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Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Active
Mont St. Michel
Tour Style: Premium
9 Days from $2,516 per person

Investigate Normandy's role in the 1066 and 1944 invasions that changed the course of history. Explore the beautiful city of St-Malo, the châteaux of the Loire and gleaming Paris.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. On arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, your airport transfers leave for the hotel at 08:30, 11:00 & 13:30. After checking in, the capital's grand boulevards and world-famous landmarks are yours to explore. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening.

    meal(s):DW
    hotel:Le Meridien Etoile, Paris.
  3. Follow the River Seine to Rouen, capital of Normandy, to admire its ancient cathedral - a masterpiece of the Gothic style and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. Wander through the narrow streets beneath the Great Clock to the Old Market Square. Here, a superb modern church commemorates the burning of Joan of Arc on this very spot in 1431. Continue into the rich dairy lands of Normandy and stop in the charming fishing town of Honfleur, which has somehow escaped the ravages of time. Visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum that chronicles the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 before continuing to your hotel, perched on the historic coast where the D-Day landings took place. With the evening at your leisure, perhaps choose to travel the lanes of Normandy up to a 17th century cider farm? The excursion includes learning about the production of cider and a tasting of the local tipple, before continuing to the seaside for a dinner of local specialties, served with wine.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin (2 nights).
  4. There are poignant reminders of World War II as you travel past Juno and Gold beaches, which both played a part in the 1944 Normandy landings. Visit the D-Day Museum and see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of Saint-Laurent near Omaha Beach before following the route of the Rangers and visiting the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. Enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, and served with wines from the local region.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin.
  5. Journey through Bocage country for an exploration of the hilltop abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel with your Local Expert. The abbey stands on an island and is reached by a causeway across the shining sands. Behind the outer ring of defenses huddles the small town - it's one street containing shops, cafes and hotels. Continue along the Emerald Coast to stunning Saint-Malo, situated on the Rance Estuary and one of the most charming places in France. A Local Expert will take you on an exploration of the City of the Corsairs. Walk through the maze of streets of Intra Muros, the walled city, to the cathedral, the burial place of Jacques Cartier and other celebrated voyagers. At your leisure, you can wander around the ramparts of the thick city walls, offering fantastic views over the old town and the bay. By night, the town's medieval maze of winding streets is abuzz with quaint bars and restaurants.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Le Nouveau Monde, St-Malo.
  6. Head south to follow the valley of the Loire, passing the moated castle at Angers. Cross the Loire to Saumur, where a local vintner will guide you through tastings of the region's delicious wines. Journey to the fairytale Château d'Ussé. After a fascinating tour of the castle that inspired Charles Perrault to write 'Sleeping Beauty', continue on to your château hotel, where you can relax like royalty in sumptuous surroundings.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Château de Rochecotte, Loire Valley (2 nights).
  7. Head to Château de Villandry, the ‘Jewel of the Loire' and visit the glorious gardens. Ensure you don't miss the water garden, ornamental garden and kitchen garden – a stunning sea of fragrant green herbs, silvery cabbages, and purple basil. From here, return to your own superb château for relaxation and free time. At night, your Celebration evening starts with a glass of Champagne and continues with excellent service and delicious dishes in the most wholesome setting, ensuring the memory of your meal will linger long after you've returned home.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Château de Rochecotte, Loire Valley.
  8. Travelling through the vast wheat fields of La Beauce, Chartres Cathedral looms large on the horizon. Auguste Rodin called it the 'Acropolis of France,' and once inside you can marvel at the beautiful stained-glass rose window which floods the cathedral with color and light. From here, return to the French capital, where your Travel Director introduces you to all the fabulous sights including the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and the immense facades of the Louvre. Behold the vast Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine once stood, then travel down the Champs Elysées to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe. After dark, the City of Light really lives up to its name when the monuments, buildings and bridges are lit up in all their glory. For that special touch of excitement and glamour don't miss the chance to experience one of the world-famous cabaret shows.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Paris Marriott Rive Gauche.
  9. Departure transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 & 11:00

