France is rich in culture, French cuisine and fine wines, magnificent architecture, breath-taking scenery and stunning chateaux. Explore Monet’s garden in Giverny, visit the Normandy Beaches and see first-hand where events of World War II unfolded, then discover the Loire Valley, renowned for its magnificent chateaux, historic villages and splendid food and wine.
Traveling with a maximum of 18 guests, this small-group tour paints an intimate portrait of some of the most beautiful regions in France. Small group tours typically depart every Tuesday (with a few exceptions) from April 1st , 2014 - October 26, 2014 and are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 participants. Consider adding additional days to your trip with the services of a private guide and/or driver to see more of the country - your time on either side of your small group tour can be customized to suit your needs (and private guided tours can be added throughout your small group experience as desired).
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Paris in a private vehicle with a professional driver.
A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if 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.
Steeped in history and packed full of world famous landmarks, seeing the city by open air double-decker bus is by far the best ways to see the capital. With this ticket, enjoy great views from the open top deck hop on and off bus, and see Paris in your own time, at your own pace. The ticket offers you the flexibility of L' Open Tour, valid on 4 different routes. The Paris Grand Tour takes you to the all the main sights, while the other 3 routes concentrate on particular areas (Montparnasse/St Germain tour, Montmartre/Grands Boulevards tour and Bastille/Bercy tour). (Includes transportation by coach, commentary by headphones on L' Open Tour buses). Please note that shared tours can have up to approx. 50 people (depending on the number of people that have signed up for the tour on the particular day, and are carried out in a number of languages).
The Quartier Latin Paris (3*) is located in the heart of the Latin quartier, just a few steps from the Mouffetard and Monge open-air market, also has direct access to the Opera, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. The Saint Germain neighbourhood, the Sorbonne, Luxembourg gardens and Notre Dame cathedral are all nearby. The hotel is in a typical Parisian style building, and the interior is very airy with large windows and wooden furnishings and flooring. The tastefully decorated lobby offers a peaceful atmosphere, while the comfortable salon is the perfect place to relax and avail of the complimentary WIFI and tea and coffee.
Discover Paris in a truly original and personalised manner aboard your very own 2CV. The 2CV, the quintessential symbol of the “French touch”, thanks to its convertible, soft top roof offers a magnificent panoramic view. You will be driven by a knowledgeable, English speaking chauffeur, and discover the most famous, beautiful and elegant monuments of Paris. The capacity of the 2CV vehicles is 3. If there are more in your group additional cars will be arranged so you can travel in convoy. (Includes hotel pick up and drop off in central Paris).
Enjoy the many wonders of Paris. Consider taking a stroll down one of the many quays by the river Seine, or wandering around any of the fascinating neighbourhoods such as Montematre, the Marais or the Left bank. Of course there are a plethora of museums and galleries to choose from if you are so inclined. Consider getting a 2 Day Paris Pass that includes a Paris Transport Travel card for 2 days (zone 1-3) to see all of the sites that are of personal interest to you. The Paris Pass is a smartcard offering free access to 65 attractions in Paris such as the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Orsay museum, Musee Rodin, commented cruise with Bateaux Parisiens and Pompidou museum. With this pass, you have access to 22 museums, 24 historical monuments, 15 art galleries, 3 tourist attractions, 1 cruise and special offers in shops and restaurants. Please contact your Sales Advisor if you would like more details.
Transfer to the small group meeting point using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
Meet your small group and guide at the Hotel La Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005, Paris at 8.30am and depart for your Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley tour.
Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
Departing Paris, your first stop this morning is the pretty garden and home of French Impressionist, Claude Monet, at Giverny in Normandy. Monet lived here from 1883 until his death in 1929. The gardens inspired many of his paintings including the famous Water Lilies and the Japanese Footbridge series. Explore Monet’s gardens and home before you make your way to Chateau Gaillard, for a photo stop. This 12th century medieval castle, perched high above Les Andelys, was once home to Richard the Lionheart. Admire the wonderful views overlooking the River Seine from the Castle then travel to the picturesque harbour of Honfleur, one of the best-preserved old ports in Normandy. Enjoy dinner together before you take a stroll around the old harbour.
Hotel des Loges is a charming hotel situated in the heart of the town. The hotel offers 14 rooms in 3 typical fishermen houses dated from the 16th century. Enjoy a buffet breakfast made from local produces. All rooms are equipped with private bathroom with shower or bathtub, desk, telephone, LCD screen TV set with French and Foreign channels, hairdryer, minibar, free wireless.
Please note that your hotel may be the above or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
The day begins with a splendid scenic drive along the ‘Normandy Corniche’, offering spectacular views over the Normandy coastline. Renowned for its luxury resorts and attractive seafront towns you pass through Trouville and then the prestigious yachting harbour of Deauville.
