From Paris to Brittany & Normandy: Where France is Frenchest
Chambord: Scene of lively Renaissance festivals
Chambord: Scene of lively Renaissance festivals IMAGE
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From Paris to Brittany & Normandy: Where France is Frenchest

14 days | from EUR 1,949.00 pp in dbl-room*
Paris – Loire Valley – Brittany – D – Day beaches of Normandy

A nature and adventure tour that combines the striking landscapes of the Loire Valley, Brittany and Normandy. After three days in Paris this tour heads for the “Frenchest” part of France, the Loire Valley, before continuing on to the scenic western tip of France, where you will explore the magnificent landscapes of Brittany and stop near the famous D-Day beaches of Normandy.

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Day 1–3: Paris

Glamorous metropolis
Paris is more than just a city – the name itself is legend. From the late Middle Ages to the nine­teenth century the focus of the entire country was on Paris, the center of western culture and a major influ­ence on western history. The city's layout and build­ings reflect its cultural and polit­ical signif­icance: the Champ-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame. Paris is also consid­ered by many to be the most beau­tiful city in the world. The museums of the French capital are unpar­al­leled. From the Louvre to the Orsay, from the Centre Pompidou to the Rodin to the Cité des Sciences, each museum offers a unique aesthetic expe­r­i­ence. More­over, names like Faubourg, Saint Honoré and the Avenue Montaigne are remin­ders that Paris is famous for fashion. A shopping excur­sion with a stop for pastries at a picturesque street café is a must in Paris. Whether you prefer the opera, a ballet, clas­sical music, jazz, a night club or a dance revue, the word Paris is synony­mous with night-life. In the surrounding local­i­ties you can expe­r­i­ences aristo­cratic Paris: Versailles, Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Here trav­elers are invited to escape to the glitter of the Louis XIV era.
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Accommodation: A small inn near the Louvre

This enchanting little hotel is situated in the heart of Paris, in the shadow of the Louvre. more ...

It is so close to St. Germain l'Auxerrois that you can hear the hymns from the former "King's Church" and see the Gothic windows from your bedroom. In the cellar there is an old printing press that was used to print illegal leaflets during the French Revolution. It is said that the reception area was once the Café Momus (a debating club of the revolutionaries) and it was here that Puccini allowed parts of his opera "La Boheme" to be played. Breakfast, true to Parisian custom, is served in your suite. The hotel is air conditioned. Sophie Aulnette has managed the hotel for the past 10 years and personally attends to her guests' comfort. Tickets to local museums and other attractions can be purchased at a shop near the hotel.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Louvre

From a royal palace to the most visited museum in the world

For centuries, the Louvre served as the palace of the French kings and was the largest construc­tion site in France. Almost every king made changes to it. In the 12th century it was still a proud castle but was expanded over the course of the next two centuries to become a symbolic resi­dence. The four wings around the square court­yard are what remain of the orig­inal palace. When Louis XIV moved his resi­dence to Versailles, the building was left to dete­r­i­o­rate. The Louvre did not become a museum until after the French Revo­lu­tion when the National Assembly decided to use it to collect and exhibit the artistic treasures seized from the nobility. Today, the Louvre receives around ten million visitors every year and is the largest museum in the world. Its collec­tions include over 380,000 pieces, and only about a tenth of them are on display. Its most famous painting is prob­ably the Mona Lisa, which Leon­ardo da Vinci painted around the year 1503.

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Quartier Latin

From a student district to a tourist center

The tradi­tional student district in Paris is located near Sorbonne Univer­sity and is known as the Quartier Latin, because Latin had been the language of scho­l­ar­ship for many centuries. Numerous writers lived in the area, including Honoré de Balzac, Gabriel García Márquez and Klaus Mann. During the student riots in 1968, the quarter became the scene of heavy fighting in the streets. Thou­sands of students were arrested and hundreds were seri­ously injured by the police during the “Night of the Barricades.” When the trade unions called for a national strike in support of the students, Pres­i­dent de Gaulle stepped down. Not many students live here today since the rent is unafford­able and they have given way to popular restau­rants and boutiques.

