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OverviewDiscover the essence of French history as well as the richness of the culture and scenic beauty as you tour many World Heritage sites. Explore the fortified medieval town of Carcassonne and the market town of Albi, including the museum showcasing works of Toulouse-Lautrec. In the breathtaking Dordogne, known for its rugged countryside and lovely villages, enter the famous caves at Lascaux II and visit the pilgrimage site of Rocamadour.
Travel to the fabled Loire River Valley, a World Heritage site, where you’ll tour Fontevraud Abbey, the original resting place of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, and Richard the Lion Heart. You’ll also visit the romantic Chateau de Chenonceau and the Chateau Clos Luce, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years. Farther north, highlights include the dramatic Gothic abbey of Mont St. Michel and the town of Bayeux with its famous medieval tapestry, as well as Normandy’s D-Day landing beaches and the Memorial Museum at Caen. In Giverny, stroll through the gardens that inspired Monet’s Impressionist masterpieces, then conclude in Paris with a city highlights tour.
Special ValueThis tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
Smithsonian ExpertsThroughout this tour, travel in the company of an exceptional Smithsonian Study Leader. John Sweets is a historian in 19th- and 20th century European studies, with expertise in 20th-century France. John will lead the April, September, and October 2013 departures. Arthur Kaplan is an expert in French linguistics, culture, and music. He will lead the May 2013 departure.
Special HighlightsEnjoy an exclusive visit to Château des Milandes, former residence of Josephine Baker.Tour the Fontevraud Abbey, site of the original graves of King Henry II of England and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.Visit Château Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years.Tour the caves at Lascaux II to view replications of the prehistoric cave art.
Don't forget to check out our photo slide show to glimpse the excitement of this special program!View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at top of page!
World Heritage SitesThis tour features the following World Heritage sites in France:
- The Medieval Fortified City of Carcassonne
- The Loire Valley
- Mont Saint Michel
- Paris and the Banks of the Seine
See a complete list of all Smithsonian tours featuring World Heritage sites.