12-day Paris, Normandy & Loire Valley

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OVERVIEW

On this 12-day trip, you’ll experience the unmissable Paris highlights, Normandy and the Loire Valley.

You’ll start your French adventure with the highlights of Paris combined with many cultural and local experiences. Discover charming neighbourhoods with expert guides who will take you to many hidden
gems.

You’ll then reach Normandy to visit the former WWII battlefields and the famous Mont Saint-Michel Abbey. You’ll finish your stay in the Loire Valley to immerse yourself into the French gastronomic heritage.

On this trip, you will discover secret gardens, private mansions and Renaissance castles on foot, by bike or even in the air onboard a hot air balloon!

Day 1: Arrive in Paris
Day 2: Stroll in the Marais & Cheese Tasting by the Canal
Day 3: Walking Tour in Montmartre & Breathtaking Views from the Iron
Lady
Day 4: Private Masterpieces Tour at Le Louvre
Day 5: Typical French Baking Class & Free Afternoon
Day 6: Travel to Normandy
Day 7: D-Day Sights
Day 8: Mont Saint-Michel Day Tour
Day 9: Train to the Loire Valley
Day 10: Organic Wine Tasting, Lunch in the Vineyards & Bike Tour
Day 11: Castles & Wine in the Loire Valley
Day 12: Departure Day

DURATION

12 days, 11 nights

DESTINATIONS

France: Paris, Mont Saint-Michel, Bayeux, Sainte-Mère-Église, Colleville-sur-Mer, La Cambe, Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Chambord, Chenonceaux, Amboise, Morand

TRAVELLERS

2 travellers

Presented by Stel from Mitchell Personnel Solutions Pty Ltd
[email protected]
+61261230567
INCLUDED

– 11 nights accommodation
– 18 activities
– 11 breakfasts and 2 lunches
– Airport transfer
– Entrance fees
– Ground transportation
– Licensed English speaking guides

EXCLUDED

– Domestic flights
– Travel insurance
– International flights
– Entry visas / airport departure tax
– Alcohol beverages
– Gratuities
– Personal expenses
– Laundry
– Trekking permits

DAY 1: : ARRIVE IN PARIS
5 1

Today, you’ll be picked up by your chauffeur from the airport and will receive a personal welcome at your four-star boutique hotel. The rest of the day will then be spent as free time exploring your hotel’s district, St Germain des Prés. You could, for example, discover the gorgeous Luxembourg Garden, only two minutes away from your hotel.

9
Private Driver

13:00 to 14:00

From: Paris-Charles De Gaulle
To: Hotel La Villa Madame

You’ll be picked up from the airport and taken to your hotel in the city centre.

13
La Villa Madame

14:00 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 6)
1

La Villa Madame is a luxury 4-star hotel in the vicinity of Saint Germain des Pres, in the heart of the 6th arrondissement. Located in the Rue Madame, this quiet street is just a few blocks away from the Jardin du Luxembourg and Montparnasse.

A bit further, you will find the Latin Quarters and the West Bank of Paris, as well as the Saint Sulpice church, a symbolic place in the area.

The hotel features 28 luxuriously equipped rooms and a courtyard that is an excellent oasis for relaxing and enjoying a moment with a glass of wine or a drink.

Appropriately named The Secret Garden, the restaurant is an intimate place under the sky of Paris and contributes to the singularity of the place. The typically Parisian paved courtyard offers a peaceful and relaxing stopping place.

Address: La Villa Madame, Rue Madame, Paris, France

11
Paris

14:30 to 18:00
3 hours 30 minutes

The glimmering streets of the City of Light are enough to charm anyone. Paris is alive and thriving with activity; day or night, rain or shine, it’s a city that is made to enjoy the outdoors.

Famous for fashion, it would be rude not to indulge in a little shopping while here, with department stores like LaFayette and Printemps housing one-offs from some of the best local designers around and small boutique shops offering the best of the best, shopping doesn’t really get better than this.

