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Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley

Mont St. Michel
9 Days from $2,266 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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Tour Pace: Active
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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 of dinner and wine.
    meal(s):WD
    hotel:Pullman Paris Bercy, 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 - then 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. Your route continues into the rich dairy lands of Normandy and stops in the charming fishing town of Honfleur, which has somehow escaped the ravages of time. Then drive past Juno and Gold beaches, both played a part in the 1944 Normandy landings, and continue to your hotel perched on the historic coast where the D-Day landings took place.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin (2 nights).
  4. There are poignant reminders of WWII as you drive along some of the beaches of the D-Day landings. Visit the D-Day Museum and see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. Travel back in time as you visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum which chronicles the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of St. Laurent near Omaha Beach before following the route of the Rangers and visit the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin.
  5. Journey through ‘Bocage country' for a visit with a Local Expert of the hilltop abbey of Mont-St-Michel. 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 - its one street containing shops, cafés and hotels. Continue along the Emerald Coast to stunning St-Malo, situated on the Rance Estuary and one of the most charming places in France. At your leisure, you can walk 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 are 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, CD
    hotel:Château de Rochecotte, Loire Valley.
  8. Driving 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 colour and light. From here, return to the French capital, where your Tour Director introduces you to all the fabulous sights including Notre Dame Cathedral and the immense façades of the Louvre. Behold the vast Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine once stood, then drive 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:Pullman Paris Bercy Centre, Paris.
  9. Departure transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 & 11:00
    meal(s):BB
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  • 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); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus 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:

  • Savour 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.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
28 Apr 17 6 May 17 checkmark $2,495pp
$2,495 pp
12 May 17 20 May 17 checkmark $2,595$2,400pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,595 $2,400 pp
19 May 17 27 May 17 checkmark $2,625pp
$2,625 pp
9 Jun 17 17 Jun 17 checkmark $2,625pp
$2,625 pp
23 Jun 17 1 Jul 17 $2,625$2,428pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,625 $2,428 pp
30 Jun 17 8 Jul 17 $2,595$2,400pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
7 Jul 17 15 Jul 17 checkmark $2,550$2,359pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,550 $2,359 pp
14 Jul 17 22 Jul 17 $2,550$2,359pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,550 $2,359 pp
28 Jul 17 5 Aug 17 $2,525$2,336pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,525 $2,336 pp
11 Aug 17 19 Aug 17 $2,450$2,266pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
18 Aug 17 26 Aug 17 $2,525$2,336pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,525 $2,336 pp
25 Aug 17 2 Sep 17 checkmark $2,525$2,336pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,525 $2,336 pp
1 Sep 17 9 Sep 17 $2,625$2,428pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,625 $2,428 pp
15 Sep 17 23 Sep 17 checkmark $2,650$2,451pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,650 $2,451 pp
6 Oct 17 14 Oct 17 checkmark $2,550$2,359pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,550 $2,359 pp
13 Oct 17 21 Oct 17 checkmark $2,550$2,359pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,550 $2,359 pp
20 Oct 17 28 Oct 17 $2,550$2,359pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28
$2,550 $2,359 pp

This departure stays at the Grand Hotel Barriere de Dinard instead of St-Malo.

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 $630 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $70 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here 

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.

  • 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.

Reviews

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Based on accommodations that were subpar at one location it put a damper on the remainder of the trip
Vacation : Accommodations not delivered as promised. Not up to standards stated.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We're sorry about your disappointment with one hotel in your trip. We do offer standard European first class hotels in most of the cities we visit, however in some of the more rural areas, the accommodations may be less developed than what is expected in a first class category.
We appreciate the time you took to share your feedback and will cetainly pss it along to our quality control teams.

Grand European Travel
Monday, October 24, 2016
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Very Helpful except not quite aware of exactly what the tour involved.
Vacation : Wonderful area to visit
Friday, April 29, 2016
Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : We are always well taken care of on the Insight trips. Laurent was excellent - hotels were so very nice.
Vacation : The guide at Chateau D'Usse did not tell us about the Sleeping Beauty rooms - if I had not read about them in my travel guide, would have missed them.

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