Length: 8 days. Group educational tours for 12 or more students or adults. Self-designed custom tours typically led by teachers of high school juniors and seniors.
Highlights: London City Tour, Tower of London, British Museum, London Dungeon, Jack the Ripper Tour, Paris City Tour, Paris Sewer Tour, Paris Catacombs, Castle of Chillon, Medieval Crime Museum, Rothenburg Night Watchman Tour
Itinerary: London (2), Paris (2), Montreux (2), Rothenburg (2)
Day 1 – Depart
Fly overnight to London.
Day 2 – London
Welcome to England, where your TSA Tours guide waits to escort you on a London City Tour. See the highlights of the largest city in Europe, including Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, and visit formidable Westminster Abbey. Drive past Marble Arch, the spot where the infamous Tyburn Gallows once stood. They say that half the people you see on the streets of London are ghosts. Visit the Tower of London to meet the Beef eaters in their Tudor uniforms, see the fabulous Crown Jewels, hear the legend of the ravens and some spine-tingling tales from the Tower’s 900-year history. They say the headless apparition of Anne Boleyn stalks the Tower grounds at night.
Day 3 –London
Tour the British Museum, home of the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, and the unparalleled collection of mummies, coffins and Books of the Dead in the new galleries of Egyptian funerary archaeology. Next stop: London Dungeon, the world’s first medieval horror museum, where history is brought frighteningly to life. As the night sets in, you’ll follow the crooked, cobbled alleyways of Whitechapel on your Jack the Ripper Tour. Your expert guide will spirit you back to an era of gaslit Victorian horror and help you unravel the truth about London’s notorious serial killer.
Day 4 –Paris
Cross the English Channel to France and arrive in the “City of Light” for a Paris City Tour. See all the highlights including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées, the Tuileries, and drive past the Place de l’Opera, where the infamous Phantom of the Opera haunted the unending catacombs beneath the opera house. See the snarling gargoyles who guard the majesty of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, home to Victor Hugo’s hunchback Quasimodo, and visit the interior to view the splendid rose windows.
Day 5 –Paris
Here is a chance to follow in the underground footsteps of Jean Valjean, hero of Les Misérables. Tour a section of the fascinating Paris Sewers, where you’ll see a video presentation explaining the city’s efforts to manage water throughout history. Also visit a museum that traces the workings of les égouts. Continue your underworld adventures in the Paris Catacombs. Far below the city streets, in the quiet, damp darkness, seven million Parisians lie motionless. Their skeletons, long disinterred from churchyard graves, are neatly stacked to form walls of nearly one kilometer of walking passage. Option: Enjoy a Bateaux Mouches cruise on the romantic Seine. View the monuments of France from a unique perspective as you take in the brilliance of the lights of Paris after nightfall. There is no better way to see the famous sights of Paris and her beautiful skyline, boulevards and bridges. Sail past the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Palais du Tokyo, the Pont Alexandre III, the Pont Neuf— the oldest bridge in Paris, and the Petit Pont—the smallest bridge in the city. Glide between Ile de la Cite and the Ile St Louis and be sure to make a wish as you pass under Pont Marie—it’s guaranteed to come true!
Day 6 –Montreux
Travel by coach to to the Swiss city of Montreux on the banks of beautiful Lake Geneva. The resort stretches along the shore of a great bay, and is surrounded by woods and vineyards.
Day 7 –Montreux
Tour the Castle of Chillon, an imposing medieval fortress on Lake Geneva visibly marked by a long history. Lord Byron made this moated castle famous in the poetic retelling of the imprisonment of François de Bonivard, whose crime was preaching the Reformation. My hair is grey, but not with years/Nor grew it white /In a single night. Bonivard was arrested and cast into the castle dungeons. He lived chained to one of the pillars for four years, and it is said that the Prisoner of Chillon’s footprints can be seen traced in the rock. The rest of the day is free for discovery.
Day 8 –Rothenburg
Travel to Rothenburg, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Germany. A walk through this walled town, with its ancient houses and fountains, is an unforgettable encounter with ghosts from bygone centuries.
Day 9 –Rothenburg
Tour the city and visit the Medieval Crime Museum, the most important museum of legal history in Germany. You will be fascinated by some of the ancient methods of punishment, truth-letting, and torture. Here you’ll see the “dunking cage” for bakers who sold loaves of bread that were too small; the “mask of shame” for men “who acted like swine”; and the “double neck violin”, a wooden contraption that enclosed the neck and hands of two quarreling women so they had to face one another until they settled their dispute! This evening you will accompany the Night Watchman on his spooky tour through the narrow cobblestone lanes of the city and listen to his fascinating tales of the history of Rothenburg.
Day 10 –Depart
Board your flight home, with a new appreciation for the history and mystery of Europe.