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Notre Dame

A French Gothic master­piece

This church for the archbishop of Paris took nearly 200 years to build. Yet when it was completed in 1345, it had become a marvel the likes of which the world had never seen. Although it is one of the earliest Gothic cathedrals, it remained the crowning achieve­ment of Gothic archi­tec­ture. Notre Dame rises over the Seine like a jewel. Its two towers are 69 meters high and its ridge turrets reach 96 meters in height. The nave, which provides room for up to 10,000 people, is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide, and 35 meters high. The cathedral was unprece­dented in its day, and this was inten­tional. It was supposed to outshine the Louvre, which was the royal palace. Notre Dame is a testi­mony to the fact that Paris has not only been the center of France, but also the most important city in the Chris­tian West from the Late Middle Ages until the 19th century and has had a deci­sive impact on its history.

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Day 3–5: Amboise

Last residence of Leonardo da Vinci
The town of Amboise nestles in the shadow of a castle of the same name from the 15./16th Century. The resi­dence of the Valois, like many others, was confis­cated by the Crown. Afterwares Louis XI. and his son Charles VIII restored the castle magnif­i­cently. When Frances conquered Naples and Milan, many Italian archi­tects and artists emigrated to France. Among them was Leon­ardo da Vinci, who lived in Amboise until his death in 1519. In the castle today is a museum with armor, furni­ture and tapestries. The view of the river is worth a visit.

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Alamo
Vehicle: Opel Astra or similar (CDMR)

You will travel through Ile de France, the cradle of classical French culture. A detour to see the cathedral in Chartres is always worthwhile. No need to worry about driving in Paris: if you avoid travelling during the rush hour you shouldn't have any problems.

Chartres

New archi­tectural style for Europe

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Chartres, about 80 kilome­ters southwest of Paris. 876 Charles the Bald gave the bishop of the city a relic from the posses­sions of Charle­magne: a robe of the Virgin Mary. This trig­gered a pilgrimage stream neces­si­tating the cathedral's expan­sion. In 1195, finally a building was begun, which today is consid­ered the archetype of Gothic architc­ture: the Notre-Dame-de-Chartres. From a distance it seems to hover in mid-air above waving fields of wheat, and it is only when the visitor draws closer that the city comes into view, clus­tering around the hill on which the cathedral stands. There are two contrasting spires. One is a 105 meter (349 ft.) plain pyramid dating from the 1140s, and the other is a 113 meter (377 ft.) tall early 16th century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Both soar upwards over the pale green roof, while all around the outside are complex flying buttresses.

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Vendome

Historic small town off the beaten track

The historic town is idyllically situ­ated off the beaten track on a northern trib­utary of the Loire. The old town, surrounding the Church of la Trinité, is criss­crossed by narrow canals. Two relics, a tear of Christ and an arm of St. George, gave it wealth and importance as a pilgrimage station on the St. Jakobs-Way during the Middle Ages. Pano­ramic views of the French picture book landscape open up from the castle ruins. Many castles, wine cellars and old mills hide in the Loir Valley. Bike paths follow the river banks, which are the best way to explore the valley.

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Accommodation: A Guesthouse on a Wine Estate

The 18th century winery was thoroughly renovated and converted into a guesthouse in 1996. The property includes a large park containing a heated swimming pool. more ...

The rooms are modern but furnished with antique furniture. Breakfast is served in the vaulted cellar with its arched ceilings or in the winter garden with a view of the park. The young hosts are very dedicated to their establishment and have given the place a friendly, cheerful atmosphere.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Loir

Vine­yards and farmers markets on the romantic trib­utary to the Loire

The small Loir (not to be confused with the Loire) is a northern trib­utary to the better known Loire. North of Angers the river flows into the Sarthe. Before that, it winds leisurely through graceful vine­yards such as Coteaux du Loir, Jasnières and Coteaux du Vendômois. There are many things to discover along its shores: stately homes, ancient chapels with frescoes and sleepy villages that only come to life when farmers' markets are held. One of them is Lavardin. With its medieval townscape, a castle ruin and the early Roma­nesque church, it is consid­ered one of the plus beaux villages de France (the most beau­tiful villages in France).

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Château de Chenon­ceau

Château des Dames

This moated castle is consid­ered the most stately, elegant and orig­inal of the Loire châteaus. It was called the Château des Dames because its history and fate were largely in the hands of women. For a time, it belonged to Diane, the mistress of Henry II. Upon his death, Catherine de' Medici, who would hold raucous parties in the palace, some­times for days on end, drove Diane away. From 1940 to 1942, the border between German-occu­pied France and Vichy France ran right through the château. Today, many visitors come in the morning for Breakfast, which is served in the orangery. The palace gardens are lighted in the evening and there are often concerts here.