For art lovers, spending some time at smaller museums is somewhat of a once-in-a-lifetime, Paris has one of the most impressive art collections in the world. Alternatively, lazing around in the parks or at a sidewalk cafe on a sunny day in Paris is a moment of bliss – an inexpensive experience that simply cannot be missed.

Address: Paris, France

DAY 2: STROLL IN THE MARAIS & CHEESE TASTING BY THE CANAL
12 1

Today after breakfast, you’ll meet your local guide for a private walking tour in the Marais. Your guide will take you through the lively and trendy streets; starting from the Saint-Paul Saint-Louis church, the oldest Jesuit art heirloom in Paris, to the Place des Vosges. After lunch, you’ll continue the day with a cheese and wine experience with a ‘Cheese master’. You will discover the secrets of cheese maturing in an exceptional 17th-century vaulted cellar.

32
Le Marais Tour and Cheese Tasting

10:00 to 17:00
7 hours

In the early afternoon, your local guide will pick you up at your hotel to take you to a walking tour in the trendy and historic area of Le Marais.

The former home of the aristocracy in the 17th century, Le Marais is full of private mansions and hidden gardens. The Places des Vosges, formerly called Place Royale, is an architectural jewel with its famous red stone buildings and arcades.

You will then meet the Maitre Fromager (cheese master) in his cheese shop. He will share his secrets about cheese ageing and introduce you to the diversity of French cheeses in an exceptional vaulted 17th-century cheese cellar in the basement of the shop.

guided
Address: 54 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris, France

14
Le Marais

11:00 to 14:00
3 hours

Found on the Right Bank of the Seine, Le Marais is an old aristocratic district of Paris that is home to some of the finest architecture in the city.

Spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, today it’s one of the trendiest areas of Paris, featuring the most elite high-end stores for those in the know, alongside boutique art galleries and fine dining restaurants.

However, the district has not always been concerned with the aristocracy. Towards the end of the 19th century, many Eastern European Jews moved to the area. Having fallen into disrepair and no longer the aristocratic stronghold it was before the French Revolution, the Jewish people brought tailoring back to the area.

After WWII, the area was extensively restored in an effort to protest and conserve areas of cultural and historical significance with many ‘Hôtels particuliers’ adapting to host art galleries and museums that the area became famous for.

guided
Address: Le Marais, Paris, France

DAY 3: WALKING TOUR IN MONTMARTRE & BREATHTAKING VIEWS FROM THE IRON LADY
19

This morning after breakfast, you’ll meet your local guide for a two-hour private walking tour in the most artistic area of Paris: Montmartre. In the early 20th century, Montmartre attracted many famous artists like Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas and more. Your guide will be able to tell you many fun and historical facts along the way. After lunch, you’ll meet the ‘Iron Lady’. From the top of the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be able to recognise many famous monuments.

18
Montmartre

10:00 to 12:00
2 hours

Perched upon one of the largest hills in the city, the Basilica Sacre-Coeur dominates Montmartre, which is in the 18th arrondissement, a district famous for its artistic history.

During the interwar predating WWI, La Belle Epoque artists frequented Montmartre, with the likes of Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas and Monet having studios in the area.

Montmartre is thought to be one of the oldest inhabited areas in the city. Excavations have found items that are estimated to date back to the 3rd century and Roman baths from the 2nd.

The name comes from a story from the 3rd century when the Romans ordered the beheading of the Christian bishop, Saint-Denis. When decapitated, he picked up his head and went down the hill, where he died. From then on, the hill was no longer Mont de Mars but Mont des Martyrs.

guided
Address: Montmartre, 75018 Paris, France

18
Eiffel Tower

14:00 to 16:00
2 hours

An object of discord, desire and fascination, the Eiffel Tower never fails to impress. Enriched by a history full of new developments, the structure is a sight of wonder from all directions, while providing the opportunity to see Paris from a completely different angle.

The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. Its construction, in 2 years, 2 months and 5 days, was a veritable technical and architectural achievement.

