Remarkable experiences. extraordinary value.

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

21 Nights featuring Paris, the Loire Valley, Barcelona and Lisbon

Includes: International Airfare, Hotel, Tours, Transfers and More!

Start Date: October 15, 2020
(Sailing October 22, 2020)

About This Journey

If it’s romanticism, grandeur and epicurean delights you crave, then travel to the heart of France to explore the rich cradle of French history that is the Loire Valley. There’s no wonder this beautiful land has attracted aristocracy, artists and winemakers for centuries. Begin your Journey in Paris with a starlight dinner cruise along the Seine to put you in the “joie de vivre” spirit before heading south to your home base in the city of Tours. From here, each day you will encounter the opulent chateaus and noble estates that sprinkle the landscape. From the Royal Chateau de Blois, home to 7 French kings and where Joan of Arc was blessed before battle, to the Chateau de Chenonceau, iconic for its renaissance gallery spanning the river below it. Enjoy the bucolic scenery and a tasting of the region’s celebrated wines while cruising on the peaceful Cher river. Roll up your sleeves for a lesson in local cuisine with a cooking class experience. Tour the fairytale castle rumored to have inspired Charles Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty and spend the afternoon wandering the lush Villandry Gardens to see why they call this region the “Garden of France”. We’ll explore the Chateau du Clos Luce, residence of Leonardo da Vinci in his final years, and have free time to discover the picturesque village of Amboise. You’ll partake in a wine tasting in Vouvray, a region known for its Chenin blanc and sparkling varieties. On your last day, an exclusive experience awaits you at a chateau where the proud owners will host you for a farewell lunch. You’ll then fly to Barcelona where you’ll embark the brand-new Celebrity Apex for a relaxing transatlantic cruise home, no doubt dreaming of the glistening banquet halls, manicured gardens, delicious wines and soaring spires of the Loire Valley.

Visits: Paris, Tours, France; Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, Alicante, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Celebrity Edge and Apex

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

Itinerary

Start Date: October 15, 2020
(Sailing October 22, 2020)

Day Port Arrival Departure
1 Arrive Paris – Transfer to hotel; Welcome Seine Dinner Cruise
2 Paris to Tours – Coach Transfer with Blois Chateau and guided walk of the Old Town of Tours
3 Tours – Tour of Chenonceau, Wine Tasting Cruise and French Cooking Class
4 Tours – Tour of Chateau d’Usee and Villandry Gardens
5 Tours – Tour to Amboise, Wine Tasting in Vouvray
6 Tours – Tour of Chateau de Rivau and Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau
7 Tours – Transfer to Paris for Flight to Barcelona
8 Barcelona – Transfer to Port for Embarkation 5:00 PM
9 Alicante, Spain 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
10 Malaga, Spain 10:00 AM 7:00 PM
11 Seville (Cadiz), Spain 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
12 Lisbon, Portugal 8:00 AM 8:00 PM
13 At Sea
14 Tenerife, Canary Islands 9:00 AM 6:00 PM
15 At Sea
16 At Sea
17 At Sea
18 At Sea
19 At Sea
20 At Sea
21 At Sea
22 Fort Lauderdale, FL – Disembarkation and Transfer to Airport

**Please note that this itinerary is subject to change at anytime, including port of call changes. Please call a Personal Vacation Manager with any questions.

Land Program

Day 1 – Arrive Paris

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Seine River

Upon arrival at the airport, meet your Enrichment Journey guide, who will assist with transferring you to the hotel. After check-in, you’ll have time to get settled in and relax before joining your fellow travelers for a special Seine cruise welcome dinner. Sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris with window seating to give you unobstructed views of the City of Light during your meal. Return to the hotel by coach. Want more time in Paris? Ask about a 2-night extension. (D)

Day 2 – Paris to Tours

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel before check-out and your transfer south to the

Town Hall of Tours, France

city of Tours. As you drive into the Loire Valley, you’re entering one of the world’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Sites that stretches for 173 miles along the river, including all the chateaus and towns that lie within this section of the central Loire Valley. Along the way, you will make a stop in the village of Blois to visit the exquisite Royal Chateau de Blois. The chateau has a special place in French history as it is the location where the Archbishop of Reims blessed Joan of Arc in 1429 before her battle against the English for Orleans. You can clearly see the four distinct architectural styles that vary as additional wings of the Chateau were added throughout the centuries; from the original 13th-century medieval design to Gothic, Renaissance and Classical. We’ll have lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Tours where your guide will give you a walking tour of the Old Town. Check in to your hotel and home base for the next five nights, where you’ll then enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure. (B, L)

Day 3 – Chenonceaux

Chateau de Chenonceau

Today we will travel by coach to Chenonceaux, a small commune in the heart of the Loire Valley, to visit one of the best known and most visited chateaus in France, Chateau de Chenonceau. The iconic renaissance gallery spanning the river below it was built by Jean Bullant, whose work on other famous projects include the Tuileries and Louvre palaces in Paris. The chateau boasts an extraordinary collection of furniture, tapestries and paintings of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The home had many aristocratic owners including Catherine de’ Medici and was also given to the favorite mistresses of King Henry II and King Henry IV. It became designated a “Monument Historique” in 1840 by the French Ministry of

