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Grand Tour of France

15 days
Travel from the culinary capital of Lyon to the iconic city of Paris, and through the plethora of charming medieval villages and coastal Riviera towns in between. This grand tour is your chance to eat, drink and sightsee your way through this dynamic country.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 13 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with wine or beer

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Lyon today.

Lyon 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Lyon

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to France! Spend an afternoon getting to know Lyon on your own before meeting your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Lyon

Included meals: Breakfast

A local guide introduces you to France’s culinary capital on a tour through Lyon’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed city center.

• Take in the Gothic and Renaissance architecture as you pass by the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière 

• Step inside St. John the Baptist Cathedral and walk through centuries-old traboules, or underground passages

Enjoy a free afternoon in Lyon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Medieval Village of Pérouges $59*pp Details

Make your way to the charming village of Pérouges, a favorite among the French for its winding cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. Visit the central Tilleul Square for a panoramic view of the area and explore the Fortress Church of Sainte-Marie Madeleine. After taking in the scenery, stop at a local bakery to sample some of the region’s sweetest specialties, including galette (a round, flat tart filled with berries) and hypocras, a spiced wine flavored with honey, ginger and cinnamon.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Nice 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Travel to Nice

Included meals: Breakfast

Take a train through the countryside to the French Riviera and arrive in Nice. Spend the day exploring Nice on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Monaco by Night: Monte Carlo Casino & Dinner $99*pp Details

Spend an evening in Monaco, world-renowned for its luxuriousness. A tiny principality ruled by the Grimaldis, Europe’s oldest royal family, Monaco has retained its independence for more than 700 years. Your Tour Director introduces you to the Old Town with a stop outside the Royal Palace. After an included dinner, you may wish to try your luck at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino. Please note: The trip to the casino requires moderate walking. This excursion is not available from May 9-26, 2015 during the Grand Prix.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Nice

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know Nice’s many charms on a guided sightseeing tour.

• Drive along the Promenade des Anglais 

• Discover the narrow streets of the Old Town

• Explore the Roman amphitheater

• Wander around the gardens of the Franciscan Monastery in Cimiez 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Nice or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Villages of Provence: Grasse & Saint-Paul-de-Vence $45*pp Details

Travel to Grasse for an inside look at the Fragonard perfume factory. Learn the secrets of producing this precious liquid (one of France’s signature goods) before making your way to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, one of the oldest villages of the French Riviera. A celebrity haven, the charming village has a great art scene and a rich medieval history, which your Tour Director will showcase with visits to the Porte de Vence, Collegiate Church and more. Afterward, relax and sip pastis, the local aperitif, while people-watching on the main square.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

Montpellier 1 night Hotel info

Day 6: Montpellier via Aix-en-Provence

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way through the landscapes that influenced the French master painters, stopping in Aix-en-Provence for a walking tour.

• Enter Paul Cézanne’s studio

• Pass Aix Cathedral, built on the site of the 1st-century Roman forum

• Stroll the city’s beautiful boulevards

Then continue on to Montpellier, where you’ll spend the night.

Bordeaux 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Bordeaux via Carcassonne

Included meals: Breakfast

On the way to Bordeaux, stop in historic Carcassonne to explore its UNESCO-recognized medieval castle.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Bordeaux

Included meals: Breakfast

Meet your local guide for a panoramic tour of Bordeaux, the capital of the Aquitane region that’s well-known for its wine. 

• Stop at the Place des Quinconces

• Drive along the Garonne River, stopping at Place de la Bourse

• Enter the Basilica of St. Michael

• Pass the lively hub of the Place de la Comédie and the Grand Theatre  

Enjoy a free afternoon in Bordeaux or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Bordeaux Dinner & Wine Tasting $115*pp Details

Head outside the city of Bordeaux to the countryside where some of France’s best wines are produced. Tour the historic village of Saint-Émilion, known for its namesake monolithic church, unique underground monuments and centuries-old vineyards. Visit a local winery for a tour of the cellar and to learn about the winemaking process. Then, sip your way through world-renowned varieties, including prestigious Grand Crus. After your tour and tasting, discuss your favorites over dinner at the vineyard.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Loire Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: The Loire Valley via La Rochelle

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Explore the Atlantic port city of La Rochelle, from its charming harbor to its medieval towers. Later, arrive in the Loire Valley.

