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Barcelona, Southern France & the Italian Riviera

12 days
Though distinctly different, each region brings its own brand of laid-back leisure (you’ll take sunny siestas in Barcelona and relaxing riposos on the Mediterranean), in addition to inimitable culture, astounding architecture and amazing food. Get ready to sip sangria by La Sagrada Família, meander amid ancient ruins in Nimes and saunter through seaside villages, all while sneaking in opportunities to brush up your Spanish, French and Italian.

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

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Barcelona today.

Barcelona 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Barcelona

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Spain! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Barcelona

Included meals: Breakfast

Discover why Barcelona is touted for its unparalleled architectural landmarks, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

• Step inside La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s famous masterwork-in-progress

• Drive along Passeig de Gràcia, past Gaudí’s “house of bones”

• Stop at Montjuïc, where the 1992 Olympic Games took place, and stroll Mirador de l’Alcalde Park

• Pass Plaça d’Espanya and the soaring monument to Christopher Columbus

Enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Park Güell & Pedrera $85*pp Details

On today’s excursion, discover the magnificent works of Antoni Gaudí, the famed Spanish architect known for his bold, distinct designs. Casa Milà is the first stop. Take a guided tour of this building, popularly known as La Pedrera, built by Gaudí between 1905 and 1910. Everything about the building is visually unique, from the wave-like stone structure and grandly designed roof to the apartment that reflects the style of the 20th century bourgeois. Next, you’ll head to Park Güell, also designed by Gaudí. Your guide will lead you through the park, which contains stunning buildings, intricate stonework and colorful mosaics. At the top of the park, marvel at the brilliant views of Barcelona.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 4: Free day in Barcelona

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Barcelona or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Montserrat $69*pp Details

Journey to the ninth-century monastery of Montserrat, which inspired the composer Richard Wagner as he wrote Parsifal. Ride a high-flying cable car up the mountain and enjoy magnificent views of the Llobregat River Valley and – if skies are clear – the Pyrenees. A local guide leads the way to the secluded monastery, where you will see the iconic Black Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s beloved and miraculous Madonna statue. Take some time to explore the monastery before driving back to Barcelona.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $79)

Optional Excursion - Flamenco Dinner Show $109*pp Details

The clapping, the singing, the stamping—experience the dramatic art of flamenco dancing, one of Spain’s most celebrated traditions. Expressive and colorful, this Andalucian style of dance combines guitar playing (toque), song (cante) and rhythmic handclaps (palmas). Dinner will be served before the performance.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Montpellier 1 night Hotel info

Day 5: Montpellier via Carcassonne

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set off for Montpellier, France today. Stop en route in the fortified city of Carcassonne to tour the medieval fortress settlement, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

French Riviera 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: The French Riviera via Nimes

Included meals: Breakfast

Make your way to Nice and the French Riviera by way of Nimes, where a local guide shows you around the city. 

• See remarkably preserved Roman buildings, including the Maison Carrée

• Visit the Arena of Nimes, built around A.D. 100 and seen in the film “Gladiator”

• Stop at the Pont du Gard, a UNESCO-listed Roman aqueduct

Day 7: Free day in the French Riviera

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day exploring the French Riviera or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Cape Ferrat: Villas & Views of the French Riviera $69*pp Details

Embark on a guided tour of the Villa Ephrussi, a beautiful palazzo overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to experiencing the villa's nine gardens firsthand, you'll explore the history of the villa itself as you walk among its interiors. Afterward, set off on foot for a scenic stroll to Villa Kerylos, taking in gorgeous views of the French Riviera along the way.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $79)

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)

Italian Riviera 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Travel to the Italian Riviera

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Leave France for the Italian Riviera today. Stop en route at a perfume factory in the seaside village of Eze before arriving in the Italian Riviera for your group dinner.

Day 9: Cinque Terre

Included meals: Breakfast

Discover Cinque Terre, an idyllic cluster of five villages set on seaside cliffs. 

