Connect with the rich history and culture of France, journeying from evocative gardens at Giverny to hallowed battlegrounds in Normandy. Marvel at the medieval cities of Bayeux and Rouen, touch World War II uniforms and other D-Day relics, and discover the gravity-defying monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cap off your adventure exploring the sights and sounds of Paris—and toasting the captivating capital with fine French cheese.
Full Trip Itinerary:
DAY 1: PARIS — Arrive at any time.
DAY 2: PARIS/BAYEUX — Travel to Giverny for an enchanting visit to artist Claude Monet's garden, inspiration for his famed series of water lily paintings and declared one of National Geographic's "top 10 most magnificent gardens in the world." Continue to the pretty port town of Honfleur for a CEO led walk and some free time in this historic harbour where the Seine River meets the English Channel. This evening, arrive in Bayeux and enjoy a dinner at a local crêperie.
DAY 3: BAYEUX — Delve into World War II history alongside a recognized war historian. Gain insights during a lecture on the Allied invasion of Normandy, and examine and handle wartime relics such as vintage weapons, uniforms, and maps at a local museum. Then board a transport vehicle and head to Secqueville-en-Bessin War Cemetery to learn about the significance of poppies—the ultimate emblem of military sacrifice. This afternoon, conjure scenes of the D-Day landing at notable Normandy sites including Omaha Beach, the cratered cliff-top at Pointe du Hoc, and the American cemetery and memorial.
DAY 4: BAYEUX — Go on an excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel, an island commune off the coast of Normandy. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the medieval fortress dates to the 6th century and is considered one of Europe's most stunning and imposing sites. Get your bearings on an CEO led orientation walk and then explore on your own. Opt to visit the abbey, monastery, or museums, or simply wander the winding lanes and cobblestone streets.
DAY 5: BAYEUX — Enjoy a free day to explore Bayeux and its medieval centre. Amble along its quaint streets, taking in the local scene at shops and cafés. Then opt to visit the 11th-century Cathedral of Bayeux, a Norman-Romanesque architectural gem, and see the famed Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy.
DAY 6: BAYEUX/PARIS — Depart for riverside Rouen and set out around the port city on foot. Discover the beautiful city centre, noted for its Gothic churches and medieval half-timbered houses, and hear about its place in history as the place where Joan of Arc was tried for heresy. Enjoy free time here before heading back to Paris to spend the rest of the day at your leisure exploring the City of Lights.
DAY 7: PARIS — Enjoy a CEO led orientation walk this morning in the medieval centre of Paris; the Île de la Cité. Opt to step inside Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic chapel that dazzles with 1,113 stained glass windows. Afterwards, indulge in a guided lunch presentation of French cheese pairings, then take advantage of more free time to visit iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre.
DAY 8: PARIS — Depart at any time.
What's not included:
Discover the Wonders Down Under in Sydney, Australia for Six Days & Five Nights at the Swissôtel Sydney for Two, Including a Guided Tour of the Sydney Opera House and a Day Trip to the Blue Mountains with a River Cruise (Land Only)
From the talented musicians and performers who've graced the stage of the Sydney Opera House, to the natural marvels of the Blue Mountains, this trip to Sydney, Australia will highlight some of the most captivating landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage sites you've ever seen. You'll get an exclusive experience at the Sydney Opera House on a one-hour tour of this world-famous center for performing arts as your expert guide shares stories about the real-life dramas behind the curtain and the venue's storied history since it opened in 1973. Your full-day tour of the Blue Mountains park visits popular landmarks including the Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls and Jamison Valley, gives you a chance to let the kangaroos eat from your hands and have your photo taken with cuddly koalas, all before a river cruise back to Sydney!
Make your visit to the Sydney Opera House even more special with a guided tour and light meal. Go behind the scenes on a tour of the Sydney Opera House, one of the world's most iconic performance venues and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where more than 1,500 concerts, plays, musicals and ballets are staged every year! Explore it with an insider guide, who shares stories and fun facts about the opera house's history, performances and architecture throughout your one-hour tour. Walk through the elegant foyers, visit one of the largest pillar-free chambers in the world, sit down in a custom-made white birch chair and look up at the vaulted ceiling. Check out areas that are off-limits to the general public, learn about the distinctive exterior design made up of 'shell' tiles, and hear about the opera house's Danish architect, including his inspiration and building challenges. Once you've worked up an appetite, you can savor a light meal.
