Normandy & Brittany, France

Normandy & Brittany, France

Normandy & Brittany Tour Snapshot

Prepare yourselves for a spectacular journey into France’s past, its gastronomic pleasures, and the charm of its villages and its people. Normandy combines a 360-mile dramatic coastline, including the landing beaches, farmlands, bustling market towns and historic landmarks such as the cities of Caen, Bayeux and Rouen. The king of all Normandy tours, enjoy a gourmet voyage through the fascinating history of this region, from William the Conqueror’s castles to Anne of Bretagne’s fortress to Joan of Arc’s last days in Rouen to the Allied invasion. Breton oysters and cider, Norman Calvados and Camembert.

Tour Dates: August 31 – September 13, 2020
Tour Price: $7,590

Tour price includes:

  • Round trip airfare from Boston or NY to Paris*
  • 12 nights in lovely 3- and 4-star inns
  • 12 breakfasts, 9 dinners
  • Full-time tour leader
  • Transportation by comfortable mini-coach or mini-van
  • Airport transfers to and from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
  • Highlights in Normandy: Rouen, Honfleur, Etretat, Bayeux, Caen, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Mont Saint Michel, Giverny, Les Andelys
  • Highlights in Brittany: Dinan, Saint Malo, Cancale
  • Full day tour of the World War II Landing Beaches with a local expert guide
  • Visit to a Calvados brandy and cider distillery
  • All tour guides, museum/monument entrance fees, tips, and taxes

Optional Paris Add-on: Spend a night in Paris before your tour begins!
Includes transfer from CDG Paris airport and a night in a Paris hotel

Tour price is per person based on double occupancy.
Single supplements are available for those traveling alone who would like their own room.
*Cost of airfare can be deducted if you wish to make your own arrangements.

Normandy & Brittany, France Itinerary

Depart the US, flying overnight to Paris.

Day 1
Arrive at the Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport and head to the medieval city of Rouen, Normandy’s capital. Rest from your trip and explore this quaint, lively town. Tonight enjoy a gourmet welcome dinner.
Overnight: Rouen Meals: D
Day 2
Our expert local guide takes us on a fascinating walking tour, following the footsteps of Joan of Arc. Rouen’s cathedral, painted so many times by Claude Monet, is magnificent. After lunch, we take a lovely drive through the countryside to the harbor town of Honfleur. Our hotel for three nights is a beautiful 18th-century manor house, complete with its own tapestries, chandeliers and period furniture.  Dinner tonight is a gastronomic delight
Overnight: Honfleur Meals: B, D
Day 3
We take a guided walking tour of Honfleur and have free time to enjoy this beautiful village. In the afternoon we visit a local Calvados distillery for a taste of this famous apple brandy. Dinner tonight is on the waterfront.
Overnight: Honfleur Meals: B, D
Day 4
Our day begins with a drive along the coast to Etretat, where we take a cliff walk for a spectacular view of the English Channel. Enjoy lunch on the ocean, then return to Honfleur for a free evening.
Overnight: Honfleur Meals: B
Day 5
We drive west to Bayeux, where our hotel in the center of the old town is our base for the next three nights and is just eight kilometers from the WWII Landing Beaches. A visit to the museum built to display the Bayeux Tapestry is a fascinating and pleasant way to understand the history of William the Conqueror’s defeat of King Harold and the Norman conquest of England. It is a unique medieval work of art, the oldest known tapestry, measuring 203 feet long. It displays incredible details of the events and lifestyle of the 11th century. We will also visit the magnificent Bayeux Cathedral. You will love exploring the charming streets of this Norman town and have lunch on your own. We enjoy a gourmet dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Bayeux Meals: B, D
Day 6
Our local guide is an expert on the history of the World War II Normandy Invasion. He spends a whole day showing us the most important sites. At Omaha Beach the impressive American cemetery, with its 9,385 marble crosses, is unforgettable. From Colleville-sur-Mer to Vierville, we study the history of the Allied invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, called Operation Overlord. The largest invasion fleet in history landed at the beaches code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The Monument to the 5th Engineer Special Brigade commemorates those who lost their lives while protecting the men in the landing craft and on the beaches. At Pointe du Hoc we see the steep cliffs which the Allied soldiers had to climb to attack the German defenses. On this site 135 specially trained Rangers of the 2nd Battalion lost their lives in the attack. The 116th Regiment of the US infantry tirelessly fought the Germans who resisted in vain. The sight is covered with craters from hundreds of shells, and the smashed blockhouses have been left as a living museum to record the historic battle. We return later in the day for dinner in Bayeux.
Overnight: Bayeux Meals: B, D
Day 7
We begin the day with a short ride to Caen to visit the WWII Memorial Museum. In 1944 Caen was at the center of the Battle of Normandy and suffered tremendously. Today the memorial is meant to be a “Museum for Peace” in hopes that all those who visit will believe that the horrors of such a war must never be repeated. After this World War II history lesson we journey back through the centuries to William the Conqueror’s Caen. We see the two abbeys he built in the 11th century, where William and his wife Matilda are buried, and the castle William built in 1066. We return to Bayeux for a free evening.
Overnight: Bayeux Meals: B
Day 8
Leaving Bayeux, we drive south to enjoy a visit to the spectacular Mont Saint Michel, France’s most visited treasure. The ancient abbey, which has always played an active role in French history, is truly a wonder. Set atop a hill which becomes an island when the tides are at their highest, it is visible for miles around and offers a splendid view of the surrounding coast and tidal marshes. It has been a place of worship and refuge for more than 2,000 years and has also been a fortress and a prison. Much of the abbey was built in the 10th century, but the whole complex of religious buildings took over 1,000 years to complete. After a guided tour of the abbey, we have time to wander on our own and choose the most enticing crêperie for lunch.