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of the Loire Valley

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know château country on a sightseeing tour today. Step inside the extravagant Château de Chenonceau, where you’ll discover how it got the nickname Château des Femmes, and explore its surrounding gardens.

Enjoy a free evening in the Loire Valley or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Loire Valley Dinner & Wine Tasting $99*pp Details

Cap off your day in the Loire Valley taking in views of the Valley's châteaux and greenery on your way to a local wine cellar. With its central location in the country, this area draws culinary influence from several parts of France, which you'll experience during a wine tasting and dinner at a local restaurant.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Normandy Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Normandy via Mont Saint-Michel

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel north to the historic Normandy coastline. Stop for several visits along the way, including a guided tour of Mont Saint-Michel. 

• Stop to see the medieval Château de Fougères

• Visit the striking, 8th-century island monastery of Mont Saint-Michel

• See how the monastery, perched high on a granite rock, is surrounded by water at high tide and quicksand at low tide

Day 12: Free day in Normandy

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Normandy or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - D-Day Beaches of Normandy $75*pp Details

Relive World War II history during this excursion to Normandy, where the Allied troops landed in June 1944. First, travel to the D-Day Museum in Arromanches. Next, stop at the American Cemetery in Colleville—the burial place for more than 9,000 American soldiers who lost their lives during the battle of Normandy. From there, visit Pointe du Hoc to view the evocative granite monument erected by the French in honor of the American Second Ranger Battalion, who seized the German canons here before they could be used to fire on American troops landing on Omaha Beach.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Travel to Paris

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to France’s capital city this morning. Once you’re settled in, enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Evening in Paris: Dinner & River Cruise $115*pp Details

Take in the nighttime allure of the City of Light on a special evening excursion. The event begins with dinner at a local restaurant. After you dine, board a boat cruise along the Seine. As you coast along the river and under Paris’ bridges, you’ll behold the gloriously illuminated monuments of Paris glittering alongside the riverbanks. Please note: The dress code may vary depending your restaurant. Your Tour Director will advise you on what to wear, but shorts and sneakers are likely to be considered inappropriate attire.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Day 14: Sightseeing tour of Paris

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

A guided tour introduces you to the architecture, scenery and history of the City of Light’s many neighborhoods.

• Drive down the Champs-Élysées to view the famed Arc de Triomphe 

• Pass the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on an island in the Seine River 

• See the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier opera house and Place de la Concorde, the city’s grandest square 

• Marvel at the eclectic and iconic architecture of the Louvre 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Paris or add an excursion.   

Say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner this evening.

Optional Excursion - Versailles Palace & Gardens $109*pp Details

The reign of Louis XIV, known as the “Sun King,” set new standards for decadence among the crowned heads of Europe. It took 50 years and 35,000 workers to turn Versailles, once a small hunting lodge, into the most magnificent château in all of France and the envy of royalty worldwide. On this excursion, you will see the palace in all its glory. Tour the State Apartments and the glittering Hall of Mirrors. Then stroll through the lavish gardens with their fine statuary, splendid fountains and colorful flowerbeds.

Must be booked 45 days before departure

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or continue exploring Paris.

Add Paris $299 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Overflowing with history, art and romance, there’s nowhere in the world like Paris. People-watch at a cafe, visit the world-class museums, stroll manicured parks and let yourself get lost exploring the winding streets of Montmartre.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 15: Free day in Paris

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Monet & the Landscapes of Giverny $85*pp Details

The village of Giverny was home to Claude Monet from 1883 until his death in 1926. On a visit to Monet’s home and gardens, discover the subtle palette of colors that inspired his Water Lilies series and gave rise to a new way of seeing. Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs April through October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Day 16: Free day in Paris

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy another free day in Paris.