Cooking class in Tours

Culture because of its importance to France’s historical, architectural and cultural heritage. Enjoy free time for lunch before boarding a boat on a tributary of the Loire, the Cher river, where you’ll take in the beautiful surroundings while participating in a tasting of the region’s delicious wines. After the cruise return to Tours for a special cooking class experience where you’ll learn how to prepare a French dish as your dinner this evening. (B, D)

Day 4 – Rigny Usse and Villandry

After breakfast, we set off to Rigny Usse to see the castle that is said to have inspired Charles Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty. Situated on the

Chateau and gardens of Villandry

edge of the Chinon forest overlooking the valley, the Chateau d’Usse seems purposely built for a fairytale story. Following the tour, we’ll drive to Villandry to visit the spectacularly restored Renaissance Villandry Gardens. Originally constructed in 1532, the estate fell into disrepair until the Spanish doctor Joachim Carvallo purchased the home in 1906 with the mission to recreate the property’s gardens. Discover the ornamental Kitchen Garden, the crown jewel of the estate. In true Renaissance style, it consists of nine patches all the same size, but each with a different geometric motif of vegetables and flowers in alternating colors, giving the impression of a multicolored checkerboard. Today, Joachim’s great-grandson is the current owner and continues the family tradition of improving and expanding the home’s gardens. Return to Tours for some free time before dinner this evening. (B,D)

Day 5 – Amboise and Vouvray

Village of Amboise and Chateau d’Amboise

Today we spend the morning in the picturesque village of Amboise, nestled on the Loire river. We’ll start with a tour of Chateau d’Amboise, home to King Charles VIII. As the place where he held court during his reign, Amboise was once the center of French power. The chateau’s chapel is also the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci. You’ll further explore this town’s link to Leonardo with a visit to the nearby Chateau du Clos Luce. This home was the official residence of the Italian inventor for 3 years when he was invited by King Francis I in 1516 and accepted the role of “First Painter, Engineer and Architect to the King”. He brought with him to Amboise three of his favorite paintings, “The Mona Lisa”, “The Virgin and Child with St. Anne”, and “St. John the Baptist”, all of which are now exhibited at the Louvre in Paris. Explore the home turned museum before enjoying lunch in the chateau’s restaurant. Following lunch, enjoy free time in Amboise to stroll the town’s quaint streets and admire the beautifully preserved timber-framed houses. You’ll then depart for Vouvray to learn the region’s winemaking process. You’ll get to visit a wine cellar dug into the limestone cliffs (typical for the region), before a tasting of the winery’s specialties. Return to Tours for the evening at your leisure. (B,L)

Day 6 – Lemer and Azay le Rideau

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau

Today we journey to Lemer where a special treat awaits. Upon arrival at the Chateau de Rivau, you’ll be greeted by the owner for a tour of the beautifully preserved medieval castle, including the 14 amazing gardens. The gardens are designated “Remarkable Gardens” by the French Ministry of Culture and include 450 varieties of fragrant roses. After your tour, you’ll enjoy a farewell lunch on the property before you continue to the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, one of the jewels of early French Renaissance style. Built on an island in the Indre river in 1527, its façade and location make it one of the most photographed chateaus in the region. The home’s most ornate feature is the grand staircase that rises 3 floors and offers double bay windows on each landing overlooking the courtyard. Inside you’ll find many 16th and 17th century tapestries. Return to Tours for an evening at your leisure and time to pack for tomorrow’s flight. (B,L)

Day 7 – Paris to Barcelona

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer back to Paris for your afternoon flight to Barcelona. En route, we will make a photo stop at the last estate on our list, the Chateau Chambord. Upon arrival in Barcelona, you’ll be transferred to the hotel for check-in and an evening at leisure.

Day 8 – Barcelona Embarkation

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the port, where you will board the ship for a 14-night transatlantic cruise to Fort Lauderdale. (B)

Day 9–21 – Cruising onboard the Celebrity Apex (see below for cruise highlights)

Day 22 – Fort Lauderdale Disembarkation

For meals not included in your land programs, all hotels chosen include a restaurant on property where you may relax and enjoy a meal. In addition, your guide is available to make suggestions on nearby dining, shopping or sightseeing.

Port Highlights

Parque Guell by Antoni Gaudi

Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona is a charming, cosmopolitan port on the shores of the Mediterranean sea. This prosperous and bilingual (Spanish and Catalan) metropolis measures up to a city such as Madrid: its museums, theaters, art galleries and nightlife area of an impressively high standard. Besides that, this art and design center has a lot of interesting sights to offer to its visitors. The best place to watch people go by, to stroll or simply relax, is ‘Las Ramblas’, a pedestrian street with dozens of outdoor cafes. Here, you’ll find flower-stands, book kiosks and small market stalls where they sell birds and small animals. Nearby is ‘Plaça Real’, with plenty of bars and restaurants, and ‘Palau Guell’, built by the Catalan architectural genius Antoni Gaudi in his undulating art-nouveau style. After having seen these sights, stroll the narrow winding streets of the ‘Barri Gotic’, the medieval Gothic quarter full of interesting tapas bars and cafes. Check out Picasso’s old hangout, ‘Els Quatre Gats’, which has been renovated without losing its bohemian charm.

