RMC Travel & The Friends of Montauk present:
The BEST of FRANCE
Paris - Provence -The French Riviera
October 13 - 22, 2011
PARIS — the “City of Lights” is enchanting at every turn, at any time and in every season. There is so much to see; The Cathedral of Notre Dame, the famous Champ- Elyees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower. Around every corner and narrow street, you’ll find quaint splendor that highlights the character of this beautiful city. During our stay, there will also be an Optional Tour to fabulous Chartres. Paris simply glistens with riches to be explored. Even if you have been to Paris before, it is a city that you can return to again and again.
For those who have been to Paris before, there will be some alternative programs.
Instead of the morning Paris tour, you can have the morning at leisure and then take an afternoon ½ day tour to the Cathedral of Chartres and its famous stained-glass window. Note: For those on the morning Paris city tour, you can also go to Chartres in the afternoon as an additional optional tour. There will be an optional tour to the Normandy region and Mont Saint Michel, known as the “Marvel of the West”, on October 15.
There are a few places you can’t help but fall in love with at first sight. Provence is one of them. Located in south easternmost corner of France, its Luberon Mountains, rippling lavender fields and honey-stoned hilltop villages have inspired everyone from Van Gogh and Cezanne, to the Romans who settled on the area in the second century B.C. Its extraordinary history and bewitching natural beauty make it a special place to visit.
After enjoying the unique and subtle flavors of the wines, cheeses and traditional dishes, we head south toward the French Riviera to fabled Cannes, our overnight destination. And no stay on the Riviera is complete without a visit to Monte Carlo, where we will have a chance to play in the famed Casino, and have time to explore the fabled Cote d'Azur.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:
•Round-trip Jitney transportation to JFK
•Round-trip jet flights to Paris & return from Nice
•Round-trip transfers between airport and hotels
•Accommodations in Superior hotels
•Airline & hotel taxes
•Service charges at the hotel
•Additional meals as indicated
•Paris Sightseeing tour or Cathedral of Chartres tour
•Sightseeing entrance fees
•Welcome dinner atop the Eiffel Tower restaurant
•Private guided tour of the Louvre Museum
•Optional tour to Normandy’s Mont Saint Michel
•Kayaking on the Sorgue River in Provence (or by Van for landlubbers)
•Picnic lunch in a Provencal meadow
• Special Farewell Dinner in Monte Carlo•Plus a Contribution to “Friends of Montauk” fund
(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Day 1, Thursday, October 13: To Paris
Depart from Montauk for Paris.
Day 2, Friday, October 14: In Paris (D)
Morning arrival in Paris. After clearing customs, we transfer to our Left Bank hotel, time to rest and get accustomed to the time change before having our “Welcome to Paris” dinner atop the famous Eiffel Tower with its great views of the City of Lights as glorious Paris takes on a new brilliance at night. As you dine, the city’s monuments and sites shine with a delicate and ethereal beauty.
Day 3, Saturday, October 15: In Paris:
Choice of Two Tours – City Tour or Chartres. Or Optional Full Day Mont Saint Michel Tour (B)
For First Time Visitors: This morning’s sightseeing tour highlights the best of Paris including visiting the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, the Sorbonne, the Pantheon and the intriguing Left Bank, Sacre-Coeur and a visit to the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. In the afternoon, why not go to the Louvre, one of the world’s great museums to experience so much of the treasures housed here. Or “walk the city” as Paris is a wonderful walking city with so much to see and do.
For those who have been to Paris and want to see more of France, you can take an afternoon tour to the Cathedral of Chartres. Drive across the Beauce Plateau, nicknamed the “Bread basket of France”, as you come to the Cathedral known for its period of perfection between Romanesque and Gothic arts.
It’s famous throughout the world for its stained-glass windows. Also available as an Optional Tour for those who took the morning city tour.
Optional Full Day Mont Saint Michel Tour: This full day tour will take you across the Normandy Region as you start with brunch (including drinks) at L’Aigle. Then onto Mont Saint Michel that floats like a mirage on the horizon — for a guided visit to the Abbey which was rightly named “The Marvel of the West”. The actual abbey of Mont St. Michel is the reason to visit. Saint Michael, whose gilded statue decorates the top of the abbey's spire, was the patron saint of many French kings, making this a favored sight for French royalty through the ages. Mont St. Michel used to be, and is still today, the most famous Pilgrimage Centers during the Middle Ages. Return to Paris in late afternoon.
Evening on your own. Why not experience some of the world famous nightspots like the Lido or the Moulin Rouge.
Day 4, Sunday, October 16: To Avignon (B)
An early breakfast we transfer to the rail station where we board our high-speed train south to Provence. Soon we arrive in Avignon, the great city of the popes, and for centuries one of the major artistic center of France with its spectacular monuments and museums, countless impressively decorated buildings, ancient churches, chapels, convents. After checking in at our hotel, we tour the city that is immaculately preserved and enclosed by medieval wall. Built in 1403 by the Anti-Pope Benedict XIII, the last of nine popes who based themselves here throughout most of the fourteenth century, Avignon is second only to Paris in national importance. Our tour will highlight the celebrated Palace of the Popes as we view this extraordinary 14th-century palace that reflects the civil and military architecture of medieval times. This evening experience more places to eat and drink than you could cover in a month.
