Secret Treasures of France & Spain (4740)

13 Day Tour from Paris to Madrid

2016 Tour Details View 2017 Tour Details »

Discover hidden gems of two colorful countries on this exciting vacation. Begin in Paris, the inimitable “City of Light,” and get to know the best this city has to offer. On to Mont St. Michel with its distinctive 8th-century abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, stop in the walled seaside resort of St. Malo, then Carnac with its Neolithic standing stones, the “White City” of La Rochelle, Rochefort, and Arcachon to see the amazing Dune of Pilat. Also discover Brest; Nantes, where you visit the castle and cathedral; the vibrant port town of Bordeaux; and the glamorous seaside resort of Biarritz. Cross into Spain’s Basque Country and visit San Sebastian and the port city of Bilbao, home to the Guggenheim Museum. Drop down into the heart of Castille and Leon to Burgos, Ávila, and Segovia with its awesome Roman aqueduct and gothic cathedral. Explore Santander and Salamanca, and spend your last two nights in Madrid, absorbing the atmosphere of this dynamic capital city.
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 Destinations & Sightseeing

Individual headsets

Inside visits and special features:
Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.

Sightseeing:
Visits to Mont St. Michel, St. Malo, Brest, Nantes, La Rochelle, Rochefort, Biarritz, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander, Burgos, Salamanca, Segovia

Guides:

Local Guides for city sightseeing in Paris, Carnac, Bordeaux, Ávila, Madrid; professional Tour Director while touring

Scenic Highlights:
Brittany, Dune du Pilat, Landes of Gascony, Basque Country

Transportation:

Transportation:
Touring by private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach

 Meals

 Meals & Itinerary

Buffet breakfasts daily; 6 dinners

 Itinerary

Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.

Day 1 Arrive In Paris, France

Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore France’s vibrant capital city. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.

Day 2 Paris

Paris is a world-class city that probably has more familiar landmarks than almost any other city in the world. This morning, during the included sightseeing tour with a Local Guide, view the famous Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, and much more. In the afternoon, feel like a French aristocrat as you join the optional walking tour through the expansive Palace of Versailles. This evening, why not join an optional welcome dinner?

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 3 Paris–Mont St. Michel–St. Malo

Depart from the City of Light this morning and travel west towards the unique beauty of MONT ST. MICHEL. This distinctive 8th-century abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and creates an inspiring scene as it stands sentry on a small island just a kilometer off the French coast. Later, drive along the shoreline to the fortified seaside resort of St. Malo.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 4 St. Malo–Brest

This morning, visit the ancient walled city of ST. MALO. Situated on the English Channel, this attractive port town has a notorious past as the home of corsairs and pirates. Walk along its cobblestone streets, and admire the granite mansions that line the characteristic lanes and squares, encircled by massive ramparts. St. Malo also boasts one of the highest concentrations of restaurants in Europe, and is known for its oysters, so consider rolling up your sleeves and trying some of the delicious local cuisine. Later, travel across Brittany to coastal Brest, nestled in a beautiful natural harbor. Heavily bombed in 1944, the city center was completely rebuilt after the war. See the Pont de l’lroise, a cable-stayed bridge spanning the Élorn River—an amazing architectural feat.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 5 Brest–Carnac–Nantes

Today, follow the coastal road towards Carnac, catching glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean. Stop in Carnac, known for its standing stones that were erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany—one of the most extensive Neolithic collections in the world. Visit one of the sites with a Local Guide and learn about the mystery of the Carnac stones. Then, head for Nantes, located on the Loire River. Visit the CASTLE of the Dukes of Brittany, and the CATHEDRAL of St. Peter and St. Paul, which took 457 years to complete and features a unique external pulpit.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 6 Nantes–La Rochelle–Rochefort–Bordeaux

Two coastal towns are on the agenda today. First, stop at picturesque La Rochelle, situated off the Atlantic Coast in the Bay of Biscay and known as La Ville Blanche (the White City) due to its luminous limestone facades that reflect the bright sunlight. Next up: historic Rochefort with its naval beginnings that date back to Louis XIV. The day ends in Bordeaux, where you will spend the next two nights.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 7 Bordeaux

Built on the banks of the Garonne River, Bordeaux is known as the “Pearl of Aquitaine” and is a flourishing port town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to 362 historic monuments, some dating back to Roman times. Join your Local Guide for a walking tour featuring all the important highlights, including Esplanade des Quinconces, one of the largest squares in Europe. The afternoon is at leisure—maybe join an optional excursion to further explore this captivating city.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 8 Bordeaux–Dune Du Pilat–Les Landes–Biarritz

Drive to Arcachon today to see the amazing Dune of Pilat, the highest sand dune on the continent. Then, sit back and enjoy a scenic drive through the Landes of Gascony, the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe. Later, arrive in Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy seaside resort, for an overnight.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 9 Biarritz–San Sebastian, Spain–Bilbao–Santander

