Welcome to France and its capital city Paris, often referred to as the ‘city of light’. Tree-lined boulevards and charming architecture are around every corner in this iconic city that oozes romance and elegance.
We arrive in Paris and check into our hotel before meeting our fellow travelers and small group tour leader for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
We set out on a full day of touring in Paris after breakfast this morning and immerse ourselves in the elegant charm of the city. Beginning with a gastronomic tour, we treat our taste buds to a delectable tour of France’s best-known and delicious foods – think baguettes, pastries, cheese and more! We connect with local vendors as we learn about the produce and get a glimpse into this brilliant food culture.
After a break for lunch, we see the icons of the city. Navigating the city via the Paris Metro we make our way to the iconic Louvre located on one of the city’s most famous streets, Rue de Rivoli. We visit the city’s Latin Quarter to see the impressive Pantheon that was originally built as an abbey church and has served as the final resting place for a number of France’s elite since 1791. We see the Arc de Triomphe and enjoy a walk along the Champs-Elysees before finishing our tour at one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Eiffel Tower. We ascend the tower to its second floor for panoramic 360-degree views over Paris.
Our evening is at leisure to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant of our choice.
After breakfast this morning we say au revoir to Paris and bonjour to the beautiful Loire Valley. Dating back over one thousand years, the Loire Valley is surrounded by beautiful French countryside. Thanks to the kings, queens, dukes and nobles who built chateaux, and the quaint medieval villages that are dotted throughout the region, the Loire Valley today feels like stepping into a real-life fairytale.
Our drive to the Loire Valley takes us through the stunning countryside before we reach the city of Chartres. Here, we discover the wonderful architecture and rich history of Chartres during a tour, before visiting its impressive Gothic-style Cathedral, built in 1220. We enjoy free time for lunch and a chance to further explore the city’s narrow streets and medieval architecture. We continue onto the village of Cheverny where we visit a local winery for a tour of the property and of course a tasting. We finish the day in Chinon, where we check into our hotel and enjoy the rest of our evening at leisure.
Our day today is full of “oh la la” moments as we explore the many chateaux of the region. After breakfast, we head to the small village of Chenonceaux, home to one of the region’s best-known chateaux, Chateau de Chenonceau. In its current form, the Chateau was built between 1513 and 1517 on the banks of the Cher River and is home to an exquisite collection of furniture and art. We explore the Chateau, discovering its opulent rooms and incredible manicured gardens before continuing to the village of Amboise. Here, we visit the Chateau du Clos Lucé, where famous artist Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked in the 14th century. We see da Vinci’s workshop and bedroom during a tour of the Chateau.
Our next stop is Chateau Gaudrelle, a 17th century manor house that since 1931 has been operating as a winery. We enjoy a tour of the winery and learn about the history of Gaudrelle and their process of wine making. No winery visit would be complete without a wine tasting! After our tour, we enjoy a tasting of the wines produced at Gaudrelle, accompanied by some delicious local produce.
Our final stop for the day is at Chateau de Villandry. Inhabited since the Renaissance, the grand Chateau’s interior décor and furniture combined with its exterior architecture and stunning gardens, paints a picture of what life was like for the families who once called it home. After our guided tour we return to our hotel and enjoy the rest of our evening at leisure.
The historic walled city of Saint Malo, located on the English Channel in France’s Brittany region, is our destination today. First inhabited in the 8th century, a wealth of history is housed between its ancient walls, with beautiful buildings, charming streets and a stunning coast.
We bid farewell to the Loire Valley after breakfast and make our way to Saint Malo. Our first stop for the day is in the town of Fougeres. Here, we visit Chateau de Fougeres, the largest best-preserved medieval fortress in Europe. We tour the chateau and learn about the techniques used to build the impressive structure, as well as the role it played in the history of the region. We discover Fougeres’ quaint medieval old town at our own leisure as we enjoy a break for lunch.
We continue to Saint Malo this afternoon and check into our hotel. The evening is free for us to get to know the city on our own.
Today we explore Saint Malo during a tour this morning. We see the forts of Saint Malo and take to the city’s ramparts for a walk around the ancient city, enjoying views out across the English Channel. We see the Solidor Tower, a dungeon with three towers built in the 12th century, before stopping at the city’s Gothic-style Cathedral.
After enjoying some free time for lunch, we drive to Cap Frehel. With dramatic cliffs that steeply descend into the water below, we take in the stunning scenery before visiting an oyster farm. Here, we learn about the process of farming oysters and enjoy a taste of the farm’s freshest harvest. We return to Saint Malo for an evening at leisure.
We continue into France’s Normandy region today as we make our way to the port city of Caen. Established in the 11th century Caen has battled a rough history, notably during the 1944 Battle of Normandy, but stands tall today with impressive architecture and intriguing museums.
We begin our journey to Caen after breakfast this morning, driving to the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site located on an islet off the coast, is pure magic. As we approach the causeway that links Mont Saint-Michel to the mainland, you’ll be in awe at the beauty of the Benedictine Abbey, erected in 966, that rises high above the islet. We enjoy a guided tour of the abbey before enjoying some free time for lunch.
We continue to Bayeux, home to the 70-meter long Bayeux Tapestry. We enjoy a visit to the impressive tapestry that dates back to the 11th century and discover the story of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066, as told by the intricate embroidery. Our evening is at leisure when we arrive in Caen.
We enjoy a full day of touring the Normandy region today beginning at Pointe Colleville sur Mer. We learn about World War II and pay our respects to those who served before continuing to Pointe du Hoc, a cliff that played an important role in World War II. We enjoy free time in Sainte Mere Eglise.
After lunch, we explore the important sights linked to D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history that took place during World War II. We tour the sights in open-top World War II jeeps as we are taken back to 1944 and learn about what happened on that fateful day.
This afternoon, we continue to Ducy-Sainte-Marguerite and visit the apple orchards of Les Vergers de Ducy. We enjoy a tour of the property, that produces apple cider, cider vinegar, apple juice and the aperitif, Pommeau de Normandie. We treat our taste buds to a taste of the delicious apple beverages before returning to Caen.
This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner together with our fellow travelers and small group tour leader at a local restaurant.
[Breakfast and Dinner]
After breakfast this morning we begin to make our way back to Paris. Our tour to France wouldn’t be complete with a visit to a fromagerie and this morning we stop in at Fromagerie E. Graindorge in Livarot. We indulge in a tasting of the cheese produced at the family operated fromagerie which has been producing delicious cheese varieties since 1910. We continue to Giverny, made famous by Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Here, we enjoy some free time for lunch before meeting back up with the group for a visit to Monet’s Garden. We explore the gardens of Monet’s home, famously painted by Monet, before continuing to our hotel and enjoying the evening at our own leisure.
Our tour concludes after breakfast this morning. We say goodbye to our new friends and to incredible France.
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