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Château de Villandry

Renais­sance archi­tec­ture and imag­ina­tive gardens

The Château de Villandry is the youngest of the châteaus in the Loire Valley, which may be the reason why its gardens surpass all the others. At any rate, most visitors come on account of the gardens, which were restored during the 19th century and are unpar­al­leled in Europe. There are flower beds for themes such as love, water and music. There are also artis­tically arranged vegetable and herbal gardens and a labyrinth. The colors and motifs of the various garden beds are varie­gated and imag­ina­tive. Combined with the archi­tec­ture of the château, they form a magnif­i­cent ensemble.

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Day 5–7: Nantes

Brasseries and Belle Epoque
For centuries the 300,000-inhab­i­tant city on the Loire was the capital of Brittany. This is demon­s­trated by outstanding build­ings such as the Castle and the Cathedral. The large univer­sity gives the vener­able ducal town a youthful flair, espe­cially on the Place du Bouffay in the old town, where every day except Mondays a vegetable market takes place. Also one of the most famous brasseries in all of France can be found in Nantes: La Cigale, dating back to 1895. There one can taste wonderful food surrounded by the splendor of the Belle Epoque. Also recom­mended is a two-hour boat trip on the Erdre, a trib­utary of the Loire.

Via AngersDistance: 230 km Time: 3:30
The route runs parallel to the Loire River towords its mouth. Enroute, you get to Angers with its remarkable defensive system. If you want to take your time, you can take am idyllic country road along the Loire, which is part of the Natural Park Loire-Anjou-Touraine and Angers.

Loire-Anjou Nature Park

Natural biodi­ver­sity in the UNESCO World Heritage

The Regional Natural Park is located between the former capitals, Angers and Tours. It stretches on either side of the Loire, but the greater part is in the south, where trib­utaries flow into the Loire. In the area of the Natural Park, the Loire is still a free flowing water without dams or locks. By preserving the natural envi­ron­ment, the biodi­ver­sity of the region has devel­oped enor­mously. Away from the protected core zones, wine with the designa­tion of origin Anjou or Saumur is grown. From the tuff, stones were obtained for the many castles of the Loire. The Regional Park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Abbey Fontevraud

Largest monastic complex in Europe: Fontevrault

The foun­da­tion stone for the monu­mental complex was laid by a wandering preacher in the 12th century. Over the centuries, the monastery has been steadily expanded, creating a whole monastic city, combining Roma­nesque, Gothic and Renais­sance styles. In the abbey church several kings are buried, including Richard the Lion­heart and Johann Ohne­land. UNESCO has declared Fontevraud a World Heritage Site by stating that it is Europe's largest monastic complex. Some­thing special is the 1000 year old kitchen, of which there are very few left. It is like the baptis­tery octag­onal and designed neatly.In the niches you find various fire pits.

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Saumur

Champagne cellars in the shadow of the castle

The medieval town on the lower Loire has an impres­sive cityscape espe­cially looking from the river side. Above the quaint houses there is a mighty castle, which is supposed to be an of the most beau­tiful build­ings on the Loire. In the 16th century Saumur flour­ished as the intel­lectual center of the protestant Huguenots. After being driven out, the city fell into a deep sleep. The academy closed and the educated inhab­i­tants emigrated as the economy stag­nated. Today, Saumur is a town of 30,000 inhab­i­tants and the center of the Anjou-Saumur wine region. On the outskirts there a,many cellars with wine and sparkling wine.

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Accommodation: A country house in the wine region Muscadet

This tastefully furnished country house is situated in the middle of the vineyards of Muscadet. more ...

