(Deauville, Port en Bessin)
Wake up in your very own chateau-hotel and enjoy being treated like royalty as you compare the beautiful castles of the Loire with the stunning palace of Versailles.
Experience the diversity of Northern France as you embark on this signature tour combining the services of modern French trains and private chauffeur-driven vehicles (particularly useful after the cider-tasting experience!). From the glorious Palace of Versailles to the somber sites of D-Day and World War II, you will touch history with a thought-provoking guided tour of Omaha Beach and the Caen Museum. Tour the centuries-old monastery at Mont Saint-Michel and see it again, woven into the 1000-year-old Bayeux Tapestry. After a little sea air at the glamorous resort of Deauville, the Loire Valley offers a change of pace. Relax in this scenic region and enjoy visits to grand Renaissance castles built for royalty in this glorious rural region of France.
Travel in comfort and style in the capable hands of your French chauffeur and local English speaking guides. The personal touches such as a picnic basket lunch at Versailles and the ability to stop at an attractive café on a whim are what this signature tour is all about. Experience first-class hotels in buildings of character as you follow your tailor-made itinerary from the sights of Paris and the Palace of Versailles to the beaches of Deauville. Visit opulent castles along the scenic Loire Valley and stay in your very own castle-hotel or manor house as you are transported in comfort from one awesome attraction to the next.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
A welcome package with your vouchers, and itinerary, city map(s) and train tickets (where relevant) and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
You will be picked up from your centrally located hotel in Paris by private car and driver en route to the royal city of Versailles. Discover close to Paris the marvels of an outstanding Castle.
Discover the beauty of the royal city of Versailles, its unique castle and its French green gardens with a private guide. A superb Baroque palace known to the world as a symbol of civilization and pleasure, the Palace of Versailles dates back to 1038, and was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790. Used by Louis XIV initially as a hunting lodge he had the property expanded to become the magnificent site of French classical architecture complete with extensive manicured gardens that it is today. The interior showcases magnificent examples of baroque furnishings, a rare collection of objects d'art as well as housing special exhibitions. You will also have a chance to visit the Trianon; The queen's hidden residence where she would go to escape. Enjoy a tasty picnic basket on the lush green gardens after your visit (Entrance into the palace and the gardens and picnic lunch are included).
Trianon Palace (4*) is situated less than a mile from the world famous Chateau de Versailles. You will find solitude among centuries-old trees and lush, vivid gardens, newly updated by famous landscape designer Louis Benech. Experience a splendid reflection of the palatial surroundings within the sumptuous style and décor. The hotel features 176 rooms and 23 suites. The restaurant serves delicious French Cuisine. Please note that the swimming pool will be closed from August 13th to 17th inclusive for mid year maintenance as well as the hammam/sauna and fitness room at level 2.
You will be picked up from your hotel by private vehicle and driver en route to Paris.
Take the train to Deauville. The journey will take approx. 2 hours.
Enjoy an afternoon private tour with your own vehicle and English speaking Driver as you explore the beautiful coastal town of Honfleur and the surrounding countryside. The small medieval town of Honfleur is a quaint town and encompasses the Old Dock surrounded by picturesque narrow houses, many churches, cobblestoned streets and old Salt Stores. (Entraces not included).
The Royal Barriere Hotel (5*) is ideally located in Deauville, on the Norman-French coast. Here you will discover a new style of contemporary luxury, in a sumptuous 20th century architectural setting. This palace offers the charm of an authentic tradition blended with modern conveniences. Renowned meeting place for international Jet-Setters, the Royal Barrière is a central attraction in Deauville. Politicians, personalities from the financial world and stars of the screen and stage regularly grace the establishment with their presence. On-site facilities include spacious and fully equipped meeting facilities, banqueting rooms and a heated outdoor swimming pool.
Enjoy exploring the chic coastal town of Deauville. The town has all of the high end boutiques (Chanel, Hermes...) and is a shopping paradise. Take a stroll along the wide boardwalk that skirts around the town by the beach and take in the great architecture of the mansions overlooking the water. There are plenty of activities that can be done in the town including a private charter sail, a round of golf at any number of local courses, bowling, horse riding, go-karting, paintball and tennis.
