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SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS OF FRANCE AND BELGIUM
INCLUDING THE AMAZING FIREWORKS AND PARADE AT THE EIFFEL TOWER ON BASTILLE DAY
TRIP DATES JULY 6TH – 15, 2019
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The Spectacular Fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on the night of Bastille Day


Join us for an incomparable escapade to see some of the most beautiful, historic and cultural sites of two of the grandest countries in Europe – France and Belgium.  Enjoy one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world, as Bastille Day in France is celebrated with a truly amazing fireworks display over the Eiffel Tower along with a festive parade through Paris that morning, plus free visit to the Louvre museum that afternoon.  Enjoy Skip The Line Access to visiting the legendary Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Arc. D Triomphe in Paris, plus a beautiful sightseeing dinner cruise on the scenic Seine River and a fabulous evening at either the famous Moulin Rouge or the Lido Paris shows.  Enjoy a full day guided tour of the sights of the WWII Normandy Beach invasions in France, as well as a visit to the beautiful home and gardens of artist Claude Monet and a visit to the legendary Palace of Versailles along with a nighttime laser show over its water fountains and gardens.

You may also choose to enjoy an optional French Wine and Champagne Tasting evening, optional day trip visit to the champagne vineyards and even an optional day trip aboard the super fast Eurostar Chunnel train to London England with scenic river cruise on London’s Thames River and return by Eurostar super fast train to Paris that evening.

Our entire 9 night stay will be in one fabulous 4.5 star hotel along the banks of the Seine River, just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower.



Daily Itinerary:

Saturday July 6th, 2019 – Arrive in Paris on your own arrangements and make your way to our 4.5 star Novotel Hotel Tour Eiffel.  Our hotel is ideally located just a short walk from the legendary Eiffel Tower and also a very short walk from the metro station, allowing for easy access to sightseeing.  Our hotel is located along the banks of the Seine River, offering any time access for a leisurely pleasant stroll along the river with its local artists, artisans and viewpoints. You will enjoy the convenience of staying here your entire 9 night trip with included day trips in and around Paris & Normandy France, as well as scenic Bruges Belgium.

We will meet this evening for a group orientation at our hotel and then you may wish to join us for an optional group dinner or explore the many restaurants nearby at your leisure.

  • All rooms are spacious 215-237 sq feet with 2 twin beds if you request a roommate to be assigned or one queen bed if you prefer to have your own room with the applicable single supplement.  All rooms have FREE WIFI, safe, air conditioning and flat screen TV. The hotel also offers a restaurant serving drinks and meals until 9pm each day with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower and other Paris landmarks along the Seine River.  The entire hotel is Non Smoking.

 

Sunday July 7th – This morning we will enjoy a scenic Hop on Hop off Open Air Double Decker bus tour of the major sites of Paris.  Passengers are provided with headsets in English providing commentary and can either stay on for the full 2 hour ride and then continue on to make a return visit to any desired sites, or can chose to hop off at their leisure when and where they wish.  Your Hop on and off pass is good the entire day so you can explore at the pace you desire.

At 4pm today, anyone interested can follow your trip escort to a central location for an outdoor party celebrating the 5pm local time live showing of the Women’s World Cup Soccer Final.  The US Women’s team is ranked #1 in the world and the French Women’s team is ranked #3 in the world, so there is a very good chance that one of them will be in the championship game, making for a very festive party, with the game on huge outdoor screens.

Monday July 8th – This morning we will enjoy a Skip The Line Access Tour of the legendary Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  The first part of the tour is a walking tour around the outside of the cathedral with stories about the cathedral from a local guide.  The second part of the tour is a visit inside the cathedral which bypasses the long lines. 

Once inside we will enjoy the beautiful stain glassed windows and other beautiful sites therein.  After viewing the interior, we will enjoy a visit to the top of the cathedral, again bypassing the long lines, thus enabling us to enjoy the views of Paris from the observation deck at the top of the Notre Dame.