Thomas emigrated from Germany over 20 years ago to open the inn. After extensive renovation of the over 400 year old house, a successful contrast was created between modern interior design and the rustic building. Breakfast is served on the wooden terrace (weather permitting), with honey and eggs from their own bees and hens and homemade jam for a special treat.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Les Machines de l’île

Mechan­ical engi­neering from the world of Jules Verne and Leon­ardo

The new art project on the former docks displayw large mechan­ical objects from the imag­inary worlds of Jules Verne, Leon­ardo da Vinci and from the indus­trial history of Nantes. At a height of twelve meters, Le Grand Eléphant is the largest object. The 40-ton sculp­ture can move and  accommo­d­ates up to 35 people. All objects can be seen in the ware­house like in a museum. The 13-meter-long and 37-ton mechan­ical spider La Princesse was first presented in Liver­pool, England. During the 2008 Euro­pean Capital of Culture cele­bra­tions it walked through the city from 3 to 7 September. Made of steel and poplar wood, the machine was controlled by 12 people.

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Day 7–9: Cornouaille

Former duchy on the south coast
The historic duchy extends from the Pointe du Raz in the extreme northwest to Quimperlé in the south­east. The name “Cornouaille” is derived from Cornwall. In the 5th and 6th centuries, Chris­tian­ized Celts fled from the pagan Anglo-Saxons from Cornwall across the Channel to Brittany. Under the first ruler, Dagan, they founded a kingdom which became a source of legends. Tristan and Isolde are said to have lived here. Her castle is said to have been in Plmarc'h.

The route will take you through the gently rolling hills of the back country parallel to the coast. An interesting tradition in the region are festivals that feature play-like performances honouring local saints. Brittany has over 700 saints, some of whom are linked to pre-Christian druid legends. The route covers part of the Circuit des Enclos Paroissiaux, a scenic stretch that leads to many religious monuments and historical churches.

Brière

Brière is a vast territory of marshes at the mouth of the Loire estuary. The area was declared a national park in 1970 – the first national park in France. The wetlands are home to numerous species of endan­gered animals. The resi­dents of Brière have retained many of their tradi­tions, as evidenced by the thatched-roof cottages that dot the landscape. Whoever is prepared to climb the 135 steps to the top of the church tower in St. Lyphard will be rewarded with a spectac­ular, pano­ramic view of the moors.

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Vannes

Old town between ramparts and marina

The city on the Golfe de Morbihan has a delightful old town. Colorful half-timbered houses with upscale boutiques and gourmet restau­rants line narrow cobble­stone streets that run towards the semicircular Place Gambetta at the marina. The medieval town is surrounded by the ramparts, a fortress wall that today is partially integrated into parks. Worth seeing are also the Gothic cathedral, which is one of the largest in Brittany with a length of 110 meters, and the Château de l'Hermine, where the Institut culturel de Bretagne now resides.

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Menhirs of Carnac

Riddles about 7,000-year-old stones

More than 3,000 stone standing upright in loose rows at Carnac have been fascinating archae­ol­o­gists for centuries. Some of the stones have already been set up 7,000 years ago, before the pyra­mids or stone build­ings in India and China have been built. So the stones have not been erected by the Druids, as it was supposed in the 19th century. They are the master­piece of an unknown, pre-Celtic, Western Euro­pean Stone Age people, which left nothing but enor­mous stone sett­ings. Menhirs are found everywhere on the west coast of Europe from Spain to Scot­land, but nowhere as many as in Carnac. Legends and myths entwine around the stones. Chris­tian mission­aries took them for a devil's work and carved crosses in them. Healers and witches tried to cure infer­tility with their help. Even today you can see women who rub their bellies on the stones at full moon. Despite count­less theo­ries, nobody will be able to fathom the orig­inal meaning. Only Flau­bert's sentence is certain: “The stones of Carnac are big stones.”

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Chateau de Kerlarec

Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Concar­neau

Massive fortress in a harbor basin

Like a floating fortress, the old town of Concar­neau is built in the big harbor basin. On three sides, the Ville Close is surrounded by sea and massive walls. It is acces­sible only via a single bridge and a ferry connec­tion. While tuna trawlers and screeching seag­ulls circle the city, you can stroll through narrow streets within the old town and admire medieval pitch noses and the granite houses of the bour­geoisie. There is a large farmers' market worth on Mondays and Fridays. Adja­cent there is a market hall with all its delica­cies.

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Fouesnant

Sparkling cider and white beaches

The Breton provin­cial town has about 9,000 inhab­i­tants. It is best known for its sparkling ciders, produced here since the 1950s and suppos­edly among the best in France. The apple tree is cele­brated in the Fête des Pommiers, which takes place on the third of July. In addi­tion, the city is proud of its beau­tiful Roma­nesque church. St-Pierre dates from the 12th century. Around Fouesnant there are some nice beaches, the longest being on the head­land of Mousterlin.