Driving westward into Brittany, we arrive at the charming town of St Malo, our home for the next three nights. Tonight we enjoy a dinner of regional Breton specialties.

Overnight: St. Malo Meals: B, D
Day 9
Today we take a guided walking tour of St Malo and then visit Cancale, known throughout Europe for its abundance of oysters. We’ll find out if they taste as good as their reputation claims. We enjoy a sumptuous seafood lunch in a château on a hill overlooking the ocean before returning to St Malo along the stunning coastal route. St Malo is a delightful port on the Atlantic Ocean. Most striking are St Malo’s massive 12th-century ramparts, which offer a splendid walk, looking out over the harbor and islands. The historic old center is a maze of medieval streets, quaint boutiques, sidewalk cafés, and beautiful Breton houses.
Overnight: St. Malo Meals: B, D (served at mid-day)
Day 10
Today, we take a drive to Dinan for a guided walking tour. Dinan is as quaint as you can imagine, with narrow medieval streets, beautifully restored half-timbered houses, the ruins of a castle, and lovely gardens at every turn. We walk the ancient ramparts that surround the town for lovely views and then return to St Malo for dinner on your own.
Overnight: St. Malo Meals: B
Day 11
Today we cross back into Normandy, stopping in the tiny village of Camembert for a picnic of fresh Camembert cheese and baguettes. We arrive at our final destination, the tiny Norman village of Connelles. Our hotel is a elegant manor house, remarkably situated over the Seine River. A delicious dinner is served in the lovely dining room.
Overnight: Connelles Meals: B, D
Day 12
This morning we visit Claude Monet’s home and the spectacular gardens in Giverny. Afterward we can visit the nearby Museum of American Art with its collection of works of art by 40 American artists, many of whom were influenced by Monet and came to Giverny to paint. After lunch we visit the beautiful ruins of the 12th century Château Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart in Les Andelys, a charming medieval village.  Tonight we enjoy our farewell dinner at home.
Overnight: Connelles Meals: B, D
Day 13
In the morning we drive to the Paris Airport for the return flight home.
Meals: B

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