6 Day Normandy Tour
Day 1- Welcome to France!
We will meet and start the tour from the lobby of Hotel Novotel Suites Paris Roissy CDG near the CDG airport. We recommend coming a day early and booking a night at the hotel on your own to relax from your flight and get ready for the tour, or you can arrive on the first day of the tour and meet us in the lobby, but please don't be late! We will be leaving at 9:30 am sharp to start the day. Our first stop will be in Rouen, capital of Normandy, for lunch by the magnificent Rouen Cathedral, and a walking tour to see the Gros Horlodge (one of the oldest clocks in Europe), Place du Vieux Marche (the old market square and where Joan of Arc was burned), and the Cathedral which was painted famously by Monet and is the resting place of 3 Dukes of Normandy. Next we will get back on the bus to head to Bayeux, a beautiful medieval town, where you will stay for 5 nights and be able to relax at the comfortable hotel Domaine de Bayeux each night and enjoy free time around town..
Departure, Lunch and walking tour in Rouen, Check in to hotel in Bayeux, Group Dinner
Day 2- Bayeux, Cathedral, Tapestry, Chateau
We will start our day in Bayeux discovering the medieval town and it's treasures. Our first stop will be the Bayeux Tapestry, Finished around 1077, the Bayeux Tapestry is displayed in a special museum in Bayeux. It is 1.6 feet high and a whopping 224.3 feet long and reads like panels from a graphic novel complete with Latin descriptions of the events of 1064 to 1066, beginning with King Edward the Confessor sending Harold to Normandy and culminating in Duke William’s invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings. The tapestry is encased in a long glass display in the museum and you can walk the length of it while an audioguide explains the story. Next we will visit the Bayeux Cathedral. The present cathedral was finished in 1077 by William the Conqueror, however it is built on an ancient religious site, where it may have been that William forced Harold Godwinson to pledge an oath to support him in a bid to become King of England. We will finish the morning with a walk around town to see the medieval buildings and become more acquainted with Bayeux and its history and then stop for lunch. After lunch we will head to the Chateau Fontaine-Henry for a tour. The chateau is a beautiful example of 13th-16th century style architecture. This chateau has never been sold and stayed in the family since it was built sometime around 1200! What is fascinating is
the history you will learn on the visit and the collection of artifacts passed down from generation to generation on display in the rooms. After the visit we will return back to the hotel and you will have a free evening.
Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux Cathedral, Bayeux Tour, Chateau Fontaine-Henry, Free evening
Day 3- WW2 & Calvados
Today we will start to learn about WW2 history. We start with the location of Sainte Mere Eglise, a key objective late in the night on June 5th. The battle was famously memorialized in the film "The Longest Day" and including the true story of paratrooper John Steele whose parachute got stuck on the church and left him hanging until a German soldier cut him free and took him prisoner. Next we will continue to Utah Beach, one of the 2 landing sites for the Americans, the other being Omaha. Here you will learn why the Allied forces landed here, why they were able to take it so easily from the Germans, and how it fits in with the full picture of Operation Overlord. After a delicious lunch we continue on to the site of Pointe du Hoc, where one of the most heroic battles of D-Day took place when Colonel James Rudder led a group of Army Rangers up a cliff to seize the ground and take out a German artillery site that was firing at Omaha Beach. There is now a monument honoring the Rangers among the battery site, still covered in craters from Allied bombing. To end the day, we will stop at a Distillery and learn how apple cider is produced and also distilled and aged into the famous Calvados liquor of Normandy and of course have a tasting! We will then return back to the hotel for a bit of free time and then enjoy a group dinner.
Sainte Mere Eglise, Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Calvados Distillery + tasting, Group Dinner
Day 4- Mont St Michel
We will leave early morning to visit one of the world's most stunning attractions, Mont St Michel. This city on a rock dramatically soars into the sky just off the coast of Normandy in a shallow bay. We will start by making our way to the top of the hill to tour the Abbey. At the top we are rewarded for our climb with spectacular views and Gothic architecture dating back to the 11th-century, definitely the highlight of the trip. On our way down we will stop quickly for a souvenir to bring home, and then head to a wonderful restaurant for some regional food. We will then head back to Bayeux where you will have a free evening to relax and enjoy the town.
Mont St Michel, Free evening
Day 5- D-Day History
We start our day visiting Arromanches-les-Bains to see the remnants of the Mulberry Harbor built by the British forces after the D-Day battle to establish a port for bringing in ships full of supplies and troops. This harbor was a key part of the supply chain that enabled the Allied forces to push onward to fight the Nazis and liberate France. Next we will head to Longues-sur-Mer, a German Artillery battery which is the only one to retain its original guns intact in the bunkers, making it one of the most well-preserved WW2 sites in France. This visit provides an up close learning experience and magnifies the challenge the Allies faced of breaking through the German coastline defenses. After a break for lunch, we will head to Omaha Beach where the American forces landed in France and endured one of the bloodiest battles of WW2. Above the beach, we will visit the American Cemetery which is dedicated to the thousands of American troops who lost their lives on that fateful day, a site that is truly one of the most moving experiences. After returning back to the hotel, you will have the evening free to enjoy as you wish
Arromanches-les-Bains, Longues-sur-Mer, Bayeux, Omaha Beach, American Cemetery, Free evening
Day 6- Honfleur, Market, Giverny, Farewell
Early morning we will check out and depart Bayeux to go back towards Paris, but the tour is not over yet! First you will discover Honfleur, where for more than a thousand years sailors have enjoyed the ideal location of Seine River meeting the English Channel. Also called "The city of the artists", Honfleur had a long relationship with impressionist painters, including Monet and Boudin. An added bonus is that today is a market day! Artisans and various vendors will be all around Honfleur and it is the perfect time to pick up some souvenirs and presents to bring home. You will have plenty of free time to explore the port and market on your own. Another monument to see is the oldest wooden church still standing today: St Catherine's Church. You will meet back with the group for a delicious lunch at a seafood restaurant after exploring the historic port area on your own. Next we will head to Giverny to visit the House and Gardens of Claude Monet, the legendary painter and father of the Impressionist art movement. You will be able to see the property as it was when he was alive and see reproductions of his works in his studio and home. We will also walk through the gardens to see lillies, dahlias, irises and hundreds of other flowers blooming. After our visit we will then drive to the hotel to check in, relax, and then have our farewell dinner: the time for us to remember all the marvelous places and fun times that we had together. In the morning you will check out on your own and use the hotel shuttle to take you to CDG airport to return home or continue your travels.
Honfleur, Market, Giverny, Fondation Claude Monet, Farewell dinner