Day 17: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Lyon, France
  • Nice, France
  • Montpellier, France
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Amboise, France
  • Paris, France
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
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  • MAY
  • JUN
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  • SEP
  • OCT
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  • DEC

Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact France’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Baggage Handling

Please note that porter service is not always available on your train from Aix to Paris. Please be prepared to handle your own baggage.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to France. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For a casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, pâtés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crêpes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Flaky pastries and hot coffee beckon from the cafes. For restaurants, the prix fixe option is popular, offering a three- or four-course set menu for a good price. Although lunch is generally served from noon until 2pm, dinner is served from 7:30pm onward. Those wishing to eat earlier may want to stop at a cafe, where light entrées and sandwiches are often served throughout the afternoon and evening.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Lyon and depart from Paris. Included transportation is by TGV train and private motor coach. Most of the destinations on tour are best explored on foot, but in Paris, you may want to take advantage of the excellent transportation systems. Make sure to take time and look for the best deal on travel passes. Ask your Tour Director which one might work best. Often the daily passes are not actually the best deal.

Electricity

France operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Paris.

Currency

The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in France, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/1/2014

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: NH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

France is more than Paris

Great trip and tour director. We enjoyed seeing a lot of other areas of France as well as some of Paris. Our director knew restaurants and foods to recommend. He was able to add villages and sites that weren't even on the schedule for us to see in keeping with the interests of the group. Good pace.

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1 / 4

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/1/2014

Number of Past Tours: 9

From: SC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Awesome Tour Director - best one ever had

This has been one of my best vacations with Go Ahead. I have been to France multiple times but having a local Tour Director as energetic, knowledgeable but most important enjoyable and ready to make this trip feel like a vacations made a huge differnce. JJ is the best tour director I have had since I started travelling with Go Ahead. This tour was phenomenal and I enjoyed every stop we had even if they were a repeat. I was able to see something knew or learn something new. I highly recommend the tour. I also encorage GA to use local tour directors more as they really help understand the culture and enjoy the trip more.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/20/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour of France

Traveling to France the end of Sept. through the first week of October was best time to go as far as weather!! 70 degrees almost everyday! We feel Go Ahead gave us the best itinery; we got to see all of the highlights of France, while still having free times to go off on our own. It was perfect!!! Our tour director Tiery was excellent and very accommodating; showing us personally where certain places where that we were interested in seeing. He often went out of his way to actually bring us there himself when we had free time. He was wonderful!!! On the downside, some of the hotels were very uncomfortable and very small and cramped. I hardly got enough sleep because of the beds. The Crown Plaza was the most comfortable; but we only at this hotel for one night. Also, the hotels had the bare essentials, no iron, no close up mirror, soap, shampoo or hair dryer. The last hotel in Paris was very nice and had everything we needed and was comfortable as well. The food was very disappointing; very little vegetables or fruits; limited menu, (there were foods I could not eat and ended up not eating at all); very little variety of drinks. We found that when we had free time we could find better food. Also, the breakfasts in just about all the hotels were below average; runny eggs, no coffee in last hotel, underdone bacon and not enough variety, Overall, I would still recommend Go Ahead Tours because they gave a great trip for the money.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 7/19/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

So Much to See & So Little Time!!

From the very beginning this tour was more than what I had expected. There was always a fascinating, educational & electrifying place to see each & every day. The Chateaus, castles & of course the wine tasting were without reproach. There were numerous "wonderful" places along the path that led to Paris, some more notable than others, but always exciting to visit. The "rock dwellers", the cave wineries, the resting place of Di Vinci & medieval villages with a story to tell were amazing. American history revisited at Normandy reminded me of our countries place in European history. Poor weather initially was a slight nuisance upon arrival in Lyon, however, it changed for the better as the tour proceeded. Nearly a half-day in Lyon was lost for an unknown reason before we began our train journey to Nice. We really could have used that half-day more in Nice, what a place! Our Tour Director, Thierry, made the best & most of the entire tour. He was truly an asset to the trip, very well informed & always willing to go the "extra mile" to ensure our experience was to our liking. So much to see & so little time!!....this may require another visit in the near future.