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Welcome to Lebanon! This journey along the Routes of Lebanon takes you on a discovery of the country’s archaeological riches. You can explore the ruins of the Greek-Roman era, including the famous sites of Byblos and Tyre. You’ll also have the chance to venture into the hinterland at an altitude of 1,000 meters, discovering thousand-year-old valleys and caves, and visiting Roman monasteries and cathedrals. Come and discover the history, culture and diverse landscapes of this fascinating country.
A day to discover Beirut. Follow the guide as we take you through the must-sees and the most picturesque districts. The French-speaking guide who accompanies you will tell you about the evolution of the city’s urban planning, intimately linked to the community and religious issues that make Beirut a completely atypical city. You’ll take in private alleyways where old Beirut palaces hide, invisible from the main thoroughfares, and also discover contemporary cultural and artistic dynamism.
The next day you’ll visit the city of Baalbek and the Bekaa Valley. The ancient city, located in the north of the Bekaa plain, is made up of ruins from the Greco-Roman era, with older traces of the Semitic period. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The complex of three giant temples left by the Romans includes:
The Temple of Bacchus, one of the best-preserved temples in the Greco-Roman world,
The temple of Jupiter, of which six granite columns remain,
The temple of Venus.
Breakfast then drive with your driver to Douma, 1000 m above sea level, in the Batroun hinterland. On the way, stop-off to visit Byblos and the Jeita cave.
A remarkable site, Byblos, or Jbeil in Arabic, has been continuously inhabited for almost 7,000 years! A real treat for lovers of archaeological millefeuille. The medieval walls enclose a mosque (17th century), a Genoese church, a Crusader castle (12th century), a souk… The ancient ruins dominate the small fishing port and the Phoenician harbor, from which wine and cedar wood were traded with Egypt and Greece. Among the piled-up remains are the tombs of the kings of Byblos. Christianity is said to have been planted here by the evangelist Mark. For more recent periods, beautiful traditional houses (generally 19th century).
18 kilometers north of Beirut, in Lebanon’s Nahr el-Kelb valley, the Jeita cave is a source of pride for the Lebanese. A remnant of prehistoric times, it was discovered over half a century ago and comprises two caves: the upper and lower sections. In 1836, the Reverend William Thomson, an American missionary, made the discovery of the lower cave. He ventured up to 50 meters into this cave, through which a river flows, forming a lake near the entrance (the “Black Lake”). In 1958, Lebanese speleologists discovered the upper part of the cave, located 60 meters above the lower cave and now accessible to visitors via a specially designed walkway. Since then, the cave has become a must-see attraction and a jewel of nature.
Arrive in Douma and spend two nights in the upper town at Beit Douma. The 19th-century facade, with its yellow shutters highlighted in crimson, immediately marks an opulence acquired abroad and repatriated to the village of its birth. Patrimonial. Inside, the decor makes use of beautiful fabrics, highlights splendid ceilings and arranges pretty surprises in the international geometric spirit. Surrounded by orchards and olive groves, local livestock and vegetable gardens, the hotel serves up tasty local breakfasts. It’s a bit like living in an unfamiliar family home…
Today enjoy the hotel or explore the region. You could visit historic sites such as St. Anthony’s Monastery (optional). From one old church to another, meditate on a Phoenician wall or the Crusader-Ottoman fortress of Mseilha, on the banks of the Nahr el-Jaouz. The lemonade, which is a speciality of the town, quenches thirst to perfection.
From Bécharré, a winding road leads to the plateau known as Les Cèdres. Beyond the ski resort is the cedar grove. The grove of around 300 cedars is a relic and a precious witness to the forests for which Lebanon has been famous since time immemorial. The Egyptians used cedar wood for their temples and sunboats. Hiram sent some to Solomon for the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, and the Phoenician fleet was built from this precious wood. A path through the majestic trees allows you to admire some of the cedars, which reach a height of 35 metres and a circumference of 14 metres. A dozen of them are thought to be millennia old.
In the afternoon, you can continue your journey a good 8 km from the coastal road leading to Tripoli. Eight centuries ago, Cistercian monks founded their first overseas abbey on a promontory and named it Belmont. Known today as Balamand, it is the site of an Orthodox monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint George.
Road to Beirut. Two nights’ accommodation in the heart of Beirut at the famous Phoenicia Hotel.
Back when Lebanon was known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”, Najib Salha, a prominent Lebanese businessman, decided to build a magnificent hotel in Beirut. In December 1961, under the aegis of the Société des Grands Hôtels du Liban, Hotel Phoenicia opened its doors for the first time to kings, queens, world leaders, celebrities and businessmen. The crème de la crème from the four corners of the globe have made the Phoenicia Hotel their home here.
A new player in the luxury hotel segment is born. Imagine a grand hotel designed by renowned American architect Edward Durell Stone, combining an elegant exterior with a fabulous, majestic interior. Then imagine splendid rooms and suites, refined restaurants, glamorous boutiques and indoor and outdoor pools.
Departure with your private driver to visit the Chouf and the south of the country (Sidon, Tyre).
A Druze stronghold, the Chouf is one of Lebanon’s most beautiful regions. It can be reached from the Mediterranean coast road at the town of Damour, home to some beautiful beaches. The road that climbs to the towns of Deir-el-Qamar and Beiteddine offers spectacular landscapes of gorges, river and forests, as well as unspoilt villages whose traditional architecture contrasts with the concrete coastline invaded by hideous buildings. A must-see in this mountainous region is Beit ed Dine, an elegant Moorish palace listed as a historic monument, built in the last century by Emir Bechir and now the summer residence of the presidents of the Lebanese Republic, Deir-el-Qamar with its picturesque narrow streets, the capital of Mount Lebanon in the early 17th century under the Druze emir Fakhr-al-Din II, which has preserved its typical architecture and houses an interesting wax museum, the Château Moussa, and the Barouk Cedars, the largest in Lebanon.
Last day free to enjoy the region, then transfer to Beirut airport for your return flight.
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