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Insider's Spain and France

DAY 1: OVERNIGHT FLIGHT   Depart from the USA.
DAY 2: MADRID   ¡Bienvenidos a España! Arrive in Madrid and meet your ACIS Tour Manager before beginning to explore the wide avenues and open plazas of Spain’s capital city.
DAY 3: MADRID   Madrid’s rich heritage comes alive this morning during your guided sightseeing tour of the classic Spanish boulevards, grand plazas, and diverse architecture that characterizes modern-day Madrid. Highlights include the Plaza de España, with its statue of Don Quixote, the majestic Alcalá Gate, and the famous bullring Las Ventas. Then breeze past the crowds with your timed entrance to visit the magnificent Prado, one of the world’s premier art museums. Here, an expert provides illuminating commentary via personal headsets on the artwork of Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch. Even the 18th-century Neo-Classical building that houses the collection is stunning. This evening take cues from a professional dancer, learning the steps during a flamenco lesson before watching your instructor and others take the stage to perform a traditional flamenco show.
DAY 4: BARCELONA   This morning depart Madrid aboard the high-speed AVE train to Catalonia’s capital city, Barcelona. Founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, it’s known for its artistic treasures and fine architecture, from Gothic to Modernist. Let the city introduce itself during a guided panoramic sightseeing tour, starting with Montjuïc Hill, where many of the 1992 Olympic events took place. Our local expert will also point out, via commentary over personal headsets, all the major sights of Barcelona, including Gaudí’s famous houses. Antoni Gaudí, one of Catalonia’s most notable sons, was a Modernist architect whose distinctive style is revered to this day. After, you’ll be able to study the intricate designs inside and out of his still-unfinished Sagrada Familia and stroll whimsical Parc Güell.
DAY 5: BARCELONA   The narrow cobbled streets, peaceful squares and towering old buildings of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter are perfect for exploring this morning. Then switch your mode of transport for a Barcelona by bike tour through lovely Ciutadella Park, and the nearby Olympic Port. In the afternoon you may opt to learn about Barcelona's famed football club with a tour of Camp Nou Stadium. This evening become familiar with Spanish culinary traditions as you work in teams during a paella cooking lesson and dinner. You will use traditional methods to cook paella—a spicy tango of rice, seafood and vegetables considered by many as Spain’s national dish.
DAY 6: PROVENCE   Depart Spain and cross the Pyrénées to France. Your first stop is the medieval city of Carcassonne, whose ramparts and towers are so well-preserved that they have been featured in movies. Continue through vineyards to Provence.
DAY 7: PROVENCE   Soak in the beauty of your surroundings during this morning’s horseback ride through the Camargue, the picturesque marshy delta region at the mouth of the River Rhône. Then continue to Aigues-Mortes and explore its authentic medieval ramparts before contemplating the Roman Empire’s influence in France at the Pont du Gard. This Roman aqueduct preserved in almost perfect condition is a true marvel of Roman engineering—the 161-foot tall bridge aqueduct is still standing nearly 2,000 years after its construction. Our tour offers an exclusive guided visit to the third floor and its exceptional views.
DAY 8: PARIS   Board the high-speed TGV train for Paris this morning. Upon arrival you’ll want to dive right in to explore one of the world’s great cultural centers, brimming with museums, art galleries and historic sights alongside an endless array of charming curbside cafés and boulangeries. During the afternoon, sightseeing with a local expert guide brings you to the very best place to get your picture taken with the Eiffel Tower, shows you the monumental Arc de Triomphe, points out the massive Les Invalides (where Napoleon is buried) and helps decode the Gothic façade of Notre Dame. The evening is free for discovering Montmartre’s artist-filled squares and sweeping views over Paris.
DAY 9: PARIS   We start our day exploring the Louvre and discover the many famous masterpieces that call it home. See the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo as you wander through the galleries. From its beginnings as a royal fortress to its current status as the world’s most visited art museum, the Louvre has long been at the center of Parisian culture and home to a collection of 35,000 works of art from around the world. Then ascend to the top floor of the Eiffel Tower for views over this magnificent city. Your final evening in Europe is highlighted by a scenic illuminated boat ride along the Seine. You may opt to upgrade your Seine experience with a dinner cruise, reveling in traditional French cuisine and music as you glide past some of the city’s most notable landmarks.
DAY 10: DEPARTURE   Depart for the USA.

