Best of France

For more information download the following PDF
Download Tour PDF
To sign up for this Tour:
Call Explorica at 1-888-310-7121
and mention Cynthia Bingham's tour #Bingham-7704
Or sign up online at:
Tour Costs:
Total Cost (under 23 years old): $3,890
Total Cost Adults (23+) 2 persons per room: $4,475

*The above tour costs reflect round-trip airfare
originating from Phoenix, Arizona.
Please call Cynthia Bingham (480-529-0595) for a price quote
if you want to fly out of a different gateway in the United States.

June 5, 2018

Day 1 Start Tour

Day 2 Bonjour Paris

Meet your tour director and check into hotel
Paris city walk: Île de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral visit, Île St. Louis, Latin Quarter visit
Louvre visit
Dinner in Latin Quarter
Details: Paris city walk
This city was made for walking. Stroll grand boulevards with sweeping views of the city, pristine parks with trees planted in perfect rows, and narrow streets crowded with vendors selling flowers, pastries and cheese. Then head to the Île de la Cité, a small island in the Seine, to see Notre Dame Cathedral.
Details: Latin Quarter visit
Visit one of the original college towns. The famous Sorbonne is the first and most illustrious of French universities. It was originally founded by Robert de Sorbon in 1253 and was actually one of the smallest colleges, but became the richest and most respected of the colleges of the University of Paris. Since the Sorbonne’s founding in the 1100s, the Left Bank has attracted not only intellectuals but also the cafés, bookstores and cinemas that tend to accompany them. It’s also attracted its fair share of famous residents like Ernest Hemingway.
Details: Louvre visit
The world's largest art museum, the Louvre is housed in a Medieval fortress-turned-castle so grand it's worth a tour itself. You walk through the 71-foot glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei and added in 1989, and step into another world--one with carved ceilings, deep-set windows, and so many architectural details you could spend a week just admiring the rooms. The Mona Lisa is here, as well as the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (the headless statue, circa 200 BC, discovered at Samothrace). The Louvre has seven different departments of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and antiquities. Don't miss the Egyptian collection, complete with creepy sarcophagi, or the collection of Greek ceramics, one of the largest in the world. (Please note the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.) Visit the Louvre! Enjoy French Cuisine! Cruise on the Seine River! 145 Tremont Street, 6th fl. Boston, MA 02111 tel: 1.888.310.7121 fax: 1.888.310.7088

Day 3 Paris Landmarks

Paris guided sightseeing tour: Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, École Militaire, Les Invalides, Conciergerie, Tuileries, Place Vendôme, Opera House Optional Versailles guided excursion $80State Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, Gardens of Versailles
Details: Paris guided sightseeing tour
What's that huge white arch at the end of the Champs-Élysées? The Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 after his victory at Austerlitz. Your licensed local guide will elaborate on this, and other Parisian landmarks. See some of the most famous sites, including the ornate, 19th-century Opera, the Presidential residence, the ultra-chic shops of the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, and the gardens of the Tuileries. You'll pass the Place de la Concorde, where in the center you’ll find the Obelisk of Luxor, a gift from Egypt in 1836, and the Place Vendôme, a huge square surrounded by 17th-century buildings. Spot chic locals (and tons of tourists) strolling the Champs-Élysées. Look up at the iron girders of the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World's Fair to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. See Les Invalides (a refuge for war wounded), the École Militaire (Napoleon's alma mater), and the Conciergerie (the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept during the French Revolution).

Day 4 Paris--Nice

Travel to Nice on the TGV (Europe’s fastest train)

