Explore the wonderful history, art, and culture of France on an adventure from iconic monuments in Paris to amazing cave dwellings in the Loire Valley. Find secret spots in the splendid gardens at Giverny and Versailles, study the strategy behind World War II operations, and solve ancient mysteries in the halls of historic castles and cloisters. From crepes to cathedrals, discover the many treasures this incredible country holds for travelers of all ages.
- Travel Style : National Geographic Family Journeys
- Service Level : Upgraded
- Physical Grading : 2 - Light
- Merchandising : New Trips
- Trip Type : Small Group
- What's Included:Your Journeys Highlight Moment: D-Day Experience and Memorial Visit, Bayeux
Your Family Journeys Moment: Crepe-Making Demonstration and Dinner, Bayeux
Your Family Journeys Moment: Palace of Versailles Family Visit, Versailles. Arrival transfer. Guided Paris Île de la Cité walking tour. Giverny and Monet Gardens visit. Excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel. Bayeaux orientation walk. Troglodyte cave visit. Canoeing on the Cher River. Chenonceaux Castle Visit. Visit Clos Lucé. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
- Highlights:Experience the magic of medieval cities, delight in delicious flavors at a crepe-making demonstration, learn about the history of World War II and D-Day, explore the Château de Chenonceau and its winding hedge maze.
- Dossier Disclaimer:The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
- Itinerary Disclaimer:While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
- Itinerary Notes:Prices are based on double occupancy; all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will accommodate triples/quads whenever possible. Please call for further details.
Family Journeys are designed for groups traveling with children between the ages of 7 and 17. Your group must include a child in order to book, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Important Notes:1. YOUR CEO
It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.
In Europe it is very rare to find elevators in train stations, hotels or other public places. The carrying of your luggage remains your responsibility at all times.
3. RESERVE TICKETS
Please note that if you wish to visit popular museums or sites such as the Louvre or Eiffel Tower, to avoid waiting in line for a long time (especially in high season May-September when it could be a question of hours!), it is advisable to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets can be reserved online at various websites. There may be the possibility of arranging tickets on arrival on Day 1, with the help of your CEO, but availability cannot be guaranteed at such short notice.
4. FAMILY INSURANCE
Options for family travel insurance are available. Please enquire with your Family Trip Specialist for more information.
- Group Leader Description:All National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures group trips are accompanied by two of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense; you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
- Group Size Notes:Max 20, avg 18
- Meals Included:8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
- Meals:Eating is a big part of traveling and we encourage you to experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Its important to remember, that food may be different from what you are used to at home and that some things may not be available in other countries.
Some meals are included in the trip price, while others are not, to allow flexibility and choice to you and your family. For non-included meals our CEOs will still make arrangements for the group to eat together, which allows you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and approximate budget (per person) for meals not included.
Throughout this trip, breakfast is included daily (ranging from continental to buffet depending on the trip), as are healthy, local snacks. Tap water is safe and drinkable everywhere. Please remember to bring your own refillable bottle and refill at the start of each day.
Note that any special meal requirements or dietary restrictions need to be specified at time of booking.
- Transport:Private vehicle, antique WWII vehicle, canoe, walking
- About our Transportation:Private Vehicles will be used throughout the tour.
- Solo Travellers:We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Odd number adult travellers in your family will be paired in twin accommodation with another adult traveller of the same sex for the duration of the trip.
- Accommodation:Hotels (8 nts)
- My Own Room:Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
- About Accommodation:Rooming is based on double occupancy (2 passengers per room); all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will try to accommodate triples/quad requests whenever possible and its important to note that rooming configuration can change from city-to-city.
It is important to note that accommodations in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels but houses of the rich, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual or small room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather "thin" walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head.
On this trip you can expect to stay in hotels which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but have traditional character, and are in central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations. Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service, but a smile and a thank you can go a long way.
- Joining Hotel:For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
- Joining Instructions:An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Our driver will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign with your name on it, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. There most likely will be many signs, so please check carefully for your name.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
- Arrival Complications:We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
- Emergency Contact:Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office London, United Kingdom
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5:30pm Local Time)
+44 20 7243 9870
For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact: +44 7817 262 559
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you:
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
- What to Take:You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags.
- Packing List:Cold Weather:
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: In Europe it is very rare to find elevators in hotels and you may have to carry luggage up several flights of stairs. It is therefore essential that you pack light and bring luggage which is compact and lightweight.
During the colder months (Nov-Apr) please make sure you pack warm clothes. During summer (Jun-Sep) temperatures can be very hot and humid. Lightweight breathable clothing is recommended. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light waterproof jacket. Layering is essential.
We’re working with our accommodation partners to reduce single-use plastic on our tours by providing safe drinking water for refillable bottles wherever possible. Find out more about our Plastics Partnership Project here.
- Laundry:Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
- Visas and Entry Requirements:Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
All visitors to the EU (European Union) and EEC (European Economic Community) countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa to visit the Schengen area (see below), however they may not stay longer than three months in any 6-month period.
