27 October 2016
This lovely small group tour around Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley takes in the north west of France which is rich in culture, cuisine and fine wines, magnificent architecture, breathtaking scenery and stunning chateaux. Explore Monet’s Garden in Giverny, visit the Normandy Beaches to see first-hand where the dramatic events of World War II unfolded, and then discover the Loire Valley, renowned for its magnificent chateaux, historic villages and splendid food and wine.
Your great French adventure begins in the capital city Paris where you can stay for a few days before setting off. The first stop on the tour is the home and famous garden of French Impressionist, Claude Monet, at Giverny in Normandy. Then travel to Honfleur, one of the best-preserved old ports in Normandy, where you stay two nights at Hotel Des Loges. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner with the rest of your group.
Today travel inland towards Normandy’s ‘back country’. The first stop is Livarot, where you visit a renowned cheese dairy. Then follow the Route du Cidre towards Beuvron-en-Auge, voted one of the most beautiful villages of France. Later sample some of the region’s finest cider and calvados (apple brandy), before returning to Honfleur. Overnight: Hotel Des Loges.
Leave Honfleur after breakfast and travel to the Normandy Beaches, forever associated with the famous D-Day Landings of 1944. This afternoon you visit the American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur Mer. Your historic day concludes with a leisurely drive along the coast to Bayeux where you stay for the next two nights at the Churchill Hotel.
Today you explore Bayeux at your leisure. This medieval town, with its cobbled streets and museums, is home to the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the world famous Bayeux Tapestry which you will visit. After a great day in this seaside town spend another night at the Churchill Hotel and dine on some of the region's culinary specialities.
This morning you travel across the Normandy countryside and into Brittany. Today’s highlight is Mont St Michel, which is perched on a rocky islet. It's Gothic style abbey appears to rise from the surrounding waters and is much larger than it's English counterpart St Michael's Mount in Cornwall. Then continue to Dinan, an attractive medieval town, where you stay at Hotel Le D’Avaugour.
Travelling towards the Loire Valley, renowned for its castles, your first port of call today is Angers, a pretty town widely considered to be one of the most beautiful in France. Here you visit its imposing moated castle before making your way to the delightful riverside town of Chinon, staying at the pretty Hotel Diderot for the next two nights.
After breakfast which can be enjoyed in the delightful gardens of the Hotel Diderot, you are taken to explore the imposing Chateau de Villandry, the last of the great chateaux of the Loire. On the way back to Chinon, you are treated to a tasting of some of the famous local wines with a regional producer. Tonight go out and try one of the many excellent restaurants in Chinon.
At the Chateau de Chenonceau, explore the exceptional museum and magnificent gardens. Later you travel on to Chateau de la Bourdaisiere at Montiouis-sur-Loi, tonight's stunning chateau accommodation where you learn the art of French cooking with one of the chefs. The group's final meal together is the delicious dinner that you have helped to prepare. Overnight at the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere.
A fitting climax to your last day on tour is celebrated at the cathedral of Chartres, incomparable anywhere in the world for its stained glass windows dating from the 13th century. After walking around the cathedral spend some time in the city before returning to Paris later in afternoon where your tour ends. This superb trip around Northern France is a great way to discover the many delights of Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley.
Standard fr £1625pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated