|ARC WEEK IN PARIS
Featuring the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en-route)
SEPTEMBER 28 to OCTOBER 5, 2009
5 nights in Paris, 1 night in Chantilly
5 days/evenings of racing at Longchamp, Chantilly, Saint-Cloud, and Vincennes
Training area visit in Chantilly
Optional excursion to Deauville and Normandy breeding farms
Mon Sept 28
Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from Paris or elsewhere.
Tue Sept 29
Arrive in Paris. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation in nearby Chantilly. We're spending our first night in Chantilly for a couple of reasons: racing is scheduled for tomorrow and we'd be coming out anyway, and overnighting will give us a chance to see more of the town and experience it more fully. And Charles de Gaulle airport is halfway between Chantilly and central Paris, saving us some early-morning travel time.
The remainder of your arrival day is free for adjustment and your own activities, however we'll be organizing an excursion in the afternoon to the very worthwhile Museum of the Horse in centre-ville Chantilly. The town's beautiful Chateau also makes an interesting visit for those who want an even fuller day. We do recommend keeping active if it's your first day over from the U.S.
We'll also be arranging a no-host dinner at a local bistro popular with horse people, and we'll be making it an early night.
Our resting place in Chantilly is the Dolce Hotel, a modern property with several restaurants, an indoor and outdoor pool, a golf course, and extensive grounds. See www.dolce.com/chantilly for more details on the hotel. A buffet breakfast is included in the morning.
Wed Sept 30
Up early and out for a visit to the gallops. Chantilly is the primary racehorse training area in France, fulfilling much the same function as Newmarket in England or The Curragh in Ireland. About a hundred trainers are headquartered here, working with a horse population of close to 3,000. Covering nearly a thousand acres, the training center has grass, sand, and artificial gallops in open areas and woods.
We'll see the entire area and visit the yards of two trainers that use different parts of it, and have brunch with one of them.
Late morning we'll be back at the hotel. We've arranged for a late checkout, so there will be time for a fresh-up and a change of clothes. We'll head over to the racecourse about 1PM.
Chantilly is certainly one of the world's most extraordinarily situated racetracks. Providing the backdrop for the course is the famous Grand Stables, built by the Prince de Conde for his horses in the 1700's, and currently housing the Horse Museum we visited yesterday. 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 site of 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 have the equivalent to member's enclosure credentials, entitling us to most of the best parts of the grounds and viewing areas. We'll also have access to a restricted lounge, where food and drink will be available.
Following the races we'll continue on to central Paris and the Raphael Hotel. After check-in and weather permitting, we'll regroup up in the pleasant rooftop bar for a welcome-to-Paris cocktail hour. We can make a group dinner booking, open to those interested on a no-host basis.
THE RAPHAEL: The Raphael is our favorite in Paris. More than any of the other top Paris hotels, it has retained its ambience of traditional luxury. The rooms are large, there is a fine restaurant, a cozy "English" bar, and a delightful rooftop garden which we can hope the weather will have permitted to remain open. The location is also excellent: out of the main tourist areas, but close to the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, the cafes of the Champs Elysees, and the good shopping on Avenue Victor Hugo. A buffet breakfast is included each morning of our stay. Please see www.raphael-hotel.com for more on the hotel.
Thur Oct 1
This is an OPEN DAY to enjoy Paris. You can be totally on your own if you wish, but we do have an organized afternoon excursion planned for one of the relatively less-touristed areas of the city, followed by cocktails in a private residence and a no-host restaurant dinner. We hope you'll want to come along.
Fri Oct 2
Racing at two Paris-area courses today.
In the afternoon we head out to Saint-Cloud, just north of the city. This is Paris' second most important flat course after Longchamp and hosts a number of big races throughout the year, including the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June and two major Group 1s for 2-year-olds in November. Today's card won't include any major racing, but if it tracks with recent years there should be at least a listed race or two and a couple of conditions/allowance-type races for 2-year-olds. A day at Saint-Cloud is pleasant in any event.
Tonight we're off in the opposite direction for the trotting races at Vincennes at the southern end of the city. Trot racing is extremely popular in France, with courses devoted to it far outnumbering flat or steeplechase tracks. A good portion of the races feature riders directly in the saddle as opposed to the horse pulling a sulky. They go quite fast, and as a result there seems to be more stride-breaking than Americans are used to, which makes the betting more of a pure gamble. The crowds are enthusiastic and we've had great fun on trotting evenings during our past French trips.
