Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - Insight Vacations

Normandy Brittany and the Loire Valley (Summer 2017)

Duration: 9 days Visiting: France

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
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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. This tour combines with Country Roads of France to form French Heritage
  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to Paris

    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.

  3. Day 3

    Rouen, Honfleur and the Normandy Beaches

    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.

  4. Day 4

    Bayeux and D-Day Landings

    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.

  5. Day 5

    Mont-St-Michel, St-Malo and the Normandy Beaches

    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.

  6. Day 6

    Scenic drive along the Loire Valley to the Château de Rochecotte

    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.

  7. Day 7

    Villandry Experience

    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 local sparkling wine 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.

  8. Day 8

    La Beauce and Chartres to Paris, City of Light

    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.

  9. Day 9

    Au revoir Paris

    Departure transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 & 11:00

Highlights

 

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rouen: See the Cathedral and Place du Vieux-Marché where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
  • Normandy Coast: See the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and drive along the D-Day landing beaches.
  • St Malo: Walk along the fortifications and narrow streets.
  • Loire Valley: See the imposing Châteaux of Saumur, Angers and Ussé.
  • Paris: Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the French capital seeing the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe.

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE

  • 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!
  • 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.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Saumur: Fun and informative, discuss the grape varieties and local terroir while sampling wines of the Loire Valley.
  • Loire Valley: Your château hotel enjoys a high standard of creative cuisine and is featured in many prestigious food guides. Experience it for yourself with an elegant Celebration Dinner and wine.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Le Nouveau Monde in St-Malo: Le Nouveau Monde is a 4-star hotel, ideally located in the heart of St-Malo, facing the sea and close to the old town.
  • Château de Rochecotte: Stay two fabulous nights at this sumptuous château in the Loire Valley, the former private estate of Prince Tallyrand and the Duchess of Dino. Sit with a drink on the terrace and enjoy the beautiful setting or take a stroll through the magnificent gardens.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges', expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a foreign land.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • Personal radio headsets, gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel. Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel WiFi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

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: EUR 21.00

Code: PAR0001

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: EUR 40.00

Code: LOI0002

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: EUR 66.00

Code: LOI0001

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: EUR 59.00

Code: ST 0002

Walking Tour With A Local Guide

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.

Adult Price: EUR 31.00

Code: ST 0001

Omaha Beach Dinner

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.

Adult Price: EUR 65.00

Code: BAY0001

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: EUR 162.00

Code: PAR0002

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: EUR 139.00

Code: PAR0013

Seine Cruise And Illuminations

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.

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: PAR0006

Accommodation

 

Pullman Paris Centre Bercy

Paris (Central) - France

Complimentary Wifi

The Pullman Paris Bercy Centre is conveniently located in Bercy village in the 12th arrondissement, amongst leafy patios. It offers a vibrant atmosphere and gastronomic-bistro inspired restaurants.

Mercure Omaha Beach Port en Bessin

Port en Bessin (Scenic) - France

Complimentary Wifi

Mercure Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin

Le Nouveau Monde St-Malo

St Malo (Central) - France

Complimentary WifiSignature Hotel

Le Nouveau Monde, St-Malo

Chteau de Rochecotte Loire Valley

Loire Valley (Central) - France

Complimentary Wifi

Château de Rochecotte, Loire Valley

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  • 5 out of 5

    France Tour

    5/17/2015 Bonnie Clements, Frankfort, United States

    My husband has always wanted to go to the beaches of Normandy being a history buff. We were so pleased with all the visits of not just Normandy, but also the beauty of Loire Valley, Brittany and all the countryside, winery, chateau, lodging and extra activities. But, meeting all the others from so many countries--New Zealand, Austria, Japan and other states made it so much fun and educational. Our only issue was the directions at the airport, where it said to meet the shuttle to the hotel at Door C. Confused us. Maybe changing it to say "Exit Door C." Many thanks to our driver, Terry who could maneuver that coach anywhere and our tremendous tour guide, Laurrent who made it so memorable and MADE the trip. Hope to keep in touch with all. Bonnie & John Clements Frankfort Kentucky

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  • 5 out of 5

    Great Tour!

    8/16/2014 Gerard Reinders, Richmond, Canada

    Great trip. Many worthwhile stops. Good information about local history. This is our second trip with Insight. Have travelled with higher level touring companies and Insight has the best buses in the industry. Near new, most spacious, quiet and comfortable. Tour guide Sandra Hudson is exceptional in that she really cares about client's comfort and wellbeing and it showed everyday! Most hotels were 4 star with only one maybe 3 star. Too many positive highlights to cover in this short memo. I recommend this tour to anyone interested in the itinerary. No disappointments!

    5 out of 5 people found this comment useful

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  • 5 out of 5

    A Wonderful Experience

    7/7/2014 Geoffrey Moss, Cape Town, South Africa

    My husband and I had never been on a tour before, so didn't know quite what to expect. We were bowled over with Insight's tour. It was well-planned with something for everybody. Both John Pitts (tour director) and our very friendly driver, Agostino Texeira, looked after us and made the tour as comfortable and enjoyable as it was. The hotels were excellent, particularly the Chateau Rochecotte. I sent a detailed feedback to our travel agent, and I'm sure she will recommend Insight Tours to others. Definitely well worth the money spent.

    4 out of 4 people found this comment useful

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  • 5 out of 5

    Great Trip

    10/28/2013 Robert Schofield, Kingston, Canada

    We had a wonderful time, saw so many interesting places. A special thank-you to our guide Monica. Our personal favourites were The Chateau Rochecotte( could have stayed all week ) and Mont St. Michel. Juno Beach and the Canadian War Cemetary were a highlight-thanks again Monica. A big hello to all the wonderful people we had the pleasure to meet in our tour group, hopefully we can stay in touch. Ireland in 2014 anyone?

    18 out of 19 people found this comment useful

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  • 5 out of 5

    Trip Of A Lifetime

    10/13/2013 Lorraine Scammell, Mildura, Australia

    This was a wonderfully organized trip with a very competent,interesting ,informative and amusing tour guide Philippe.The two night stays at some hotels was much appreciated by this novice tourer.

    11 out of 12 people found this comment useful

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  • 5 out of 5

    Well done.

    7/7/2013 Ronald Smith, Williamsburg, United States

    We greatly appreciated the roomy bus and the professionalism of both the guide and the drivers. Will definitely use Insight for our next bus tour.

    30 out of 33 people found this comment useful

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