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.

GUEST REVIEWS & EXPERIENCES

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 7369 reviews received during the past year.

  • 20 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Covered everything we wished to see in the time available.

    Service: Great in all respects. Fantastic guide. Excellent driver. Chateau experience was a particular highlight

  • 11 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: I liked everyplace we went. I am not a big fan of charging to go extra places after we start the tour, Optional sights. I prefer everything to be included up front. We enjoyed what we did see and opted for a couple but without the AAA voucher we probably would have not taken advantage of the options. Laura Spiers was helpful getting us to our first hotel and we made it for our dinner on the first night thanks to her help. She was the greatest. My wife really liked the beaches and the fact we could go down to the pill boxes. I liked that and the church on the island.

    Service: They seemed to be well organized. The tour director did a great job. The bus was very comfortable. Rooms were comfortable and breakfasts were great.

  • 11 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Lovely excursions and just what we wanted to see.

    Service: Great motor coach, tour guide! Local guides and generally great hotels.

  • 02 November, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: It covered all the sights we wanted to see - and then some.

    Service: As far as our Tour Coordinator/Guide Elizabeth was concerned, the service was top notch. Any questions and concerns were dealt with immediately and with patience and grace. Her little touches were much appreciated. I had a dietary restriction (serious allergy) that she always made sure was addressed by whomever was cooking the meals. The local experts were amazing - particularly our expert on the D-Day beaches. (Anne) it would have taken us a week of googling to learn what we learned from her in 3 hours. Our bus driver Augustino (aka. "Tex") was astounding. He was very gracious and extremely skilful. He fit us through small openings, took us around the Arc d'Triumph and down a backroad deviation due to construction with never a problem. This guy deserves an award!

  • 30 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was excellent.

    Service: Itinerary was excellent.

  • 30 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Normandy was probably a great part of our trip seeing and learning from the guides how German occupation really was real time.

    Service: This trip was perfect. Laura Spiers was excellent and did an excellent job. Insight is our preferred vendor for these types of trips.

  • 29 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The tour is action packed everyday so of course more time in Honfleur and St. Malo would be great. We had difficulty finding the toilets in Honfleur which took a little away from sight seeing The optional St. Malo tour should be part of the tour package not extra. Thirty more minutes at the D-Day museum would be great. We really enjoyed the models and the film in the museum but didn't see much else. Also Villandry wouldn't need a guided tour if the patrons were given a little information to self guide.

    Service: Yes I would recommend Insights again. Our guide was very knowledgeable about history but also added relevant current information as we drove which added to the experience. The hotels were able to settle us in quickly. The meals and rooms were excellent. Our guide made the trip enjoyable and we were apprised of what the day ahead would include! We enjoyed it immensely!

  • 28 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: The scenery was beautiful, the history was very informative, the majority of the hotels were remarkably nice, and Country Road Tours offer greater insight into the culture and are well worth any complications with some less outstanding lodgings. While one of the shorter tours, it packed great scenery and experiences into each day.

    Service: When dealing directly with Insight, I have always felt its customer service was both friendly and helpfully productive. This was our 18th Insight tour and we usually have had wonderful Tour Directors who exhibited outstanding customer service. Each of these excellent ones were friendly, approachable, concerned and listened to any tour-related problems. This last one on Normandy Brittany and The Loire Valley was an exception. Not only with me but with others who had a problem. She did not listed, talked over you while you tried to explain, and distance herself from the problem as quickly as possible. Worse, her body language and tone of voice was patronizing and offensive. But, I am already previewing additional tours with Insight and will not let this fluke deter our travels with you. I could spend many pages extolling the kindness and helpfulness of the great majority of Insight's tour directors.

  • 28 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very interesting stops, particularly from a historical perspective. Beautiful locations. There was always so many interesting and fun things to do.

    Service: The tour director did a wonderful job of organizing, providing information, and taking excellent care of us. The local guides were extremely well-informed and interesting. Our driver was amazing--we always felt safe in his coach.

  • 28 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: As previously mentioned Tour Director Laura Spiers and driver Alvaro excellent.

    Service: Tour Director Laura Spiers and driver Alvaro were excellent but our experience in registering via Insight Website was poor. The site was down so we phoned the advertised 24 hours number, a recorded message told us it was only available between 8am and 8 pm (not sure if these are the exact times). When we phoned the following day the employee who answered said she didn't know the website was still down - they had been told the problem had been fixed. She had to take our details manually.

  • 26 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: Got to see some beautiful sites. Enchanted with St Malo and the Loire Valley. Moved by the history in Omaha beach

    Service: The tour was amazing - it was organized, insightful and very well thought out. Both Elisabeth, our tour guide, and Agostino (coach driver) ensured all of us were happy and comfortable throughout our journey. It will be very difficult to top this vacation.

  • 23 October, 2017

    TRIP:

    SERVICE:

    Trip: It was a great tour, pity it couldn't have been a couple of days longer so as to enjoy the area more thoroughly.

    Service: Both our tour guide and driver were very helpful. Our tour guide's knowledge was impressive and along with his good command of English and sense of humour we had a fun tour.

*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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