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Iconic and intimate, full of history and vibrant with modern life, France is an enchanting place to
explore as a family. Go beyond the well-worn tourist track to discover the secrets of this magical
place, from the engine room at the Eiffel Tower to a private lavender farm in Provence. Take a kid-friendly tour of the Louvre, step into the studio of Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, and walk in the
footsteps of ancient Romans across the soaring Pont du Gard.
Glide down the Seine in a glass-enclosed boat, getting a swan’s-eye view of the iconic sites of
Paris while eating a delicious dinner.
Go behind the scenes at the Eiffel Tower on a private tour of an underground World War I bunker and the engine room that powers the tower’s hydraulic elevators.
Join a chef in the kitchen to learn how to make baguettes and pastries.
Picnic amid lavender fields on a visit to a family farm in Provence, and kayak under the soaring
arches of the breathtaking Pont du Gard.
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — Paris
Arrive in Paris and settle into our hotel on the city’s Left Bank. Our adventure kicks off with a cruise in a glass-encased boat on the River Seine. Taste delicious French cuisine as we glide past some of the most iconic sites in Paris: the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. Parc Saint Séverin (D)
Day 2 — Paris
Set out on foot this morning to discover the medieval heart of Paris with a guide. Imagine how artists designed the dazzling stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle, and cross over one of the city’s famous bridges to the Île de la Cité, home to the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame. On the neighboring island of Île Saint-Louis, stop for lunch overlooking the Seine at a lively brasserie. This afternoon, delve into the Renaissance on a guided tour of the Louvre designed especially for kids. Or enjoy free time to discover the City of Lights with your family. Parc Saint Séverin (B,L)
Day 3 — Paris
Start the day off with a special treat: a private backstage tour of the Eiffel Tower! We’ll have exclusive access to a World War I military bunker under the Champ de Mars and then step into the engine room to see the machines that power the tower’s hydraulic elevators. Then take a ride up to the second floor for an amazing view of Paris, and cap off the adventure with lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel, a family-friendly restaurant on the first floor. This afternoon, meet up with our pen pals at a baking workshop to learn from a boulanger how to make baguettes and patisseries. Team up with your new French friends to design your own delicious pastry! Parc Saint Séverin (B,L)
Day 4 — Paris/Aix-en-Provence
Climb aboard a first-class car of a high-speed TGV train and zip nearly 500 miles across France in just under three hours, taking in beautiful countryside vistas along the way. Our destination is Aix-en-Provence, a charming Provençal town founded by the Romans around A.D. 123. After lunch in town, set out on foot to explore the city center with a guide, following cobbled streets to bubbling fountains and stopping in to visit the studio of the artist Paul Cézanne, who immortalized this lovely region in his paintings. Grand Avignon Hotel (B,L)
Day 5 — Aix-en-Provence
Head into the hills to Valensole, a sub-Alpine plateau blanketed with lavender fields. At a family-run lavender farm, the owners take us on a tour of the lavender distillery and explain how perfumes and oils are drawn from these vivid purple flowers. Then hike into the fragrant fields and stop in a pretty spot for a picnic of cheese, fresh bread, and charcuterie. On our hike, collect sprigs to make your own lavender sachet keepsake. Return to Aix and dine on delicious southern French cuisine tonight. Grand Avignon Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Aix-en-Provence
Spend today at one of the most magnificent ancient sites in the south of France: the Roman aqueduct known as the Pont du Gard. This soaring stone bridge spans across the River Gard in three tiers of arches, often perfectly mirrored in the water below. Explore the site every which way, walking across the top, some 160 feet above the river; kayaking below; and taking in the view during a picnic lunch. Linger at the site to visit the museum on a private tour especially for kids, and learn about the Romans’ many creative ways of sourcing and using water. Or travel to the nearby town of Nîmes, home to numerous Roman ruins, including the Maison Carrée—one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world—and an ancient arena right in the middle of the town square. Celebrate our aventure française at dinner at a renowned Provençal restaurant in Aix tonight. Grand Avignon Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Aix-en-Provence
Transfer to the airport in Marseilles this morning to catch your flights home. (B)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $850. International airfare to Paris and return from Marseilles is not included in the expedition cost.
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid to Kid Connection, which links every young traveler with a pen pal of similar age in France. We'll meet up with our pen pals at a cooking school for a hands-on lesson with a professional chef. Work together to make typical French specialties like baguettes or pains au chocolat and design—and bake—your very own pastry! In our chefs hats and aprons, we'll get to know our new Parisian friends and learn the words for your favorite foods in French.
Our dynamic Expedition Leaders enrich each experience with their insights, knowledge, and energy, and a Young Explorer Leader joins every group to facilitate fun activities that help kids get the most out of the places we go. As we travel, we’ll also meet up with fascinating people doing meaningful work in the field.