“Utopia achieved”, a symbol of technological prowess, at the end of the 19th century it was a demonstration of French engineering personified by Gustave Eiffel, and a defining moment of the industrial era.

Over the decades, the Eiffel Tower has seen remarkable achievements, extraordinary light shows, and prestigious visitors. A mythical and audacious site, it has always inspired artists and challenges.

Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

DAY 4: PRIVATE MASTERPIECES TOUR AT LE LOUVRE
22

After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to one of the best Paris highlights, the Le Louvre Museum. Reach the lively Rue de Rivoli where stands the Parisian museum with its famous pyramid. You’ll travel through time with your guide in the world’s most visited museum filled with over 7,000 pieces of art across the many rooms and once was home to French heads of state until 1870. The rest of the day will then be free to spend as you wish.

22
Louvre Museum

10:00 to 13:00
3 hours

Officially known as the Great Louvre, this museum is not only a historic monument of France but also the world’s largest art museum. It is the national museum of France which is housed in a large palace in Paris and was the most visited museum in the world in 2017.

This central landmark is located on the bank of the River Seine which flows through Paris. It houses over 38,000 objects ranging from pre-historic ancient civilisations to the 21st century covering an area of over 72,000 square metres.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace which was built in the late 12th century under the orders of Phillip II. Due to the city’s expansion, various changes in the fortress’ use and the expansion of the building itself changed a lot from the time between Phillip II’s rule and 1793 when it was decreed that it should become a museum during the French Revolution.

Closing again in 1801 for structural renovation, the museum reopened under Napoleon’s reign but following his abdication, many of the works were seized. The museum’s collections increased significantly during the reign of Louise XVIII and Charles X and have grown steadily since.

The museum today is split into a number of different departments, which are: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

guided
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

11
Paris

14:30 to 18:00
3 hours 30 minutes

The glimmering streets of the City of Light are enough to charm anyone. Paris is alive and thriving with activity; day or night, rain or shine, it’s a city that is made to enjoy the outdoors.

Famous for fashion, it would be rude not to indulge in a little shopping while here, with department stores like LaFayette and Printemps housing one-offs from some of the best local designers around and small boutique shops offering the best of the best, shopping doesn’t really get better than this.

For art lovers, spending some time at smaller museums is somewhat of a once-in-a-lifetime, Paris has one of the most impressive art collections in the world. Alternatively, lazing around in the parks or at a sidewalk cafe on a sunny day in Paris is a moment of bliss – an inexpensive experience that simply cannot be missed.

Address: Paris, France

22
Catacombs of Paris

15:00 to 16:00
1 hour

Covering an area of 11,000m² of underground Paris, the Catacombs of Paris is a labyrinth of tunnels made from former quarries. Inside the matrix of tunnels, millions of bones belonging to over six million people from various Parisian cemeteries rest in the 1.7 kilometres of tunnels open to visitors.

The Paris Catacombs are an extremely unique site. It was created to eliminate the problem of the city’s overflowing cemeteries and work began on creating the catacombs, also known as the Paris Ossuary in 1774.

Each night from 1774 to 1776, wagons filled with the remains of people from many of Paris’ cemeteries proceeded into the former mine shafts near Rue de la Tombe-Issoire. Up until the 19th century, when this underground matrix became popular with concerts and events, it was largely forgotten about. In 1874, it opened to the public.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

41
Notre-Dame de Paris

16:30 to 17:30
1 hour

Notre-Dame de Paris, which translates to ‘Our Lady of Paris’, is a medieval Catholic cathedral and one of the most famous sites in Paris. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Notre-Dame de Paris dates back to the middle ages.

Situated at the far end of the Île de la Cité, work began on the cathedral in 1160 and was completed by 1260, although the original masterpiece was modified several times over the following centuries. Interest in the building increased hugely after the publication of Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831.

During the French Revolution in the 18th century, the Notre-Dame de Paris was severely damaged but restored to its former glory in the 19th century including being cleared of years of soot to return it to its former colour, the one you see today.