Optional Extensions and Extra Nights:

Further immerse yourself in the culture and wonders of La Ville Lumière with an extra night in Paris, including the services of your ACIS Tour Manager.

The tours were great and the pace was just right. In the future I would probably add a day in Paris as it seemed that there were several things that we did not see due to time constrains.

Arlina A.
Group Leader 2013

Loved all of the new experiences I was able to have!

Hailey B.
Participant 2012

Even though the weather was not cooperating, our tour guide (Pipa) and the entire trip itself was excellent.

Jeanette C.
Participant 2012

Tour guide Tom Upton did a great job getting us to and from excellent command of the languages Good influence on the students he plays the violin would have liked an opportunity to hear him A bit slower walking please missed seeing Versi

Kathleen M.
Participant 2012

I got to share this experience with my daughter and I wouldn't have traded it for the world. It was a lot of walking (fast) but you had to so that you could see everything. I lost weight and that's a good thing! The total experience was awesome!

Anita S.
Participant 2011

I think different events could have been in place of some of what we did. Also i wish there was more free time.

Kerry T.
Participant 2011

Susanna was the best tour guide i've ever had, she made the trip fun and memorable.

Chelsea Z.
Participant 2011

I think that we packed in a little too much without rest. Everyone was so tired a lot of the time. Personally, if I would have had more time to relax without going constantly the trip would have been a better experience.

Jill Z.
Participant 2011

What to See


There are many places to shop in Madrid, but here are a few of the highlights.  For upscale shops like Chanel, Armani, and Loewe be sure to check out Serrano Street.  For standard retail stores, head on over to Gran Via, where you can shop at H&M, Zara, and Mango, at prices that are a bit cheaper than the States.  For funky, original clothing, take a short walk from Gran Via to Fuencarral and Hortaleza street.


La Boqueria
A huge market that has been part of Barcelona for centuries. There is a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and fish.

La Manual Alpargatera, C/Avinyó, 7
The authority on espadrille shoes since 1910, this store is the place to go for the classic Catalán prodcut. You can even have custom orders made, though it's not cheap.


Les Halles, Green Markets, Nimes
Right in the heart of the city sits this permanent covered marketplace.  Here you'll be able to find a wide selection of fresh produce like mouthwatering olives, as well as fresh fish and cheeses.

The Monday Morning Marché, Bd. Jean-Jaurés
This market is quite the popular place in Nimes come Monday mornings. It stretches the length of the Boulevard Jean-Jaurés, and you'll surely see a variety of bright regional fabrics, pottery and other collectibles.

Nouvelles Galeries, Centre Bourse/Bir Hakeim
Only one block away from the port and the tourist office, this casually priced department store is a great place to stop and pick up items before you tour the city.


Le Bon Marché, Métro: Sevres Babylon
First opened in 1838, this shopping center is considered to be the first department store in the world!

Les Halles, Métro: Les Halles and Châtelet
Since the 12th century, this large, central wholesale marketplace has been a popular shopping destination.  The area has been rebuilt since the 1970s and now features beautiful sculptures, fountains, and mosaics.

The Saint Ouen Flea Market, Porte de Clignancourt, 18th arrondissement
On the outskirts of the city, you'll find this popular flea market.  With over 2,000 stalls filling 17 acres of shopping heaven, Parisians and travelers alike browse the market every weekend.  Here you can find antique furniture, art, glassware and jewelry, as well as books, records and vintage clothing.  You're guaranteed to find something rare and beautiful.

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Prado Museum, Metro: Banco de España or Atocha

This museum contains a wonderful collection of European art with particular emphasis on the Spanish Schools: Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, and Murillo. Open daily, closed Monday.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Metro: Banco de España

A former private collection of art is displayed here ranging from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries housed in a renovated eighteenth century palace. Open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Monday.

Reina Sofia Museum, Metro: Atocha

The central building of this museum, originally an 18th century hospital, is now filled with twentieth century artworks, including masterpieces by Dalí, Miró, and Picasso's famous Guernica. Open daily, closed Tuesday.

Archaeological Museum, Metro: Serrano

A brilliant collection of finds from prehistory to Renaissance times such as La Dama de Elche and a reproduction of the Altamira caves and cave paintings. Open daily, closed Monday.

Lazaro Galdiano Museum, Metro: Rubén Dario

Here you’ll find an interesting collection of artifacts from all over the world, including a 20,000 volume library, clocks, bronzes, and artists such as Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco all housed in a lovely 37-room mansion. Open daily, closed Tuesday.

