Follow in the footsteps of two of the greatest artists of all time, along with the powerful kings and queens of France who left behind a legacy of majestic chateaux. Just some of the highlights we enjoy include the home of Claude Monet, one of the founders of impressionist painting, where you can stand on the bridge to admire the water lilies he so loved to paint, and the world famous Palace of Versailles, built by the ostentatious Sun King – Louis XIV. We also venture into the Loire valley, known as the ‘valley of the kings’, to visit the home of Leonardo da Vinci and the magnificent Château de Chenonceau, which straddles the Cher river and is linked to a long list of noble residents who fell in love with the chateau. Based in Rambouillet, in the Île-de-France, we are in the perfect place to enjoy a fascinating holiday, as we explore the regions of France that inspired artists, aristocrats and architects alike.
Day 1: London – Paris – Rambouillet
We journey aboard Eurostar from London to Paris and meet our coach for the transfer to our hotel near the quaint town of Rambouillet.
Day 2: Versailles and Chartres
After breakfast we visit the Palace of Versailles, the most extravagant of chateaux, befitting the ego of the Louis XIV. Our included entrance lets you see the palace’s most famous places: the Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments of the King and Queen and the King’s Bedchamber. In the afternoon we travel to Chartres for free time to explore the half-timbered medieval streets and the iconic cathedral with its magnificent 12th century stained glass windows.
Day 3: The Loire Valley
Today we venture into the Loire valley to visit the elegant town of Amboise; its majestic château overlooking the Loire river is the final resting place of the great Leonardo da Vinci. In the afternoon we visit Château de Chenonceau, a masterpiece of 16th century Renaissance architecture which spans the Cher river. Learn about the influential women who resided here, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici, and see the treasures inside, including the room of Five Queens and the living room of Louis XIV.
Day 4: Monet’s Garden – London
This morning we travel by coach to the small village of Giverny, home to Claude Monet for over 40 years. The gardens here are amongst the finest in France and the inspiration for many of his great works, with beautiful plants and the lily pond with its famous green Japanese bridge and weeping willows. In the afternoon we join our Eurostar connection for the return from Paris to London, arriving back in the early evening.