Visitors flock to this stunning cathedral to gaze in awe at his stained glass and rose windows, the steeples and the fascinating gargoyles, and the towers which, if climbed, offer stunning panoramic views of Paris.

Sadly, this iconic symbol of Paris caught fire in 2019, great contributions have been made to ensure that it is restored to its original splendour. The building will not be accessible until this is complete.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

DAY 5: TYPICAL FRENCH BAKING CLASS & FREE AFTERNOON
27 1

This morning, your chauffeur will drop you off in front of a typical French bakery where you will meet a professional baker. You’ll learn how to create and bake the traditional French baguette and puff pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat but also master sourdough. At the end of the class, you’ll even be able to leave with your own baguette. The afternoon will be free to relax, go shopping or explore the city further.

35 1
Typical French Baking Class

09:00 to 12:00
3 hours

Your chauffeur will drop you off in front of a typical French bakery where you will meet a professional baker.

You’ll learn how to create and bake the traditional French baguette and puff pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat but also master sourdough.

At the end of the class, you’ll even be able to leave with your own baguette!

Address: Paris 14, Paris, France

14
Champs Elysees

14:00 to 15:00
1 hour

Found between the Place de la Concorde and Place Charles de Gaulle, the Champs-Elysees is arguably the most famous street in the city, well-known for its high-end boutique shops, cafes and theatres. The street forms part of the Axe de Historique, a line of monuments and statues that form Paris’ top attractions today.

Fronted by the Arc de Triomphe, respectively, the street becomes a site of celebration once a year for the Bastille Day military parade, which has been held annually since 1880, more or less. The street has seen parades pass through for centuries, acting as the main site of military celebration in the city.

The street also becomes a finishing line for the Tour de France in the summer.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France

22
Musée d’Orsay

15:00 to 16:00
1 hour

On the banks of the River Seine in Paris is where you’ll find the stunning railway-station-come-museum, known as Musée d’Orsay. Opened in 1986, the museum holds a grand and stunning collection of French art, such as paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography, dating from the period of 1848-1914.

The Musée d’Orsay encompasses the largest collection impressionist and post-Impressionist artistic treasures from famous painters including the likes of Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.

Sitting opposite the Tuileries Gardens, which houses the Musee de l’Orangerie, this museum has an interesting history. The museum is housed in the former Orsay railway station which was built between 1898 and 1900 which is a stunning work of art in itself with its arched roofs allowing natural light to stream into the galleries below.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

18
Ile de la Cite

16:00 to 17:00
1 hour

Once known as Lutetia, Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural islands on the River Seine within the city of Paris. The island is home to some of the most famous Parisian sights including the Pont Neuf, the Pont de l’Archevêché and Notre Dame cathedral, among many others.

Île de la Cité is the oldest settlement in Paris and until the 1850s, this area was largely residential but has since been filled with many of the cities other buildings that sit amongst the stunning landmarks.

With its location in the heart of Paris, Île de la Cité is a popular meeting place for locals and travellers alike. As you wander down the River Seine’s banks you can admire the beautiful facade of Notre Dame Cathedral and enjoy the many street performances by wandering museums and theatre groups.

+ optional (not included in price)

Address: Île de la Cité, Paris, France

DAY 6: TRAVEL TO NORMANDY
30 1

After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the train station to take the train to Normandy. The train journey will take around two and a half hours. Once settled in your charming B&B, you can take some time to discover on your own the lovely town of Bayeux and visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry. In the evening, you can enjoy homecooked food at the guesthouse or a local restaurant.

9
Private Driver

10:00 to 11:00

From: Hotel La Villa Madame
To: Train station

After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the train station to take the train to Normandy.

25
Train

11:00 to 13:30

From: Train station
To: Bayeux

You’ll travel first class to Normandy.