Leave France and cross into Spain’s Basque Country to visit the seaside resort of San Sebastian, one of just two European Capitals of Culture in 2016. On to Bilbao, where you’ll discover a colorful tapestry of architecture, history, natural beauty, and tantalizing cuisine. Enjoy free time for leisure activities—maybe visit the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, considered one of the 20th century’s great architectural masterpieces. Later, head to the port city of Santander, a renowned tourist destination for Spanish elite in the 19th century.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 10 Santander–Burgos–Salamanca

Heading inland, stop in Burgos, former capital of the unified Kingdom of Castile-León for five centuries. Visit the magnificent limestone CATHEDRAL of Santa Maria, dating back to the 13th century and where the legendary national hero El Cid is buried. Continue on to Salamanca, just six miles from the spot where Wellington routed Napoleon’s army in 1812. Be sure to spend some time wandering around the Spanish-baroque Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful plazas in Spain.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 11 Salamanca–Ávila–Segovia–Madrid

Depart Salamanca this morning and journey to Ávila with its medieval town walls and many towers. Join the guided walking tour of the medieval WALLS. Next, arrive in pretty Segovia, set on a rocky hill. Visit its awe-inspiring Roman AQUEDUCT and gothic CATHEDRAL before heading to Madrid for two final overnights.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 12 Madrid

Not only is Madrid capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spanish rightly say it is the nearest thing to Heaven. This morning, enjoy the city’s main highlights on the included guided sightseeing tour. Later, consider joining an optional excursion to one of the many important sights surrounding Madrid.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 13 Madrid

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Breakfast Breakfast

 Tour Director

With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

MICHAEL COULSTOCK

Years of Experience: 11

I'm British, but I work in Europe. It is my office, my back yard, my home away from home. I love to introduce people to this continent and see their reactions to its wonderful sights.

Tour Director - MICHAEL COULSTOCK

 Accommodations

PARIS Mercure Porte de Saint Cloud (F) or Ibis La Villette (ST)
ST. MALO Ibis Styles Port (ST)
BREST Escale Oceania Airport (ST)
NANTES Ibis Centre Tour Bretagne (ST)
BORDEAUX Mercure Centre Meriadeck (ST)
BIARRITZ Ibis Anglet (ST)
SANTANDER NH Ciudad de Santander (ST)
SALAMANCA Sercotel Artheus Carmelitas (ST)
MADRID Abba (F) or Praga (ST)

 Optional Excursions

The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

Paris
Bordeaux
Madrid

Paris

Versailles Sun King's Palace (Sat-Sun-Tue)

Versailles Sun King's Palace (Sat-Sun-Tue)

Week-end visit: Historic Versailles is the beautiful, restored palace of Louis XIV, the Sun King. After the guided tour of the palace where you will have the opportunity to admire the magnificent internal decorations, furniture and huge shining chandeliers, you can stroll in the magnificent terraced gardens with their fountains and statues.

Approximate value: €65 EUR per person

Welcome Dinner & Orientation

Welcome Dinner & Orientation

Tonight you will have the opportunity to taste some delicious specialties of the French cuisine. In a Parisian restaurant with a fascinating atmosphere you will enjoy a four-course dinner with an aperitif and wine. Some music will enliven the evening. An orientation drive of Paris will also be part of this special night

Approximate value: €60 EUR per person

Bordeaux

St. Emilion and Wine Discovery

St. Emilion and Wine Discovery

Discover the beautiful city of St. Emilion. In 1999, for the first time ever, a vineyard landscape was acknowledged as a "cultural landscape" worthy of listing as a World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO, "the Jurisdiction of Saint-201milion is an outstanding example of an historic vineyard landscape that has survived intact and in activity to the present day." After the visit, join a tour in a cellar followed by a wine tasting in a traditional chateau.

Approximate value: €50 EUR per person

Madrid

"Noche Madrilena"

After driving to the old quarter of Madrid you will walk to a typical Madrileno tapas restaurant decorated in mock-medieval style near Plaza Mayor. Enjoy a selection of 6 very typical Spanish tapas specialties, or as they call it "raciones" , such as tortilla espanola, calamares, chorizo etc. Drinks include sangria or beer or soft drinks. On the way back to the hotel have an orientation drive in Madrid to see a different aspect of the city in the evening.

Approximate value: €28 EUR per person

The Majestic City of Toledo

The Majestic City of Toledo

Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments. Known as the "city of three cultures" because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries. Behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. This great diversity of artistic styles makes the old quarter of the capital of La Mancha a real open-air museum, which has led it to being declared a World Heritage site. Upon arrival in Toledo there will first be a drive around the city with a stop for a panoramic view. Then a walk in the city visiting one of the most outstanding buildings in Toledo - the Cathedral - considered one of the high points of Gothic art. Continue with a visit of the church of Santo Tomè, which is famous for housing El Greco's famous picture entitled "The burial of Count Orgaz".

Approximate value: €47 EUR per person

 Know Before You Go

These Know Before You Go travel tips are designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your escorted vacation. They are your guide to getting ready and contain general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With Globus, you benefit from our experience.



* The "Starting at" or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. If a price is crossed out, the new price includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some tours require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Cosmos).

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