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Journey to Normandy

Highlights

  • Discover Normandy Seven Day Tour
  • Giverny and Rouen time to discover Giverny
  • Honfleur, Deauville & Bayeux
  • Landing Beaches
  • Tour Code: FRVI521

A coastline of white chalky cliffs and the Gothic architecture of the renowned Mont Saint-Michel monastery are some of the first things that spring to mind when people mention this underrated region in northern France. While not such a typical destination for holidaymakers as Provence or Paris, Normandy boasts a wide variety of metropolitan oases. From towns such as Giverny—famed for being the one time home of Impressionist master Claude Monet—and Rouen—Normandy’s capital of food, culture, and history, and the place where Joan of Arc was executed!—there are plenty of intriguing destinations for you to devour, as you dig into the delicious local wine and cuisine in equal measure. For those interested in the 20th Century, Normandy offers the chance to delve into the history of the World War One beach landings. Alternatively, art aficionados can marvel at the intricate details of the Bayeux tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman invasion of England in 1066.

Itinerary - click for more

Day 1:  From Paris to Normandy
Meet your driver-guide at your hotel and motor to Normandy. You will pass through Giverny and Rouen where you will have time for independent discovery.  Giverny is a charming, typical Norman Seine-side village. It lies on the right, or north, bank of Normandy’s most famous river, close to the town of Vernon. Were it not for the arrival of Impressionist master Claude Monet in 1883, the village might have remained a quiet provincial backwater. The long years Monet spent here would turn it into a place of artistic pilgrimage, even in his lifetime. You will have time to visit the estate and garden he settled at Giverny with his companion Alice Hoschedé. They had both been widowed, and their respective children came to live with them. Rouen is one of Europe’s great cities! Stretching beside the River Seine is the cultural, historic, gastronomic capital of Normandy. Monet’s canvases of the cathedral have made it the best-loved building in town, but many other glories stand out. Parks and gardens have recently been created along the south bank, while on the other side of the river, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs line the quayside. Late afternoon you will arrive in Honfleur where you will overnight.

DAY 2:  Honfleur
Today you meet your guide to enjoying a guided visit of Honfleur. Ports don’t come any prettier than Honfleur on the Seine’s estuary. Glorious historic houses jostle for position on the quays, as do galleries and restaurants. Honfleur looks so utterly enchanting, it is hard to remember that it was built mostly for commerce. Its harbor sits in a great location, tucked away on the southern side of the Seine’s estuary. During the Hundred Years War, the French king had this strategic spot fortified, but that didn’t stop the English taking over for several decades.
Through the Ancien Régime, Honfleur’s shipowners made fortunes from trade, notably with North America. Samuel de Champlain, one of the most famous explorers associated with the port, headed off to found the Canadian city of Quebec. Lucrative lines for the Honfleur shipping magnates included not just cod-fishing off Newfoundland, but also the triangular slave trade. At the end of the tour, you will have a Wine & Cheese tasting.  The afternoon will be free to relax and explore the village and beaches on your own. Overnight in Honfleur

Day 3:  Deauville & Bayeux

Meet your driver-guide at your hotel and motor to Bayeux. You will stop en route in Deauville for an independent visit. Deauville was conceived for fashionable pleasures. It emerged from the dunes in the 1860s, thanks to the vision of Dr. Joseph Olliffe and his close friend, Emperor Napoleon III’s half-brother, the Duc de Morny. At the end of the 1850s, marshes lay between the sea here and a little slope-side village above.
Dr. Olliffe convinced wealthy backers to invest in a major scheme to drain the marshes and create a resort from nothing. The resort was designed by architect Desle-François Breney, inspired by Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris. Aided by an all-important, brand-new railway line, the resort came into full bloom within just four years. Grand hotels in the Anglo-Norman timber-frame style, smart bathing facilities, and a stylish racecourse catered to elegant Parisians. Further chic additions followed through time. In the Belle Epoque before the outbreak of World War I, more sumptuous hotels went up, along with a major casino. During the Great War, Deauville’s big hotels were turned into hospitals for wounded Allied soldiers. Between the wars, Deauville developed a great new station, iconic galleried bathing facilities, and its wooden beach boardwalk.
Upon your arrival in Bayeux, check-in at your hotel and take some time to relax.
Later you will meet your guide for an orientation tour of the town and a visit to the famous Tapestry Museum.
Capital of the Bessin area, Bayeux has deep historic roots dating back to Roman times, what you see only goes back as far William the Conqueror’s reign – Duke, also King of England by the time, present at the cathedral’s consecration in 1077. The Bayeux Tapestry was probably made in southern England.   Bayeux, which has long been a wealthy trading town, also has a long tradition in many crafts, including lace and porcelain. Bayeux was extremely fortunate to avoid most of the destruction and tragedy following D-Day that other Normandy towns suffered. For a very brief moment, Bayeux was capital of Free France and General Charles de Gaulle came to give a stirring speech here, arriving hot on the heels of the Allied forces in June 1944. Overnight in Bayeux.