    meal(s):BB
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30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.
  • Definite Departure
  • Bastille Day
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
6 Apr 18 14 Apr 18 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Apr 18 21 Apr 18 $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
20 Apr 18 28 Apr 18 checkmark $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
27 Apr 18 5 May 18 checkmark $2,795$2,516pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
4 May 18 12 May 18 checkmark $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
11 May 18 19 May 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
18 May 18 26 May 18 checkmark $2,850pp Call 1-877-622-9109
25 May 18 2 Jun 18 checkmark $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
1 Jun 18 9 Jun 18 checkmark $2,850pp Request Quote Book Now
8 Jun 18 16 Jun 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
15 Jun 18 23 Jun 18 checkmark $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
22 Jun 18 30 Jun 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Jun 18 7 Jul 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
6 Jul 18 14 Jul 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Bastille Day
13 Jul 18 21 Jul 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
20 Jul 18 28 Jul 18 checkmark $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
27 Jul 18 4 Aug 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
3 Aug 18 11 Aug 18 checkmark $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
10 Aug 18 18 Aug 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
17 Aug 18 25 Aug 18 checkmark $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
24 Aug 18 1 Sep 18 $2,825$2,543pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
31 Aug 18 8 Sep 18 checkmark $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
7 Sep 18 15 Sep 18 checkmark $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
14 Sep 18 22 Sep 18 checkmark $2,850pp Request Quote Book Now
21 Sep 18 29 Sep 18 checkmark $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
28 Sep 18 6 Oct 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
5 Oct 18 13 Oct 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
12 Oct 18 20 Oct 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
19 Oct 18 27 Oct 18 $2,850$2,565pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
  • Bastille Day: This departure contains alternate itinerary and events for Bastille Day.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $690 p.p.

Triple Room Supplement: from $60 p.p. 

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $92 per person.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

INCLUDED QUALITY DINING

7 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Bayeux:

  • The tapestry is actually a 70m long embroidery that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Look out for King Harold with an arrow in his eye!

Normandy Beaches:

  • Join an emotive journey tracing the story of the D-Day landings. With a Local Expert visit the American Military Cemetery of St. Laurent and appreciate the valour of Rudder's Rangers among the bunkers of Pointe du Hoc.

Mont-St-Michel:

  • Savor your first sight of the fortified island of Mont-St-Michel. Cross the causeway for a guided tour through the maze of halls and vaults of the massive abbey.

Château d'Ussé:

  • Visit the fairytale castle, Charles Perrault's inspiration for his tale 'Sleeping Beauty'.

Villandry:

  • Beside the Cher River stands Villandry Castle, surrounded by France's finest formal gardens.

Chartres:

  • Inside magnificent Chartres Cathedral, marvel at the stained-glass windows, a riot of rich blues and reds, justly considered the finest medieval glass in France.

Reviews

Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : I would recommend them. Everything was well organized and scheduled. The hotel selections were very good. The bus itself was very comfortable and kept very clean by the bus driver. Our tour guide, Nicolas Canfeld, was excellent. He kept us informed, shared information about the sites we visited, and was very courteous and helpful. I really enjoyed being able to stay in the same hotel for two nights - we did this twice during the seven night tour. I'm not a big fan of bus tours since my favorite way to travel is cruise ships. But I was pleasantly surprised by this tour and would consider another one with Grand European.
Vacation : Beautiful countryside and excellent tour!
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Travel agents were very helpful in booking flights, even working around our extended stay. Enjoyed Gigi's informative commentary on our rides. Local experts were knowledgeable and interesting. Optional dinners and other experiences were fun and educational. Hotels were top-notch! Not quite as active as we might have liked though.
Vacation : Beautiful and historic area in France.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Tour Guide was very good, Hotels,except 1 were fine, Food was excellent. One caution though. I told my bank that I was going to France only. When the tour guide processed by credit card for optional excursions, it was denied because her processor was listed as Great Britain. Travelers need to know this in advance.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We apologize for the confusion on taking payment for the Optional Experiences. We will address this immediately.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Vacation : I already did. What a stupid request on your part.
  • U.S. citizens traveling to France must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering France.

  • The currency in France is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in France, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in France. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • The French have an ongoing love affair with food and wine. Meals are lovingly prepared and consumed leisurely through a bevy of appetizers and main courses, usually accompanied by a number of wines. Boeuf bourgignon (beef stew with wine, herbs and vegetables), coq au vin (chicken cooked with bacon in a white wine and herb sauce) and bouillabaisse (fish stew) are featured on many menus. Cheese lovers will not be disappointed with hundreds of varieties to choose from.  And no visit would be complete without a visit to a pâtisserie, with its delicate pastries you will definitely be tempted.

    Wine is the most popular drink in France and is consumed at both lunch and dinner. Coffee is generally served black, unless a café au lait or café crème (with milk) is requested. For a simple and inexpensive lunch or snack, stop by a local bakery or food cart for a baguette au jambon (ham sandwich), crêpes, or a buckwheat galette filled with melted gruyère cheese and mushrooms. Many restaurants also offer a simple three course menu at a reasonable price.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • In France, a 15% service compris is included by law in the price of food and drink. Tipping in addition to this service charge is never expected, but always appreciated. If you’d like to leave something extra, keep in mind that even in the fanciest restaurants, people rarely tip more than 5-10%. A good rule of thumb is to leave an extra €1 for every €20 spent. Rather than adding gratuity to your credit card slip, leave coins in the tray where the check was presented to ensure that your waiter receives it.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions. 

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Paris

Bonsoir Paris

Adult Price: € 21.00

Paris at night is a city transformed. Enjoy an evening introduction to this superb 'city of lights' as we take a leisurely drive admiring the gorgeous buildings that adorn the banks of the River Seine. We will stop to allow you to capture some of these fascinating sights on camera. In summer, this excursion may take place before sunset.

