(St. Malo, Rennes, Carnac)
For many hundreds of years, Brittany has been on the international map for travellers. Long before the age of tourism, this westward province of France, jutting boldly out into the rolling Atlantic, was one of France's major gateways to the rest of the world. Through the region's historic ports such as Lorient, Saint Malo or Brest, seafarers and travellers passed en route to and from the distant corners of the earth. Nowadays Brittany is now the fourth most popular tourist region in France, and the most popular in northern France. The main attractions in the region are undoubtedly its beaches, coastal walks, rocky shoreline and small fishing harbours; but beyond this the region has an impressive collection of sites that are worth a visit, for their historic or cultural value, or just because they are really worth seeing, such as Mt Saint Michel with its impressive abbey and quaint village, Saint Malo - the most visited town in the region, the megalithic sites at Carnac, and the islands off the west coast such as beautiful Belle Isle (which as it happens, translates into Beautiful island!). Enjoy all that this fascinating corner of France has to offer!
You will be picked up from the airport and taken to the train station.
For your added comfort, we will have a Meet & Greet assistant waiting for you outside of customs. This assistant will have a sign with your name on it. Your representative will help you to co-ordinate meeting up with your private driver and accompany you to your accommodation.
Take the train from Paris to Saint Malo in Brittany today. There are a number of trains that depart throughout the day, some being direct, while others require a change of train in Rennes. The direct train from Paris to Saint Malo takes approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
Enjoy a private guided visit of Saint-Malo today as you explore the historical city centre and its ramparts in the company of a local knowledgeable guide. Walled and built with the same grey granite stone as Mont St-Michel, in the middle ages St Malo was originally a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. Now inseparably attached to the mainland, St-Malo is the most visited place in Brittany, thanks in large part to its impressive citadelle. From outside the walls, the dignified ensemble of the old city might seem stern and forbidding, but passing through into the streets within the walls brings you into a busy, lively and very characterful town, packed with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.
From St Malo, you'll be transfered to Dinard, (approximately 20 minutes) - one of the most famous French seaside resorts in the 19th. Explore the city in a vintage car, an original way to discover all the richness of the area.
In the afternoon, you will learn more about one of the specialities of the town of Cancale - the oyster, as you take a private guided visit of an oyster farm. Sample some of the local delicacies and you will surely appreciate the delicate texture and aromas... At days end you'll be returned safe and sound to your accommodation in St Malo.
Les Maisons de Bricourt (Relais & Chateaux Hotel), is on the outskirts of Cancale and has a wonderful restaurant inside its impressive building located on a favoured site on a headland near the town. As you approach through the imposing gates a driveway sweeps up towards this imposing building. Inside, the dining room has stunning views out over the bay and when the fog drifts in and blankets the cliffs in white then the comfort felt in the wood-panelled dining room is raised to new heights. Here, you will taste cooking that seeks healthy simplicity and elegance, several hot and cold shellfish and fish dishes served in a convivial atmosphere. There are also "dishes that change with the wind and the moon from O. Roellinger", specially conceived to allow you to taste some of the chef's classic dishes and new creations : marine, vegetable and spice dishes, cheeses from Brittany and Normandy, the sweets trolley... you are sure to enjoy this dining experience! Please speak to your Sales Advisor if you would like a reservation made for you at this restaurant during your time in the area.
Enjoy the day today in the company of your private driver and vehicle as you are brought to France's most visited site - the world famous and UNESCO heritage site of Mt Saint Michel. The drive from St Malo to Mt Saint Michel should take approximately 1 hour. (Total duration of service: 4hrs).
Meet your English speaking guide for a private, 2 hour tour of the UNESCO site of Mt St Michel at the entrance to the village. Dating from 708, the abbey was one of the major pilgrimage destinations in medieval Christendom. The architecture is stunning, the location, magical, and the village, one of the most quaint in the country. After leaving your guide, stop and have an omelette in the well known restaurant on the main street, Madame Poulard's, and admire all of the stars and celebrities who have been here before you. (Entrances to abbey not included).
Leave St Malo today and transfer to the nearby coastal town of Dinan where you'll get to enjoy an hour long cruise along the Rance river. Get oriented with the town on a guided tour in the company of a knowledgeable local guide. The walled town of Dinan is in a spectacular setting. It is arguably the best representation of a medieval town in Brittany and while it has a touristic side to it with lots of creperies (casual restaurants specialising in the regional dish of pancakes), as well as local souvenirs, it is also clearly a work-a-day town filled with locals who take pride in their Breton culture.From Dinan, relax on the transfer southwards to Rennes (approximately 1hr drive), where you'll be met by a local guide who will bring you on a private guided tour of the city. The city is somewhat of a patchwork quilt, consisting of grand eighteenth-century public squares interspersed with intimate little alleys of half-timbered houses. At the end of your tour you'll be dropped off at your accommodation.
