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France, Belgium & The NetherlandsCountry Roads
Duration: 9 days Visiting: France
Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight to Europe (Please ask about our great deals).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Au revoir Paris.
Departure transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.
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 trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Paris (Contemporary) - France
This hotel boasts an enviable position in Paris, just a stone’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe.
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.
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.
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 (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.
Our guests rate us
11477 independent user reviews received during the past year.
20 November, 2018
Trip: The tour was a good overview of the area. We went places that we would have missed were we traveling on our own. The American cemetery and interpretive monuments were good for interpreting WW2 scope. Mont Saint Michel was physically a killer. Wish we'd had more history of it in advance. The Bayeux Tapestry was amazing. Could have spent longer in the museum. The highlights were the gardens of the Loire Valley. Wish we had more time in each spot.
Service: The four days were very full. Most fellow travelers were from Commonwealth countries. Some looking for the place were family members fell during WW1. As Americans we were in the wrong part of the Western Front to see sites with which we would most identify. Nevertheless we learned a lot during the tour and have continued to study YouTube.com videos since to 'fill in the blanks.' We were especially touched by the Canadian Memorial manned by Canadian College Students who served as interpreters. We'd highly recommend the tour. The local resource guides were excellent.
19 November, 2018
Trip: Excellent overview of the area.
Service: I thoroughly enjoyed my tour and I thought our tour leader, Fred, and our driver, Alain, were excellent. However, some of my Single Supplement accommodation was not good - Mercure Omaha Beach.
12 November, 2018
Trip: In two locations we stayed at remote locations (Normandy and the Chateau) - meaning you either had to eat in the hotel or do the optional dinners to get a meal. Whilst the Chateau was a nice place to stay with a lovely garden (could have been anywhere)......once you viewed the garden there was not much to do or see. I would have preferred to stay in a village with restaurant options.
Service: There was a difference in the customer service between the two tours. I would rate the customer service for the Highlights of Europe tour as exceptional with the Normandy tours as good. I would not recommend the highlights tour to others - this was too fast, too much time on the bus and not enough free time when you got to the location.
10 November, 2018
Trip: Places that we wanted to see.
Service: It was very organized. Very informative. The bus was nice. Restaurants were 5 star and so were hotels. Our guide was terrific. We would go again.
07 November, 2018
Trip: We had really no idea what to expect because we were booked to do a Trafalgar Boureaux tour but it was cancelled at the last minute But we were lucky to get an Insight tour that tired in with the rest of our holiday. We were not disappointed at all, we totally enjoyed the itinerary
Service: We thought the service was excellent we could not fault anything
05 November, 2018
Trip: Beautiful and interesting places visited
Service: Great attention from the Tour Director. Beautiful places visited. All being correct and timely vice. Without adoubt I would recommend it and we will travel again with Insight
03 November, 2018
Trip: An excellent choice of places to see.
Service: A knowledgeable tour director and an excellent driver.
28 October, 2018
Trip: The tour met our expectations with one exception being limited free time at several locations.
Service: Excellent in responding on a timely basis to all of our questions and listening carefully to understand our expectations.
22 October, 2018
Trip: Lots of interesting places to see.
Service: Well done.
22 October, 2018
Trip: Itinerary was excellent, but would have been nice if some of the extra activities were made part of the tour package. Would have enjoyed a little more time at Mont St. Michel and some of the other stops.
Service: Guide was excellent. The itinerary was very good. We enjoyed the included activities and the extras.
20 October, 2018
Trip: Itinerary had great sights
Service: Excellent tour director & local experts. Several “optional “ excursions/dinners had no other alternative things to do/places to eat so were in fact, not optional. Tours should state their Activity Level -several people walking with canes could not keep up/take part in tours.
20 October, 2018
Trip: Loved the history and actually walking on the beaches that I always learned in history class
Service: Yes I would definitely recommend them. I had a great experience. Caroline the tour guide was excellent and so was the driver Tex.
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