From rolling, green hills to the beautiful sea, discover the essence of Normandy on this engaging, seven night journey. Explore Mont-Saint-Michel, where a medieval monastery seemingly rises out of the sea, and study the Bayeux Tapestry, the embroidered story of William the Conqueror’s Battle of Hastings victory. Sip Calvados, the region’s renowned cider brandy, in an apple orchard. Spend two full days visiting the D-Day beaches, Normandy American Cemetery and other related sites. Delight in the proud traditions and alluring scenery of Normandy, Caen, Bayeux, Giverny & Honfleur!
Set in the heart of historic Honfleur, the Mercure Honfleur Hotel is close to the picturesque harbor that has been immortalized in paintings by artists like Monet and Boudin. From this convenient location, explore the fascinating history and culture of Normandy. Walkable dining venues are moments away. After a lively day of sightseeing, relax in the Bar Lounge with a glass of the local cider, a calvados-based cocktail or a fine regional vintage. Wi-Fi is complimentary.
A Note About Activity Levels
We want you to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. That’s why we have rated all of our excursions with activity levels to help you assess this program’s physical expectations. Activity Level ratings indicate each excursion’s physical expectations. To make the best personal choice, please evaluate each excursion’s rating and your ability to meet the tour’s physical demands. Please note excursions on this program require you to: walk on cobblestones, unpaved paths or uneven surfaces; and get on/off motor coaches, boats and trains.
1–Mild: walk under 1 mile on mainly flat terrain; navigate under 50 stairs; stand under 1 hour
2–Moderate: walk 1-3 miles on flat/uneven terrain; navigate 50-100 stairs; stand 1-2 hours
3–Active: walk 2+ miles on flat/uneven terrain, including up and down inclines; navigate 100+ stairs; stand 3+ hours
Depending on the excursion, more leisurely alternatives may be available.
CANCELLATION-You will receive a full refund for cancellations made up to 90 days prior to trip departure. Cancellations from 89 to 76 days prior to departure will be subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. The withheld administrative fee may be applied to a future AHI Travel program that will operate in the current calendar year or year following cancellation. The credit will be applied to the final billing and may not be used as part of the initial deposit. It is non-transferable and is not valid toward the purchase of an AHI Cruises independent cruise. Cancellations from 75 days to 60 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of 25% of the entire cost of the trip per person; 59-30 days, 50% of the trip cost per person; cancellations from 29 days up to the time of departure will result in 100% forfeiture of the entire cost of the trip.
Depart for Paris, France.
Paris, France | Honfleur
Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.
Transfer to Mercure Honfleur Hotel. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.
Tonight, at the hotel, get acquainted with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception, and then share a Welcome Dinner together at one of Honfleur’s outstanding restaurants.
Get to know your home base, the quintessential French port town that has captivated artists for centuries, including Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet and native son Eugène Boudin. Soak up the maritime ambience of its picture-perfect, 17th-century Vieux Bassin, or old harbor, located where the Seine River meets the English Channel. From the 16th to 18th centuries, Honfleur became an important trading seaport and a launching point for exploration. In 1608, French explorer Samuel de Champlain departed from Honfleur on an expedition to the New World and founded the colony that became Quebec City. Stroll through the colorful harbor and along the narrow side streets to see Honfleur’s landmarks. The wooden Church of Sainte-Cathérine, crafted by 15th-century shipbuilders, is a special stand-out with ceilings over its two naves that resemble upturned hulls.
Relax over a group lunch.
Free Time: Explore on your own this afternoon in Honfleur. Indulging in Normandy’s delectable culinary treats should be high on your to-do list! The region has an enduring tradition of producing specialty cheeses that are among France’s best with the rich milk of the Normande cows. Sample its four world-class cheeses, Camembert de Normandie, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont-l’Evêque, which are all AOC-certified for origin and production methods. Pair them with some fresh crusty bread and a glass of the crisp, local apple cider!
Arromanches | Omaha Beach | Normandy American Cemetery | Pointe du Hoc
Enrichment: D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. During an insightful talk, discover the pivotal role that Normandy and its citizens played during this crucial period of the Allied war effort.
