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Paris, D-Day Beaches, Normandy & the Loire Valley

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
10 days From $3,195 $2,995 per person
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France’s endless allures spring forth at every turn on this journey that highlights locations like Paris, Rouen, Mont Saint-Michel, and Tours.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: PNB24

About the tour

Unfurl tales of romance and strife as you explore France's storied past, one memorable destination at a time. Each of the country's regions has been built on the shoulders of history and presents endless intrigue through their notable sites and lesser-seen locales. Your time in France highlights major cities, like Paris and Tours; the breathtaking Normandy coast, where culture is woven through many fascinating time periods; and the lush interior, whose storybook landscapes give way to elegant chateaux at every turn. See places whose medieval roots give way to rich World War II history and charming communes beloved for their artistic or culinary contributions. Whenever your interests lie, departing France with a heart full of memories and a camera reel filled with breathtaking vistas is all but guaranteed on this ten-day journey.

Unforgettable Experiences

Seine Dinner Cruise in Paris
Seine Dinner Cruise in Paris
Marvel at an unrivaled view of the Eiffel Tower and many other Paris attractions during a dinner cruise on the Seine River.
Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
Admire old French grandeur while touring the 17th-century Palace of Versailles and is gardens.
Monet's House at Giverny
Monet's House at Giverny
Visit Monet's home in Giverny to see the rooms and views that inspired his most famous works.
D-Day Landing at Normandy Beaches
D-Day Landing at Normandy Beaches
Step into the past with a visit to historic D-Day sites, including the beaches of Normandy.
Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel
Spend time exploring the tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Loire Valley Wines
Loire Valley Wines
Venture into the Loire Valley to see three of its chateaux: Chenonceau Château, Château du Petit Thouars, and Château de Villandry.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive into Paris

The City of Love and a glittering mecca of culture and cuisine: Welcome to the capital of France, Paris. Upon arrival, transfer to your city-center hotel for check-in, then you are welcome to begin exploring all the Parisian sights, smells, and flavors at your leisure. The pedestrianized Seine River bank is the perfect place to get acquainted with the city, as shops and al fresco cafés abound, and there are plenty of benches to sit upon with a pastry or cup of coffee. Overnight Paris.

Day 2 - The Palace of Versailles

A 17th-century masterpiece just outside the city beckons today as you venture to the Palace of Versailles. This once-powerful complex includes over 2,300 rooms, all filled with stunning period decor. The palace is renowned for its art, as well, housing over 60,000 pieces that recall centuries of work. Your Passport Ticket gives you priority access to the palace itself and the surrounding gardens, whose fountains and immaculate lawns and shrubbery hint at the grandeur the palace held under Louis XIV. There is free time for you to have lunch in one of the onsite restaurants before boarding the Little Train to travel through the grounds to the Estate of Trion, which houses two smaller palaces, the Queen's Hamlet, and colorful ornamental gardens. Overnight Paris. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Monet's Giverny

After a delicious French breakfast at the hotel, a coach takes you to Paris-Saint-Lazare station to board the train to Giverny in Normandy. This idyllic village was home to one of the art world's giants: Claude Monet. See it through his eyes today as you tour Monet's House and Gardens. As you might expect, under an artist's eye, this house was filled with color during his 40 years here. See the blue sitting room and the yellow dining room. You can also visit Monet and Alice's bedrooms and see his first studio. Outside, you may recognize the gardens and ponds from his paintings, including the pond that inspired his "Water Lilies" series. 

After much time to admire the scenery, return to the train station to continue the day's travels to Rouen, Normandy's capital. A short walk takes you from the station to your hotel on arrival, and then you have the rest of the afternoon to set out into this medieval city on your own before returning to the hotel for dinner. Overnight Rouen. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – D-Day Beaches of Bayeux

Today's full-day sightseeing excursion sees you to Normandy's shores, where beautiful beaches harbor harrowing pasts. Step back to the 1940s and the height of World War II while exploring the beaches, bunkers, trenches, gun posts, and more. Your guided tour includes Omaha Beach, where you can visit Les Braves sculpture and the American St. Laurent Cemetery, and Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the first town liberated by American Airborne troops. Overnight Rouen. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Mont Saint-Michel/Saint-Malo

