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ARC WEEK IN FRANCE
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
SEPTEMBER 28 to OCTOBER 5, 2015
4 nights in Paris, 2 nights in Chantilly
days of racing at Longchamp, Chantilly, Saint-Cloud, and Compiegne
area visit in Chantilly
The Arc-eve Sale of Horses in Training
Depart the U.S., if not joining
the trip from Paris or elsewhere.
|Arrive in Paris. You will be
met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation in nearby
Chantilly. We're here in Chantilly two nights for several reasons:
racing is scheduled locally for tomorrow and in nearby Compiegne on
Thursday; the superb new Jeu de Paume hotel in the center of town is
well located for exploration of the town's sights, and being
here longer will give us a better opportunity to see and do more
before we move on to Paris later in the week.
And Charles de Gaulle airport is just as
close to Chantilly as it is to central Paris, so by
starting here we'll be saving ourselves a good deal of back-and-forth
driving throughout the week.
The remainder of your arrival day is free for
adjustment and your own activities. Around about 5:30PM we'll convene in
the hotel bar for a drink or two, to get to know each other and get
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. It's
not always easy, but we'll do our best to make it an early
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 the centre-ville. 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 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. To learn more you can visit
the hotel website at www.aubergedujeudepaumechantilly.fr. A buffet breakfast is included each morning of our
|Up early this morning and
out for a long look at the racehorse training center of
Chantilly. Similar to Newmarket in England or The Curragh in
Ireland, Chantilly is the main headquarters for French trainers and over a
hundred are in residence here, working with a horse population
of more than 3,000. The center covers nearly a thousand
acres and includes grass, sand, and artificial gallops in open areas and
We'll go out with an Arc-winning trainer to see all
the different parts of it, and follow up with brunch at his yard.
Shortly after mid-day we'll be back at the hotel.
You'll then have a few hours to yourself to relax or to explore
Chantilly on your own. This might be a good time to visit the Museum of
the Horse or the Chateau, both of which are in the immediate
Racing starts at 4PM. We'll get over to the
course about then, but we'll also arrange a rendezvous point for
those who might want to continue on their own until a bit later
in the afternoon. There are no major races scheduled for today, but the
Chantilly course's elegant atmosphere will be on display as usual.
Home to the French Derby
and Oaks, and in action since 1834, this is certainly one of the world's
most extraordinarily situated racetracks. Providing the backdrop are the
famous Grands Ecuries (Grand Stables), built by the Prince de
Conde for his horses in the 1700's, and currently housing the Horse Museum
– you'll recognize the view when you see it. 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.
At the course 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 have no specific plans for the evening. It's easy
walking distance, so anyone can return to the hotel on their own at their
time of choice. The racing will last until about 8PM. You might want to
try the fine-dining restaurant in the hotel, something more casual in the
town, or just relax with room service.
|In 2015 we again have good
luck with the fixture list on this
pre-Arc Thursday. Racing is scheduled at the charming
course in Compiegne, a small city not far from Chantilly and rich with
history. After checkout from
the Jeu de Paume, we'll head out and do some sightseeing on our way to the
Compiegne looms large in the story of France. Charles
the Bald built the first palace here in the 800s, and
also supported an abbey around which the town gradually grew. In
1430 Joan of Arc was captured here by the Burgundians and the
English. French kings visited Compiegne for hundreds of years
and Louis XV ordered a massive reconstruction of the palace in the
1700s to get it up to the comfort-and-grandeur level of
Versailles and Fontainebleau.
In recent times it's best known for
the signing of the armistice ending World War I, in the forest just to the
east of town. The French Marshal Foch received the German delegation in a
railway car, and later a landscaped memorial including the rail car was
built on the spot. When Germany defeated France in 1940, Hitler insisted
that the peace be signed in the same place. The original car was taken to
Berlin and burned, but after World War II a replica was brought and the
Today the "Armistice Clearing" includes a small museum
and provides a thought-provoking experience. It will be our one definite
stop on the way to the racecourse. There's quite a bit else to see in
Compiegne – including the palace itself and the Second Empire Museum
within, and another fascinating museum of historical miniature figurines.
As the town center is only a kilometer or so from the racecourse, we'll do
our best to accommodate those for whom the racing might be less than an
The Compiegne course is peaceful and lovely, and
though once again there will be no major events on tap it's a nice
opportunity to experience the flavor of casual French country racing.
We'll lunch at the course.
Following the races we'll continue on to central Paris
and our lodging at the Raphael Hotel. After check-in and weather
permitting, we might want to regroup in the rooftop bar for cocktails.
We'll also make a group dinner booking, open to those interested on a
We've made our Paris home at the Raphael Hotel since 2004 and
never been disappointed. Many of our travelers have returned to it on
subsequent independent trips to Paris. We particularly appreciate it
because, more than any of the other top city hotels, it has avoided the
glass-and-marble international style and retained its atmosphere of
traditional Parisian luxury. The rooms are spacious, there's a fine
restaurant, a cozy "English" bar that's one of the most famous in the
city, and of course the 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 details on the hotel.
|After two busy days, this
could be a morning for a sleep-in or an otherwise lazy start to the day.
You might even want to use the day to be completely on your own.
Not to say we won't be going to the
track however. They are 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 in recent years has included
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
A racing day at pretty Saint-Cloud is always a
pleasure. The course has its own unique ambiance and the normal light
crowd on this weekday allows us to enjoy it peacefully. We'll have access to the comfortable Owners' Bar.
