23 days
Level 3 - Moderate

Provincial France Mature traveller Small Group specialist History Tour

Provincial France Mature traveller Small Group specialist History Tour. Odyssey Traveller Australia's  “Provincial France small group specialist history tour” explore the byways and waterways of France as we travel through Alsace, Burgundy, the Jura Mountains and Provence before concluding in Paris.

Provincial France Tour Itinerary:

This history tour begins in The vine clad slopes and half-timbered villages of Alsace. For travellers this region of provincial France provides an introduction to the diversity of this country. The Germanic influence in this area is reflected in both the Vosges Mountains and the city of Strasbourg. Strasbourg was long a point of contention between Germany and France, but is now seat of the European Parliament.

Burgundy, once a great mediaeval Duchy, is now better known for its quaint villages and slow-flowing canals.  In Burgundy we spend some time boating on a canal and explore the local typical villages.

From Burgundy we head towards Switzerland and explore the Jura Mountains, a region rarely visited by tourists. This range of wooded hills and undulating plateaux is known for its verdant slopes, unaffected by tourism. Its appeal is the natural beauty and tranquillity.

We next explore Provence and the Côte d'Azur, France's sun- drenched south eastern regions which have inspired artists such as Van Gogh, Cézanne and Picasso. In the summer months holidaymakers flock to the beaches and chic resorts. However, in the relatively quiet spring and autumn we explore the remote mountain plateaux, perched villages and dramatic gorges as well as the Mediterranean coastline. While in Provence we also learn about the region’s Roman heritage and the cultural aspects of the region.

Using the TGV, France's very fast cross-country train, we traverse France to Paris where the tour ends.

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Explore the quaint half-timbered wine-producing villages of Alsace and Strasbourg.
Venture into Germany’s Black Forest from Alsace and into Switzerland’s Geneva with a trip on its famous lake from the Jura.
Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) which travels at 300 kilometres per hour through the French countryside.
Provence with its perfume at Grasse, St Paul de Vence along with the Cote d’Azur, the old port of Nice and Antibes.
In Burgundy, canal boating and explore the quintessential towns and villages of Dijon and Beaune.

Overview: Upon arrival in Zurich, make your own way to the hotel. In the evening we get together for a welcome meeting and group dinner.

Accommodation: Radisson Zurich Airport hotel or similar

Overview: After arrival in Zurich we travel to Alsace where we explore the Germanic influence on this now very French region. We experience the wine growing villages of the Vosges Mountains reminiscent of the Rhine, the fortifications and defences against German occupation, quintessential Alsatian villages and the city of Strasbourg.

En route to Burgundy we visit the city of Nancy, a masterpiece of 18th century planning worthy of comparison with Versailles.

For centuries this region of France has seen French and German conflict for sovereignty. This resolved conflict has resulted in strong Germanic influences in a tranquil region of pastel-coloured villages, vineyards and fortified towns. Bordered by the Rhine, Alsace is a fertile area between the mountains of the Vosges and the Black Forest in Germany. Strasbourg, the capital city is often known as the crossroads of Europe. It has a 16th century centre and a fine red-stone mediaeval cathedral as well as a charming quarter – Petite France – criss-crossed by bridges and canals. It is now the seat of the European Parliament.

Overview: We explore the typical Burgundian towns and villages such as Vézelay, an important centre of mediaeval religious faith and pilgrimage with outstanding Romanesque architecture and Beaune with its 14th century ramparts and encircling boulevardes together with the Hôtel-Dieu, a mediaeval hospice with superb geometric multi-coloured Burgundian roof tiles. We also experience a canal ed-venture passing through locks and exploring quintessential Burgundian villages.

We leave Burgundy to climb into the Jura Mountains.

Once a strongly independent Duchy – the rival of the kingdom of France – Burgundy now considers itself to be the heart of France and is one of its richest provinces. Canals criss-cross this region of vineyards, excellent food, Romanesque architecture, and mediaeval villages.

Accommodation: To be confirmed.

Overview: We compare and contrast the Jura environment with adjacent Burgundy and Switzerland as we explore the geology, geography and human adaptation to this mountainous region. We will learn how the ‘Franche-Comté people have developed a proud independence which is reflected in their cultural heritage and local produce.

The Jura Mountains are part of the fiercely independent Franche-Comté region whose history includes being part of the Duchy of Burgundy and a province of the Holy Roman Empire, before it was finally annexed as part of France by Louis XIV. The name ‘Jura’ comes from the Gallic word for ‘forest’. It is a region of woodlands, cascading waterfalls, grottoes and peaceful lakes surrounded by mountain peaks.

Accommodation: To be confirmed.

Overview: En route to Provence we stay overnight in a typical hotel in the mediaeval walled town of Perouges overlong the river Ain with dinner in a local restaurant before we follow the course of the River Rhône past Lyon and Avignon to La Colle sur Loup.

Overview: From Colle-sur-Loup we will experience the richness of Provence as we explore the hinterland and coastal regions.

En route to Paris we traverse the French countryside by TGV

Bordered by the Rhône in the west, the Mediterranean in the south, olive groves to the north, and the Alps to the east, Provence has been for centuries a popular summer destination for Europeans seeking coastal warmth and the relaxing ambience of the south. Here we explore the culture and heritage of Provence, its remote mountain plateau, rich agricultural economy and its ancient heritage dating back to Phoenician, Greek and Roman times. Indeed even today there is much Italian influence in Provence as an important trading partner with Savoy, Piedmonte and Italy.

Accommodation: To be confirmed.

Overview: Our tour concludes in Paris with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant on our last night as a group.

Paris’s monumental architecture reflects the city’s diverse and interesting history together with its political and cultural status. Among the most important mediaeval buildings are the Cathedral of Notre Dame, begun in 1163; the nearby Sainte-Chapelle, a magnificent 13th-century Gothic structure; and the Louvre, once a royal palace. Later historic buildings include les Invalides, built as a soldiers’ home by Louis XIV and now housing Napoleon’s tomb; and the Place de la Concorde, laid out in the 18th century. During the mid -19th century Paris was redesigned by Baron Georges Haussmann, and several grandiose projects were undertaken to emphasise the city’s significance. The Arc de Triomphe, the Opéra, the Place de l’Opéra, the Place de l’Étoile (now Place Charles de Gaulle), and many of the broad avenues with their imposing perspectives date from this time. Among the city’s better known thoroughfares are the Rue de Rivoli, Rue de la Paix, Rue du Faubourg-Saint Honoré, Avenue de Opéra, Boulevard Des Italiens, Boulevard du Montparnasse, and the Champs Elysees. Modern day Parisians are still proud of their city’s grandeur reflected by the integration of modern constructions such as the Tour Eiffel, the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre Pyramide and the Arche de la Défense with the great architecture of the past.

Accommodation: To be confirmed.

What’s included in our Tour

  • Accommodation and meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Transport and field trips as indicated.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of an Odyssey group leader.
  • Detailed Tour Information Booklet.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • International airfares.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Meals not included on itinerary.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.

Map of provincial France

Provincial France
Abbey of Senanque Gordes, Luberon, Vaucluse, Provence, France,

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