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Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley

Operated by: Insight Vacations

8 Days from $2,516 per person

Countries Visited

France ...more France

Locations Visited

Paris, Rouen, Deauville, Saumur, Villandry, Chartres ...more Paris, Rouen, Deauville, Saumur, Villandry, Chartres
  1. Day 1 Welcome to Paris.

    On arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, transfers leave for the hotel at 08:30, 11:00 and 13:30. After checking in, the capital’s grand boulevards and world-famous landmarks are yours to explore. At 17:30, join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Dinner at Le Sud, a local brasserie with a Mediterranean-inspired menu.(Dinner with Wine)

    meals Dinner with Wine
    hotel Le Méridien Etoile, Paris.
  2. Day 2 Rouen, Honfleur and Deauville.

    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 to the charming fishing town of Honfleur and to your luxurious hotel located in the chic seaside resort of Deauville.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hotel Barrière L'Hôtel du Golf, Deauville, Normandy.
  3. Day 3 Normandy Beaches and D-Day Landings.

    Following the route of the Rangers and visiting the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of Saint-Laurent near Omaha Beach before a visit to the D-Day Museum to see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. There are poignant reminders of World War II as you travel past Juno and Gold beaches, which both played a part in the Normandy landings. This evening you are treated to a delightful dinner, which promises creative cuisine, seasonal ingredients and delicious wines.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Hotel Barrière L'Hôtel du Golf, Deauville, Normandy.
  4. Day 4 Mont-Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo.

    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 defences 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. Alternatively, you may wish to join an Optional Experience to Cancale, known throughout France of its oyster beds, for a delicious meal of fresh seafood and other Breton specialties?(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Hôtel Le Nouveau Monde, Saint-Malo.
  5. Day 5 Villandry Experience.

    Head south to follow the valley of the Loire, passing the moated Angers Castle. Cross the Loire to Saumur, where a local vintner will guide you through tastings of the region's delicious wines. With a Local Expert, head to Château de Villandry, the jewel of the Loire, to visit the glorious gardens. Ensure you don't miss the water, ornamental and kitchen gardens – a stunning sea of fragrant green herbs, silvery cabbages, and purple basil.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Château de Rochecotte, Saint Patrice, Loire Valley.
  6. Day 6 Scenic Drive Along the Loire Valley.

    Journey to the fairy-tale Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, considered one of the best representations of French Renaissance architecture. Having recently undergone extensive restorations, take your time to admire the subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor within this 16th century icon of the Loire Valley. Continue to your chateau hotel, where you can relax like royalty in sumptuous surroundings. Return to your own superb chateau for relaxation and free time. At night, your Celebration Dinner starts with a glass of local sparkling wine and continues with excellent service and delicious Farm-to-Table dishes in the most wholesome setting, ensuring the memory of your meal will linger long after you've returned home.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)

    meals Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel Château de Rochecotte, Saint Patrice, Loire Valley.
  7. Day 7 La Beauce and Chartres to Paris, City of Light.

    Travelling through the vast wheat fields of Beauce region, 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 colour 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.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
  8. Day 8 Au revoir Paris.

    Your departure transfer will arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 or 11:00.(Breakfast)

    meals Breakfast
route_map
Price Includes

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Authentic Dining

  • Paris: Enjoy your Welcome Dinner at Le Sud, a local brasserie with a Mediterranean and similarly inspired menu.
  • Loire Valley: At Château de Rochecotte you will enjoy a delicious Celebration Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Saumur: Fun and informative, discuss the grape varieties and local terroir while sampling wines of the Loire Valley.
  • Dining Summary: 7 Breakfasts (B) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Bastille Day: Celebrated across France on 14 July, Bastille Day commemorates the end of the French monarchy. Witness the remarkable display of fireworks lighting up the warm summer sky and perhaps join in one of the traditional balls.
  • Rouen: See the cathedral, the Great Clock, the Old Market square and Place du Vieux-Marché where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
  • Honfleur: See this charming fishing town.
  • Normandy Beaches: Join an emotive journey tracing the story of the D-Day landings. See the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and with a local war historian, visit the American Military Cemetery at St-Laurent-sur-Mer, the D-Day Museum and the bunkers at Pointe du Hoc.
  • Mont-Saint-Michel: Savour your first sight of the fortified island of Mont-Saint-Michel. Cross the causeway for a guided tour with your Local Expert through the maze of halls and vaults of the abbey.
  • Saint-Malo: Your Local Expert guides you trough the intertwined streets of the walled city to arrive at the cathedral. Later enjoy the chance to walk along the fortifications and explore the cities nightlife at your leisure.
  • Angers: Enjoy exploring the western gateway to the Loire Valley in the little town of Angers and see its imposing chateau.
  • Loire Valley: Enjoy a scenic drive through the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the Jardins de France thanks to a wide variety of beautifully-manicured gardens that decorate the grounds of elegant estates. Accompanied by your Local Expert, visit France’s finest formal gardens that surround Villandry Castle, standing beside the Cher River.
  • Château d'Ussé: During your visit to Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, take your time to admire the subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor within this 16th century icon of the Loire Valley.
  • 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.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the French countryside as you travel along the River Seine and through Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley.

Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request
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Start Date: Sat, Apr 4, 2020
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World War I Battlefields

WORLD WAR I BATTLEFIELDS OPTION: 4 DAYS

This emotive journey takes you to iconic battlefields, war cemeteries and memorials honoring those who fought around the world.

Priced from $1,425 per person, twin share. Single Room Supplement from $240. Triple Room Discount $60. Pre-paid gratuities (optional) $45.

