Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley
DAY 1: Arrival in Paris (tour starts on a Thursday)
DAY 2: Private Tour of Paris
DAY 3: Paris at your leisure
DAY 4: Bayeux, beautiful Normandy
DAY 5: WWII Sites
DAY 6: Leisure Day in Bayeux
DAY 7: Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo
DAY 8: Cointreau, Loire Valley
DAY 9: Castle and Wine Discoveries
DAY 10: Amboise and the local market (Sunday)
DAY 11: Departure day
- Relax in the care of your multi-lingual dedicated local tour leader
- Discover slow travel: a perfect balance of sightseeing and time at leisure
- Explore the French countryside, where towns, historical sites and quaint villages all have a story to tell
- Savor tasty regional cuisine and wine in authentic local restaurants
- Visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world - Paris
- Visit soul-stirring D-Day beaches and important WWII sites
- Visit the magical island of Mont-Saint-Michel
- Lean to make French crêpes in picturesque Saint-Malo
- Visit some of the most beautiful historical Châteaux of France, Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and Chenonceau
PRICING: from $6,597USD per person (double occupancy)
The price varies according to the number of guests on tour, type of accommodation and activities chosen, because of minimum fixed costs that need to be covered. With this tiered pricing structure we are generally able to offer slightly lower pricing if there are a higher number of guests on the trip.
Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley
Enjoy a journey through some of Northern France's most iconic regions
Arrival & departure airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
**FOR PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY**
Visit the Normandy Beaches to see first hand where events of WWII unfolded and meander along narrow cobbled lanes in medieval towns. A visit to the unspoiled area of Brittany should be on everyone’s bucket list. The countryside is breathtaking, and the area is known for its seafood and wonderful dishes, from the famous' galette' buckwheat pancake to ciders, local cheeses and to its towns like Saint-Malo. Then, on to discover the Loire Valley, renowned for its magnificent chateaux, historic villages, wonderful food and local wine.
I invite you to come along with me to experience great cuisine, wonderful people and authentic France. Do not miss the chance to discover treasures both famous and beyond the beaten path. Come experience France like never before!
Day by Day Itinerary
This sample itinerary was handcrafted by Audrey, to inspire your next trip. It is ready to be customized to suit your interests, tastes and budget so you can connect with local cultures and experience authentic travel on your own terms, departing whenever you choose.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL PARIS
Welcome to Paris, the city of Lights! Situated on the River Seine, the capital of France is one of the most popular destinations in the world, Paris, has a lifetime of experiences to discover. Whether you are here to see the famous landmarks or seek out the secret corners, Paris fulfills all your expectations, and still leaves you wanting more.
Enjoy a private transfer to your hotel and shake off your jet-lag by joining your tour manager on an orientation walk around your hotel, including Eiffel Tower tickets for the 2nd floor and a welcome dinner in a local French bistro.
DAY 2: HALF-DAY GUIDED TOUR PARIS
After breakfast, enjoy a half-day private walking tour with your local expert guide, to discover the Louvre, one of the largest palace in the world and now a sprawling art museum. The Louvre is home to the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and some 400,000 works of art, 35,000 of which are on permanent display.
Your afternoon is at leisure to explore the many museums and wonderful sites that Paris has to offer or just sit in a café and watch the world go by!
Note: The sightseeing tour in Paris is predominantly done on foot. You’ll also take the Paris metro to get from one side of the city to another on this day.
DAY 3: DAY AT LEISURE
Paris is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world. It is certainly one of the most romantic and historic as well. Today is your day to spend it as you choose. From the incredible art galleries and imposing monuments, to the world-renowned shopping, quaint cafés and hidden treasure, Paris is a wonderful city to explore. There’s so much to see! Your tour manager will be on hand to offer plenty of suggestions like these:
- Pick up delicious “macarons”, check out the many specialty food shops, shop in some of the most prestigious shopping areas of Paris, or simply sit at a café and partake in the “Joie de Vivre”.