Cerralbo Museum, Metro: Plaza de España or Ventura Rodríguez

The Museo Cerralbo was originally the home of the Marquis of Ceralbo and his collection of historic and artistic objects and art are displayed here in an Italian style mansion. Open daily, closed Monday.

Sorolla Museum, Metro: Iglesia or Rubén Dario

A collection of Joaquín Sorolla's paintings are on display here, in the house where he lived and had his studio. Open daily, closed Monday.

Royal Palace, Metro: Ópera

This is the former residence of Spanish royalty. Wander past the beautiful displays of Spanish and Flemish tapestries. Visit a few of the numerous rooms, check out the armory with weapons from the fifteenth century, and then take a stroll around the Gardens. Open Monday through Friday. Closed during official functions.

Descalzas Reales Convent, Metro: Callao or Sol

This sixteenth century convent houses an impressive collection of paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and chalices that were once the dowry of many aristocratic women who had come to take the veil. Rated "Museum of the Year" in 1985 by the European Council, a small number of nuns still reside there. Open daily, closed Monday.




Pueblo Español, Metro: Espanya
The "Spanish Village" was designed for the International Exhibition of 1929. Take a stroll through its streets and squares and admire the replicas of famous or characteristic buildings from all over Spain. Also known as the City of Artisans, this open-air museum houses over 45 workshops selling any kind of handmade product. Open daily.

Castell de Montjuïc, Parc de Montjuïc
From the amusement park, continue up the hillside in a cable car, taking in magnificent views of the city, before reaching the eighteenth century Castell de Montjuïc. This castle, which was built on seventeenth century ruins, is rich in history and offers a large display of armaments. Open daily, closed Monday.

Museu Nacional d'Art de Cataluña, Metro: Espanya, then bus #61
Here you will find the world's finest Romanesque art collection, as well as Gothic altarpieces and paintings of Cataluña's medieval churches collected from museums around the world. Open daily, closed Monday.

Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat, Metro: Jaume I, next to Pl. Rei
Visit the extensive, underground Roman and Visigothic remains including whole streets and a fourth century Christian basilica, which have been preserved since their discovery in the 1930s. Open daily.

L'Aquarium, Metro: Drassanes
The highlight of Barcelona’s new aquarium is a 20-foot long transparent tunnel submerged in the harbor. Open daily.

Museu Picasso, Metro: Jaume I
One of Barcelona's biggest tourist attractions, this museum houses one of the most important collections of Picasso's earlier works. Open Tue-Sun, closed Monday.

Fundació Joan Miró, Metro: Espanya, then bus #61 from Pl. Espanya
This museum houses the surreal and abstract art of Joan Miró, one of the greatest Catalán artists. This collection covers all eras of Miró's career, including the Barcelona Series, a collection of 50 black and white lithographs, which document the Spanish Civil War. Open Tue-Sun, closed Monday.


Atelier Cézanne, 9 Av. Paul-Cezanne
The studio of the famous painter Paul Cézanne is now a precious museum.  It was in this studio, built above the town center, that Cézanne painted some of his most famous pieces.  On exhibit, you be able to see the simple objects that he used in his still lifes.  Everything from a tin milk can, a flowered crockery, a coffee pot, and bottles and glasses.  In addition, you'll find his brushes, paint tubes and his bowler hat hanging from a peg on the wall, all as if he had just left them.

Espace van Gogh, Pl. Dr. Felix Rey
The hospital courtyard in which Vincent Van Gofh recovered after cutting off his own earlobe has now been restored and landscaped to match the paintings that he completed during his time there.  The gardens have become a sort of shrine for visitors, and in the spring and summer the scene is filled with beautiful blooming flowers.  In addition to these live recreations of his paintings, contemporary art influenced by Van Gogh's work is also on display.

L'Eglise St-Trophime, Pl. de la République, Arles
This Romanesque church has a magnificent twelfth century portal of the Last Judgement. Church and cloister open daily.


La Conciergerie, Métro: Cité
Eighteenth century prison held Danton, Robespierre, and Marie Antoinette during her final hours. Open daily.

National Museum of the Middle Ages - The Baths and Hôtel de Cluny, Métro: Cluny La Sorbonne
Built on the site of former Roman baths. Holdings include Dame à la Licorne tapestry and the oldest sculpture in Paris. Open daily, closed Tuesday.

Le Musée Carnavalet, Métro: St.Paul
Occupying two adjoining mansions, the Hôtel Carnavalet and the Hôtel le Peletier, this museum's holdings include fascinating pieces of Parisian and French history. Open daily, closed Monday.