Bayeux

Omaha Beach Dinner

Adult Price: € 65.00

A drive through the lanes of Normandy takes up to a 17th century cider farm where we visit and taste the local tipple: then to the seaside for a dinner of local specialities with wine included.

St Malo

Breton Evening

Adult Price: € 59.00

A short drive along the Emerald Coast road of Brittany takes us to the famous fishing village of Cancale, known throughout France for its oyster beds on the Bay of Mont St.Michel. On the menu in our delightful and rustic sea front bistro, a selection of sea food and other Breton specialties, finished off with a traditional seafarer's tot of rum!

Walking Tour With A Local Guide

Adult Price: € 31.00

A local expert will take you on an extended walking tour of the "City of the Corsairs". The guide will take you through the maze of streets of Intra Muros (the walled city) to the Cathedral which is the burial place of Jacques Cartier and other celebrated voyagers.

Loire

Dinner In Loire

Adult Price: € 66.00

Good company, good wine and delicious local specialities are the hallmarks of a great evening out in the Loire. Enjoy dinner in a traditional family-owned and operated gastronomic restaurant.

Visit The Chateau And Gardens Of Chenonceau

Adult Price: € 40.00

You are introduced to the splendour and luxury of French court life with a visit to Château de Chenonceau. Set on elegant arches spanning the River Cher, it is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in existence. A local expert recounts tales of King Henri II's mistress, Diane de Poitiers, as you tour the home she loved, but from which she was driven by the vengeful Queen, Catherine de Medici. One of the jewels of the French Renaissance, admire the rich decor, stroll beneath the trees of the Broad Walk and the formal gardens where roses and clipped lavender are laid out in typical French style.

Paris

Moulin Rouge

Adult Price: € 162.00

Why not enjoy an evening of excitement and glamour and a glass of champagne at a dazzling French cabaret show? Depending on availability it might be dinner with wine and cabaret at the world famous Moulin Rouge – the original Parisian cabaret – immortalized by the award winning film!

Nouvelle Eve Dinner and Cabaret

Adult Price: € 139.00

Dinner with wine included at one of the most prestigious cabaret shows in town! Enjoy an evening of exciting acts, stunning tableaux and wonderful entertainment - including, of course, the world famous Can-Can. A Parisian night that you will never forget!

Seine Cruise And Illuminations

Adult Price: € 38.00

The City of Light really lives up to its name when the monuments, buildings and bridges are lit up in all their glory. First, a specially designed sightseeing boat takes us for an unforgettable cruise along the Seine and beneath famous bridges to appreciate the Left and Right Banks and the Île de la Cité & St Louis. Then, with a Local Expert, we'll enjoy an illuminations tour, when the rubies & diamonds of the Champs Élysées and the Eiffel Tower are at their magnificent best.

WORLD WAR I BATTLEFIELDS OPTION: 4 DAYS

A poignant journey through Northern France, dotted with war cemeteries and memorials for those who fell in "the war to end all wars".

INCLUDES:

  • Tour the Ypres Salient battlefields
  • Tour the battlefields, Cemeteries and memorials of the Somme
  • Welcome drink and briefing
  • 3 Buffet Breakfasts (BB)
  • One-night accommodation in Lille
  • Two nights accommodation in Amiens

DAY 1: FROM PARIS TO YPRES BATTLEFIELDS AND LILLE
Depart the Paris Hotel Hyatt Regency at 09:00 bound for Flanders Fields. Visit the Ypres Salient battlefields, the Passchendaele Memorial and Tyne Cot Cemetery. In the Town of Ypres, hear the Last Post sounded at the Menin Gate. Then continue to your hotel and join your Tour Director for a Welcome Drink. (WR) Hotel: Mercure Lille Center Grand Place, Lille.

DAY 2: FROMELLES AND VIMY RIDGE, THEN ONTO AMIENS
See the Australian cemetery of Fromelles, before continuing to the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge and a visit to the trenches with a Local Expert. Continue to Amiens, (BB) Hotel: Mercure Amiens Cathedrale.

DAY 3: THE BATTLEFIELDS OF THE SOMME
Explore the key battlefields of the Somme, including the Lochnagar Crater, the South African and New Zealand Memorials at Longueval, Newfoundland Memorial and Museum and the Franco-British Memorial at Thiepval. Take a lunch stop in Albert to see the church. Afterwards, explore Beaumont-Hamel on the way back to Amiens where you will have the afternoon at leisure. Maybe do a little shopping or spend some time in the historic Saint-Leu district? (BB)

DAY 4: RETURN TO PARIS
Visit the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and the Franco-Australian Museum in the local Victoria School. Call in at Le Hamel and continue to Péronne. Return to Paris via Charles De Gaulle Airport. (Please do not schedule flights before 7:00 pm) (BB)

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