A visit to Normandy without seeing the landing beaches would be a shame and so, today you'll get to re-live the past and understand a little more of the strategic importance of the northern coast of Normandy in WWII and get to visit one or two of the soldiers cemetries where so many thousands lost their lives. Start the day with a vist of the Caen Memorial museum.
The Caen Memorial is a massive museum dedicated to 20th-century history. Destruction wreaked across almost three quarters of this martyr city of the Liberation in the summer of 1944, and so it only seems fitting that Caen deserved a fitting tribute for the damage it suffered. The Memorial museum's main focus is reconciliation and during your visit you will be guided through the museum’s different stages, taking you back over the 20th century, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 until 9 November 1989 in Berlin with the “Fall of the Wall”. Between these two dates and between these two World Wars, some 60 million people would lose their lives and the most hostile of political systems to the key principles of respecting life would plunge the world into the chaos and brutality that characterized the last century.
Pointe du Hoc is a clifftop location that lies 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Omaha Beach, and stands on 100 ft (30 m) tall cliffs overlooking the sea. It was a point of attack by the United States Army Ranger Assault Group during Operation Overlord in World War II.
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II. Landings here were necessary in order to link up the British landings to the east at Gold Beach with the American landing to the west at Utah Beach, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport provided by the U.S. Navy and elements of the Royal Navy. The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of some five miles (eight kilometres) depth, between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River, linking with the British landings at Gold Beach to the east, and reaching the area of Isigny to the west to link up with VII Corps landing at Utah Beach. Standing on this wind swept, expansive beach, you can just imagine the ships as they became visible on the skyline and the battle that was to occur on this land.
There will be plenty of time to stay at each of the sites of interest since you have the flexibility of having your own vehicle and Driver-Guide. Though sobering, the day will surely be a memorable one. Please note that this tour is with a Driver whic is also a licensed Guide. (includes entrances to Caen museum).
A long cord-traced path lined with trim lawns winds through formally-appointed grounds with century-old trees at the stately Chateau de Sully (4*). Dating back to the 16th century, the property has a chapel with listed frescoes and walls pierced with miniature gun ports, a vast cylindrical dovecoat with bas relief and at the rear, an English garden. Welcome to the heart of history in this noble dwelling set between Port-en-Bessin and Bayeux (the latter is merely 4 km away), which will guide you through the 18th century in the footsteps of the Lords of Sully. The interior of the hotel features furnishings in the French style tradition. The 13 bedrooms within the chateau are all uniquely decorated and have their own personality, and look out over the expansive grounds, while the 9 spacious rooms in the Manor provide direct access to the pool and spa facilities. There is complimentary wi-fi in all of the rooms of the manor, in the suites and also in the lounges. The restaurant within the chateau features dishes gleaned from the land and sea of the area and are fashioned with the freshest of ingredients. Enjoy fine dining in the two chandelier lit dining rooms complete with a veranda which overlooks the garden. A wine cellar with over 500 selections of wine with a focus on French wines will surely delight. On the leisure side of things, there is an indoor heated swimming pool with fitness and training room as well as a wellness centre which includes a sauna and jaccuzzi. There is also a tennis court and billiards room on site.
Today's highlight is the jewel of Brittany, the island of Mont Saint Michel - a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most visited sites in France. Explore the spectacular and well-preserved Norman Benedictine Abbey of St Michel at the peak of the rocky island, and the surrounding winding streets of the medieval town in the company of a local guide for a 3hr guided tour. The bay of Mont Saint Michel has some of the highest tides in Europe and the link road between the mainland and the island is often submerged due the tides. This region is well known for its apple orchards (you will have probably seen a few this morning!) and of course, it's cider (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Try some of this local produce en route back to Bayeux this afternoon. You have your driver-guide at your disposal for the rest of the day (total duration: 8hrs).
