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This 7-day Rail Tour tour will bring you to the sites and locations you have often dreamed of visiting. Imagine a day exploring Paris followed by a guided visit to the famed Louvre. Follow this up with visits to mansions and castles with culture and history in the mix.
Upon arrival at Paris Airport, make your way to your hotel which is located in the centre of town and ideal for exploring the many historic & artistic sites of the city on foot. After check-in, take some time to relax and then perhaps head out on foot to begin your discovery of the 'City of Lights'
This morning, after breakfast this Paris walking tour allows you to spend an attraction-filled half day exploring the old heart of Paris under the guidance of a local expert. You'll meet your guide in front of the fountain at Place Saint-Michel. From there your guide will take you to the site of Notre Dame explaining its fascinating 850 years of history, secrets and mysteries. See how this historic structure still stands proud after the recent fire and discover what the future holds for this magnificent building. Your Paris walking tour continues in the picturesque lanes of the Île de la Cite and Latin Quarter, where you'll see iconic buildings, like the Conciergerie, and learn about some of the historic personalities that strolled these streets before you. Visit the impressive church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois built in the 13th century. At the end of the tour, you will board a Seine river cruise to enjoy a relaxing ride and enjoy the city from the water. You will have free time for lunch, before reaching the Louvre Museum and meeting your guide. You'll skip the entrance lines and head straight inside for an amazing Louvre tour with your expert guide, including all the highlights of the world-famous collection. In the end, return to your hotel on your own. (B)
Today you will explore the magnificent Palace of Versailles with its luxuriant gardens. King Louis XIV, known as “the Sun” was the creative force of Versailles. He turned Versailles into a sumptuous estate and the symbol of absolute monarchy in the 17th century. Your guide will introduce to you the State Apartments with its 8 rooms, the Hall of Mirrors, the King and Queens’ apartments and since July 2006 some new rooms recently renovated, the Royal Chapel and the Royal Opera, then you will explore the Gardens and the Park. (B)
This morning you will make your way to the railway station to board your high-speed train from Paris to St. Pierre des Corps, where, after a journey of around 1 hour minutes you will meet your driver who will bring you from the railway station directly to your hotel in Tours. Check-in, then take some time to become acquainted with this city known as the “Garden of France (“Le Jardin de la France”) because of the many parks located within the city and is also famous for its Vouvray wine and chateaux.(B)
Today you will visit two of the most renowned castles in the Loire Valley. Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord are known for their Renaissance architecture and picturesque riverside settings. You will meet your driver-guide and travel comfortably to your destination, enjoying incredible landscapes and learning historical details and amusing anecdotes about the French kings and other nobles who have lived in this region. The distinctive architecture of the Chateau of Chenonceau makes it one of the most beautiful Chateaux in the Loire Valley. Also known as "the ladies chateau", Chenonceau is related to influential French women such as Diane de Poitiers or Catherine de Medici. Unmissable is the magnificent Renaissance gardens that surround the castle. At the end of your first visit, you will enjoy a delicious lunch away from the crowds at a private, family-owned château. Continue to the Château de Chambord for the second visit of the day. Leonardo da Vinci probably took part in the plan of the project. One of King Francois favourite castles, with more than 400 rooms and its double spiral staircase, Chambord represents the region's unique landmark. (B.L)
On today's tour, you'll discover unique castles located west of Tours on an unforgettable, memorable day. After meeting your driver guide in the centre of the town, continue to the castle of Azay le Rideau, which in 1518 was purchased by Gilles Berthelot, a great financier of the crown, when it was just a countryside manor. Berthelot envisioned the building of a magnificent château and, in fact, realised a true jewel, considered one of the most elegant châteaux of the Loire Valley. The style of Azay is recognised as a standard of French Renaissance architecture. After the visit, continue your journey through vineyards and apple orchards till Villandry, one of the last châteaux built of the Loire Valley. It was erected on the remains of a former fortress and is famous primarily for its extraordinary gardens, recognised as France's most beautiful Renaissance ones. Here you will see the combination of the creative genius of Italian gardeners with the ornamental tradition of French gardeners. After free time for lunch on your own in the charming village of Villandry, you will reach Ussé following the river Indre banks, famous for having inspired Charles Perrault when he wrote the"Sleeping Beauty" tale. Overlooking the river Indre and beautiful terraced gardens designed by Le Notre, this massive chateau conquers our imagination for its architecture's complexity. The last visit of the day will be at the Chateau of Langeais, famous for the wedding of Charles the VIIIth and Anne of Brittany. The impressive and military-looking chateau of Langeais was built in only five years under Louis XIth and till today offers a vivid impression of the XVth century atmosphere. Return to Tours (B)
Today marks the end of your Paris & Loire Valley vacation. At a time to suit your departing flight or train make your own way to the railway station or airport. (B)
Working with your travel agent, CIT Tours can extend your tour to include the South of France or wherever takes your fancy.
This tour departs Fridays from March 1 through to October 31, 2022