D1 Paris / Amsterdam (500 km)
Welcome at Paris airport by your chauffeur for this discovery tour. Board your luxury air-conditioned coach for Holland. Lunch stop en route (at own expense). Arrive day end in the Amsterdam region. Check-in to hotel. Dinner and overnight.
D2 Amsterdam and the Floating Market (40 km)
Guided tour of the capital, its hundreds of sandy islets in the Ij and Amstel rivers linked by a thousand bridges. Free time to explore the floating flower market that has existed since 1862 on one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals. The range of flowers is incredible, from all sorts of tulips and bulbs to dwarf cypresses to exotic rarities from Easter Island even. Lunch in Amsterdam followed by a visit to a diamond workshop. Free end of afternoon to explore. A boat trip on the Amsterdam canals is optional. Dinner and overnight.
D3 Aalsmeer Flower Auction (25 km)
Early start for Aalsmeer. Guided tour of the world’s biggest flower auction where 20 million flowers and 2 million plants arrive daily from the four corners of the globe to be sold at auction before being transported to wholesalers’ warehouses. Lunch then a free afternoon in Amsterdam. Dinner and overnight.
D4 Amsterdam / Gardening in Appeltern / Cologne (285 km)
Direction Appeltern. Meet up with your guide over a coffee and cake welcome. Visit the show gardens exhibition and the 180 different models covering 13 hectares. Exhibitors range from horticulturalists, to garden furniture, fountain and accessories designers providing a wealth of inspiration for the visitor. Time for a gardening and floral decoration lesson! Lunch in the gardens, then journey on to Germany. Check-in to hotel in the Cologne area. Dinner and overnight.
D5 Cologne / Rhine Cruise / Mainz / Frankfurt (250 km)
Walking tour of the old town of Cologne to admire its striking cathedral and old city houses. Continue via Koblenz to St Goarshausen where you embark at midday for a cruise along the Rhine as far as Bingen. Lunch on board admiring the pretty lake shore scenery, villages, vineyards and ancient castles built to protect the valley. You’ll also pass the famed ‘Lorelei’ rock marking the river’s narrowest part. Arrive in Bingen around 3pm and on then to Mainz, birthplace of Gutenberg whom we credit for the Printing Revolution, and with a notable Romanesque style cathedral. Carry on to the Frankfurt region. Check-in to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in the Frankfurt region.
D6 Frankfurt Palm Garden / Heidelberg / Villingen-Schwenningen (310 km)
Visit the ‘Palmengarten’, a huge botanical garden beneath an imposing steel and glass hothouse, with a lush sub-tropical landscape housing plants from the world over. Continue to Heidelberg and a restaurant lunch. Guided tour of Heidelberg, pretty as a picture-postcard, dominated by its magnificent red sandstone castle. On to Villingen-Schwenningen. Check-in to hotel. Dinner and overnight.
D7 Mainau Island and Konstanz (180 km)
Visit the beautiful parks and gardens of Mainau, a paradise for gardening enthusiasts on a peninsular enjoying sweeping lake views. Lunch then on to Konstanz. Guided tour of the old town with its half-timbered houses. Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
D8 Villingen-Schwenningen / Lake Zurich and Rapperswil / Chur (220 km)
Set off for the shores of Lake Zurich. Arrive in Rapperswil, the ‘Town of Roses’. Roses decorate the town’s coat of arms and bloom in the public areas and three rose gardens. Guided tour of the upper town which has conserved a distinctly mediaeval feel and is dominated by its mighty castle. Lunch then continue to the Grisons region and the capital, Chur. Enjoy a stroll in the delightful old town. Check-in to your hotel in/around Chur. Dinner and overnight.
D9 Tiefencastel to Tirano aboard the Bernina Express / Lake Como (320 km)
Leave for Tiefencastel where you board the ‘Bernina Express’ train. The rack railway traces a magnificent 3 hr winding route through the mountains as far as Tirano. Lunch then on via Sondrio and the Valtellina Valley to Lake Como. Dinner and overnight in the Lake Como region.
D10 Lake Como’s Sumptuous Villas and Gardens (20 km)
Rendez-vous with your botanical guide. Embark for Bellagio and make a stop to visit the Villa Serbelloni park, enjoying gorgeous views over the whole of Lake Como as far as Villa Melzi. Admire the century old trees, azaleas and rhododendrons in profusion, and the neoclassic villa architecture. Continue by boat to Varenna and lunch in the colourful fishing port. Visit the old convent, the Monastero, whose terraces brim with cypress trees and exotic plants. Take a tea or coffee break in the gardens of the Villa Cipressi before continuing on the botanic trail to the lake shores. Return boat to Cadenabbia. Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
D11 Como / Milan / Nice region (370 km)
Direction Milan and a guided tour taking in the Duomo, prime example of elaborate gothic art, the glass-vaulted Vittorio Emmanuel II shopping arcades, and the incomparable La Scala Opera House… Lunch then continue to France via Genoa and San Remo. Check-in to your hotel in the Nice region. Dinner and overnight.
D12 Monaco, the Prince’s Palace and Villa Kerylos (110 km)
Guided tour of Monaco overlooking the sea, taking in the changing of the guard at the Prince’s Palace. Lunch then on to visit Monaco’s beautiful Exotic Garden. Continue along the cornice road to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a superb edifice set amongst nine stunning gardens, the whole looking out across the Mediterranean. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
D13 Nice region/ Cassis / Marseille (220 km)
Depart for Provence. Arrive in Cassis mid morning. Time to explore this quant, Provencal seaside village, nestling at the foot of sheer white cliffs and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Boat trip to the legendary calanques, rugged, almost vertical limestone cliffs plunging into limpid, turquoise waters. Lunch then via the high road to Marseille. Sightseeing tour of the city. Check-in to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
D14 Marseille / Paris
Transfer from the hotel to Marseille train station. High speed TGV train to Paris, gare de Lyon. Arrive end morning and transfer to restaurant for lunch. Transfer to hotel and check-in. End of tour escort services. Free afternoon to visit Paris at leisure. Dinner and overnight.
D15 Return journey
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