2003 France-In Depth

You’re invited to join Fred Theurkauf on a first class, 19-day sightseeing bridge holiday in the heart of France. Prepare to enjoy the history of powerful European royalty, the splendors of Romanesque architecture, the landscape that inspired artists like Van Gogh and Cézanne, enchanting towns along the Rhône River, wine and cheese and the special gastronomic fare of Burgundy, the glamour of Paris, Monte Carlo, the French Riviera and more. We’ll begin our extravaganza with five nights in the south of France in Nice and the Provence. Next, board the new m/v Viking Burgundy for seven nights cruising northward on the Rhône & Saône rivers, with included shore excursions in Avignon, Les Baux, Arles, the Camargue, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, Lyon and Mâcon. Continuing to Beaune, we’ll indulge in the delights of the rich Burgundy area for two nights before heading to France’s city of lights—Paris. Don’t forget our special invitations from French bridge clubs in Nice, Avignon, Dijon and Paris as well as shipboard games with our own group aboard the m/v Viking Burgundy. Vive la France!

Dates: May 4 to 30, 2003 - 27 days
Cost: From $6884.00

Tour Schedule
Day 1 Depart USA
  Depart your gateway city this afternoon eastbound across the Atlantic Ocean via Air France to Nice.
Day 2 Arrive Nice

The French Riviera
Bonjour France! Check into our hotel and enjoy the city of Nice this afternoon. Tonight, join Fred Theurkauf for cocktails and a special “Welcome to France Dinner.”
Hotel: Le Meridien Hotel
Meal(s): , Dinner
Day 3 Nice
  Explore one of the best preserved medieval villages in France this morning as we take a guided tour through the cobblestone streets of St-Paul-de-Vence, a town that affords sweeping views of the French coastline from its perch above 16th century ramparts. Then, we’re off to Cannes, a glittering whirl of glamorous people, starlets and posh hotels combined with a maze of medieval streets and Renaissance houses, dominated by its 11th century château. Visit one of the world’s greatest Picasso collections in Antibes this afternoon.
Hotel: Le Meridien Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

 We’ve received a special invitation to join the French players of the Cote d’Azur Bridge Club (second largest in France) for dinner and duplicate this evening.
Day 4 Nice
  Enjoy an in-depth tour of Nice beginning with a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules-Chéret. On to the colorful Promenade des Anglais, Cimiez District, and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. This afternoon, Monaco awaits us. Visit Jacques Cousteau’s famous Musée de l’Océanographie and witness the changing of the guard at the Grimaldi Palace. Then, enjoy a fabulous view overlooking Monaco while dining at Restaurant St. Benoît. Afterwards, you’ll have time to visit the Casino or just people-watch over drinks at Le Grand Café.
Hotel: Le Meridien Hotel
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 Nice - St-Remy-en-Provence

Mas en Provence
Depart westward for the Provence today, stopping first in Grasse, perfume capital of the world and favorite winter resort of Queen Victoria. At Parfumerie Fragonard, we’ll learn firsthand about a trade that is both art and science. Next stop—St. Tropez with its salmon pink houses, sunflower yellow cafes, and meandering streets lined with chic boutiques. Enjoy lunch on a shady terrace while watching the million dollar yachts sail into one of the most beautiful harbors on the French coast. This afternoon, we’ll visit Atelier de Cézanne, the studio of the famous artist. This evening, dinner and wine await us at our tranquil Provençal villa.
Hotel: Hostellerie du Valrugues
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 St-Remy-en-Provence
  Enjoy a relaxing morning at our delightful villa. This afternoon, take a leisurely guided walking tour of St-Rémy. Enjoy the sites visited by Van Gogh, as well as a tour of one of St-Rémy’s traditional olive oil factories (a Provençal specialty).
Hotel: Hostellerie du Valrugues
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Tonight, we’ll be hosted by Madam & Monsieur Audibert for dinner and duplicate and enjoy the company of local French players.
Day 7 St-Remy-en-Provence - Embark

The Roman Arena in Nimes
Depart St-Rémy for a day of exploring Roman ruins better preserved than those in Italy—guard posts along the Rhône River, the impressive Arena in Nimes, as well as the Pont du Gard, a spectacular remnant of a 30-mile aqueduct from the days of Agrippa. This afternoon we embark on the m/v Viking Burgundy for our relaxing 7-night cruise northward on the Rhône and Saône (all shore excursions included).
Hotel: Cruising
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 Arles - Avignon
  Today, we’ll explore Arles, the "Little Rome of Gaul," boasting many Gallo-Roman ruins including Les Arenes, an ancient amphitheater that seats 20,000 and is still used for bullfights and plays. From Arles, join an excursion to the Camargue on the Rhône Delta, a marshy habitat for black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos that roam the area freely. This evening, we'll sail to Avignon, home to the Pope's French Palace.
Hotel: Cruising
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 Avignon

The Palais-des-Papes
Today we explore Avignon’s maze of narrow streets filled with churches, museums and palaces, and known as the "City of Popes." Tour the lavish Palais des Papes, a fortress, church and palace considered the center of the Christian world in the 14th century.
Hotel: Cruising
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 Viviers - Tournon
  With buildings dating back to the Middle Ages, time seems to stand still within the Old Town of Viviers. Visit a fine example of Renaissance architecture, the beautiful Maison des Chevaliers. Next, take a 19th century steam train to the mountaintop perch of Tournon, one of France’s most beautiful cities. The fertile landscape is blanketed with various fruit trees and vineyards.
Hotel: Cruising
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 Lyon

