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La France y España (6/1/20 - 6/10/20)


Deadline: 11/30/18
Reminder: Register for the trip BEFORE 12/1/18 for $500 discount.
Posted on 11/2/18 , Updated on 11/2/18


Tour Details:

Departure City: St. Louis
Duration: 10 Days
Overnights: Paris 4, Barcelona 2, Madrid 2

Cultural Connections:

French Cooking Lesson Group Rate: $75
Barcelona Tapas Evening
Flamenco Lesson and Show in Madrid Group Rate: $79

Field Trips & Extensions:

Barcelona Tapas Evening
Local Parisian Home Dinner
Half-day Excursion to Versailles including Gardens
Also Available
Full-day Excursion to Toledo, including Lunch
Flamenco Lesson and Show in Madrid
French Cooking Lesson

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will compare and contrast Gothic and Romanesque architecture.
  • Students will explore the interrelationship between French and Spanish history and culture as they discover the Catalonian region of Spain.
  • Students will learn about the creation of modern Spain under Franco's rule and its evolution from the Spanish Civil War to the modern day.


This is a preliminary itinerary for your group.

Jun 1, 2020 Overnight Flight
Depart from the USA.
Jun 2, 2020 Paris
Arrive in Paris and meet your ACIS Tour Manager before beginning to explore one of the world’s great cultural centers, brimming with museums, art galleries and historic sights. Paris is called the “City of Light” for its role as a center of education during the Age of Enlightenment (it was also one the first cities to adopt streetlights). Perhaps stroll through Montmartre to the white-domed Sacré Cœur or seek out a lesser known but equally interesting attraction such as the Musée Marmottan-Monet, housing the artist’s Impression, Sunrise—the painting for which the Impressionist movement was named. (D)
Jun 3, 2020 Paris
Depart Paris for Versailles. Your visit includes the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, and the breathtaking surroundings. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to cover every room of his vast palace. The best stuff is all in the gardens and grounds: all 1,976-acre gardens, 200,000 trees, 50 fountains and 620 jets of water worth. In the afternoon, return to Paris. The rest of the day is free. Don't forget to stop at a pâtisserie and pick up some of the pastries that make France so famous! Or how about catching up on your shopping at the Galeries Lafayette or window shopping down the exclusive Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré? This evening enjoy a boat ride down the Seine followed by an ascent to the top of the Eiffel Tower. (B,D)
Jun 4, 2020 Paris
Your day begins with a guided sightseeing tour that takes you past some of the most famous attractions in Paris. Your expert local guide will show you the magnificent Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs-Élysées, Napoleon’s final resting place at Les Invalides and the Gothic wonder of Notre Dame. In the afternoon, you may choose an optional French cooking lesson, where you’ll learn how to make traditional dishes à la francaise—then savor the delicious results. Alternatively, the afternoon is yours to soak up the famous Parisian joie de vivre at a local café or take a stroll through the vibrant Marais neighborhood. This evening perhaps explore your hotel’s quartier or stroll the banks of the Seine. (B,D)
Jun 5, 2020 Paris
Begin the day by learning about the masterpieces of the Louvre, which includes Leonardo da Vinci’s incomparable Mona Lisa. Also see the Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo as you wander through the many 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. The afternoon is yours to experience more of this wonderous city at your leisure. Be sure to work up an appetite, and nerve, as you have the opportunity tonight to dine on frog legs, and other unique specialties at an authentic French restaurant. (B,D)
Jun 6, 2020 Barcelona
This morning board a flight to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and Spain’s second largest city. Founded by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, it’s known for its artistic treasures and fine architecture, from Gothic to Modernist. Take time to wander the old town and acquaint yourself with this vibrant culture, including a walk through the narrow cobbled streets, peaceful squares and towering old buildings that characterize Barri Gòtic (the city’s Gothic Quarter), which was at times home to both Picasso and Joan Miró. In the evening, marvel at the illuminated façades of the city’s famed Gaudí-designed houses along the Passeig de Gràcia. Antoni Gaudí, one of Catalonia’s most famous sons, was a Modernist architect whose distinctive style is revered to this day. (B,D)
Jun 7, 2020 Barcelona
Begin your day with a panoramic sightseeing tour during which our local expert will provide commentary, via personal headsets, on all the major highlights of Barcelona. You’ll be able to study the intricate design inside and out of Gaudí’s still-unfinished Sagrada Familia and stroll whimsical Parc Güell. Then spend the afternoon discovering more of Barcelona, perhaps practicing your Spanish while mingling with locals in Plaça Reial, a popular city square, or engaging all your senses at the world famous La Boqueria food market. Tonight, we’ll have a tapas dinner in true Spanish style: you try different local specialties as you sidle up next to the locals for whom this is a culturally important and typical way to spend an evening. Classic tapas dishes include items such as tortilla española, patatas bravas, bacalao, cheeses, olives or jamón. (B,D)
Jun 8, 2020 Madrid
Say adios to Barcelona and head for Madrid on the high-speed AVE train. Madrid’s rich heritage comes alive 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 visit the magnificent Prado (skipping the lines with your timed reservation), 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. (D)
Jun 9, 2020 Madrid
Discover more of Madrid’s museums and parks at your own speed today. Don’t miss the impressive four-towered Alcázar, a fortress built in the early 11th century. Or you may opt to take a full-day excursion to nearby Toledo, the city where the world-famous artist El Greco made his home and created his most famous works. Toledo offers a rich mix of cultures, thanks to a unique blend of Christian, Jewish and Muslim heritages. The excursion includes lunch with at a breathtaking spot with a panoramic view over the city. Later, in Madrid, you may opt to experience one of Spain’s most enduring performance art traditions during a flamenco lesson and show. The show features your instructor making it look easy. We’ll cap off our exceptional tour tonight with a stroll down to Plaza Mayor to see the artists and street performers. (B,D)
Jun 10, 2020 Departure
Depart for the USA. Optional Extensions and Extra Nights: Enhance your European experience with a two-night extension to Lisbon via flight from Madrid, including sightseeing. (B)
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Tour Cost:

Cost Per Traveler: $4,721


Cost breakdown
Program Fee: $4,921
Early Registration Discount: -$200
Total Group Fees 1:
1 Valid through 8/1/19 with deposit of $200

Additional Fees (as applicable)
Adult Surcharge: $100
Single Room Supplement: $760
Double Room Supplement: $400
Ultimate Protection Plan: $300
Comprehensive Protection Plan: $250
French Cooking Lesson: $75
Full-day Excursion to Toledo, including Lunch: $131
Flamenco Lesson and Show in Madrid: $79

Full Payment Deadline: 2/17/20

What to See


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.



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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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.

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Map may not reflect your final trip itinerary.

What's Included

  • Round-Trip Flights
  • Daily Breakfast and Dinner (unless otherwise noted)
  • Centrally Located Hotels
  • 24-Hour Tour Manager
  • Paris Tour with Guide
  • Louvre with Guide and Reservation
  • Local Parisian Home Dinner
  • Paris-Barcelona Flight
  • Barcelona Tour with Guide and Personal Headsets
  • Sagrada Familia
  • Parc Güell
  • Barcelona-Madrid AVE
  • Madrid Tour with Guide
  • Prado Tour with Personal Headsets

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