Normandy & Brittany Tours 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 Price: $7,590 (2017 pricing available until October 31st)
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Tour price includes:
Roundtrip airfare from Boston or New York (airfare price can be deducted)
12 nights in charming châteaux and inns, always with private baths
12 breakfasts, 9 gourmet dinners
Full time tour leader
Transportation in comfortable, air-conditioned mini-coach or minivan
In Normandy, highlights include: Les Andelys, Rouen, Mont Saint Michel, Bayeux, Caen, Normandy Beaches, Pointe du Hoc, Honfleur, Etretat, and Giverny
In Brittany, highlights include: Dinan, Saint Malo, Cancale
Complete tour of the Landing Beaches with Norman World War II expert (best of all Normandy tours!)
Visit to a Calvados brand and cider distillery
All tour guides, museum and monument entrance fees, tips, and taxes
Depart the United States, flying overnight to Paris.
From the Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport we drive about 30 minutes to our luxurious hotel in the town of Chantilly. We have time to rest after our flight and then enjoy a gourmet welcome dinner.
Overnight: Chantilly Meals: D
Chantilly, Rouen, Honfleur
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. Continue 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.
Overnight: Honfleur Meals: B, D
We take a guided walking tour of Honfleur and have free time to enjoy this beautiful village. Dinner tonight is a gastronomic delight.
Overnight: Honfleur | Meals: B, D
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
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
Bayeux, Normandy beaches
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 codenamed 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 cliIs 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
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 suIered 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
Bayeux, Mont Saint Michel, Dinan
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 oIers 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 Dinan, our home for the next three nights. 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
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 (served at mid-day)
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 return to Dinan for more free time before dinner.
Overnight: Dinan | Meals: B
Dinan, Camembert, Connelles
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. A delicious dinner is served in the lovely dining room.
Overnight: Connelles | Meals: B, D
Connelles, Giverny, Les Andelys
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 home.
Overnight: Connelles | Meals: B, D
In the morning we drive to the Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport for the return flight home.
See photos from the 2017 Normandy Tour