - the setting for many battles over the centuries, including the D-Day invasion of WWII. For those wishing to see the American airborne forces' landing beaches, visit the historic Utah and Omaha beaches, along with Pointe du Hoc, one of the strategic strong points between the two beaches. You'll also visit Sainte-Mère-Église, the first town in France to be liberated, and its airborne museum. Or should you prefer to see the Canadian landing beaches; journey to Juno Beach, where the 3rd Canadian infantry division came ashore and visit the exhibit at the Canadian Centre. There is also an option for those who wish to see an astonishing millennium-old textile listed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. Travel to Bayeux to view the famous 11th-century tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings. Later in the day, all groups will meet at the American Cemetery and Memorial honoring US soldiers. While here, you are welcome to participate in a special remembrance ceremony that includes a wreath laying, the American national anthem and a moment of silence.
In the morning, dock in Mantes-la-Jolie, gateway to either an excursion to Versailles or Château de Malmaison. Versailles set the standard for opulence, not just in the 17th century but for the succeeding centuries as well. Here you will tour the royal apartments, which still look much as they did when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fled in 1789. Marvel at the magnificent Hall of Mirrors and walk through some of the fountain-filled gardens. Alternatively, travel to Château de Malmaison, once home to Napoleon's first empress, Josephine, and filled with Empire-style furnishings where the empress entertained in elegance. Admire the gardens she created, that were world famous in her day. Cap your royal day off with the festive Captain's Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
Hemingway called Paris a 'moveable feast': once you've experienced it, you will take it with you wherever you go. Here you are offered a choice of three experiences, to explore the city. Relax as you take a cruise along the Seine, for an unforgettable look at the heart of Paris from the water, before continuing on a panoramic tour to see the City of Light's most famous sights, with a stop at the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. For those who wish to experience Paris as a true Parisian, join the “Do as the Locals Do” tour. Take the Métro to the Île de la Cité, the historic centre of Paris, and the great cathedral of Notre Dame. A Local Expert in the history and architecture of this magnificent cathedral is your guide as you explore both inside and out. After you've admired Notre Dame's stained glass, flying buttresses and idiosyncratic gargoyles, cross the Archbishop's Bridge to the Left Bank and the Latin Quarter. Wander through the narrow streets where for centuries artists, writers, philosophers and the Sorbonne's students have lived and worked, argued politics, painted, sipped absinthe and lived the bohemian lifestyle for which the district is famous. Alternatively, for those who prefer a more active exploration of the city, hop on a bicycle for a guided ride along the Seine.
Au Revoir Paris
In the morning, disembark the ship for your transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Transfers available for flights departing between 06:00 & 18:00.
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 trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.
Evershot (Scenic) - England
Summer Lodge Country House, Evershot
St Helier (Central) - Jersey
St.Malo (Central) - France
Grand Hôtel des Thermes, St-Malo
Domaine de Beauvois, Loire Valley
Paris (Central) - France
Renaissance Le Parc Trocadéro, Paris
Cruise Ship: S.S Joie de Vivre
Clothing, gear, and accessories you need for your next premium or Luxury Gold escorted journey
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