French Heritage

France, Belgium & The Netherlands

Country Roads

French Heritage (Preview 2020)

Duration: 22 days Visiting: France

Prices from US${{lowPrice | number:0}}

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

A grand adventure lies ahead with famous wines and excellent food, snow-capped mountains, sun-drenched beaches, magnificent châteaux, and learning about Roman remains and fascinating battlefield history.

  1. Day 1

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Day 3 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  6. 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. 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?

  7. 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. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Arles and Avignon.

    Head to beautiful Arles, the ancient capital of Gaul, and trace the history of the town that was home to artist 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.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    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?

  11. 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.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Day 15

    Romantic Capital on the Seine.

    During your time in Paris your Travel Director introduces you to all the sights including Notre Dame Cathedral and the facades of the Louvre. See the Place de la Concorde and travel down the Champs Elysees to Napolean's Arc de Triomphe. After dark, the City of Light really lives up to its name when the monuments, buildings and bridges are lit up in all their glory. 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 chocolatrie, 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 Highlight Dinner at the historic restaurant La Coupole, serving delicious French cuisine and wine.

  16. Day 16

    Rouen, Honfleur and Deauville.

    Follow the River Seine to Rouen, capital of Normandy, to admire its ancient cathedral - a masterpiece of the Gothic style and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. Wander through the narrow streets beneath the Great Clock to the Old Market Square. Here, a superb modern church commemorates the burning of Joan of Arc on this very spot in 1431. Continue to the charming fishing town of Honfleur and to your luxurious hotel located in the chic seaside resort of Deauville.

  17. Day 17

    Normandy Beaches and D-Day Landings.

    2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which occurred on the 6th June 1944. Following the route of the Rangers and visiting the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of Saint-Laurent near Omaha Beach before a visit to the D-Day Museum to see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. There are poignant reminders of World War II as you travel past Juno and Gold beaches, which both played a part in the Normandy landings. This evening you are treated to a sumptuous dinner, which promises creative cuisine, seasonal ingredients and local wines.

  18. Day 18

    Mont-Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo.

    Journey through Bocage country for an exploration of the hilltop abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel with your Local Expert. The abbey stands on an island and is reached by a causeway across the shining sands. Behind the outer ring of defences huddles the small town - it's one street containing shops, cafes and hotels. Continue along the Emerald Coast to stunning Saint-Malo, situated on the Rance Estuary and one of the most charming places in France. A Local Expert will take you on an exploration of the City of the Corsairs. Walk through the maze of streets of Intra Muros, the walled city, to the cathedral, the burial place of Jacques Cartier and other celebrated voyagers. At your leisure, you can wander around the ramparts of the thick city walls, offering fantastic views over the old town and the bay. By night, the town’s medieval maze of winding streets is abuzz with quaint bars and restaurants. Alternatively, you may wish to join an Optional Experience to Cancale, known throughout France of its oyster beds, for a delicious meal of fresh seafood and other Breton specialties?

  19. Day 19

    Scenic drive along the Loire Valley to the Chateau de Rochecotte.

    Head south to follow the valley of the Loire, passing the moated Angers Castle. Cross the Loire to Saumur, where a local vintner will guide you through tastings of the region's delicious wines. Journey to the fairy-tale Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, considered one of the best representations of French Renaissance architecture. Having recently undergone extensive restorations, take your time to admire the subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor within this 16th century icon of the Loire Valley. Continue to your chateau hotel, where you can relax like royalty in sumptuous surroundings.

  20. Day 20

    Villandry Experience.

    With a Local Expert, head to Château de Villandry, the jewel of the Loire, to visit the glorious gardens. Ensure you don't miss the water, ornamental and kitchen gardens – a stunning sea of fragrant green herbs, silvery cabbages, and purple basil. Return to your own superb chateau for relaxation and free time. At night, your Celebration Dinner starts with a glass of local sparkling wine and continues with excellent service and delicious Farm-to-Table dishes in the most wholesome setting, ensuring the memory of your meal will linger long after you've returned home.

  21. Day 21

    La Beauce and Chartres to Paris, City of Light.

    Travelling through the vast wheat fields of La Beauce, Chartres Cathedral looms large on the horizon. Auguste Rodin called it the 'Acropolis of France,' and once inside you can marvel at the beautiful stained-glass rose window which floods the cathedral with colour and light. From here, return to the French capital, don't miss the chance to experience one of the world-famous cabaret shows.