The culinary specialities of Mont Saint Michel are omelettes, whipped until frothy and light, and saltmarsh lamb (agneau de Pré Salé) which is sourced locally. It is worth noting that eateries in Mont Saint Michel, are mostly overpriced. The old town at the base of the abbey hosts a wide selection of restaurants, cafés, fast food outlets and other food venues. Du Guesclin, on the ramparts offers good views out to the sea, and the "menu touristique", can include oysters, omelets and lamb, and starts from approximately €17, which is positively cheap by Mont St Michel standards. La Mere Poulard, right at the entrance of the island is world famous for their omelette and proudly showcases many celebrities on the walls which has dined here including Ernest Hemmingway and Yves Saint Laurent amongst others. They put non-traditional ingredients into it and cook it right in front of the window of the restaurant. Be careful to make reservations ahead of time because it is usually crowded. Also they only sell their world famous omelette at certain times of the day, so when you make reservations, be sure to make them for the right time if you're intending to get an omelette. (expect to pay more than €30 per omlette).
Visit the fabulous tapestries in the heart of Bayeux. The tapestries tell the story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex, the two men who led the Norman and Saxon armies in 1066. William's defeat of Harold at the Battle of Hastings ensured the success of the Norman invasion of England. Scene by scene, this important battle is depicted in embroidered cloth measuring almost 70 metres in length leading up to the Norman conquest of England. The tapestry consists of some fifty scenes with Latin tituli (captions), embroidered on linen with coloured woollen yarns. It is likely that it was commissioned by Bishop Odo, William's half-brother, and made in England in the 1070s.
Take in the changing scenery on the drive from Port en Bessin to Amoise in the heart of the Loire valley. The drive should take approximately 3.5 hours and is all on highway. After having had some time at leisure for lunch (not included), you'll get to visit a number of the region's majestic castles. This afternoon, you'll get the opportunity to visit the Château de Chambord, and Chateau Cheverny (entrance tickets included), two of the most famous castles in the area. The royal Château de Chambord is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. It was formerly a retreat for French kings, especially Louis XIV. Inside the chateau, the size of its rooms and halls are impressive. Its fittings and decoration attest to the majesty and royalty of this marvelous palace. The wood floors, wainscotting and coffered ceilings are remarkable for their unequaled architectural and pictorial qualities. The only parts of the chateau that are furnished are the chambers of Francois I and Louis XIV, along with one marvelous room containing toys played with by noble child of this time. The double spiral staircase allows two people to go up or down without crossing each other, and is one of the highlights of the chateau.Chateau Cheverny is an original jewel among the more famous monuments that stretch along the Loire Valley. In fact, Renaissance style did not find its place in Cheverny, which is built in the purest Louis XIII classical style, distinguished by an extraordinarily symmetrical architecture. Cheverny, which was built in the first part of the 17th Century, is a prime example of this style. The beautiful interior design of the castle is the work of Jean Monier, from nearby Blois. Thirty-four painted wood panels surrounding the walls of the dining room depict the story of Don Quixote (the hero of the Cervantes novel). The Arms Room gives a more subdued feel than the King’s Chamber, with perhaps the exception of the magnificent fireplace. In regards to the exterior, the château seems to be in the middle of a sea of carefully maintained lawns.These lawns are an ideal link to the landscaped park with remarkable trees such as the Family lindens, the giant redwoods and cedar trees from the Atlas Mountains, Lebanon and the Himalayas. A new ornamental and pleasure garden stretches from the castle to the orangery. Cheverny is also an important estate for hunting with hounds. Visitors can view the kennels and can even watch the dogs being fed every day at 5pm from the 1st April to the 15th September. At days end, your driver-guide will accompany you to your accommodation in the Loire.
Enjoy dinner at leisure in Amboise. Here are some suggestions; Brasserie de l'Hôtel de Ville, 3 rue François 1er. Daily 10am-3pm and 7-9:30pm. Reservations recommended. In the town's historic core, a short walk from the château, this bustling Paris-style brasserie attracts local office workers and art lovers visiting the historic sites during the day, and boisterous groups of friends at night. Cuisine is traditional French. If you feel like a casual pizza, you may like to try la Florentine, 50, Place Michel Debre which is housed in one of the oldest houses of Amboise. You can sit outside and have a great view of the castle or enjoy the nice interior.
