Last Modified: 07 Apr 2014
Highlights of France
Trip code: AMKF
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Lose yourself in France, one of Europe's most enchanting countries. Head out to discover the romantic streets of Paris, enjoy classic Provencal cuisine and world-class Burgundy wines, then frolic with Europe’s high rollers on the Riviera.
Table of Contents
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Days 1-2 Paris
Bonjour! Welcome to France.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Enjoy a welcome dinner with your group.
Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and fabulous food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and hidden treasures to discover.
Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre will give you a good feel for the city. The Tuileries, Plantes and Luxembourg gardens are all excellent places to enjoy a simple baguette with cheese on summer days, or head to a cafe to have a coffee - the French drink it black - and watch the world go by.
- Musee d'Orsay - EUR9
- Napoleon's tomb - EUR9
- Louvre Museum - EUR10
- Eiffel Tower - EUR14
- Fat Tires bike tour - EUR28
- Notre Dame towers - EUR8
- Picasso Museum - EUR6
- Rodin Museum - EUR9
- Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR60
- Palace of Versailles - EUR15
- Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
- Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR20
- Catacombs - EUR8
- Centre Pompidou - EUR13
- Arc de Triomphe - EUR10
- Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR8
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Dijon/Beaune
Travel by comfortable train to Dijon (approx 3 hrs) - our base to explore the Burgundy region.
Burgundy is one of France's richest provinces - historically, culturally, gastronomically and economically. Dijon's delightful city centre boasts numerous medieval and renaissance buildings and a warren of narrow little streets. Despite its long history, Dijon has a youthful feel about it due to its large and well-known university.
Visit one of the world-famous wineries in Burgundy's wine capital, Beaune.
Take a short train trip back to Dijon (approx 25 mins).
- Mustard Museum - EUR10
- Owl tour guide - EUR3
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 5 Sainte Sabine - Chateau Stay
Travel to a traditional French château, where you will stay for the night, and feel as though you’ve stepped back in time in this historic setting. Take time out to explore the grounds at your own pace, relax with a book, gaze across the French countryside and enjoy delicious local food.
Chateau (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Avignon
Travel by train from Dijon to Avignon (approx 3 hrs).
An elegant, walled city in Provence's most picturesque valley, Avignon is home to an impressive collection of art, a grand papal palace and the Pont St-Benezet.
We'll introduce you to Provence's famous hearty cuisine with lunch in a local bistro.
Be stunned by the largest medieval Gothic palace in the world, the Palais des Papes. Built in the 14th century after Avignon became the official residence of Pope Clement V, its sprawling grandeur decimated the papacy's income during construction. The fortified halls are now mostly undecorated, but the cavernous chapels speak volumes about the wealth of the papacy.
See Pont St-Benezet, built during the 12th century and, at the time, the only crossing point along the Rhone River, the natural boundary between the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. Most of the bridge was swept away by floods in the 17th century, and only four of the original 22 arches remain today. Record your own version of the famous song at the bridge's museum.
You have a free day to see some of the Provencial towns such as Orange, Nimes or even the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard. Your leader will be able to recommend a great local bistro for you to sample some of the world renowned Provencale food and wine.
A popular half-day trip is to take the local train to Arles (approx 30 mins), which is rich in monuments built in Roman times and also in culture, as a result of the town's association with artistic celebrities. You can even enter the ancient Roman amphitheatre.
One of the most interesting things to see in Arles is the ancient necropolis outside the walls of the old town. Les Alyscamps is where some 80 generations have been buried over 2000 years. The road is lined with sarcophagi under tall poplar trees.
- Bike hire - EUR15
- Museum Calvet - EUR6
- Museum Lapidaire - EUR2
- Museum of the Petit Palace - EUR6
- Roure Palace - EUR5
- Antiques Museum - EUR6
- Arlaten Ethnographic Museum - EUR6
- Reattu Museum - EUR6
- Pont St-Benezet (Bridge of Avignon) - EUR4
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Nice
Continue by train to Nice (approx 4 hrs).
Be seduced by the glamour of the French Riviera, a graceful coastline full of fine food, exclusive coves and stunning views. Whether sailing across the sparkling waters, walking among the beautiful hills, dining on France's tastiest treats or dancing the night away in a Nice nightspot, the French Riviera - or Cote d'Azur to locals - is well equipped to be enjoyed by everyone.
