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La Belle France: Back Roads Experience: Paris to Paris

Duration
9 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,953

Explore the intriguing provinces of Normandy and Brittany while enjoying splendid medieval towns and cities, magnificent chateaux, ancient monasteries and abbeys; sample excellent wines and local cider and appreciate fine food. Also experience major highlights – Mont St. Michel, The Normandy Beaches and the Bayeux Tapestries.


Join one of our unique small group Back-Roads touring experiences (maximum 18 participants) that includes specially selected accommodations, transportation in purpose built Mercedes Benz Sprinters, sightseeing, special culinary experiences and a knowledgeable Tour Leader.

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Travel from Paris to Honfleur through the Normandy countryside stopping en route first at Giverny, the former home of the impressionist painter Monet with its attractive garden and where his “Water Lilies” were painted and after, at the Abbey of St. Wandrille de Fontenelle constructed in the 7th Century. Honfleur is very well preserved picturesque port and where you will stay for the next 2 nights.

The next morning, travel along the coast visiting the sophisticated resorts of Trouville and Deauville after which head inland along the Route du Cidre. This road traverses through narrow lanes where the apples are grown to produce cider. Arrive at the village of Beuvron-en-Auge, one of the prettiest in France with its medieval houses. You will have the opportunity today to sample the local cider and Calvados, Brittany’s “brandy”. Return later to Honfleur.

The following day brings you to the iconic Normandy Beaches made famous during World War Two with the D-Day landings in 1944. The beaches to be visited include Utah, Omaha, Gold and Juno Beaches. There will also be a visit to the American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur.Mer. Continue to the city of Bayeux for 2 nights’ accommodation.

The next day brings you the famous Bayeux Tapestries which depict the Norman Conquest of England. The amazing tapestry is 68 metres/220 feet in length with 58 action-packed scenes of pageantry and mayhem. Included is a depiction of the Battle of Hastings. There is also time to browse the medieval cobblestone streets of Bayeux.

The following day you enter Brittany with first, a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont St. Michel perched high on a rocky promontory reached by crossing a sandbank. On the island is a gothic styled Benedictine abbey dating back to the 11th Century. Next is a visit to the extraordinarily attractive medieval town of Dinan with its ramparts, cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses. Take time to wander the narrow streets complete with art galleries and craft shops. Also make sure to visit the beautiful Place des Merciers in the heart of Dinan. Overnight in Dinan.

The Loire Valley is the next stop with its fairy-tale castles and excellent food and wine. Arrive in Angers considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in France with its moated castle and other treasures. Continue to Chinon, a delightful medieval town on the Vienne River. It boasts many vineyards plus a majestic fortress. Spend 2 nights here.

Now is the time to explore the heart of the Loire Valley visiting Chateau de Villandry, a very large and imposing chateau with attractive landscaped gardens. which was built during the Renaissance period. Returning to Chinon, there will be the opportunity to sample some of the Loire Valley wines.

The following morning brings a visit to Chateau de Chenonceau, one of the most famous chateaux with its museum and exceptional gardens. Tonight you will experience a stay at a chateau, probably Chateau de la Bourdaisiere where you will not only have dinner prepared by the chateau’s chef but will help to prepare it.

Your final day is devoted to a visit to the city of Chartres, home of the renowned cathedral with its famous stained glass windows dating back to the 13th Century. Later, return to Paris.

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Duration
9 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,953

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Paris to Honfleur

Our first impressions of France are formed in Giverny, Normandy, at the home of one of the world's most celebrated artists -- Claude Monet. The vivid colours in every room paint a picture of his life, and the gardens outside are brimming with every shade of flower. We carry that image with us all the way to Honfleur. With a harbour lined with a parade of tall, brightly painted merchants houses, it's one of the most beautifully preserved old ports in Normandy -- and our home for the next two nights. Bustling cafes and restaurants line the pavements. So what better way to celebrate the start of our trip than with a welcome dinner together.

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Des Loges

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    Hotel Des Loges



    Historic Honfleur is best known for its timber-framed houses and medieval charm, its gastronomy and galleries. Centrally located, Hotel des Loges is found in one of the cute cobbled streets that characterize this charming town, just a bowshot from the beautiful wooden Saint-Catherine's Church. The ...

