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Unforgettable France


  • Duration: 14 days
  • Price: from $3,499
Explore France on this unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most beautiful and historic countries. From Paris, the “City of Light”, to Normandy, home to the WWII D-Day landings, to Loire Valley, with its luxurious chateaux, to our Provence tours, with its old world charm, and last but not least, to Nice, the stunning capital of Cote D’Azur. Space is limited for this trip of a lifetime!

Itinerary at a glance Tour Highlights Your tour includes
  • 3 night in Paris (1 night in the beginning & 2 nights after Loire Valley)
  • 3 nights in Normandy
  • 2 nights in Loire Valley
  • 2 nights in Provence (Avignon)
  • 2 nights in French Riviera (Nice)
  • City Tour of Paris – Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe & more!
  • Monet’s House & Gardens (Giverny)
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame (Rouen)
  • Mont St. Michel (Normandy)
  • Normandy Beaches
  • Normandy American Cemetery
  • Chateau de Chambord (Loire Valley)
  • Chateau Villandry (Loire Valley)
  • Chateau Chenonceau (Loire Valley)
  • Wine Tasting (Civray de Touraine)
  • Versailles Optional Excursion
  • Aix-en-Provence
  • Cezanne Studio (Aix-en-Provence)
  • Palais des Papes (Avignon)
  • Calanques Cruise (Cassis)
  • Round-trip airfare from New York
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-France ground transportation and transfers, including TGV train from Paris to Provence
  • Accommodations at first class hotels
  • 17 meals: 12 full buffet breakfasts (B) and 5 dinners (D)
  • Glass of wine with included dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees
  • Experienced English-speaking Tour Director throughout

Click on the tabs below to learn more!

Day 1
Depart USA.
Your fascinating  France tours begin this evening with an overnight flight to Paris.
Day 2
Arrive Paris (France).
Arrive in the beautiful city of Paris, also known as the “City of Light.” For centuries, Paris has been one of the world’s most important cities and certainly one of the world’s most beautiful. Not only is Paris the capital of France, but Paris is considered the global capital for cuisine, art, fashion, and more. After being picked up at the airport by your Tour Director, you’ll be taken to your upscale hotel. You’ll have some time to say “bonjour” to Paris before a welcome drink and briefing at your hotel. Mercure Vaugirard Porte de Versailles Hotel
Day 3
After breakfast, travel to the lovely town of Giverny. The town rose to fame in 1883, when the famous impressionist Claude Monet “discovered” the village and moved there. Here, enjoy a visit to the Monet House and Gardens and see firsthand the inspiration for many of Monet’s most famous works. Your next stop is Rouen, one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe located on the River Seine. Upon arrival in Rouen, the capital of Normandy, you’ll enjoy a walking tour and visit the famous (and imposing) Notre Dame cathedral, which was the subject of a series of paintings by none other than Claude Monet. You’ll also visit the Place due Vieux-Marche (or “Old Marketplace”), where Joan of Arc was executed for heresy in the 15th century and where a church in her name was built in 1979. Continue your journey and arrive at your hotel in Caen, in the heart of the Normandy region. Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance Hotel (B)
Day 4
Mont St. Michel.
Today travel to the rugged coast of Normandy and savor the breathtaking views of magnificent Mont St. Michel, built on an isolated island in the gulf of Saint-Malo. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont St. Michel is reached by causeway. The lower towers and medieval sea wall protect a small village, capped magnificently by the commanding Abbey dedicated to the Archangel Michael. You’ll enjoy a visit of the spectacular interior of the Abbey, which was designated as a monument historique in 1874. Prior to the causeway, Mont St. Michel was on an isolated island that pilgrims could approach mindful of a tide that could seep in at any time. Return to Caen and enjoy dinner at your hotel. (B,D)
Day 5
Normandy Beaches/American Cemetery & Memorial.
Spend a remarkable day experiencing and learning about one of the most famous days in history: D-Day. You’ll visit the Normandy Beaches, including Omaha Beach near the coastal village of Colleville-sur-Mer. Omaha was one of the principal beachheads where the U.S. Army stormed ashore on D-Day (June 6th, 1944).  Explore Pointe du Hoc, located between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, where a group of American Army Rangers defied all odds by scaling a massive cliff at a critical moment during the invasion. Continue to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a spectacular and emotional setting located on a bluff overlooking both Omaha Beach and the English Channel. You’ll later visit the city of Bayeux, home to the world famous Bayeux Tapestry and the fortress of William the Conqueror, before returning to your upscale hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 6
Normandy/Chateau Villandry/Loire Valley.
Morning at leisure to explore Caen (Normandy) independently before traveling to Loire Valley, famous for its old world villages and charming chateaux (castles). En route, pay a visit to the Chateau and Gardens of Villandry, the last of the great Renaissance chateaux built on the banks of the Loire River. The estate’s renowned architecture is matched (if not surpassed) by its magnificent gardens, which are spread across three levels and are truly a sight to see. You’ll continue to your upscale hotel, where you’ll enjoy an included dinner. Novotel Amboise Hotel (B,D)
Day 7
Chateau de Chambord/Chateau de Chenonceau/Wine Tasting.
This morning, you’ll visit Chateau de Chambord, the undisputed crown jewel of the region and arguably the emblem of the French Renaissance. Originally a weekend hunting lodge for King Francois I in the early 16th century, the Chateau evolved into among the most expensive (and excessive) architectural projects by a French Monarch. Continue to Chateau de Chenonceau, the second most visited chateau in France (behind Versailles), where you’ll be blown away by the magical architecture that was constructed in harmony with the beautiful River Cher. On the way back to your hotel, enjoy a delicious wine tasting at the magnificent Caves du Pere Auguste winery, with a wide variety of refreshing wines to enjoy. Return to your hotel, and your evening is at leisure. (B)
Day 8
Loire Valley/Paris.
After breakfast, travel back to Paris for your second taste of one of the world’s greatest cities. Upon returning to Paris, enjoy a guided city orientation tour of this magnificent city. See the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Latin Quarter, Pantheon, Place  Vendome, and the Paris Opera. The evening is at leisure with endless possibilities. You may wish to take a stroll along the famous River Seine, where you’ll savor spectacular views, before you select an authentic Parisian restaurant or cafe for dinner.  Mercure Vaugirard Porte de Versailles Hotel (B)
Day 9
Optional Versailles Excursion.
A full day at leisure or perhaps join an optional excursion to Versailles for a fascinating visit of the Chateau and the brilliant hall filled with mirrors and chandeliers, numerous galleries, salons, and royal apartments, all lavishly decorated and fitted with ornate furnishings. The magnificent fountains, supplied by almost 100 miles of pipes, spray jets of water in a forceful dance. You will also have an opportunity to explore the palace and grounds at your own pace. This evening, enjoy dinner at an authentic Parisian restaurant in Montmartre, a famous section of the Right Bank (“Rive Droite”) in Paris. (B,D)
Day 10
After breakfast, you’ll head to the Paris train station and board the TGV train to the historic city of Avignon in the heart of Provence. En route, be sure to admire the beautiful landscapes of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. A charming medieval city that was home to seven successive popes during the 14th century, Avignon will wow you with its imposing Gothic architecture, magnificent art, and fascinating history. Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy a guided city tour, highlighted by the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in the world. You’ll also marvel at the iconic bridge Pont Saint Benezet on the Rhone River, better known as Pont d’Avignon because of the famous French song that the bridge inspired in the 15th century called “Sur le Pont d’Avignon”. Later, arrive at your upscale, centrally located hotel in Avignon and enjoy an included dinner this evening. Novotel Avignon Centre Hotel (B,D)

