Exploring London and Paris: A Family Adventure
Explore the Tower of London and see Shakespeare’s theater; then take the “Chunnel” to Paris to visit the Eiffel Tower, enjoy art tours of the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay and visit Notre Dame, Versailles and more.
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London and Paris are ideal desinations for a summer vacation with grandchildren and children. Explore the Tower of London with a Beefeater, learn about Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, and take the "Chunnel" train to Paris. Enjoy specially designed art tours of the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay and visit Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and more. For families with children ages 8 and older.
Day 1— U.S. / London, England
Depart the U.S. for London.
Day 2 — London
Upon arrival at the airport, a representative will meet you at the arrivals area and whisk you off to your hotel. Later in the day enjoy an orientation tour of London that showcases many of the city’s iconic sites, from Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Royal Albert Hall, and Kensington Gardens. This evening, enjoy a festive welcome dinner. (D)
Day 3 — London
Gather with other families for an exciting taste of historic London, featuring Westminster Abbey and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Westminster Abbey, a World Heritage site, has been the setting for every coronation since 1066 and for other royal occasions such as the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. During an engaging tour, explore an architectural masterpiece that spans the 13th to 16th centuries, hear about the lives of kings and queens as you see their various tombs or markers, and explore memorials to famous poets, writers, and other important English subjects. Your guide will then take you to nearby Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard, one of London’s most famous traditions. Here the Queen's Guard, dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, changes the guard in a formal ceremony set to music.
Many people associate England with Shakespeare and theater, so what better way to introduce children to the subject than a fun tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This faithful reconstruction reflects the Elizabethan open-air playhouse originally built on the south bank of the River Thames in 1599, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed. Learn about the playwright, theater, and performances from your guide, then feel what it’s like to be part of the “groundling” audience closest to the stage. From here, continue to Tate Modern for an artist led workshop and an interactive tour emphasizing the “Understanding of Modern Art” which includes and introduction to the collection with a sketching activity led by an artist. Tate Modern is London’s flagship museum of modern and contemporary art from around the world. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station on the banks of the Thames, the awe-inspiring Turbine Hall runs the length of the entire building and you can see amazing work by artists such as Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock and Warhol.
Alternatively, you have the option to visit the National Theatre for a backstage tour. Knowledgeable and entertaining guides will lead you through the backstage areas of the three theaters following in the footsteps of some of the greatest actors and directors of the last 35 years, and revealing the secrets that bring the actors’ work to the stage. (B)
Day 4 — London
After breakfast, enjoy a morning visit to the Tower of London. The Tower of London has been an integral part of British royal history for nearly 1000 years. Marvel at the breathtaking Crown Jewels, stand on the execution site of three English queens and hear all the myths and legends of this historic place. The “Beefeaters” or Yeoman Warders as they are more properly known, have long been symbols of London and Britain. It is thought their nickname is derived from their position in the Royal Bodyguard, which permitted them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king's table. This “Beefeater” led tour is one of the most popular attractions for visitors to the Tower.
At the conclusion of your tour of the tower, continue to Tower Pier for a scenic cruise along the Thames River passing many of London’s major landmarks en route. On arrival at Westminster pier, proceed to the iconic London Eye for a chance to experience a breath-taking bird’s eye view over London. The remainder of the day is free for independent activities.
Day 5 — London, Hampton Court, Eurostar to Paris
This morning, enjoy your choice of three of the following walking tours:
• In the footsteps of Charles Dickens: This walk will cover the numerous aspects of Charles Dickens’s life in London. The tour will also include a visit to Dickens House, home of the renowned writer where you’ll find an spectacular collection of his writing.
• Legal & Illegal London: Tour the ancient Inns of Court; a warren of cloisters, courtyards, and passageways set amongst some of the best gardens in London. Amid delightful surroundings, discover the ancient rites and customs, high drama, colorful characters, and matters of life and death that once existed at this locale.
• Secret London: Travel among the hidden places and forgotten nooks of the world's most elusive city. Exploring parts of London that few people know exist – up creeping lanes, round out-of-the-way corners, and past secret islands of green.
• Harry Potter: Visit a number of sites featured in the infamous Harry Potter films. Visit the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, the location of the red telephone box where Harry and Mr. Weasley entered the Ministry of Magic, the bridge destroyed by the Death Eaters, Platform 9 ¾, and much more.