Day 4: Landing Beaches of Normandy
Your day will be dedicated to the visit of the Landing beaches, where you won’t only explore a historical and epic place, but also will learn more about WWII and the D-Day. The D-Day Landings were the most vital part of the greater Operation Overlord to liberate Europe from years of German military occupation. Allied planning for a massive invasion of German-held France had got underway as early as 1943. The Normandy coast west from the Orne River Estuary to the Cotentin Peninsula was chosen for its flat, firm beaches, and to take the German military off guard – German intelligence thought an Allied invasion would occur much closer to Britain, on France’s most northerly beaches. As plans developed, the Allied commanders, Eisenhower and Montgomery, decided to extend the landing sectors to east and west. Preparations on a vast scale went on for months in southern England. Through superior air power and a campaign of misinformation, the Allies managed to keep the German military from learning about the build-up to the invasion. However, the Germans had fortified the Normandy coast, mainly after Hitler had put the extremely competent Rommel in charge of coastal defences along the French coast in 1943.
You will visit 2 of the 5 beaches that were involved in the operation: Omaha & Utah Beaches and the Memorial Museum. Notoriously, the American troops who landed at Omaha Beach suffered the worst on D-Day. The bombardments before the Landings proved ineffective in wiping out the many German positions dotted along the slopes above the beaches beyond Colleville-Sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, and Vierville-Sur-Mer. The most westerly landing sector on D-Day, Utah Beach lies on the Cotentin Peninsula, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula, and it was, in fact, to help take the vital port of Cherbourg rapidly that the Allied commanders of Operation Overlord, Eisenhower, and Montgomery, decided that this further Landing Beach was required. It was extensive, going from the beach beyond the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont north to that by Quinéville.
Return to your hotel in Bayeux late afternoon. Overnight in Bayeux.

Day 5:  Mont Saint Michel

Today, meet your driver and transfer to Saint-Malo with an en-route stop in Mont Saint Michel for an independent visit. The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerizing bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances. The staggering location has long inspired awe and imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.
From 966 onwards, the dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added through medieval times, one vertiginous section being nicknamed The Marvel. The monastery became a renowned centre of learning, attracting some of the greatest minds and manuscript illuminators in Europe. Vast numbers of pilgrims visited, despite warring cross-Channel royals. However, the ramparts at the base of the island were built to keep English forces out. Other elegant buildings went up along the steep village street, now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants, and boutiques for today’s tourists to discover and enjoy. In the end, continue to Saint-Malo, where you will arrive late afternoon.  Overnight in Saint-Malo.Day 6: St. Malo
Today, explore on your own the beautiful St. Malo. The town is best known as being a breeding ground for privateers, who based themselves in the St Servan district (although to see how they lived you should head back intra muros to Hôtel d’Asfeld). It was here that St. Malo was founded by the welsh monk St. Maclou, who built a church on the site of the Roman city of Alet. The main reason to come to this area, apart from the views back over the citadel, is to see the 14th-century Tour Solidor, which houses the Museum of Cape Horners.
St. Malo has several districts, the most popular being intra muros or “inside the walls”. The tall granite buildings, most of which were restored after being bombed during the war, house an exciting mix of cozy hotels, restaurants to suit all tastes and shops by the dozen. Take a tour on the little train to get your bearings or enjoy a bracing walk around the ramparts. The Musée de la Ville tells you all you need to know about the town’s history and includes some fascinating maritime objects like the prow of a ship. Overnight in Saint-Malo.

Day 7: Departure 

After breakfast, independent transfer to your departure point.

Included

  • Daily breakfast
  • Two nights in Honfleur Two nights in Bayeux Two night in St. Malo
  • Transfer from Paris to Honfleur with en route stops in Giverny & Routen
  • Guided visit of Honfleur
  • Wine & Cheese tasting in Honfleur
  • Transfer from Honfleur to Bayeux with en route stops in Deauville
  • Guided Visit of Bayeux with access to Tapestry Museum
  • Small Group to Landing Beaches of Normandy from Bayeux
  • Transfer from Bayeux to St. Malo with en route stops in Mont Saint Michel
  • Vat Taxes

Not Included

  • Departure Transfer
  • Lunches and dinners not mentioned in the inclusions;
  • Entrance to monuments and archaeological sites not listed in the program
  • City Tax to be paid on the spot
  • Gratuities and extra items of personal nature and Items not listed in the inclusions

Hotels or Similar

  • Hotels in Honfleur: Le Manoir des Impressionnistes, Le Manoir de la Plage
  • Hotels in Bayeux: Chateau de Bellefontaine
  • Hotels in St. Malo: L'Hotel Particulier Ascott, Hotel La Villefromoy
Please Note
Tour Type: Private Journey
Private arrival and departure transfers on request
Hotels based on availability, may be substituted with similar category
Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory

2021 Dates & Rates

Friday Departure - 26 NovRate Each Single Rate Each Double Rate Each Triple
$4615$3670$3530
  • This Itinerary can be modified according to your wishes and needs both in its duration and in its content.

The CAD ($) rate is indicative of Euro price and subject to change.
Price per person in CAD $ Dollars.

 

 

 


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