• Paris Skyline, France

    Top 6 Experiences for a Family Vacation to London & Paris

    <p>Summer is just around the corner, and a family trip to London and Paris might be the perfect vacation for everyone! <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">London and Paris</a> are much more than two of the world’s most famous and beautiful capitals. With Classic Journeys by your side, you&#39;ll not only see the sights in London, you&#39;ll go even further with a private-access visit to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Stonehenge </a>at sunset and a Harry Potter-style afternoon tea. In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Paris</a>, you&#39;ll skip to the head of the line at the Louvre Museum, cruise the Seine and go for a bike ride in the vast gardens of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Palace of Versailles</a>. You&#39;ll stay in perfectly-located hotels and you&#39;ll be in the amazing company of your expert local guide... so don&#39;t worry if your French is a little rusty! Check out these top six experiences for a family trip to London and Paris.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#1 Stonehenge at Sunset</a></b><br>Head out to the vast rolling plains surrounding <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Stonehenge </a>late in the day and feel the landscape change as the sun sinks to the horizon.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="Stonehenge at Sunset" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7No" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#2 London Eye</a></b><br>The London Eye is the mammoth observation wheel that sits on the banks of the Thames and offers the best views in town. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="London Eye and Thames River in the evening" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Nt" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#3 London Landmarks</a></b><br>There’s so much to see in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">London</a>, and the best way to see it all is on a guided walk past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral with its huge dome, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and more.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="View of Big Ben and Parliament" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Ny" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#4 Evening Seine River Cruise</a></b><br>Paris looks its very best at night from the Seine where you get a wonderful look at the landmarks while enjoying dinner.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="River Cruise boat on the Seine at sunset" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7O3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#5 Paris Landmarks</a></b><br>Just like London there is plenty to see and do in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Paris </a>and the best way is on a guided tour with a local tour guide. Enjoy seeing landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse Tower, and more. <br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="Eiffel Tower" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9rR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">#6 Versailles</a></b><br>In addition to seeing the famed frescoed ceilings and Hall of Mirrors when you visit Versailles enjoy an easy bike tour of the gardens that cover almost 2,000 acres.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="Gardens of Versailles" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATHv&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7OD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you&#39;d like to do all these activities, plus a little more, without the hassle of logistics—join a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys Family Trip to London &amp; Paris</a>. You&#39;ll have the trip of a lifetime!</p>

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  • Chambord Castle in Loire France

    8 of Our Favorite European Castles

    From the fabled location of King Arthur’s birth to an ornately decorated vacation home for noble families, there’s no question that castles run the gambit of historical significance (not to mention their architectural significance). With that in mind, we put together a list of 8 of our favorite European castles.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><b>1. Château de Chenonceau, Loire &amp; Burgundy</b> </a>- Arguably the most magnificent and romantic of all châteaux, Chenonceau spans the river and has been the home of six great ladies throughout history. Among them are its builder, Catherine Briconnet, who built it as a home rather than a fortification; Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II, who added the bridge between the house and the banks of the river; and Catherine de Medici, Henry&#39;s wife. Madame Dupin, who owned the château during the French Revolution, was so kind to the lower classes who lived around the château that it was allowed to survive free from the destruction suffered by many other wealthy homes.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chateau de Chenonceau in Loire France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><b>2. Château de Villandry, Loire &amp; Burgundy</b></a> - Not far down the Loire River, Villandry is home to spectacular geometric-shaped gardens with their zigzagging hedges, flowerbeds, vegetable plots and a swan-filled lake. The château itself, has a wonderful collection of paintings, lovely rooms and the magnificent gilded ceiling imported from Toledo, Spain.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chateau de Villandry in Loire France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">3. Broughton Grange Castle, Cotswolds</a></b> – Surrounded by a moat, it dates back to the 1550’s. The grand interiors were featured in the BBC production of <i>Wolf Hall, </i>and the manicured gardens are some of the country’s finest. What better setting to pause for an elegant afternoon tea?<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="Broughton Castle in Cotswolds" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jX2I" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">4. Urquhart Castle, Scottish Highlands</a> </b>- Even if the name isn’t familiar, you’ll recognize the distinctive profile of this magnificent ruin on the shores of Loch Ness. Built in the early 13<sup>th</sup> Century, it sits on a fine headland near the stretch of the loch where many of the reputed Nessie sightings occurred.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank"><img alt="Urquhart Castle - Scotland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank">5. Tintagel Castle, Cornwall</a></b> -  this is where, according to legend, King Arthur was born. When the conquering Normans reached the westernmost land of England, they heard that the ancient seat of Cornwall’s kings had stood atop this soaring headland, surrounded on three sides by the ceaseless surge of the Atlantic. Earl Richard of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III, decided to build a castle on the spot where his legendary predecessors had held court.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank"><img alt="Tintagel Castle in Cornwall" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jX2N" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><b>6. Chambord Castle, Loire &amp; Burgundy</b></a> – located in the heart of a forest, where the French sovereigns used to hunt, Chateau de Chambord is one of France’s most recognizable castles, with a combination of French medieval and classical Renaissance architecture. The centerpiece of the chateau is the double spiral staircase that spans three floors. It is rumored to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank"><img alt="Chambord Castle in Loire" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jX2S" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><b>7. Pena National Palace, Portugal</b></a> -  The Sintra region was long a favorite site for royal retreats, estates and castles. The most stellar example is Pena National Palace. You’ll be delighted by this treasure of the Romanticist style with beautiful exterior views of its soaring jumble of red, ocher and pink towers.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="Pena Palace in Portugal" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank">8. Prague Castle, Prague</a></b> – this UNESCO world heritage site is credited as being the largest coherent castle complex in the world. Its more than 753,000 square feet, is home to palaces, cathedrals, towers, gardens, grand halls, and much more. Dating back to the 9<sup>th</sup> century, Prague Castle has been the seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Roman emperors, as well as presidents of Czechoslovakia, and most recently the president of the Czech Republic.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank"><img alt="Gardens at Prague Castle" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bmBn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jWcd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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  • Family Jumping in the Mountains