34
Bed & Breakfast Le Petit Matin

14:00 check-in
10:00 check-out (Day 9)
1

Located in the heart of the historic town of Bayeux, on the ‘Place Charles de Gaulle’ planted with 150 lime trees and classified a Natural Monument in 1932, Le Petit Matin welcomes you warmly.

Morning is an important time of the day for the owners (hence the name of the bed and breakfast!). They, therefore, wanted to ensure guests experienced a truly memorable moment, full of tranquillity and authenticity, around a hearty breakfast in the beautiful and completely renovated building dating back to the late 17th and 18th centuries.

The house is located next to the old Bayeux porcelain factory which has been run by three successive families (Langlois, Gosse and Morlent). They offer five guest rooms; each carefully decorated and personalised.

All of the furniture and decorations in the house and guest rooms are authentic antique family furniture, found from bargain hunting or purchased locally at the auction house in Bayeux.

Address: Bed and Breakfast Le Petit Matin, Bayeux, France

11
Bayeux

14:00 to 18:00
4 hours

A city steeped in medieval history, walking through Bayeux is like walking through a life-size architecture museum: Romanesque and Gothic architecture face timber-framed houses and cobbled streets; elegant mansions, townhouses with towers and private residences that add an air of grandeur to its streets. Bayeux can be confined to two major attractions: the Bayeux tapestry and the grand Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Bayeux tapestry is a 70-metre long woven textile piece that depicts William of Normandy’s conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings. Probably commissioned by William’s half-brother, the piece brings together 70 scenes to tell the story of the Duke of Normandy’s conquest. Despite its turbulent past and several attempts to damage the piece, it is now in the Bayeux Museum.

Marking the centre of the city, the Notre-Dame Cathedral exemplifies Norman architecture in all its magnificence. It was created in the presence of William the Conqueror, with later Gothic additions that perfectly compliment its origins.

Address: 14400 Bayeux, France

DAY 7: D-DAY SIGHTS
35 1

After breakfast, you’ll head out for a full-day, small-group tour of the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy. Your local guide will help you to understand the details of Operation Overlord. At every stop, your guide will explain the situation and the strategy on both sides. You’ll be able to visit the German Cemetery, St Mère church, Utah beach, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and you’ll have some free time to walk around at each site.

29
D-Day Sights

10:00 to 16:00
6 hours

You’ll head out for a full-day, small-group tour on the D-Day landing beaches sites of Normandy. Your local guide will help you to understand the details of Operation Overlord.

At every stop, your guide will explain the situation and the strategy on both sides. You’ll be able to visit the German Cemetery, Ste Mère church, Utah beach, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and have some free time to walk around and absorb the history of the area.

guided
Address: Utah Beach, France

39 1
La Cambe German War Cemetery

10:15 to 11:00
45 minutes

The largest Second World War military cemetery in Normandy, La Cambe is the final resting place of over 21,000 German soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.

The site contains nearly double the number of graves as compared to the nearby Normandy American Military Cemetery which honours the American soldiers who died during the D-Day landings and the events surrounding it.

Originally a battlefield graveyard with German and American war dead buried in adjacent fields, once the war finished many of the American soldiers’ bodies were taken back to the US or moved to the nearby Normandy American Cemetery.

Originally, following the end of the Second World War, there were around 8,000 German graves at la Cambe but a further 12,000 were moved here in the following decade some sites around Normandy.

guided
Address: Les Noires Terres, 14230 La Cambe, France

35
Sainte-Mere-Eglise

11:15 to 12:00
45 minutes

A sleepy, quaint town in France with became involved in one of the greatest resources in military history on the night of 5th June 1944 during the Second World War.

During the Normandy Invasion, 30 American paratroopers dropped into the town and the area surrounding it which has been occupied by German forces since 1940. The next two days ensured a battle between the two forces, defending several major points in the town including the bridges of la Fière and Chef-du-Pont.

Following D-Day (6th June 1944), reinforcement troops landed on the nearby Utah beach to clear the town of German forces. Sainte-Mere-Eglise is one of the most popular places to begin exploring the D-Day beaches and the history that surrounds it.