Beaches of Alicante, Spain

Alicante, Spain: Lying on the Eastern coast of Spain, Alicante has it all: discos, festivals, castles—and if that isn’t enough—hot sun, white sand beaches and a turquoise sea. Of course, something so good can’t stay hidden forever, and Alicante and the towns along the Costa Blanca (White Coast) are now among Europe’s most popular regions. It’s best to start exploring Alicante on the beachfront, along the city’s main pedestrian walkway, the Expanada de Espana. Spread out in front of the main part of the city, this elegant boulevard, stretching around the harbor, is shaded with palm trees and lined with shops and cafes. Northwest of the Explanada, towards the center of the city, you’ll see the imposing Catedral de San Nicolas, and around it, the narrow streets of the El Barro, or old quarter, which has the best nightlife. Alicante is a hive of activity throughout the year, not just in the summer months. It’s a city steeped in history, rich in culture, awash with every kind of shop and restaurant imaginable and literally bursting with beach life. Stroll along the palm-fringed Paseo de la Explanada—the impressive seafront promenade lined with street cafes and inlaid with red, cream and black marble.

Malaga, Spain

Malaga, Spain: Malaga is the major coastal city of Andalucia and is a genuine and typical Andaluz city with a gritty individualism untouched by tourism and, to a large extent, the passage of time. The Moors occupied the city until the mid-15th century, after which it grew to become one of the foremost merchant centers in the entire Iberian Peninsula. This illustrious past has left its imprint on the historic center, particularly around La Alcazaba, a fortress which dates back to 1065 and is now a fascinating archaeological museum. During the 19th century, Malaga was a popular winter resort for the wealthy famed for its elegance and sophistication. The impressive park on Calle Alameda dates back to this era and is recognized as being one of the most celebrated botanical collections in Europe. Pablo Picasso is the city’s famous son (not counting Antonio Banderas of course!) and there are several galleries showing his work, including the 16th-century Museum of Fine Arts, adjacent to the Cathedral. These days, Malaga prides itself on being a modern city with the heart of commerce dominated by Calle Larios. This is the recommended place to start exploring the city as it is surrounded by attractive small streets and plazas, as well as the magnificent cathedral (Renaissance cathedral with a Baroque façade and choir by Pedro de Mena). Garden lovers won’t be disappointed in Malaga either. In the center of the city is the beautiful Alameda Gardens, and just outside on the way to Antequera one finds the extensive Jardines de la Concepcion.

Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain

Seville (Cadiz), Spain: The city of Cadiz, which practically accounts for the whole of the municipal area, lies to the east of the bay of the same name, in an area which could be described as half-island, half peninsula, connected to the mainland by a slender, sandy strip. Its situation is responsible for its obvious maritime tendencies, and it has been totally dedicated to seafaring pursuits since its foundation. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs all passed through what is believed to be the western world’s oldest city, and it was here that Spain’s first democratic Constitution was drawn up. Despite its essentially urban nature, it also boasts areas of natural interest, such as the beaches of La Cortadura and El Chato, as well as Santibanez Mud Flats, which are part of Cadiz Bay Natural Park. This legendary city was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100, although the oldest archaeological remains date back to around 800 B.C. Mythology links its foundation with Hercules and the legendary Tartessia. The Phoenicians called the city Gadir, meaning “closed area”. They built a commercial factory and a temple in honor of the god Melkart. In 206 B.C. it was joined with Rome as an allied city under the name Gades. This was the start of one of the most prosperous periods in Cadiz’s history, and it became one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.

National Pantheon in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal: Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Nearby, the National Azulejo Museum displays 5 centuries of decorative ceramic tiles. Just outside Lisbon is a string of Atlantic beaches, from Cascais to Estoril.

Tenerife, Canary Islands: The island of Tenerife is the largest of the Canary archipelago and is shaped like a triangle. The island of eternal spring because of its peerless climate is full of huge contrasts and has a great variety of scenery in the different regions. A mountain chain runs through its center from Anaga to Teno and on both of its slopes, there are large, fertile valleys.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

In the heart of the chain, there is a gigantic, natural crater, called Las Cañadas del Teide, which is about 18 miles across and has officially been declared a National Park. It lies over 6,562 feet above sea level. North of the crater stands El Pico del Teide, a 12,198 feet high mountain, which is the highest point in Spain. It is snow-covered in the winter and marks the island with its unique silhouette. Tenerife has extremely varied plant life, large, wooded mountains, extensive areas where banana, tomato, potato and other agricultural products are grown. Its coast is rocky and lined by cliffs in some places, while in others there are beaches with soft, clean sand, which are sometimes black and sometimes golden.

