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|ASCOT & THE ARC
12 Days, 11 Nights (including one en route)
SEPTEMBER 27 to OCTOBER 8, 2007
5 nights in London, 5 nights in Paris
5 days of racing at Ascot, Windsor, Chantilly, and Longchamp
Optional racing at Saint-Cloud and Vincennes
Training area/Farm visits in England and France
Thur Sept 27
|Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from London or elsewhere.
Fri Sept 28
|Arrive in London. You will be met at the airport and delivered to our London accommodation, the Draycott Hotel. We will also provide transport to The Draycott from other arrival locations in London. The remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities.
At 6PM we'll get together at the hotel for cocktails, to mix a bit and get properly prepared for our travels together.
THE DRAYCOTT: The quietly refined and atmospheric Draycott Hotel is our preferred London address. Set in the Knightsbridge end of Chelsea and apart from the heavily-touristed neighborhoods, the hotel is housed within a row of renovated Edwardian Townhouses and has direct access to a private park. There is excellent dining and shopping in the neighborhood and the rest of London is just minutes away by tube or taxi.
Our amply-sized deluxe double rooms each have a sitting area and in many cases a fireplace. You can go to www.draycotthotel.com for further details on the property. Continental breakfast is included each morning of our stay.
Sat Sept 29
|We get our first taste of racing today on one of the biggest days of the year at Ascot, England's most prestigious racecourse. This traditional meeting has been rebranded as "Mile Championships Day", and features several very important races at this specialty distance.
The main event is the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. One of the premier one-mile races of the entire European season and the last to be run, the "QE2" often decides the divisional title. Two 2-year-old events top the undercard: the Group 1 Fillies' Mile and the Group 2 Royal Lodge. The winners of these races will usually figure prominently in the talking for next year's Classics.
Ascot has been extensively rebuilt recently, and just reopened in 2006. They are still tweaking the new design when it comes to seating and dining. For now we are anticipating we'll have lunch and tea in one of the restaurants on the Premier Level of the new stand, but our arrangements for the day may be modified pending possible changes to the layout. We will be at the course earlier in the year and will make these decisions after our inspection then.
Back in London this evening, we'll make a group booking at a smart area restaurant. Those interested are invited to join on a no-host basis.
Sun Sept 30
|This is an OPEN DAY for you to use as you please in London. There is racing again at Ascot, and one of your options is a return there.
Mon Oct 1
|Today, west of London, we'll combine a morning of sightseeing in Windsor with a visit to its charming racecourse. We'll start with a stop at Runnymede, site of the signing of the Magna Carta, one of the major events in the long development of English and American democracy. We'll then drop by Eton, and depending on time and circumstance (school is in session ), we may be able to get a quick look inside. At the very least we'll see the environs and the legendary "playing fields".
Next we'll have a privately-guided visit to Windsor Castle, England's largest castle, and by some accounts the largest inhabited stronghold in the world. It's also, of course, been a favored residence of the Royal Family for getting on a thousand years now.
We'll then walk down to the Thames River and boat a mile upstream to lovely Windsor Racecourse. Atmosphere is everything here: with its riverside location, tall trees, and quirky figure-8 layout, Windsor is a favorite of many despite its lack of major races. For some longer events, you can walk across the course for a closeup of the start, and have time to amble back to the finish line to see the horses come back by again.
We'll have Members' Enclosure badges and have a casual lunch at the course.
We can organize a no-host dinner tonight in London if the demand is there.
Tue Oct 2
|This will be a "farm and barn" day. We haven't quite decided where we'll head out to, but it will be either north to Newmarket, south into Sussex, or west and further out into Berkshire than we got with Ascot and Windsor. Each destination has its own pluses; and in any event, our activities will center around horses — in training and on the breeding farm.
In Newmarket, the largest concentration of training yards in the country, we can see the gallops and visit a trainer, see the two racecourses, go to the Racing Museum, visit a farm, and tour and have lunch at the historic Jockey Club.
In Sussex, we can experience the lovely south-of-England countryside, visit a training yard and a farm, stop by beautiful Goodwood Racecourse (no racing, unfortunately), and have a pub lunch.
