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France, a 9-day tour of Paris, Provence, and the Cote d’Azur

Overview

OVERNIGHTS

  • Overnight Flight
  • 3 nights Paris
  • 2 nights Provence
  • 2 nights Cote d’Azur

PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES

  • Paris:  concert
  • Provence region:  joint performance
  • Cote d’Azur area:  concert finale

DAY 1:  Overnight Flight

Depart the United States on your 9-day Performance Tour of France!

DAY 2: Paris (D)

Bienvenue!  Arrival in Paris, the City of Light.  Your tour manager escort will greet you at the airport and transfer to your comfortable, centrally-located hotel.  After settling in, your escort will provide an important arrival briefing to discuss the tour logistics.  This evening, discover Paris’ historic subway system and discover the city’s most famous monument, the Eiffel Tower.  Admission to the top is included, allowing for unbelievable views—particularly at dusk, as the lights are turned on in each arrondissement!  Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, and after a full day enjoy a good night’s sleep to overcome your jetlag!

DAY 3:  Paris (B/D)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, provided each morning of your trip.  A local guide provides a full introduction to the city with a panoramic motor coach tour today.  See Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysées, Louis XIV’s gilded church dome of Les Invalides, as well as the Place de la Concorde.  Your tour ends at the historic heart of the city with a visit to the Ile de la Cité.  Begin with Louis IX’s Sainte Chapelle, where you can climb to the upper chapel whose stained glass windows are truly inspirational.  Next visit the celebrated Cathedral of Notre Dame.  This working cathedral still holds daily services and remains at the spiritual heart of Paris.  Included are entrances to the towers to see the historic gargoyles.  There is free time provided for lunch.  You may wish to cross the bridge to the charming Ile St. Louis, for an ice cream, or chocolate chaud!  Spend the afternoon visiting the Musee de la Musique’s collection of instruments, dating to the 17th century.  Included are audio devices allowing visitors to hear excerpts of music played on the instruments.  A highlight of your tour is this evening’s concert debut; perform for the Parisians!  A pre-concert rehearsal is included at your venue. Dinner is served at a local bistro this evening.

DAY 4:  Paris (B/D)

Begin the day with a guided tour of Paris’ original Opera House, the Palais Garnier.  The gilded roof of Garnier’s masterpiece shines as brightly as it did for Napoleon III, and your local guide will share the history and secrets of this famous venue.  After free time for lunch, spend the afternoon at the famed Louvre with its incredible collection, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory.  Alternatively, you may wish to tour the impressionist paintings at the Orangerie, home to eight of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies murals, or the Musee d’Orsay, focusing on French works of art from the late 19th century including Renoir, Cezanne, and Gauguin.  Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local creperie, and then board your boat for a ride along the Seine River!  Sit back and take in the illuminated monuments as you float down the river.

DAY 5:  Provence (B/D)

Take a morning journey to Avignon on Europe’s fastest train, the TGV!  Upon arrival, view the imposing Papal Palace and enjoy free time for lunch.  Continue on to the nearby Pont du Gard, the largest aqueduct constructed by the Roman Empire—there’s even the opportunity to swim in the river below!  Along the way, stop at a Provencal olive farm for a tasting of oils.  Dinner.

DAY 6:  Provence (B/D)

Visit the fabled ghost town of Les Baux this morning, abandoned completely in the 15th century.  The village has been restored, and entrance to the castle ruins is included.  Continue on to Arles, famous for inspiring Vincent van Gogh, as well as its near-perfect Roman amphitheater.  This afternoon, present a concert for the locals in a typically Provencal town.  Optionally, you may wish to meet up with a local ensemble, for an exchange and joint concert.  Dinner.

DAY 7:  Cote d’Azur (B/D)

Journey across the heart of Provence before reaching the southern coastline of France—known as the chic playground of the Côte d’Azur!  Afternoon sightseeing with your escort in Nice includes a visit to Cimiez, high above the city for stunning views.  Entrance to the nearby Musée Matisse is included.  Afterwards, stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, said to be Europe’s most handsome boulevard, and get your feet wet in the beautiful Mediterranean.  Enjoy dinner together at a seaside restaurant tonight.

DAY 8:  Cote d’Azur (B/D)

A full day excursion brings you first to Cannes, a beautiful beachside resort, situated in its own magnificent bay and surrounded by an amphitheater of hills.  Most famous among its festivals, is the annual world-renowned Cannes Film Festival; see the Palais des Festivals, the center for this event.  Continue to the town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, boasting nearly intact medieval ramparts and famous resident artists, such as Modigliani, Bonnard, and Chagall.  Perform your concert finale for the locals!  Share new memories and celebrate the end of your successful performance tour this evening, with a special farewell dinner.

DAY 9:  Departure (B)

After a final pain au chocolate at your hotel, it’s time for checkout, a last farewell to your escort, and return flight to the United States.


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