Trip Type : Group Tour
Palace of versailles-France_493920_P

Paris: City of Light

Smithsonian Journeys
3.0 . Average
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
12 days
From: $ 4,190 $ 349 / day
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  • Flexible Schedule: Pack your time full of activities or enjoy a more leisurely pace—it’s your choice! Talks led by experts and special themed walking tours are complemented by time to pursue personal interests—solo or with new travel friends. Plus, your resident director is always available to advise on other activities so you’ll feel like a Parisian in no time!
  • Live Like a Parisian: Settle into the modern Adagio Paris Opera apart/hotel, located in a historic and bustling neighborhood. Plus, your Paris museum and metro passes provide easy access to the city’s treasures.
  • Walking Tours: Take walking tours featuring Le Marais, the Latin Quarter, and historic sites of World War II, and a
    special cruise along the Seine, all of which provide a deeper appreciation of Paris.
  • Day Excursions: Go beyond Paris to the Palace of Versailles, the Burgundian town of Dijon, and Rouen, the capital of Normandy on special day excursions.

Short Description

Join us for a special stay in Paris where you can enjoy a leisurely pace or pack your time full of activities—it’s your choice. Paris offers a rich selection of museums, neighborhoods, boutiques, and restaurants to discover. During this new tour, enjoy themed walking tours of the Marais, the Latin Quarter, and Champs Elysees, which provide a background to the city, as does a special cruise along the historic canal Saint-Martin and Seine River. To provide more depth to your stay, three special excursions take you beyond Paris, including the nearby Palace of Versailles, and full-day excursions to both Dijon, a charming Burgundian town, and Rouen, the capital of Normandy. Our sojourn ensures a number of afternoons at leisure to pursue personal interests—solo or with new travel friends—to visit museums, explore new neighborhoods, or simply relax at an outdoor café.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Paris
End City Paris

Trip Includes

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Tour Manager, and local guides throughout the tour.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary, including special welcome and farewell dinners
  • 20 Paris Metro tickets per person
  • Paris Museum Pass for two consecutive days provides free entry without waiting for as many times as you wish including 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • Baggage handling for one bag plus one carry-on bag per person.

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Day 1 -2: Depart the U.S., Paris

Meals: Dinner

Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Paris, France. After an early morning flight arrival, clear brief arrival formalities, then transfer to the Adagio Bercy. Your Paris home-away-from-home is a suite-like and comfortable studio apartment with a fully equipped kitchenette. The hotel is beautifully situated adjacent to the #14 Metro line that hugs the Seine River and connects directly to the Saint Lazare, Lyon and Bercy railway stations. Situated just a few steps from the Cour Saint Emilion in the Bercy neighborhood where the Parisian wine market was located until 1960. This heritage is still visible in the ancient white-stone storehouses of Cour Saint Emilion, now protected as a historical monument. Today Bercy Village offers the combination of an historical site and contemporary attractions in the center of a unique neighborhood that includes one of the city’s largest parks with 34 acres, the Cinémathèque Française, many restaurants, and shops. A Travel Representative will be available at the Activity Resource Desk to assist with independent sightseeing arrangements, dinner or shopping suggestions, or any other “concierge” services you may require. Attend a group welcome briefing that will acquaint you with the Paris Metro System. Following the briefing, depart for an orientation walk of your new neighborhood. Bienvenue! A hearty Parisian Welcome Reception and dinner will be enjoyed at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Paris

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

The day starts with a guided walking tour of the historic old Jewish Quarter of the Marais. Long the aristocratic district of Paris, it hosts many outstanding buildings of historic and architectural importance such as the Place de Vosges and the Georges Pompidou Center. This afternoon, continue your exploration of Paris at your leisure. Dinner this evening will be served at a local restaurant.

Day 4: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

Today, the morning is free of planned activities. In the afternoon, board a canal boat to cruise the Canal Saint-Martin and the Seine. Cruise on this canal built by Napoleon 1802 to connect local Parisian waterways to facilitate local commence. Today, this inner-urban canal is tree-lined and flanked by friendly cafes and charming boutiques. Enter the Seine, and sail past the Tuileries Gardens, Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame, and the Ile Saint Louis.

Day 5: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

Today, extend your exploration just a short distance beyond the borders of Paris with a short rail journey to visit the Palace of Versailles. Visit the opulent Grand Apartments, the stunning chandelier-lit Hall of Mirrors, and the Queen's Apartments, while discovering illuminating details of courtly life in the palace. Explore the formal gardens. To enhance your visit, headset rental is included so that you can explore independently and at your own pace. Return to Paris by train. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore on your own.

Day 6: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

This morning attend an informative lecture covering the works of art in the Louvre and Orsay. See your Travel Director who can assist with planning your day. It might be fun to take in a Paris market or find a spot to enjoy near the Luxembourg Gardens this afternoon.

Day 7: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

This morning enjoy a lecture on the art and sites of Paris. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Your Travel Director will be on hand to assist you in planning your day. Explore the city using your included Paris Metro tickets.

Day 8: Paris

Meals: Breakfast/Lunch

Travel at 200 miles per hour aboard France’s TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) high-speed train to the Burgundian town of Dijon. An expert guide will introduce us to the sites and culture of this charming town. Explore the historic city center, which will introduce you to the Darcy Garden, the Covered Market, the Dukes' Palace and Notre Dame Church. Luncheon is served in Dijon at the remarkable Hotel Particulier Maleteste. Have time to explore on your own before boarding the TGV to travel back to Paris.

Day 9: Paris

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a guided walking tour in the Latin Quarter. See where revolutionaries lived and met the oldest café in Paris, and the hall where Danton and the radical Cordelier’s club held their debates. Learn of the back-story of Dr. Guillotin’s sinister “razor” and that of Marat, stabbed in his bath by Charlotte Corday. This evening join fellow travelers for a Farewell reception and dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 10: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

Today, journey in comfort aboard a regional train as we travel to the historic town of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. An expert guide will meet the train and lead us to the landmark the Gros Horloge. Continue to see the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Damemade famous by Monet in his 28 studies of color and light. Hear the haunting story of heroic Joan of Arc, before returning to Paris by rail.

Day 11: Paris

Meals: Breakfast

“Contemporary France” will be the subject of a morning lecture. An escorted tour detailing the history of Paris under German occupation is scheduled. Learn how the Parisians survived the dark years of the occupation from 1940-44 on this walk in the area of the Champs Elysées. Learn the stories of daily life, the Gestapo, the Resistance and the Liberation. See the traces of the last street battle on Rue de Rivoli and the Hotel Meurice where General Von Choltitz surrendered the German forces. See the Jeu de Paume Museum, where Rose Valland's heroic endeavors saved priceless artworks from Nazi plunder. We contrast instances of collaboration with accounts of magnificent courage displayed by French and foreigners alike in the face of arrest and deportation. We will celebrate with Ernest Hemingway the liberation of the Ritz Hotel and stride with Charles de Gaulle down the Champs Elysées. The remainder of the day is free of planned activities to continue your exploration of Paris.

Day 12: Depart for the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

Depart the hotel and transfer to the Charles de Gaulle Airport for return flights to the U.S.


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Price From $ 4,190
Price Per Day: $ 349 per day
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Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Trip ID#:


Trip Excludes

  • Round-trip international airfare and air and departure taxes.
  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.

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