    Historic Honfleur is best known for its timber-framed houses and medieval charm, its gastronomy and galleries. Centrally located, Hotel des Loges is found in one of the cute cobbled streets that characterize this charming town, just a bowshot from the beautiful wooden Saint-Catherine's Church. The guesthouse is composed of three 300-year-old fishermen's cottages and an additional modern wing. A few original features remain - stair banisters and the odd roof beam are preserved - but lighting and bathroom fixtures are modern. Stroll the streets, buy some art, marvel at the architecture, borrow a bicycle, and visit the D-Day beaches.

    Facilities

    • Air Conditioning
    • Childrens Activities
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Laundry Service
    • Non-Smoking Rooms

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Day 2

Normandy Back Country

On the menu today is Normandy's 'back country'. We take the road less travelled to Livarot where a renowned dairy producers wonderful cheeses --and invites us to sample them .Of course, cheese is made even better when followed up with drinks. So we track the Route du Cidre towards Beuvron-en-Auge, voted one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. From cool, crisp ciders to heady, amber-hued calvados, it's here that we pause to taste the fruits of the region's orchards -- a delicious end to our day.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Normandy Beaches

We turn our attentions to the windswept shoreline; where history has left an enduring mark not just on the landscape, but the lives of countless people around the world. At the Normandy Beaches, we stand at the sites of the D-Day Landings of 1944. Afterwards, there's the opportunity to pay the a poignant visit to the American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, which is in a peaceful spot overlooking Omaha beach. When bed beckons, we find ourselves in a countryside hotel not far from the coast.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Ferme de la Ranconniere

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    Ferme de la Ranconniere


    A hotel with a lot of charm in the Calvados region of Normandy 2h30 from Paris, and 4h from Lille. "La Ferme de la Ranconniere" is the ideal starting point to visit Normandy. Close to places like Bayeux, Arromanches, D-Day, Caen, Mont Saint Michel, Etretat ...

    A hotel with a lot of charm in the Calvados region of Normandy 2h30 from Paris, and 4h from Lille. "La Ferme de la Ranconniere" is the ideal starting point to visit Normandy. Close to places like Bayeux, Arromanches, D-Day, Caen, Mont Saint Michel, Etretat and Giverny, the strategic location of our hotel will make it easy for you to organize your stay, in a way that you can fully enjoy.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Lounge
    • Restaurant

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Day 4

Bayeux to Dinan

Time to unfold another layer of Normandy history this morning with a trip to see the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry. The town of Bayeux is a find in itself; which we enjoy exploring afterwards. That afternoon, we drive onto enchanting Mont St Michel, crossing the tidal causeway to wander the buzzing island village. There's even time to visit the medieval monastery, which crowns the hilltop and gazes imperiously back to the mainland. To top off a charm filled day, we spend this evening in Dinan -- and it's yours to enjoy.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Le D'Avaugour

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    Hotel Le D'Avaugour



    Discover the Hotel Le d'Avaugour in Dinan, a lovey boutique hotel in a house with all the charm of yesteryear, located in the heart of a medieval Breton city. You will feel at home here and enjoy the high standard of comfort, services and welcome. ...

    Discover the Hotel Le d'Avaugour in Dinan, a lovey boutique hotel in a house with all the charm of yesteryear, located in the heart of a medieval Breton city. You will feel at home here and enjoy the high standard of comfort, services and welcome. Why not treat yourself to a moment or relaxation in the blossoming garden, which from the top of the ramparts, offers a stunning view over the Connetable Tower. Share some quality time with your family and friends at the hotel bar or in the tearoom.

    Facilities

    • Babysitting Services
    • Bicycle hire
    • Concierge
    • Currency Exchange
    • Express Check In/Out
    • Luggage Storage
    • Non-Smoking Property

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Day 5

Dinan

With a whole day to yourself in Dinan, you can really get under the skin of this Gallic gem. Picture ancient ramparts, a hotchpotch of timbered houses, a postcard-pretty quay and 13thcentury castle. You'll get a sense of its arts and crafts heritage in the quirky shops, and galleries that line the cobbled streets, with talented craftspeople ranging from bookbinders to glassblowers plying their trade here. And it has little bars and restaurants to suit every taste.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 6

Dinan to Angers and Chinon

We're deep into fairytale territory when we travel towards the Loire Valley; a landscape whose skyline is peppered with the turrets of castles. Our first port of call is Angers, once the medieval stronghold of the Plantagenet kings. It gives us a chance to get up close to a moat-encircled castle and admire a beautiful tapestry. Then we move on to Chinon where dinner at a local restaurant awaits.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Diderot

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    Hotel Diderot



    This house from the 17th Century offers a calm elegance in the charming city of Chinon. The Hotel Diderot, with its regal black slate roof and white limestone walls, is located near Place Jeanne d'Arc. A sense of the past is preserved in the exposed ...

