DAY 1: MILAN - FRANCE
Meet with tour leader in Milan and begin tour by G.T. coach to Switzerland and France. Free lunch along the way. In the evening arrival at hotel located in Fontainebleau/ Nemours/ Troyes according to hotel availability. Accommodation in the reserved rooms. Dinner at hotel or restaurant. Overnight.
DAY 2: CHATEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU - CHATEAU DE BLOIS
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, visit with guide or audio guide the Château de Fontainebleau, a grand Renaissance-style royal residence surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Château de Fontainebleau, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a favorite residence of the kings of France, the perfect setting for the festivities of the Renaissance court of Francis I. Time at leisure and free lunch in Fontainebleau. Depart for the Loire Valley, a place of great charm, where the beauty of nature, the magic of art and historical events are harmoniously intertwined. The cities and castles of the Loire Valley are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Continue to Blois Castle, a synthesis of the architecture and history of the Loire castles. The residence of seven kings and ten queens, it is a place evocative of the power and daily life of Renaissance courts. Here lived and died Catherine de' Medici, the "Black Queen," the mother of three kings of France and herself a queen, who was born in Florence in 1519 and married the young King Henry II. Hotel accommodation. Dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 3: CASTLES OF AMBOISE AND CLOS LUCÉ - TOURS - AMBOISE
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, visit theCastle ofAmboise, cuitorres and slate roofs dominate the Loire and the narrow streets of the old town. Here the young King Francis I moved the splendid and animated court life and surrounded himself with the greatest artists of theRenaissance. Leonardo daVinci arrived in Amboise in 1516, at the age of 64, bringing with him the Mona Lisa, Saint JohnBaptist and Saint Anne. King Francis I placed at his disposal the Manoir du Clos Lucé, just outsideAmboise, where Leonardo stayed for three years until his death on May 2, 1519. Leonardo was appointed "the King's first painter, engineer and architect." The remains of the visionary genius are enshrined in the Saint-Hubert Chapel in the chateau ofAmboise. In the afternoon, visit theClos-Lucé. In the beautiful mansion of pink brick and tuff stone, the intimacy of the genius is revealed: the room, the kitchen, the Sala delConsiglio, the chapel with frescoes painted by his disciples. Next is a visit to Leonardo Park where models of his futuristic inventions are on display. Free lunch. In the afternoon excursion to Tours, the heart of the Loire Valley. Time at leisure in the city center. Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 4: CHENONCEAU - CHAMBORD - FONTAINEBLEAU
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Chenonceau Castle erected in the 16th century on the Cher River and surrounded by beautiful gardens and vegetable gardens. Chenonceau owes its unique architecture to Catherine de Medici, who had the two galleries built over the river much like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Known as "the Castle of the Ladies," because it was the home of Queen Catherine de' Medici and her rival the beautiful and intriguing Diana of Poitiers, respectively wife and favorite of King Henry II. The Renaissance-style castle has a very refined and elegant style. Free lunch. In the afternoon, continue on to Chambord Castle, a true fairy-tale site. It was built at the behest of King Francis I and, probably, following some of the instructions of Leonardo da Vinci, a guest of the king at the nearby Château d'Amboise. The laying of the foundation stone in 1519 is ideally made to coincide with the beginning of the Renaissance in France. Tour of the exterior of the castle. Continuation to Fontainebleau. Arrive in the evening and settle in the hotel. Dinner at hotel or restaurant. Overnight.
DAY 5: FONTAINEBLEAU - MILAN
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for Italy via Dijon, Besançon and Switzerland. Free lunch along the way. Continue to Milan and in the evening return to the place of departure.