As well as this incredible history, you can wander the well-preserved town as admire its historic buildings, wash houses and fountains, manors and the beautiful natural landscapes and seascapes close by.

guided
Address: 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église, Franceaskevi, Elounda, Greece

35
Utah Beach

12:00 to 12:45
45 minutes

A major, if not one of the most important, landmarks of the D-Day Landings on June 6th 1944, Utah Beach was the westernmost beach of the five landing areas of the Normandy Invasion of the Second World War.

Utah Beach was a late addition to the strategy but it became a major part in the defeat of the Nazis during this war. There were three phases to the D-Day operation; one was the air landings which were centred on Utah Beach, the other was the naval and air landings of the Atlantic Wall and the last was the seaborne landings on the six beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword).

Today, Utah Beach is a major starting point for those that wish to explore Normandy and gain a deeper insight into the operations that took place here and pay their respects to the lives lost at the nearby cemeteries.

guided
Address: Utah Beach, France

20
Pointe du Hoc

12:45 to 13:30
45 minutes

A 100-foot cliff at the end of a promontory overlooking the English Channel, Pointe du Hoc was occupied by a German battery and was considered one of the most important targets for the American and British allies on D-Day (6th June 1944) during World War II. It was the highest point between the landings at Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east.

Heroically, US Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliff to capture the German battery, but not without a great loss of life. Point du Hoc is one of the few places in Normandy where you can observe the bomb-scarred terrain and craters left by them.

Today, you can visit this poignant position and the battery to learn that it would have been like during this time.

guided
Address: Pointe du Hoc, France

18
Omaha Beach

13:45 to 14:30
45 minutes

On June 6th 1944, an incredible armada of Allied troops including British, American, Canadian and more, landed by air onto Normandy’s beaches to begin the liberation of Europe from years of Nazi occupation on a day that we now know as D-Day.

By exploring this coast, you can learn all about the operations that lead to overcoming the Nazis. The 60-mile stretch of coastline which is now commonly known as the D-Day Beaches was split into five sectors – Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah.

Omaha is known as the beach where the American troops suffered the worst fate on this day. The incoming bombs had done little in wiping out the German positions along this stretch and upon arrival, the American soldiers were destroyed by German fire which came across this long stretch of beach known as Omaha Beach.

Despite the losses, a number of American soldiers made it up the slopes of the beach and took the German strongholds from behind. Today, you can explore this stretch of beach and imagine what it may have been like during this historical event in 1944.

guided
Address: Omaha Beach, France

39 1
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

14:45 to 15:30
45 minutes

Situated on the stretch of coast between Arromanches and Grandcamp Maisy, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a vast 70-hectare site which overlooks the Omaha Beach.

The cemetery honours the lives of the American soldiers who landed on the beaches along this coastline of France on D-Day; without them and the defeat of the Nazis, it would have been a very different world.

The cemetery and memorial is home to over 9,380 graves of those that lost their lives during the D-Day landings and subsequent operations during the Second World War. The very atmosphere of this cemetery is moving.

guided
Address: 14710 Colleville-sur-Mer, France

DAY 8: MONT SAINT-MICHEL DAY TOUR
44 1

After breakfast, you will be picked up for a full-day, small-group tour to Mont Saint-Michel. Here, you’ll discover this granitic island in the middle of a huge bay which used to be used as a prison. After climbing the steps, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view. After visiting this magical place, your guide will take you through the narrow-cobbled streets around the village and explain the history of this unique place.

9
Private Driver

09:00 to 10:00

From: Bayeux
To: Mont Saint-Miche

18
Mont Saint-Michel

10:00 to 15:00
5 hours

A Wonder of the Western World, Mont Saint-Michel is an island that consists of a walled commune of around 50 people. The island juts out from the coastline, topped by a monastery from which it got its name. The buildings are arranged below to represent the ascension to God, marked by the monastery, the island has had this structure since the 8th century.

