Northern France and Reims
Day 1: Paris / Chantilly / Senlis / Compiègne
Early arrival in Paris airoport. Welcome by our tour guide and drive to Chantilly former hunting ground of the French kings. The Renaissance palace from the XV century was later expanded with a beautiful park. Chantilly, specialized in the manufacture of porcelain, is known internationally for its great horse races like the Jockey Club or the Grand Prix de Diane, which still define the urban rhythm. Walk in the park and continue to Senlis. In this historic royal city Hugh Capet was elected king of the Franks. The old town with its small alleyways invites to stroll along the attractive facades of the old mansions, the churches of Saint Aignan and Saint Frambourg and the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral.
Afternoon visit of Compiègne. The city has very interesting monuments, including the ruins of the Abbey of Sainte Corneille, the Hotel-Dieu, gardens and ramparts and of course the castle. Built under Louis XV, Napoleon I. had renovated the castle. Napoleon III and Eugenie chose it for their favorite residence. Visit the castle with its historic apartments furnished in different periods. Dinner and overnight in Compiegne
Day 2: Castle Pierrefonds and Beauvais
Journey to the castle of Pierrefonds which has been completely rebuilt by Napoleon III under the supervision of Viollet-le-Duc. This construction reflects a very interesting medieval architecture with security and defense passages and large towers. Inside the castle the visitors are brought from the middle ages to the renaissance through a courtyard decorated with gargouilles, arcades and galleries. The interior shows the desire to celebrate the Empire with the symbols of the eagle and the bee. Afternoon drive to Beauvais. Visit the cathedral and the National Tapestry Factory founded by Colbert to intend to compete with the tapestries of the Flanders School. Then return to Compiègne for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Amiens / Arras / Lille
Trip to Amiens and visit of the capital of Picardy known for its unique cathedral. The magic of it being its pure unity of style, 145 m long and 42 meters high, one of the largest gothic cathedrals. The Museum of Picardy is a real 'art palace' which sets the artists and the art treasures of the region in the right light. Continue to Arras one of the most beautiful city in northern France. See the Grand Place with its 155 Flemish houses of XVII and XVIII century with various gables and wall decorations, a small street connecting the Grand Place and the Place des Heros which is smaller but more lively. The 75 meter high tower over the town hall was destroyed in 1914 and rebuilt completely identical. Free time on the Grand Place and continuation to Lille. Dinner and overnight in Lille
Day 4: Lille / Roubaix
In the morning visit the Old Town of Lille (Grand Place, Old Stock Exchange, Hospice Comtesse, etc.) Capital of the Counts of Flanders, then under Dutch / Spanish administration Lille remains French from the 1667. The XIX century industrialization benefits particularly the city of Lille and its area which specialized in the manufacture of textiles. Lille knows how to combine history and modernity; the renovation and refurbishment of the «old Lille" and the construction of big malls like Euralille which was inaugurated in 1994 are some of the best examples. Young through its university, historical through its rich architectural heritage. Exhibitions and museums promote the cultural life and a happy lively city.
Afternoon trip to Roubaix and tour of the Museum of Art and Industry (La Piscine) in Roubaix. Installed in a former swimming pool with an exceptional Art Nouveau architecture, the Museum of Art and Industry introduces visitors to an unfamiliar surprising sphere. Between small rooms, old dressing cabins and bathrooms, collections of paintings and sculpture are displayed as well as samples of different fabrics and drawings from the industrial era and Art Nouveau era until today. Return to Lille. Dinner in a brasserie in the old town with regional specialties.
Day 5: Boulogne sur Mer
Drive over St. Omer to Boulogne-sur-mer. Boulogne is a major port. Enclosed by the high hills of Liana, the city consists of two parts: the upper, called the Old City and the lower city, the Imperial. The upper City is the historic town surrounded by ramparts with the city tower from the XII century the old town hall, the monastery of the announcement of the XVII century, and of course, the Basilica Notre Dame with its monumental cathedral rebuilt in the XIX century. The lower town is under the influence of the rebuilt port which holds the first place as French fishing port.
Afternoon tour of Nausica, a unique marine center allowing the discovery of marine environment and living ocean to better know and appreciate, in all its diversity its flora and fauna. There the question is posed most globally for our planet and what we can do to protect it ? Then return along the coast over Calais to Lille. Dinner and overnight in Lille
Day 6: Cambrai / Le Cateau Cambresis / Laon / Reims
Drive to Cambrai former bishopric in the VI century. The heart of the city, rebuilt after the fire of 1918, extend around the town hall with many religious buildings. After a city tour we continue to Le Cateau Cambresis, hometown of the painter Matisse - visit the Matisse Museum showing an exhibition of the artist's works reflecting his life and work. Today's regional Matisse Museum is able to show the whole of the artist's career. Continue via Saint-Quentin to Laon, visit the upper town behind its long ramparts, the magnificent gothic cathedral, 3 monasteries and 16 churches, more than 80 historic buildings that delight the eye. Dinner in a champagne cellar in Reims and overnight
Day 7: Reims
Morning city tour of Reims, coronation place of the French kings from Clovis to Charles X in the gothic Notre Dame Cathedral. Visit of the Cathedral, the palace of Thau the abbey and the basilica of Saint Remi. Reims is world famous as the Champagne city with over 250km limestone cellar and chalk pits. Our tour ends with a visit to a champagne cellar with champagne tasting. Afternoon departure from Reims to the airport in Paris *
- 6 x nights, hotel accommodation with breakfast buffet in good middleclass hotels
- 4 x dinner in the hotel on half board basis(drinks extra)
- 1 x dinner in a brasserie in Lille with regional specialties (1 glass of beer per person included)
- 1 x dinner in a champagne cellar in Reims (1 glass of Champagne per person included)
- Coach and English speaking guide from arrival to departure
- Admissions: Castle Pierrefonds, Compiegne Castle, Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory, Amiens Picardie Museum, Roubaix Art Museum, Naussica Boulogne-sur-mer, Matisse Museum in Le Cateau Cambresis
- Champagne cellar tours with champagne tasting in Reims
* Additional program 2 nights Epernay / Verdun / Chalons / Troyes / Paris
Day 7: Reims / Epernay
Afternoon half-day trip to Epernay lovely nestled in a gently hilly vineyard landscape. Here one find best champagne. Along the approx. 130 km of the cretaceous caves of the 15 most world-renowned prestiges Champagne factories are stored together about two billion bottles. Visit to a champagne cellar with champagne tasting. Return to Reims.
Day 8: Verdun / Chalons / Troyes
Morning drive to Verdun. Tour of the city with its picturesque narrow streets to the upper city and the area around the Notre Dame Cathedral with the former Bishop's Palace, in which a world peace center has been installed. Afternoon visit the underground Citadel and the battlefields of the of First World War Continue via Chalons en Champagne to Troyes - dinner and overnight in Troyes
Day 9: Troyes / Paris airoport
Morning visit the historic center of Troyes created in the form of a champagne cork. Best is to discover the city on foot, the ruelle aux Chats, the so-called Cat Lane and the Cour du Mortier d'Or as the Rue Champeaux and the beautiful courtyard of the Hôtel Juvénal des Ursins. Also visit Saint Pierre and Saint Paul Cathedral decorated with wonderful stained glass windows. Free time for some last minute shopping and departure from Troyes to the Paris airport
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