Dates: April 27 - May 9, 2015
Springtime in France with Village Church
*Open to the public*
A custom 11-night tour of France designed by Lisa Ball Travel Design, LLC
Tour Dates: April 27 – May 9, 2015
*Please note: itinerary could change based on availabilities
Monday, April 27: Group will depart Kansas City for a U.S. gateway city then on to Paris on an overnight flight! Meals included: Dinner during the flight
Tuesday, April 28: Arrive in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport! A private motor-coach will meet our group and take us to Normandy. Our first stop on this day is Claude Monet’s Home and Gardens at Giverny. A local guide, Ariane from the Claude Monet Foundation will escort our group through the Impressionist Master’s gardens that he planted himself followed by time in his charming home. Afterwards, we will all have lunch together at Restaurant Les Nympheas, a lovely terraced café located right by Monet’s Gardens.
Our journey will continue to the coast of Normandy to the resort town of Deauville where our hotel accommodations for the next two nights will be arranged at the 4-star Hôtel du Golf Barriére. At this hotel the group will receive half-board accommodations (breakfast and dinner included) with views overlooking the hotel’s golf course and countryside. Meals included: Light Breakfast during flight; Lunch at Restaurant Les Nympheas in Giverny; and Dinner at Hôtel du Golf Barriére
Wednesday, April 29: Following breakfast at Hôtel du Golf Barriére, the group will be immersed all day in the World War II sites in Normandy. An expert guide will be with us to help us with the history and timeline of events that occurred on June 6, 1944. Our program this day will include:
Overlord Museum – This newer museum is located close to Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer. This museum which opened in June 2013 offers an impressive overview to the D-Day Landings and an unparalleled collection of war machinery collected by one man, Michel Leloup.
Omaha Beach – We will park and be on the beach walking along the shore and see the enigmatic monuments erected to honor the soldiers.
Pointe du Hoc – Sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission, this evocative site has a new visitor’s center opened in 2014 offering even more information about the courage and sacrifice it took the US soldiers involved to capture this area.
Lunch Break – We will dine together at La Sapinière Hotel Restaurant located near Omaha Beach. Our lunch will consist of a delicious quiche, salad and dessert and you can try a glass of Normandy cider if you wish!
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial – This is a moving and emotional memorial sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission where 9,387 US soldiers and officers are interred. The Visitor’s Center contains an enormous amount of information about the soldiers who lost their lives and we will want to remain here to absorb as much as possible.
Our day will end with a drive along the shore which passes by Arromanches-les-Bains, the British invasion beaches: Gold and Sword and the Canadian beach: Juno before we return to our hotel for some decompression time and another great gourmet dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner at Hôtel du Golf Barriére; Lunch at La Sapiniere Hotel Restaurant
Thursday, April 30: Following breakfast at Hôtel du Golf Barriére, the group will depart Normandy and travel to France’s romantic capital city – Paris! We will have three days and nights to soak up the sites in the City of Light! Our Paris hotel for the next three nights is the 4-star Marriott Ambassador Hotel, Paris Opera. This hotel boasts a great city center location at 16 Boulevard Haussmann in the Opera District on the right bank of the Seine and close to the Louvre Museum and the wonderful shopping at Galeries Lafayette and the famous department store, Au Printemps. The Ambassador Hotel reflects its historic legacy with a 1920s Art Deco style surrounding the Bar Lindbergh, the celebration site of the American aviator’s landmark transatlantic flight. The hotel also has the elegant restaurant, 16 Haussmann though there are many wonderful restaurants and cafes within an easy walk of the Ambassador.
*Note: There is one offered Optional Tour late this afternoon: The Taste of Paris Walking Tour; exact start time TBA. Tour will commence from the lobby of our hotel.
Later Tonight: Our group will experience the Eiffel Tower together at night! It will be magical to see Paris in the evening from the top of the Eiffel Tower! You will have a choice though to ascend to the first level where you do have a commanding view or go to the top of the Eiffel Tower for an even more spectacular view and you can buy a glass of champagne for a toast! Meals included: Breakfast at Hôtel du Golf Barriére
Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2: These next two days will be spent experiencing all that is Paris! Each traveler will receive The Paris Pass, a specially designed sight-seeing package providing almost everything needed to discover The City of Light in one system! The Paris Pass encompasses the Paris Museum Pass with free entrance to more than 55 world-famous museums and monuments such as the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, the Palace of Versailles and much more; the Paris Attractions Pass with free entry to Paris’ top attractions such as a Seine River Cruise, Tour Montparnasse and a Wine Tasting experience at the stylish Ô Chateau; the Paris Visite Pass offering free unlimited travel on the Paris Métro, city buses and the RER train within central Paris; a free hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Paris with Paris Big Bus Tour (valid for one day); a chance to skip the lines at Paris’ busiest museums and attractions; special offers and discounts at shops and restaurants in central Paris; plus a 120+ page Guidebook with maps and directions to Paris landmarks and sights. Several Optional Tours will also be offered this day.
Meals included: Breakfast at the Ambassador Hotel each day
*On Saturday, it is suggested we visit the Palace of Versailles together since we have our own transportation. We can make it a half-day excursion and the entrance to the Palace is covered by the Paris Museum Pass!
Optional Tours in Paris: A selection of carefully planned Optional Tours will be offered during our stay in Paris. May of the walking tours will fall on Friday, May 1 with one on April 30 and another on the afternoon of May 2. Additionally, we will offer a chance to see the iconic La Moulin Rouge! Please refer to the Optional Tours Menu (available October 2014) for more details.