- Visit the Musée d'Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, and a host of other wonderful attractions
- Take a stroll through the pretty little lanes of the Latin Quarter. Laze in the elegant shop-lined streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, wandering down the opulent Champs-Élysées and meandering through the winding bohemian streets of Montmartre will also give you a wonderful overview of the city.
- Relax with a baguette and cheese in the Luxembourg gardens, one of Hemingway’s favorite retreats, watching the French go about their daily life.
- Visit Père Lachaise cemetery, the world’s most visited cemetery due to its ornate tombs and moving memorials to the rich and famous such as Frédéric Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Walk over to Parc de Belleville, the highest park in Paris which has views rivaling those from the hill of the Basilica at Sacré-Cœur but without the mass of other tourists.
- Learn about the life and times of cabaret singer, songwriter and actress, Edith Piaf, widely regarded as one of France’s greatest international stars, at a small museum based in her former apartment.
DAY 4: BAYEUX, BEAUTIFUL NORMANDY
The first stop of the day is Giverny, home of the French impressionist Claude Monet. Monet’s Garden in the small village of Giverny, famously provided the inspiration and subject matter of many of his master-pieces. This tiny country village is a place of pilgrimage for devotees of Impressionism.
Upon arrival in Bayeux, your tour manager will take your on an orientation walk around town with a visit to the Cathedral, as big as the Notre-Dame in Paris.
NOTE: Another option would be to visit Giverny with Monet's Garden, followed by a visit and overnight in the city of Rouen or Honfleur.
DAY 5: WWII SITES
This day is dedicated to the discovery of the Landing Beaches where the Allied Troops set foot on France on June 6, 1944. This WWII tour is very moving, you’ll see the sites that are very important to the success of the Operation Overlord, including Arromanches-les-Bains , Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery (museum), Pointe du Hoc and Sainte-Mère-Église . For Canadian private groups, we will visit the Juno Beach Center, Normandy’s only museum dedicated to Canadian WWII history, see German bunkers and Canadian artillery equipment on Juno Beach, visit the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery where thousands of Canadian soldiers are buried and learn about the dark history of the Ardenne Abbey.
This is going to be a long and rewarding day. Of course there will a lunch break!
DAY 6: LEISURE TIME IN BAYEUX
Bayeux is a wonderful city to pass the time in. This medieval town with cobbled streets was spared during the war, thanks to the fact that it was quickly taken by the Allied during Overlord Operation. In Bayeux, you have the option to visit the Tapestry Museum or maybe the Bayeux Museum about the Battle of Normandy during WWII.
The Tapestry of Bayeux is without a doubt the world’s most celebrated piece of embroidery. Over 58 panels it recounts the invasion of England in 1066 by William I (William the Conqueror).
This afternoon after lunch, you can choose to wander in town for some shopping or indulge in a great treat: Calvados, a specialty brandy made from apples from Normandy. Try a cider tasting with a visit to a local cheese farm. Well-known specialty cheeses from Normandy include Camembert, Livarot, Pont-l'Évêque, Neufchatel and Boursin.
DAY 7: MONT SAINT-MICHEL, SAINT-MALO
Today, travel a short distance to the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO world Heritage site, for a guided visit. Perched on a rocky islet, this 11th century Gothic style abbey is one of France’s most recognizable sights. The fortified island village ranks among the wonders of the Western World. It is a long climb to the top, involving walking up fairly steep paths and steps to arrive at the imposing abbey on top, but it is worth every step for the views. You’ll have about 3 hours here, so you can take your time to make your way up and to explore the abbey with your guide.
Arrive in Saint-Malo. Once renowned for being a haven for pirates and adventurers, the ancient walled city is considered to be the most attractive channel port in France with its cobbled streets and interesting history, Saint-Malo makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. Long sandy beaches, small islands you can walk to at low tide, and a Canadian connection: in the district of Rotheneuf, you will find the former house of one of Saint-Malo’s most famous sons, Jacques Cartier, a French explorer known for exploring the St. Lawrence river and giving Canada its name.