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Stain glass windows at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

After our Notre Dame visit, we will enjoy a visit to the Montemarte and Sacre Coure sites via another Hop on and Hop Open top Double Decker Bus on a completely different route from yesterday, thus seeing very different sites from those seen yesterday.

This evening, we will enjoy a scenic Seine River cruise with a three course dinner served onboard.  The cruise sails past the famous sites of Paris, seeing them as they are lit up in the night lights of Paris.

 

Tuesday July 9th
Today we will enjoy a full day tour to the amazing Normandy region of France to explore the historic sites of both the World War Two Allied landings on the Normandy beaches as well as the historic sites in the town of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. This spectacular tour from Paris we'll give you the chance to explore the Normandy coast, the D-Day landing beaches of World War II and the beautiful city of Rouen, capital of Normandy. Visit Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, the visitor center and learn stories about the World War II Normandy invasions by the US led allied forces and on our way back enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Rouen. In Rouen we will visit The Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame where is buried Rollo, the founder of Duchy of Normandy and the place where Joan of Arc was infamously burnt at the stake in 1431. Pay your respects at the American Cemetery, Listen to tales at the Omaha Beach Visitor Centre, Explore Rouen’s historic center and visit the historic place where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431 with an incredible tale of the events leading up to it.


We’re going to leave Paris this morning and be driven towards Normandy. We'll stop for a quick break to have a coffee and a croissant and we'll arrive to Pointe du Hoc, where the United States Army Ranger Assault Group assaulted and captured it after scaling the cliffs. Pointe du Hoc was a part of Atlantic Wall fortifications. Then, we'll take a break at Omaha Beach, the famous beach where the American army landed on the 6th of June 1944.  Half of the day we'll stay in this area to explore all the places and on our way back we will stop in Rouen. The city is famous because is the capital of the region of Normandy and it was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. Its greatest fame though came from the infamous events leading up to Joan of Arc’s death. This last stop will mark the end of our authentic Normandy tour while also having time to exchange traveling impressions, before we are brought back to our hotel in Paris. We know this Normandy tour will prove to be a unique historic, moving and wonderful experience for you.


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A map displays the allied invasion strategy of the successful D day raid

Wednesday July 10th
This morning we will enjoy a skip The Line tour of the Eiffel Tower. Departing from our hotel, a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, An informative guide whisks you past the entrance lines at the Eiffel Tower with fast-access entry. Learn little-known trivia about the iconic monument as you explore the second-floor viewing gallery. Then, embark on a 1-hour cruise along the Seine that's chock-full of sights including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum.

Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Tour: (1.5 hours)
 We will enjoy a stroll through the gardens at Trocadéro. Hear tales of the Eiffel Tower as you walk, and learn about its creation for the International Exposition of 1889, a world fair. Detested by Parisians in its early days, the tower eventually won the hearts of the locals and it became the city’s most feted icon. Skip past the tower’s long entrance lines with your fast-access ticket, and head straight up to the second floor by elevator while enjoying anecdotes and tales of history about the Paris landmarks below your feet. Walk around the viewing gallery with your guide and soak up sights of Champs de Mars and Montparnasse Tower.  Your next experience has a flexible start time, meaning you can simply walk to the prearranged meeting point — roughly 656 feet (200 meters) from the tower — at a time that suits your schedule, or follow our trip escort to go with the group.

Seine River Cruise: (1 hour)Hop aboard your sightseeing boat at the water’s edge, and relax out on the outdoor deck or in the lower saloon as you cruise along the famous river. Seeing the sites of Paris along the river by day brings a new and very different viewing and photography perspective from what we enjoyed on our nighttime dinner cruise.  Cutting through the city, the Seine takes in some glamorous sights and its Paris riverbanks have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Listen to entertaining commentary as you cruise and gaze out at sights such as the Louvre, an iconic building that’s home to some of the world’s most celebrated artwork. Have your camera poised to capture photos of Notre Dame — a UNESCO World Heritage site — and marvel at the attention-grabbing façade of La Conciergerie. The former royal palace and prison once housed some of the country’s most important political prisoners such as Marie Antoinette and Napoleon III. After an hour on the water, cruise back to the start point where your tour finishes.