Day 5, Monday, October 17: In Avignon. Kayak Excursion along the Sorgue River (B)
This morning, (weather permitting) we whet our appetite for adventure aboard a kayak as we do a one-hour paddle along the picturesque, mysterious Sorgue River (landlubbers can drive through the landscape rich with scenic beauty and will not miss out should you opt to take the dry road). Underground tributaries on the Vaucluse Plain burst forth into a full-fledged natural springs as you glide past waterwheels and historic reminders suspended in time when grain and olive oil production were in their height. Our destination is L’Isle-sur-la Sorgue, where we all meet and continue to spend the rest of the day in the picturesque Luberon along narrow country roads from Gordes, where we take a bit of time to stroll the arcaded medieval lanes and sample some of their cheeses and breads. Continue to Roussillon, where you can have lunch on your own at a local café and then have time to explore on our own the landscape that immerses itself in different shades of light, an inspiration to many painters….17 shades of ochre have immortalized these richly colored town since Roman times. Return to Avignon for the balance of the day free to explore on your own and enjoy the streets and shops of the city.
Day 6, Tuesday, October 18: In Avignon. Excursion to Arles and Aix-en-Provence (B/L)
Full day touring today. Our first stop is Arles, the spiritual soul of Provence as we walk back to the 7th century BC. Nestled among pretty red roofs is the well preserved Roman amphitheatre. Then it’s down the boulevards lined with candy-colored shutters of 18th century manor houses and into leafy squares that are the famed paradise for so many artists. We will have our picnic baskets onboard our coach as we stop in a meadow along the way to Aix-en-Provence for lunch. On to Aix-en-Provence, the most charming center in all Provence. This faded university town was once a seat of aristocracy with its streets walked by counts and kings. Founded in 122 B.C. by a Roman general, Caius Sextius Calvinus, who named it Aquae Sextiae after himself, Aix (pronounced "ex") has been, in turn, a Roman military outpost, a civilian colony, the administrative capital of a province of the later Roman Empire, the seat of an archbishop, and the official residence of the medieval comtes de Provence. The celebrated son of this old capital city of Provence, Paul Cézanne immortalized the countryside nearby just as he painted it. We will have a bit of time for independent exploring before returning to Avignon. Dinner on our own.
Day 7, Wednesday, October 19: To Grasse, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Vence & Cannes (B)After an early breakfast, we board our coach for our journey through the French countryside to Grasse, and a guided tour of a perfumery in the world’s capital of the perfume industry. We continue with a photo stop at Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a medieval village known for its violet production. Our stop is highlighted by a tasting of the Riviera’s special fruit and flower sweets at the Florian confectionary. On to St. Paul de Vence, a picturesque medieval village and artist colony where we will enjoy exploring its ancient cobblestone lanes, fortified walls and art galleries. The picture perfect views and plays on light here make it clear why so many famous painters including Renoir, Chagall, and Picasso, who came here for inspiration. Continue to Cannes for our French Riviera headquarters. Evening on our own to explore.
Day 8, Thursday, October 20: In Cannes (B)A full day to explore Cannes on your own. Visit the Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Michel Archangel Church. This unusual church is unmistakably distinctive, thanks to the cerulean blue onion-shaped dome that sits atop it. Three golden crosses also decorate the top of this Russian Orthodox Church, which is one of several sites that show how the Russian aristocracy influenced the city of Cannes in the 1800's. Explore the spectacular coastline of the Lower Corniche by renting a car and drive to the fabled resorts along the Riviera such as St Tropez, St Raphael and on the other side of Cannes, famed Antibes. In the evening, why not try your luck at the Casino Croisette? This casino is one of the most well known and loved casinos in France and it is also one of the largest. Near the main promenade, the casino features all of the classic games and slot machines. The ornate room offers something interesting at every turn, from blackjack to roulette. Jackets for men and appropriate dress for women are required.
Day 9, Friday, October 21: In Cannes. To Monte Carlo (B/D)
Morning at leisure then in the afternoon, we depart for the Old Town of Monte Carlo where we will see the Palace Cathedral, Cousteau and the Oceanographic Museum. Some free time at Casino Square to do some luxury shopping, see the stunning gardens and mega yachts in the harbor or simply watch the beautiful people at play in their favorite haunt before we have our farewell dinner in this charming town. After dinner, there will be some time to spend in the “Golden Square”, home to the casinos and the famous "Hôtel de Paris", where you can try your luck at the roulette or baccarat tables, if you’re feeling lucky. Return from Monte Carlo, brilliantly lit up at night and offering magical panoramic views, back to Cannes.
Day 10, Saturday, October 22: To Montauk (B)
An early morning departure to Nice airport for our connecting flights home. Upon arrival in New York, we return back to Montauk.
NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change due to conditions beyond our control.
Our Hotels (or similar)
IN PARIS: Hotel Le Littre
Located on the Left Bank or Rive gauche as it is known in French, this charming, refined and elegant structure, with a warm hospitality, plunged in the beauties of the Latin District, rich of art, culture, museums, shopping and green areas to relax. Located in a wonderful District, between Saint-Germain-des-Près and Montparnasse. The hotel built in 1929 with a typically Parisian offers charm, elegant and a classic atmosphere.
IN AVIGNON: Grand Hotel Avignon
With 122 rooms, The Avignon Grand Hôtel is ideally located at the foot of the city’s ramparts, which date from the Middle Ages, and just a stone’s throw from the Palais des Papes [Popes’ Palace]. This 4-star hotel combines modernity with a décor true to the Provençal tradition. All guest rooms are spacious and offer a wide range of services.
IN CANNES: Hotel Gray-d-Albion
Close to the famous Croisette promenade and the Palais des Festivals events centre, the Hotel Gray d Albion welcomes you into a refined world of not only comfort and leisure, but also well-being and relaxation with its private beach. Discover the unforgettable charm of our 191 rooms and 8 suites, "38 The Restaurant", beach restaurant and "38 The Bar".
For a complete brochure and registration form,
please click here.
Need assistance or have questions? Call Raymond at (631) 668-5327
or e-mail at Rcortell@aol.com