Today you'll have the opportunity to discover in the mysterious Brocéliande forest on a half-day walk through this magical forest. This enchanted region was the setting for the quest by the Knights of the Round Table to recover the Holy Grail under orders from King Arthur. One of the best known inhabitants of the forest was Merlin the Magician. Merlin, a druid was friend & advisor to the young King Arthur & many places are instilled with his magical presence.
Rennes city has plenty of places of interst worth exploring . As in the rest of the Duchy of Brittany, in Rennes, the medieval-style timber-framed houses continued to be built until the mid 17th century, and there are still numerous timber-framed houses to be seen in the streets off the city centre. Work to restore the fronts of the houses and buildings over the past twenty years has highlighted the expertise reflected in the structures, façades, staircases and wainscoting.
The two royal squares, today’s Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and Place du Parlement, have interesting architecture and are worth checking out.
One of the city's main attractions are the Thabor gardens were designed by Denis Bühler on the orchard of one of the oldest abbeys in Rennes in the 19th century. The gardens, which is spread over 10 hectares in the city centre and includes a French-style garden, a picturesque garden with exotic species, fountains, an aviary, a rose garden, statues, greenhouses and a bandstand, are rightly regarded as one of France’s finest. There are anotehr number of parks dotted throughout the city which enhances the green environment.
From a heritage and historical point of view, the Parliment of Brittany building is one of Rennes and Brittany's finest tourist attractions. Steeped in history, this imposing law court overlooks the stately town square that bears its name, and features a wealth of 17th century French pictorial art.
Featuring the Museum of Brittany, the Espace des Sciences with the planetarium, the city library and temporary exhibition rooms, the Champs Libres is a major centre for culture in Rennes and its Metropolitan district.
Within the city, there is the Fine Arts museum as well as the Museum of Brittany. Outisde of the city centre is the Ecomuseum. Housed in La Bintinais farm, part of which dates from the 16th century, this rural museum’s three floors tell the story of five centuries of history, science and techniques, eating habits, lifestyles and agricultural production in the Rennes area. A vast exhibition features tools, costumes, furniture, models, audiovisual displays, an animal trail and a 15-hectare agricultural area.
Leave the North of Brittany today to reach the South coast. On your way you will stop at Vannes, Auray and Ste-Anne d’Auray, typical towns and villages of the region. You can’t miss out on visiting the megalithic sites of Carnac. The megaliths were erected during the Neolithic period which lasted from 4500 BC until 2000 BC. The precise date of the stones is difficult to ascertain as little dateable material has been found beneath them. About 3300 BC is the date most commonly estimated for the site's main phase of activity, but some megaliths may date to as early as 4500 BC. One interpretation of the site is that successive generations visited the site to erect stones in honor of their ancestors. There are two main groups of stone alignments at Carnac, which are known as the Menec and Kermario alignments. Further smaller alignments are dotted around the area including the Kerlescan and the Petit Menec. The Menec alignments are 12 converging rows of menhirs stretching more than a kilometre with the remains of a stone circle at either end. The largest stones, around 4m high, are at the wider, western end and become smaller along the length of the alignment reaching around 0.6m high, at the extreme east they grow to in height.
A little further along to the east, this fanning layout is virtually repeated in what is called the Kermario alignment.
The area is also surrounded by a wealth of menhirs, dolmens, passage graves, making the town well worth a visit if you're interested in megalithic sites. Carnac is also blessed with an excellent beach if you feel like stretching your legs.
Continue on to your home for the night at Carnac.
Spend today on the island of Belle Isle! Cross the sea by ferry (either 20 or 45 minutes depending on the ferry) reach Le Palais on Belle-Ile island. The first postcards of Belle Île en Mer were paintings by the Impressionist Claude Monet. His pink and blue oils of the needle-shaped rocks at Port Coton helped attract visitors from Paris and beyond. Henri Matisse and sculptor Auguste Rodin followed him for inspiration, along with French writer, Gustave Flaubert, who described the island as ‘sublime’. Today’s summer scene is more bourgeois than bohemian, with a large number of French second home owners and visiting yachts. Settled since Neolithic times, the island has strong Celtic roots, with monks from Wales establishing a monastery on the west coast at Bangor more than 1,000 years ago. Attacked by pirates during the middle ages, Belle Île was fortified by Vauban under Louis XIV. The star shaped citadel dominates the harbour of Le Palais, the main town and after 40 years of renovations, now contains an art and history museum and is open all year.