With its distance from the land, the island was only accessible to mainlanders at low tide, which acted as its main defence, alongside a small garrison for over a hundred years, until Louis XI conquered the island and turned it into a prison.

Now connected by a pathway, the buildings within the walls are regarded as historical monuments, the abbey itself was designed by an Italian architect as chosen by the Duke of Normandy in the 12th century.

Romanesque in design, the abbey was built to have a network of underground crypts and chapels to form a strong upward formation that can be clearly seen today.

guided
Address: 50170 Mont Saint-Michel, France

9
Private Driver

15:00 to 16:00

From: Mont Saint-Michel
To: Bayeux

DAY 9: TRAIN TO THE LOIRE VALLEY
45 2

After breakfast, your chauffeur will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the train station. From here, you’ll take the train to the Loire Valley with 1st class seats. Once you have arrived in Amboise at your charming four-star boutique hotel, you’ll take some time to discover on your own the town of Amboise and its Royal Castle. You can also visit the Clos Luce where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last years of his life.

9
Private Driver

10:00 to 11:00

From: Bed and Breakfast Le Petit Matin
To: Bayeux

After breakfast, your chauffeur will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the train station.

25
Train

11:30 to 12:30

From: Bayeux
To: Loire Valley

Take the train to the Loire Valley with 1st class seats.

9
Private Driver

13:00 to 14:00

From: Loire Valley
To: Au Charme Rabelaisien Amboise

13
Au Charme Rabelaisien Amboise

14:00 check-in
11:00 check-out (Day 12)
1

Warm welcome, refined atmosphere, green garden with swimming pool and privileged location in the historic heart of Amboise, a few steps from the castle: the boutique hotel Au Charme Rabelaisien combines all the ingredients to make your stay unique in the Loire Valley, comfortably installed in this mansion of the 18th century.

A luxury bed and breakfast for 10 years, Au Charme Rabelaisien now offers 10 chic and modern rooms, a relaxation area and a bar, thanks to a new design and contemporary extension, fitting perfectly in the respect of tradition and quality.

Treat yourself to a moment of well-being in the historic centre of Amboise with the relaxation area, designed in the contemporary extension for your enjoyment: the boutique hotel offers a spa and sauna, just 5 minutes from Amboise Castle.

Address: Au Charme Rabelaisien Amboise, Rue Rabelais, Amboise, France

11
Amboise

14:30 to 18:00
3 hours 30 minutes

Situated in France’s Loire Valley, Amboise is a quaint little town spread along the Loire River known for its beautiful Château d’Amboise which dominates the town from above.

From the castle, you’re rewarded with stunning views of the town, river and surrounding countryside. Not only is the castle worth exploring, but you’ll also be in awe of the 15th-century residence of King Charles VIII where Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb is placed, as well as royal chambers, gardens and underground passageways.

With the castle standing tall at the top of the town, the streets spread out below. Its streets are home to centuries of history and the town maintains an air of timelessness with its charming buildings and pretty setting.

On the outskirts of town, you’ll find the former home of Leonardo da Vinci, Château du Clos Lucé, where he lived until his death in 1519. Today, it is a small museum displaying works of the famous artist.

Address: 46 Rue Victor Hugo, 37400 Amboise, France

DAY 10: ORGANIC WINE TASTING, LUNCH IN THE VINEYARDS & BIKE TOUR
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After breakfast, your local wine specialist will pick you up at your hotel for an organic wine tasting and lunch in the vineyards. You’ll learn about the winemaking processes and taste many wines. You will be able to try the best local produce for lunch (rillettes, smoked fishes from the Loire River and local goat cheeses). After a delicious lunch, you’ll head out on a bike ride along the Loire River to discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Loire-Valley.

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Organic Wine Tasting, Lunch in the Vineyards & Bike Ride

09:00 to 14:00
5 hours

Today, your local wine specialist will pick you up at your hotel for an organic wine tasting and lunch in the vineyards.