Enjoy an intimate visit to the Blue Mountains while in Sydney. After morning pickup, take in the sights during the scenic drive to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park. Stretch your legs and meet amazing native Australian animals during a stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park. Be sure to bring your camera for great photo opportunities - you're invited to hand-feed the kangaroos and emus, or have your photo taken with a cuddly koala! Once you reach the Blue Mountains, stop at Echo Point to admire one of the Blue Mountains' most heralded sights: the Three Sisters. Your guide explains local lore about this sculptural rock formation, which sits above the picturesque Jamison Valley. Next up, a nature hike to stunning Wentworth Falls. If you're up for it, you can then choose from several tour options at Scenic World at your own expense - you could ride the rails or take to the air in a gondola to view the rainforest and valleys of the Blue Mountains. Expect a break for lunch in Katoomba, a charming village in the Blue Mountains. Throughout the day, your guide will provide informative commentary about the sights along with time for photo ops and rest stops. As your small group-tour heads back towards Sydney in the afternoon, stop at Olympic Park, where the Olympic Games were held in the year 2000. Then hop on board a comfortable boat for a cruise along the Parramatta River, lined with waterfront homes and lush greenery. Once you pass under Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's not long before your boat docks at Circular Quay where your full-day Blue Mountains tour ends.
Located above one of Australia's most iconic department stores and centrally positioned amongst Sydney's prime tourist and shopping districts including Westfield Sydney, Pitt Street Mall and Queen Victoria Building, the luxurious five-star Swissotel Sydney is also within easy reach of the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Hyde Park and the Opera House. Guests will benefit from ease of access to the city's transportation system. Relax in the sanctuary of your room, where the style is a marriage between Sydney glamour and Swiss precision, offering an ideal retreat in the heart of the central business district. Explore "the town", as it's known locally, then return to the Swissotel Sydney where you can relax and unwind while taking in dazzling views of the city skyline, indulge in the sumptuous breakfast buffet or seasonally inspired dinner menu at JPB or delight in a unique buffet high tea at Crossroads Bar. Swissotel Sydney's day spa, Spa & Sport, is an urban escape, the perfect haven to relax and recharge while enjoying a wide choice of treatments.
Your trip for two includes:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Airfare not included. Travel package is non-refundable and subject to availability. Certificates/gift cards cannot be replaced. Passport required for travel outside the U.S. Tour runs on specific days of the week and at specific times. If tour is not available, it may be substituted with equal or similar experience. A minimum 30 day advance reservation is required. Complimentary amenities are subject to availability. Travel is valid for 18 months from date of issue.
On the western edge of mainland Europe, Portugal packs an alluring punch for curious travellers. Embark on an exploration rich in scenic beauty, fascinating history, and vibrant cultural traditions. Venturing from ancient streets and meandering rivers to an array of UNESCO World Heritage sites, encounter the multilayered legacies of Portuguese royalty and Romantics, the Knights Templar and Franciscan monks—and meet port wine makers, cork farmers, and fado folk singers along the way.
Full Trip Itinerary:
DAY 1: LISBON — Arrive at any time. This evening, savour a traditional Portuguese dinner and performance of fado, a local folk singing tradition, in one of Lisbon's oldest neighbourhoods.
DAY 2: LISBON — Travel back in time to the fairytale castles and hills of Sintra, a 19th-century resort town and UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the colourful manors, medieval palaces, and lush gardens that enchanted English Romantic poet Lord Byron as well as Portuguese royalty. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover Lisbon's pastel-hued architecture and lively plazas. Opt to soar over Lisbon on the historic Santa Justa lift, an engineering marvel that ascends 147 feet to an epic viewing platform.
DAY 3: LISBON/ÉVORA — Head to medieval Évora, in the heart of the bucolic Alentejo region, for a fascinating foray into the past. Be mesmerized by the haunting Chapel of Bones, erected by 16th-century Franciscan monks. Then pay a visit to one of the best preserved Roman temples on the Iberian Peninsula, known as Diana's Temple.
DAY 4: ÉVORA — Venture into the Montemor-o-Novo countryside, home to centuries-old cork forests. Join a local expert at a traditional farm, and learn about cork harvesting and production. Then sit down to a traditional cork stripper's lunch at a local restaurant in town. This afternoon, return to Évora and explore its UNESCO World Heritage-designated city centre on your own, walking past whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos and wrought-iron balconies.