• Explore the seaside towns of Vernazza and Monterosso (please note that specific Cinque Terre village visits may vary)

• Travel by boat for dramatic cliff-side views (weather permitting; you may travel by train instead of boat)

Florence 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Florence

Included meals: Breakfast

Set off to Florence, the city at the center of the Renaissance, and meet your local guide. 

• Visit the legendary Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo

• Pass Giotto’s Campanile, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture

• Step inside the Basilica of Santa Croce, the burial site of many illustrious Italians, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo

• See the medieval Ponte Vecchio and the Piazza della Signoria, center of Florentine life

Day 11: Free day in Florence

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free day in Florence or add an excursion.

Later, join your group for a farewell dinner in Florence.

Optional Excursion - San Gimignano: Medieval Sights & Tuscan Flavors $85*pp Details

Travel the beautiful Tuscan countryside to discover the medieval village of San Gimignano. During the Renaissance, the rival Guelph and Ghibelline political factions flexed their muscles by constructing tall towers throughout San Gimignano; fourteen of those towers survive today. Later, visit a local winery to taste the region’s wines and sample of some of Italy’s most famous olive oils and balsamic vinegars that you simply won’t find anywhere else. Then, enjoy lasagna during a light lunch.

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

Day 12: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or continue on to explore Rome.

Add Rome $389 pp

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

Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and vibrant street life, no other city comes close.

Rome 2 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Rome

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to Rome this morning, then follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans with a tour of the Eternal City.

• Pass by Trajan’s Column and Piazza Venezia, the city’s central hub

• Stop at the ruins of the Forum, from which the Caesars ruled their vast empire 

• Soak up over 2,000 years of history in Imperial Rome, viewing the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Venus and Roma

• Enter the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and take time to explore on your own

Day 13: Free day in Rome

Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Rome or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City $99*pp Details

This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you’ll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world’s most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you’ll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you’ll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece. Finally, you’ll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sundays. Backpacks are not allowed in the Vatican and a dress code of no shorts or sleeveless shirts is enforced.

Must be booked 70 days before departure

Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors $79*pp Details

End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 14: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Montpellier, France
  • French Riviera, France
  • Genoa, Italy
  • Florence, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Spain, France and Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least 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 the Spanish 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. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing and Packing Tips

We recommend packing light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights. A sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are also recommended. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any event—a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to Spain, France and Italy. It’s always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. In Spain, breakfast is very light, usually consisting of only rolls and coffee. Lunch is traditionally a threecourse meal, which can take much of the afternoon to consume. The traditional dish is known as paella and is made from chicken, meat, vegetables, seafood and saffron rice. Dinner is less hearty than lunch and is served late, between 9pm and midnight. Tapas, a series of small samples of various appetizers, is an evening staple at Spanish bars and cafes. Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, patés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafes. On the restaurant scene, the prix fixe option is popular. Italian cuisine varies by region. Tuscany is known for its wine, oil, sauces and pasta, and Rome and Southern Italy are loved for their pizzas and seafood. For authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants often with only a couple of open tables and hand-printed menus. Italians tend to indulge in long, often boisterous meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks of grappa or limoncello.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Barcelona and depart from Florence (or Rome on extension). Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation. For the novice traveler, navigating Barcelona can be slightly challenging. However, most of the main attractions and tourist hangouts are near the area known as Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Use Las Ramblas as a base—it runs all the way down to the Columbus Monument and the harbor. For access to the other attractions and neighborhoods of Barcelona, use the excellent metro system. Florence is walkable, although frequent local buses are also available. Tickets can be purchased at tobacconists or at vending machines. Rome offers both underground transportation and bus service to the city’s major attractions. Subway and bus tickets may be purchased separately or in bulk.

Museums in Florence

If you are interested in visiting any of Florence's many museums during your free time, we recommend that you make reservations in advance. Additional information is available on the Polo Museale website. Please note that the museums are closed on Mondays.