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Visit Franco-Australian Museum in Villiers-Bretonneux
  • City tours of Vimy Ridge and the Somme Battlefields, both with Local Experts
  • See Lille, Australian cemetery at Fromelles, Leaning Virgin and church of Albert, Ypres Battlefields, Beaumont-Hamel, Péronne
  • Welcome drink
  • 3 Breakfasts
  • One night accommodation in Lille
  • Two nights accommodation in Amiens

DAY 1: YPRES BATTLEFIELDS AND LILLE
Depart Le Méridien Etoile Paris at 9 am bound for Flanders Fields. Visit the Ypres Salient battlefields including Hill 60, Polygon Wood, the Passchendaele Memorial and Tyne Cot Cemetery. In the town of Ypres, hear the Last Post sounded at the Menin Gate. Continue to your hotel and join your Tour Director for a Welcome Drink.

Meal: Welcome Reception

Hotel: Mercure Lille Center Grand Place

DAY 2: FROMELLES AND VIMY RIDGE
See the Australian cemetery of Fromelles, before continuing to the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge. Take in a visit to the trenches preserved just as they were during the Great War with a Local Expert, who tells stories of battles that raged in the now silent pastures. Continue to Amiens and perhaps visit the impressive cathedral. 

Meal: Breakfast

Hotel: Mercure Amiens Cathedrale

DAY 3: THE BATTLEFIELDS OF THE SOMME
Meet your Local Expert to explore the key battlefields of the Somme. Visit the Lochnagar Crater, the South African and New Zealand Memorials at Longueval,  Newfoundland Memorial and Museum and the Franco-British Memorial at Thiepval. Enjoy a stop in Albert to see the church. Afterward, explore Beaumont-Hamel on the
way back to Amiens where you will have the afternoon at leisure.

Meal: Breakfast

Hotel: Mercure Amiens Cathedrale

DAY 4: RETURN TO PARIS
Visit the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and the Franco-Australian Museum in the local Victoria School. Stop to explore Le Hamel and then continue
to Péronne. On return to Paris, a stop is made at Charles De Gaulle Airport. For those departing in the evening, please do not schedule flights before 8 pm. Alternatively, the coach will drop you at Le Méridien Etoile hotel.

Meal: Breakfast

Optional Add-Ons

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

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.
Adult Price: €21

St Malo

Breton Evening

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!
Adult Price: €63

Loire

Visit The Chateau And Gardens Of Chenonceau

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.
Adult Price: €40

Dinner In Loire

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.
Adult Price: €66

Paris

Nouvelle Eve Dinner and Cabaret

One of the oldest and most elegant revue theatres in Paris, Nouvelle Eve is a hidden gem where you’ll meet the Director and two of the cast members before enjoying a four-course dinner with wine. You will then experience unparalleled Parisian entertainment – including the world-famous Can-Can.
Adult Price: €139

Moulin Rouge

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!
Adult Price: €162

Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Diane Caldwell
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Service
Friendly and knowledgeable tour guide(s). Well planned, traveler's interests taken into consideration. Truly enabled everyone to get to know each other, which made the trip a lot more fun!!
Vacation
The beaches of Normandy were especially important to me, as my father had landed on July 4 right after the D-Day invasion. The chateaus in the Loire valley were lovely and the history that went with them brought them to life even more.
James Sindelar
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Service
Agent friendly and knowledgeable. Very easy to handle details.
Vacation
Excellent itinerary, accommodations, and coach. Tour director was the best ever. Could not have been better.
James Mersmann
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Service
All went well and reliably. Airfare was surprisingly reasonable. My travel specialist did what she could to save costs.
Vacation
Our travel director was well-informed, bright, and helpful. She was enjoyable company, and she took good care of us.
Judy Jacobs
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Service
The tour director was personable and efficient, the tour pace was perfect, and we ended with a stay at a French Chateau - it does not get better than that.
Vacation
wonderful trip, great value - included dinners were very nice
Katherine Stewart
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Service
Rob Rainwater was the agent with GET that helped me book my trip. He was very kind and helpful. He also booked the flight for me. It was a wonderful trip with Insight, and as soon as I got home, I wanted to book my next trip right away. I think this 9 day trip was perfectly balanced- from the tour of the Normandy beaches of D day, to visiting castles, chateaus and gardens with wine tasting and great food. Our local experts were fabulous. I learned a lot about D day invasion and the 100 year war.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you so much for your kind words. We will be sure to pass them on to Rob and we 're so happy you're looking at other trips in the future.
Monday, August 27, 2018
Vacation
Hotels were wonderful, breakfasts were exceptional, our Travel Director, Fred Faes was experienced and very competent
Trusted Customer
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Service
Kept us up to date and good communication.
Vacation
Well worth the expense. Travel was comfortable. Hotels were superior, food excellent! Never felt really rushed, just the right amount of "down time."
Trusted Customer
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Service
I had a nice vacation with Insight. It was the online booking with GET that was poor. I booked early and then for 6 months heard nothing back. Apparently 5% of what they email online goes into spam. If they are aware there is a problem, then they need to follow up with better communication. I would never book with GET for a trip again.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are terribly sorry to hear about your frustration and difficulties when booking your trip on our website. We will be certain to share this information with our Marketing and IT departments for immediate review and improvement. Thank you for letting us know.
Monday, July 2, 2018
Vacation
It was a nice vacation. Accommodations and food were very good.
Lucille Effinger
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Service
Have used them in the past and will probably use again. Have always had good servce.
Vacation
Great trip. Have always had good experience with GET
Vicki Baker
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Service
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!
Trusted Customer
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Service
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.
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