During this visit, you will learn about the organic culture technics and the winemaking process of Touraine appellations. You will visit troglodytic cellars which are typical of this region and taste many wines.

You will be able to try the best local produce for lunch (rillettes, smoked fishes from the Loire River and local goat cheeses) and if the weather allows, you’ll have a picnic in the vineyards.

After a delicious lunch and wine tasting, you’ll meet your bike guide at your hotel. They will take you on a bike ride through the lush countryside. Your guide is passionate about his region and specialises in sustainable tourism. With your guide, you’ll discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Loire-Valley.

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Address: Château de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux, France

DAY 11: CASTLES & WINE IN THE LOIRE VALLEY
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This morning, you’ll meet your driver-guide in Amboise for a tour to Chenonceau and Chambord. You’ll start the day with Chenonceau Castle, one of the most exquisite chateaus in the Loire Valley. After lunch in Ambiose tasting wine and local produce, you’ll visit Chambord Castle, a unique monument by its architecture and proportions. In the evening, you may want to take a ride on a hot air balloon at sunset to say goodbye to France while admiring the Loire countryside from above.

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Private Tour: Castles and Wine in the Loire Valley

10:00 to 16:00
6 hours

Meet your guide in Amboise for a small group tour toChenonceau and Chambord with lunch and wine tastings.

You’ll start the day at Chenonceau Castle. Looking out over the Cher River, its dramatic positioning, unique architecture and furnished rooms make it one of the most exquisite chateaus in the Loire Valley. Nicknamed the ‘ladies castle’, Chenonceau is associated with important French women.

Afterwards, you’ll head towards Amboise for lunch and wine tastings to sample local produce. Then, you’ll visit Chambord Castle. It is a unique monument known for its distinct architectural style and proportions. With more than 400 rooms and its double spiral staircase, Chambord is a highlight of the Loire Valley.

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Address: Château de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux, France

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Château de Chenonceau

10:30 to 12:30
2 hours

Commonly referred to as the ‘ladies’ castle’, Château de Chenonceau is defined throughout history by the succession of women who built, embellished, protected, restored and saved it.

Of the chateau that was first built in the 12th and 13th centuries, only the dungeon remains. The chateau you see today was built between 1513 and 1517 by Thomas Bohier and more importantly his wide, Catherine Briconnet.

Spanning the River Cher, Château de Chenonceau is nestled in a small village in the Loire Valley of France and is one of the country’s most elegant castles. Its incredible setting alone is enough to move you. As you explore the castle, you’ll learn about the magic of the architecture and the castle’s intriguing history which was shaped by a number of powerful women.

Inside the castle, it is decorated by a rare art collection bearing the names of famous artists such as Tintoretto, Correggio, Rubens, Murillo, Van Dyck and Ribera. Over the years, various women added to the castle’s unique style and its graceful gardens.

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Address: 37150 Chenonceaux, France

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Château de Chambord

13:30 to 15:30
2 hours

One of the most recognisable chateaus in the world due to its stunning French Renaissance architecture blended with its medieval forms and classical structures.

Situated in a commune by the same name, Château de Chambord is nestled within 13,500 acres of land home to beautiful French landscaped gardens and a wondrous forest. It is also surrounded by the longest wall in France, measuring 20 miles in length.

Built by Francis I as a royal hunting lodge, the construction on the castle began in 1519 and was never fully completed yet somehow has become the largest Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley favoured by kings for centuries.

Rarely occupied long-term, Château de Chambord has retained its original appearance, with only parts of the interior being altered during the 18th century.

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Address: Château, 41250 Chambord, France

DAY 12: DEPARTURE DAY
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Today is the final day of your tour through the Paris highlights, Normandy and Loire Valley. After breakfast, your chauffeur will take you directly from your hotel in Amboise to CDG airport for you to catch your departing flight.

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Private Driver

11:00 to 12:00

From: Amboise
To: Paris-Charles De Gaulle

After breakfast, your chauffeur will take you directly from your hotel in Amboise to CDG airport.