Europe 2018 - Insight Vacations

France, Belgium & The Netherlands

Country Roads

Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley (Summer 2018)

Duration: 9 days Visiting: France

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

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  • 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. Just a short drive from the Arromanches and the seaside, in the heart of countryside, you will arrive at L'Auberge des Monts. Here you will enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner of traditional, regional cuisine, with a careful selection of locally-sourced ingredients and served with local wines in an authentic setting and warm atmosphere.

  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. Alternatively, you may wish to join an Optional Experience to Cancale, known throughout France of its oyster beds, for a delicious meal of fresh seafood and other Breton specialities?

  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 See the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and 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. Later enjoy the chance to walk along the fortifications and explore the cities nightlife at your leisure.
  • 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.
  • Honfleur: See this charming fishing town.
  • Loire Valley: As you travel through the beautiful French countryside you will see the imposing Châteaux of Saumur as well as Angers.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Rouen: See the cathedral, the Great Clock, the Old Market square and Place du Vieux-Marché where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
  • Scenic Drives: Fall in love with the French countryside as you travel along the River Seine and through Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Normandy: Just a short drive from the Arromanches and the seaside, in the heart of countryside, you will arrive at L'Auberge des Monts. Here you will enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner of traditional, regional cuisine, with a careful selection of locally-sourced ingredients and served with local wines in an authentic setting and warm atmosphere.
  • 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.

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

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

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 63.00

Code: ST 0002

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

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

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

eatwith Experience

eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65

Adult Price: EUR

Code: PAR0018

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.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
10959 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 15 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Beautiful part of France.

    Service: Our tour director, Laura Spiers, was knowledgeable, professional and easy to contact during all aspects of our trip to Brittany, Normandy, etc. Excellent customer service.

  • 13 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Went to so many interesting places and the accommodations were excellent. With a great tour guide.

    Service: excellent

  • 10 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Beautiful scenery and good itinerary.

    Service: Very well planned vacation.

  • 10 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The venues, hotels, and food surpassed my expectations!

    Service: Shona is an excellent tour guide! I appreciate Insight working with me when my original trip to Bordeaux was cancelled... The Normandy tour was wonderful!

  • 08 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Normandy and the World War 2 Beaches were amazing. It was special to be where the forces landed. The local guide was excellent. Loved the Loire Valley and all the chateaus, especially our Chateau Hotel. Wow!

    Service: They take the worry and stress out of our trip. They plan everything. We always feel really pampered when we travel with Insight Vacations.

  • 08 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great places to visit and very good hotels.

    Service: Travel Director Shona was superb

  • 01 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: More time on free-time at each touring site would be perfect

    Service: Detailed taking care of individual needs and request. Excellent tour panning and time control. Very enjoyable hotels.

  • 01 September, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Enjoyed the itinerary, it was varied and interesting, however thought at times very rushed. I know times are important, but constantly monitored schedules don't make for relaxed holidays. Some places visited needed more direction from the tour guide, not "the restaurants are over there, be back in an hour." eg. Rouen - the cathedral was never mentioned yet is a pivotal part of the city. We didn't have a big group, so feel our leader could have been more in depth with the places visited. The Chateau day could have included another visit to a different Chateau. Instead, rushed back to our accommodation from Villandry to have R and R for some hours; beautiful place but nothing around in the town to explore. Also Chenonceau should have been an included visit not an extra payment, even if the total price of the tour needs to be increased slightly to include visits and extra specialty meals at night DDay was terrific, due mainly to the local guide, who explained details competently. The end hotel was disappointing, nowhere near any of the Paris attractions, not within walking distance of anything of note, maybe the Luxembourg gardens, but that was also 15 - 20 mins. away. Also very touristy hotel. First hotel was at least near the Arc and Champs Elysees.

    Service: Can't comment too much on customer service, all done through a travel agent. Had trouble getting on a tour as guaranteed departures hard to find, this one was offered to us, not our first choice.

  • 25 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Well paced itinerary and varied

    Service: Excellent itinerary and customer attention

  • 19 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Really interesting and well organised.

    Service: Professional and respect.

  • 19 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Well chosen points of interest and accommodations (especially Chateau de Rochecotte.).

    Service: Excellent host and driver. Welcome person at airport was also very good.

  • 11 August, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Breakfasts were just ok First hotel mediocre

    Service: Bus comfortab l e Not enough free time in St Malo

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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