France, Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia
Highlights include 3 days in Paris; Claude Monet’s house & garden in Giverny; Chateau de Bagatelle on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne; wine tasting at a Nuits St Georges wine chateau; Chateau de Kolbsheim in Strasbourg; Palace and Gardens of Thurn & Taxis in Regensburg; and a 7-night Danube river cruise with stops including Schornbrunn Palace in Vienna & Fuveszkert Botanical Garden in Budapest.

Garden Tour of France & Germany with Danube Cruise 2016, hosted by Helen Young


DAY 1 Thursday May 26, 2016 Departure
We depart Australia on our flight to Paris.

DAY 2 Friday May 27, 2016 Paris
On arrival in Paris we are met by private coach and transferred to our hotel, where we’ll have time to freshen up, before enjoying a sightseeing tour of the romantic city of Paris with a local guide. Highlights include the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Tuileries and a drive along the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe. Those wishing to dine together can meet in the lobby, where the tour manager will suggest good-value restaurants for dinner.

DAY 3 Saturday May 28, 2016 Paris
This morning we visit Claude Monet’s famous house and garden at Giverny. The garden, with its ponds and water lilies and Japanese bridge, appears in many of the artist’s paintings. Another section of the garden has a more formal layout, featuring espaliered apples and pears and abundant plantings of roses, irises, spring bulbs, poppies and more. It has been magnificently restored and gives a vivid impression of Monet’s inspiration. Helen will make sure that we get the most out of this garden. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner to formally meet Helen and other tour members.

DAY 4 Sunday May 29, 2016 Paris
This morning we visit the Chateau de Bagatelle on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne. In addition to the noted rose garden with its climbing roses, there is a water lily pool, grotto, potager and iris garden. We will have free time to explore Paris in the afternoon.

DAY 5 Monday May 30, 2016 Beaune
Today we head to the Burgundy region of France and visit Jardins de l’Abbey de Fontenay. The abbey was founded in 1118 by St Bernard of Clairvaux. It is the oldest preserved Cistercian Abbey in the world and was included in the World Heritage Sites register by UNESCO in 1981. Surrounding the abbey is a wonderful landscaped park, nestled in the hollow of a valley that stretches over 1,200 hectares. The park was transformed by landscape architect Peter Holms in 1977. We will see a wide variety of roses, viburnums and hydrangeas as well as many ancient trees and a trout pond. It was classified as a remarkable garden in 2004. We continue on to Beaune, for a two-night stay. The tour manager will give recommendations of local restaurants for dinner.

DAY 6 Tuesday May 31, 2016 Beaune
This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the charming small town of Beaune with a local guide. The tour will include a visit to the famous Hotel-Dieu, founded as a hospital by Rolin in 1443, and a great example of Burgundian-Flemish art. We then travel with our local guide through the famous Cote de Nuits wine-producing area to the village of Nuits St Georges to enjoy a wine tasting at one of the famous Burgundy wine chateaux. On our drive north of Beaune, through the vineyards and west towards the mountains, we will see some of France’s most beautiful countryside. This evening, join us for an included dinner at our hotel.

DAY 7 Wednesday June 1, 2016 Strasbourg
We travel north of Beaune for a visit to the gardens of the Chateau de Barbirey. This park-like garden is set on 8ha in the l’Ouche Valley. A superb potager garden, orchard and natural prairie area are highlights of our visit. We continue to beautiful Strasbourg, where we will stay for the next three nights. Known as the “Venice of the north”, the city grew up around its first cathedral, established in the 7th century, later replaced by the Romanesque cathedral seen today. Strasbourg remained a free city within the Holy Roman Empire until eventually submitting to annexation by Louis XIV in 1681. The historic centre of Strasbourg was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.

DAY 8 Thursday June 2, 2016 Strasbourg
A sightseeing tour of Strasbourg this morning includes the cathedral and a walk through the Old City, with its timber-framed houses and traditional features, such as wooden galleries and loggias. We see Place Kleber, the city’s most famous square. This afternoon will be free to explore the city individually – perhaps visit one of the many museums or shop in the historic centre of this charming town.

DAY 9 Friday June 3, 2016 Strasbourg
This morning we visit the Chateau de Kolbsheim and its garden. The chateau has two wings, the oldest built in 1703, with lovely views over the Alsatian plains. The upper part of the garden is a formal French garden, decorated with ponds, fountains, hedges and topiaries. The lower part is an English park, with many venerable trees. Much of the garden was destroyed in the First World War, but has been restored by the current owners, the Grunelius family. We continue our journey for a visit to Saverne’s historic rose garden, which contains more than 8,500 rose bushes with a total of 550 different varieties. With its attractive pools and fountains, this is a gorgeous garden, full of fragrance and colour. The remainder of the afternoon and evening will be free for your own exploration.

DAY 10 Saturday June 4, 2016 Regensburg
Today we travel east, across the European plain into Bavaria, continuing to Regensburg. On the southern side of Stuttgart, we visit the private garden of Waltraud and Hans Fahrion. The garden has been established for 20 years and features many box plants pruned into different shapes and used to divide the garden into garden rooms. A hint of the baroque is added by sculptures, stone shapes and furniture. We continue our journey to Regensburg.