  22. Day 22

    Au revoir Paris.

    Your departure transfer will arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 or 11:00.

Highlights

 

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.
  • Rouen: See the cathedral, the Great Clock, the Old Market square and Place du Vieux-Marché where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
  • Honfleur: See this charming fishing town.
  • Normandy Beaches: Join an emotive journey tracing the story of the D-Day landings - the 75th anniversary will be commemorated on the 6th June 2019. See the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and with a local war historian, visit the American Military Cemetery at St-Laurent-sur-Mer, the D-Day Museum and the bunkers at Pointe du Hoc.
  • Mont-Saint-Michel: Savour your first sight of the fortified island of Mont-Saint-Michel. Cross the causeway for a guided tour with your Local Expert through the maze of halls and vaults of the abbey.
  • Saint-Malo: Your Local Expert guides you trough the intertwined streets of the walled city to arrive at the cathedral. Later enjoy the chance to walk along the fortifications and explore the cities nightlife at your leisure.
  • Angers: Enjoy exploring the western gateway to the Loire Valley in the little town of Angers and see its imposing chateau.
  • Loire Valley: Enjoy a scenic drive through the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the Jardins de France thanks to a wide variety of beautifully-manicured gardens that decorate the grounds of elegant estates. Accompanied by your Local Expert, visit France’s finest formal gardens that surround Villandry Castle, standing beside the Cher River.
  • Château d'Ussé: During your visit to Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, take your time to admire the subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor within this 16th century icon of the Loire Valley.
  • Chartres: Inside magnificent Chartres Cathedral, marvel at the stained-glass windows, a riot of rich blues and reds, justly considered the finest medieval glass in France.
  • 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, through the Dordogne Valley, along the River Seine and through Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley.

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 Highlight Dinner with wine. Bon appétit!
  • Loire Valley: At Château de Rochecotte you will enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Saumur: Fun and informative, discuss the grape varieties and local terroir while sampling wines of the Loire Valley.
  • Loire Valley: Your chateau hotel enjoys a high standard of creative cuisine and is featured in many prestigious food guides. Experience it for yourself with an elegant Celebration Dinner of fresh, seasonal produce and wine.
  • Dining Summary: 21 Breakfasts (B) and 10 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: Hostellerie Saint Antoine is centrally located with features such as Albi Cathedral, Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the Tarn River on your doorstep.
  • 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.
  • Saint-Malo: Hotel Le Nouveau Monde is a 4-star hotel, perfectly located in the heart of Saint-Malo, facing the sea and close to the old town.
  • Saint Patrice, Loire Valley: Stay two fabulous nights at the Château de Rochecotte in the Loire Valley, the former private estate of Prince Tallyrand and the Duchess of Dino. Sit with a drink on the terrace and enjoy the beautiful setting or take a stroll through the magnificent gardens.

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.

Optional experiences

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.

Accommodation

 

Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel

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.

Grand Hotel Dijon La Cloche

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.

Chalet Hôtel Le Prieuré, Chamonix.

Chalet Hôtel Le Prieuré, Chamonix.

Mercure Chambéry Centre Hotel.

Mercure Chambéry Centre Hotel.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice

Nice (Traditional) - France

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice is set on a stunning seafront location along the famous Promenade des Anglais.

Avignon Grand Hotel

Avignon (Traditional) - France

Avignon Grand Hotel is sat at the foot of medieval ramparts close to the historical town centre.

Hôtel Saint Antoine, Albi.

Hôtel Saint Antoine, Albi.

La Hoirie, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne.

La Hoirie, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne.

Le Méridien Etoile

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.

Hotel Barrière L'Hôtel du Golf

DEAUVILLE (Traditional) - FRANCE

Hotel Barrière 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.

Hôtel Le Nouveau Monde, Saint-Malo.

Hôtel Le Nouveau Monde, Saint-Malo.

Château De Rochecotte

Saint Patrice (Historic) - FRANCE

Stay two fabulous nights at the Château de Rochecotte in the Loire Valley, the former private estate of Prince Tallyrand and the Duchess of Dino. Sit with a drink on the terrace and enjoy the beautiful setting or take a stroll through the magnificent gardens.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.6 out of 5 based on 11318 independent user reviews received during the past year.

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