Out west, we'll target Lambourn and the "Valley of the Racehorse". Another grouping of training yards is here and in nearby villages, but more dispersed and less tightly organized than in Newmarket. A pub lunch will be part of this scheme too, and the countryside's likewise not hard to look at.
Any of these will be an experience unlike any you can have in America. We're inclined to let the group decide where we go. Cast your vote when you inquire or book, and the majority will rule. We'll make the call known prior to the Closing Date. Because of the Jockey Club lunch and other associated costs, going to Newmarket will add about $60 per person to the overall price of the trip.
Wed Oct 3
|Mid-morning we'll check out of The Draycott and transfer to Waterloo Station, where our Eurostar under-the-Channel fast train will be departing at just past noon. We'll have lunch on the train and get into Gare du Nord in Central Paris at about 4PM, having lost an hour to Continental time. From there it's a short ride to our Paris home, the Raphael Hotel.
After settling in, those interested can regroup in the Raphael bar for a cocktail and then a no-host dinner, for which we'll make a group booking. One of our options is a dinner cruise on the Seine River. Cliched as it is, these cruises are delightful if done on the right boat. We'll take the pulse of the group as it forms up earlier in the year, and if the desire is there we will do the cruise. Otherwise, we'll just pick a restaurant.
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 an excellent 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 4
|Chantilly, twenty-five miles north of Paris, is our destination today. This is the principal Thoroughbred training center of France, fulfilling much the same function as Newmarket does in England. Horses work here in the woods as well as in open gallops. We'll get a good look at it all, and have a stop-in at a trainer's yard.
Chantilly has much else to offer, including the Museum of the Horse and the beautiful Chateau, both of which provide the stunning visual backdrop for the racecourse. We can make a visit to either available. There's racing scheduled for the afternoon. It's not a major race day at the Chantilly course, which is home to the French Derby and Oaks, but we'll want to spend some time there and experience its distinctive atmosphere before heading back into the city.
Fri Oct 5
|This is an OPEN DAY to enjoy Paris. There is racing in the afternoon at Saint-Cloud, and we'll organize transport over for those interested. We can also mount an expedition to the trotting races at Vincennes in the evening. Trot racing is extremely popular in France, and is well worth seeing at least once.
Sat Oct 6
|"Arc Weekend" kicks off at majestic Longchamp Racecourse, and we make our first of two visits today. The Group 1 Prix de la Foret, Europe's only Group 1 at seven furlongs, is the headline event and the supporting races include four Group 2's under a variety of conditions and over a range of distances.
The crowd gets bigger every year for this Saturday card, but is still far smaller than it will be on Sunday for the Arc itself. It's a good day to learn your way around. We'll have lunch in the Restaurant Panoramique overlooking the course, and a block of reserved seats which we'll also be using tomorrow.
This evening we'll make a group booking for dinner, and, after a freshening back at the Raphael, everyone is invited to join on a no-host basis.
Sun Oct 7
|Arc Day, one of the unique racing experiences in the world.
The mile-and-a-half Arc de Triomphe is Europe's championship race. Any healthy horse from any European country with any title aspiration has to make or validate the claim here. And almost all do show up: it's considered bad form not to. As famed writers John Randall and Tony Morris put it: "if they do not, we can only assume they are not up to it."
Even without the racing, the day is an eyeful. The crowd is cosmopolitan in the extreme, and as it's October in Paris, the women use the opportunity to dress. If there's a prime challenger from an unusual source, such as in 2006 with Japan's Deep Impact, the fashion show can be even more compelling. But when the big Arc field hits the top of the stretch and fans wide for the two-furlong run-in, the crowd goes bananas and all else is only background.
Besides the Arc, there are five other Group 1 races on the card: the Abbaye, a straight five-furlong sprint; the Cadran, a two-and-a-half-mile marathon; the Lagardere and the Boussac, 2-year-old events for colts and fillies respectively; and the increasingly consequential Prix de l'Opera for fillies and mares.
We'll have our well-located block of reserved seats to watch the racing, and access to the best parts of the grounds to watch and mingle with the people. By day's end, you will know you've been to the races.
Back at the Raphael, we can regroup in the bar or up on the roof and have some last laughs together for as long as we want. Dinner will happen at some point.
Mon Oct 8
|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.