DAY 11 Sunday June 5, 2016 Regensburg
Regensburg was originally a Roman garrison town, guarding the northernmost part of the Danube. It was a centre of religious life in the Middle Ages and became a trading hub. We will have a guided tour of this captivating town this morning. We will see the eight-storied Old Town Hall built in the 13th century and the Haidplatz, a square surrounded by historic buildings with the Fountain of Justice at its centre. We will see the green belt surrounding the historic centre. In the afternoon we visit the Palace and Gardens of Thurn and Taxis. The present palace was converted from an abbey and given to the prince, as compensation for his loss of the Bavarian postal monopoly in 1812. We visit the Max Buchhauser Garden, which is located on the north side of the Danube. This sculpture garden is impressive because of Max’s bizarre and whimsical character.

DAY 12 Monday June 6, 2016 Passau
This morning we drive to Passau, where we board our four-star river boat for our seven night cruise. Passau is known as the “town of three rivers” as it lies at the junction of the Inn, the Danube and the small River Ilz. The old town, with its baroque churches and patrician houses, lies crowded onto the narrow tongue of land separating the rivers. The rest of the day will be free to explore the boat and the charming town of Passau.

DAY 13 Tuesday June 7, 2016 Melk/Vienna
This morning we stop at the town of Melk for a visit to the Benedictine Abbey on a rocky outcrop above the town. The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks. The monastic school was founded in the 12th century and the baroque abbey in the early 18th century. We continue to Vienna, where we arrive early evening and are moored overnight.

DAY 14 Wednesday June 8, 2016 Vienna
This morning we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of this grand city. We will see the Hofburg Palace, the former winter residence of the Hapsburgs, the Parliament, St Stephens Cathedral, which is known for its vast roof of glittering tiles, and the wide boulevards befitting an imperial city. In the afternoon we will visit the Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the former summer residence of the imperial family. It takes its name from a beautiful spring that was found on the site. Leopold 1 started building the grand baroque residence here in 1695. Half a century later, Maria Theresa transformed it into a glittering focus of court life. It remains the premier architectural, cultural and historic monument in Austria. The extensive gardens feature fountains and statues framed by trees and alleyways. There are follies, an orangerie, a French garden with a maze and a magnificent tropical greenhouse erected in 1882.

DAY 15 Thursday June 9, 2016 Budapest
We arrive in Budapest late morning. After mooring, we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Buda, the hilly area around the castle. We see the ornamental gateway leading to the Hapsburg Steps and the royal palace and visit Matyas Church built between the 13th and 15th centuries. It was rebuilt in the baroque style by Franciscan friars in the 16th century. From Gellert Hill, we will get a stunning view of Budapest. We cross the Danube to Pest via the Chain Bridge, the city’s first permanent bridge. It was built in 1839 and led to an expansion of Pest in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Other sights on our tour around Pest include the Hungarian National Museum, the Parliament Building designed by Imre Steindl, the winner of a competition, and many Secession buildings. In the afternoon, we visit the Fuveszkert Botanical Garden located in the grounds of a villa in Pest. There are approximately 6,000 species of plants in the collection and a 150-yearold ginkgo tree, as well as a palm house with tropical and sub-tropical plants.

DAY 16 Friday June 10, 2016 Esztergom
This morning is free to explore Budapest. We depart on our cruise to Esztergom at lunch time. Esztergom is Hungary’s most sacred town, the seat of the Archbishop of Hungary. We have free time in the hour we are docked to explore this attractive town.

DAY 17 Saturday June 11, 2016 Bratislava
After docking in Bratislava, we travel to visit Buchlovice Castle. This Italian-designed summer house was built at the end of the 17th century for an Italian, Agnese Carlonna. During the 18th century the Berchtold family transformed the land around the villa into an elegant landscape of 65 hectares crossed by winding paths and dropping to a bridge over a stream. There is an outstanding collection of well-grown trees, now in their maturity. We return to the boat mid-afternoon.

DAY 18 Sunday June 12, 2016 Durnstein
Today we wake in the charming baroque village of Durnstein. We will have a sightseeing tour of the town and see the ruined castle where Richard the Lionheart was incarcerated. We then travel to a winery in the Wachau Valley for a tasting of wines typical of this region. We return to the boat at lunch time and sail to Passau.

DAY 19 Monday June 13, 2016 Passau/in flight
We travel to Munich airport to board our flight to Australia.

DAY 20 Tuesday June 14, 2016 Australia
We arrive in Australia this morning and tour arrangements conclude.

  • Garden Tour of France & Germany with Danube Cruise 2016, hosted by Helen Young. Tour Brochure Download

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Tour Price Per person Twin Share Fare
Lower Deck Standard: $9995 Twin Share, $11695 Single Supplement
Middle Deck Comfort: $10395 Twin Share, $12195 Single Supplement
Middle Deck Superior: $10495 Twin Share, $12295 Single Supplement
Upper Deck Deluxe: $10695 Twin Share, $12595 Single Supplement
Upper Deck Deluxe Suite: $11295 Twin Share, $13295 Single Supplement

Included in the price are:
- Return economy-class air travel to Europe. Passengers will be able to extend their stay in Europe at minimal extra airfare
- Travel in first-class chartered coaches
- Accommodation in first-class and moderate first-class, centrally located hotels, with private facilities, throughout the tour. Hotel taxes and service charges
- Buffet or continental breakfasts throughout the tour
- A dinner in Paris and full board while on the 4-star river boat on the main tour and two dinners on the pre-tour
- 7-night Danube Cruise
- Sightseeing tours, entry to gardens, museums and attractions as detailed in the itinerary
Tour leadership by Helen Young
- Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with a staff member meeting the group on arrival in Europe for the tour
- A Travelrite travel bag