Discovery: D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
Activity level: Active
Journey to the coast to begin your D-Day explorations. See Arromanches, site of one of the offshore mulberry harbors, and visit the museum. A feat of engineering, these artificial, floating harbors were a clever solution to the problem of how to funnel enormous resources into France to wage war against Hitler. Components, including hollow concrete blocks and floating steel roadways, were constructed in England and towed across the English Channel. Within days of Arromanches’ liberation, construction teams created a breakwater with the concrete blocks and sunken ship hulls and began assembling the pier roadways. When completed, these harbors could move 7,000 tons of vehicles and supplies per day from transport ships onto the shore.
Break for lunch at a restaurant in Arromanches.
Then, as you walk along Omaha Beach and see the memorials, contemplate the extraordinary bravery of the Allied landing forces, who advanced under devastating fire across the heavily fortified shoreline to overcome German troops.
In Colleville-sur-Mer, pay a poignant visit to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, set on a beautiful bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, which contains 9,385 graves of Americans who died in the invasion and subsequent battles, as well as a serene memorial garden honoring those missing in action.
Finally, visit Pointe du Hoc, where U.S. Rangers courageously scaled 100-foot cliffs to destroy German artillery emplacements that posed a threat to troops landing on Omaha and Utah beaches. With your guide, learn more about this treacherous mission and go inside the German defensive emplacement.
Giverny | Rouen
Discovery: Giverny and Rouen.
Activity level: Moderate
Delve into Monet’s life and work at his home in Giverny. Raised in Normandy, Monet lived in this charming, pink-washed house with green shutters from 1883 to 1926. Admire the tranquil beauty of the garden that inspired many of his paintings and visit the studio where he painted his “Water Lilies” series. Continue to the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, dedicated to the history of impressionism and its influence on a colony of American artists in the town. Enjoy lunch on your own in Giverny. Depart Giverny for Rouen, renowned for its medieval architecture. See the magnificent Rouen Cathedral famously captured by Monet in a series of paintings and the beautifully ornate astronomical clock known as Le Gros Horloge. Hear the haunting story of Joan of Arc, who was martyred in the town square.
This evening, in a “Dine Around” experience, gather into small groups and explore some of Honfleur’s quaint restaurants.
Activity level: Active
For centuries, pilgrims have made their way to the spectacular abbey perched atop Le Mont Saint-Michel, a tiny, granite tidal island off the Normandy coast. Today, make your own pilgrimage to this UNESCO World Heritage site that towers over the surrounding flat white sands like an astounding mirage. On a guided tour, explore this singular island that has served as a fortress, monastery and prison, and step inside the tranquil abbey church, a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles. If you’d like, walk along the ramparts to watch the tides and admire the panoramic vistas.
Enrichment: The French Resistance. This morning, delve into the origins of the Resistance, its leaders and the heroic efforts of the French patriots who fought to liberate their country.
Free Time: Spend the day exploring on your own. Visit the local museums, take a leisurely walk along the sea walls or relax at a waterfront café with a tasty bowl of moules marinières. Your Travel Director will be on hand to offer suggestions and assist you with arrangements.
Caen | Bayeux
Discovery: Le Mémorial de Caen.
Activity level: Moderate
Visit the award-winning Caen Memorial Museum and learn about World War II, the D-Day landings, the Battle of Normandy and the Cold War through an array of informative exhibits, photos and video footage.
Activity level: Mild
Savor lunch at a traditional Norman Calvados distillery, Les Vergers du Ducy, nestled in 42 acres of apple orchards. Calvados, the region’s renowned apple cider brandy, is among the world’s finest brandies. After a delicious meal of local specialties, head to the cellar for a tasting of smooth Calvados. (Mild)
Activity level: Moderate
Travel to Bayeux and view the 200-foot-long embroidered Bayeux Tapestry, which vividly depicts more than 50 scenes surrounding William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The elaborate piece was commissioned in 1077 for Bayeux’s Nôtre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Norman Gothic architecture, which you will visit today.
Tonight, share stories of your time in Normandy at a Farewell Reception at the hotel, then gather for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, transfer to the Paris airport for the return flight to your gateway city
Everything you need to know about the tour
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