- Board your flight Relax and enjoy your journey to London, England.
St. Pauls CathedralWestminster AbbeyTower of LondonChartres CathedralVersaillesArc de TriompheLouvre MuseumNotre-Dame CathedralEiffel Tower
- Meet your Tour Director Arrive in London and meet your Tour Director, who will accompany you for the duration of your trip.
- British Museum visit Explore the British Museum, one of the most comprehensive collections of art and artifacts in the world. Highlights of our visit will include the Rosettta Stone, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, and the Sutton Hoo Treasure.
- St. Paul's Cathedral visit Visit St. Paul's Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren's Renaissance-style masterpiece and yet another home to a stunning resident choir. Our visit will include an ascent to the Whispering Gallery, an acoustic marvel in which the faintest whisper can be heard clearly on the opposite side. We also will visit the American Memorial Chapel. If we are lucky, we will be present when the organ is being played.
- London choir performance Potential venues include (but not limited to): Southwark Cathedral, The Community of St. Stephens, Victoria Park Bandstand, St. Gabriel's Church Pimlico, the lively Spitafields Market, Hillsong Church, Christ Church Spitafields, or an exchange with a local school, university or community group. Additional options such as Cadogan Hall or St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square are available at additional cost.
- Westminster Abbey visit Visit Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned since 1066. Our Blue-Badge Guided Tour will include the Royal Chapels, containing the tombs of the English monarchs. It also will feature the Poets' Corner, featuring memorials to many famous British literary figures.
- Thames River cruise Enjoy a Thames River cruise, a relaxing way to view many of London's most magnificent sights. Our trip will take us past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and under the famous Tower Bridge.
- Tower of London visit Get up close and personal with the Tower of London. Towers, rather. Twenty stone towers, as well as tunnels, winding staircases and narrow passageways comprise this huge fortress covering 18 acres on the banks of the Thames. A royal residence from the 11th - 16th centuries, the Tower also served as a jewel safe and a prison. The headless skeletons of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard (Henry VIII's former wives who were executed here) are believed to be buried here. The Crown Jewels are housed here, including the largest cut diamond in the world (530-carats). Beefeaters (guards) lead tours through the Tower.
- Eurostar Channel crossing Take the Eurostar under the English Channel. Faster than you can say... anything, in French, you'll whiz through a tunnel and arrive in Paris.
- Seine River cruise See the city from the water on an hour-long cruise along the River Seine. The Seine cuts right through Paris, dividing the city in half. See the Eiffel tower rising up on the Left Bank, the walls of the Louvre on the Right Bank. A guide will point out other monuments and architectural marvels as you pass, many of which are illuminated by clear white light at night.
- Versailles guided excursion The ultimate palace, Versailles was built by Louis XIII, and housed the royal family and its groveling court from 1682, when the Sun King moved in, to the French Revolution. Everything in Versailles is worth a look, from the 250-foot-long Hall of Mirrors, with themed salons- "war" and "peace" -on either side, to Marie Antoinette's faux country hamlet. When being a queen became too much to bear, she would pretend to be a commoner, tending her sheep and wearing peasant clothes.
- Chartres excursion The city of Chartres, lying near the border of the Loire Valley, was one of the first urban conservation sites in France. With its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, and stone bridges, the venture has successfully retained the town’s unique charms.
- Chartres Cathedral visit Built on an ancient worshipping ground to house a piece of the Virgin Mary’s veil (which is still on display), this 13th-century Gothic church is best known for its windows. With over 20,000 square feet of stained glass, visiting Chartres can be like walking around inside a large jewel. But don’t spend all your time looking up—on the floor is the only surviving medieval labyrinth. The faithful travel the winding 300-yard path on their knees to reach the image of paradise at the centre. Ouch..
- Paris choir performance Potential venues include (but not limited to): La Trinité, where Messiaen served as organist and where Hector Berlioz had his funeral, Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, The American Church in Paris, and the Église de la Madeleine, which is another of our most popular venues for attracting good audiences. Finally, the Église St-Roch regularly hosts concerts. It is an excellent venue for visiting choirs and has good facilities and very organised publicity.
- Louvre guided visit The world's largest art museum, the Louvre is housed in a medieval fortress-turned-castle so grand it's worth a tour itself. You walk through the 71-foot glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei and added in 1989, and step into another world-one with carved ceilings, deep-set windows, and so many architectural details, you could spend a week just admiring the rooms. But check out the art on the walls. The Mona Lisa is here, as well as the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (the headless statue, circa 200 BC, discovered at Samothrace). The Louvre has seven different departments of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and antiquities. Don't miss the Egyptian collection, complete with creepy sarcophagi, or the collection of Greek ceramics, one of the largest in the world.