After our river cruise we will enjoy free time for lunch at your leisure.  After lunch, we will reconvene at a designated spot again and continue on to the Arc De Triomphe.

We will again enjoy Skip The Line Access to this legendary monument.  This visit is unguided and you go at a time of your leisure until 10pm or follow us as a group after lunch.

With this skip-the-line ticket to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the way you spend your time is up to you. Because you get to bypass waiting in huge lines packed with people, there’s more time to enjoy the site and all it has to offer.  We will enjoy a leisurely walk down Champs-Élysées, the city’s largest and most famous boulevard, lined with gardens and fountains, to reach the Arc de Triomphe. The arch stands 150-feet (50-meter) tall and is 148-feet (45-meter) wide.  It’s so big that after World War I ended, a pilot celebrated by flying his biplane through it.  If views over Paris are what you’re looking for, walk the steps up to the terrace, and snap pictures of the city from above. You can also go over to the tomb of the Unknown Solider, and learn more about its importance and what it means to France. Whatever you decided to do, you can go at your own pace, and enjoy the city afterward.

Admire the mighty monument at your own pace where the wars fought by France and the names of the French generals involved are written.

Tonight, dinner is at your leisure and then we will enjoy a group excursion to see one of the two legendary Parisian shows, either the Moulin Rouge or the Lido.  Both of these shows combine the best in French dance, song, variety acts and so much more with elaborate costumes and staging.  The show is sure to be a Wow in your memory of your trip.

 

Thursday July 11th
Today we will enjoy a visit to the neighboring country of Belgium, with a visit to the most scenic region of the country, Bruges.  Scenic canals are traversed by small boats, reminding one of Venice Italy.

Often referred to as the Venice of the North, Bruges is known for its canals and UNESCO World Heritage–listed historic center.

When we arrive, you have about five hours of free time to explore this amazing little  city independently at your own pace.  You will be given numerous suggestions on how best to enjoy Bruges and both where and when to be back at the meeting point. You won't want to miss the historic city center, a World Heritage Site known for its medieval architecture. Stop by Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (the Church of Our Lady), one of the city's most famous landmarks and home to Michelangelo's Madonna and Child. Then visit a museum to see Flemish artwork, taste regional specialties such as Belgian chocolate, or visit a Benedictine monastery. The Stadhuis (City Hall) and the Belfry of Bruges are two very popular attractions.

Another popular attraction is the Bruges Beer Experience. Discover the stories behind Belgium’s famous beer making heritage here.
Learn about the monks who were early brewing innovators, how best to pair beer with food, and the cultural aspects of beer drinking in a fun and interactive setting. Conveniently located in the historic city center, the museum also offers a bar with more than a dozen Belgian draught beers.  Learn the history of Belgian beer at a fun and engaging museum.  Browse beer exhibits with a high-tech audio guide.  Purchase famous and craft Belgian beers at the on-site bar

If you love chocolate, another highlight of your time in Bruges is the Chocolate Museum in Bruges (also referred to as the Choco Story Museum.) Trace the delicious history of cocoa with a ticket to the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum in Bruges. From the ancient Aztecs and Mayans to gourmet European chocolatiers, discover how cocoa beans have been cultivated and enjoyed for centuries. See historic chocolate-making objects from around the world and learn the steps for transforming raw beans into creamy chocolate truffles, bars, and figurines. End your visit with a sweet sampling of fine Belgian chocolate

The Choco-Story museum can be found in Bruges, housed in an ancient building dating from the 15th century. The museum occupies 4 stories and recounts the history of cocoa and chocolate. More than 1,000 ancient objects and 80 information boards, explain the story of how chocolate evolved from its origins as a spicy Mayan drink to become the delicious sweet that we all love today.  Many delicious tastings are available when you visit the museum. At the end of your time in Bruges, hop on our coach for the drive back to Paris.