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Quimper

Half-timbered Houses on the most beau­tiful river in France

At the conflu­ence (“kemper”) of Steir and Odet – about 15 kilome­ters north of its mouth in the Atlantic – there was a river port already in the 6th century. The legendary King Gradlon moved the head­quar­ters of his empire to the town. From 1066 the dukes of the Cournaille ruled in Quimper. The splendid past of the city is revealed by the Gothic Cathédrale St-Corentin, which took three centuries to construct. Art histo­rians are overwhelmed by its perfect beauty. In the shadow of the cathedral. stone-old half-timbered houses nestle along cobble­stone streets.

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Day 9–11: Côte d'Emeraude

Emerald sea and countless village saints
The 120 kilometer long Emerald Coast is located between Cap Fréhel to the west and Mont-Saint-Michel in the East. The name is derived from the color of the emerald green sea, which breaks against the weathered cliffs. In between are small sandy coves, which at low tide turn into wide, golden beaches. During the 5th and 6th century Irish monks landed on this varied and beau­tiful coast. They were running from the Anglo-Saxons and at the same spread Chris­tianity in Brittany. Count­less place names that start with Saint remind of those days. Almost every village here has its own saint whose bones are often kept in the church.

With its sandy beaches and granite cliffs, the northern edge of Brittany represents one of the most scenic coastlines in France. The route will take you through the back country parallel to the coast. An interesting tradition in the region are festivals that feature play-like performances honouring local saints. Brittany has over 700 saints, some of whom are linked to pre-Christian druid legends.

Village Gaulois

Where Asterix and Obelix hunted boars

Asterix fans will remember that in the hinter­land of the Brittany coast there was the village of the indomitable Gauls, where Asterix and Obelix beat up Romans and hunted wild boars. The “Village Gaulois” is an open-air museum oppo­site Isle d'Aval with an adven­ture park for chil­dren.

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Sentiers des Douaniers

A path connecting the sea and clouds

The customs offi­cers' route leads along the Brittany coast, where smuggling once flour­ished. It is today one of the French long distance hiking trails, the GR34. Espe­cially beau­tiful is the section from Perros-Guirec to Ploumanac'h. A path that connects the sea and clouds.

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Le Gouffre

Roaring spray at the rock cliff: Le Gouffre

Le Gouffre – “The Maw” – is a deep notch in a cliff. When the sea water pene­trates Le Gouffre, there is a high spray. Several hiking trails lead to the striking landmark, among others the custom offe­icers trail along the coast on the long-distance hiking trail GR 34. You can park you car at the parking lot at the “Maison du Littoral” and from there walk past the granite house on a sandy track towards Le Gouffre..

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Accommodation: A château near St. Michael

This château is a true treasure. Surrounded by a vast park, it sits on the crest of a hill facing a lawn that rolls gently down to a small lake replete with white swans and a little bridge. more ...

This handsome stone mansion was built in 1763 but has roots in the 12th century. It has been owned by the same family from the beginning. The charming host, Comte de Roquefeuil, can tell fascinating stories of the châteaucolourful past and the role of his ancestors in various battles. The hotelinteresting interior is impeccably maintained. All of the rooms are decorated with antique furniture and family portraits line the walls. On the ground floor there is a foyer with a sweeping staircase on one side and a cosy library, a billiard room and an elegant dining room on the other. The bedrooms have the same elegant decor and are decorated with family antiques. Mont Saint Michel and the landing beaches of Normandy are nearby.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Mont Saint Michael

The unusual Bene­dic­tine Abbey jutting out of the waters of the English Channel is consid­ered the most important monastic struc­ture of the Euro­pean Middle Ages. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, it occu­pies most of a one-kilometer-diam­eter clump of rocks which was orig­inally connected to the main­land by a thin natural bridge. According to legend, it was the Archangel Michael himself who ordered the Bishop of Avranches to found the monastery in 708. The building is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and guided tours are offered. Visitors should be prepared for large crowds of tourists. This is also where the greatest tides in Europe occur. The ocean recedes by around 14 km at low tide, then rushes back at a speed of 15 km per hour at high tide.