- Arc de Triomphe ascent Climb to the top of this triumphal arc, which honors all of the soldiers who fought for France during the Napoleonic Wars, for a breathtaking view of Paris.
- Dinner in Latin Quarter Tonight we will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in the Latin Quarter, a section of the city that dates back to the Roman times; it is generally associated with artists, intellectuals, and political unrest.
- Eiffel Tower ascent Climb to the top floor of this iconic landmark for a spectacular birds-eye view of the glittering City of Light.
- Musée d’Orsay visit You wouldn't think a railroad station would make a great museum, but the sweeping ceilings, huge walls of glass and beautiful neoclassical flourishes of the former Gare d'Orsay (Orsay rail station) make this the perfect, appropriately elegant setting for the collection of 19th- century art held here. The Musée d'Orsay's eighty galleries contain paintings, sculpture, belle époque furniture, photographs, objets d'art, and architectural models. You'll see some of the most beautiful paintings in Europe, including Renoir's "Moulin de la Galette" and Manet's "Déjeuner sur l'herbe."
- Paris choir performance Potential venues include (but not limited to): La Trinité, where Messiaen served as organist and where Hector Berlioz had his funeral, Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, The American Church in Paris, and the Église de la Madeleine, which is another of our most popular venues for attracting good audiences. Finally, the Église St-Roch regularly hosts concerts. It is an excellent venue for visiting choirs and has good facilities and very organized publicity.
- Montmartre tour director-led sightseeing If you’re coming to Paris, you absolutely need to take a walk in Montmartre! This area will wake the artist in you up. Its narrow alleys, windmills, little details, and soul are some of the things that make Montmartre so unique. As you walk in Montmartre, you will quickly understand how it has inspired so many artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh. As you walk up the hill make sure to take in all that surrounds you, because in Montmartre you are likely to find surprises around every corner!
- Depart Paris Bid farewell to Paris and begin your journey home.
- Optional extension: Rome If you are not ready to leave Europe just yet, extend your trip with a visit to Rome.
Rome city walk
Take a walk past Rome's most beautiful and unusual Baroque fountains. At the foot of the Spanish Steps, elegant cafes surround the central fountain. The water pressure here was so low that the artist had to sink the fountain into the ground to get any water going through it, so he went ahead and designed the fountain to look like a sinking ship. There's no shortage of water pressure at the nearby Trevi Fountain, a Baroque extravagance designed by master sculptor Bernini.
View the Trevi Fountain, where it is traditional to toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a safe return to the Eternal City.
We will spend some time in the Piazza Navona area. Built on the foundations of Domitian's Circus, this magnificent square was designed by Borromini in 17th century. It is full of life and is highlighted by one of Rome's most spectacular fountains, the Four Rivers designed by Bernini. The square is often filled with local artists. The surrounding neighborhood is also one of the best places in Rome to get a tasty tartufo or gelato ice cream.
- Ancient Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets The ultimate symbol of Ancient Rome, the Colosseum still dominates the modern city. Tour the amphitheater with your local licensed guide. Built by the emperor Vespasian in A.D. 72, the structure held almost 50,000 spectators but was so well organized that the entire place could be emptied within 15 minutes. Inside, the spectacles varied from gladiator battles to immense naval contests to wild beast shows, in which thousands of exotic animals like giraffes and ostriches were popped into the stadium through trap doors and left to fight Roman hunters. See the system beneath the floor that operated the trap doors and housed the animals, then continue on to the relative calm of the Forum. Ancient Rome’s commercial, religious and political center, the Forum held markets, temples and the Senate House. Near the Rostra, or speaker’s platform, you can still see game boards scratched into the marble by bored politicians--anyone up for a game of tic tac toe?
- Colosseum visit
- Forum Romanum visit Tour the ruins and excavations of the Roman Forum, which features the remains of magnificent temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches that once formed the heart of the Empire.
- Piazza Venezia Tour the ruins and excavations of the Roman Forum, which features the remains of magnificent temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches that once formed the heart of the Empire.
- Rome choir performance Potential venues include (but not limited to): The Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, the gardens of the Vatican, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore or Sant'Agnese in Agone just off the Piazza Navona. Choral groups may wish to perform during a mass, or have a separate concert. Exchange opportunities with local schools, universities or community groups are also an option.
- Return home Bid farewell to your Tour Director and begin your journey home.