Day 5 Monaco, Eze & Nice

Monaco & Èze tour director-led sightseeing: Prince’s Palace, parfumerie visit in Èze Nice tour director-led sightseeing: Vieux Nice, Promenade des Anglais
Details: Monaco & Èze tour director-led sightseeing
On the Mediterranean coast, five miles from the Italian border, lies the tiny, glittering independent state of Monaco. Ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century, Monaco is the epitome of French Riviera glamour. Your Tour Director will lead you on this brief adventure. Charles III opened a casino in the 1850s to avert financial straits; needless to say, his plan worked--so well, in fact, that Monaco is a nearly tax-free state. Drop in on Prince Rainier (OK, see his house, the Palais du Prince), and visit a parfumerie in nearby Eze, where rich scents are made from local flowers such as jasmine, rose, and lavender.
Details: Nice tour director-led sightseeing
The Côte d'Azur's largest city spills down the hillsides to pebble beaches that line the shore. Your Tour Director will show you around the narrow pedestrian streets and tiny squares of "Le Vieux Nice" (Old Town), which is sprinkled with old palaces and mansions. Stroll down the Promenade des Anglais, which runs parallel to the water. Backed by Nice's grand hotels, the Promenade was built in the 19th century for the British who flocked here en masse

Day 6 Cote d'Azur--Provence

Travel to Provence Provence tour director-led sightseeing: Avignon, Pont du Gard visit, Nîmes amphitheater visit, Les Baux de Provence
Details: Provence tour director-led sightseeing
Lush lavender fields, olive groves, terra-cotta roofs, and ochre walls lit by golden sunlight...your Tour Director will guide you through the splendor that is Provence. Explore legacies of the Roman Empire like the Pont du Gard aqueduct, a sophisticated work of engineering that is intact after more than 2,000 years, and visit the Nîmes amphitheater. Built by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, it was once the site of gory gladiator and animal combat, and is still used today for performances and bullfights (some things never change). Also see the medieval ruins of Baux-de-Provence.
Details: Pont du Gard visit
A true masterpiece of ancient architecture, the Pont du Gard aqueduct is one of the most beautiful Roman constructions in the region. Discover more about this startling monument as you follow the course of its history through the ages.

Day 7 Provence--Carcassonne

Travel to Carcassonne Carcassonne interactive sightseeing activity
Details: Carcassonne interactive sightseeing activity
The turrets and ramparts of this medieval citadel look as if they were drawn by a story book illustrator. The oldest sections of the wall were built by the Romans in the 1st century, but most of Carcassonne's current character is from the 13th century. From the battlements you can see over green plains and hills all the way to the Pyrenées. Follow your Tour Director on an interactive adventure through this preserved city that will bring the portcullis and drawbridge, restored houses and watchtowers to life! 145 Tremont Street, 6th fl. Boston, MA 02111 tel: 1.888.310.7121 fax: 1.888.310.7088

Day 8 Carcassonne--Bordeaux

Travel to Bordeaux via Toulouse Toulouse city walk
Details: Travel to Bordeaux via Toulouse
Travel to Bordeaux, the city that is synonymous with the wine trade, by way of Toulouse. Nicknamed "the pink city" because of its brick buildings, Toulouse has a quiet Mediterranean feel, and often seems more Spanish than French.

Day 9 St. Emilion & Arcachon

St. Emilion & Arcachon excursion
Details: St. Emilion & Arcachon excursion
Two of the most beautiful towns in the region are the walled city of St. Emilion and the resort town of Arcachon. Arcachon sits in a pine forest, and is a popular boating center. St. Emilion is filled with houses of golden limestone and surrounded on all sides by vineyards. It was founded in the 8th century, when persecuted Benedictine monks settled here, expanding the underground caves into a system of tunnels and chapels. Eventually they carved the Eglise Monolithe out of a cliff and the building now dominates the town square.

Day 10 Bordeaux--Loire Valley

Travel to Loire Valley via Cognac Cognac distillery visit Authentic French brasserie dinner
Details: Cognac distillery visit
Find out what makes the Cognac Region famous on your guided tour of a local brandy distillery.

