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ARC WEEK IN FRANCE
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
SEPTEMBER 25 to OCTOBER 2, 2023
3 nights in Paris, 3 nights in Chantilly
4 days of racing at Chantilly, Saint-Cloud, and Longchamp
Training area visit in Chantilly
The Arc-eve Sale of Horses in Training
Other special activities
Depart the U.S., if not joining the trip from France or elsewhere.
|Arrive in Paris or Chantilly. If you're flying in today you'll be met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation in Chantilly. We're here for three nights to give us time for a more extended experience of the training center and the town's other major sights, and also because racing is scheduled in town on Thursday. Your transfer, if from Charles de Gaulle airport, should take about 35 minutes.
The remainder of your arrival day is free for adjustment and your own activities. We always advise staying active and there is plenty to see and do near the hotel. Around about 5:30PM we'll rendezvous in the hotel bar for a couple of rounds and to get acquainted and organized for the week ahead. Following, if you are wanting company, we'll have a no-host dinner at a local bistro popular with horse people. We'll do our best to make it an early night.
THE AUBERGE DU JEU DE PAUME: Opening in the fall of 2012 (we were among its first guests) the Jeu de Paume has well lived up to its promise of a fine property in the heart of centre-ville Chantilly. Within close walking distance of all the town's principal attractions and services, the hotel occupies a 250-year-old building originally constructed for the "palm" game, an indoor ball-and-net precursor to tennis that was much enjoyed by the French nobility.
In addition to the very comfortable guest rooms, the hotel features two on-site restaurants and a bar, an indoor pool and fitness center, and a spa facility. Learn more at the hotel website www.aubergedujeudepaumechantilly.fr. A buffet breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
|Up early this morning and out for a long look at the racehorse training center of France. Similar to Newmarket in England or The Curragh in Ireland, Chantilly is the principal headquarters for French trainers. Over a hundred of them, including almost all the major players, are situated here and they work with more than 3,000 horses at last count. The center covers nearly a thousand acres and includes grass, sand, and artificial gallops in open areas and woods.
We'll visit a trainer's yard and then go out with a "lot" as they go through their paces.
Early afternoon we'll be back at the hotel. You'll then have the rest of the day to yourself to relax or to explore Chantilly on your own. This would be the perfect time to visit the very worthwhile Museum of the Horse and/or the beautiful Chateau and its gardens. We'll supply admission tickets for all.
We have no specific plans for the evening. You might want to try the fine-dining restaurant in the hotel, something more casual in the town, or just relax with room service. We'll organize a group dinner if the demand is there.
|This morning is free for further relaxation or exploration of Chantilly. You can devote more time to whichever of the attractions you might have had to short-change yesterday. Early afternoon we'll make our way over to the local racecourse for an afternoon at one of France's signature racing places.
Chantilly is certainly one of the world's most extraordinarily situated racetracks. Providing the backdrop for the course are the famous Grandes Ecuries (Grand Stables), built by the Prince de Conde for his horses in the 1700's, and currently housing the Horse Museum. Behind the stretch turn is the Chateau. Sometimes, when the field is sweeping the far turn, it's hard to keep your eye on the horses.
Races were first held here in 1834, and it's the venue for the French Derby and Oaks in June. Today's card will be a modest one, but the atmosphere of the course will be sufficient reward. We'll lunch at the course.
|After check-out from the Jeu de Paume this morning we'll head into Paris and our lodging at the Baltimore Hotel. We'll just have time to drop our bags and be off again because they're running this afternoon at Saint-Cloud, just across the Seine in the city's northern near-suburbs. This is Paris' second most important flat course after Longchamp and it hosts a number of major events throughout the year, including the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June and two big Group 1s for 2-year-olds in November.
This pre-Arc Friday card usually includes a Listed race or two and a pair of interesting conditions/allowance-type events for 2-year-olds, many of them promising prospects for next year. The program will also feature some large-purse Group-level races for pure-bred Arabians.
A racing day at pretty Saint-Cloud is always a pleasure. The course has its own unique ambiance and the normallly light crowd on this weekday allows us to enjoy it peacefully. We'll have access to a comfortable restricted lounge.
Nothing concrete is on for tonight, but if you've never done it before we might suggest a dinner cruise on the Seine. Like a gondola ride in Venice or a balloon over the Serengeti, an evening boat ride in Paris is one of those cliches that delivers genuine magic.
THE BALTIMORE: Our in-town HQ is just about as nicely located as it's possible for a Paris hotel to be. On the Avenue Kleber in the leafy 16th Arrondissement, it's equidistant from the Arc de Triomphe and the Chaillot Palace overlook to the Eiffel Tower, one of the great urban vistas anywhere on the planet. It's about a ten-minute walk to each. Also within easy strolling distance is the Champs Elysees and the low-key luxury shopping on the Avenue Victor Hugo.