Electricity

Spain, France and Italy operate on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

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

Currency

The euro is the currency you will use on tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in the countries you’ll be visiting, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the Cirrus and Plus networks, but make sure to check with your bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is 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: 3/22/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Everything!

Go Ahead Tours treated us like Royalty! The Best hotels, buses, drivers, and by far, the Best tour director!! Our group was an agreeable, fun-loving crew. It was our choice to join in with optional tours or go our own way. We ended up going on many of the tours because we got exclusive entry into sites and wonderful tour guides. Our tour director, the staff, and our tour guides were very genuine and seemed to love their job. And what a fun job!! They made our dreams come true. We will definitely go with Go Ahead again SOON!

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 4/8/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

inconsistant accommodations

Our room in Florence was totally unacceptable. We tried to change rooms but hotel was full. The farewell dinner also in Florence was the worst meal of the whole trip.

 

Thank you for sharing your feedback. It is most helpful for us to receive your comments as we continually strive to improve, but we are sorry to hear your tour experience fell short in these regards. We will be following up with our suppliers to be sure we are continuing to offer accommodations and meals that align with our standards of quality and service

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 24, 2015

Staff Review


5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 3/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Staff Review

Wow. Exceeded expectations!

Wow. This trip was a trip of a lifetime! I'm not much for guided group travel, but this exceeded my expectations beyond belief! Everything was seamless from the beginning to end and all of the logistics were taken care of. It was so nice not to have to plan anything! Not only was the itinerary great and the places we visited beautiful, but Emilio, our Tour Director, really made the trip extremely special. He went above and beyond for each individual traveler and was so helpful in guiding us to local places in our free time. Talk about culturally immersed! Our bus driver, Gianpiero was also outstanding. Not to mention, our group size was great. We had 30 and we all got to know each other and had great fun. Go Ahead's 35 maximum group size is perfection! I had already been to a majority of these places, but there was something new I came across each day. Wow is all I can say. Beautiful hotels with amazing locations and outstanding meals! The San Gimignano and Monaco optional excursions were extreme highlights for our group. I'm already planning my next Go Ahead Tour...but only if Emilio is our Tour Director!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 3/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour Director ! Emilio

Our group had a wonderful time on this tour! My wife and I recruited about a dozen intrepid travelers from our town in Central Oregon. We arrived in Barcelona Spain on March 26, 2015. Our early morning arrival was met by our soon to be good friend: GoAhead Tour Director Emilio . Emilio was a great fellow traveler adding insights into the areas that we traveled and always looking out for the many logistical elements of traveling with a group of almost 35 people. He handled his job with a great deal of enthusiasm, knowledge and a boundless energy. All of our travelers really enjoyed our itinerary, although by the end of our two weeks, we were about spent and looking forward to returning home....We enjoyed meting Emilio and the 3 other GoAhead Tours staffers that were getting "first hand knowledge" from the travelers perspective and away from the Boston Office. (I think that is a great employee "perk" and necessary for maintaining a customer focused business...well done! You have real gems within your organization with Sofie, Jules and David! ) All aspects of the trip were above expectations, great hotels, great food, great itinerary, great ground transfers, fun fellow travelers. Janis and I can't wait to start to recruit our group for next year's tour. I think that we will be doing the Greek Islands tour with an extension to Istanbul (Greece is beautiful in April! ) Thank you! DQ

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 3/11/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: LA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Go Ahead step above Sp Fr It trip

We've done a couple tours with EF the parent company of Go Ahead which is aimed towards youth and were quite happy with those tours. This was our first Adult only trip with Go ahead And they were right on the money about food and accommodations being a step up. The food they provided was totally awesome, way to much for me so Now I'm stuck with the burden of getting ride of those extra calories. While in Barcelona I recommend park Guell without much effort a self tour can be done and very enjoyable. We did an optional wine tasting / dinner event that was so much fun. Knocked it out of the park like fun. Originally we had planned to skip that excursion but so glad we ended up including it. It also included a side tour of some small town San Gimignano it was just so much to visit could have spent a whole day there.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/16/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

So Beautiful!!

