- David’s Blog
This tour is designed specifically for students in the IB program at Ridgeview High School. This international travel opportunity is designed to provide a cultural and educational experience in Spain and France. The folks at Exploring Europe, along with Mrs. Greenawalt and your world language teachers, will provide rich opportunities to exercise your language skills, and explore the culture, art, and history of these European capital cities. Your Adventure Starts Here!
Overnight flight to Madrid with your group leaders. NOTE: The cost of international flights will not be available from the airlines until August 2014. When that is available, Exploring Europe will secure the best available fare and add that to the price shown here.
After settling in at your hotel, join a walking tour lacing together Madrid’s historic sights. Stroll through the 17th century Plaza Mayor and the nearby Puerta del Sol. Wander the back lanes and get an insider’s viewpoint of this vibrant city. Later, you will have an opportunity to visit the 2,000 room Palacio Real built for King Phillip V. Enjoy a little extra time for shopping and sightseeing this afternoon. Later, join in a rambling “progressive” tapas dinner weaving together some of Madrid’s backstreets and taste discoveries. Sleep 3 nights in Madrid. Dinner.
The Prado Museum houses one of the best collections of art in Europe. You’ll get to experience the best of it on a guided tour hosted by a local art historian. Later, enjoy a pleasant stroll through El Ritiro, Madrid’s massive “Central Park” featuring lakes, paddleboats, a zoo, eateries, and more. We will dedicate the afternoon to explore more of Madrid in the historic city center. We will cap off our evening in Plaza Mayor where you’ll have an opportunity to make your own dining choices from an array of eateries.
Toledo is only 30 minutes from Madrid yet offers a completely different perspective on Spanish culture. Situated on an impressive hill and surrounded by the river, it is no wonder Toledo has been an impenetrable fortress for ages. Once in the city center, we will have a look at the impressive cathedral, several shopping streets and of course some of El Greco’s most famous works. You will have the afternoon to wander and take in some of Spain’s best shopping, arts, crafts and culture. Returning to Madrid, enjoy dinner at one of David’s favorite restaurants to cap off your experience in Spain. Dinner.
After breakfast, return to the airport for a short flight to Paris. Once on the ground, we’ll focus our exploring around Paris' historical center. Parisians first settled here on what is now known as the Ille de la Cité. On our walking tour, you'll discover the wonder and history of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the opulence of the nearby Ille St. Louis and reflect on the atrocities of WWII at La Mémorial des Martyrs de La Déportation. Cap off your day with a dinner at one of David’s favorite restaurants and a sightseeing cruise on the Seine River. Dinner.
Enjoy an ascent up the Eiffel Tower this morning for far-reaching vistas of the sprawling metropolis of Paris. Then we’ll head up to the artsy neighborhood of Montmartre to experience this quaint bohemian village and the nearby Sacré Coeur church. Enjoy a free afternoon for shopping and exploring in your chaperoned groups. Your tour leader can suggest activities ranging from shopping, museums, the catacombs, church towers, and more. Later, we will meet for independent dining options in a small Parisian neighborhood.
Visit the Louvre museum to experience what some consider the world's best collection of art. Armed with Exploring Europe’s Guide to the Louvre, you will have several hours to enjoy the art, history, and wonder of this magnificent museum. Following the tour, stroll through the adjacent gardens ending on the famous Champs Elysées. After lunch, enjoy some time on your own to rub elbows with the rich and famous on this world-class shopping street. Later, we will meet for a sunset picnic on the Champ du Mars (weather permitting) to cap off your Parisian experience. Picnic dinner.
Your tour ends today. Say goodbye to Paris and enjoy your flight back home.
Abby Austin has worked at David McGuffin's Exploring Europe for four years. Abby is a former Ridgeview student and IB Diploma recipient and now attends the University of Florida. She serves as David's official videographer and photographer working on numerous video and web projects. Abby created this video documenting the experiences of Ridgeview students while visiting Paris and Madrid in 2011.
Cassidy Laird, a former Ridgeview student and IB Diploma recipient, writes a blog about her travels with David McGuffin. Cassidy participated in three European Tours with David McGuffin while attending Ridgeview. Currently, she is posting about her tour to Paris and Madrid. Check out her blog and her European travel experiences. Be sure to leave a comment or two if you like her writing! Cassidy is currently in her third year at Clemson University.
If you would like to talk to a tour expert, please give us a call at 1 (800) 570-1351 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.