Off the beaten tourist track, the Baltimore has been charming visitors for over a hundred years. You can find out more at the hotel website at www.sofitel-paris-baltimore.com/en/ to learn more about the property. A buffet breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
|Arc Weekend starts today at the renovated Longchamp Racecourse, now officially re-christened ParisLongchamp. As is usual with new venues which replace venerated old ones, ParisLongchamp and its innovative architecture has taken a bit of getting used to -- but the views across the Bois de Boulogne to the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin, the tree-filled paddock, and the majestic racing course itself are in place as they've always been.
This is the first of two days for us at Longchamp (leaving the hotel today at about 1PM), and if you went to Saint-Cloud yesterday and want a break from racing, you could take this day for your independent enjoyment of Paris. The advantage of attending today is that you'll be able to get a sense of the place without the masses that will be here tomorrow for the Arc itself. It's a good day to learn your way around, and the racing will be of a very high quality.
The specific races carded on "Arc Saturday" vary from year to year, and the 2023 scheduling is not finalized as yet. In some years the authorities card one or two of the weekend's eight Group 1 events on the Saturday -- in 2022 it was the marathon Prix Cadran (besides the Gold Cup at Ascot the only other Group 1 race in Europe at 2 1/2 miles), and the 14-furlong Prix Royallieu for fillies and mares. The lineup is always fleshed out by a trio of Group 2s -- the Chaudenay, Dollar, and Daniel Wildenstein for various age groups and at distances ranging from a mile to almost two miles.
France-Galop is still developing its specific race-day packages for Arc Weekend as we go to press. But at a minimum, both today and tomorrow we plan to have a block of well-located reserved seats with excellent viewing of the racing, plus access to the best parts of the grounds. For those wanting to separately book raceday hospitality at one of the several restaurants, we can steer you in the right directions once the details become available.
Following the racing today is the traditional Arc-eve horses-in-training sale, held at Saint-Cloud.
This sale has a relaxed, informal, and very French feel and it's a good opportunity to interact with the local racing people. The offerings usually include horses entered for tomorrow's big races (including the Arc itself), giving the buyers the chance to see their colors represented immediately at the highest level. Those not interested in the sale can taxi straight back to the hotel from Longchamp.
|Arc Day, one of the truly great racing experiences.
When everything is taken into account, we consider the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe to be the greatest flat race in the world -- winning in a photo from the Derby at Epsom and its Kentucky and Irish counterparts, the Gold Cup at Ascot, and the Melbourne Cup.
First run in 1920, since World War II the mile-and-a-half Arc has been Europe's definitive race, and despite the recent proliferation of competing fall championship events it retains that place of eminence. If a horse from anywhere aspires to the title of European Horse of the Year, and is operating on four good legs and two good lungs, he or she is expected to run in the Arc and prove it. And by custom, reinforced lately by a huge Middle Eastern money purse enhancement, almost all the top contenders do indeed enter the gate.
The Arc's particularities - the usually large and potentially congested field, the often testing ground -- emphasize the severity of the challenge. Many a pretender has been humbled in it, but the very best usually find a way to win: Ribot, Sea-Bird, Mill Reef, Dancing Brave, Zarkava, and Sea the Stars are testament to that.
Years ago John Randall and Tony Morris put it this way: "The best horses have to accept that ultimate challenge. If they are fit and well and they do not, we can only assume they are not up to it." We use this quote every year we do an Arc trip, and we've yet to see it said better.
Arc Day is a spectacle even apart from the racing. The crowd is probably the most cosmopolitan of any in the world: The Qatar sponsorship insures good representation from the Middle East, there always is large contingent of English and Irish over for the weekend, and in recent years competitive challenges from Japan, Germany, and other racing centers have added more colors to the mix. For the ladies there's also the fashion angle: It's fall and it's Paris -- the start of a new season and a first look at what you'll see being worn in big cities around the world.
In the end, though, the highlight is always the race, and the moment when the Arc field hits the top of the stretch and the wheat starts separating from the chaff. There's not a more exciting thirty seconds in the sport than the thirty after that.
Besides the Arc, there are five other Group 1 races on the weekend: the Abbaye, a straight five-furlong sprint; the Foret, Europe's only Group 1 at seven-eighths; the Lagardere and the Boussac, 2-year-old events for colts and fillies respectively; and the increasingly important Prix de l'Opera for fillies and mares over ten furlongs. Occasionally one of the Group 1s mentioned yesterday is carded on the Sunday, but either way it's still the closest thing France has to a Breeders' Cup.
We'll have our same well-located block of reserved seats for viewing today, and access to the best enclosures to mingle with the racing people that have come from all over the world. It's a day at the races you won't forget.