Friday July 12th  - Today is a full free today to enjoy as you wish.    You can revisit one of your favorite sites from the hop on/off tours or visit one of the many museums in Paris.

We also have three great optional full day tours if you wish:  one will take you to visit the awe inspiring monastery of Mont St. Michel, perched on a cliff along the sea, another will whisk you away on the Eurostar Chunnel train to cross the English Channel to London for a day of site-seeing there, before bringing you back by the high speed train.  The third optional excursion takes you to visit the legendary Champagne region of France and tour the famous champagne making vineyards

This evening, if you like French wine and Champagne, join us for an optional French Wine and Champagne Tasting at a local wine bar near the Louvre Museum at 5pm.

Saturday July 13th – Today we will enjoy a tour to two of France’s most beloved sites – the Home and Gardens of legendary impressionist painter Claude Monet and the Palace and gardens of Versailles.  We will first visit Giverny, the home and gardens of Monet, where you will walk through the scenic grounds and witness the lily pond he famously painted, as well as his gardens and his home. 


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After this visit, we will head to the Palace of Versailles for a tour of the elaborate palace and its gardens.  The palace of Versailles was the masterpiece of King Louis XIV built in 1682. Versailleswas the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790.

After this tour we will have free time in the town of Versailles to stroll at leisure and time for dinner at leisure at one of the restaurants in Versailles.  After dinner we will be brought back to the palace for an incredible laser, sound and light show through the gardens and fountains of Versailles.

Begin your tour with a visit to the opulent palace with your knowledgeable guide. Learn how this was the setting for many important moments in French history when it was the center of power in the 17th and 18th centuries. At the same time, it was the private home of the royal family, as you'll see when you tour the King's and Queen's Apartments and the Royal Chapel. The much-photographed Hall of Mirrors was both a hallway connecting parts of the palace, and a meeting place for the family and the nobility who visited them.


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The marble court. It contains a great marble slab


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The salon of Mirrors, was used by Louis XIV as a council room.
The furnishings of the apartments were looted or destroyed during the Revolution, but later renovated by Napoleon

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Napoleon's Bedroom. It is decorated in a suitably imperial style. During the French Revolution,
much of the furniture was auctioned off. Napoleon and his wife, Marie Louise stayed there
.

At the conclusion of your palace tour, receive tickets for the night fountain show from your guide. Enjoy some time before the show begins to continue admiring the palace, or to visit the City of Versailles, an easy walk from the palace, for some shopping or to get dinner (own expense) in one of the atmospheric restaurants. At the appointed time, we will return back to the Gardens of Versailles to watch as the ornate fountains come to life with a light show timed to coincide with the musical program. The gardens and fountains alike are illuminated and set to glorious classical music, making the experience truly magical.

  If you wish to walk amidst the garden displays during the show, you can gain an extra depth into the show or choose to simply watch the show from the expansive open decks alongside the numerous fountains adjacent to the gardens.

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 Versailles has many fountains around its gardens and each is lit up in unique ways during the show.

Enter the gardens behind the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) and enjoy free time to explore at your leisure. Stroll the immaculate paths and admire the flowers, trees and sculptures that adorn the 1,977-acre (800-hectare) grounds. The fountains within the UNESCO-listed gardens are particularly famous, and they're especially glorious during this special night show. Colorful lights and pyrotechnics enhance the captivating flow of water from the decorative fountains.

Listen to a live orchestra performing music composed during the reign of Louis XIV as you admire the light show. The atmospheric Baroque music is led by Reinhard Goebel, German violinist and conductor, and performed by his Musica Antiqua Köln orchestra. The grand finale is a fireworks display.