Le Choiseul (4*) comprising of three delightful manor houses dating from the 15th and 18th century, overlooking the River Loire, Le Choiseul sits at the foot of Château d’Amboise. Close to most of the Loire Valley’s finest châteaux, the hotel has pretty terraced gardens bordered by Troglodyte caves, stunning river views and the choice of two exciting restaurants.The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing. Antiques and attractive classic furnishings can be found throughout the rooms which are bright and light. Wander around the delightful gardens and admire the Italian sculptures, before retiring to the terrace for a glass of Vouvray Moelleux. Explore historic Amboise or take a river cruise. Return for gourmet cuisine either in the renowned formal restaurant or in Le Bistrot 36 where you can enjoy innovative youthful creations for lunch. During summer, watch a ‘Son et Lumière’ show at Château d’Amboise.
Visit the Chateau Amboise this morning as well as its neighbour, the Clos Luce with an English speaking driver-guide. Built on a promontory overlooking the Loire River to control a strategic fjord that was replaced in the Middle Ages by a bridge, the Château Amoise began its life in the eleventh century, when the notorious Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, rebuilt the stronghold in stone. The gardens lay claim to being the originator of the French formal garden style, and its upper terrace was subsequently widened to hold a parterre enclosed with latticework and pavilions, around which a gallery was built under the eye of Louis XII. The interior houses many antiques as well as several rooms full of period furniture, weaponry and beautiful tapestries. During summer evenings, sound and light shows take place regularly at the castle, complete with fireworks and costumed actors. Its chapel houses the tomb of Leonardo De Vinci.
Clos Lucé is a mansion in Amboise, located 500 metres from the royal Château d'Amboise, to which it is connected by an underground passageway. Built by Étienne le Loup in the middle of the fifteenth century, it was acquired in 1490 by Charles VIII of France for his wife, Anne de Bretagne. In 1516, Francis I invited Leonardo da Vinci to Amboise and provided him with the Clos Lucé then called Château de Cloux, as a place to stay and work. Leonardo, arrived with three of his paintings, namely the Mona Lisa, Sainte Anne, and Saint Jean Baptiste and proceeded to live at the Clos Lucé for the last three years of his life, before his death in 1519.
After visiting both the Amboise castle and the Clos Luce, you will be dropped off at the train station. (entrances included).
Take the train from Amboise in the Loire to Paris today. There are usually plenty of trains throughout the day including a certain of fast trains. The trip duration is typically between one hour (fast speed train) and two and a half hours (regional train).
Take a private train station transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking driver.
There are a mindboggling array of choices of things to do in Paris. Consider a private half or full day tour of the city with a guide (with or without private transport), spend the day with a personal shopper, enjoy a panoramic flight around Paris. Excursion options outside of Paris include a tour to Versailles, Auvers (where Van Gogh spent his last months) & the American Museum of Giverny (Monet's last place of residence), Burgundy, Champagne, Brugges or London. If you are interested in any of these suggestions, please contact your Sales Advisor.
Melia Royal Alma Boutique Hotel (4*) located right by the River Seine, between the Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower. It offers peaceful, luxury accommodation in the heart of Paris. The Alma Marceau metro station is just 200 metres from the hotel providing access to the capital’s many sites and attractions. Charles de Gaulle Airport is 35 km away. The spacious guest rooms feature air conditioning, satellite TV and wired internet access. Wi-Fi internet access is available in the hotel reception and public areas.
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Paris in a private vehicle with a professional driver.
Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Please ask your Sales Advisor. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of France for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/france.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Paris. Government: Republic since 1792. Language: French is the official language. Many people speak at least some English. Religion: Approximately 83% Roman Catholic; Protestant 2%; Muslim 5% Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October). Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are widely used. Telephone: Country code +33. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is excellent. Internet: Public access is available at Internet cafes in most cities.
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