Normandy Brittany And The Loire Valley

France, Belgium & The Netherlands

Country Roads

Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley (Summer 2019)

Duration: 8 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

    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 Le Sud, a local brasserie with a Mediterranean-inspired menu.

  2. Day 2

    Rouen, Honfleur and Deauville.

    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 to the charming fishing town of Honfleur and to your luxurious hotel located in the chic seaside resort of Deauville.

  3. Day 3

    Normandy Beaches and D-Day Landings.

    2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which occurred on the 6th June 1944. Following the route of the Rangers and visiting the bunkers and the Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. Then with a Local Expert, spend a few reflective moments at the American Military Cemetery of Saint-Laurent near Omaha Beach before a visit to the D-Day Museum to see the remnants of the artificial port in the bay of Arromanches. There are poignant reminders of World War II as you travel past Juno and Gold beaches, which both played a part in the Normandy landings. This evening you are treated to a sumptuous dinner, which promises creative cuisine, seasonal ingredients and local wines.

  4. Day 4

    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 specialties?

  5. Day 5

    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'Azay-le-Rideau, considered one of the best representations of French Renaissance architecture. Having recently undergone extensive restorations, take your time to admire the subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor within this 16th century icon of the Loire Valley. Continue to your chateau hotel, where you can relax like royalty in sumptuous surroundings.

  6. Day 6

    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 Farm-to-Table dishes in the most wholesome setting, ensuring the memory of your meal will linger long after you've returned home.

  7. Day 7

    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.

  8. Day 8

    Au revoir Paris.

    Your departure transfer will arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 or 11:00.

Highlights

 

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bastille Day: Celebrated across France on 14 July, Bastille Day commemorates the end of the French monarchy. Witness the remarkable display of fireworks lighting up the warm summer sky and perhaps join in one of the traditional balls.
  • 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.
  • Honfleur: See this charming fishing town.
  • Normandy Beaches: Join an emotive journey tracing the story of the D-Day landings - the 75th anniversary will be commemorated on the 6th June 2019. See the remains of the artificial Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches and with a local war historian, 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.
  • Angers: Enjoy exploring the western gateway to the Loire Valley in the little town of Angers and see its imposing chateau.
  • Loire Valley: Enjoy a scenic drive through the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the Jardins de France thanks to a wide variety of beautifully-manicured gardens that decorate the grounds of elegant estates. Accompanied by your Local Expert, visit France’s finest formal gardens that surround Villandry Castle, standing beside the Cher River.
  • Château d'Ussé: During your visit to Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, take your time to admire the subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor within this 16th century icon of the Loire Valley.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Paris: Enjoy your Welcome Dinner at Le Sud, a local brasserie with a Mediterranean and similarly inspired menu.
  • Loire Valley: At Château de Rochecotte you will enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table Dinner, prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • 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 Breakfasts (B) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Normandy: L'Hôtel du Golf is located just 10 minutes from Deauville Beach, known as a weekend getaway for Parisians. With it's Tudor-style facade and tasteful, modern interiors, relax in comfort during your stay. Perhaps play a round of golf on one of the three 9-hoole courses, known as some of the most beautiful in France.
  • Saint-Malo: 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: 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.

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 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.

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 Méridien Etoile

Paris (Contemporary) - France

The Le Méridien Etoile is centrally located in the 17th arrondissement and just a short drive from key sights such as the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées. Contemporary, yet comfortable furnishing bring about a homely sense throughout the hotel and guest rooms.

Hotel Barrière L'Hôtel du Golf

DEAUVILLE (Traditional) - FRANCE

Hotel Barrière L'Hôtel du Golf is located just 10 minutes from Deauville Beach, known as a weekend getaway for Parisians. With it's Tudor-style facade and tasteful, modern interiors, relax in comfort during your stay. Perhaps play a round of golf on one of the three 9-hoole courses, known as some of the most beautiful in France.

Château De Rochecotte

Saint Patrice (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
11428 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 20 November, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: An excellent choice of places to see.

    Service: A knowledgeable tour director and an excellent driver.

  • 28 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Lots of interesting places to see.

    Service: Well done.

  • 22 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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:
    SERVICE:

    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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