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This tour will take your ensemble across France from the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in the south to the beaches of Normandy on the English Channel in the north. You'll explore the famous religious pilgrimage city of Lourdes, marvel at the majestic castles and Châteaux of the Loire Valley, experience the power and history of the D-day beaches and American Cemetery at Normandy and end your visit by reveling in the culture and wonders of Paris. Performance opportunities are available in Lourdes, at a château in the Loire Valley, the American Cemetery in Normandy and in the beautiful city of Chartres.
Departure from the United States.
Arrive in Toulouse, meet your Encore Tour Manager and transfer to Lourdes for check-in at your comfortable hotel. The afternoon is yours to acquaint yourself with your surroundings, and your tour manager is available to conduct an introductory walking tour this afternoon. Dinner at local restaurant.
Today's sightseeing of the area includes the fortified castle and the Pyrenean Museum, documenting the region's traditions and arts. A visit to the Sanctuaries, including the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is truly a highlight of your stay here. Free time before dinner. Perform in your debut concert! This evening, your ensemble will participate in the candlelight procession in Lourdes.
Travel to the Loire Valley today by coach. After settling into your hotel, visit the medieval town of Amboise and enjoy splendid views of the valley below from the bluff on which the castle is located. Take some time to explore this quaint town and perhaps stroll over to Clos Luce, which was Da Vinci's home at the end of his life.
Today you will visit some of the magnificent châteaux of the Loire Valley. Journey back in time to the Renaissance during your stop at Chenonceau, the château of six women, which is built over the Cher River. Tour through the incredible hunting lodge of Francois I, Chambord and see its famous double spiral staircase. After dinner, perform a concert for the locals.
Morning drive to St. Malo for lunch on your own. Explore the citadel and continue to the awe-inspiring island monastery of Mont St. Michel. This medieval abbey and village are perched atop a rocky island, and are regularly surrounded by water at high tides.
Spend the day remembering an important part of the history of France and the US when you visit the D-day beaches. Depart for Arromanches, where you can see traces of the vast artificial harbor built for the 1944 D-Day invasion that liberated France. Then, visit the American War Cemetery at St. Laurent, overlooking Omaha Beach. An informal performance at the American Cemetery may be possible, an especially moving experience. Visit the Caen Peace Memorial which is a touching tribute to the war and the Holocaust.
Drive through the French countryside, on your way to the City of Light! On the way, stop in Giverny to visit Claude Monet's house and gardens. Here you'll understand where he got his inspiration for many of his famous paintings. Arrive in Paris in time for dinner.
Discover the major sites of Paris this morning during a guided city sightseeing tour, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. In the afternoon, entrances are provided to the magnificent Louvre, where you'll see world famous works of art such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo! You'll perform this afternoon in Paris! This evening, enjoy dinner in the Latin Quarter, followed by a boat ride along the Seine.
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Louis XIV's Palace at Versailles, including the Hall of Mirrors. Next drive to Chartres Cathedral, the best-known example of Gothic architecture and famous for its precious stained glass windows. You'll provide a concert at Chartres as well. Return to Paris and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, followed by time for an evening stroll and shopping along the Champs-Élysées.
The city is well know for its museums, therefore you will visit the Musée d'Orsay this morning, home to many of Monet's paintings. Enjoy some free time for shopping this afternoon. This evening, there is time to reflect on your time in Paris with a special upgraded dinner at the Eiffel Tower.
Return to the U.S.
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