Although just 10 miles by five, Belle Ile displays a wide variety of beautiful scenery from the unspoilt west coast with its heather covered cliffs and dramatic rocks, to sheltered beaches with fine golden sand. Inland the countryside is a green bedspread of fields while villages like Sauzon are just as picturesque with pastel coloured fishermen’s houses and a harbour full of small boats.
In summer the island lends itself to low-key activities like cycling to beaches, shopping for a picnic in Le Palais market, or sitting outside a café and watching the world go by. There are plenty of small shops - just perfect for gifts or just enjoying the delectable displays of children’s clothes, wooden toys, bonbons, art work or even the prettiest cans of tuna.
A restaurant suggestion would be Le Goéland, which means "seagull" (you'll see plenty of them around the island) , which is an elegant restaurant in Le Palais port. With wonderful views of the Vauban fort, the first floor restaurant and terrace trump the darker downstairs brasserie. There is an abundance of salads and fresh fish such as locally caught tuna cooked on the char grill, although the Belle Ile lamb is also worth sampling. Tel: +33 2 97 31 81 26.
Car, scooter and bike hire is available in Le Palais. A suggestion would be LMT Car Bike on 1,quai Vauban in Le Palais. Tel: 02 97 31 46 46).
Relax on the private transfer from Carnac to Nantes today. The transfer should take approximately 2 hours. Upon arrival, you'll be met by a local guide and given a private tour of the city. The Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, castle is in the heart of the city and is surrounded by its remparts. The medieveal quarter of Bouffay has the impressive Gothic cathedral of St Peter & St Paul. The Isle of Feydeau offers a superb example of 18th century architecture while the quays provide a great perspective from which to admire the city as you take a stroll. The newer part of the city houses the Nantes Opera House and the "Passage Pommeraye" shopping centre. Explore the city with your private guide taking in the sights that are of interest to you before being dropped off at the train station.
Take a train from Nantes to Paris today. There are a number of departures throughout the day (with the majority of them being on the fast speed train) and the duration is typically around 2hrs 15mins.
Take a private train station transfer with a private vehicle and driver. Please note drivers may or may not speak English as their sole responsibility is to transfer clients from one location to another. If you would like to have the presence of an English speaking Assistant or Guide for your transfer this can be pre-arranged upon request and would be subject to an additional supplement.
Hotel Beaufort (3*) is located overlooking the main beach and the Bay of Saint-Malo, the Beaufort was one of the first hotels built on the seaside promenade, La Digue. The guests will be close to the Walled City, Intra-Muros, and the Thalassotherapy Sea Spa, the Thermes Marins. Hotel Beaufort has 22 rooms total, 14 with sea view. Relax in the attractive lounge, while enjoying the panoramic view of the Bay of Saint-Malo.
Hotel LeCoq Gadby (4*) - Contemporary is a building with high environmental quality, design atmosphere, space and silence, corridors and 15 rooms all with acid smoothly. Lecoq Gadby has followed the evolution of business and has managed to adapt its open spaces and to support the guests in the days of discussions and exchanges.
Hotel Tumulus (3*) with authentic charm and character. Entirely renovated in 2006, the Hotel Tumulus in Carnac, Morbihan offers rooms and personalized suites, in a warm family atmosphere between simplicity and elegance. It boasts 24 cozy and comfortable rooms and luxury suites. Some rooms have a panoramic view over the Bay of Quiberon and the islands of Morbihan while others have a private terrace with deckchairs overlooking the pool or the hotel garden. Treat yourself to moments of intense relaxation with the hotel's Jacuzzi, steam room, large outdoor heated swimming pool, and spa with two treatment rooms.
Ideally located at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport between the three main terminals, the Hilton Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport hotel (4*) is set in an impressive, brightly lit atrium with a magnificent glass roof arching beyond the glass elevators. All of the guest rooms at this modern Paris hotel feature bright, contemporary decor and Wi-Fi. Swim a few laps in this Paris hotel's heated indoor pool or work out in the fitness center, which is fully equipped with cardio machines and weights. Enjoy a day of sight-seeing in Paris city center, and then relax in the hotel's sauna. Savor modern French cuisine at Skylight Restaurant. The à la carte menu showcases fresh, quality and local produce with an emphasis on telling the story of the origin of the dishes.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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