11 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 2 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity

La Belle France Small Group Short Tour

This  short, small group tour of France takes 11 days to travel east and down into the south of France. You break four times at key cities and towns. You stay in each location  for between 1 to 3 nights.

France is the largest country in Western Europe, bigger than Spain, Germany, or Sweden. It lies on the western edge of the continent of Europe and shares borders with six adjacent countries.  Belgium and Luxembourg are to the north. Germany and Switzerland to the east. Italy is  to the southeast. Spain to the southwest. This geographical position gives France several notable advantages. It is the crossroads of the European Union. It is also Europe’s farm.

As a couple or single traveller joining us on this small group tour of France we then explore each day that particular region learning from our expert local guides about the history and contemporary society. Enjoying not only the learning and seeing aspect of this intriguing country we also enjoy breaking bread in some great cafes and restaurants exploring the regional cuisine.

The French Outdoors

A curious aspect of France is that a large part of its life is lived outdoors, especially in its cities and villages. On this small group tour, we experience the pavement life of French cities, and see locals congregate in the village square to play petanque, or just chat, or just to drink wine as the evening approaches, instead of retreating inside their homes. Our educational tour includes visits to several culturally significant and extraordinarily picturesque regions, include Provence and Chateuneuf du Pape. Our tour of France also takes in wine making regions, where we sample wine and learn more about the tradition of winemaking. Other highlights include a guided tour of Avignon.

This small group short tour of France is one of some 10 educational tours offered by Odyssey to  France each year. The tour is suitable for the mature traveller, over 50, 60, or 70 as a couple or solo traveller.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Tour Notes
  • Itineraries may change if flight schedules, site availability, and other inclusions have to be amended prior to departure.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Visit St Rémy de Provence, where Van Gogh painted some of his last works.
2
Explore one of the great canals of France aboard a modern canal boat.
3
Visit Provence and Chateuneuf du Pape.
4
See famous Roman sites such as the Arena and the Amphitheatre.
5
Explore the Champagne and Burgundy regions.

Overview: Upon arrival in Paris we will come to the hotel individually. Tour begins with our welcome dinner.

(D)

Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Ampere or similar.

Overview: Today we board our coach for the Champagne Region and visit one of the local champagne cellars in Épernay. After free time for lunch, we travel to the city of Reims.

Dinner tonight will be in a local restaurant.

(B,D)

Accommodation: 2 nights at BW Hotel de la Paix or similar.

Overview: Reims, the centre of the Champagne Region, was the site of the coronation of the majority of the French kings. This morning we meet our local guide for a walking tour of the city, including a visit to the magnificent Cathedral and the Surrender Museum.

After a free afternoon to explore the city, we attend a special champagne dinner.

(B,D)

Accommodation: BW Hotel de la Paix or similar.

Overview: En route to Beaune we will make 2 stops. The first, at Troyes, offers the opportunity to explore a delightful town with many well-preserved, half-timbered houses and 10 churches all remarkable for their stained-glass windows and exquisite sculptures. We continue with an afternoon visit to the hilltop town of Vézelay and its Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene – one of the largest Romanesque churches in France and only just shorter than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The Basilica is said to guard the remains of the “Sinner Saint” and was one of the departure points for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Dinner tonight will be in the hotel.

(B,D)

Accommodation: 4 nights at Hotel Henry II or similar.

Overview: After breakfast today we travel through the picturesque countryside to the village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. A guided tour of the castle will be followed by a regional lunch in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon we explore one of the great canals of France aboard a modern canal boat. The Burgundy Canal, opened in 1833, was the first navigable connection between Burgundy and the Paris basin. It leads from St. Jean de Losne on the river Saône, past the city of Dijon to Migennes on the river Yonne and then on to the Seine. Our cruise will take us from Vandenesse to Pouilly, through several locks and the summit pound tunnel. Dinner tonight will be at own arrangements.

