France - Provence, Alsace, and Paris
It would take a lifetime of visits to exhaust the diversity of France. Each region looks different, feels different and has its own style of architecture, food and often its own dialect. There is an astonishing variety of things to see, whether it's the Gothic Cathedrals of the north, the chateaux of the Loire or the Roman monuments of the South. The countryside too, has its own appeal; seemingly little has changed for hundreds of years.
Our Expedition takes us through three regions of France - Provence, Alsace, and Paris. For those interested in a shorter program choose one of the three regions and we will develop your tour to that specific area. Programs may also include the Normandy and or any combination of our other three regions.
Jewish France: Throughout its stormy history, from the Roman period until the present, Jews have lived in France, their fate intimately tied to the various kings and leaders. Despite physical hardship and anti-Semitism, Jewish intellectual and spiritual life flourished, producing some of the most famous Jewish rabbis and thinkers, including Rashi and Rabenu Tam. Jews have contributed to all aspects of French culture and society and have excelled in finance, medicine, theater and literature. Currently, France hosts Europe’s largest Jewish community and Paris is said to have more kosher restaurants than even New York City. In each of the regions we travel we search out its unique Jewish history and heritage which can be found in almost every corner of France.
Days 1-4: Our tour begins in the Provence region. Ideally situated between the Mediterranean coastline and the Alps, this region is geographically diverse with a wide variety of attractions and activities. Of all the areas in France, Provence is the most irresistible, with attractions that include ancient Roman ruins, medieval fortresses and charming hilltop provincial villages. In the very heart of Provence become absorbed by its dazzling light, olive groves, vineyards, fields of lavender and treasures from ancient civilizations. We will follow ancient footpaths among hills redolent of herbs and flowers. Explore sunny villages, ramble through colorful markets and sample mouth-watering kosher cuisine. Discover sites once inhabited by Romans at Arles, and vestiges of the Middle Ages at Avignon, Carpentras and Aix-en-Provence, to name just a few.
Days 5-8: Onto the Alsace region which blends French style with German heartiness to create a culture all its own. We begin in cosmopolitan Strasbourg, the region's only big city, where modern buildings housing the European parliament are just a short stroll from the medieval cathedral and the "Petite France" district, crisscrossed with canals bordered by half-timbered houses bedecked with masses of bright geraniums. Follow Alsace's Wine Road as it winds through thriving vineyards. En route stop to explore picturesque villages, each offering its own specialties of art and culture. In the charming city of Colmar museum lovers can spend hours at the superb collections of the Unterlinden Museum, while others can admire the medieval architecture of its old town and "Little Venice" district, and everyone will be tempted to shop for fine Alsatian crafts in bustling specialty shops. We will visit hilltop castles, perhaps see native storks, and enjoy Alsatian kosher cuisine. This area is truly a feast for all the senses.
Days 9-12: On to Paris, the "City of Lights". Paris is a paragon of style - perhaps the most captivating city in Europe, yet it is also deeply traditional. Famous names and events are invested in glamour that elevates the city and its peoples to a legendary realm, and it still clings to its status as an artistic, intellectual and literary pacesetter. Experience the city's multitude of museums and sites including the Louvre, Opera House, Palace de la Concorde, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon's Tomb at "Les Invalides", Versailles and Eiffel Tower to name just a few.
* 4/5 day Paris (only) Expedition is also available custom group departures.
Custom group departures (18 or more participants) are available upon request. Please call us for details.
Activities range from city bus & walking tours to river cruising, hiking and biking tours. Tour program combines both secular and Jewish sites.
Custom group tour dates available, minimum 18 or more guests. Please call us for details and quote.