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

Included Features

  • International airfare, transfers and baggage handling
  • 7-night pre-cruise land program in France and Spain
    • Paris, France – 1-night hotel stay
      • Welcome Seine Dinner cruise
    • Tours, France – 5-night hotel stay
      • Full-day tour to Blois Chateau and guided walk of the Old Town of Tours
      • Full-day tour of Chenonceau, wine tasting cruise and French cooking class
      • Full-day tour of Chateau d’Usee and Villandry Gardens
      • Full-day tour of Amboise and wine tasting in Vouvray
      • Full-day tour of Chateau de Rivau and Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau
    • Barcelona, Spain – 1-night hotel stay
  • Tour Leader throughout France land program and Local Tour Hosts during included tours
  • Most meals while on tour (see itinerary highlights) and all meals while onboard
  • 14-night sailing aboard Celebrity Apex
    • 10% Off Shore Excursions (see “Special Offers”)
    • Choose 2 for the Cruise: Gratuities, Beverages, Wi-Fi or $300 Onboard Credit
    • SPECIAL OFFER UNTIL 12/18! Book a Veranda or higher and receive $500 Onboard Credit + 2 Extras: Gratuities, Beverages, Wi-Fi or $300 Onboard Credit

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

What to Expect on Your Trip

Pacing

Most days during the land portion will include full-day tours. The overall pace is less strenuous than most Enrichment Journeys, as the focus is not on rushing to see sights but rather simply enjoying the chateaus and scenery. Most days include two meals, allowing the third meal to be at your leisure. All hotels will have a restaurant on property where you may dine, then have the rest of the evening to relax. If you wish to go out, your guide is available to make suggestions for nearby dining. During the cruise you will have a mix of relaxing days at sea and exciting days on land to explore the port cities. You may choose from optional shore excursions, which will allow for cultural immersion, exotic meals and numerous activities.

Physical Activity

The land portion of the trip should be considered moderate to active and includes a considerable amount of walking. In the Loire Valley, many places visited are smaller towns with cobblestone streets. Roads and walkways on inclines could transform a short walk into a strenuous one.

Enrichment Journeys will do everything in our power to ensure comfort through our third-party providers, including air-conditioned buses and comfortable accommodations where applicable. However, some areas cannot be accessed by coach, so our drivers will get you as close to sites as is legally allowed. Sensible, rubber-soled walking shoes are strongly recommended. Historical sites often do not have elevators, escalators or ramps due to the age of the building/structure. Steps can be steep and uneven. Wheelchair access at many sites is limited to extremely limited. Based on crowds and traffic, order of visits may be changed. A fold-up wheelchair may be able to be stored on the bus but requires prior arrangements. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters cannot be accommodated on this group program. Guests must be able to transfer from their chair to the transportation. Guides/drivers are not allowed to lift or push wheelchairs, so guests requiring physical assistance must travel with a companion who can assist. For the cruise portion of the trip, passengers will board and leave the ship up stairways and gangways, and you may have to walk a moderate distance to transfer to train, bus and car stations. Time spent on the road and traveling can be long, so you will need to be prepared for stretches of down time in between destinations.

Cultural Focus

The entire Loire valley was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the region’s significance in French history and culture. You will encounter dishes and ingredients typical to the region that you may not have encountered before, and you will be introduced to local artistry of the region. Enrichment Journeys encourages an open mind when in unique situations and meeting people abroad. Sometimes the attractions and cities themselves can be crowded, especially while on the cruise.

Unique Factors

If you have special needs or physical limitations, you will need to check in with your personal vacation manager before booking the trip. The temperature can vary between day and night, so pack accordingly with items that can be layered. Some guests may wish to have a light sweater or windbreaker with them.

Transportation

Included airfare is from select airports only. To inquire about a different airport, please contact your Personal Vacation Manager. Enrichment Journeys is committed to providing remarkable experiences at extraordinary value. As a result, airlines and routes are selected to maximize that value and may involve multiple stops and extended layovers versus non-stop or direct flights. Passengers wishing to utilize specific carriers, direct/non-stop flights, Business Class upgrades, or to extend their time in any of our beginning or ending destination cities may do so by contacting Enrichment Journeys and inquiring about the Custom Airfare Program. There is a $50 per person charge for this service, however this charge will be applied toward any flights or upgrades you choose to purchase. The $50 charge must be paid prior to receiving a custom air quote.

Transportation while on tour:

Paris – Tours: 2.5 hour coach transfer
Paris – Barcelona: 2 Hour Flight

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

Special Offers are available on this Enrichment Journey! See below then call a Personal Vacation Manager for more details.

2-night Paris Extension (pre-cruise)

Although everyone on the Enrichment Journey will fly into the Paris airport, the itinerary does not include any time in the city other than the first night. With this optional extension you will arrive to Paris 2 days early and stay in the city, giving you time to explore Paris on your own before the Enrichment Journey program begins. Note: tours are not included. Price of $449 per person includes:

  • 2-night hotel accommodations in Paris with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from airport to hotel

Choose 2 of the following: Classic Beverage Package, Pre-paid Gratuities, Unlimited Internet or $300 Onboard Credit per stateroom

Book a Veranda or higher and receive $500 Onboard Credit + 2 Extras:

  • Classic Beverage Package for two guests
  • Pre-paid Gratuities for two guests
  • Unlimited internet for two guests
  • $300 Onboard Credit per stateroom

Guests in the same stateroom must select the same option(s). View Celebrity Terms and Conditions. Offer Expires 12/18/2019.

Receive 10% off all shore excursions from Shore Excursions Group!