Our trip was fantastic! Simone did an excellent job managing everyone and was knowledgeable about each of our stops. He has a very energetic personality and is willing to help travelers with additional sites they want to see. Our group was very large and I'm sure this made it more like herding cats than people but he did it without ever getting annoyed at a few that were always missing. This trip was in the second half of October which made it a little too chilly to go in the water but it was perfect for walking. We still haven't been able to decide what our favorite stop was because we loved each place so much. The hotels were all very beautiful and all the food everywhere we went was AMAZING!! I've never had such fantastic food on such a consecutive basis. We did most of the optional excursions and are happy we did. Overall, this was an unforgettable trip and the first of many with Go Ahead!!

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 11/4/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

well rounded tour

The tour director Needs to have better restaurant choices, needs to have better info for money exchange places, need to slow down for older people,

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: AB

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Don't go in November

Cons: It is off season for tourism and when you go on the old walled city tours; 95% of the shops close near the beginning of October. Quite a disappointment when you are there for two hours and it takes 1/2 an hour to see the city/town....and it is raining heavily. Once we left Spain, it rained for four days straight and almost detoured our trip to the Italian Riviera due to flooding and possible mudslides. The water front and beach was still destroyed by flooding. Restaurants are also closed during November. As for the dinners....I do not want to see another plate of pasta with pesto dressing. Three out of the five optional tours were cancelled the day prior to the tour, because only nine people signed up for them...and GoAhead requires ten people for an optional tour. You do not see the five villages of Cinque Terra. You visit three. Do not purchase 'Monte Carlo at Night'. It is a drive up the mountain, to the casino. It is dark and there is nothing to see. The beauty is below along the water and you only see it, on the way out of the city; the next morning. You get into the casino before the rich and beautiful arrive, and you get looked down upon - by the employees - even the coat check woman. Pros: The guide Tini was great. The bus driver(s) - I think there was four different ones - were all incredible drivers. The hotels were the best. All comfortable and located within walking distance to something good. With exception to the one in Montpellier. The hotel itself was luxurious but not close to anything. Tour guides in every city were very knowledgeable and I enjoyed them all. The restaurants did accommodate vegetarians and gluten free people when asked. The buses were comfortable and driving distances are really good Easy to get around in every city.

 

Cathy, Thank you for your thoughtful review of your recent Go Ahead Tour. While off-season travel can be different in some ways, we often find that our travelers enjoy the thinner crowds and milder weather that traveling outside of peak season provides. However, it is understandable that each traveler has a unique opinion on this matter. We are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy the Monaco by Night optional excursion. We have received mostly positive feedback about this excursion in the past. Travelers often enjoy the opportunity to visit this small city-state, home to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco and where the rich and famous relax. Tini is a great guide and we have no doubt she helped the tour run smoothly! We’re glad that you enjoyed the tour overall and we hope that if you have any further feedback you won’t hesitate to let us know. We hope to be able to welcome you on another Go Ahead Tour in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 04, 2014

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

First Experience and it was great!!

I feel that for this being my first time to Europe and that I went to the one place that I have dreamed of going since I was 12 (Barcelona), this tour was awesome. I would do it again. I really enjoyed the included tours and the free days we got to explore the cities. Of course, I wish I had more time in those places, but at least I know what places I enjoyed the most in case I decide to go back. Tini was amazing. I loved how she was very knowledgeable and gave great suggestions. Although, the weather wasn't always in our favor, it didn't stop us from enjoying this trip. I would definitely do another tour, especially if Tini was my Tour Director again. I really got see a different side of life, and for that I can never complain! I know that they tell you that there is a lot of walking, but for whoever is reading, there will be walking involved, it's EUROPE, it's a nice way to explore. Be prepared!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/24/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great trip!

Great trip. The itinerary was wonderful. Juan, our tour director, was great considering he was dealing with 40 people,which is too many for a tour. He took it upon himself to organize a trip to a winery,which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Thanks again Juan!!

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