    Take Your Celebration On the Road

    <h2>Record numbers of travelers are taking their milestone celebrations and reunions on the road – and coming home incredibly happy.</h2> <p> </p> <p>The Croatian language can be a bit of a challenge for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank" title="Croatia tours">visitors to this beautiful Adriatic country</a>. Just try wrapping your tongue around “Sretan 60th rodjendan, honey!” But one group of friends is at work on their accents now, anticipating next summer’s joint 60th birthday bash. When Grace, Carol, Kitty and Tom go cheek-to-cheek to blow out the candles on their cake, they’ll be marking the milestone on a landmark vacation. With a total of eight couples, they are traveling to Croatia and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montenegro/" target="_blank" title="travel to Montenegro">Montenegro</a> to commemorate their cumulative 240 years.</p> <p>Way back when—let’s say when those folks turned 50—celebration vacations were relatively rare. Not so much these days. Among the 45+ crowd, more than three-quarters now say that a vacation is their preferred way to celebrate milestone occasions, according to no less an authority than AARP. Do a Google search for “25th anniversary vacation”, and prepare to toggle your way through about 397,000 results. So if the idea has occurred to you and yours, you’re not alone.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/groups/" target="_blank" title="group travel adventure">FROM ANNIVERSARIES TO FAMILY REUNIONS, GIRLS’ GETAWAYS AND ANYTHING ELSE WORTH CELEBRATING, A SPECIAL TRIP WITH CLASSIC JOURNEYS MAKES THE OCCASION THAT MUCH MORE MEMORABLE. LEARN HOW WE’LL ACCOMMODATE YOUR CELEBRATION VACATION.</a></h3> <p>Fresh back from a major birthday trip, Classic Journeys’ guest, Larry Jacobs, cites a song by The Grass Roots from the ‘60s as his inspiration: “We take the ‘sha-la-la-la-la-lala, live for today’ approach. Big days are worth a big gesture. It’s not just about the odometer turning over. I look at that day on the calendar as the perfect excuse to have an experience we’ll always remember.”</p> <p>“I hear that sentiment over and over,” agrees Dave Van Hook, Senior Guest Services Coordinator at Classic Journeys. “I’ve arranged <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank" title="Montana&#39;s Glacier National Park vacations">river-rafting parties in Montana</a>. A candlelit honeymoon dinner for two at Angkor Wat. A bar mitzvah <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank" title="travel to the Amalfi Coast">trip to the Amalfi Coast</a>. And a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos/" target="_blank" title="Galapagos Islands travel ">high school graduation celebration in the Galápagos</a>.” The common goal is to elevate what’s already a memorable moment into a truly unforgettable non-stop experience.</p> <p><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Group River Rafting" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mq&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9iA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>And when a specific celebration is nowhere on the horizon, legions of travelers—whether family groups or circles of friends—now invent an occasion and theme their vacations as reunions. “At home, we just can never get everybody together,” says Dick and Barbara Enberg. Soccer practice. Business trips. Family members strewn around the country. The obstacles are endless. “But invite everybody to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica travel">come to Costa Rica for a family reunion</a>, and it’s amazing how those calendars clear. There were times on that trip when the kids were telling stories and enjoying each other. It’s what parents enjoy most of all.”</p> <p><br>The Knapp and Picon families are going for that effect next June. Grandparents, four adult children and eight grandchildren aged from 7 to 16 are headed off for a unique “grand tour” of Europe—from a scavenger hunt in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank" title="travel to London">London</a> to a gladiator training session in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank" title="travel to Rome">Rome</a>. “We want to have these experiences together while we all can,” says Judi Knapp, guiding force behind the adventure. That trip seems highly likely to fuel at-home Thanksgiving reminiscences for decades to come.</p> <p>Marilyn Shockey and her husband just returned from a three-couple trip that included <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank" title="cultural walking tour in Prague">Budapest, Vienna and other spots in the Danube Valley</a>. “Our husbands have all known each other since grade school. They could just sit on a porch and tell the same stories to each other over and over. On these vacations they still have time for that, but we create a lot of new memories. Traveling together means our relationship isn’t just about the past. It’s about the present and shared memories for the future too.”</p> <p>The chance for an uninterrupted celebration of friendship is also inspiring a growing number of groups of women to travel together. Ultima Morgan, an Orlando attorney, has now traveled with her sister and four friends to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank" title="Tuscany trips">Tuscany</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank" title="Provence travel">Provence</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank" title="Amalfi travel ">Amalfi</a>, each time with Classic Journeys. “If you’re married or you have kids, especially as you get older, it’s nice to have a chunk of time when you can reconnect with friends. Spending that kind of time together, you’re just bonded for life.”</p> <p>In fact, most celebration vacationers are at least as interested in renewing and strengthening personal bonds as they are in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank" title="travel to Provence">partying in Provence</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos/" target="_blank" title="Galapagos Islands travel">reunion-ing in the Galápagos</a>. “Often, the milestone event is really just a happy incentive for people who love each other’s company to make time for each other,” Dave confirms. When they raise a glass to the Birthday Girl or the Anniversary Couple or the Class of ’77, they’re really saying, “Here’s to all of us!” Memorable, marquee moments that rare are definitely worth the trip.</p> <p><img alt="tips for booking Private Journeys" src="http://blog.classicjourneys.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/get-the-party.png" style="height: 666px; width: 555px;"></img></p> <p> </p>

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