DAY 8: COINTREAU, LOIRE VALLEY
This morning, driving south towards the Loire Valley, also known as the Valley of the Kings where you will spend the last nights of your vacation, you will have a chance to explore Dinan, an attractive medieval town. Sitting high above the River Rance the old town is like something straight out of the Middle Ages, with narrow cobblestoned streets and squares lined with crooked half-timbered houses.
Onto the small town of Saint Barthelemy d’Anjou, after a lunch in the town of Angers, to visit the historical plant of the Cointreau family who created the world famous Cointreau orange-flavored liqueur more than 165 years ago!
DAY 9: CASTLES AND WINE DISCOVERIES
Today starts off with a walk around the town of Chinon with your tour manager followed by explorations in the surrounding region.
The medieval town of Chinon is located in the Centre-Val-de-Loire region of France, resting by the banks of the majestic Vienne river just before it meets the mighty Loire. It is a town steeped in history and rich with culture. The ancient château was the preferred residence of Henry II, one of the English Plantagenet kings, and his wife Aliénor (Eleanor) d'Aquitaine. Henry II died here in 1189 and their son, Richard the Lionheart was born here. Henry is interred at the side of Aliénor in the beautiful abbey of Fontevraud.
From warring medieval counts to the kings and queens of France, many powerful figures have left their mark on the Loire Valley. The result is France’s most diverse and magnificent collection of castle architecture. The lush, fertile valley created by the winding Loire River has captured traveler’s hearts and imaginations for centuries. Hundreds of chateaux line France’s Royal River, the highest concentration of castles in the world.
Today you will visit some of the most beautiful castles in the area: Azay-le-Rideau castle, romantic, moat-ringed and one of the purest gems of Renaissance architecture in the Loire Valley, and Villandry castle which is very well known for its world-class gardens.
A visit to the Loire Valley would not be complete without a wine tasting. The Loire Valley is a land that nurtures some of the nation’s best vineyards, producing gentle reds and fruity whites such as Chinon, Sancerre, Muscadet, Vouvray and Bourgeuil and the roses of Anjou. It is a perfect destination for those who enjoy wine. Savor crisp whites and chewy to punchy reds. The main grapes grown in the Loire include Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne (or Muscadet), Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Grolleau.
DAY 10: AMBOISE MARKET DAY
Your castle visit today is of the world-famous stunning romantic Château de Chenonceau, an unsurpassed Renaissance masterpiece which sits on the Cher River. Several noteworthy women have left their mark on this beautiful and elegant castle.
Before we visit the castle, our first stop of the day is the Amboise Sunday market for you to walk around and enjoy. Straddling the widest stretch of the river is the city of Amboise, an inviting town with a fine old quarter below its 15th century hilltop château. A castle has overlooked the Loire from here since Roman times. Leonardo da Vinci retired here...just one more of his many brilliant ideas. Amboise and its shopping streets have always charmed visitors. Even today, the genius of the famous inventor haunts this Château, where around 40 of his fabulous machines are displayed.
DAY 11: DEPARTURE DAY
You may choose to leave very early in the morning for a private transfer to the airport in Paris, but I would recommend an overnight near the airport and on the way we could stop and visit Fontainebleau.
- Unwind for 10 nights at charming, locally owned boutique style accommodations that offer French hospitality, comfort and local character (standard rooms with daily breakfast included):
- 3 nights in Paris
- 3 nights in Bayeux
- 1 night in Saint-Malo
- 3 nights in Chinon
- Embark on private guided tours with local expert guides and skip the line entrance tickets:
- The Louvre Museum and the Sainte Chapelle in Paris
- Giverny, Monet's gardens
- The tapestry of Bayeux
- WWII sites in Normandy
- Mont-Saint-Michel and its abbey
- Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry gardens, Château de Chenonceau
- Enjoy hand-picked experiences:
- Taste local world-class wines on a private tour
- Cider tasting in Normandy
- Learn to make French crepes in Saint-Malo
- Discover what makes Cointreau so special
- Private transfers (pick up and drop off) at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris (CDG) and private transportation throughout the itinerary
- The services of your host, Audrey, fluent in French and English
- Gain insider access to the French way of life
- Enjoy leisure time to choose your own optional experiences
- Sample regional cuisine at carefully selected restaurants with local wines
- Rest assured that we will never guide you into a tourist trap shopping experience or surprise you with hidden fees.