Musée d'Orsay, Métro: Solférino
Housed within an old train station, this museum contains an impressive collection of sculpture and impressionist work, sure to be a favorite. It houses works from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries including Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse,  and Degas. Open daily, closed Monday.

Musée Marmottan, Métro: La Muette
Begun with Paul Marmottan's donation to the Académie des Beaux-Arts and augmented by a large bequest of his father's art to the little museum by Monet's son Michael, the Musée Marmottan houses Monet's late Waterlilies and impressions as well as works by Sisley, Renoir, and Pisarro. Open daily, closed Monday.

Musée Rodin, Métro: Varenne/Invalides
Housed in the magnificent Hotel Biron, which was once Auguste Rodin's residence, this museum boasts impressive gardens of over 2,000 rose bushes as well as some of Rodin's most famous works: The Thinker and The Kiss are among them. Open daily, closed Monday.

Musée National Picasso, Métro: Chemin Vert/St. Paul
The largest collection of his works in the world. It is housed in a beautiful 17th century hotel, the Hôtel Salé. Open daily, closed Tuesday.

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Ermita de San Antonio de Florida, Metro: Príncipe Pío

This chapel contains wonderful frescoes by Goya and also houses the remains of the famous Spanish artist. Open daily, closed Monday.

Templo de Debod, Metro: Plaza de España

Visit the only Egyptian temple in Spain. It was given by the Republic of Egypt in 1968 and moved to Madrid in order to save it from impending floods caused by the creation of the Great Dam of Aswan. Open daily, closed Monday.

Retíro Park, Metro: Retíro

A former royal park where the Madrileños stroll with their families past the magnificent fountains and beautiful buildings such as the all-glass Crystal Palace. Rowboats can be rented on the pond and the statue of El Angel Caido is said to be the only statue in the world dedicated to the fallen angel.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Metro: Atocha

These shaded gardens were ordered by King Ferdinand VI in 1755 and, in the reign of Charles III, were installed in the present location, the Paseo del Prado in Madrid . This is a good place to cool off on a hot afternoon. Open daily, 10 a.m. until sunset. 

Plaza Mayor, Metro: Sol

A seventeenth century square set in the heart of old Madrid. Enjoy the entertainment of the artists and musicians and admire the bronze statue of King Philips III in the center created by Italian sculptors Giovanni de Bologna and his apprentice Pietro Tacca in 1616.

Plaza de España, Metro: Plaza de España

This plaza is home to a monument to Cervantes with a beautiful statue of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza. It is one of the largest squares in Madrid and attracts tourists and locals alike.

Stadium Santiago Bernabeu, Metro: Line 10 (station Santiago Bernabeu)

Located on the Paseo de la Castellana, this Futball stadium plays host to the Club Real Madrid CF and is an exciting place to watch a match or just to tour the facilities. Madrid's sports fans take a great deal of pride in the Bernabeu, which was inagurated on the 14th of December 1947 and has been rehabilitated on 4 occasions: in 1954, 1982, 1993 and 2003. Stadium tours occur daily between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.


Sagrada Familia, Metro: Sagrada Familia
Visit the famous unfinished cathedral designed by Antonio Gaudí. You may ride the elevator or face the long, steep climb up the 400 steps to the top, where you will take in an interesting view of Barcelona through the cathedral’s atticed stonework. Open daily.

Monumento a Colón, Metro: Drassanes
This grand monument was erected in 1886 to honor Christopher Columbus. A short elevator ride to the viewing room offers a nice, panoramic vista of the city. Open daily.

Las Ramblas, Metro: Liceu
The perfect place for a paseo, this tree lined promenade offers sidewalk cafés, shops, newsstands, pet stalls and a variety of street performers, all of which blend together to create the unique atmosphere of Barcelona's most famous street.

Barri Gòtic, Metro: Jaume I
So named for its beautiful medieval Gothic buildings, the Barri Gòtic, which is just a couple of blocks northeast of the Ramblas, forms the very heart of the old town. You can still see remnants of the fourth century Roman walls, which once enclosed the city. Stroll through the Placa de Sant Jaume (once the site of Barcelona's Roman forum and marketplace), where you will see the weekly dancing of the sardana, the Catalán folk dance.

