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

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.

This trip will be customized according to your wishes.

Paris

Paris

35 km | 36 minutes
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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.

Accommodation: A small inn near the Louvre

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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

Île-de-France

Cradle of today's France
The metropol­itan area of Paris is like an island between the rivers Seine, Marne, Oise and Beuvronne. However, the name does not derive from the insular posi­tion, but from the Old Frankish name “Liddle Franke”, which means some­thing like “Little France”. The Île-de-France was the nucleus of today's France, as evidenced by magnif­i­cent castles, churches and gardens. The French language of today goes back to a dialect in this region. Today it is by far the most densely popu­lat­ed re­gion in France. Nearly 20 percent of all French resi­dents live in the “Paris agglom­er­a­tion”.

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.

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.

From Paris to Vouvray

Rental car pick-up

Paris

4 km | 15 minutes

Rental car pick-up

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Alamo
Vehicle: Opel Astra or similar (CDMR)
Loca­tion: Paris City (Railway Station)

From Paris to Vouvray

227 km | 3:30 h
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.

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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Loire Valley

Where France is frenchest

They say that France is frenchest along its longest river. The world famous histor­ical monu­ments in the Loire Valley (including over 600 castles) are found in a surpris­ingly unspoiled wooded landscape.

Inside the castles it is easy to imagine the bawdy Renais­sance festivals that were once held by their royal owners. The most important castles are in Chambord, Azayle-Rideau, Chenon­ceau, Blois and Amboise. The old town of Bourges featuring St. Stephan's Cathedral and the Hôtel Jacques-Coeur is worth a detour, as is the Château de Chinon. The Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France”. The Sologne contains over 1.2 million acres of lakes and wood­lands. The Brenne National Park to the south is inhabited by many threat­ened species of plants and animals.

Accommodation: A Guesthouse on a Wine Estate

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

From Vouvray to Saint Fiacre sur Maine

241 km | 3:00 h

Lower Loire

Sunny wine landscape in the west of France
The lower Loire is a sunny landscape rich in fruits, vegeta­bles and good wines. The Anjou in the west of France was for a long time an important duchy, which dates back to the Normans and was known as Planta­genêt since the 12th century. In the High Middle Ages, the Dukes of Anjou were very powerful in Western Europe – from the Pyre­nees to southern Scot­land. Their influ­ence and wealth is reflected in their central castle in 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.

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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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.

Accommodation: A country house in the wine region Muscadet

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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

Vendee

Nice beach resorts, histor­ical hinter­land
With more than 2,600 hours of sunshine annu­ally, the hilly region on the Atlantic coast between Nantes and La Rochelle is partic­u­larly popular as a holiday resort. While the idyllic country­side is a histor­ical area where the Battle of Poitiers in the 8th century has decided the fate of Europe, the coast entices with beau­tiful beaches, nice seaside resorts such as Les Sables d'Olonne, or the island of Noirmou­tier. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean below sea level and can be reached on foot at low tide.

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.

From Saint Fiacre sur Maine to Arzano

217 km | 3:00 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.

Golfe de Morbihan

Prehistoric finds around an island rich inland sea.
The gulf is actu­ally an inland sea with many islands and is connected only by a narrow passage with the Atlantic. Between the head­lands, the tidal currents are extremely strong. When the tide comes in, the water rushes through the passage with speeds up to 12 km/h. The marinas in the gulf therefore employ pilots, who safely bring boaters back to the open sea. The mudflats of the gulf form a special habitat, which is popu­lated mainly in the winter by hundreds of thou­sands of geese, ducks and waders. In the area there is a rare abun­dance of prehistoric monu­ments: standing stones, dolmens, tumuli and stone circles are evidence of a myste­r­ious pre-Celtic civi­l­iza­tion, whose age is esti­mated up to 6000 years.

Brittany

With over 1,500 km of coast­line, Brittany is almost completely surrounded by water. Typical features of the landscape are grey slate roofs, bluish-green water and pink hydrangeas. The scent of salt water always fills the air. The myste­r­ious Carnic Stones, the menhirs of Locamri­a­quer, the legends of the Round Table, and the myths surrounding the wizard Merlin bear witness to the region's Celtic history. 