For other nationalities, travelling in Europe has been simplified with the introduction of the Schengen visa. As a visitor to the Schengen area (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Portugal, Finland, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland) you will enjoy the many advantages of this unified visa system. Generally speaking with a Schengen visa, you may enter one Schengen country and travel freely throughout the Schengen region during the validity of your visa. There are limited border controls at Schengen borders, if any at all.
Please note that the UK and Ireland are NOT part of the Schengen agreement.
A Schengen visa is applied for at the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country in which you will be spending the most nights on your trip to the Schengen space. If you are only visiting one country on your trip then you apply for your visa at the Consulate of this Schengen country.
- Spending Money:Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
- Money Exchange:Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work - check with your bank. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros and cards is best.
Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
- Emergency Fund:Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
- Tipping:Local tipping is included on this Family trip which covers local guides, drivers and gratuity for included meals. At the end of your trip if you felt your two Chief Experience Officers did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline; per CEO €30-40 per person, per week can be used.
For non-included meals in restaurant, a guideline is 5-10% of cost of bill.
- Optional Activities:Paris
- Cruise the River Seine (15EUR per person)
- Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur Walk with CEO (Free)
- Chocolate-Tasting Workshop (25-30EUR per person)
- Eiffel Tower Admission (16-25EUR per person)
- The Louvre Admission (12-16EUR per person)
- Bayeux Cathedral (Free)
- Bayeux Tapestry Admission (10EUR per person)
- Safety and Security:Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
- A Couple of Rules:Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they engage in any form of paid sex work.
- Travel Insurance:Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
- Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation:The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
- Feedback:After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
- Minimum Age:Minimum age of 7 years for this trip.
- International Flights:Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
- Max Pax:
Itinerary (9 days)
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Head straight to the heart of Paris on a walking tour of the Île de la Cité, the island in the Seine where the city was first settled. Cross the stone arches of the Pont Neuf, or New Bridge—which is actually the oldest bridge in Paris! The rest of the day is yours to explore the City of Light. Choose to climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower, satisfy your sweet tooth at a chocolate-tasting workshop, or explore inside the iconic pyramid of the Louvre, home to treasures such as the "Mona Lisa" and the "Venus de Milo."
Travel outside the city to the village of Giverny, and visit the home of Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Wander around weeping willows and green lily ponds in the gardens that inspired some of his greatest works of art. Then head to Honfleur, a colorful port town sitting where the Seine meets the English Channel. Enjoy lunch and stroll the streets of this seaside community, where many great artists have painted the rainbow of fishing boats afloat in the harbor. Later, continue to Bayeux, an ancient city that has been sacked by Vikings, conquered by the English, and occupied by the Germans in World War II.
This morning, delve into the story of D-Day and the battle to liberate France during a hands-on, sensorial World War II history experience. Feel the weight of real GI equipment, try on a field jacket, and taste the chocolate bars carried in soldiers’ kits. Climb aboard a military vehicle and drive to the nearby Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, the first American World War II cemetery established on European soil. After lunch, spend a free afternoon exploring historic Bayeux. Later, learn the delicate art of making crepes before gathering for a delicious dinner.
Venture to the amazing Mont-Saint-Michel, an island stronghold perched on a rock off the Normandy coast. Built in the eighth century, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been attacked and besieged, but rarely captured—perhaps due to the quicksand that surrounds the fortress at low tide! Head out on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to wander winding lanes and cobbled streets, climbing from the base of the mountain to its crowning medieval abbey. Meander through the cloister of the monastery or discover the island’s history at a museum. Return to Bayeux and choose to view the incredible Bayeux Tapestry, tracing the Norman conquest of England in colorful embroidery.
Say au revoir to Normandy and enter the lush green Loire Valley. Set foot inside the amazing cave dwellings known as troglodyte homes—charming houses built in and around cliff-side caverns. On an underground walk, delve into the geological history of the region and learn about the local troglodyte lifestyle. Continue to the ancient city of Blois, perched above the lovely Loire River, and enjoy a free evening to relax or explore this hillside city’s many staircases.
Wake up this morning and head out on the water for a canoeing excursion along the Cher River. Paddle past picturesque medieval towns to the incredible Château de Chenonceau. This fairy-tale castle spans the river, while the gardens enclose sculpted hedges, a fantastic fountain, and a tricky maze. Later, venture to the last home of Leonardo da Vinci—the spectacular Château du Clos Lucé. Young travelers can pick up a special "inventor’s notebook" and set out to invent a machine using da Vinci’s ingenious tips and tricks.
Today, be amazed by the Hall of Mirrors in the magnificent Palace of Versailles, a World Heritage site. Imagine yourself decked out in velvet and gold as you stride between sparkling rooms on a guided tour, or explore the endless winding pathways in Versailles’ vast gardens. Return to Paris and enjoy a free afternoon to wander the banks of the Seine, munch on macarons, or shop in elegant boutiques. In the evening, gather for a farewell dinner.
Depart at any time.