Passeig de Gràcia, Metro: Passeig de Gracia
As Barcelona grew more prosperous throughout the nineteenth century, the population exploded, and a new, modern section of the city was built. This area, known as the Eixample, is the wealthy, fashionable area, and is also Barcelona's main shopping and business district. Stroll down one of its main streets, the Passeig de Gràcia, where you will see several houses designed by Gaudí, as well as excellent examples of other Modernist architecture.

Parc Güell, Metro: Lesseps
This fantastic park was designed by Gaudí to resemble a "garden city," with multicolored houses and ceramic mosaic stairways. Open daily, free of charge. Here you can visit the Casa-Museu Gaudí, which houses a fine collection of the master's designs, furniture and portraits. Open daily.


The city's first inhabitants were Roman veterans from Augustus's 31 BC Egyptian campaign. They gave the city her coat of arms, which depicts a crocodile chained to a palm tree. This city is also famed for its textile industry and the creation of denim (de Nîmes).

Amphithéâtre Romain, Bd. Victor-Hugo, Nîmes
This amphitheater was built in the first century. It is 520 feet long and 330 feet wide and holds seating for more than 20,000 people. Today, this is considered the best preserved of all Roman amphitheaters. The arena still hosts bullfights during the three annual férias. Open daily.

La Maison Carrée, Bd. Victor-Hugo, Nîmes
The name of this building translates to "the square house"? though it is neither a house nor square. It is considered to be the Roman world's best preserved temple. Built by Agrippa, it is Hellenic with Corinthian columns. Directly across the street from La Maison Carrée, you will see a modern version of the same building called the Carré d'Art. This is a modern art building that stands in bold contrast to the nearby ancient architecture. Open daily. Free admission.

The city of Arles was originally a Greek site expanded by the Romans with intentions of creating a little Rome. They built shipyards, a racetrack, baths and an arena. At this point, Arles was the capital of the three Gauls: France, Spain, and Britain.

Les Arénes, Rond-Point des Arénes, Arles
This arena is 446 feet by 358 feet, it was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, both Provençal and Spanish bullfights are held here regularly. Open daily. 

Le Théâtre Antique, Rue du Cloître, Arles
This theater hosts 12,000 tiered seats organized in a hemisphere. Construction of this theater was begun by Augustus in the 1st century and now only two Corinthian columns remain. The famousVenus of Arles was discovered here in 1651 and today it may be viewed in the Louvre. Open daily.

This city is best known for its two Roman monuments: Le Théâtre Antique d'Orange, and L'Arc de Triomphe. Orange is now the center for the Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards. When the first Roman army attempted to conquer Gaul, they were defeated near Orange in 105 B.C. They returned three years later and triumphed, building a monument to celebrate this victory and all the victories of Julius Caesar.

Vieux Orange
The old town includes the Mairie and the Ancienne Cathédrale Notre-Dame. La Cathédrale is distinguished by a crumbling Romanesque portal reminiscent of the Wars of Religion. The Colline St-Eutrope offers beautiful views of the city, the Théâtre, and the Rhône Valley. The walls of the Théâtre are part of the Place Fréres-Mounet, which Louis XIV cited as the "greatest wall in my kingdom."

Le Théâtre Antique, Rue Madeleine Roch, Orange
This Roman theater was constructed during the reign of Augustus (25-27 BC). The cavea, a tiered semicircle, holds up to 10,000 spectators. Open daily. 

This medieval city is completely walled and the circumference is measured at three miles with 39 towers and seven gates included. The city hosts the famous Festival d'Avignon every July, which celebrates theater, cabaret, and mime.


L'Arc de Triomphe, Métro: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile
Commissioned in 1806 for Napoléon, although he died without ever seeing this edifice in its finished state. Incredible views of Paris and down the Champs-Elysées from the top. Beneath the Arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Open daily.

La Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Métro: Bibliothéque-François Mitterand
This incredible structure, in the form of four enormous glass books, houses the French National Library, also known as the La Grande Bibliothéque, the last of Mitterand's Grand Projects. Open daily.

Le Pont Neuf, Métro: Pont Neuf
Despite its name, this bridge is actually the oldest in Paris, and features turret-shaped recesses. Construction began in 1578 with Henri III and finished in 1604 with Henri IV.

Café de la Paix, Métro: Opéra, 12, Boulevard des Capucines
Most beautiful and expensive café in the city of lights, this societal landmark is adjacent to the Opéra building and was designed by the very same Garnier.

