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Château de Chenonceau

Grand tour of France

21 days from $19,395pp

Château de Chenonceau
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Tour highlights

  • See the highlights of Paris including the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower.

  • Experience the D-Day beaches in Normandy.

  • Take a tour of Mont Saint-Michel in Brittany.

  • Marvel at the grandeur of Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley.

  • Discover the Roman history of Provence at the Pont du Gard.

  • Soak up the sun on the French Riviera.

Price includes:

  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, you're met by your driver who takes you to your hotel in Paris' Marais district. After checking in, meet your guide in the Place des Vosges for a walking tour of Le Marais, which allows you to explore this historic district filled with trendy boutiques and cobbled streets, perhaps stopping to taste some artisan chocolates or jams along the way.

  • Today, you're picked up by your driver and guide at your hotel for a tour of Paris's Right Bank, which includes sites such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and Montmartre. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the Opéra Garnier. Built in the 19th century, the building is a dominating structure often considered to represent France's empirical power. It became doubly famous when it inspired the novel (and subsequent Lloyd-Webber musical) The Phantom of the Opera. From here, walk to the bustling covered passages built in the same period and designed to provide clean and sheltered shopping alleyways for Parisians. They are now home to authentic little cafés, restaurants and boutiques selling vintage postcards, books and antiques.

  • Your private guide will meet you at your hotel for a tour of two world-renowned museums, the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. Beginning with the Louvre, your guide helps you skip the line and navigate this palace-turned-extensive museum, ensuring you see the most heralded pieces, including the Mona Lisa. After a brief lunch break, walk through the Tuileries Garden and make your way to the Musée d'Orsay on Paris's Left Bank. Once a major train station, this distinctive building features works by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.

  • Meet your private guide in the hotel lobby and, together, walk to the two islands that make up the heart of Paris, Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis. On Île de la Cité, you can discover the Gothic masterpieces of Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle and learn about their histories and architectural details. Your guide then leads you to the quiet, residential Île Saint-Louis to admire views of the Seine and wander down the café and boutique-lined streets. You have the afternoon free to explore more of Paris' distinctive districts. Perhaps visit the bouquinistes, traders of second-hand books, postcards and prints who sell their wares from green metal boxes along the banks of the Seine.

  • This morning you have an early start with your driver and guide to make your way outside Paris to the Château de Versailles, a royal palace built by the self-proclaimed 'Sun King', Louis XIV. Learn about life at the French court and tour the vast gardens adorned with statues and water features. Afterwards, return to Paris to meet your guide for an afternoon at Aligre Market, complete with wine and cheese tasting.

  • Early this morning, depart from Paris and make your way to Normandy, enjoying three sites along the way. Your first stop is the house and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny, where he painted some of his most eminent works, including the series Water Lilies. Your next stop allows you to take in a viewing point over the town of Les Andelys, from which you can see the medieval castle ruins of Château Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart. Your third stop takes you to the ruins of Benedictine Jumièges Abbey, with its imposing columns and lofty nave. Finally, arrive at your hotel in the seaside town of Honfleur.

  • Your driver picks you up in the hotel lobby for a day of tasting Normandy's signature dishes and drinks. Enjoy the rolling green countryside as you travel to the Domaine d'Apreval, an apple cider distillery that produces the apple brandy known as Calvados. Learn about the fermentation process and taste the different varieties during your guided tour. After your tasting, a picnic lunch is provided as you relax in the shade of the apple trees.

  • This morning, check out of your hotel and meet your driver-guide for a full-day tour of the D-Day landing beaches. Starting with Omaha Beach, you can learn more about the role the Allied forces played in the liberation of Normandy before visiting the graves of the fallen at Normandy American Cemetery. Complete your experience at the American landing location of Utah Beach. Your driver then drops you off in nearby Bayeux where you check into your hotel for the night.

  • Check out of your hotel and meet your driver-guide for your journey from Normandy to Brittany. Stop en route at Mont Saint-Michel, a medieval abbey and community built on an island just off the coast. Your guide leads you up to the topmost point, away from the crowds, so you can look out over the bay. Climb up to the abbey itself to learn about its history and the monks who still live there. After your tour, travel to a nearby seaside town to taste fresh oysters and enjoy lunch before continuing to your hotel in the fortified walled city of Saint-Malo.

