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 Wednesday(with a few exceptions) from April 8 to October 28, 2015 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. 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.
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.
This evening you will view Paris from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower during your own private dinner at the restaurant Eiffel Tower 58. Dinner includes an aperitif, three course dinner, coffee and your choice of either 1/2 bottle of wine, mineral water (50cl), a beer or soda. Your assistant will then help you board the boat for your cruise along the river Seine, while you admire the monuments and bridges of the city known as the 'City of Light'. In case of an exceptional impossibility to access the 1st or 2nd floor, the Eiffel Tower will be replaced by the Montparnasse Tower (56th floor with a height of 210 meters). Alternative arrangements will be made so please speak to your Destination Expert for further details. There will be a central meeting point from which the tour starts. The tour ends at the Eiffel Tower. Please note that shared tours can have up to approximately 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.
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. This tour 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 Montmartre, 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. Next you will stop at the Abbey of St Wandrille de Fontenelle and visit the grounds and ruins of this building first constructed in the 7th century, before travelling to Honfleur, one of the best-preserved old ports in Normandy. Tonight you will enjoy a welcome dinner together before you stroll around the old harbour.
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.
Continue to head inland towards Normandy’s ‘back country’, following the Route du Cidre towards Beuvron-en-Auge, voted one of the most beautiful villages of France. After, you will sample some of the regions finest cider and calvados, before you make your way back to Honfleur.
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. Enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant.
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.
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.
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.
Departing from Chinon you will visit the Chateau de Chenonceau, with its beautiful arches spanning the Loire River, and you will explore its exceptional museum and magnificent gardens. Later you will travel towards your stunning chateau accommodation where you will learn the art of French cooking with one of the chateau’s chefs. Your final meal together is the delicious dinner that youhave helped to prepare.
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.
You will be picked up from the airport and taken to the train station.
Banke Hotel (5*) is an elegant five star hotel located in the Opera district in the very heart of Paris, is a stone's throw from Boulevard Haussmann and the Galeries Lafayette. All 94 of the luxurious guest rooms’ interiors are decorated in cream and chocolate tones, purple curtains, parquet flooring, plaited leather rugs, damask leather headboards and designer furniture. Enjoy Spanish and French cuisine at Josefin Restaurant, or savour Spanish-inspired tapas at Lolabar. The sophisticated Banke Restaurant is perfect for all events and celebrations and serves an excellent breakfast buffet. Banke Hotel features a gym and hammam (Turkish bath), perfect for relaxation. Wander around the hotel and discover the extensive art collection. Discover the impressive collection of ethnic jewellery and sculptures from India, Tibet, African tribes and more!
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 Churchill Hotel is located just steps from the famous Bayeux tapestry works and the Cathedral. Enjoy their cheerful hospitality, warm atmosphere, air-conditioned lounge, spacious veranda. With their personalized decoration, stylish furniture, cosy atmosphere and warm shades of color, the hotel`s 32 rooms are your assurance of comfort and relaxation. The beautiful large rooms overlook Notre Dame and the old town district.
Please note that your hotel may be the above, or a hotel of similar standard and will be confirmed prior to departure.
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.
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.
The Château de la Bourdaisière is a magnificent castle of the XVth century. Today, a tourism site for relaxation but also discovery, the Château de la Bourdaisière offers outdoor activities, rooms, and reception rooms, but also place for exhibitions and luxurious gardens which shelters an extraordinary kitchen garden of 1 hectare. Bourdaisière provides you with 11 rooms and 3 apartments in the Castle and 6 rooms in the Pavilion Choiseul. Rooms are spacious, quite differently decorated in the same spirit of taste and refinement of these women who made the history. The lounge is decorated with a herbarium.
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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