L'Hôtel de Ville, Métro: Hôtel de Ville
This has been the site of Paris city halls since 1260. The current structure, completed in 1882, is a néo-Renaissance marvel. Information center is open Monday through Saturday. Free admission.

Les Deux Magots, Métro: St. Germain des Prés, 6, Place St. Germain des Prés
The place to see and be seen in the Quartier Latin. 1950s haunt of intellectuals and philosophers. 

Les Buttes de Chaumont, Métro: Buttes-Chaumont
With 5 kilometers of walking paths, this park is full of beautiful panoramic opportunities.

La Tour Montparnasse, Métro: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe
The Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol of Paris, but lines to go to the top can be long and tiresome.  A great alternative that gets you a better view of the city skyline is the Tour Montparnasse, the only skyscraper in Paris. Although the tower is considered an eye sore for many Parisians, it is open everyday and offers a 360 degree open-air view of Paris.  There is no pre-booking needed and the tour can take less than an hour.  It is sometimes said by the French that the view from the top is the most beautiful in Paris, as this is the only place from which you cannot see the tower!

The Château de Vincennes, Métro: Château de Vincennes
Since its construction in the 14th century by Charles V, the Château has been, along with the Louvre, one of the most importat castles in French history.  Now after a 10-year rennovation, the Château has opened its doors for the public to explore.

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El Corte Ingles

A shopping center like a Macy's that has a good restaurant with a little bit of everything.

Casa Labra, Calle Tetuán, 12

One side tapas bar, one side a sit-down restaurant, Casa Labra is a great place to chat and dine.

Pans and Company

Perfect when you are on the run and want a cheap lunch.  Avoid the trap of McDonald's and go for the Spanish fast food!  A drink, sandwhich and potatoes, all for around five Euros.


Can Majó, Almirall Aixada 23
This family run restaurant is located on the beach in Barceloneta and boasts some excellent seafood specials. In the summer, there is a terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean for an beautiful view.

Pans and Company
Perfect when you are on the run and want a cheap lunch. Avoid the trap of McDonald's and go for the Spanish fast food! A drink, sandwhich and potatoes, all for around five Euros.


Lou Caleu, 27 rue Porte de Laure, Arles
Just behind the Amphitheater, you'll find Lou Caleu housed in a wonderful 16th century building.  This place is popular for its regional specialities, genial owner, and inexpensive prices.  Open 6 days a week, closed on Mondays.

Vitamine, 16 rue du Docteur Fanton, Arles
Vitamine specializes in fresh, full-meal salads.  They have over 50 varieties that you can chose from for under 10 euro each.  If you desire a pasta option they have those too.

Café Cinarca, Rue Trencat, Les Baux-de-Provence
There is a tiny dining room, but the majority of weary travelers opt to dine in the garden courtyard.  The blackboard menu gives you a few hearty meal options like salads and meat dishes, served hot or cold.  Be sure to stop by for a cup of afternoon tea and a pastry.


Café de la Paix, Métro: Opéra, 12, Boulevard des Capucines
Most beautiful and expensive café in the city of lights, this societal landmark is adjacent to the Opéra building and was designed by the very same Garnier.

Chez Omar, Métro: République/Temple
A trendy, Moroccan restaurant with nice outdoor seating.

Le Vaudeville, Métro: Bourse
Known to be an incredible (and hip) dining experience,this bistro retains its marble walls and Art Deco carvings from 1918.

Le Train Bleu, Métro: Gare de Lyon
In the heart of the Gare de Lyon train station, this restaurant was built to impress foreign visitors in 1900.  With gilded archways and beautiful murals painted on the ceilings, it is truly an elegant dining experience.

La MediterraneeMétro: Odéon
A favorite of Hollywood stars, be sure to make reservations early for this upscale seafood restaurant!

Café Marly, Métro:  Palais--Royal Musee du Louvre
Tired after you're trek through the Lourve?  Be sure to stop at this quaint bistro for a light lunch and a glass of champagne.

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Curious about travel with ACIS? Find out answers to your burning questions below.

For Group Leaders and Teachers:

see all FAQs
Can I bring my family members or colleagues along?

Certainly. You have three different options:

1.      Assistants
Family members or colleagues may travel as assistants (even if minors, though children must be five years or older to travel in an ACIS group), according to the terms of the Group Leader Stipend Chart.* Assistants must be 21 years old and have at least five participants to their name to be eligible for the Experience Bonus.

2.      Family/Colleague Discount
Family members or colleagues may take a 20% discount from the program fee. These participants will not count toward your free trip, stipend or other group leader benefits. Like all paying participants, they are subject to mandatory fees (registration, tax, etc.) as well as full payment deadlines.