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

Dates & Prices
10/15/2020 Retail Value EJ Price Savings Per Person Single Rates
Deluxe Inside (11) SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT CALL FOR DETAILS
Infinite Veranda (E4) SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT CALL FOR DETAILS
Infinite Veranda (E3) $9,532 $7,149 $2,383 CALL FOR DETAILS
Concierge Veranda (C3) $9,865 $7,399 $2,466 CALL FOR DETAILS

Prices are in USD.

This Journey is sold out. Please call to inquire about being added to the waitlist.

Air Add-Ons
City Add-On City Add-On City Add-On
Atlanta $400 Houston Intercontinental $350 Philadelphia $300
Boston $350 John F. Kennedy $300 Phoenix $450
Detroit $300 Los Angeles $400 San Diego $450
Dallas-Ft. Worth $350 Orlando $300 Seattle $400
Newark $300 Miami $0 San Francisco $400
Washington – Dulles $300 Chicago $300 Tampa $350
Toronto $350
– Business Class Air Available on Request
– Additional Gateways Available on Request
– Air Add-On Rates are subject to change without notice. While we try to include the most common airports by default, we have many clients coming from different parts of the country. If you desire air from an unlisted airport, you must first reserve your Enrichment Journey with one of the listed airports as your default gateway and then ask, or have your Travel Agent ask, Enrichment Journeys to provide a quote for your preferred gateway.

All prices on our website and e-Journey Travel Guide are subject to change without notice. While we make every effort to provide you the most accurate and up-to-date information, occasionally, a trip or pricing category may be misprinted or unavailable at the time of booking. In the event of an incorrect price due to typographical, photographic, or technical error, or error in pricing information received from our suppliers, we retain the right to correct the price and to refuse or cancel any bookings placed at the incorrect price. In addition, all offers, prices, and conditions of sale may be subject to change without notice including tours, included features, highlights, minimum or maximum stays, itinerary, times in port, and/or other conditions/restrictions.

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

The following hotel list is preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract for hotels a year or more in advance, unforeseen circumstances do occasionally require a change of hotel. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality or value will be substituted and you will receive confirmed hotel information with your final itinerary.

Accommodations
Le Meridien Etoile

81 Boulevard Gouvion Saint-Cyr, 75848 Cedex 17, Paris 75017 France

Telephone: +33 1 40 68 34 34

Le Méridien Etoile welcomes you to the City of Light with effortless elegance, impeccable service and a magnificent location, across the street from the Palais des Congrès. This hotel has the proud distinction of being the flagship Le Méridien hotel in Paris, with captivating mid-century modern design and boutique amenities reflective of our lively surroundings. Artfully appointed accommodation includes modern technology, luxurious bath products and the Le Méridien Signature Bed. Start your morning with a meal at the light-filled Espace Latitude, and return in the evening to savor a dinner at the restaurant. Visit the remarkable Jazz Club Etoile, where live music provides the backdrop for cocktails and conversation. Last but not least, the prime hotel location facilitates discovery; in addition to being across from the Palais des Congrès, the hotel is within walking distance of the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe.

Oceania Hotel De L’Univers

5 Boulevard Heurteloup, 37000, Tours, France

Telephone: + 33 02 47 05 37 12

In a lavish “Grand hotel” spirit, this unique establishment, redolent of history, has successfully retained its character, right in the center of Tours. Opposite the town hall, this 4-star hotel is ready to welcome you following the creation of a spa and the complete renovation of its common areas and 91 rooms, which perfectly blend tradition, design and modernity: high ceilings, warm colours, some with hydrotherapy baths. The restaurant has also been fully refurbished. Everything has been done with the goal of conserving and showcasing the authenticity and charm of the building, with the addition of deft touches of color and elegance. The spa and well-being area boasts a superb stainless steel swimming pool that places the accent firmly on modernity. The Jacuzzi, hammam and fitness room are perfect for a break that blends relaxation and well-being. The Oceania L’Univers Tours hotel and restaurant is one those historic hotels that’s deeply marked by the illustrious figures who have stayed here, to whom the hotel pays homage with an impressive gallery of portraits overhanging the immense lobby. Thanks to the new colors, materials, furniture and facilities, this hotel will offer you a truly remarkable level of comfort during your stay in Tours.

Negresco Princess Hotel

Roger de Lluria 16-18, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

Telephone: +34 932 150 052

Just steps from Plaça Urquinaona, Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia. Hotel Negresco Princess’ privileged location makes it the perfect choice for visiting Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s Cathedral, the Gothic Quarter, La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and shopping at the best boutiques on Passeig de Gràcia. Whether from the avant-garde atrium, one of the 128 welcoming rooms, relaxation area, gym or terrace with privileged views of the whole city, a solarium and infinity pool, the hotel is the perfect base for discovering all of Barcelona’s secrets. Plus the great food at Nesgresco Restaurant on the ground floor and La Terrazza by Bobby’s on the seventh floor. Cool and cosmopolitan, Hotel Negresco features a free minibar in every room and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

Celebrity Apex

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Since its inception in 1989, Celebrity has held true to its original commitment of taking the very best aspects of classic, elegant cruising and updating them to reflect current lifestyles. In 1997, they merged with Royal Caribbean International to form Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. What sets Celebrity apart from other vacation choices today is the cruise line’s passionate dedication to providing guests with a cruise experience that embodies modern luxury. This has become the definition of Celebrity Cruises, and has set the worldwide standard for today’s expression of what first made cruising famous—high quality, superior design, spacious accommodations, grand style, attentive service and exceptional cuisine. Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “”X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all providing an un-matchable vacation experience.

