Go on a journey in the Loire Valley, also known as the Garden of France due to an abundance of beautiful scenery and stunning châteaux. Much of the culture of this region owes its heritage to the Renaissance period. During this time, the Loire Valley was a playground for royalty, where they constructed storybook castles with extensive gardens. In 1516, the king of France invited Leonardo da Vinci to move to Château du Clos Lucé on his property in Ambroise. As a true Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci challenged aesthetic values and rules to discover new ways of seeing the world, inventing imaginative castles, staircases, philosophies and works of art along the way. In the Château Chambord, the double helix staircase was entirely of his design along with much of the brilliant architecture.
Following a marvelous time among the châteaux, travel to Paris, which is known by many names due to the famed sights and artistic trends. Discover more of Leonardo da Vinci’s genius artwork at the Louvre, see the national art collections at Musée d’Orsay, and explore the academic side of town in the Latin Quarter. View religious relics and architectural marvels at Sainte Chapelle and Notre-Dame. Experience the historical expanse of the City of Light on visits to iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Tuileries Gardens and the Hôtel des Invalides. For more current cultural experiences of shopping, art and fashion, explore Marais Quarter, Pompidou Center, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. Stroll through the cobbled streets and charming squares known for the artists and philosophers who have called Paris home.
Overnight flight from home to Paris.
On arrival in Paris, meet up with the Tour Director and continue on to Loire Valley, taking in all the scenery along the drive. Stop in the charming town of Chartres to visit Chartres Cathedral, a testimony to the architectural innovations of the Middle Ages, which is filled with sculptures and stained glass windows portraying stories from the Bible. After exploring Chartres, end the day at the accommodations in the Loire Valley area.
Explore storybook castles, starting in Blois to see the Château de Blois, home to generations of royalty and a work of art in its own right. In the afternoon, visit Château Chambord to begin the journey through the works of Leonardo da Vinci, a true genius of arts, science and invention. At this archetypal castle, he designed the double helix staircase that spirals all the way up to the terrace. Since these are the largest castle grounds in the Loire Valley, continue exploring all there is to see here by bicycle, before returning to the accommodations.
Today see a castle that bridges a river, the Château de Chenonceaux. Tour places known for literary figures and artists; including Château Royal d'Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb is preserved in a little Gothic chapel. Afterwards, visit Leonardo da Vinci’s home, Le Close Luce, which is now a museum of his life’s work.
Begin the journey back to Paris with a stop in Versailles along the way. Explore the Palace of Versailles, viewing the Hall of Mirrors, the stylized gardens and impressive fountains. Continue on to the City of Light and take in the beauty of the iconic monuments there on a Seine River cruise through the heart of the city.
Go to the historical heart of the city today, Île de la Cité. While on this island, visit a masterpiece of architecture and stained glass that is Sainte Chapelle. Relics of Christianity are treasured here, among them is the Crown of Thorns. End the morning viewing the storied Notre-Dame de Paris. Walk around Marais Quarter in the afternoon, immersing in the Parisian lifestyle, shops and cafes with a stop in the oldest square in Paris, La Place des Vosges. Switch gears on a visit to the Pompidou Center, constructed with an industrial design as a museum for visual arts and culture. Before the day is done, get a firsthand look at the latest trends in fashion at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.
Take in the symbols of Paris, starting at a commemorative monument to the victory of the armies of France at the Arc de Triomphe. Stroll along Champs-Élysées, taking in the Parisian atmosphere of the avenue. Walk through the lovely Tuileries Gardens and under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Discover endless works of art, from Leonardo da Vinci’s original “Mona Lisa” to ancient Egyptian artifacts, at the world’s largest art museum, the Louvre. Share dinner in the Latin Quarter and tour the area on foot, learning more about its academic history and pass by the oldest university in Paris, the Sorbonne.
Enter the Musée d’Orsay to view the inclusive artworks at France’s national museum of fine and applied arts. Afterwards, visit the vaults of history within the Hôtel des Invalides, including the Dome church to see the tomb of Napoleon. Ascend to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the best pictures of time in Paris. On the last evening in France, stroll the cobbled streets of Montmartre, where all the scenery looks like it came straight out of a movie. While here, stop at the charming artist hub, Place du Tertre. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica to see the striking sculptures, architecture and panoramic view of Paris.
Depart Paris for the journey home.
On this educational journey through the Loire Valley and Paris, students take in beautiful scenery, storybook castles, monumental landmarks and charming artistic communities that showcase the best of French culture. Experience the genius of Leonardo da Vinci through his inventive architecture and famous works of art on tours of castles in the Loire Valley and museums in Paris. Learn the history of the royalty around the castles of the Loire Valley and famous architecture of Paris. Literary figures and well-known artists are highlighted to give students a unique understanding of the cultural arts in this picturesque region. With a curated curriculum for educators to apply with the program, students are empowered to put their learning into practice before, during and after the trip.
Quality, safe hotels with twin or triple occupancy corresponding to the destination.
All transportation is provided throughout the program.
Airfare covers round-trip flights from major airports.
Two meals are provided daily, breakfast and dinner, featuring local cuisine.
Interactive learning experiences designed to expand educational and career goals.
Scheduled activities, experiences and guided tours are all included.
Customized experiences developed by travel experts to promote learning and engagement.
Full-time Tour Directors are on site for the duration of the trip, for an all-inclusive experience.
Tips for bus drivers, guides, Tour Directors and meals.
International travel insurance is provided for protection in case of accidents, illness, flight interruptions or baggage loss.
Advanced student security software that integrates geofencing, logistics, communication and more optimized safety features.
Dedicated 24/7 staff availability, supporting students every step of the way.