Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley

France, Belgium & The Netherlands

Country Roads

Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley (Summer 2018)

Duration: 9 days Visiting: France

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

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.

  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, 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 a local restaurant, with the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening.

  3. Day 3

    Rouen, Honfleur and Bayeux.

    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 into the rich dairy lands of Normandy and stop in the charming fishing town of Honfleur, which has somehow escaped the ravages of time. Visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum that chronicles the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 before continuing to your hotel, perched on the historic coast where the D-Day landings took place. With the evening at your leisure, perhaps choose to travel the lanes of Normandy up to a 17th century cider farm? The excursion includes learning about the production of cider and a tasting of the local tipple, before continuing to the seaside for a dinner of local specialities, served with wine.

  4. Day 4

    Normandy Beaches and D-Day Landings.

    There are poignant reminders of World War II as you travel past Juno and Gold beaches, which both played a part in the 1944 Normandy landings. Visit the D-Day Museum and see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of Saint-Laurent near Omaha Beach before following the route of the Rangers and visiting the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. Enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, and served with wines from the local region.

  5. Day 5

    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.

  6. Day 6

    Scenic drive along the Loire Valley to the Chateau de Rochecotte.

    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. Journey to the fairy-tale Château d'Ussé, the castle that inspired Charles Perrault to write 'Sleeping Beauty', before continuing on to your chateau hotel, where you can relax like royalty in sumptuous surroundings.

  7. Day 7

    Villandry Experience.

    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. 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 seasonal 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.

    Travelling 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 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.

  9. Day 9

    Au revoir Paris.

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

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Villandry: Beside the Cher River stands Villandry Castle, surrounded by France’s finest formal gardens.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bayeux: See the famous and unique 70-metre-long tapestry that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
  • Normandy Beaches: Join an emotive journey tracing the story of the D-Day landings. With a Local Expert 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.
  • Château d'Ussé: Visit the fairytale castle that was Charles Perrault's inspiration for his tale 'Sleeping Beauty'.
  • 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.
  • Bastille Day: Join in the Bastille Day celebrations commemorating the French Revolution, and witness the remarkable display of fireworks lighting up the warm summer sky.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Normandy: Enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, and served with wines from the local region.
  • Saumur: Fun and informative, discuss the grape varieties and local terroir while sampling wines of the Loire Valley.
  • Loire Valley: Your chateau 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 of fresh, seasonal produce and wine.
  • Dining Summary: 7 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

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.

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.

Accommodation

 

Le Meridien Etoile

Paris (Contemporary) - France

This hotel boasts an enviable position in Paris, just a stone’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe.

Mercure Omaha Beach Port en Bessin

Port en Bessin, Normandy Beaches (Contemporary) - France

This hotel enjoys a dominant location in the Normandy coastline and overlooks some of the Normandy landing beaches.

Hotel Le Nouveau Monde

Saint-Malo (Traditional) - France

Hotel Le Nouveau Monde is a 4-star hotel, perfectly located in the heart of Saint-Malo, facing the sea and close to the old town.

Chteau de Rochecotte Loire Valley

Saint Patrice, Loire Valley (Historic) - France

Stay two fabulous nights at the Château de Rochecotte 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.

Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel

Paris (Contemporary) - France

Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine is the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. This modern, recently renovated, property offers luxurious accommodation and close proximity to the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.

  • France Tour

    5 out of 5

    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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  • Great Tour!

    5 out of 5

    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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  • A Wonderful Experience

    5 out of 5

    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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  • Great Trip

    5 out of 5

    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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  • Trip Of A Lifetime

    5 out of 5

    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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  • Well done.

    5 out of 5

    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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