Day 1 - Friday, April 05: Flight from Toronto to Paris
Evening departure from Toronto to Paris. Dinner and breakfast will be served.
Day 2 - Saturday, April 06: Paris (D)
Morning arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. City transfer and introductory panoramic coach tour including the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, Place De La Concorde etc. Early afternoon registration in our Left Bank classic hotel. Opportunity to refresh after the overnight flight before a leisurely late afternoon orientation tour of our Montmartre entertainment district. Evening group dinner in one of the many quaint local restaurants of the 17th.
Day 3 - Sunday, April 07: (L) Themes of today’s sightseeing: Origins & Traditions
After breakfast, a walking tour of Roman Paris, with its ancient monuments such as the Arènes de Lutèce, the Baths, quaint Ile St.-Louis. Here a visit to the Deportation Martyrs Memorial set in the shadows of Ile de la Cité and Notre Dame. Lunch together in a cozy restaurant in the Latin Quarter. Afternoon visit to famous Père La Chaise cemetery with the tombs of notables such as Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Simone Signore and the evocative monuments of WW II. Hotel return and evening at leisure.
Today you will also receive your 7-day NAVIGO D?COVERTE Metro Pass, permitting convenient and efficient travel on the city’s excellent public transportation system until our departure. Please be sure to bring a passport-size picture to be attached to this pass. If you already have a Navigo, please bring it with you.
Day 4 - Monday, April 08: Theme of today’s morning sightseeing: Daily Life
We begin our day - perhaps in the Marais, perhaps Montmartre or St-Germain des Prés...a surprise that will allow us to experience the sights, smells and tastes of the city, from croissant to cheese, wine to fruit; a movable feast to make a memorable lunch! In the afternoon we climb the staircase or if lunch has had its desired effect, by funicular, to the bohemian Butte of Montmartre, with its artist-dominated Place du Tertre. Here too, a magnificent view of Paris rooftops and skyline from the steps of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. In the late afternoon, a brief metro ride to Pont d’Alma where we end our day with a relaxed cruise and sight-seeing on the Seine River. Evening to discover one of the many local bistrots!
Day 5 - Tuesday, April 09: (L) Theme of today’s sightseeing: Avant-Garde.
A full-day tour of the most important monuments of contemporary Mitterand Paris. The morning takes us to the monumental “Grande Arche” in the Défense suburb; the National Library, the Omnisports Stadium and Ministry of Finance in the trendy Bercy District. Lunch then on to the “Cité Scientifique” of La Vilette, with the unusual “deconstructivist” architectural creations of Bernard Tschumi on the site of the old Parisian slaughter houses! Late afternoon return to our hotel and evening at leisure.
Day 6 - Wednesday, April 10: Theme of today’s sightseeing: Monarchy.
This morning we leave the city by rapid transit to the little town of Versailles. A short walk through this former village will begin our self-guided visit to the monumental Palace of Louis XIV; the Royal Chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, the magnificent gardens of Le Nôtre. Time for lunch in the market of Versailles before returning to Paris, where a visit to Les Invalides, the Musée Rodin or perhaps the Arc de Triomphe ends the day. This evening, a classical music concert in 13thC. church of St.-Julien-le-Pauvre.
Today you will receive a four-day museum pass valid for admission not only to the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, and the Orsay Museum, but also to a host of other Parisian museums, art galleries, and monuments including the following: Cluny Museum (highly recommended!) - Notre Dame Towers and Crypt - Orangerie (with Monet’s Water Lilies) - Sainte Chapelle - Arc de Triomphe - Pantheon - Invalides (with Napoleon’s tomb) - Pompidou Centre - Museum of Modern Art - Picasso Museum - Rodin Museum....three of the major sites over the next four days have been chosen for group visits. The Pass begins today and is valid for Thursday, Friday and Saturday when there will be a considerable amount of free time. Michael will be available to assist with planning personal visits to museums and galleries over the next four days.
Day 7 - Thursday, April 11: Theme of today’s sightseeing: Revolution.
Today we explore selected sites and monuments associated with the French Revolution; Place de la Bastille (where it all started on July 14, 1789), the Carnavale Museum with its excellent memorabilia and the Place des Vosges. Following lunch, we metro to Place de la Concorde (site of the guillotine), the Tuileries Gardens, and the little-known Mausoleum of Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette. Evening and dinner at leisure.
Day 8 - Friday, April 12: The d'Orsay:
Morning set aside for the d’Orsay Museum, the great Parisian showcase of 19th-century art, with works by Masters such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, etc. The remainder of the day for personal choices - an open invitation to visit any other museum or monument: eg. the Musée du Moyen Age; Rodin; Picasso; Pompidou Centre.
Day 9 - Saturday, April 13: The Louvre:
We travel this morning by Metro to the Louvre Museum, featuring countless superb art treasures including Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The afternoon allows for personal choices. Again, take full advantage of the Museum Pass and see the Champs Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe! But retail therapy can be most enjoyable in the marvelous Grands Magasins of Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and Bon Marché as can an early dinner at any one of their gourmet counters!
Day 10 - Sunday, April 14: (D) Casual:
A day to relax and savour the city. Will it be the counters and tables of Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (better known as the flea market) or perhaps just a stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens with its pigeons, manicured trees, groomed pathways, serene atmosphere and Médici Fountain? Perhaps a late lunch in chic Les Halles and a last view of Paris from the heights of the Eiffel Tower. But this evening, our Au Revoir dinner in a favourite classical setting!
Day 11 - Monday, April 15: Return flight to Toronto
After breakfast, coach transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport and the return flight to Toronto. Lunch and an afternoon snack will be served before our late afternoon arrival at Pearson International.