After lunch, you will pass through the charming harbour of Dives-sur-Mer, where William the Conqueror built the first part of his fleet in his attempt to invade England, before heading to Cabourg, where you have time to enjoy its exquisite sandy beaches. Then drive inland to visit a manor house and estate, home to a local producer of cider and calvados, a popular local apple brandy. After a tour and an opportunity to sample these iconic Normandy products, return to Honfleur for an evening at leisure.
Today you visit the Normandy Beaches, forever associated in our minds with World War II’s D-Day Landings of 1944. These beaches tell a remarkable story and it is here that you see first-hand where events of World War II unfolded. In the afternoon you will visit the famous American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. Your historic day concludes with a leisurely drive to Bayeux.
Discover this elegant 18th century townhouse in the city center with its spacious classic lounges, its guest rooms adorned with antique furniture and its lovely garden and friendly service. In this harmonious and enchanting setting, enjoy the good life and set out on foot to experience Normany and conquer Bayeux.
Today you have the opportunity to explore Bayeux at your leisure. This medieval town with its cobbled streets, many restaurants and museums is also home to the world famous Bayeux Tapestry which has been listed by UNESCO World Heritage. The old town has retained its Middle Age character, with the cathedral at its very heart, and the narrow streets invite the visitor to browse in the shops or to linger in the town’s many bistros.
This morning you travel across the Normandy countryside to Brittany. Today’s highlight is Mont St Michel. Perched on a rocky islet this gothic style abbey was built between the 11th and 16th centuries and appears to rise from the surrounding waters. Continue on to Dinan, an attractive medieval town with fine old buildings, some dating back to the 13th century.
Hotel Le d’Avaugour in Dinan, a 4-star hotel in a house with all the charm of yesteryear, located in the heart of a medieval Breton city. Discover the 21 rooms and 3 family suites at the hotel, decorated in style with soft, soothing colours. Situated in a peaceful area with a view of the garden, Dinan's alleyways or streets, each room offers all the comfort you would expect of a chic and elegant hotel. In the morning breakfast awaits you in the dining room on the ground floor where a large buffet is served. Why not relax and enjoy a hot or cold drink or some snacks at the bar and tearoom during your stay at the hotel. The tearoom verlooks the hotel garden, boasts an elegant, refined decor.
Today you travel to the Loire Valley, renowned for its fairy-tale castles, historic villages and splendid food and wine. The first port of call is Angers, capital of the ancient province of Anjou, a pretty and friendly town with a lively and welcoming atmosphere. It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in France and foremost among its many notable attractions are the magnificent cathedral and the imposing castle with its moat and soaring towers. Continue to make your way to Chinon, resting by the banks of the majestic Vienne River, Chinon is steeped in history and rich with culture.
The two star Hotel Diderot is like arriving at a friend’s house with the charm of an authentic dwelling-place built in the fifteenth century and modified in the eighteenth century. It's just a few hundred metres from the town centre, the medieval quarter and the chateau. Rest, and have sweet dreams in the soft light of the Val de Loire. And in the morning, try the home made jams for a delicious start to the day. In winter, breakfast is served in front of a roaring log fire. And on warm sunny days, it is served on the terrace in the shade of the banana and olive trees.
Today you travel to the imposing Chateau de Villandry, the last of the great chateaux of the Loire. Built during the Renaissance, the chateau’s glorious landscaped gardens are some of the finest in France, occupying over six hectares. On your return to Chinon you will have plenty of time to further explore this lovely town and sample local delicacies.
Departing from Chinon you have the choice of two wonderful chateaux to visit this morning, the Chateau de Chenonceau with its exceptional museum and magnificent gardens; or the Chateau de Cheverny, owned by the same family for more than six centuries and surrounded by an English-style park consisting of magnificent giant redwoods and lime trees which planted between 1820 and 1860. Then on to your overnight stop, where you will enjoy a final dinner together with your group.
Hotel La Tonnellerie (3*) is located on the edge of the Sologne, at the heart of the most famous Loire Valley chateaux. The 20 individually designed rooms are furnished in Louis Philippe style and are all equiped with a full bathroom with hairdryer, LCD television, telephone and free unlimited wifi access. The restaurant, opening onto the terrace and garden, offers with its "Carte des Terroirs", a classic and traditional cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. Hotel has an outdoor heated swimming pool, WiFi.
A fitting climax to your last day on tour is the celebrated cathedral of Chartres, incomparable anywhere in the world for its stained glass dating from the 13th century. Old Chartres’s picturesque streets evoke the bustling activity of a medieval town of merchants and craftsmen. Return to Paris this afternoon where your tour ends.
Your Small Group Tour ends this afternoon upon arrival at Hotel Le Demeure at approximately 5.30pm. Bid farewell to your Guide and fellow travellers as you close the chapter on this part of your travels.
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."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
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."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
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 lWestlund ,
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 bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement 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. Our time in Dubrovnik and Split were awesome, in hind sight we both wished we would have went back to Split from Plitvice Lakes rather than carry on to Zagreb. We both found Split much more appealing and would have definitely preferred to spend another night there rather than Zagreb. We’ll know for next time! 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. "
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