Day 11 Loire Valley

Castles Loire châteaux tour director-led sightseeing: Azay-le-Rideau visit, Château de Chenonceau visit Troglodyte Village guided visit Dinner in Troglodyte Village
Details: Loire châteaux tour director-led sightseeing
France’s aristocrats began building defensive castles in the Loire Valley in the 11th century. A few hundred years later, their descendants created pleasure palaces among the lush green forests and wandering waterways. Today, sumptuous Renaissance castles stud the banks of the silvery Loire River, the longest in France. First stop: Azay-le-Rideau. This castle’s limestone turrets and slate spires are set on an island in the middle of the Indre River. Almost completely surrounded by water, the castle mixes Gothic and Renaissance styles to fairy-tale effect. But few castles can compete with Château de Chenonceau. Built on a series of arches over the Cher River, Chenonceau was designed by a woman in the 16th century. It was once inhabited by Catherine de Medicis, who commissioned the delicate spirals and the formal gardens, and had the bridge covered by a two-story stone gallery.
Details: Dinner in Troglodyte Village
Dug by men from the XIIth century onwards to extract the stone, “the tuffeau” destined for building, The Cave aux Moines was used as far back as the beginning of the XXth century to cultivate mushrooms. The beginning of the cave and the first metres of the galleries were used by people to live; that kind of living was called the "troglodytes". Here people and animals lived as a community.

Day 12 Loire Valley--St. Malo

Travel to St. Malo St. Malo interactive sightseeing activity: Church of St. Vincent, Tomb of Jacques Cartier Crêperie dinner
Details: St. Malo interactive sightseeing activity
For centuries, this walled seaport on the English Channel was known as the city of pirates. The pirates are gone, but the granite town remains, always seeming to be reaching towards the green-blue sea. With your Tour Director, embark on an interactive adventure that will bring St. Malo to life! Including a visit to the Cathedral St. Vincent, begun in the 11th century but not finished until the spire was mounted in 1987. It houses the tomb of Jacques Cartier, who discovered the St. Lawrence River and founded Quebec.
Details: Crêperie dinner
Indulge in one of France’s most delicious culinary traditions—the crêpe. These thin pancakes can be wrapped around tasty fillings from fromage (cheese) to chicken. For dessert, have a sweet crêpe with chocolate, Nutella, or just a slathering of butter and a sprinkle of sugar. 145 Tremont Street, 6th fl. Boston, MA 02111 tel: 1.888.310.7121 fax: 1.888.310.7088

Day 13 St. Malo--Normandy

Travel to Normandy Mont-St-Michel monastery visit D-Day beaches Arromanches Museum visit
Details: Mont-St-Michel monastery visit
Perched high on a tidal island at the mouth of the Couesnon River, the Mont St-Michel Monastery rises impressively from behind the fortified walls of an old fort. Explore the narrow streets and old buildings before climbing to the center of the island to see the church itself.
Details: D-Day beaches
See the D-Day beaches where on June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied troops landed in an effort to recapture the coast from Germany. All along the beaches, deserted German bunkers have been turned into memorials and the stark white crosses and stars that mark the cemeteries are grim reminders of the war.
Details: Arromanches Museum visit
Ingenious military engineering allowed the Allied forces to land at Arromanches on D-Day. Barges towed 600,000 tons of concrete across the English Channel, sinking them to create an artificial harbor, and then 33 jetties and 10 miles of floating roadways allowed the troops to land in France. Learn about this feat and other at the Arromanches Museum, where dioramas, interactive displays, and models detail the Allied landing.

Day 14 Normandy--Paris

Travel to Paris via Rouen Rouen tour director-led sightseeing: Cathedral visit, Old Clock Seine River cruise
Details: Rouen tour director-led sightseeing
Like Paris, the port city of Rouen is divided in two by the Seine. Your Tour Director will take you through the medieval cobblestone streets of the city where Joan of Arc was burned in 1431. See the Old Clock surrounded by half-timbered houses and shops, and visit Notre Dame cathedral, a favorite subject of Claude Monet. With its lacy Gothic façade and mismatched spires, Rouen’s cathedral is one of the most compelling in France. Hitler certainly thought so—the first time it caught fire in WWII, he ordered his troops to save it. See the inspired interior, with its columns topped by carved faces, and learn about the history of the church. Fun fact: one of the steeples is called the Tour de Beurre. It was built with money donated by a group of wealthy people who wanted to eat butter during Lent.
Details: Seine River cruise
See the city from the water on an hour-long cruise along the River Seine. The Seine cuts right through Paris, dividing the city in half. See the Eiffel tower rising up on the Left Bank, the walls of the Louvre on the Right Bank. A guide will point out other monuments and architectural marvels as you pass, many of which are illuminated by clear white light at night.

Day 15 End tour