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Day 11–13: Côte de Nacre

Beach with world history
Along the “Côte de Nacre” on the English Channel, there are many small and big resort towns with sandy, wide beaches, which glis­tens in the sun like mother of pearl. The bathing areas are interrupted now and again by rocky sections. Given the serene atmo­sphere one can hardly imagine that one of the biggest battles of world history has taken place here. On 6 June 1944 the Allied inva­sion was started along the entire coast, which is also known as Oper­a­tion Over­lord or even more familiar: D-Day. Thus began the planned opening of a western front of the anti-Hitler coali­tion. For those who want to find out more, a visit of the Circuit de Debarke­ment, the most important places of the inva­sion, is essen­tial.

This short stretch allows time for an excursion to the coast of Normandy. The Côte du Nacre is of particular interest – not just because of its beautiful beaches but because this is where the allied forces landed in 1944.

Parc Naturel Régional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin

A paradise for birds on a marshy peninsula

This nature reserve is a haven for Normandy's plant and animal life and covers an area of 1,450 square kilome­ters. In the middle of the park is a large bog that is espe­cially inviting for birds. The best ways to explore the moor, which is often flooded in winter, is by boat on the Douve or the Taute, on foot or by bike. The best place to start is the old epis­copal city of Carentan.

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Nez de Jobourg

View of the Channel Islands

The 128 meters high towering rock cliffs belong to the highest in Europe. From the top you have a magnif­i­cent view of all the Channel Islands, namely on Jersey, Guernsey and Sark. At the foot of the cliffs there are several caves, such as the fairy groote or the lion grotto formed both by the sea. Between the grotto of the small church and the grotto of the big church smug­glers are said to have dug a canal.

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Accommodation: An old mill in Subles

The old water mill of Subles is a hidden paradise in the
hinterland of the Normandy coast. more ...

The millstone and the wheel work from the
18th Century are well preserved and artistically integrated into the new
ambience. The same applies to the grounds, where the old ponds and trenches
have been redesigned to be part of a unique park. Madame, the friendly host,
gives good tips for restaurants and day trips. It is ten minutes by car to the
nearest beaches.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Caen

In the focus of D-Day

1,000 years ago, the Normans built a fortress on an island between the rivers Orne and Odon. Under William the Conqueror two abbeys were added. In the Hundred Years' War between England and France, the city was constantly besieged. However the greatest destruc­tion of Caen began in the early summer of 1944. On D-Day, June 6, 1944 a servere battle between the Allies and the German occu­piers started. On July 9, 1944, the Germans gave up Caen and thus the city was liber­ated. Around the restored historic build­ings, the new Caen was built, a green city, whose student flair attracts numerous visitors with cafes and boutiques.

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Bayeux

Picturesque historic town with gothic cathedral

The medieval town lies about 9 km south of the Normandy beach where the allied forces landed in 1944. Bayeux was liber­ated during the Battle of Normandy on 14 June 1944. The city's main attrac­tion is the gothic cathedral, which is deco­rated with a 70 m long tapestry made in 1077 to commem­o­rate the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror. The coast­line is a mixture of sandy beaches, pebble beaches and cliffs. The nearby town of Arromanches les Bains, where the inva­sion of Normandy began in 1944, is now a seaside resort.

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Omaha Beach

Longest beach used during Oper­a­tion D-Day

Omaha Beach, a ten kilometer section of coast­line between the mouth of the Vire near Vierville-sur-Mer and the small fishing town of Port-en-Bessin, forms the longest beach to see fighting during the inva­sion in 1944. The beaches to the east had the code names Gold, Juno and Sword Beach.

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Day 13–14: Giverny: Monet's Gardens

Nature's piece of art: water, flowers and peace
Monet allegedly claimed that there was nothing he could do besides painting and gardening. His gardens are them­selves a work of art and not merely a collec­tion of flower beds. The famous impres­sionist specif­ically designed the gardens as a source of inspi­ra­tion for his paint­ings. Conversely, he converted images in his head into real arrange­ments in his park. The painter achieved his dream at great effort and expense: six gardeners were hired to help him imple­ment his ideas. Beds were created that overflow with flowers from early spring to late autumn. Monet skillfully arranged the flowers and plants to provide a full range of carefully coor­d­inated shades of color. Such famous works as the water lily and the Japa­nese bridge paint­ings were created in Giverny, where Monet lived from 1883 until his death in 1926. Today his gardens are a living museum open to the public.