- Taxes & Fees: Local VAT taxes and government fees, city tax, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, parking fees
NOTE: In the grand European tradition, I believe that dinner is a celebration of good food and wine, a celebration of culture and a celebration of family and friendship. Hosting this celebration is one of the joys of being a tour manager. I guide you to your favorite dish … or help you choose something you’ve never tried before. I choose the perfect wines and throw in some local delicacies to broaden your palate and surprise you a bit. When we are at a cooking lesson or a wine tasting, rest assured that you'll go home with new knowledge that will increase your appetite for more. On every tour, I have included dinners as a group as well as nights on your own. Of course, you are always invited to join me at my favorite places or as I explore new and interesting restaurant finds. I also have recommendations and would be happy to make reservations for you.
What's Not Included
- Passport fees, visa fees, immunization costs, entry clearing fees (when applicable)
- Optional enhancements like room upgrades
- Additional sightseeing, activities and experiences outside of your itinerary
- Early check-in or late check-out from hotels
- Personal charges such as laundry, phone calls, SIM cards or room service
- Lunches, dinners and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), unless specified in the itinerary
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
- Your international and domestic airfare
- Porterage: Please note that you'll need to carry your own luggage up and down stairs at hotels and across cobblestone
How it works
Here is how it works
- Schedule a consultation call with Audrey to discuss your dreams of traveling to this beautiful part of France!
- Some things we’ll discuss: Your interests and the interests of your traveling companions, your desires for the trip, and your ages and energy levels. Have you traveled to France before? If so, which countries did you visit? What would make your trip perfect, or what do you envision as your ideal day while on vacation?
- Audrey will start with this itinerary, but this is a custom trip, so we can also incorporate ideas that are specific to your group. You might say, “Yes, let’s go for it!” or you might want to discuss a few things, tweak some items, or compare different options. At the end of this phase, you will know the unique itinerary for your group.
- Each person in your small group pays a deposit, with final payment due 90 days before travel.
- Audrey and her team will book everything for you, help you prepare for your time in Italy, and take great care of you and your companions during your stay in Europe.
- You’ll be given a customized, day-by-day itinerary that's unique to your group with all the details you'll need. It's essentially a personalized guide book — with only the information that's relevant to you.
- All you have to do is sit back, and enjoy your fabulous travels! Let Audrey and her team personally take care of you while you are in Europe!
Prepare for Your Trip
European travel in general involves a lot of walking, much more than we are used to in the US. Most of our tours include city walking tours, visits to hilltop towns and villages, and meandering through cobbled streets. Keeping active and incorporating long walks into your busy schedule in the weeks before your departure will make your vacation much more rewarding.
- Don’t Overpack: A challenge even for some experienced travelers! Wash or dry clean some clothes during your travel. Some hotels and villas we choose offer laundry and dry-cleaning services and towns and cities have laundro-mats. Most also provide hair dryers. Toiletries and cosmetics can also be purchased at your destinations. Please contact us if you need some assistance.
- It is your responsibility to obtain the required documents to travel to Europe. Please verify with your own country's travel laws and government agencies. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
The first day on tour is your arrival day into the city in which we meet. So, you would be flying the day before from the United States or Canada if you are not taking the option of spending a few days on location prior to start of your tour.
The purchase of TRAVEL INSURANCE is strongly recommended to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. A Protection Plan can include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and emergency evacuation/repatriation, trip delay, baggage delay and more.
To discuss the details and customization options, click below to schedule a call with Audrey!
What Audrey's clients are saying...
Sign up for our Newsletter
Sign up for my monthly newsletter showcasing featured tours, new itineraries, expert travel advice and inspiration. You will receive my insider tips for bringing your wine home.