YOUR PROGRAM :
Day 1 :
Arrival at Paris airport CDG or Orly and transfer by coach to Giverny. Guided tour of the Monet Foundation (house and gardens).
In the late afternoon, departure towards Rouen. Check-in and installation in your hotel rooms.
Dinner in a close restaurant (350m). Overnight stay.
Day 2 :
Breakfast. Guided tour of the historical centre of Rouen and its fascinating heritage are a “must-see”: the gothic cathedral, churches and mansions, restored half-timbered houses, well-maintained public gardens… It’s also named “the city of 100 bell towers” after the words of Victor Hugo. Lunch. After lunch, departure towards Honfleur. From the Viking invasions until the Impressionist painters, without forgetting the seafarers of the 16th and 17th centuries, the history of Honfleur is rich and the town remained authentic. Wander with your guide in the narrow cobbled streets between half-timbered houses and get to the very picturesque Old Dock. The very special atmosphere of this place attracted painters: Courbet, Eugene Boudin, Jongkind or their “pupil”, Claude Monet and his Impressionist friends. Honfleur is still today a city of artists, with a lot of galleries. Continue to Deauville. If Deauville is a dashing boulevardier, Trouville is the frivolous painted lady by his side. Separated by nothing more than the River Touques, they each possess a casino, a beachfront boardwalk and a string of flamboyant Belle Époque villas, yet they look and feel quite different, the former suave, sophisticated and starry, the latter happy-go-lucky and fun for all the family. The town’s glamour has remained intact. Its appeal undimmed since the 1860s, when the Duc de Morny, politician, financier, half-brother of Napoleon III and man about town, first looked across from already popular Trouville at Deauville’s wide, empty sands and persuaded three friends to join him in creating an exclusive enclave of villas, plus a racecourse and a train link to Paris.
Check-in and installation in your hotel rooms. Dinner and free evening to enjoy the town’s amusement facilities. Overnight stay.
Day 3 :
Breakfast. Departure by coach to the Pays d’Auge region. Stop in a family-run calvados distillery situated within a fine group of half-timbered 17th century buildings in the heart of the Pays d’Auge. The place is located in the heart of a picture postcard setting in Normandy: apple trees, manor house and half-timbered outbuildings… Over your guided tour, you will discover the cider press, the pot still, the aging cellars and the manor. Production of cider, pommeau and calvados, including a unique collection of vintage bottles. Taste the products after the guided tour. Continue towards the very characteristic village of Beuvron-en-Auge, which was a former stronghold of the Harcourt family and lies in the heart of Pays d’Auge country on the Cider Route. It is just like a picture postcard with its half-timbered houses, its market and country houses scattered around the countryside. Lunch in a local gastronomic restaurant. After lunch, free time in the village. Then, departure by coach to Caen. At your arrival, coffee/tea break with tasting of pastry and macarons in a local family confectionery shop created in 1840. This ancestral patisserie is a must in the city. Check-in and installation in your hotel rooms. Dinner. Overnight stay.
Day 4 :
Breaksfat. In the morning, guided tour of Caen. In the 11th century, Caen was given a real boost under William the Conqueror as he decided to turn it into a strategic site and chose it as his main home. Discover the city, well-known for its 3 key sites in the city hark back to this period, giving it an emblematic identity: the Castle, the Mens’ Abbey and the Ladies’ Abbey. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon, head to the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy: on the morning of 6th June 1944, the Normandy coastline was scattered with Allied landing ships and warships were sitting further out, prepared for naval bombardment of the German guns. Hundreds more ships were in the English Channel throughout the day, bringing over 132,000 troops from England to Normandy on D-Day alone. Arrival in Arromanches to discover the remains of its port who was meant to be temporary, lasting maybe three months. It served for some five months. The Arromanches Mulberry Harbour became known as Port Winston, after British wartime leader Winston Churchill, who was closely involved in its conception. A staggering 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tons of supplies arrived via Port Winston. Passage by the American cemetery of Colleville sur Mer, place of meditation and souvenirs. Then, stop in Omaha Beach, second beach from the west among the five landing areas of the Normandy invasion and the incredible exploit of Colonel Rudder’s men, the so-called “Rangers”. Continue towards the Mont Saint Michel. Check-in and installation in your hotel rooms (close to the bay). Dinner. Overnight stay.
Day 5 :
Breakfast. Departure from the hotel with your guide: situated in the middle of a bay, one can no longer really present Mont Saint Michel for it has been an emblematic place for mankind for more than 1300 years. This granite rocky islet living to the rhythms of the most important tides in Europe was elected as prayers place after the Archangel Michael’s appearance. Its construction has much changed through the centuries: from middle age until 19th century, various styles have mingled. Religious and military architectures have combined to make it all unique to such an extent that it could even be considered as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Lunch in a local restaurant, for example the mythic “Mère Poulard”. After lunch, head towards Saint-Malo. Stop in Cancale, sweet fishing port well-known for its delicious oysters with a slight hazelnut taste and one of the most beautiful views on the Mont Saint Michel (by clear weather). Visit of the local oyster farm, where you might discover the hard work of the “sea gardeners”. Oyster sampling with lemon, butter bread and a glass of white wine (Muscadet). Continue to Saint-Malo to visit the city during a walking tour on its ramparts with beautiful panoramic views on its bay and fortified islands, hearing stories about famous figures and corsairs. Installation in your hotel rooms. Dinner. Overnight stay.
Day 6 :
Breakfast. Departure by coach to Dinan, a typical town of Brittany perched on the cliff that is overlooking the river Rance. The sea is not far and one can still feel the rhythm of the tides. In Dinan, in the middle of its ramparts particularly well preserved, you may feel here a more accurate medieval atmosphere than anywhere else in Brittany. Many stories exist about Breton, French and English knights, and you will have the possibility to discover some of them. Various personalities, not only Du Guesclin, have marked the history of the city. The maze of old streets and squares, and handicraft workshops stir curiosity. Beautiful sights enrich the visit, before we reach the port downhill. Continue to Dinard. Lunch in a local restaurant. This place is not only a luxurious seaside resort offering beautiful beaches and pleasant relaxing time, but the town and its coastal paths also offer you stunning views over the Channel Sea, the Emerald Coast, the Rance estuary and Saint Malo. These headlands and promenades are fringed with crazy and tormented villas with a whole range of stories to tell. Just think of the amazing adventures they have heard since Dinard transformed from a small fishing port in the mid-19th century into a fashionable resort frequented by artists, mighty and other eccentric people! The mix of “Belle Epoque”, “Années folles” and British scents in a beautiful natural environment have already intoxicated quite many people… Free time in the town or at the beach. Head back to Saint Malo by coach and return at the hotel. Dinner. Overnight stay.
Day 7 :
Breakfast. In the mid-morning, departure by coach to Laval, a medieval town on the way back towards Paris (2h). On the banks of the River Mayenne, Laval is a little city that packs a big historical punch. The Chateau de Laval is the city’s centerpiece, a French historic monument raised imperiously above the right bank of the river. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, continue to Chartres. At your arrival, guided tour of the marvellous cathedral of the city, which stained-glass windows are considered as the most complete and best preserved sets of the middle-age. Stroll through the city centre of Chartres, walk in the streets, admire its half-timbered houses. Installation in your hotel rooms in Chartres. Dinner. Overnight stay.
Day 8 :
Breakfast. Leave by coach towards Paris and transfer to the airport/train station.