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Normandy and Brittany, France
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Normandy and Brittany, France

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 12 day(s)
Group Size: 8 - 16 people
Destination(s): France  
Specialty Categories: Military History   Cultural Journey  
Season: June
Airfare Included: Yes
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 6599 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 6599 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Dates: June 2-15

Day 1
From the Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport we drive northwest to the medieval city of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. Our local guide shows us this beautiful medieval city, steeped in history and memories of Joan of Arc. You’ll recognize the cathedral from the famous Monet paintings—our hotel is directly across the street.
Overnight: Rouen Meals: D

Day 2
In the morning we drive to the lovely harbor town of Honfleur, where our hotel for three nights is a beautiful 18th century manor house, complete with its own tapestries, chandeliers and period furniture. We enjoy a gourmet dinner in the old town.
Overnight: Honfleur Meals: B, D

Day 3
We take a guided walking tour of Honfleur and have free time to enjoy this beautiful village.
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. On the way back to Honfleur, we stop at a calvados distillery for a taste of this famous apple brandy. Dinner upon return to Honfleur is on your own.
Overnight: Honfleur | Meals: B

Day 5
Next we drive west to Bayeux, where our quaint 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 life style of the 11th century.
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 will study the history of the Allied invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, or what was 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 War II 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 time to explore before dinner.
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 our home for the next three nights, the charming town of Dinan. 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 on all sides and have a special dinner of regional Breton specialties.
Overnight: Dinan | Meals: B, D

Day 9
Today we take a guided walking tour of Dinan, and then on an excursion to 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 on the stunning coastal route back to Dinan.
Overnight: Dinan | Meals: B, D

Day 10
We begin the day with a visit to Dinan’s more famous neighbor, St-Malo, 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 old houses. We have more time later in the day exploring Dinan again with time for a boat ride on the Rance River before dinner.
Overnight: Dinan | Meals: B, D

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 magnificent manor house, remarkably situated over the Seine River.
Overnight: Connelles | Meals: B, D

Day 12
This morning we visit Claude Monet’s lovely home and its spectacular gardens in Giverny. Afterward we can visit the adjacent 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 Château Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century in Les Andelys, a charming medieval village. Tonight we enjoy our farewell dinner at our beautiful villa.
Overnight: Connelles | Meals: B, D

Day 13
In the morning we drive to the Paris airport for the return flight home.
Meals: B

Airfare is included in the tour price.

Tour price includes:

Roundtrip airfare from Boston or New York (airfare price can be deducted)
12 nights in lovely 3 and 4 star châteaux and inns, always with private baths
12 breakfasts, 10 gourmet dinners
Full time tour leader
Transportation in comfortable, air-conditioned minibus
In Normandy, visits to: Les Andelys, Rouen, Mont Saint Michel, Bayeux, Caen, Normandy Beaches, Arromanches, Pointe du Hoc, Honfleur, Etretat, and Giverny
In Brittany, visits to: Fougères, Dinan, Saint Malo, Cancale, and Vitrè
Complete tour of the Landing Beaches with Norman World War II expert (best of all Normandy tours!)
Opportunity to see how Norman cheese and Calvados brandy are made
All tour guides, museum and monument entrance fees, tips, and taxes

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Europe   France   History Whiz   Military History   Cultural Journey