Arrive Paris and on to Versailles
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Trianon Palace Versailles. A transfer is included from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to the Trianon Palace Versailles, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, less than a mile from Château de Versailles; explore it on an included independent visit today. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel.
Ancient Chartres to Langeais & an evening at a château
Travel from Versailles to Chartres. Watch a demonstration of the time-honored art of creating stained glass at the International Stained-Glass Centre, then see some of the world's greatest examples of the art - more than 27,000 square feet of it, created by artisans of the 12th and 13th centuries - inside Chartres' famous Gothic cathedral, among the most impressive in all of Europe. After touring the town of Chartres, continue on to Langeais in châteaux country, where you'll spend the next two nights at Château de Rochecotte, once the private estate of diplomat Prince Tallyrand and the Duchess of Dino. Tonight, enjoy an immersive Loire Valley experience at Château de Champchevrier, a private country estate, where you'll meet the Baron and his family, enjoy a reception and dinner, and witness a hunting hound demonstration in full regalia.
The Loire Valley's châteaux country
The châteaux, gardens, towns and unique culture of the Loire Valley are all yours to explore today. For starters, check out Château de Langeais, overlooking the Loire River, with your local guide for a taste of the royal life of centuries past; the marriage of King Charles VIII of France took place here in 1491. This afternoon, pay a private visit to the vineyards of Le Moulin Bleu, in Bourgueil on the Loire's north bank, for lunch and a wine tasting. Explore Château de Villandry and its formal gardens, before returning to your hotel for dinner.
A medieval wonder in Angers & seaside Port du Crouesty
In Angers, the Loire Valley's center for the wine trade, your guided visit to the 17-towered Château d'Angers affords a view of the renowned 14th-century Apocalypse Tapestry, the longest medieval tapestry in the world. Continue across the countryside to Port du Crouesty on the Atlantic coast for a two-night stay at SAS Miramar Crouesty, a waterfront spa resort.
The Golfe du Morbihan & Rochefort-en-Terre
Your day begins with a sightseeing cruise along the island-dotted Golfe du Morbihan, and continues with a visit to the flower-filled town of Rochefort-en-Terre. Ablaze with red and pink geraniums from spring to fall thanks to a tradition established a century ago by Franco-American painter Alfred Klotts, the village is considered one of France's premier floral towns today.
From Vannes to Josselin and on to St-Malo
Take a walking tour of Vannes' ancient walled core; view its Gothic Cathedral, built over a span of 700 years, and stroll through the colorful Promenade de la Garenne. Visit Josselin, dominated by imposing Château Josselin, residence of the aristocratic Rohan family; learn about the castle's turbulent history on a guided tour, and explore the Doll Museum's collection of rare dolls from the 17th century to today. Drive to St-Malo for a two-night stay on the Channel coast.
A visit to Mont-St-Michel and a walking tour of medieval St-Malo
This morning you'll visit world-famous Mont-St-Michel, a thousand-year-old mountaintop abbey perched on an island off the coast; be prepared for a bit of walking during your exploration of one of Europe's truly unique places. Set dramatically by the sea, St-Malo was once notorious as the base of French corsairs. Join your Tauck Director for a guided walking tour of its walled medieval center, La Ville Intra-Muros.
Tapestries in Bayeux, a visit to Caen and seaside Deauville
Head across the countryside to the Normandy coast; see the celebrated Bayeux Tapestry. A scenic drive through the area along the Yellow Roads brings you to Le Mémorial de Caen, commemorating the sacrifices of World War II and the battle for Caen, and featuring a Peace Museum and memorial gardens, for a visit and lunch. Arrive at your Belle Époque-era beachfront resort in seaside Deauville for two nights. Dine à la carte at your hotel tonight.
The beaches of D-Day in Normandy
On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed at invasion beaches along the Normandy coast with code names forever etched in memory - Utah, Gold, Juno, Sword, Omaha. Today, Tauck's local expert introduces you to the events of what the world has come to know as "D-Day." Your memorable visit includes a look at a private World War II memorabilia collection and an interactive, hands-on exhibit; and guided visits to Pointe du Hoc, the 100-ft. cliff taken by the 2nd Ranger Battalion on D-Day... the now-quiet Omaha Beach, where American assault units took heavy casualties in establishing a beachhead... and the poignant American Military Cemetery, final resting place of thousands of U.S. troops.
Spend the morning in Medieval Rouen, experience Monet's Giverny & arrive Paris
Travel to ancient Rouen for a locally guided tour of this historic cathedral town; stop at the modern Church of Ste. Joan of Arc, dedicated to the French heroine burned at the stake in this city in 1431. Continuing along the River Seine, visit the home and gardens of painter Claude Monet at Giverny, depicted in some of his most celebrated works, before arriving in Paris.
Guided city sightseeing, then Paris as you please...
An orientation tour of the legendary French capital - and one of the world's most romantic cities - views landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, honoring those who have fought for France, standing at the western end of one of the world's best-known boulevards, the Champs-Élysées; the Eiffel Tower, among the most recognized and visited monuments on Earth; and the equally iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame, with a visit inside this Gothic wonder. During your tour, you may want to pick your favorite spot from which to start exploring remarkable Paris as you please for the rest of the day.
The Musée d'Orsay and a farewell dinner & cruise in Paris
Your local guide leads you on a tour of the newly renovated Musée d'Orsay, displaying an extensive collection of 19th-century French Impressionist paintings, sculptures and art objects in the restored Gare d'Orsay, a former railway station originally built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900 (subject to closure). Your final afternoon in Paris is free to explore as you wish. Exchange memories with your new friends this evening at our private farewell dinner and cruise on the River Seine, bidding Paris adieu as this amazing two-week trip draws to a close.
Tour ends: Paris. A transfer is included from Le Meurice to Paris Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports or Paris' Gare de Lyon, Charles de Gaulle-Station or Gare du Nord train stations. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.