We'll have dinner at the course.
Sat Oct 3
Arc Weekend kicks off at majestic Longchamp Racecourse – where the Eiffel Tower in the background serves as an unofficial 1 1/4-mile pole. We'll make our first of two visits today.
This is a racing day well attended by Parisians and visitors, but the crowd is still a great deal smaller than it will be on Sunday. Some exploration today will pay off tomorrow: it's a good day to learn your way around. We'll have a block of well-located reserved seats which we'll also be using Sunday, plus access to best parts of the grounds.
The authorities tinker from year to year with the specific races presented this day, and the 2009 list is not finalized as yet. There are always a number of quality Group races on the card though, and currently scheduled are the Prix de la Foret, Europe's only Group 1 at seven furlongs, and a quartet of Group 2s – the Chaudenay, Royallieu, Dollar, and Daniel Wildenstein – for various age groups and at distances ranging from a mile to almost two miles.
Following the racing there is the traditional Arc-eve horses-in-training sale at Saint-Cloud Racecourse, and we'll return there to take it in. It's a good opportunity to interact with French racing people. Those not interested can go straight back to the hotel from Longchamp.
Sun Oct 4
Arc Day, one of the outstanding racing experiences of the year and in the world.
The mile-and-a-half Arc de Triomphe is Europe's championship race. If a horse from anywhere has a claim to be European Horse of the Year, and is still operating on four good legs and two good lungs, he or she is expected to run in the Arc and prove it. And by long-standing custom, reinforced lately by a huge Mideastern money purse enhancement, almost all the top contenders do indeed show up.
Years ago John Randall and Tony Morris put it best: "if they do not, we can only assume they are not up to it."
Even aside from the racing, Arc Day is a spectacle. The crowd is ecumenical and always heavily flavored by British and Irish over for the weekend. And if there's a prime challenger from an unusual source, such as Deep Impact from Japan or Shirocco from Germany in recent years, the partisanship gets entertainingly vocal. There's also the fashion angle. It's October, and the start of a new season in Paris. The women dress, and it's a good opportunity to preview what they'll be wearing over the winter in the major cities around the world.
In the end, though, the star is always the race: when the usually large Arc field hits the top of the stretch and fans wide for the two-furlong run-in, the crowd goes wild and everything else is just background.
Besides the Arc, there are five other Group 1 races scheduled to be on the card in 2009: the Abbaye, a straight five-furlong sprint; the Lagardere and the Boussac, 2-year-old events for colts and fillies respectively; the increasingly consequential Prix de l'Opera for fillies and mares, and the two-and-a-half mile Cadran, besides the Gold Cup at Ascot the only other Group 1 in the world at the distance.
We'll have our same well-located block of reserved seats for race viewing, 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 Raphael this evening, we'll probably want to regather in the bar and have some last laughs together. Dinner will happen at some point.
Mon Oct 5
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 extending at the Raphael.
DEAUVILLE / NORMANDY EXCURSION:
We are offering an excursion up to Deauville, on the English Channel coast about two and a half hours north of Paris, in conjunction with this trip. Deauville is the "Saratoga/Del Mar" of France and hums with activity during the August racing season, during which France's major yearling sale also takes place. Additionally the nearby Normandy countryside is the location of France's largest concentration of Thoroughbred breeding farms.
This optional excursion will take place prior to the basic trip. We've set it up this way for one main reason: we think it's likely that many people on the trip will want to extend their stay in Paris. Since we have a night in Chantilly at the beginning of the basic trip, we wanted one "end" of the trip to be in Paris to save people a pack-and-unpack if they wanted a longer stay.
We will be in Deauville to meet you when you arrive. The outline of the Deauville/Normandy excursion is as follows:
Sat Sep 26
Depart the U.S. if not already overseas.
Sun Sep 27
Arrive in Paris. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation in Deauville, the Royal Hotel. This transfer will take approximately 2 1/2 hours. We'll have welcoming cocktails together at the Royal, and a no-host dinner at a local restaurant. (See www.lucienbarriere.com for information on the justifiably renowned Royal Hotel, where we base on all our Deauville trips.)