We will be returned to our hotel along the beautiful Seine River in Paris, only 30 minutes away, after the show.

Sunday July 14th –TODAY IS BASTILLE DAY AND THAT MEANS CELEBRATIONS ACROSS ALL OF FRANCE
This morning we will watch the grand parade from 10am to Noon.  This afternoon is at your leisure with free admission to the Louvre Museum for all visitors on Bastille Day.

Description: Pyramid and Richelieu wing of the Louvre. Paris, France (color)


Tonight we will reconvene at our hotel for a short walk to the viewing spot in front of the Eiffel Tower, just a short walk from our hotel, to first enjoy the free concerts celebrating the holiday and then watch the spectacular fireworks display over the Eiffel Tower. Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille Armory during the French Revolution and is their equivalent to the US Fourth of July.  The fireworks last approx. 30 minutes and are one of the most elaborate, amazing fireworks displays anywhere in the world and offer the most impressive backdrop scenery with the fireworks launched over the Eiffel Tower.

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The Spectacular Fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on the night of Bastille Day

After the show, conveniently walk back the short distance to our hotel at your leisure.

For anyone wishing to continue the party, celebrations go on until the wee hours of the night throughout Paris, including, for a most unique party experience, enjoy city sponsored parties until 4am at local Fire stations around Paris.  The Fire station parties are also offered by the city on Saturday night from midnight until 4am as an early start on the holiday celebrations.

Monday July 15th – “The party is over” and its time to return home to reality.  Transfers to the airport can be purchased for any flight time you have.  Just let us know at least two weeks in advance and we can arrange that for you.

 

Your trip includes:

  • Nine night accommodations at the 4.5 star Novotel Hotel Paris Tour Eiffel, located just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower and right along the banks of the famous Seine River.  All rooms are spacious 215-237 sq feet with 2 twin beds if you request a roommate to be assigned or one queen bed if you prefer to have your own room with the applicable single supplement.  All rooms have FREE WIFI, safe, air conditioning and flat screen TV.

 

  • All tours as listed in the trip itinerary:
    • Skip The Line Notre Dame guided tour-Interior, exterior & towers Monday
    • Two Day Hop On Hop Off Open Top Double Decker Bus tour pass (we will go as a group on one route on Sunday and on the other route on Monday afternoon following the Notre Dame Guided tour Monday morning)
    • Full day tour of the historic World War II Normandy Beaches and Joan of arc sites in Rouen on Tuesday
    • Eiffel Tower Skip the Line 2nd floor observation deck tour on Wed.
    • Arc de Triomphe Skip the Line access on Wed.
    • Seine River sightseeing cruise – One Hour - daytime on Wed.
    • Tour from Paris to Bruges Belgium on Thursday
    • Tour of Monet’s home and Gardens in Giverny on Saturday morning
    • Bastille Day Parade on our last day - Sunday

 

EVENING ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN YOUR TOUR:

    • Seine River Dinner cruise – 2 hour illumination city sites cruise with dinner and a glass of wine included on board the cruise on Monday night

 

    • Lido or Moulin Rouge night time show on Wed. night
    • Tour of Versailles Palace and Versailles Laser Sound, Light and Fountain Show on Saturday afternoon/night
    •  
    • Bastille Day Fireworks show on our last night- Sunday night

 

Also included is

  • free non smoking roommate matching of the same gender
  • Singlescruisesandtours trip escort

 

Trip cost: Only $2999 per person

Optional single room supplement for anyone not wishing our included roommate matching and not traveling with a friend: $1179

A $600 deposit is due within seven days of booking.  The balance is due April 5th.

Cancelation policy:  If you have traveled with us on one or more trips before then you can cancel for a full refund until March 1st.  After that date no refunds will be granted.

If you have not traveled with us before then you can cancel for a future trip credit of your $500 deposit toward any trip within one year of your canceled trip if your cancelation is made by March 1st.

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