Ship: Celebrity Apex

Celebrity ApexSM is the second of four sister Edge-class ships and contains many unique features and a modern design unseen on any other ship currently at sea. The ship’s design is beautiful and streamlined with the outside spaces designed by architect Tom Wright and interior design by Kelly Hoppen. Some of the most exciting innovations and updates include the Rooftop Garden, the Adults-only Solarium, the Magic Carpet and the Infinite VerandasSM.
The Magic Carpet is a tennis court-sized sliding deck that allows for easy embarkation and debarkation for tendering and also serves as a viewpoint and outdoor bar with live music at night. The Infinite VerandasSM allow you to take advantage of your entire veranda stateroom, inside and out. At the touch of a button, your veranda doors will completely fold out of the way, allowing you a full view out over the water. You also have the option to keep the veranda doors open, but enclose the glass balcony, turning the railing into a floor to ceiling window. The Celebrity ApexSM was designed to change the way you experience the world, and the culinary offerings don’t fall short of this either. Enjoy 29 unique food and beverage experiences crafted by a Michelin-starred chef. Your vacation time is precious. Time aboard Celebrity Apex will make the most of it.

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

Before You Go

Money Matters

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

ATM Machines

These are often readily available, especially in major cities. Some will charge fees on top of what your hometown bank may charge for using ATMs abroad. Look for well-marked machines that have the Visa or MasterCard symbols.

Foreign Banks

Currency can be exchanged at most banks, if needed. Ask a local host or tour manager if there is a nearby bank that is open.

Credit Cards

During your trip, you’ll find that most major credit cards are accepted. Call your specific card issuer ahead of time to find out its limitations and benefits overseas.

Incidentals

Do be aware that some additional charges for mini-bars, laundry and room service will not be included in the tour package. Plan accordingly for these extra charges.

Packing Guidelines

Pack as simply as possible for easy transfers and customs screenings. Check with your domestic and international carriers regarding baggage guidelines, allowances, and check for additional fees. All bags will be screened before boarding flights and the cruise ship.

What to pack

Basics and layers are key to a comfortable Journey. Be sure to check the weather in the destinations you will visit, and pack accordingly. There are always unpredictable variables as well, so make sure you have one sturdy jacket and an outfit for a formal occasion too, just in case.

Here are a few key items to take on your trip:

  • Raincoat/poncho
  • Hooded jacket/fleece pullover
  • Pants with pockets
  • Skirt with pockets
  • Hat with visor & sunscreen/bug spray
  • Warm socks
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Practical shoes for walking/easy hiking
  • Extra pair of prescription sunglasses and/or glasses (if needed)
  • Camera(s)

Have back-ups for everything to avoid disappointment. Charge batteries in advance and bring extra film or digital memory cards. If bringing a high-end camera, consider investing in insurance to protect your asset.

Luggage Screening Process

To pass through screening, have liquids either in small containers and bagged, or in checked luggage. All valuables necessary for the trip should be on your person at all times, if possible. This includes medications and documentation. We recommend one main bag and a carry-on, per airline guidelines for weight and size.

Labeling

Have all your bags labeled with your name and address clearly marked. Add something to you luggage that is recognizable in the event your bags are misplaced. You may also consider marking your bags with “Enrichment Journeys” for efficiency.

Carry-on items

In many countries, including the US, large liquid containers are not allowed in carry-ons. On the way back into The States, food or agriculture items are prohibited. If you have questions about a certain item, visit www.tsa.gov for a list of items that cannot be packed.

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are included as part of your Enrichment Journey. Local representatives will advise you of the departure time from your hotel the night before departure. Generally speaking, arrangements have been made to have you at the airport approximately three hours in advance of departure, though this may vary depending on local circumstances. At the end of the cruise, an airport transfer will also be provided. Please advise your Personal Vacation Manager if you do not require transfer arrangements at the time of booking your Journey.

Cell phones

Some cell phones will work overseas, but incur additional charges for the use. Choose whether you would like to add an international plan by calling your carrier, or consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone overseas. However, in some destinations, many smartphones and tablets can pick up wireless Internet for free.

Protecting the Value of Your Travel Investment

Enrichment Journeys offers a comprehensive travel insurance package you can purchase alongside your trip. It eases the mind and lets you cancel your trip for a covered reason up until the departure date with a full refund of the Journey.

The insurance covers a wide variety of incidents, including travel delay, emergency medical services, and even baggage delay. You will also receive a pre-existing medical conditions waiver if travel insurance is purchased within 14 days of your initial deposit. For a full list of coverage provided, visit the FAQ section of the website.

Medical Issues and Handicaps

As with any extensive trip abroad, our excursions with Enrichment Journeys will require some physical capabilities, including transfers from cruise ships, walking on cobblestone streets and navigating through some busy cities with guides. Although we encourage all types of travelers to join us, we do ask you are aware of your own physical limitations. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual care to those who may have walkers, wheelchairs or other aids. Enrichment Journeys also cannot accommodate pregnant women past their six month gestation period. Please speak with one of our Personal Vacation Managers to see if certain itineraries are suitable for you and your needs. We are happy to suggest other viable options for you that are more accessible.