Back at the hotel, we'll probably want to re-gather for a no-host final-night-together dinner and some last laughs. Our habit in recent years has been to take the 10-minute walk to Brasserie Le Stella on Avenue Victor Hugo, and it's not let us down yet.
|The organized itinerary ends after breakfast and checkout this morning. If you must go, bonne chance and travel safely. Transfer to your Paris airport is provided if you are leaving today or upon your departure if extending at the Baltimore.
This trip will close on May 25, 2023. Payment in full and all necessary paperwork must be completed and received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the group. The early closing date is due to the heavy demand for hotel space in Paris during this period and the unusually stringent requirements we've had to meet to secure our rooms.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
The itinerary, by design, is full and busy. If you would like a more leisurely experience, we invite you to consider coming to Chantilly earlier and/or staying on in Paris after our trip concludes.
If you're flying over just for our trip, an extra night in Chantilly might make your adjustment a bit easier. As to Paris, the fall is many people's favorite time of year in the city. The Baltimore Hotel is convenient to everything and the concierges have all the keys to the city.
Our hotels have promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. This is the busiest time of the year in Paris, so please let us know as soon as possible if you want more time in either place.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The basic itinerary includes:
The itinerary does not include:
- Three(3) nights' lodging at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume in Chantilly.
- Three(3) nights' lodging at the Baltimore Hotel in Paris.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Lunch on one day, at Chantilly Racecourse September 28.
- Four(4) escorted days of racing at Longchamp, Saint-Cloud, and Chantilly, including admission, transportation to and from the course, and race card. Lunch seating at Chantilly, restricted lounge access at Saint-Cloud, and reserved seating both days at Longchamp.
- Training visit in Chantilly, including the gallops and visit to a trainer's yard.
- Admission tickets for the Chateau and Horse Museum in Chantilly.
- Visit to the Arc-eve horses-in-training sale.
- Transfer from Paris airport to the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Chantilly.
- Group transfer from Chantilly to the Baltimore Hotel, Paris.
- Transfer from the Baltimore Hotel to Paris airport at conclusion of trip. (Please note incoming and outbound transfers from and to Charles de Gaulle airport are included in the trip price; there will be a supplementary charge for transfers involving Orly or other airports, or to and from central Paris.)
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails in Chantilly.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The Cost of the Trip does
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- Dinner on any night, or lunch on any day except where indicated above.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in at each hotel to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
- Excess baggage charges. Please check intra-European air flight baggage allowances.
- Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
- Travel insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages, except for the "Welcome" cocktail hour.
- Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
- Personal gratuities. As part of our arrangements we will tip farm and stable personnel, our drivers, and the hotel staffs on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip their incoming and outbound transfer drivers and anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including any special assistance by hotel staff. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
$4,425 per person, based on double occupancy (thirteen or more travelers)
$4,575 per person, based on double occupancy (ten to twelve travelers)
$4,675 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$1,225 single supplement, regardless of group size.
*Please note we have still not received final pricing for some elements of this trip, and the trip price is therefore subject to minor adjustment until we do.
At the Jeu de Paume in Chantilly and the Baltimore in Paris, the single rooms are somewhat smaller than the rooms we have reserved for double-occupancy guests.
We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler's's decision whether or not to accept a roommate.
Trip prices are subject to change up to thirty(30) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States and the European Union. U.S. Dollar prices quoted herein are based on the following exchange rates:
1 US$ = 0.971 Euros // 1 Euro = 1.03 US$
Additional Nights at The Baltimore Hotel, Paris, or the Auberge du Jeu de Paume in Chantilly, if available: will vary, depending on length of stay and specific nights chosen. Please inquire.
Upgrade your room category at The Baltimore Hotel in Paris. See the hotel website for physical particulars on the room categories, then inquire with us for pricing.
Reserved hospitality at Longchamp Racecourse on Saturday September 30 and/or Sunday October 1. Please inquire.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to eighteen(18) people. Although we will make every effort to operate the trip, we reserve the right to cancel it if it has less than eight(8) subscribers. Should we need to do so, all payments made to Racing-Europe toward the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter France.
*Please note the 2023 French racing schedule for non-major days has still not been officially finalized as of November 2022. Changes to the provisional schedule may result in our minor racing days and visit to the training center being shifted from one day to another or from one course to another in the itinerary, however all activities listed will be included.
*There is a fair amount of walking involved with the training visit in Chantilly, some of which must be done with alacrity to avoid disturbing the horses. Any prospective traveler having reservations about his or her ability to be nimble should discuss this in advance with us.
Quote by John Randall and Tony Morris from A Century of Champions, published in 1999 by Partway Press Ltd., Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 1XE
Racing photo © www.actionplus.co.uk
Other photos courtesy of the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Fredrike Hecht,
Candace Wong, Peter Kastner, and France-Galop
View the itineries for our other 2023 trip:
For October (England), click here
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