A full day of travel sees you to Saint-Malo on the English Channel, and the route to get there is filled with delightful cities and beautiful locations. A motorcoach picks you up at your hotel mid-morning and takes you through Normandy's coastal towns. The route pauses about halfway through in Caen, known as William the Conqueror's city. An 11th-century castle, the Château de Caen, sits as the town's centerpiece, yet it also has two gorgeous abbeys and an impressive selection of medieval buildings. Spend a couple of hours exploring and lunching here before rejoining the coach and proceeding to the coast to visit Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage tidal island half a mile off France's coast. It looks like an architectural layer cake, with the village seemingly stacking up to the crowning Gothic Benedictine Abbey at the top. During your free time here, stroll through the historic Old Town, walk the ramparts, and visit the abbey. A three-course dinner is served at a local restaurant as you arrive in Saint-Malo this evening. Overnight Saint-Malo.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Cancale

A coastal commune renowned for its oyster production is on the itinerary today as you visit Cancale. Get a hint of the local culture at La Ferme Marine, an oyster farm just outside the city. Your time here teaches different oyster harvesting techniques and shows you the sorting and washing processes. Tasting fresh, briny oysters straight from the water is a highlight of your visit. Enjoy a picnic lunch here and then head back into the village, where you have a couple of hours to sightsee at leisure. Wander along the waterfront, pop in the local shops, or visit the seashell museum. Return to Saint-Malo this evening with the rest of the day to meander along its ancient ramparts and peruse its historic buildings. Overnight Saint-Malo.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 - Saumur/Fontevraud Royal Abbey/Tours

Beautiful medieval architecture and enchanting French scenery guide the way for today's sightseeing expedition, ending in the gorgeous Loire Valley town of Tours. Depart from Saint-Malo this morning by coach, heading inland through the lush countryside. The day's first stop is Saumur, a riverside town whose history dates to the 4th century. Disembark the coach with time for lunch and to look upon the stone and timbered buildings. Afterwards, we visit the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, founded in 1101. Its various facilities are spread over 32 acres, making it the largest French monastic city from the Middle Ages. An audio-guided tour takes you through the complex's scenic cloisters and beautiful buildings, and while you explore, admire the carefully preserved architectural details. The Plantagenet tombs are always a favorite with visitors.

The final miles of the course take us to Tours, a city that was once the capital of France. Take some time to settle into your city center hotel and begin discovering your old-world surroundings ahead of tonight's dinner at the hotel. Overnight Tours. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - The Chateaux of the Loire Valley

If there is one thing the Loire Valley is known for besides its wine, it is its elegant chateaux. Today, enjoy a chance to admire three on a guided tour. As you enter this fairytale landscape, visit Chenonceau Château, one of the most iconic in the Valley. Join an audio-guided tour on arrival to learn how and why this 16th-century castle was built over, rather than aside, the River Cher. The excursion continues to Château du Petit Thouars, a castle that has passed directly from father to son since 1636. Begin with an al fresco lunch overlooking the romantic scenery and then wander through the vineyard on a guided tour that concludes with a wine tasting. The final chateau highlighted on your excursion is the Château de Villandry, an estate whose hallmark is intricately patterned Renaissance gardens. Spend just over an hour touring the castle and its grounds before returning to Tours for the evening. Overnight Tours.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 - Paris

After breakfast, a coach greets you at your hotel to transfer you to Tours' rail station. Settle into your train for a short journey through the countryside back to Paris, where this tour began. The entirety of the day is yours to sightsee at leisure. Seek out a local restaurant to taste a French delicacy, such as escargot or foie gras, or a patisserie to nibble on a delectable pastry. Admire the restoration efforts at Notre Dame de Paris, tour a museum, or relax in one of Paris's lush parks. Your options here are limitless. Enjoy a four-course dinner cruise on this lovely river this evening, enjoying illuminated landmarks and an unrivaled view of the Eiffel Tower as you savor quintessential French cuisine. Overnight Paris.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Tour Conclusion

Your journey through Paris, Normandy, and the Loire Valley concludes after breakfast today. Transfer to the airport at your leisure for your return flight home, or speak to a Rail Specialist about extending your stay to explore more of Paris and its surrounding regions independently.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please Note

Due to renovation works planned at the Mercure Saint Malo Front de Mer, the first departure on 19/05/2024 will now be placed at their sister property Mercure Saint Malo Balmoral.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.