  • Enjoy a full day at leisure in Saint-Malo. This is an ideal place to take a stroll along the ramparts surrounding the city, relax on the beach, or wander the cobbled streets.

  • Check out of your hotel and, with your private driver, make your way down to the Loire Valley, stopping at two historically significant sites along the way. You first visit the medieval town of Angers to see the slate-covered château that houses the extraordinary Apocalypse Tapestry. In the afternoon, you set off to Fontevraud Abbey, which houses the remains of the Plantagenet family, including Richard the Lionheart. Your driver then brings you to your accommodation in the town of Amboise on the banks of the Loire River.

  • Today, explore your new surroundings during your private guided walking tour of Amboise. Your guide meets you at your hotel and escorts you to the Château d'Amboise. Here, you can learn about the numerous French monarchs who occupied this castle over the centuries, notably François I, who encouraged Leonardo da Vinci to move to Amboise. You then visit Clos Lucé, where Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life, taking the time to explore his numerous inventions, which are reproduced in the château's gardens. To end the day, visit the Caves Duhard for some wine tasting.

  • This morning, you're met by your driver-guide to see the highlights of the Loire Valley. Stop first of all at the most alluring château in the valley, Chenonceau, with its signature arches and covered bridge that crosses the Cher River. Continue to Château de Cheverny, a private residence boasting antiques that have been passed down from generation to generation, and visit the resident family's 100-strong pack of hunting dogs. End your tour at the largest château in the valley, Chambord, which features a one-of-a-kind double spiral staircase inspired by Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Your driver takes you to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps Station today where you board a four and half hour high-speed TGV train to the Provençal town of Avignon. On arrival, meet your new driver, who will bring you to your hotel.

  • In order to get to know this medieval walled city, start your day by meeting your private guide outside the Palais des Papes and learn about what was once the seat of the Papacy between the 14th and 15th centuries. Your guide then accompanies you through the cobbled streets of Avignon to the 12th-century Pont Saint-Bénézet (Avignon Bridge), most commonly known from the chorus of the popular children's song, Sur le Pont d'Avignon. You can then explore Avignon on your own for the remainder of the day.

  • The Lubéron, both a mountain range and a national park, is considered by many to be the epitome of France's rural landscape. With your private driver, venture first to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a canal-lined town known for its antiques market. From here, continue to Gordes, arguably the jewel of Provence, perched atop a hill with a view of the sprawling landscape. Your last stop takes you to the village of Roussillon, nestled among lands rich in ocher, which gives the houses and buildings their rich orange and red tones.

  • You're met by your driver at your hotel to embark on a journey back in time to several Roman and medieval sites in Provence. First, explore the city of Arles, stopping to appreciate the Roman arena. Next, travel to the town of Uzès. Its hilltop vantage point gives you panoramic views of the Provençal landscape. Your guide shows you the main square and recommends a place for lunch. Lastly, visit the Pont du Gard, a Roman structure designed to be both an aqueduct and a bridge connecting the cities of Arles and Nîmes.

  • You will be driven to the train station for your three-and-a-half-hour TGV fast train journey to Nice today. On arrival, another driver waits to take you to your hotel. Drop off your bags and freshen up before meeting your guide for an introduction to Nice through a food-themed walking tour. Your guide walks you along the Promenade des Anglais, a large seafront esplanade, and around the old town, all the while sharing anecdotes and treating you to different types of local delicacies along the way.

  • Pack your bathing suit this morning as you end your day at one of the most well-loved beaches in the area. Your private driver first takes you to the Villa Ephrussi, where you have time to explore this mansion that once belonged to the Rothschild family and walk among its exotic gardens and fountains. Next, your driver guides you around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and drops you off at Paloma Beach, where you can relax and swim for the rest of the afternoon. When you have had your fill of the beach and the sunshine, your driver takes you back to your hotel.

  • Saying goodbye to the coastline for the day, you and your private driver head west, first stopping in Grasse to tour the Fragonard Perfumery. Your short tour ends in the gift shop, where you can smell and test huge numbers of perfumes. The next stop of the day is the medieval fortified village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup. After strolling through its narrow cobbled streets, get back in the car for the brief drive to Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Here, you take your time browsing medieval streets lined with art galleries. When you have finished exploring, your driver takes you back to your hotel.

  • Bid 'au revoir' to Nice (and France) today as you depart by private car for Nice's airport.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Audley Travel Country Specialist Samantha
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The specialist who designs your trip to France will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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