Sunday, May 3: Following breakfast at the Ambassador Opera hotel, our private chartered bus will take us to Avignon – the medieval city in the heart of Provence! On the way though we will make a planned stop at the Burgundy town of Beaune! This is a delightful city which retains its medieval wall and our bus will be able to park right within the city center behind Beaune’s prime tourist attraction: Hôtel-Dieu (Beaune Hospices). We’ll spend a couple of hours here and this is your chance to peruse the town’s shops, have lunch on your own or pay admission to visit Hôtel-Dieu (Beaune Hospices). After this stop, we’ll journey on to Avignon arriving later in the afternoon at our next hotel, the 4-star Novotel Avignon Centre located on Boulevard Saint Roch just outside the city’s ancient walls. We will stay at the Novotel Avignon Centre for three nights. This evening we will all dine together at our hotel’s restaurant for a relaxing Group Dinner!
Meals included: Breakfast at the Ambassador Hotel in Paris and Dinner at our Avignon hotel
Monday, May 4: After breakfast at the hotel, group members can decide if they would like to remain in Avignon to discover this fine city which contains the Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes) and the well-known St. Bénezet Bridge or browse through the Les Halles markets selling olive oils, cheeses, breads and more or walk to the Jardin du Rochers des Dom, a delightful park that offers a panoramic view of the Rhône valley. Others may want to venture out of Avignon with our own bus to visit Provençal villages such as L’Isle sur la Sorgue, the legendary antiques market town where it is Market Day! In the afternoon, we’ll offer a guided wine-themed Optional Tour visiting the Côtes du Rhône wine valley and specifically Chateauneuf du Pape with a brief tour of the ancient Pope’s summer Palace, an informational session on the history of the town and its viticulture, then drive through the vineyards and a tasting at a local winery with a return by early evening to Avignon.
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Tuesday, May 5: Following breakfast at the hotel, group members can spend time in Avignon in the morning. Then in the afternoon an Optional Tour will be offered to see the exceptional Roman ruins found in Provence. In the company of an expert local guide, Claire we will trek to other towns near Avignon to see the famous Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard and the towns of Uzès and Nîmes containing more ancient Roman monuments.
Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Wednesday, May 6: Following breakfast at the Novotel, the group will depart Avignon on our private bus which will make a special stop at Château Val Joanis, a superb vineyard with origins dating back to Roman times in the Luberon region of Provence about an hour east of Avignon. While at Château Val Joanis, the group will tour the wine cellars with an explanation of the Château’s wine-making process, take a wine tasting class in addition to time in the Château’s exquisite gardens which was granted the designation of being a Remarkable Garden of France. After the tours, the group will be treated to a multi-course lunch featuring Provençal dishes chosen and prepared by the Château’s head chef and paired with the Château’s fine wines.
The French Riviera is our final destination this day and by mid-afternoon the group will arrive at the Mediterranean coastal city of Nice. We will be delivered at our hotel base for the next three nights at the 4-star Radisson Blu Nice situated on the renowned Promenade des Anglais offering our entire group rooms with stunning sea views. Tonight, consider relaxing on the hotel’s rooftop terrace, strolling along the Promenade des Anglais or dining outside on the hotel’s private beach.
Meals included: Breakfast at the Avignon hotel and Lunch at Château Val Joanis
Thursday, May 7: Today following breakfast at the hotel, everyone will have the chance to visit more of the Côte d’Azur and the glittering principality of Monaco! Our full day tour includes seeing the tourist area called Monaco-Ville where the Prince’s Palace is located housing the Napoleon Collection and the daily pomp of the Changing of the Guard. Nearby is the Cathedral of Monaco where Hollywood legend Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier and where she is also interred. Next, we will stop at Monte Carlo’s illustrious Casino. Our tour of the Cote-d’Azur will be capped by a visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild near Cap Ferrat, the extravagant mansion built by the eccentric Baroness de Rothschild with its gorgeous gardens. While at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild we will all indulge in a coffee and dessert break at the Villa’s café! In the evening, either dine at our hotel or venture into the Old Town; the hotel’s concierge will offer restaurant recommendations (note: during high season, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus back and forth to the Old Town or you can take a taxi).
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel
Friday, May 8: After breakfast at our Nice hotel, let’s discover this wonderful Riviera city! On this day our tour manager/guide, will show us some of Nice’s charming Old Town filled with shops and cafes and here you will see the famed Cours Saleya Flower Market. The tour will additionally visit the Chagall Museum which houses the greatest collection of works by Marc Chagall. Lunch will be on your own in the Old Town as there are many good cafes in the area. Early in the afternoon, we will travel the short distance to the lovely village of Éze and the group can visit the famed Fragonard Perfume Factory. The men (or if some ladies wish), can go for an Optional Tour where you can be driven in a hot Ferrari along the famous Corniches and into the city of Nice!
Tonight: This evening, the group will meet at our hotel’s restaurant, Bleu Citron (or if the weather is great, La Terrasse Restaurant on the roof for a delicious Last Night Group Dinner which salutes our fabulous trip!
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel and Group Dinner at hotel.
Saturday, May 9: On this day we depart from France via the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport. We will have an initial flight from Nice to another gateway European city such as Amsterdam and then we fly home to the U.S. We will be back in Kansas City the same evening.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel in Nice and Lunch on board flight