Day 11
Aix-en-Provence/Les Baux-de-Provence.
Today, visit the arts capital of Provence, Aix-en-Provence (or “Aix”, as it’s commonly called). A vibrant town located in the shadow of Mt. Sainte-Victoire, Aix is famous for its charming squares, elegant fountains, majestic avenues, and, of course, spectacular art. Following a guided city tour, you’ll visit the home and workshop of renowned painter, Paul Cezanne, who used the natural beauty of Aix and its surrounding areas as the subject of much of his work. Continue to Saint-Remy-de-Provence, a historic village where Vincent van Gogh painted The Starry Night in 1889 depicting the view from his hospital window. Here, you’ll enjoy an olive oil tasting before some free time for lunch on your own. After lunch, you’ll visit one of the most beautiful villages in all of France, Les Baux-de-Provence, perched on a hill in the Alpilles mountains. Set atop a rocky formation, the village’s name is derived from “baou,” meaning rocky spur. Along with its paved alleyways and stone houses, enjoy a visit to the Church of St. Vincent, the oldest religious building in the village  and home to magnificent stained-glass windows. Later, return to your upscale hotel, and the rest of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 12
Cassis/Nice/Optional Excursion to Monte Carlo.
This morning, travel t to Cassis, a quaint fishing port famous for its cliffs and sheltered inlets (calanques). Boasting a picturesque harbor and quintessential Provençal houses, Cassis will be the launching point for your spectacular calanques cruise, featuring France’s version of fjords with its inlets surrounded by dramatic rocky cliffs. After your cruise, continue to Nice, the capital of the French Riviera (Cote D’Azur), where you’ll check into your centrally-located hotel and spend the evening at leisure. Or, perhaps you might enjoy an optional excursion to Monte Carlo, a glittering center of international high society and home to a world-renowned casino. Mercure Centre Notre Dame Hotel (B)

