Tour: RCE - 2013 (RCE) - 2013 / 2014

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Itinerary

DAY 1Arrive in Paris, France

Welcome to Paris! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner with wine at one of Paris’ lively restaurants and enjoy an orientation drive to get a first impression of the “City of Light.” (Dinner)

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DAY 2Paris

Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, Louvre, and Champs-Elysées. Visit magnificent NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL with its Rose Window, and for a panoramic view, take the elevator to the second floor of the EIFFEL TOWER. An optional excursion is available to the impressive Palace and Gardens of Versailles, built by the “Sun King,” Louis XIV, as well as an exciting evening outing. (Breakfast)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris The Arc de Triomphe standing in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle 
Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral


Europe’s most famous cathedral, whose twin Gothic towers loom above France’s most beloved river, the Seine, actually owes a lot of its international success to the author Victor Hugo. Back in 1831, when Hugo wrote his classic novel about a hunchbacked bell-ringer at Notre Dame who falls in love with a beautiful gypsy, the medieval cathedral had fallen on hard times. During the Revolution in 1789, it had been seized, looted of its treasures and converted into an atheistic “Temple of Reason.” Even worse, after the monarchy was restored in 1815, Notre Dame was used as riverside warehouse – its once-splendid glass windows now dimmed and its facades decaying pathetically above the Île de la Cité. But Parisian’s indifference to their landmark ended suddenly in 1831, when Victor Hugo published his romantic novel the “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” (called “Notre-Dame de Paris” in French). The book was an international bestseller and lured armies of tourists to Paris in search of its Gothic cathedral setting. Hugo used this groundswell of public interest to lobby the French government for renovations of his beloved Notre Dame. From 1845 to 1864, repairs were indeed carried out – the clogged medieval streets nearby were cleared, revealing the marvelous edifice we see today.
Louvre

Louvre


Today, a thick pane of bullet-proof security glass keeps artlovers a safe distance from the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Giacondo,” known in French as “La Joconde” and English as the “Mona Lisa.” But back in 1911, it was simply hung on the walls of the Musée du Louvre like any other canvas. That was until a former museum employee named Vincenzo Perrugia strolled into the gallery before opening hours on August 21, noticed the room was empty, took down the Mona Lisa and walked out of the Louvre with it under a painting smock. When the loss was finally noticed, the police were mystified. For two years, the whereabouts of the masterpiece was unknown, while French detectives made various wild guesses. (It had been stolen by the Germans. By anarchists. By evil geniuses. By lunatics.) They actually arrested the country’s top art critic, Guillame Apollinaire, then let him free. Then, out of the blue in 1913, an Italian art dealer in Florence was contacted by a man calling himself “Leonardo” who claimed to have the Mona Lisa and wanted to see it hang in the Uffizi, Italy’s top art museum. Although he found it hard to believe that the thief could be so reckless, the dealer tipped off the police and agreed to meet the strange Leonardo in a Milan hotel room. There, the nondescript fellow opened his suitcase, emptied out his socks and underwear, opened up a false bottom in the case to reveal the Mona Lisa – and was immediately arrested.
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DAY 3Paris–Rouen–Caen

In Rouen, admire the façade of the cathedral, which was one of Monet’s favorite subjects for his Series Paintings, where he tried to prove how a subject was visually influenced by the ever-changing light. Twenty paintings of the cathedral existed, and many are today in Paris’ Orsay Museum. Time to stroll along the lovely cobblestoned Rue du Gros-Horloge leading to the square where Joan of Arc was burned in 1431. Next, stop in Beuvron-en-Auge along the Route du Cidre for Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite a CIDER TASTING, before arriving in Caen. Look forward to a visit to the fascinating MEMORIAL MUSEUM FOR PEACE with its great exhibits and audiovisual show about the Battle of Normandy. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Rouen Cathedral The Medieval Town of Rouen, France 
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DAY 4Caen–Normandy Beaches–Mont St. Michel