    This house from the 17th Century offers a calm elegance in the charming city of Chinon. The Hotel Diderot, with its regal black slate roof and white limestone walls, is located near Place Jeanne d'Arc. A sense of the past is preserved in the exposed beams and supports the 18th- century staircase, and the 15th-century fireplace in the dining room, where breakfast is served. Guests have use of the garden and patio. The location is good for exploring the town; the renovated chateau are within walking distance, and there are many shops and restaurants nearby.

    Facilities

    • Express Check In/Out
    • Luggage Storage

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Day 7

Chateau of Villandry

Our first château of the tour is the last of Loire's greats: Château de Villandry. There is plenty of time for us to explore its majestic interiors and even more magnificent grounds. Be sure to peek out of an upstairs window for a birds-eye view of the parterre planting, with intricate patterns laid out meticulously trimmed hedges and vivid flowers. Taking it all is thirsty work. So on our way back to Chinon, we enjoy a detour at a regional winery and linger over a glass or two.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Chateau de Chenonceau and Montlouis-sur-Loire

Château de Chenonceau gives us the opportunity to stroll through manicured gardens and explore the fascinating museum. While at our own château, deep in the heart of the Loire Valley, we turn into lords and ladies of the manor with a night spent in stately surrounds -- but not before a guided tour of the gardens and an indulgent farewell dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Chateau de la Bourdaisiere

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    Chateau de la Bourdaisiere



    The Chateau de la Bourdaisiere is a magnificent castle of the XVth century. Francois 1st built it for his mistress. It became then the favourite place of residence for famed Mlle. Gabrielle d' Estrees, favourite of Henri IV. Today, a tourism site for relaxation but ...

    The Chateau de la Bourdaisiere is a magnificent castle of the XVth century. Francois 1st built it for his mistress. It became then the favourite place of residence for famed Mlle. Gabrielle d' Estrees, favourite of Henri IV. Today, a tourism site for relaxation but also discovery, the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere offers outdoor activities, rooms, and reception rooms, but also place for exhibitions and luxurious gardens which shelters an extraordinary kitchen garden of 1 hectare. Bourdaisiere provides you with 11 rooms and 3 apartments in the Castle and 6 rooms in the Pavilion Choiseul. Rooms are spacious, quite differently decorated in the same spirit of taste and refinement of these women who made the history. The lounge is decorated with a herbarium.

    Facilities

    • Fitness Centre
    • Horseback Riding
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Library
    • Restaurant
    • Swimming Pool
    • Tennis Court

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Day 9

Chartres and Paris

A fitting finale to our tour is a visit to the celebrated cathedral of Chartres, reckoned to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France. Its soaring spires and ornate 13thcentury stained glass windows are a sight to behold, and beautiful image to take back to Paris where we say "au revoir".

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Aug 4, 11, 20, 27; Sep 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29; Oct 1, 6, 8, 15.

2018: Apr 10, 17; May 8, 15, 22; Jun 5, 12, 19, 26; Jul 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Aug 7, 14, 21, 28; Sep 4, 11, 18, 25, 28; Oct 2, 9, 16.

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 8 nights’ accommodation
  • Driver/tour guide
  • Mini-coach transportation
  • European breakfast daily
  • 4 evening meals
  • Cooking demonstration & dinner
  • Cider & calvados tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Included Entrance Fees: Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny, Angers Castle, Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux Museum of the Battle of Normandy, Chateau de Villandry and Chateau de Chenonceau.

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Itiems of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Pre and post tour accommodation.
  • Arrival and departure transfers

OTHER INFORMATION:

Mobility: The tour involves walking and requires guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility.

Trip Highlights:

  • Travel at a leisurely pace along the back roads of Normandy, Brittany and the Loire valley.
  • Taste locally produced wine, cider and calvados.
  • Relax in a street-side cafe in the picturesque harbour of Honfleur.
  • Experience a French cooking class with a renowned specialist of Renaissance and medieval cuisine.

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

TB BACKROAPAR0115SG: BRSFRA17
15 Oct 2017
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