The grape plays an important role in this city and the surrounding regions. In fact, the annual wine auction at the Hospices de Beaune (Hôtel-Dieu) is considered by many wine experts to be the primary wine auction in France. The town is surrounded by an incredible collection of celebrated wine villages.

Burgundy is noted as the home of some classic French dishes such as coq au vin, oeufs meurette (eggs poached in red wine), and boeuf bourgignon. It is also famous for its escargots (snails).

(B,L)

Accommodation: Hotel Henry II or similar.

Overview: This morning our local guide will take us on a walking tour of Beaune including a visit to the magnificent Hôtel Dieu with its multi-coloured tiled roofs. The afternoon is free for our own exploration of the town.

Historically Beaune is intimately connected with the Dukes of Burgundy who endowed the city with many treasures. On a plain near the hills of the Côte d’Or, Beaune is a walled city, with about half the original battlements, with ramparts and moat still in excellent state of preservation.

Dinner will be in a local restaurant.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Henry II or similar.

Overview: The city of Dijon is famed for mustard and gingerbread. The conundrum is that the gingerbread has no ginger. It is known as pain d’épice, or spice bread!

On our guided walking tour of Dijon, we will have the chance to taste both these products and to explore the historical monuments of the city. Lunch will be in a local restaurant and will feature some of the local popular dishes.

During the afternoon we will drive through some of the prestigious wine-producing villages and will enjoy a tutored wine-tasting experience. Dinner will be at own arrangements tonight.

(B,L)

Accommodation: Hotel Henry II or similar.

Overview: Our drive south takes us via the Saône and Rhône Valleys to Avignon. On arrival we will have a guided walking tour of the city including a visit to the Palais des Papes. Our hotel, inside the city walls, will be the venue for our dinner tonight.

Avignon is considered amongst the greatest of Europe’s walled cities. Always powerful, it reached its zenith during the time of the Babylonian captivity of the Popes (1309-1377).

(B,D)

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel Cloître St Louis or similar.

Overview: During our next 2 days we have all-day excursions in Provence – a region where there are some of the best-preserved Roman remains in Europe.

On our first day our guide will take us to Orange to visit the 1st-century Triumphal Arch and Roman Theatre. Regarded as one of the finest and best-preserved in the entire Roman world, the theatre is the only one to have preserved a statue of the Emperor Augustus. We continue with a guided walk in the excavated town of Vaison-la-Romaine. A visit and tasting at one of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape cellars will complete our day. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Cloître St Louis or similar.

Overview: On Day 10 we continue our Roman theme with another all-day excursion – this time to Arles, the city situated on a low hill at the point where the Rhône River branches into 2. Here the famous Roman sites such as the Arena and the Amphitheatre are the focus for us. We will also see the famous Cathedral of St. Trophime with its magnificently carved 12th century doorway. Arles also has associations with Vincent Van Gogh, who spent about 15 months here during 1888-89. We continue the Van Gogh theme with an afternoon visit to St Rémy de Provence, where he was to paint some of his last works. We also visit the ancient site of Glanum.

Dinner will be at our hotel with more regional dishes.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Cloître St Louis or similar.

Overview: Our tour ends after breakfast.

(B)

What’s included in our Tour

  • 10 nights of hotel accommodation including breakfast.
  • Meals as per the itinerary.
  • All excursions, entrance fees, and local guides.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Service charges.
  • Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • International airfares and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
  • Porterage.

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France small group short tour
France Odyssey

Tour Reviews

July 8, 2016

La Belle France is a delightful tour through some of the most beautiful regions of France. Rouna ensured that everything ran smoothly and that we saw so much.

July 8, 2016

Travelling in a small group was great. The tour gave you a good taste of France’s history and its wine regions.

July 8, 2016

This tour was such a good mix of the different areas of France, good food, good wine, good company and amazing sights.

July 8, 2016

Brilliant trip with an excellent guide and driver. Even converted my sports -orientated husband into appreciating cathedrals and architecture! Love the ‘all-inclusive’ aspect, not having to bother with meals, tipping, etc. Made it a real holiday for me.

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