DAY 5: ÉVORA/COIMBRA — Spend the day in Tomar and delve into the Crusades era in Portugal. Go on a guided walk with a local expert around the vast medieval complex of the Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Templar Castle, founded in 1160 by Gualdim Pais—grand master of the Knights Templar. Continue on to Coimbra for the evening.
DAY 6: COIMBRA/PORTO — This morning, enjoy a tour around the centuries-old University of Coimbra, Portugal's most prestigious university and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enter through the 10th-century Porta Férra, the old entrance to the citadel of Coimbra. Following mosaic cobblestone paths around campus, stopping to see the baroque stylings of the Joanina Library, elaborate azulejo wall tiles adorning the Chapel of São Miguel, and the 18th-century Botanical Garden. Later, catch the train to Porto on the coast.
DAY 7: PORTO — Board a boat down Portugal's Douro River, or "river of gold". Float on the typical Rabelo Boat along the riverbanks of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia and marvel at the historical bridges connecting the two cities. Famous for centuries as a port wine shipper's centre, discover the rich tradition of port making at a local wine cellar. In your free time, explore the cobblestone streets of Porto's medieval Ribeira district, marvel at the baroque São Francisco Church, and admire the palatial Palácio de Bolsa, a one time stock market.
DAY 8: PORTO — Depart at any time.
What's not included:
Dine in Cortona, Tuscany, Italy (Europe) for Six Days & Five Nights in a Two-Bedroom Loft Apartment for Four, Including a Cooking Class and Lunch in a Winery (Land Only)
Escape to Cortona, one of Tuscany's oldest hill towns, where strolls down the narrow medieval streets reward you with glimpses of impressive churches and incredible views of the countryside. With accommodations in one of three contemporary private apartments, you're perfectly poised to explore the romance of the Italian countryside - with its breathtaking scenery, historic cities, medieval art and divine cuisine, not to mention an enviable proximity to Florence and Rome! The region is a true feast for your senses, and speaking of feasts, you'll participate in a cooking class, and savor lunch in a winery after a tour!
Just one hour drive from arguably the most beautiful city in the world, Florence, and less than two hours' drive to historic Rome, Tuscany hosts innumerable astounding localities, many of which are also named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From the Etruscans to the Romans to the Renaissance, Tuscany is possibly the greatest repository of art in the world, from extraordinary paintings and sculpture to frescoes and architectural masterpieces. Cortona, with its medieval walls still intact, sits in a strategic position overlooking the valley that leads south into Umbria and towards Rome. Spend some time exploring the landmarks of this historic city, such as the Piazza della Republica, the 13th century town hall and clock tower that is now one of Cortona's main plazas, or the Duomo, the Renaissance cathedral featuring an 11th century facade and gorgeous 16th and 17th century paintings inside.
Immerse yourself in the Tuscan lifestyle during your stay in a recently renovated two-bedroom apartment set in the center of Cortona. Enjoy the stylish residences, which feature modern comforts and contemporary flair, from open sitting areas to fully-equipped kitchens, views to central air-conditioning and heating. Your Tuscan home away from home is in an exceptional location within walking distance from the main squares and attractions, in addition to various restaurants, bars and shops.
Then it's time to say buon appetito! You'll participate in a cooking class at a restaurant just a few steps from your apartment, where you'll learn about the culinary traditions and techniques as two courses are explained and prepared. Afterwards, you can feast on the fruits of your labor!
You'll love your tour and lunch at La Braccesca Estate! Just a few miles away from the city of Montepulciano, near the border between Tuscany and neighboring Umbria, La Braccesca Estate is immersed in a pristine environment that is greatly loved and admired by travelers from all over the world. The land owned by La Braccesca is situated in two very close, but entirely different, zones: Montepulciano, the classic and prestigious area of "Vino Nobile", and Cortona, which has made a name for itself in world markets with international grape varieties, specifically syrah. These two different "souls", the essential spirit of the different terroirs, represent La Braccesca's style - a harmony between the past and the future, a balance between the old and the new, a synergy of its professional mastery and its passion for quality. Then dine on a delectable lunch comprised of a Tuscan appetizer, a main course and dessert.
Your trip for four includes:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Airfare not included. Travel package is non-refundable and subject to availability. Certificates/gift cards cannot be replaced. Passport required for travel outside the U.S. Loft may be substituted with equal or similar accommodations. A minimum 30 day advance reservation is required. Travel is valid for 18 months from date of issue.
CANCELLATION POLICY: Cancellation prior to arrival will be subject to forfeiture of reservations and funds.
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