Almost every village has a saint to whom an annual festival is dedicated. These festivals, called the “grand pardon”, are rooted in the pre-Chris­tian, Celtic tradi­tion. There are many picturesque towns along the coast­line, espe­cially the capital city of Rennes. To the north is the Côte d'Emer­aude, the Emerald Coast, with its beaches, small harbours, bays, cliffs and splendid pano­rama views from the old pirate city of Saint Malo to the town of Erquy. At the western edge of Brittany is the Pointe du Raz, a promontory that extends into the Atlantic Ocean. This is a dramatic place of crashing waves and strong winds. South­east of the Pointe du Raz is a beau­tiful stretch of coast­line made up of sandy beaches and scenic bays.

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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Pointe du Raz

The rugged western tip of France

On the western tip of France is the Pointe du Raz, which is named after the Raz de Sein, the dangerous stretch of water between it and the island of Sein.

The Pointe sits on a steep cliff 70 m above the stormy waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The southern side of the peninsula is dotted with picturesque fishing villages and resorts. The cliff forma­tions near the fishing harbor of St. Guénolé are partic­u­larly rugged. Stretches of cliffs alternate with stretches of golden beaches. Ferries depart from Audierne to the pounding shores of Ile de Sein.

Chateau de Kerlarec

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

Parc Régional d'Armorique

Pris­tine forests and heath­land
Cenu­tries ago, Brittany was civered with dense forest. The Romans cut exten­sively and used the beech and oak for shipbuilding or charcoal. The largest remnants of the forests are now protected by the Parc Régional d'Armorique. On 112,000 hectares it extends from the west coast far into inland. Beech trees, chestnuts and maple trees form an old forest. On the western slopes, where the coastal wind whis­tles, shrubs and heather have spread.

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.

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.

From Arzano to Vergoncey

428 km | 6:00 h

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.

Corniche de l'Armorique

Sandy beaches, head­lands and small harbors
The coast between St-Michel-en-Grève and Morlaix presents itself as Brittany from the picture book with rocky cliffs and sandy beaches, head­lands and small harbors. The Corniche de l'Armorique can be accessed via a curvy piece of the D64. If you want to travel the 60 kilome­ters by car, you should take plenty of time for photo breaks and walks.

Côte de Granit Rose

Bizarre sculp­tures formed by frost and wind
The strip of coast between St-Michel-en-Grève and Pointe de l'Arcouest in northern Brittany is one of the most pano­ramic stretches of coast­line in France. The name derives from the massive granite cliffs rising out of the sea, which take on a pink hue if hit by the sun from a certain angle at twil­ight. The cliffs are believed to have been created by volca­noes during the Mesozoic period. Since then the ocean, wind and frost have carved bizarre sculp­tures in the granite. An espe­cially scenic stretch is the Sentiers des Douaniers (border patrol path) from Perros-Guirec to Ploumanac'h, a five km path framed by clouds and the sea.

Haute Normandie

Cider, Calvados and Camem­bert
Normandy acquired its present name during the Middle Ages, when the Vikings conquered the country and mingled with the native popu­la­tion. The result was a new tribe – the “Northmen”. To pacify them, their leader, Gånge Rolf, was awarded the fief of Normandy. He and his descen­dants became dukes, one of which, namely Wilhelm, conquered England in 1066. 900 years later the English came back, but as holi­daymakers on the Norman beaches. That way Dieppe became the first holiday destina­tion in “Romantic Normandy”. In addi­tion to sandy beaches and history, there are other attrac­tions: The three big C's stand for the Norman Cuisine: Cider, Calvados and Camem­bert. The mild and humid climate provides ideal condi­tions for live­stock and the culti­va­tion of apples. There are approx­i­mately 10 million apple trees in Normandy, making for a sea of apple blos­soms during spring.
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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.

Accommodation: A château near St. Michael

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

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.

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.

From Vergoncey to Subles

247 km | 3:30 h
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.

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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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.

Accommodation: An old mill in Subles

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast
The old water mill of Subles is a hidden paradise in the hinter­land of the Normandy coast. 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.

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.

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.

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.

From Subles to Giverny

204 km | 2:30 h
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.

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.

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.
G

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.

Accommodation: A family residence

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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

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.

From Giverny to Paris

Rental car drop-off

From Giverny to Paris

97 km | 2:00 h
For this short stretch you will take the motorway that follows the course of the Seine.

Rental car drop-off

Loca­tion: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (Desk at Airport)

14 days
from € 1,949.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
Services
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)

An- und Abreise: Flüge zum Selberbuchen finden Sie im Internet. Falls Sie mit der Bahn anreisen möchten, buchen wir gern das Ticket für Sie.
You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–October

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultants
Jessica Parkin

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


Leslie Jalowiecki

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


Melissa Nußbaum

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

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