The star of the Riviera and a great base from which to explore the rest of the Cote d'Azur, Nice boasts both public and private beaches and many watersports are available. Don't miss the flower and evening markets on Place Saleya.
Regroup in the evening to enjoy a last dinner together.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
As there is limited time in Nice to explore we recommend staying an extra few days to enjoy all the options available in this region.
- Exotic Garden - EUR7
- Grasse perfume tour - Free
- Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - Free
- St. Nicolas Cathedral - EUR3
- Matisse Museum - Free
- Boat trip to St. Tropez - EUR20
- Monaco return train transport - EUR10
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- Highlights of France - (AMKF) Single Supplement (AMKF)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Best of France (AMSG)
- Highlights of Southern Spain & Morocco (ZBKS)
- Ireland's Wonders (BMKI)
We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Europe is a region which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Expense, crowds, differing cultures can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this region but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In some parts of Europe there are very different attitudes to time keeping and service. Buses and trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and waiters may not seem as keen to serve you as you may be used to. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by every part of Europe.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE:
To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in France. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. ATMs are available at Ajaccio and Corte but it is best to bring some Euros in cash with you
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is becoming more and more difficult to change travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
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, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
The price of the Single Supplement doesn't include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
Day 5 - Chateau stay
Hotel (7 nts), Chateau (1 nt)
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
8 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Breakfast: Will usually consist of coffee, tea, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bread, and conserves.
Lunch: Picnic style lunches will normally include bread, cold meat, cheese, sometimes boiled eggs or tinned fish, fresh salad vegetables and fresh fruit.
Evening meal: A first course of soup, salad or charcuterie, a main course of meat with one or two vegetables or rice or pasta and a dessert course. Beer, wine, bottled water, coffee, tea or other drinks are not included in the price of evening meals.
Restaurant meals are usually arranged as a 'menu' for the whole group and as they are based on special negotiations made by us represent better value than eating independently.
We do make an effort to cater for vegetarian diets but you should not expect the variety of food that you may have at home. In Europe most hotels and restaurants are not geared up to provide separate vegetarian menus, especially smaller establishments in the mountains. Vegetarians will usually find that there is little difficulty, as long as they are prepared to be reasonably flexible.
Metro, Train, Bus, Taxi, Minibus
TRANSPORT IN EUROPE:
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.
Hotel de l'Ocean
7 Rue Mayran
Phone: +33 142800000
Fax: +33 (0)1428014
Joining point description
Hôtel de l'Ocean is situated just 10 minutes from Gare du Nord train station and 3 minutes from Cadet Metro Statio, which provides direct access to Le Louvre and Opéra Garnier.
Rooms offer satellite TV, a minibar, air-conditioning, a safe and a private bathroom with amenities.
Additional facilities include a 24hr reception, luggage storage facilities, laundry and dry cleaning services and free WiFi in all areas.
Joining point instructions
Arriving by metro:
Line 7: "Cadet" stop is the closest to the hotel.
Arriving on RER:
RER B and D: Gare du Nord stop
RER Eole: Gare du Nord stop
Arriving by train:
Near Gare Saint-Lazare train station.
Arriving by air:
Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports are the most convenient.
Pre booked arrival transfer from Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly Airport:
If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall, holding a board with your name on.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) please follow the instructions under the "Joining point instructions" in order to find our driver. Should you have any problems locating your driver, please call the number for our transfer company which can be found below. Should you continue to experience any difficulties, please call the emergency number for our local operations team which is available on the 'Emergency Contact' section of these trip notes.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
If you have any issues locating your driver please contact Fox transfers on +33 975 182 019 or hotel beds on +34 660 409 789
6, Rue Miron, 06000
Finish point description
Hotel Nicea is located in central Nice, 5 minutes from the main train station and a short walk to the beach, Old Town and Place Massena. The 38 rooms, include private facilities, air conditioning and satellite television.
Finish point instructions
A taxi to the airport will cost approximately EUR30. Alternatively ask your trip leader or hotel for assistance
booking an airport shuttle or using public transport. Journey times will vary between 20 minutes and 1 hour.
Pre booked departure transfer to the airport:
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 3 hours prior to your flight.
Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you not find the driver please contact to the emergency phone numbers: +33 9751 820 195, or Hotelbeds on +34 660 409 789.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Not required
UK: Not required
USA: Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our 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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon Offset C02-e 300.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.