iExplore France: Normandy and Loire Valley Experience

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  • Privately Guided
  • Starting Price: $6,967
  • Length: 7 days
  • Operator: iExplore Exclusive
  • 1-800-267-33479am - 5:30pm Eastern
    Destinations: Europe, France
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Tour Description

Welcome to Normandy and the Loire Valley! A land of plenty first settled by Viking Norsemen, Normandy has an eventful history and embraces rich, pastoral farmland, a striking coastline, and great monuments. Explore Normandy and the Loire Valley on tihs exciting 7-day private journey. Start from Paris with a stop to see Monet's home and stunning gardens. Visit the medieval city of Rouen and it's famous cathedral before reaching Normandy. Here you will explore the D-Day landing beaches and visit Pointe du Hoc, where the American troops scaled the cliffs to capture German defenses. Travel to Arromanches, where parts of the floating harbor are still visible. We can even arrange for a guest speaker- a military history expert and Major General- to visit your hotel for a personal presentation on D-Day! Take in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont St Michel, perched on a rock off the Normandy Coast and explore the beautiful Loire Valley- all by private car!

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paris – Giverny – Rouen – Normandy

This morning depart from Paris and transfer to Normandy with your private vehicle and driver-guide.  En route, you will visit Giverny, to see Monet’s home and the stunning gardens featured in many of his paintings.  You will also visit the medieval city of Rouen, famous for the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and the giant Renaissance clock, Grosse Horloge.  You will then be transferred to your hotel.

Instead of stopping at Giverny or Rouen you may like to explore Caen, the capital of Lower Normandy, with its two abbeys and the must-see Mémorial.  This Museum charts the history of World War II.

You will be confirmed for 3 nights at the Château la Chenevière - 4* - in standard accommodation, including Full Breakfast. Set in parkland of graceful mature trees, La Cheneviere is a traditional Normandy chateau that incorporates both the elegance of a bygone era and the warmth of an English manor. Each of the twenty rooms has been individually decorated in a floral design. The staff pride themselves on offering guests the best service in the style of a Grand Hotel, as well as the warm hospitality that is typical of the Normandy countryside. The cuisine is exquisitely French with a feast of seafood and local produce.

Château la Chenevière

Day 2: D-Day Landing Beaches

This morning you will meet your private vehicle with English speaking driver-guide for a full day (8 hours) sightseeing tour of the area.When touring by private car, we use an experienced driver-guide who will give commentary en-route, although generally they are not permitted within museums and certain historical sites.

This morning you will be able to visit the sites associates with the US 82nd Airborne Division, known as the “All American.” See the town of St Mere Eglise, the first to be liberated after D-Day, and now home to the Airborne Museum.  Continue to Utah Beach, where the US 4th Division landed. Often overshadowed in popular histories by “Bloody Omaha,” Utah was of vital importance to the achievement of key strategic objectives on D-Day and for the development of operations thereafter.

On today’s tour you will also hear about the US 101st Airborne Division (“The Screaming Eagles”), and Easy Company (“The Band of Brothers”). See Brecourt Manor, Angouville au Plein and St Come du Mont. The highlight will be to visit the US Military Cemetery and Interpretation Center at Colleville sur Mer overlooking Omaha Beach.

OPTIONAL EVENING ARRANGEMENTS: Normandy Expert Guest Speaker

A military history expert will visit your hotel and give a talk about the history of D-Day.  The Major General first experienced a Battlefield Tour of Normandy in 1975, and met some of the key Allied and German participants on D-Day and between June and August 1944.  The Major General is also a founding director of the “D-Day and Battle for Normandy Academy,” a research and education center established in Normandy. The lecture is illustrated and usually lasts about 90 minutes, including questions.

Château la Chenevière (B)

Day 3: D-Day Landing Beaches

This morning you will be met by your private vehicle and English speaking driver-guide for a full day (8 hours) sightseeing tour of the area. Your tour will include the La Cambe German Cemetery and the Pointe du Hoc which the US Rangers scaled demonstrating a triumph of planning, training and execution by elite and well-led troops.

Visit Omaha Beach, where you will examine several sites from both the German and US perspective. Hear about Operation Aquatint, a 1942 Commando raid on what was to become known as Omaha Beach at the time of D-Day. 

Continue to the German Gun Battery at Longues sur Mer, the most complete remaining installation of the much vaunted German “Atlantic Wall” where the guns are still in place. See also the Artificial Harbour at Arromanches; a prefabricated harbor that's even bigger than Dover harbor, built in secret, towed across the English Channel and constructed in just eleven days. The remains are still very much in evidence today.

Château la Chenevière (B)

Day 4: Normandy – Mont St Michel - Loire Valley

Today you will meet your English speaking driver guide for a full day transfer by private vehicle to the Loire Valley. En route, you will visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont St Michel, which perches on a 264-foot rock just off the Normandy coast and is only accessible by a causeway.  You will visit the famous Abbey via narrow cobblestone streets, which took over 500 years to build, from 1017 to 1521 and according to local legend, was inspired by a visit from the Archangel Michael to the Bishop of Avranches.

You will be confirmed for 3 nights at the Domaine des Hauts de Loire - 4* - in traditional room accommodation, including Full Breakfast. This magnificent hunting lodge, built in 1860 by the famous publisher Panckoucke, is secluded in 180 acres of tranquil parkland. Rooms in the main house are furnished with antiques, creating an aristocratic air. Those in the adjacent carriage houses have a mix of old and modern furnishings that harmonise with the exposed brick walls and gabled ceilings. On-site there is a tennis court and outdoor swimming pool and the Domaine itself is set within its own peaceful grounds. The restaurant serves fine French cuisine accompanied by the very best wines produced locally.

Domaine de Beauvois (B)

Day 5: Loire Valley

This morning you will be met by your English speaking driver-guide for a full day (8 hours) of sightseeing in the Loire Valley by private vehicle.  You will visit the Chateau de Chenonceau which straddles the river and is one of the best known chateaux in the region.  Continuing on to Amboise, you will visit the Clos Lucé, a handsome Renaissance manor where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years and the museum contains working models of some of da Vinci’s inventions.

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore the Anjou region of the Loire Valley. Enjoy a guided tour through the “caves” and experience life underground, as Loire Valley farmers have chosen to do since the Middle Ages.  The two farms include a wine cellar, barns, cowshed and even a village hall and were inhabited until the 20th Century.  There is also an example of modern troglodyte living, which shows how these traditional houses can still be used.

OPTIONAL SIGHTSEEING: Son & Lumiere Show at Chateau de Chenonceau

During the summer months a night visit to the Château de Chenonceau can be offered to see the amazing combination of traditional and modern elements in the ornate gardens. The show takes the form of a play of light and shadow orchestrated by Pierre Bideau, the Designer of the Eiffel Tower illuminations.

Domaine des Hauts de Loire (B)

Day 6: Loire Valley

Today spend a second day with your English speaking driver-guide for a full day (8 hours) of sightseeing in the Loire Valley.  Visit the famous gardens at Villandry, which were created in the 1920’s as homage to 16th Century formal gardens.  Continue on to Azay-le-Rideau and visit the stunning chateau and enchanting private park. In the afternoon, you will visit the historical town of Chinon, birthplace of the author François Rabelais.

You will also follow part of the Wine Route and visit the Clos de L’Echo vineyards.  Learn about the ancient art of wine making and at the end, enjoy a tasting at the Couly-Dutheil’s Clos de L’Echo and Chinon wines - made from beautiful Cabernet Franc grapes.

Domaine des Hauts de Loire (B)

Day 7: Loire Valley – Chartres – Paris

This morning you will be met by your English speaking driver-guide and privately transferred back to Paris.

En route, you will stop at Chartres to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site whose original foundations date back to the 10th Century.  The cathedral has been a center for pilgrims since the Middle Ages and is renowned for its famous stained glass windows which date back to the 12th and 13th Centuries.  You will also visit the Chateau de Rambouillet, once a favorite resting place of the French monarchy, and now one of the French President’s summer residences.  The park contains the famous “La Laiterie de la Reine,” a dairy built for Marie-Antoinette who would use it as a place to escape from the court politics and intrigue of Versailles. Your tour ends at the end of the day in Paris today.

(B)

End of Services- Bon Voyage!

*** THIS IS A PROPOSAL ONLY AND IS SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY AT THE TIME OF CONFIRMATION.***

Departures

Depart any day except April 8-18,2013 and June 23-29,2013! Contact us for details.

Pricing Information

Normandy and Loire Valley Experience 2013  Price per Person (USD)
One person traveling alone $12,999
Two people sharing one double/twin room $6,967

Inclusions

  • Full breakfast
  • Accommodation in a Standard Room at the Chateau la Cheneviere, Port-en-Bessin
  • Accommodation in a Traditional Room at the Domaine de Beauvois, Luynes
  • Private transport by Renault Espace or similar for two people traveling or a VW Caravelle or similar for 3-4 people traveling.
  • Expert local English-speaking driver-guides for stated sightseeing
  • Entrance fees to all sights and museums.
  • Visit to Troglodyte Village
  • Wine tasting at Clos de l’Echo vineyards
  • All taxes
  • 24 hour emergency contact service

Exclusions

  • All air travel and associated costs
  • All meals except breakfast unless stated otherwise in the itinerary
  • Specialist talk by military history expert in Normandy
  • Entrance and transfers to and from Son et Lumiere show at Chateau de Chenonceau
  • Porterage
  • Gratuities
  • All items of a personal nature (e.g. beverages, telephone calls, laundry, personal insurance)
  • Anything not specifically mentioned in the “Inclusions” list above.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes