Image: Eiffel Tower in the 7th Arrondissement, Paris
Stéphane Querbes  /  Paris Tourist Office
Get round-trip airfare on Air France, six nights' accommodations, round-trip hotel transfers, breakfast daily, a Bateaux Mouches river cruise, tickets to a Paradis Latin show, a city map, hotel taxes, and fuel surcharges, from $1,139.
updated 11/20/2008 12:33:47 PM ET 2008-11-20T17:33:47

Choose from a four-night getaway to Nice, a six-night stay in Paris with a river cruise and cabaret tickets, or a weeklong tour of the Loire Valley's castles and vineyards.

Nice, air/4 nights, from $599

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare on Air France or Delta, four nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, and service charges, from $599 per person—plus $442 in airport taxes and fuel surcharges.

When: Departs daily through March 31, 2009.

Gateways: New York City; add $35 for D.C.; $53 for Seattle; $55 for Boston; $67 for Chicago; $109 for Miami; $122 for San Francisco; $143 for Houston; $176 for Atlanta; $177 for L.A.

The fine print: The $442 per person in extra charges breaks down to $112 in airport taxes and a $330 fuel surcharge. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $599. Seven-day advance purchase is required.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

Contact: TourCrafters, 800/621-2259, tourcrafters.com.

Why it's a deal: The eye-catching base price may be $599, but once you factor in the hefty additional taxes and fuel surcharges of $442, the savings become modest. (When asked for explanation, a TourCrafters representative replied: "Some tour operators have included the fuel surcharges in their package prices, but because the fuel surcharges depend on the airlines, not the tour operator, TourCrafters chose not to include them. The theory was they could go up or down and TourCrafters could make the changes accordingly.") Consider in comparison that a recent Kayak search yielded a $628 flight from New York City to Nice in early January (Iberia). For $413 more, including taxes, TourCrafters covers airfare as well as the four-night stay.

Trip details: The lowest trip price for the Nice Early Bird Special is based on a stay at the Hotel Monsigny Nice, which is in the middle of a Provencal market. The 44-room hotel isn't far from the museum quarter. Transfers aren't included; a taxi from the airport to the hotel will cost about $32 (it's about a 12-minute ride).

More: There are hotel upgrades available, starting from $74 per person at the Mercure Marche aux Fleurs.

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Paris, air/6 nights, from $1,139

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare on Air France, six nights' accommodations, round-trip hotel transfers, breakfast daily, a Bateaux Mouches river cruise, tickets to a Paradis Latin show, a city map, hotel taxes, and fuel surcharges, from $1,139 per person—plus $130 in airport taxes and fees.

When: Departs daily Dec. 1–11, 2008; Jan. 8–March 25, 2009. Add $120 for Dec. 12–22, 2008; $140 for Dec. 23–Jan. 7, 2009. Other dates in 2009 are available.

Gateways: New York City; add $40 for Baltimore, D.C.; $50 for St. Louis; $60 for Boston, Milwaukee, Seattle; $70 for Chicago, Cleveland; $100 for Austin, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh; $110 for Portland, Ore., Sacramento, Tucson; additional gateways available.

The fine print: Does not include airport taxes and fees of $130 per person. Hotel taxes and fuel surcharges are included. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $130. Lowest prices are based on weekday travel; add $35 per person each way for travel on Friday through Sunday.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

Contact: Air France Holidays, 800/237-2623, airfranceholidays.com.

Why it's a deal: A recent Kayak search produced a round-trip flight between New York City and Paris for $632 (Iberia) in early January. A six-night stay at the Comfort Hotel Davout Nation will cost about $249 per person. So, booking independently, you'd expect to pay about $881 per person. For $258 more, Air France is throwing in the Bateaux Mouches river cruise, a value of 135 euros ($170 at press time); the Paradis Latin cabaret show, a value of 85 euros ($107); hotel transfers; and a city map. You also get the convenience of one-stop shopping. And don't underestimate the value of having the fuel surcharges included in this base package price—as the Nice package above demonstrates, the fuel surcharges can be upwards of $300 per person.

Slideshow: Perfectly Paris

Trip details: The lowest price on the Paris Affair vacation includes a six-night stay at the 65-room Comfort Hotel Davout Nation, in the city's 20th arrondissement, or the Comfort Hotel Lamark, in Montmartre. During the included Bateaux Mouches cruise along the Seine River, you'll be able to spot the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower. The Paradis Latin cabaret is a revue-style show with ballet, tap, and even the French cancan.

More: There are lots of hotel upgrades available, starting at $90 more per person at the Comfort Hotel Mouffetard all the way up to $1,070 more per person at the Sofitel Paris le Scribe hotel. Extend your stay at the Comfort Hotel Davout Nation from $107 per room per night.

Loire Valley, 7-night escorted tour, for $1,651

The Real Deal: Seven nights' accommodations, ground transportation, the services of an English-speaking tour guide, entrance fees, and all taxes, for $1,651 per person.

When: May 2, 23, June 13, 27, July 11, 25, Aug. 8, 22, Sept. 5, 19, Oct. 3, 17, 2009.

The fine print: The price breaks down to $1,399 paid in advance for the trip and 200 euros ($252 at press time) paid in cash upon arrival to cover tips and incidentals. All other taxes and fees are included. Based on double occupancy; single travelers will be matched up with a roommate of the same gender or may request a private room for $269 more. Group size maxes out at 15 people. Allow 350 euros ($278) for meals.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

Contact: G.A.P Adventures, 800/708-7761, gapadventures.com.

Why it's a deal: The price breaks down to about $236 per person per night for accommodations and an escorted tour, with all the details mapped out for you. It's not necessarily the cheapest trip, but it's packed with remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime-type experiences and provides the convenience and reassurance of going through a tour operator.

Trip details: You'll arrange your own transportation to Tours, where you'll join the other group members for the Garden of France-Loire Valley escorted tour. (If you're arriving at the Tours airport, there's a bus shuttle to the city center for 5 euros ($6), or you can get a taxi for about $30.) The hotels for all stops aren't confirmed, but you'll meet up at the Hotel Mondial. From there, you'll set out on a tour that includes visits to Blois, Angers, the Loire castles of Chambord and Chenonceau, and the Villandry Chateau and Gardens. A half-day wine tour and tasting at a local vineyard is also part of the itinerary. You'll travel by bus, private van, and train. See the full itinerary here.

Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport for travel; a visa is not required.

For more on France, visit the country's official tourism site.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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