In the afternoon, take the Eurostar train to Paris where you’ll travel beneath the English Channel via the “Chunnel”—a thrill for kids and adults alike. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and gather for dinner. (B,D)
Day 6 — Paris
This morning visit glorious Versailles, the centre of political power in France under Louis XIV. The Château itself is breathtakingly opulent inside. Visit the Royal Chapel and Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles ratified the First World War. Venture outside, where you’ll find the formal gardens designed by acclaimed French landscape gardener Andre Le Notre. After your tour, enjoy lunch near the palace. Later, return to Paris with the afternoon free for independent activities.
This evening visit to the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps the most famous symbol of Paris, the tower serves as a global icon and the most visited monument in the world. Built in 1889 by the engineer Gustave Eiffel for the World’s Fair, it is still the tallest structure in Paris – equivalent in height to that of an 81 story tower. You will travel to the 2nd floor for magnificent views over the city. (B,L)
Day 7 — Paris
Today, visit to Louvre Museum including the Muse Clues scavenger hunt. The Louvre Museum is one of the oldest, largest, and most visited art galleries and museums in the world. The building was previously a royal palace, and is famous for holding several of the world's most prestigious works of art, such as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, Madonna of the Rocks, and the Venus de Milo. The Muse Clues tour is designed for families to visit the museum together, in a fun and meaningful way. Parents and children learn from the same works of art, however children receive additional motivation through "Paris Muse Clues" – an educational and interactive treasure hunt. This scavenger hunt takes the family and their personal guide through a broad range of collections asking specific and detailed questions about many of the Louvre's masterpieces. It is designed to give children an entertaining background to the history of art while sharpening their "detective" skills of observation. Their own answers to the clues lead them to discover an educational prize hidden somewhere under the Louvre's glass pyramid.
This afternoon take a cruise of the River Seine. This hour-long cruise along the majestic Seine allows you to discover the sights of Paris from a new perspective. From the water, gaze at the spectacle of bridges and monuments of this magnificent city. An informative historical and cultural commentary is available in English and on-board guides occasionally take the microphone to inform visitors about current events, exhibits, and festivals around the city. Later, attend a cooking class accompanied by a cooking demonstration. Learn about French Haute Cuisine and finish with a meal featuring some of your creations. (B,L)
Day 8 — Paris
This morning visit the Musee D’Orsay where you’ll find the works of impressionist painters Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Renoir. This monumental art gallery displays France’s national collections of paintings, sculptures, objects d’art, and other works produced between 1848 and 1914. They are spectacularly housed in this former train station, built in 1900. After lunch at a traditional Parisian restaurant, stroll through the Latin Quarter. The name was given to the network of narrow streets located on the Left Bank around Sorbonne University, an area traditionally frequented by students, intellectuals, and artists.
This afternoon there will be a guided panoramic tour of Paris including views of many of the city’s most famous landmarks such as the Opéra Garnier, Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Centre Pompidou, Le Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Pantheon. Your tour will also include a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral, located on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris. With its main entrance to the west, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris and widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The famous Rose Window is surely one of the greatest masterpieces of Christian art.
Day 9 — Paris / U.S.
Start off your day with optional visits to the Pmpidou Arts Centre or the Fragonard Parfumerie.
• Pompidou Arts Centre: The Centre Pompidou is Europe’s most important museum of modern art and one of the world’s most significant art galleries. Some of the art movements featured within the Pompidou Center consist of Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. Pompidou is comprised of 50,000 works of art (including paintings, sculpture, drawings, and photography), of which 1,500 to 2,000 are on display.
• Fragonard Parfumerie: Become the perfumer's Apprentice and customize an Eau de Toilette in a dedicated workshop. An unforgettable, funny and fascinating sensorial experience focused on the creation of a fragrance where aromatic notes, citrus fruits and orange blossom blend together.
This afternoon visit the artists' quarter of Montmartre, with its spectacular white church of the Sacre Coeur. The name signifies "mount of martyrs " because by tradition it is the place of the martydom of Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris. (B,D)
Day 10 — Paris / U.S.
Transfer to the airport today for return flights to the U.S.