Before leaving the Seine valley near Rouen, you should take the time to visit the capital of Normandy with its 2,000-year-old half-timbered buildings.

Deauville

“Kingdom of Elegance”

This city, located between Caen, Rouen and Le Havre, was merely a farming village until the mid 19th century. This is when Charles de Morny, a half brother of Napoleon III, turned the “swamps and sand into a kingdom of elegance,” which was to become a magnet for fash­ion­able Parisian society. Neo-Roma­nesque luxury hotels, a casino and a horse race track contributed to the expan­sion of the city. Kings, Hollywood stars, artists and composers soon came to visit. The attrac­tions are topped off by a yacht harbor and an attrac­tive board­walk.

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Honfleur

Picturesque harbor town in Calvados

The city in the Calvados was for centuries rela­tively insig­nif­icant compared to Harfleur on the other bank of the Seine estuary. Due to a lack of money to modernize the site, the narrow six-storey houses and fortifica­tions of the 17th-century at the Vieux Bassin have not been modern­ized or disman­tled which is the only reason why every­thing is still very much the same. Already in the 19th century, the picturesque harbor town attracted famous painters, including Courbet, Renoir and Cézanne. Even today, the painters stand by the wharf and in the Greniers à Sel, the salt ware­houses at the fortress.

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Abbaye de Jumièges

Ruin with spir­itual power

Once the abbey was one of the richest in France; today it is in ruins. However, they suggest the former signif­icance of the monastery. Completely preserved are the 47-meter-high twin towers, which are well visible from far away. The roof­less nave is of huge dimen­sions. It has a length of over 120 meters. The cloister built in late gothic style is partially destroyed. Lord Stuart de Roth­esay had bought a wing and had it installed in his High­cliffe Castle near Bournemouth. In the middle of the rest of the cloister grows a powerful yew tree for more than 500 years. In St-Peters-Church next to the main church remains of Carolin­gian murals are preserved. An arch in the west­work shows the typical meander pattern. On the south wall a portrait can be seen, but of whom is not known.

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G

Accommodation: A family residence

In Giverny, a dreamy little town on the Seine, where Claude Monet spent 46 years of his life, is the charming family residence. more ...

Surrounded by woods and a garden with over 8,000 apple trees, it offers five rooms, which – like the rest of the house – have been carefully restored by the owners Valerie and Francois. There is a large billiard table by the fireplace and breakfast is served in the wood-panelled lounge. The rural ambience is enhanced by the dogs and donkeys living on the farm and in the garden – a cat is living in the house. As the area is ideal for cycling tours, bicycles can be arranged on request.

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Services: 1 Night | Bed & Breakfast

Day 14: Paris

For this short stretch you will take the motorway that follows the course of the Seine.


Services

The cost is per person based on two people sharing a double room and includes accommodation and meals per itinerary.from USD 2,149.00*

(from EUR 1,949.00)*


You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time:
April–Oct.

Upon booking this tour you will receive:
» the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each accommodation
» Your vouchers
» detailed directions to each accommodation

Please call us if you would like to request a customized itinerary, book a tour or just ask quesitons about our range of services.

Request a custom itinerary

Your Consultants
Your Consultants

Jessica Parkin
Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-23

Your Consultants
Your Consultants

Leslie Jalowiecki
Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-67

Your Consultants
Your Consultants

Melissa Nußbaum
Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-57

Booking Process

1. Your Tour Specifications
Request a tailor-made tour proposal. Indicate your interests, desired destinations, travel period and budget.

2. Consulting + Itinerary
Our experienced staff will provide professional consulting and prepare a tailor-made proposal based on your specifications.

3. Booking
To book a tour, simply fill out and submit the form. We will make all tour arrangements for you.

4. Payment + Travel Documents
After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.

5. Tour
We wish you a relaxing and memorable trip. Enjoy your holiday!

6. Your Feedback
We appreciate any feedback you wish to provide after completion of your tour. This helps us to continually improve our products and services.


*) The price is per person based on two people sharing a double room. Prices may vary by season and due to differences in available services.
All tours are sold in euros.
Prices indicated in other currencies are for informational purposes only and may vary in accordance with changes in exchange rates.