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Highlights of France (by Rail):
Paris, Normandy, Avignon, & Nice
From the iconic sights of Paris and the historic beaches of Normandy, to the stunning scenery of Provence and the sunshine of the French Riviera, this vacation gives you some of the best France has to offer.
• 3 Nights Paris
• 2 Nights Normandy
• 2 Nights Avignon
• 3 Nights Nice
• Paris City Tour &
  Seine Cruise
• 3-Day Central Zone
  Paris Visite Pass
• Paris TripBuilder City Guide
• Private WWII Landing Beaches
  & Sites Tour
• Provence Tour
• Cote d'Azur Tour
• 1st-Class Rail Between Cities
  with Seat Reservations
• Daily Breakfast
Arrive Paris:

Relax at your hotel, or explore Paris on your own using your Paris Visite Pass for unlimited use of the city's public transportation.

(Accommodations, Paris)


After breakfast, see the legendary sights of the city, including the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, before taking in the dramatic beauty of the city from a Seine River Cruise. Don't forget to take a stroll in the evening to see the City of Light on display.

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Paris)


After breakfast, enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city. A few suggestions: Napoleon's Tomb at Les Invalides; the Rodin Museum; the beautiful stained glass at Saint Chapelle; the view from the steps of Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre, then strolling down the hill past art galleries and restaurants. Use your Visite Pass to get from location to location.

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Paris)


After breakfast, depart by train for the Normandy city of Bayeux (2½ hours). After checking into your hotel, explore this charming and historic town. Be sure to visit the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidered cloth over 230 feet long that tells the story of the events leading up to William of Normandy's victory over Harold, Earl of Wessex. William's victory in 1066 made him the first Norman king of England. Also visit the Cathedral of Bayeux, situated in the heart of the old town, fortunately undamaged during World War II. The cathedral is a masterpiece of 11th-century Norman architecture; the surrounding area has many half-timbered houses and other buildings dating from that period.

(Breakfast, Paris; Accommodations, Bayeux)


This morning, meet your private driving guide for a full-day tour of the major World War II sites in Normandy. Start with a drive along Juno and Gold Beaches, where the Canadians and the British troops landed. Continue on to Arromanches and learn how the artificial port built there allowed forces to unload the necessary equipment to win the war. Continue with Omaha Beach and visit the very moving American Cemetery. Then drive along Omaha Beach where your guide will show you some of the German bunkers and machine-gun nests. See Pointe du Hoc where the Ranger heroes of colonel James Earl Rudder climbed the cliff to destroy a German battery, a key action for the success of D-Day and therefore victory in World War II!

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Bayeux)

Bayeux to Avignon:

Today you make the six-hour train journey to Avignon, with two train changes included. You'll arrive in Avignon at mid-afternoon. Check into your hotel and then explore this historic town, home to the Popes during the 14th century. The Palace of the Popes is the largest Gothic palace in the world; 25 of its rooms can be visited (admission is extra). Nearby you can have a spectacular view of the city walls, the Rhône River and the "Pont d'Avignon," a bridge started in the 12th century but never completed due to the periodic flooding of the river. Leave some time for shopping for local products, such as olive-based soaps and creams.

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Bayeux)


Today you'll have a full-day tour of Provence. Your English-speaking driving guide will pick you up at your hotel. Start with a panoramic sightseeing tour of Avignon, followed by a visit to the Pont Du Gard, a UNESCO site and one of the most well-preserved aqueducts of the Roman period in the first century. Then a stop to visit the medieval village Les Baux de Provence, located on a rocky spur in the Alpilles mountains. The historical center has the Museum of Santons, the Hotel des Porcelets (a beautiful 16th-century house) and the St Vincent church, a pretty Romanesque building.

Next is a stop at the Roman monuments (Triumphal Arch and funeral monument) in St. Remy de Provence. This charming town is located in a field of olive trees whose landscape was painted several times by Van Gogh. On the Wednesday tour you will have free time here for lunch on your own.

Then continue along the picturesque roads through olive groves, vineyards and fields to see some of the most beautiful villages in Luberon + Provence set among red and yellow ochre cliffs such as Roussillon, as well as a panoramic view of Gordes, a hill top village built only with dry local stones. On the Tuesday tour you will have free time in Gordes during the Provençal market for lunch on your own. On the Sunday tour lunch time will be in L'Isle sur la Sorgue. (The order of visits to the towns will change accordingly).

For tours taken from June through August, you may also stop at either the famous and picturesque Senanque Abbey or visit a Lavender Museum (entrance fee included), to discover the flower symbol of Provence is the next stop.

Return to Avignon with drop off at your hotel.

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Avignon)

Avignon to Nice:

Today you begin with a 3½-hour train ride to Nice, the chic capital of the Côte d'Azur. After checking into your hotel, stroll along the Grand Promenade to soak in the atmosphere of this jewel of the Riviera—once part of Italy, but for the past 150 years definitely French. Rest of the day at leisure.

(Breakfast, Avignon; Accommodations, Nice)


Today you will have a full-day tour of the Côte d'Azur. You will be picked up at your hotel at 8:30am by an English-speaking driving guide in an air-conditioned 8-passenger minibus. Your first stop is Cannes, home to the famous film festival. You'll see the Old Town and the resorts along the sea front. Next you travel to Antibes via the seaside road, passing through the towns of Juan-les-Pins and Cap d'Antibes along the way. Founded by the Greeks in the 4th century, Antibes today has one of the best yacht harbors in Europe, as well as an excellent sea front art museum featuring works by Picasso and Giacometti. You will have free time here.

You'll return to Nice via the seaside road, arriving in the Old Town in time for lunch (not included). After lunch, you'll proceed along the Lower Corniche to Monaco, with a brief stop at Villefrance for photos of the 16th-century citadel. Upon arrival in Monaco you'll have a panoramic tour of the area around the Palace, including the cathedral where Princess Grace is buried. There will be a stop here to permit time to walk around the narrow streets near the Palace. Continue to Monte Carlo city with a drive along the famous Formula One Grand Prix circuit. A stop in Casino Square will permit time for an optional visit to the Casino (10 Euros entrance fee).

Returning by the Middle Corniche, you'll stop for a visit at the Fragonard Perfume Factory. Then you'll have some free time to explore the wonderful medieval village of Èze, known for its botanical garden. Return to Nice and be dropped at your hotel.

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Nice)


Day at leisure for you to explore Nice on your own.

(Breakfast & Accommodations, Nice)

Depart Nice:

After breakfast, it's time to head to the train station or airport for your journey home, or to continue on to your next Avanti destination!

(Breakfast, Nice)

** Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change