Day 13
With the beautiful blue waters of Cote D’Azur as its backdrop, Nice is one of the most beloved cities in all of Europe, blending old-world opulence with a lively cosmopolitan vibe. Long recognized as one of the gems of Europe, Nice changed hands several times between the French and the Italians before eventually settling in as part of France. In the old city of Nice, you’ll discover the narrow streets and renowned Baroque architecture and enjoy a walk along the Promenade des Anglais (“Walkway of the English”), a famous promenade along the Mediterranean named as such due to the large number of English tourists who began flocking to Nice in the 19th century.  The rest of your day is at leisure, or perhaps you might enjoy an optional tour of Grasse (the world’s perfume capital) and St. Paul de Vence (a medieval hilltop jewel). This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your group. (B,D)

Day 14
After breakfastsay “au revoir” to your France tour and head to the airport for your flight back to the USA. Your exciting journey ends as you touch down in New York. (B)

Optional Tours

To enhance your visit to France, your tour director will offer you optional tours. All rates are in Euros. Payment must be made in Euros (cash). Optional tours are subject to a minimum of 10 participants and may therefore be cancelled if this minimum is not met.

Paris - Day 9
Versailles Excursion (72Euro (cash) per person)
Join an optional excursion to Versailles for a fascinating visit of the Chateau and the brilliant hall filled with mirrors and chandeliers, numerous galleries, salons, and royal apartments, all lavishly decorated and fitted with ornate furnishings. The magnificent fountains, supplied by almost 100 miles of pipes, spray jets of water in a forceful dance. You will also have an opportunity to explore the palace and grounds at your own pace.

Nice - Day 12
Monte Carlo Excursion (50 Euro (cash) per person)
Join an optional excursion to Monte Carlo, a glittering center of international high society and home to a world-renowned casino. Enjoy a walking tour around town (one of the fanciest in the world) , and if you’re so inclined, try your hand at the casino. Note: Entrance to Casino Monte Carlo not included. 

Nice - Day 13
Grasse & St. Paul de Vence Excursion (65 Euro (cash) per person)
Visit the town of Grasse, the world’s perfume capital. You’ll have a guided perfumery tour, and then you’ll stroll around the old town. Next, you’ll visit St. Paul de Vence, a medieval hilltop jewel. This is what many people dream of when they think about the South of France. From the 12th-century town hall to the 14th-centry church to the 16th-century fortified walls and cemetery, you’ll be walking back through history in this spectacular place. 

Trip Preparation


Your flights from New York to France and back are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules.  We recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 3 ½ hours before the scheduled departure.

Departure Date



Airline Depart


Sep. 21

New York (JFK)

Swiss Airlines



Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing customs and immigration if you are planning a connecting flight.  We recommend at least 3 ½ hours.  Please note that flight schedules are subject to change without prior notice.


Swiss Air and Iberia Airlines do not accept advance seat assignment. Actual seat assignment will be provided at the airport. Please note that smarTours is not involved with your seat assignments.


You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Visas are not required for American passport holders. Non U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.


Your airline tickets along with final instructions and additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour. Please make sure to advise us in case your address changes.


You may expect daytime temperatures averaging in the 60’s and 70’s in the Summer and the 50’s and 60’s in the Spring and Fall.


The hotels used on this tour have several dining choices from coffee shop to specialty restaurants. Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in a cafe is about $20-25 per meal per person. Optional sightseeing tours and evening activities will be offered. Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals.


Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards.  However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency. You can either exchange U.S. Dollars into local currency in advance of your trip, or you may use your debit card to withdrawal local currency from an ATM. It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations. 


Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (no more than 44 pounds) and one carry-on piece (no more than 18”x10”x8”). We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

Check out photos taken by smarTours travelers on this trip of a lifetime!


About Us smarTours was founded in 1996 with one goal in mind: to provide high quality, exciting group tour packages to some of the most fascinating countries in the world at the lowest possible price. The team at smarTours believes deeply that high quality international travel should be affordable, and we work tirelessly to deliver affordability. All of our tours include the following features: 1. International airfare from the U.S. on major scheduled airlines 2. Deluxe and first class hotels in convenient locations 3. Interesting, in-depth excursions and sightseeing, and 4. Professional, knowledgeable, and caring English-speaking local guides. Since 1996, we have provided unbeatable travel experiences to over 150,000 happy travelers. Most of our travelers are repeat customers, including many who have traveled with smarTours 5, 10, even 15 times. Our tours, which we stand behind as “Best Travel Bargains”, have received considerable press coverage over the years from the likes of the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, among many others. And smarTours has been the recipient of several prestigious awards for providing some of the best value in travel, including: “Best Provider of Vacation Package Deals to Europe or Asia” (2012 Travelzoo Awards) and “Best Priced Packages to South Africa” (2010 Ubuntu Tourism Awards). We look forward to providing excellent and affordable travel experiences for the next 150,000 travelers. Where would you like to go next?

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