Day One In Transit
Depart your gateway city for Paris, France
Day Two D
Paris, France | Reims
Upon arrival, transfer to Reims and check in to the Mercure Reims Centre Cathedrale Hotel. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
Day Three B | L
Discovery: Taittinger Champagne. Tour the estate of this vaunted Champagne house before a tasting of its famous wines. Founded shortly after World War I, Taittinger now is one of the best-known names in Champagne. Discover the history of Reims as you explore Taittinger’s facilities, which incorporate the ruins of a 13th-century abbey into its design. Fourth-century chalk quarries have been repurposed as its Champagne cellars. Discovery: Reims. Discover the highlights of Reims. Visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which hosted 1,000 years of French coronations. During the 17th century, Champagne became the celebratory drink of coronations after local winemakers perfected the process of creating the sought-after sparkle in the local wine. See the Abbey of Saint-Remí and the Palace of Tau.
Day Four B | L
World War I Battle Sites
Discovery: Meuse-Argonne and Verdun. Explore the region where 1.2 million U.S. soldiers fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one of the 1918 operations that led to the end of the war. Visit a memorial for the fallen soldiers from Pennsylvania. Stop at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, the largest U.S. cemetery in Europe. After lunch at a restaurant in the French countryside, travel to the site of the World War I’s longest battle, Verdun, which spanned 10 months in 1916. Explore sites associated with the battle: Fort Douaumont and the Verdun Memorial and Museum, built next to the former village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, which the fighting completely destroyed.
Day Five B | L
Enrichment: A Champagne Primer. Only bubbly made in this region can claim the Champagne name. Made elsewhere, it is called sparkling wine. Learn why this special region and its eponymous wine have become famous around the world. Discovery: Troyes. Visit this charming city, former capital of the Champagne region. During the Middle Ages, Troyes prospered as one of the four towns that hosted the great Champagne Fairs. Twice a year, vendors and shoppers from all over Western Europe descended upon Troyes to buy and sell fine wool and silk, leather, spices, silver and gold, as well as herbs, medicine, food and other items. Explore the historic quarter and admire the colorful half-timbered homes and stone mansions built in the 16th century after a fire destroyed the city. For lunch, savor the delicious flavors of French cuisine at a restaurant in Troyes. Free Time: Enjoy some time to explore Troyes on your own.
Day Six B | L
Reims Wine Country
Enrichment: The End of the Great War. Learn about the events leading up to the 1918 armistice and the eventual end of World War I, the War to End All Wars. The legacy of the armistice remains with us as we celebrate Veterans Day each November 11. Discovery: Montagne de Reims. Visit the heart of Champagne country. The Montagne de Reims, a national park, is a plateau surrounded by hills covered with grapevines and towns famous for their Champagne production. Explore the village of Hautvillers. The village’s most famous resident was the 17th-century monk credited with developing the modern technique of making sparkling wine. Today, his name, Dom Pérignon, is synonymous with Champagne. Continue to Épernay for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, followed by a stroll down the Avenue de Champagne, the address of many renowned Champagne houses. Visit two Champagne houses, one near Hautvillers and the other en route to Épernay, for tours and tastings. Enrichment: France Today. Discover how historic and current events are shaping modern France.
Day Seven B | L
Somme River Valley
Discovery: Battle of the Somme. Travel through the Somme River valley to the Museum of the Great War in Péronne to learn about the 1916 World War I battle, Britain’s costliest in terms of casualties. Of the 600,000 Allied soldiers killed in that battle, Britain lost 420,000. The United States entered the war in April 1917. Visit the Somme American Cemetery, where 1,844 U.S. troops who fought in the Battle of Cantigny or who were attached to British units are buried. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Péronne.
Day Eight B | D
Free Time: The day is at leisure to pursue your own interests. Spend it in Reims, where many Champagne houses are located, or perhaps venture further afield to explore the vineyards and villages in the countryside. This evening, charge your glasses with Champagne and join your fellow travelers as you toast to your enriching journey at a Farewell Reception, followed by a Farewell Dinner.
Day Nine B
Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight to your gateway city.
B|L|D denotes included breakfasts, lunches and dinners