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October 2018 “Off the Beaten Track”
From Rome to Paris via the Market Towns & Hill Villages of Tuscany, the Italian Seaside & South of France.
21 Day European tour. Also available as a 11 day tour

Tour dates highlighted - Click on a date to view details.

September 2018
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ROME[D]

Day 1, Saturday, Sep 1st  

The tour commences today in our 4 star boutique hotel beside the Roman Forum. Get to know your fellow travellers at Welcome Drinks and Dinner. [D]

ROME[B]

Day 2, Sunday, Sep 2nd  

Every day on the Great Trains of Europe Tours starts with a full Buffet Breakfast [B] Today's sightseeing focuses on Classical Rome and includes entrances to the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colosseum. “Roma - non basta una vita!” (Rome - one life is not enough!) Join your Tour Leader for a stroll to the Trevi Fountain after dinner. If you throw three coins in the fountain, your return to Rome is guaranteed, so the legend goes.

ROME[B]

Day 3, Monday, Sep 3rd  

Catholic Rome today, including entrances and a guided tour of St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's masterpiece. The fashion shops on the Via Condotti are open this afternoon. Dinner in the Piazza Navona as we watch the water play in Bernini's fountains?

To SAN GIMIGNANO, Tuscany[B][D]

Day 4, Tuesday, Sep 4th  

Our luggage is transported on ahead as we commence our love affair with the Great Trains of Europe, taking our reserved First Class seats on Italy's flagship train, the High Speed Eurostar Italia.

Then a slower pace through archetypal Tuscan countryside - vineyards, olive-groves and cypresses - down the Vale of Chianti and up the hill to San Gimignano. This walled hilltop village with its 13 towers, standing almost unchanged since the 12th century, is our home for 4 nights.

Every day a short excursion from San Gimignano is provided (and included in your tour cost). You may choose to join the excursion or simply stay in San Gimignano and relax.

SAN GIMIGNANO, Tuscany[B]

Day 5, Wednesday, Sep 5th  ^ Top ^

A drive off the beaten track today through Southern Tuscan vineyards and olive groves to visit two beautiful hilltop villages and wine centres - Montalcino and Montepulciano.

SAN GIMIGNANO, Tuscany[B]

Day 6, Thursday, Sep 6th  

Today is Market day in our ‘home’ village, San Gimignano. Enjoy.

SAN GIMIGNANO, Tuscany[B]

Day 7, Friday, Sep 7th  

This morning we explore the artistic gem of Siena, which stands today much as it did in the twelfth century. You know it from “My House in Umbria” and “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Where better to take lunch than at one of the open air trattoria on the Campo? This is the historic city square, the setting for the Palio horse race in the summer. On the way home to San Gimignano we visit the walled village of Monteriggioni.

To CINQUE TERRE [B][D]

Day 8, Saturday, Sep 8th  

A local traina long the North West Coast of Italy brings us to the Cinque Terre. We arrive in our seafront hotel in Santa Margerita Ligure.

CINQUE TERRE [B]

Day 9, Sunday, Sep 9th  

Today we ramble in the beautiful Cinque Terre, with an opportunity for the sprightly to walk the 5 villages, while others may choose a dip in the Mediterranean or a ridiculously long lunch in a seafront restaurant.

CINQUE TERRE [B]

Day 10, Monday, Sep 10th  ^ Top ^

Nearby Genoa was Christopher Columbus’ birthplace and you have the opportunity to visit it today or, alternatively, a leisurely day in your seafront hotel, or nearby uber-touristy Portofino.

To VILLENEUVE, Provence[B][D]

Day 11, Tuesday, Sep 11th  

Along the Mediterranean today and across the French border to join the high speed French TGV train to Provence and the historic village of Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Excursions from Villeneuve are offered each day and included in the tour cost.

VILLENEUVE, Provence[B]

Day 12, Wednesday, Sep 12th  

A visit this morning to the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct dating from Classical times. Then we move on to van Gogh country and the village of St. Remy, ending the day in the walled city of Avignon, seat of the Popes from 1309 to 1377.

VILLENEUVE, Provence[B]

Day 13, Thursday, Sep 13th  

The nearby village of L’Isle-Sur-la-Sourge prides itself on being France’s second largest antiques centre. Visa cards with chronic fatigue syndrome have been known here. L’Isle-Sur-la-Sourge is a very attractive town with streams and water wheels, nicknamed the “Venice of Provence”. We move on to Fontaine de Vaucluse for lunch beside the waterfall. We stop in hilltop Gordes for sweeping views of the Luberon.

VILLENEUVE, Provence[B]

Day 14, Friday, Sep 14th  

Off the beaten track again today as we drive through some of Provence’s favourite villages – Lourmarin (market day), hilltop Bonnieux, rainbow-coloured Roussillon, Goult – with stops for coffee, lunch & shopping.

To SARLAT, Dordogne[B][D]

Day 15, Saturday, Sep 15th  ^ Top ^

An early start from Provence, across Southern France to the Dordogne and the walled mediaeval market town of Sarlat. This is market day and we arrive in time to enjoy the afternoon in the markets. As our luggage arrives we settle in for 3 nights. As before, excursions from Sarlat are offered each day and included in the tour cost, but you are free to choose those that appeal to you or simply potter about our ‘home’ village.

SARLAT, Dordogne[B]

Day 16, Sunday, Sep 16th  

Winding along the banks of the Dordogne River today we make our way to the mediaeval cliff-face village of Rocamadour - very much ON the beaten track. Pilgrims have come to visit the Black Madonna since the 12th century. Later we visit the walled ‘bastide’ town of Domme, with excellent shopping and a fine view of a vast sweep of the Dordogne River Valley.

SARLAT, Dordogne[B]

Day 17, Monday, Sep 17th  

The morning is free in the village of Sarlat. This is a ‘foodie’s’ paradise with a vast array of gourmet shops. In the afternoon we visit one of France’s most beautiful gardens, the nearby Jardin d’Eyrignac. [B]

To PARIS[B]

Day 18, Tuesday, Sep 18th  

We farewell Sarlat and enjoy a change of pace - a leisurely journey, trundling down the Dordogne Valley and through Bordeaux vineyards before a transfer to a High Speed TGV to Paris. Settle in to our Left Bank Hotel.

PARIS[B]

Day 19, Wednesday, Sep 19th  

This morning's sightseeing includes the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and Notre Dame Cathedral. There is time to visit Mona Lisa in the Louvre. We are spoilt for choice of restaurant this evening.

PARIS[B][D]

Day 20, Thursday, Sep 20th  ^ Top ^

The museums and the boutiques beckon today. There is an afternoon excursion to Monet's Garden at Giverney. Here we see the waterlilies and the Japanese bridge. Our Farewell Dinner tonight.

HOMEWARD BOUND

Day 21, Friday, Sep 21st  

Our tour ends after breakfast.

Escorted Tour costs:  

By OANDA.com, The Currency Site

$AUD 11,950 per person Twin Share.
Land Content only (i.e. join in Rome and leave in Paris).

“AnyDay departure” tour cost - 25% discount applies:  

By OANDA.com, The Currency Site

$AUD 9,050 per person Twin Share.
Land Content only (i.e. join in Rome and leave in Paris).

Single Room supplement $AUD 1500.

Prefer a shorter tour? Is 3 weeks too long?  

This tour may also be taken as:
a) “Off the Beaten Track” Italy. Commence Rome Day 1, end Cinque Terre Day 11. 11 days $AUD $6,450 twin share, $AUD $750 single suppl, or,
b) “Off the Beaten Track” France. Commence Avignon Day 11, end Paris Day 21. 11 days $AUD $6,450 twin share, $AUD $750 single suppl.

Enquire about our competitive air fares.

What's included?^ Top ^  

  • First Class rail travel in reserved seats
  • 4 star city centre boutique hotels
  • 3 & 4 star historic village inns
  • 6 dinners (Escorted tours only)
  • Full luggage handling (Escorted tours only)
  • Full time Historian/Tour Leader who is the Tour Company Principal (Escorted tours only)

The TOUR COST does NOT include:^ Top ^

  • Hotel incidentals (eg. Mini-bars, telephone calls, laundry), airport and departure taxes, local transport in any city,
  • optional excursions listed or meals other than breakfast and the one restaurant dinner in each city - the first night in each new city, except Paris where it takes the form of a farewell dinner. On other nights, the Tour Leaders are available to accompany group members to local, authentic restaurants.

About the 2018 “Off the Beaten Track” European tour

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Booking Conditions

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