Per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, travelers have the right to be reasonably accommodated in terms of tours in public situations. However, the laws do not apply for trips and outside the United States. So you must let Enrichment Journeys know ahead of time of any physical limitations, including information added to our questionnaire that needs to be filled out by all passengers. Failure to inform Enrichment Journeys of these limitations could result in refusal to participate, whether it be at the airport through the airline, on board the ship or at the accommodations booked.

If you have any sort of prescription medication, this should be a number one priority in packing. Bring extra, just in case. A small medical kit is also advisable for quick access to remedy minor aches and pains.

Briefing sessions

A local host or tour manager will be happy to guide you through the trip and answer all of your questions. Upon arrival to your destination, an Enrichment Journeys representative will meet with the group and go over items such as the daily schedule, weather and local customs.

Hotels

All hotels booked by Enrichment Journeys are held to a high standard of comfort and quality, in accordance to international accommodation standards and rating systems. However, each accommodation varies so you may experience various types of properties throughout your excursions.

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

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Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

Regional Information

Travel Documentation

Have your passport and visas ready and available at all checkpoints. Scan and copy these documents to print out. It is recommended that you e-mail a copy to yourself and someone back home in the event these documents are misplaced. Also, it may be worth bringing an international ID or license.

Passport and Visa

To travel internationally, you must have a passport in good condition, and it must be valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your trip. Visa requirements change frequently and for various reasons. As a result, our Personal Vacation Managers are not always able to provide visa information. The best way to obtain up-to-date information regarding visa requirements is to visit the official US government website for Americans traveling abroad, Travel.State.Gov, (Canadian citizens should visit https://travel.gc.ca/, for all other countries please visit your government website or local embassy), which details specific information on the countries you would like to visit, including visa requirements.

You may also use a third-party visa service, such as Expedited Travel. These services require an additional service fee but make the process of applying for a visa much simpler.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are recommended to protect one’s health from preventable diseases abroad. It is always good to have routine vaccinations up to date when traveling for ailments such as chickenpox, measles, and the flu shot. Use your own discretion when deciding on what vaccinations to have based on your preferences and personal medical history. During your Enrichment Journeys tour, the utmost care will be taken with prepared food, atmosphere and other elements, so the likelihood of contracting diseases is scarce.

For a list of recommended vaccinations based on destination, visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel or feel free to contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention directly at 1-800-232-4636.

Electric Current

You will need an adaptor for some parts of your trip.  To see what the plugs will look like at your destination, visit https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/ and click on each country from the right menu.

You may also need to use a converter. Most countries outside of North and Central America use 220-240 V, whereas the U.S. and Canada use 110 V. However, most chargers these days have a box which will act as a converter so that it can be used in all countries around the world. If your charger box says “Input: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz” then you do NOT need to use a converter (but you may still need an adaptor so that the plugs fit in the socket).

Some hotels may have two and three pronged outlets to use for various appliances. Ship cabins also have outlets for you to use with their converter. However, we recommend having at least one or two adaptors with you, as we cannot guarantee that all hotels will be able to accommodate this.

Local Currency

France, Spain and Portugal use the Euro (€), currency code EUR

Please visit https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/  for the current exchange rate.

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. We suggest having at least some local currency with you during the trip, at least enough to take a taxi if needed. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping is always appreciated but not always required. Expect several instances throughout the hospitality industry that allow for tipping. Have small bills ready for hotel staff, boat crew, restaurant servers, drivers, guides, and baggage handlers. If you have a meal outside the itinerary or hire a resident driver, a few dollars in the local currency is customary.
Gratuities are included for group meals, at hotels, and at airports. The host, guide, or tour manager can be tipped roughly $8.00-$12.00 USD per person, per day, as can any ship staff member (which is often split at the end of the day by all). Drivers can be tipped $5 USD per person, per day.

For more information about when and how much to tip in each country, feel free to speak with your tour guide at the start of your Journey. A good reference for international tipping is https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2008-11-11/etiquette-101-tipping-guide.

Time Differences

Please be aware that you may be crossing through several time zones throughout your Journey. To view a time zone map, visit https://m.worldtimezone.com/m-index12.php.

Climate

With the tour covering various regions, you will most likely come in contact with warm and/or cool weather, occasional rain, wind and/or damp environments. Check the weather online before departing for an up-to-date look at the conditions in major destinations.

Many countries outside of North America use Celsius. Here is a °C to °F quick reference guide:

-5° C = 23° F 5° C = 41° F 15° C = 59° F 25° C = 77° F 35° C = 95° F
0° C = 32° F 10° C = 50° F 20° C = 68° F 30° C = 86° F 40° C = 104° F

High/Low Temperatures in Fahrenheit:

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Paris 45/37 46/37 54/41 61/45 68/52 73/57 77/61 77/61 70/55 61/50 52/43 46/37
Lisbon 59/46 61/48 66/52 68/54 72/57 79/63 82/64 82/66 81/64 73/59 64/54 59/48

Practice the Local Language

Knowing a few phrases in the local vernacular can be a wonderful way to connect with people and feel immersed in the culture. Here are some fun phrases:

France: French

  • Bonjour (Boh(n)-zhoo): Hello
  • Oui (wee): Yes
  • Non (No): No
  • Où sont les toilettes? (Oo soh(n) lay twa-let?): Where are the restrooms
  • Merci (Mare-see): Thank you
  • Je vous en prie (Zhuh vooz ahn pree): You’re welcome
  • S’il vous plaît (Seal voo play): Please
  • Pouvez-vous m’aider? (Poo-vay voo meh – day?): Can you help me?
  • Au revoir (Ah reh-vwarh): Goodbye

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/french/ for more phrases with sound.

