Paris, D-Day Beaches, Normandy & the Loire Valley

8 Days

Delight in unveiling centuries of history in France’s capital city, along the ruggedly beautiful coastline, and amidst the rolling landscapes of the Loire Valley on this immersive rail tour.

  • Priced from $2495 per person
  • Departure dates in May, June, and September 2023

Overview

Fill your heart with tales of the past and breathtaking scenes of the present in Northern France. This eight-day journey explores several of the country’s most beloved destinations, beginning in the heart of the action in Paris and winding through the beaches of Normandy, Brittany’s evocative locales and the lush Loire Valley before arriving back in the capital city. A common vein connects each stop: history spanning the millennia, presented through incredible architecture and wondrous sites. In Paris, commence your discoveries with a guided tour of the city, getting acquainted with popular attractions while you soak in the ambiance that only the City of Love can offer. From here, we travel by train to Rouen in Normandy and are greeted by its chocolate-box half-timbered houses and a magnificent cathedral – the combination of which makes this an exciting starting point to further explore this area of France. Of course, Normandy is synonymous with WWII, and no trip is complete without visiting the beaches that played such an important role in history: Omaha and Utah. And this is just the beginning of what we are to unveil.

From Normandy, we travel to Brittany and are captivated by this scenic region at Mont St Michel and alongside the bright blue waters of Saint-Malo. The journey navigates inland from here, traveling through rolling countryside and bluebell fields to the lush Loire Valley. With its awe-inspiring beauty and layers of history, it is no wonder that this area boasts UNESCO World Heritage designation. The River Loire for which the area is named meanders serenely amongst magnificent castles of French kings and ethereal topography, making it a focal point as we venture to Tours and explore châteaux, including Château Villandry, Château Chenonceau and Château du Petit Thouars. An evening cruise on the Seine offers a memorable conclusion to this French expedition as we arrive back in Paris.

Highlights

  • See Paris’ iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees, on a city tour
  • Explore Rouen, the capital of Normandy, on a walking tour
  • Delve into the D-Day Landings and America’s involvement in WWII on an excursion to the Normandy Beaches and US St Laurent Cemetery
  • Visit Mont St Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Savor the wines of the Loire Valley on an excursion to the magnificent Loire Chateaux
  • Admire the twinkling lights of Paris on a Bateaux Mouche Seine dinner cruise

Itinerary

Day 1 :
Paris

Unmatched romance and ambiance greet you as you arrive in the City of Love. Transfer to your centrally located hotel on your own. Meet your tour manager and fellow travelers after check-in, then join a guided tour for a grand introduction to Paris. Look upon all the major attractions, including Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and an up-close look at the most famous of all Parisian landmarks, the Eiffel Tower. Return to your hotel with the evening at leisure to peruse the city's shops or dine in one of the incredible restaurants. Overnight Paris.

Make your way to the Paris-Saint-Lazare train station this morning to board your direct train to Rouen, the capital city of Normandy. Set on the shores of the Seine, this city has a history that spans to the ancient Romans. The rail journey takes just over an hour to complete, and on arrival, a guided walking tour unveils all this city has to offer. Look upon the magnificent cathedral, medieval half-timbered houses and the Gros Horloge (old clock tower) as you walk along cobbled streets. Hear stories of the Trial of Joan of Arc and tales of Richard the Lionheart, the crowned King of Normandy. As the tour reaches the historic town center, admire the boutique shops and lovely cafés housed in the historic buildings.

Later this afternoon, we explore the beauty that surrounds Normandy. First, we venture to Honfleur, a charming fishing village, and then we continue to Deauville, a premier beach resort town. Its boardwalk, dating to the 1920s, is one of the most notable attractions, though its chic hotels and gorgeous beaches are quite impressive, as well. Our outing concludes with a visit to a local Calvados or cider producer to taste some of the regional offerings. Overnight Rouen.

Includes: • Breakfast

Today is steeped in WWII history as we continue our explorations of Normandy. Begin with a train trip from Rouen to Bayeux, where we meet our guide: a successful author who penned a harrowing book about the United States' involvement in the Second World War. We begin our visit at the Bayeux Museum, home to the one and only Bayeux Tapestry, a woven cloth that recounts the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Its scenes span over 70 meters of fabric. Before heading out of Bayeux, we also visit the medieval town center to learn more about its offerings. Our next destination is Omaha Beach, where our immersion into WWII commences. Alongside our guide, walk across the sand to the Les Braves Sculpture and then pay tribute to the fallen troops at the U.S. St. Laurent Cemetery. The final stops on our journey take us to Utah Beach and Saint Mere Eglise commune. We transfer by coach to Caen Station and venture back to Rouen by train. A delicious dinner is served tonight at the hotel. Overnight Rouen.

