Day 1 ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE.
Welcome to Paris! At 5:30 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a welcome dinner at one of Paris’ lively restaurants. Then, take the elevator to the second floor of the EIFFEL TOWER to get a first impression of the “City of Light.” (D)
Day 2 PARIS.
In the morning, an optional excursion to the impressive Palace and Gardens of Versailles, built by the “Sun King,” Louis XIV, is available. Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, Louvre, and Champs-Elysées. Visit magnificent NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL with its Rose Window. Later, you may wish to join an optional excursion to the artists’ hill of Montmartre, followed by a cruise on the beautiful Seine River. (B)
Day 3 PARIS–ROUEN–BEUVRON-EN-AUGE–CAEN.
In Rouen, admire the façade of the cathedral, which was one of Monet’s favorite subjects for his Series Paintings, where he tried to prove how a subject was visually influenced by the ever-changing light. Twenty paintings of the cathedral existed, and many are today in Paris’ Orsay Museum. Time to stroll along the lovely cobblestoned Rue du Gros-Horloge leading to the square where Joan of Arc was burned in 1431. Next, stop in Beuvron-en-Auge along the Route du Cidre for [LF] a CIDER TASTING before arriving in Caen. Look forward to a visit of the fascinating MEMORIAL MUSEUM FOR PEACE with its great exhibits and audiovisual show about the Battle of Normandy. (B,D)
Day 4 CAEN–NORMANDY BEACHES–MONT ST. MICHEL.
Focus on the scene of the Allied Forces’ landing on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Drive by Juno Beach, then stop at Gold Beach for a view of the Mulberry Harbor remains at Arromanches. Visit the AMERICAN CEMETERY at OMAHA BEACH. Continue to Sainte Mère Eglise, where American soldiers parachuted into the town the night before D-Day. Among them was John Steele, whose parachute was caught in one of the steeples of the church, made famous in the movie The Longest Day. While here, see the evocative parachute memorial. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided visit of the famous ABBEY OF MONT ST. MICHEL, perched on a rocky isle in the Gulf of Saint Malo. Overnight is on the coast near Mont St. Michel. (B,D)
Day 5 MONT ST. MICHEL–CHÂTEAUBRIANT–ANGERS–LOIRE VALLEY–TOURS.
Enjoy a scenic ride right across Brittany via Châteaubriant to Angers. Stop here for pictures of the impressive 13th-century castle. Then, continue your journey to the Loire Valley. Tonight, why not sample French cuisine at one of the area’s excellent restaurants? (B)
Day 6 TOURS. EXCURSION TO CHÂTEAUX COUNTRY.
Today, visit two of the most important castles in the area. Start with the jewel of the French Renaissance, CHÂTEAU CHAMBORD. Next is the 16th-century château of Catherine de Medici, lovely CHENONCEAU. Then, [LF] enjoy a WINE TASTING at the Père Auguste wine cellar in Civray de Touraine to learn about the local wines before returning to your hotel, where dinner will be served in the evening. (B,D)
Day 7 TOURS–CHARTRES–PARIS.
Stop in Chartres with its superb 13th-century gothic CATHEDRAL—a jewel of medieval architecture, and arrive in Paris. Tonight, dinner and a lively cabaret show at one of Paris’ nightclubs might just be the ticket! (B)
Day 8 PARIS.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)