3.      $150 Child Discount
For children under the age of 12, you may take a flat $150 Child Discount (plus the 20% Family/Colleague Discount) off their program fee, but they will still be subject to mandatory fees. The child's registration will not count toward your free trip, stipend or other group leader benefits. The minimum age to travel with an ACIS group is five years old.

*Anyone can become an assistant to the group, provided they have at least one full-paying participant to their credit.

Can a paying participant become an assistant?

Yes. This must be done no later than 65 days before departure and an ACIS Assistant Registration Form must be submitted. Assistants added or canceled within 90 days of departure will be charged a $100 late fee payable either by the applicable assistant or the group leader. Please inform us immediately of these changes in writing.

What if my assistant must cancel?

Please inform ACIS immediately. We regret that if the cancellation occurs within 65 days of departure, we will charge the canceling assistant a $150 late cancellation fee and may not be able to accommodate a substitute assistant. If the cancellation is within 45 days of departure, the assistant must pay a $250 late cancellation fee (see ACIS Assistant Registration Form for policy) and their stipend credits are not transferable. Please always alert us in writing as soon as possible when an assistant cancels.

Do I receive travel insurance as a group leader?

Every ACIS Group Leader receives coverage under our most enhanced protection plan, the Ultimate Protection Plan complimentary for any tour they lead.

What if the group leader must cancel?

A mutual effort is made to find a qualified substitute teacher or other adult who will assume full group leader responsibilities. Participants who choose not to travel with the replacement group leader are subject to the standard cancellation/refund policy

Can I stay on after my group returns home?

Yes. An Alternate Return Request Form must be completed and returned to ACIS no later than 90 days before departure. You will be responsible for any additional flight costs, and must arrange for a responsible adult (preferably an assistant) to take charge of your group on the flight home. You must obtain written permission from a parent/guardian of each participant, naming the adult in charge. There will be a $150 charge for any change made within 90 days of departure, and no changes are possible within 65 days.

Can I stay in a single room?

Single accommodations are provided free of charge for group leaders who have eight or more paying participants counted to their credit AND who do not travel with a spouse or an assistant of the same sex. For those traveling in 2010/2011, see our Service Guarantee. In the unlikely event that a single room is not available, ACIS will reimburse you $20 per hotel night. Eligibility for the single room is based on the standard 1:6 prorate and is non-transferable. If the above does not apply, you may also elect to pay a surcharge of $40 per hotel night for a single room. Single rooms are not available aboard cruise ships, overnight ferries or trains, in China, Africa, Russia and most residence programs.

For Students and Parents:

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What airline do we fly?

ACIS groups travel on scheduled flights, using all the major carriers. These include American Airlines, Air France, Aerolineas Argentinas, Alitalia, Finnair, British Airways, British Midland Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines Ltd., Northwest, Air New Zealand, Olympic Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Taca International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, US Airways, Air Europa, and Virgin Atlantic. You'll receive flight information as your departure date approaches.

How many people travel in a group?

ACIS groups average anywhere from 35 to 45 participants traveling together on a bus, led by an ACIS Tour Manager. Small groups are often combined to create one bus group. This is the group with whom you share your travel experience. You eat your meals together, stay in the same accommodations, and travel together on the bus. It's an opportunity to make lifelong friendships!

Tell us more about the tour manager.

"Tour manager" is an important term in educational travel. It refers to your bus group leader, who is rigorously trained and specially selected to assist your group while overseas. ACIS Tour Managers are famous for their multifaceted roles, both educational and logistical. An ACIS Tour Manager is part commentator, counselor, troubleshooter, advocate, and stopwatch! He or she supervises hotel check-ins, directs the bus driver and leads educational activities.

Most importantly, ACIS Tour Managers are travel gurus. They thrive on sharing their passion and love for the cultures of the world, giving you the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of those who live and work there. Over the years, we've employed university professors, film directors, journalists, musicians, business professionals, and other creative achievers. Our tour managers are consistently recognized as top in the industry. You'll receive more information about your tour manager as your departure date approaches.

Your ACIS Tour Manager maintains a professional relationship with the group but is not directly responsible for enforcing discipline or the ACIS behavior guidelines. That is the responsibility of the your group leader. It is your tour manager's responsibility, however, to report to your group leader any infractions and to be sure that ACIS behavior guidelines are adhered to.