Focus on the scene of the Allied Forces’ landing on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. Drive by Juno Beach, then stop at Gold Beach for a view of the Mulberry Harbor remains at Arromanches. Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite Visit the AMERICAN CEMETERY and its visitor center at Omaha Beach, where you can sign your name in the visitor’s book. Continue to Sainte Mère Eglise, the first town to be liberated, with its evocative parachute memorial. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided visit of the famous ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL, perched on a rocky isle in the Gulf of Saint Malo. Overnight is on the coast near Mont St. Michel. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Abbey of Mont St. Michel Mont St-Michel in Normandy, France 
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DAY 5Mont St. Michel–Loire Valley

Enjoy a scenic ride right across Brittany via Châteaubriant to Angers. Stop here for pictures of the impressive 13th-century castle. Then, continue your journey to the Loire Valley, where you will stay for the next two nights in Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite splendid Château du Breuil. Tonight, why not sample French cuisine at one of the area’s excellent restaurants? (Breakfast)

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DAY 6Loire Valley. Excursion to Castle Country

Today, visit three of the most important castles in the area. Start with the jewel of the French Renaissance, Château CHAMBORD. Next is the 16th-century Château of Catherine de Medici, lovely CHENONCEAU, a fairytale castle with a moat, drawbridge, and towers. In Amboise, visit CLOS LUCÉ, where Leonardo da Vinci worked and lived during the last part of his life, and marvel at an amazing collection of models of his inventions, like his design of an airplane, painstakingly reconstructed from the drawings of the great renaissance genius. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Chateau Chenonceau 
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DAY 7Loire Valley–Chartres–Paris

Stop in Chartres with its superb 13th-century gothic CATHEDRAL—a jewel of medieval architecture, and arrive in Paris. Optional excursions are available to the magnificent Louvre Museum to admire the Mona Lisa, and to the Moulin Rouge dinner show, the best way to say, “Au Revoir, Paris.” (Breakfast)

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Louvre

Louvre


Today, a thick pane of bullet-proof security glass keeps artlovers a safe distance from the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Giacondo,” known in French as “La Joconde” and English as the “Mona Lisa.” But back in 1911, it was simply hung on the walls of the Musée du Louvre like any other canvas. That was until a former museum employee named Vincenzo Perrugia strolled into the gallery before opening hours on August 21, noticed the room was empty, took down the Mona Lisa and walked out of the Louvre with it under a painting smock. When the loss was finally noticed, the police were mystified. For two years, the whereabouts of the masterpiece was unknown, while French detectives made various wild guesses. (It had been stolen by the Germans. By anarchists. By evil geniuses. By lunatics.) They actually arrested the country’s top art critic, Guillame Apollinaire, then let him free. Then, out of the blue in 1913, an Italian art dealer in Florence was contacted by a man calling himself “Leonardo” who claimed to have the Mona Lisa and wanted to see it hang in the Uffizi, Italy’s top art museum. Although he found it hard to believe that the thief could be so reckless, the dealer tipped off the police and agreed to meet the strange Leonardo in a Milan hotel room. There, the nondescript fellow opened his suitcase, emptied out his socks and underwear, opened up a false bottom in the case to reveal the Mona Lisa – and was immediately arrested.
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DAY 8Paris–London

You will be transferred by high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN to London. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel Ride the iconic double decker bus in London London’s Tower Bridge over the River Thames Pomp-and-ceremony in London 
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DAY 9London

Morning guided sightseeing includes all the famous landmarks and the Changing of the Guard (if held). (Breakfast)

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Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard


"Changing the Guard dates to Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509) and was designed to show military discipline as well as ceremony. The tall bearskin hats were introduced in the 18th century to make the soldiers look taller and thus more frightening, and they were adopted for ceremonial use in 1832. The ceremony we know today started in the late 1800s and involves real soldiers who fulfill all military duties, guarding the Queen being just part of their service."
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DAY 10London

Full day at leisure. Ask your local host for suggestions. (Breakfast)

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DAY 11London

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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