Spain and Canary Islands: Spanish

  • Hola (OH-lah): Hello
  • Adiós (ad-ee-OHS): Goodbye
  • Si (see): Yes
  • No (noh): No
  • Por favor (PAWR-fah-VAWR): Please
  • Gracias (GRAH-syahs): Thank you
  • Baño (BAH-nyoh): Bathroom

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/spanish/ for more phrases with sound.

Portugal: Portuguese

  • Oi (oy): Hello
  • Tchau (chow): Goodbye
  • Sim (sing): Yes
  • Não (now): No
  • Por favor (PAWR-fah-VAWR): Please
  • Obrigado(a) (obri-GAH-du or obri-GAH-da): Thank you
    • If you are a male, say Obrigado (regardless of who you are speaking to)
    • If you are a female, say Obrigada (regardless of who you are speaking to)
  • Casa de Banho (KAH-zah deh BAH-nyoo): Bathroom

Visit https://www.17-minute-world-languages.com/en/portuguese/ for more phrases with sound.

Facts and Figures

Check out these interesting facts about the destinations you will visit on your Journey.

Spain

  • The first novel was written by a Spaniard. Cervantes’ Don Quixote, written in 1605, is considered to be the first modern novel.
  • The first known stapler was made in the 18th century in Spain’s Basque region for the French King Louis XV – and every single staple was engraved with the royal emblem. Spain has also given the world the mop and bucket (1956) and the astronaut’s space suit (1935).
  • Spain includes a number of islands including Mallorca, Tenerife, Ibiza and Gran Canaria. Many can be found in the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa.

France

  • Paris was originally a Roman city called “Lutetia”.
  • The French government gives medals to citizens who have “successfully raised several children with dignity.”
  • There’s only one STOP sign in the entire city of Paris.
  • French toast isn’t a French cuisine. Joseph French advertised the modern toast but forgot to add the apostrophe “s.” It should have been advertised as “French’s Toast” not “French Toast.”
  • Louis XIX was King of France for just 20 minutes.

Portugal

  • Lisbon is the westernmost capital city in continental Europe and, with 2700 years of history, is one of the oldest cities in Europe.
  • Portugal has had the same defined borders as it does now since 1139, making it the oldest nation-state in Europe.
  • In 1755 a massive earthquake, known as the Great Lisbon earthquake, led to a tsunami and a conflagration that burnt down most of the city. It led to the birth of modern seismology and earthquake engineering. It also transformed the look and architecture of Lisbon as old buildings were replaced by new ones and small streets were replaced by big squares and large avenues.
  • Portugal abolished its monarchy in 1910, establishing a Republic. In 1974, Portugal became a free democracy, and in 1986 it joined the European Union.
  • The population of Portugal is approximately 10 million people.
  • Be sure to try bacalhau, salted cod, which is a beloved staple in the Portuguese diet.
  • Portugal is the proud home to quite a few vinho verde (“green wine”) vineyards and wineries. It is a crisp white wine that goes best with fish dishes.

Recommended Reading List

Vacation should be easy, peaceful and, most of all, completely stress-free. Let us handle the details, so you can sit back, relax and curl up with a good book as you count down the days to your next Journey! We’ve compiled the following list of books and movies to introduce you to the destinations you are about to visit.

Books

  • France: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • France: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • France: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  • Portugal: The Portuguese: The Land and Its People by Marion Kaplan
  • Portugal: Port and the Douro by Richard Mayson (an interesting history of port wine)
  • Portugal: Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago
  • Spain: Cities of Spain by David Gilmour
  • Spain: Iberia by James A. Michener
  • Spain: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Travel Guides

Films

  • France: Les Miserable (2012)
  • France: Amelie (2001)
  • France: An American in Paris (1951)
  • France: Midnight in Paris (2011)
  • France: A Good Year (2006)—set in Provence region
  • Portugal: Fados (2007)
  • Spain: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2009)

Journey to the Chateaus and Gardens of the French Countryside

eJourney Guide

Receive your personalized eJourney Guide today!
Simply fill out the form below and your eJourney Guide will be on its way via email.
Your easy-to-read, printable PDF-formatted eJourney Guide makes it convenient to review and plan your next world-class Journey with us!

It contains a wealth of valuable travel information including:
  • Detailed Destination Information
  • Day-by-Day Itinerary
  • Preparing for Your Trip
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Local Cultural Information
  • Recommended Readings
  • And so much more!
Don’t delay! Your Journey’s availability may be limited.

As always, our friendly and dependable Personal Vacation Managers are committed to assist you every step of the way.

Feel free to call us at:
888-966-8117

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