Mon Sep 28
A good overview of Deauville, including a visit to the racecourse during training hours and a couple of breeding farms. Lunch out in the country and then some late-afternoon free time to enjoy the seaside ambience of Deauville, and a no-host dinner booking at another of Deauville's many wonderful restaurants.
Tue Sep 29
Transfer to Chantilly to join the remainder of the group on "Day 2" of the basic trip.
Deauville is unique in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding world. It's our hope that those who have not yet seen it will enjoy this brief look and want to come back again for the "full dose" the next time we schedule a trip during the August season. Many of our Racing-Europe "vets" have enjoyed Deauville the most of any of the trips they've taken with us.
This trip (and the optional excursion) will close on August 11, 2009. 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.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
The itinerary, by design, is short and busy. If you would like a bit more of a leisurely experience, we invite you to consider staying on in Paris after our organized trip concludes. The fall is many people's favorite time of the year in Paris. The Raphael is convenient to everything and the concierge has all the keys to the city.
The hotel has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. This is an extremely busy time of year in Paris, so please let us know as soon as possible if you want more time.
Those interested in coming to Deauville earlier are welcome to do this as well. We will advise any early arrivers of worthwhile activities in the area and work with them for additional nights at The Royal.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
- Five(5) nights' lodging at the Raphael Hotel in Paris.
- One(1) night's lodging at the Dolce Hotel in Chantilly.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Five(5) escorted days or evenings of racing at Longchamp, Chantilly, Saint-Cloud, and Vincennes, including admission, transportation to and from the course, and race card. Restricted lounge access at Chantilly, dinner seating at Vincennes, and reserved seating at Longchamp.
- Visit to the Museum of the Horse in Chantilly.
- Training visit in Chantilly, including the gallops and visit to two trainers' yards.
- Afternoon sightseeing and cocktail reception in Paris on October 1.
- Brunch on One(1) Day: In Chantilly September 30.
- Dinner on One(1) night: At Vincennes Racecourse October 2.
- Transfer from Paris airport to the Dolce Hotel, Chantilly.
- Transfer from Chantilly to the Raphael Hotel, Paris.
- Transfer from Raphael Hotel to Paris airport at conclusion of trip.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails at the Raphael Hotel, Paris.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The itinerary does not include:
- 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 does not include:
- 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.
- 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 staff on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip 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.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
$3,675 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers)
$3,775 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers)
$3,875 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$1,535 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 Raphael in Paris, singles will be accommodated in the same class of double rooms as the double-occupancy members of the group. Single travelers should give extra consideration to doubling up on this trip, due to its short length. The rooms at the Raphael are spacious.
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 decision whether or not to accept a roommate. Because of the limited number of rooms that we have been able to reserve at these very busy times, we regret we must reserve the right to limit the number of single travelers on the trip.
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. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rates:
1 US $ = .735 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.36 US $
- Additional Nights at The Raphael Hotel, Paris, if available: will vary, depending on length of stay and specific nights chosen. Please inquire.
- The Deauville/Normandy Excursion:
$1,075 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or more travelers)
$1,145 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$1,245 per person, based on double occupancy (six or seven travelers)
$495 single supplement, regardless of group size.
Upgrade to a deluxe, ocean-facing room at the Royal Hotel for $195 per person, double occupancy, or $390 for single occupancy.
The Deauville/Normandy price includes: airport greeting in Paris, transfer to Deauville, welcome cocktails, two(2) nights lodging at the Royal Hotel including breakfast each morning, visits to the racecourse and two breeding farms, lunch on September 28, transfer to Chantilly, and accompaniment throughout by a knowledgable American escort.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to sixteen(16) people. Although we will make every effort to operate the trip, we reserve the right to cancel the trip if it has less than eight subscribers. We will need at least six(6) travelers to operate the Deauville excursion. Should we need to cancel the trip or the optional excursion, all payments made to Racing-Europe toward the cost of either will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter France.View the itinerary for our other 2009 trip:
For May (Ireland) click here
Racing photos © www.actionplus.co.uk
Quote by John Randall and Tony Morris from A Century of Champions,
published in 1999 by Partway Press Ltd., Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 1XE
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