Includes: • Breakfast • Dinner

Begin your day by boarding a deluxe motorcoach for transfer toward the coast. We approach Mont St Michel and are shuttled over to the island, where idyllic views abound. Mont St Michel and its bay are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Normandy and Brittany share the waters, and powerful tides break upon its rocky shores. The centerpiece of the island is its Benediction Abbey. Constructed in a Gothic style in the 11th century, the Abbey is an amazing sight. Spend time strolling through the island's medieval village and old fortifications before heading back to the mainland.

Our excursion proceeds along the Emerald Coast to Saint-Malo. Crystalline blue waters and age-old ramparts are the first things you see as we approach this destination in Brittany. Venturing through the ancient walls is like stepping back in time. The Intra Muros is rife with winding streets, and there are stunning buildings at each turn. Your time here is at leisure to explore the history and culture. Perhaps try a traditional Breton pastry from the Biscuiterie des Corsaires, visit the Château de Saint-Malo or walk along the sandy shores of Plage du Sillon. Enjoy dinner with the group at your hotel this evening. Overnight Saint-Malo.

Includes: • Breakfast • Dinner

Today's journey takes us by train to Tours by way of Le Mans, a city famed for its 24 Hours of Le Mans Motor Race and has a speedway that became immortalized in the 1971 movie "Le Mans" starring Steve McQueen. Our time here is highlighted by a 90-minute walking tour that showcases the world-famous race circuit. Learn the ins and outs of the race while walking through places like the speaker room, the control center and the podium alongside a knowledgeable guide.

From Le Mans, the journey presses forth toward Tours, a stunning city in the Loire Valley. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is chock-full of culture and immense beauty. Half-timbered houses sit aside the River Loire, while the Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours towers above the city as its crowning jewel. The Château de Tours and the stunning basilica pair with delightful little bistros and a wonderful assortment of architectural styles to create unmatched ambiance. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.

Includes: • Breakfast • Dinner

The magnificence of the Loire Valley is yours to discover today as we set out to a selection of the most impressive châteaux, particularly Château Villandry and Château Chenonceau, which date to the 16th and 11th centuries, respectively. Marvel at the intricate architecture of each - both inside and out - and meander through the impeccably maintained gardens as we tour. Each château has hidden treasures that make it a wonder to uncover; Château Villandry, in particular, has a whimsical hedge maze woven through its grounds. The excursion continues through the Loire Valley to Château du Petit Thouars, a family-owned "hunting lodge" from the 1500s. On arrival, we are treated to a tour of the property's wine cellars and a guided tasting of the region's flavorful varietals. Our adventure caps off with a picnic in the estate's garden. We return to Tours with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to sightsee as you please. Overnight Tours.

Includes: • Breakfast • Lunch

Depart Tours this morning by train and settle in for a journey back to Paris. The north-bound route takes just under two hours to complete, leaving us ample time to enjoy the city as we station at Paris Montparnasse. The city blooms before you as we set out on a guided tour of the atmospheric Montmartre neighborhood. Colorful buildings and cobbled streets meet a thriving art scene and fantastic architecture that tells the stories of the past and the present. As you tour, soak in these sights and more while your guide recounts the city's stories and points out secret areas of Paris.

This evening, gain a fresh perspective on this idyllic city from the Seine as you cruise the river aboard a Bateaux Mouche. Watch as the sun dips below the horizon and the city glitters with lights. What a magical backdrop for a dinner cruise! Overnight Paris.

Includes: • Breakfast • Dinner

Your memorable journey through Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley concludes this morning after breakfast.

Includes: • Breakfast

Inclusions

What's Included

  • All rail and coach travel throughout your tour
  • 7 nights' hotel accommodation
  • Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
  • City tours in Paris, Rouen and Bayeux
  • 12 meals including 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners

What's not included

  • Cancellation & Travel Insurance is not included in the price of the tour but can be arranged
  • Flights and Airport transfers

Tour Map

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Paris, D-Day Beaches, Normandy & the Loire Valley
From $2,495
/ Adult