The m/v Viking Burgundy
Surrounded by steep hills and situated between France’s Burgundy and Beaujolais regions, Vienne is the gateway to the Lyon countryside. Explore the old town, rich in Roman and medieval buildings including ancient market ruins.
Hotel: Cruising
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 This morning, join Fred Theurkauf for a bridge session aboard the m/v Viking Burgundy with just our own group.
Day 12 Macon - Chalon-Sur-Saône
  A world-famous wine-trading center, Macon serves as a jumping off point for beginning our exploration of Burgundy. A short drive from this rural village brings you to the celebrated vineyards of the area. Enjoy an introduction to the heart of the wine region as well as a tasting at one of the famous vintners.
Hotel: Cruising
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 Disembark - Beaune

Tiled Roofs of Beaune
Welcome to Burgundy. Today we’ll start the morning off by visiting the impressive ruins of Cluny Abbey—rich with wine-making lore and tradition. Next, enjoy a gourmet luncheon at the private Château de Marsanny followed by a visit to their wine cellar and tasting. This afternoon, enjoy free time in Beaune, one of the most charming villages in all of Burgundy.
Hotel: Hotel le Cep
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 We’re invited to join Monsieur Gerard Bouillot this evening for a specially prepared evening of Burgundy fare and bridge with the local French players in Dijon. Salut!
Day 14 Beaune
  This morning we’ll tour the tiny walled town of Autun, known in Roman times as “the other Rome,” enjoying a visit to its spectacular Cathédrale St-Lazare. This afternoon, we explore the most famous vineyards in Burgundy, crossing Meursault, Clos Vougeot and Nuit St. George vineyards. After a tasting and wine cellar visit, we’ll visit the Ancien Palais de Ducs de Bourgogne in Dijon. This evening, tempt your palate with the best that the gastronomic center of France has to offer with a gourmet dinner beyond your imagination at Restaurant Bernard Morillon.
Hotel: Hotel le Cep
Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 Beaune - Paris
  We depart for our final destination, a city in perpetual flux and constant evolution, with a reputation as one of the world’s most romantic cities—Paris. Enroute visit Château de Fontainebleau, one-time residence of Marie Antoinette, Catherine de Medici and Napoleon. We’ll continue on to the French capital for a cruise on the Seine River, where we’ll sail past a panorama of Parisian life, art, architecture, and monuments. Tonight, the gaiety of Parisian nightlife comes alive as we enjoy the fabulous Lido de Paris Cabaret & Dinner.
Hotel: Hotel California
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16 Paris

Arch de Triomphe
Imagine Louis XIV at his finest this morning as you stroll through salon after glittering salon in the Palace of Versailles. Return to Paris to explore the colorful Montmartre area with time for lunch on your own. This afternoon, visit Paris’ most famous engineering and sculptural feat, the Eiffel Tower.
Hotel: Hotel California
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner

 This evening, enjoy a hosted dinner and duplicate session as the invited guests of the chic Parisians.
Day 17 Paris
  This morning enjoy visits to Notre Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle, France’s famous monuments from the Middle Ages. This afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the Louvre Museum or choose to explore the Musee d’Orsay on your own. We’ll have time to relax prior to our famous Farewell Dinner tonight hosted by Fred Theurkauf. Remember “anything goes.” Bon vivant!
Hotel: Hotel California
Meal(s): Breakfast, Dinner
Day 18 Paris - Depart
  Au Revoir! Those not taking our extension to Normandy and the Loire Valley bid adieu to us this morning, and depart for home via Air France.
Meal(s): Breakfast

Your 27-Day Package Includes

 Round-trip air via Air France

 7-night cruise on the new m/v Viking Burgundy.

 Deluxe air-conditioned motor coach travel on land.

 Deluxe and first-class accommodations at hotels & chateaux throughout.

 First-class accommodations on board the m/v Viking Burgundy.

 10 regional Breakfasts (B), 2 Lunches (L) and 10 Dinners (D) on land; 3 meals daily on board the m/v Viking Burgundy

 Services of a full-time English-speaking French tour manager throughout.

 Airport transfers, porterage and hotel service charges.

 Four special duplicate sessions as the invited guests of local players in Nice, Avignon, Dijon and Paris, plus we’ll enjoy two sessions of duplicate shipboard cruising the Rhône & Saône Rivers.

Five-Night Extension to Normandy

Dates: May 22 to 27, 2003
Cost: $1771.00 per person/double occupancy

To make this grand French holiday truly remarkable, add our five-night extension to Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel and the Loire Valley. With two nights at the Hotel Normandy in the seaside resort of Deauville, one night within the walls of spectacular Mont-Saint-Michel, and two nights in a château in the Loire Valley, you'll return home feeling that you've truly seen France. From Monet's home and gardens in Giverny, the D-Day invasion beaches in Normandy and the Bayeux Tapestries, to Mont-Saint-Michel and the fairy-tale châteaux of the Loire Valley, we'll do and see it all. Plus, we'll enjoy a special bridge evening with French players in Caen as well as a friendly session with just our own group at our chateau in the Loire Valley.

Your 6-Day Extension Package Includes

 Two nights at the Hotel Normandy, Deauville

 One night at La Mere Poulard, Mont-Saint-Michel

 Two nights at Château des Sept Tours, Loire Valley

 Six regional Breakfasts and four Dinners

 A special bridge evening including dinner and duplicate with the French players in Caen, plus one duplicate session with our own group in the Loire Valley

 Deluxe motorcoach and famous TGV Bullet Train from the Loire Valley to Paris

Click here for a full-color brochure.