Where do we stay?

ACIS groups stay in three- and four-star conveniently located hotels. We place a priority on booking hotels in good locations and safe areas, with convenient access to both local attractions and public transportation.

Students generally stay in rooms with two or three beds. During peak travel periods, hotels sometimes add an extra bed to accommodate heavy bookings. ACIS attempts to prevent this but cannot guarantee that it will never happen. Some hotel rooms in France have a Grand Lit (an oversize double bed for two) instead of twin beds. Those who have paid the adult surcharge stay in double rooms in hotels but not on overnight ferries or trains.

An ACIS bus group is typically made up of two, three, or four groups from around the U.S. who quickly get to know each other and feel part of one overall group. Depending on the mix of male and female students in the bus group, students may be rooming with participants from other groups. Don't worry, this is a great way to meet new people and make some new friends!

The group leader will create a variety of rooming combinations before you leave, in order to make it easier for your tour manager to work out the rooming when you check in to your hotel.

Check-in time at most hotels is early to mid-afternoon. If you arrive overseas early in the morning, you likely have time to change money and do some exploring before you check in.

What will we have to eat?

You will enjoy a variety of meals en route, mixing both native and familiar cuisines depending on your area of travel. Keep an open mind and be willing to sample everything—that's what travel is all about!

Most days you will be served a continental breakfast that includes a variety of fresh rolls, cereal, pastry, butter and jam, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. In Australia and China, you will be served an American-style hot buffet breakfast. On trips to the Americas you may be served the traditional rice and beans. In some hotels in Britain, eggs or other items may be included. In Europe, the larger hotels sometimes serve eggs and other American-style breakfast items for an extra charge.

On most ACIS trips, you will enjoy lunch on your own. Be adventurous and experiment. Many travelers do what the locals do; instead of having an expensive restaurant meal, they buy fresh ingredients at a local market, then put together a sandwich and have a picnic lunch in a city park.

On most tours, beverages at dinner are not included. The are included on tours to China, Costa Rica, Peru, and occasionally other destinations. Sometimes your waiter may put soda or mineral water down on the table without being asked. Be aware that you will be charged for any beverages you consume.

Although ACIS will try to accommodate special-needs meals including kosher, vegetarian and low salt, we cannot guarantee all requests.

How much spending money will I need?

Spending needs vary depending on personal habits, but a typical allowance is $50 per day. This allows for lunch, snacks, soft drinks, postage, souvenirs, local transportation during free time, free-time activities, and optional excursions not already included in your itinerary. Most ACIS participants carry ATM cards, travelers checks and credit cards. ACIS has compiled all the information you need to know in Money Matters.

What should I pack?

Our advice is to pack light—you won't regret it! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage on and off the bus, in and out of your hotel, and onto trains. Bring comfortable, practical clothes that you can wear more than once, with a few nice pieces thrown in.

Remember to pack clothes that you can layer as the weather can be unpredictable. Lastly, try to avoid bringing new shoes. New shoes can be tough to break in and you’ll want to make sure your shoes are comfortable and reliable. For more information specific to your trip, log into My Account for a detailed packing list.

What about calling home?

Calling home from overseas can be expensive and obtaining local phone cards can be complicated and time consuming. The best way to call is with an ACIS eKit Global Phonecard or Global Mobile Phone. Using the eKit card can save you up to 70% on international and U.S. long distance calls compared to pay phones and hotel phones. Simply charge up your eKit card with the credit card of your choice and it will be ready for use. In addition to cheap calls home, the ACIS eKit Global Phonecard offers you email, Voicemail, the ability to listen to email over the phone and much more!

Another option is the ACIS eKit Global Mobile phone. With a variety of pre-paid plans available, this mobile phone can save you up to 70% on global roaming rates.

Do I have travel insurance?

Yes. Your ACIS Registration Fee includes coverage under our Basic Protection Plan. ACIS recommends you upgrade your insurance coverage by purchasing the Ultimate Protection Plan designed specifically for you travel needs. With the Ultimate Protection Plan, you may cancel for any reason up to the day of departure and receive a cash refund. You will also receive expanded travel protection while on tour.

I am signed up for an ACIS tour. How do I access my account?

You can get your latest account information online—any time, any day. To view your most up-to-date itinerary and account status, just, log in to My Account with your Account ID and password, which can be found in the upper-right hand corner of your invoice. If you have forgotten your password or have additional questions about your account, contact ACIS Client Services at accounts@acis.com.

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