This trip will close on July 25, 2007. 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. THIS TRIP HAS CLOSED.
COME EARLY, STAY LATE:
The itinerary, by design, is full and busy. If you would like a bit more of a leisurely experience, we invite you to consider coming to London earlier and / or staying on in Paris.
Even one extra day in London for adjusting at the beginning can be beneficial. You may want more — for shopping or for your own special interests. The concierge at the Draycott will work with you to organize any specifics.
October is many people's favorite time of the year in Paris. The concierge at the Raphael has all the keys to the city.
The Draycott and the Raphael have 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 both London and Paris. Please let us know as soon as possible if you want more time in either place.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
- Ten(10) nights lodging as indicated: five(5) in London, and five(5) in Paris.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Five(5) escorted days' racing: at Ascot, Windsor, Chantilly, and Longchamp, including transportation to and from the racecourse, members' enclosure admission or equivalent, and race card. Reserved seating at Longchamp October 6 and October 7.
- Lunch on Five(5) days: at Ascot Racecourse September 29, at Windsor Racecourse October 1, on "Farm & Barn" day, October 2, on the Eurostar train October 3, and at Longchamp Racecourse October 6.
- Afternoon Tea at Ascot Racecourse September 29.
- Half-day's sightseeing in Windsor October 1, including coach and boat transportation, entrance admission to Windsor Castle, and private guide.
- Full-Day "Farm & Barn" excursion to either Newmarket, Sussex, or Lambourn, including a trainer's yard and at least one Thoroughbred farm.
- Full-Day excursion to Chantilly, including the training gallops and visit to a trainer's yard.
- Transfer from London airport to the Draycott Hotel, London.
- Transfer from Draycott Hotel, London, to Waterloo Train Station.
- First-class seat on Eurostar train from London to Paris.
- Transfer from Gare du Nord to Raphael Hotel, Paris.
- Transfer from Raphael Hotel to Paris airport.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails at the Draycott Hotel, London.
- Accompaniment throughout by a racewise and affable American escort.
*We reserve the right to substitute economy-class air transport, without lunch, from London to Paris in lieu of the Eurostar train, if the September Eurostar schedule proves to be unsuitable, with transfer from Paris airport to the Raphael Hotel. This change, in the unlikely event it is made, will be posted prior to the Closing Date of the trip.
The itinerary does not include:
- Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
- Dinner on any night, or lunch except on days indicated.
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 our drivers and the hotel staffs on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including 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:
$5,975 per person, based on double occupancy (Twelve or more travelers)
$6,175 per person, based on double occupancy (Ten or eleven travelers)
$6,375 per person, based on double occupancy (Eight or nine travelers)
$1,725 single supplement.*
Please note that on "Farm & Barn" day, October 2, a visit to Newmarket will add approximately $60 per person to the cost of the trip, due to the Jockey Club lunch and other related costs.
Please note we have still not received final pricing for some minor elements of this trip, and the trip price is therefore subject to very minor adjustment until we do.
*The Draycott in London has a few small double rooms that are suitable for single travelers, and they add very little to the single supplement price quoted above. Single trip members may upgrade to a standard double room, with an addition of $875 to the Single Supplement. Single trip members wishing to be accommodated in a deluxe double must add $1,225 to the Single Supplement. There is no assurance that single or standard double rooms will be available at The Draycott until they are booked. At the Raphael in Paris, singles will be accommodated in the same class of double rooms as the double-occupancy members of the group.
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 traveler's 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, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rates:
1 US $ = 0.513 UK pound // 1 UK pound = 1.95 US $
1 US $ = 0.758 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.32 US $
- Additional Nights at the Draycott Hotel, London and / or the Raphael Hotel, Paris, if available: will vary, depending on length of stay and specific nights chosen. Please inquire.
*Please note that the day we attend Ascot Race Course is not part of the Royal Ascot meeting.
*The trips are designed for eight to sixteen people. We reserve the right to cancel a trip if it has less than eight subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom and France.
View the itineraries for our other 2007 trips:
For May-June, click here For August, click here
Racing photos © www.actionplus.co.uk
Quote by John Randall and Tony Morris from A Century of Champions, published in 1999 by Portway Press Ltd., Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 1XE
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