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. We can
hook you up with one of the nicer operators.
|Arc Weekend starts today
at majestic Longchamp Racecourse, without question one of
the world's most beautiful urban racecourses – where the Eiffel Tower
rising above the trees of the Bois de Boulogne serves as an unofficial
ten-furlong pole and a reminder of where you are.
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 Longchamp without the masses that will be
here tomorrow for the Arc itself. It's a good day to learn your way
Both today and tomorrow we'll have a block of
well-located reserved seats with excellent viewing of the racing, plus
access to the best parts of the grounds. Our normal approach is to catch
bites to eat where and when we choose, but for those wanting to book
raceday hospitality at one of the several restaurants, we can steer you in
the right direction.
The specific races carded on "Arc Saturday" vary from
year to year, and the 2015 scheduling is not finalized as
yet. The last few years have featured four Group 2s – the
Chaudenay, Royallieu, Dollar, and Daniel Wildenstein – for various age
groups and at distances ranging from a mile to almost two miles. In
the not-distant past one or two of the weekend's seven Group 1 events were moved to the Saturday, and that could still happen this
Following the racing, there is the traditional Arc-eve
horses-in-training sale at Saint-Cloud Racecourse, and we'll continue on
directly from Longchamp for it. This sale has a relaxed,
informal, and very French feel and it's a good opportunity to interact
with the local racing people. Those not interested in the sale can taxi
straight back to the hotel from Longchamp.
All things factored in, we rate the Arc
de Triomphe as the greatest flat race in the world. It wins in a photo
from the Derby at Epsom and its Kentucky and Irish counterparts, the Ascot
Gold Cup, and the Melbourne Cup.
In the post-war era the mile-and-a-half Arc has been
Europe's definitive race, and despite the
recent proliferation of competing fall championships it
retains that place of importance. If a horse is laying claim to
be European Horse of the Year, and is operating on four good legs and two
good lungs, he or she is still expected to run in the Arc and prove
it. And by long-standing custom, reinforced lately by a huge Middle
Eastern money purse enhancement, almost all the top contenders do indeed
The race's idiosyncrasies - a large and
potentially congested field, the often testing ground – emphasize the
difficulty. And although many a pretender has been humbled here, the
greatest usually find a way to win it: 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 as
follows: "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 expressed any 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 are
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 only added more colors to the mix. For the
ladies there's also the fashion angle: Paris in October -- the start of a
new season of vogue and a chance for 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 usually large 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
Besides the Arc, there are six 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; the important Prix
de l'Opera for fillies and mares over ten furlongs, 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. Some years all of these are run on the Sunday, and
on occasion one or more are carded on the Saturday. Either way it's still
the closest thing Europe has to a Breeders' Cup.
We'll have our same well-located block of reserved
seats for 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, we'll probably want to re-gather
in the bar and have some last laughs together. Dinner will happen at some
|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
This trip will close on August 3, 2015. 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 full and busy. If you would
like more of a leisurely experience, we invite you to consider coming to
Chantilly earlier and/or staying on in Paris after our trip concludes. In
Chantilly, The Museum of the Horse and the Chateau are unfortunately closed on
Tuesday (which is Day 2, the "arrival" day of our itinerary). An early-enough
arrival on Monday would make it possible for a visit to either attraction
(although arguably there will be time enough for both in the middle of our
Day 3 Wednesday, assuming a late arrival at the races).
The fall is many people's favorite time of year in Paris.
The Raphael 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 itinerary includes:
The itinerary does not include:
- Two(2) nights' lodging at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume in
- Four(4) nights' lodging at the Raphael Hotel in Paris.
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Brunch on One(1) Day: In Chantilly September 30.
- Lunch on One(1) Day: At Comnpiegne Raceourse on October
- Five(5) escorted days of racing at Longchamp, Chantilly,
Saint-Cloud, and Compiegne, including admission, transportation to and from
the course, and race card. 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.
- Excursion to the World War I Armistice Clearing, and
assistance with other independent sightseeing in Compiegne.
- Visit to the Arc-eve horses-in-training sale at
- Transfer from Paris airport to the Auberge du Jeu de
- Transfer from Chantilly (via Compiegne) to the Raphael
- Transfer from the Raphael 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
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
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
- 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
- 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.
$3,575 per person, based on double occupancy (thirteen or
$3,675 per person, based on double occupancy (ten to twelve
$3,825 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine
$1,350 single supplement.
*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
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
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 $ = 0.909 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.10 US $
**Please note we have provisionally lowered the pricing for this trip due to the strength of the U.S. Dollar against the Euro in early 2015. The new pricing is based on an exchange rate of $1.10 to the Euro, the prevailing rate in late April 2015. This is a reduction of $300 per person compared to the original pricing. The trip price, as always, is subject to adjustment based on currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Additional Nights at The Raphael 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 to a deluxe "Boudoir" room at the Raphael Hotel
for $160 per person, double occupancy. See the Raphael Hotel website for
particulars on the rooms.
Reserved hospitality at Longchamp Racecourse on Saturday
October 3 and/or Sunday October 4. 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
*You must have a valid passport to enter France.
*Please note the 2015 French racing schedule for non-major
days has still not been officially finalized as of December 1, 2014. Changes to
the provisional schedule, although unlikely, may result in our racing days being
shifted from one day to another in the itinerary.
*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
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 photos © www.actionplus.co.uk
courtesy of the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Peter Kastner, Oise Tourism
Office, Candace Wong, and Arthur Frank
View the Itinerary for our other 2015 trips:
For June (England), click here
For June (Ireland), click here
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