Normandy and Brittany on the lap of luxury.


WWII sites, gardens, Calvados, food and rough coast.

Only 7 seats are available for this very special “LUXURY TRIP” conceived for your relaxation, leaving time to enjoy sites and hotels.

Outstanding hotels and exceptional meals.

Day 1 / xxxxxxxxxxx

Landing early morning in Paris, we will hit the road immediately. If you didn’t sleep in the plane, time to catch some zzz on the way to Normandie. Our first stop will be Giverny for Monet’s house and gardens.

Lunch and a walk in the cobble street of Honfleur a charming port from which  Many sites are making Honfleur’s fame: medieval Normand houses, Saint Catherine built in the 15 century is the oldest wooden church in France.

 

Day 2 / xxxxxxxxxxx

Morning and lunch at the harbor of Honfleur.

This old, beautiful picturesque port is characterized by its slate-covered frontages houses, painted many times by artists, including Courbet, Boudin, Claude Monet and Jongkind, forming the école de Honfleur which contributed to the birth of the Impressionist movement; Samuel Champlain left from Honfleur to found Quebec city. A short walk on the meandering cobble streets will allow to admire medieval and traditional Normand houses, the 15 century Sainte-Catherine church, with a bell tower separated from the principal building, is the largest church made out of wood in France, Saint Etienne (14 century), the two “grenier a sel” remaining (salt barns) sheltering 10 metric tons each of the precious preservative for the fishing industry.

Day 3 / xxxxxxxxxxx

Before checking in at our Bayeux hotel for two nights, we will visit to the city museum for the Queen Mathilde Tapestry, the first historical “comic” (dated 1077) more than 200 feet long describing in details the invasion of England by the Normand of Guillaume le Conquerant.

An easy way to figure out who is who, look at the men; the Englishmen wear a mustache while Normand have their face and neck shaved.

Day 4 / xxxxxxxxxxx

A full day for the D-day. From the cliff of Pointe du Hoc to Arromanches, via Omaha beach and the American cemetery, a guide historian will help us to better understand this very special day.

Lunch on the road. Dinner on your own and second night in Bayeux.

Day 5 / xxxxxxxxxxx

Going west, We will stop on our way for a tasting of the local beverages, cider and the famous Calvados.

Beuvron, Cambremer Calvados, Deauville / Trouville

Dinner in Bayeux.

Morning drive to the Mont Saint Michel, an 11th century abbey rising in the middle of the bay.

Lunch on the island after a guided visit.

Afternoon in Cancale, Dinard and the walled city of Saint Malo where we will spend the night.

During the Middle Ages Saint Malo was a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance River and became later the home of the corsairs (privateers) and pirates. The corsairs of Saint-Malo forcing English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute and overseas commerce brought great wealth to the town. Jacques Cartier, discoverer of Canada lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo

Farewell convivial dinner in Saint Malo.

Day 6 / xxxxxxxxxxx

the Fort de la Latte and small harbors. Lunch on the road.

Bretagne has a very strong identity, it is a region of traditions, with a specific culture, an ancient Gaelic tongue still spoken, taught in school and  dark legends.

drive along the jagged Northern Brittany coast. Tregastel, Ploumanech, Perros-Guirec on the way to our lovely hotel Lan Kerellec****.

The Daubé family owns and runs this hotel; built at the start of the last century on the slopes of the Pink Granite Coast, the manor was the vision of artist painter Pierre Gervais.

Before the aperitif, a one hour hot stones massage will provide a wonderful and welcome relaxation after our group tour (for ladies only).

Dinner in the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant.

 

Day 7 / xxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday Oct 19thThe dining room overlooks a Breton landscape of wild islands and colors of rare intensity. A young chef, definitely Breton judging by his name, Mathieu Kergourlay, invites all senses to voyage and discovery.

You cannot go to Brittany without spending some time at sea! For the early riser (and if weather permits), an early morning fishing expedition is on the program.

Afternoon ride to the bay of Morlaix, a superb drive following the river eponymous all the way to the harbor of Carantec facing the Fort du Taureau.

In 1520, after the failure of the “Camp du Drap d’Or” meeting, England made an alliance with Charles Quint of Spain against France. Two years later, an English attacked Cherbourg and sailed towards Morlaix. The date chosen for the aggression was the annual fair of Guingamp where all the population, soldiers and nobles will be, leaving Morlaix defenseless. A fleet of 60 ships approached the coast after disembarking hundreds of soldiers disguised in merchants who entered Morlaix at night; not encountering any resistance, they sacked, burned, plundered, ate and drank everything they could find. In the meantime the war ships were blocked by cut trees thrown in the river’s bed.

The next morning, alerted by fleeing inhabitants, the army or Guy XVI de Laval arrived to massacre the entire troop of English soldiers, still drunk and sleeping.

Building a fort at the river’s mouth was decided to prevent another invasion; it was completed in 1544.

Before heading back to Lan Kerellec for dinner and a second night, we will stop by Ste. Thegonnec, the most representative of the “enclos paroissiens” (parish close), religious ensemble of structures, only found in this region.

An enclos must have at least five of the following eight elements: a church, an ossuary, a reliquary chapel, a surrounding wall, a « triumphal » gate, a cemetery and a fountain. Rare are the edifices who can claim the name of enclos paroissien. Considered as “people’s art”, always set away from urban centers, they are deeply rooted in local culture but largely open to outside influences as were Bretons of the time. The construction period of the enclos coincide with the strong development of international maritime trade. Commercial ships from Bretagne were found in harbors all around the world; so much that during the XVI century and at the beginning of the XVII, the Breton was the international commercial language almost like English today.

Sailing was using a lot of linen and hemp (sails, clothes, and ropes); all regions who were growing, weaving and trading entered an extraordinary period of wealth allowing the construction of these parish close.

Each village was competing with its neighbors to have the most magnificent enclos; Guimiliau and Lampaul are ony two kilometers apart…This ostentatious rivalry to own the most ornate enclose is also explain by the “counter-reform”. When Protestantism was requiring religious building to be sober and without ornament, the most baroque décor were encouraged by the Catholic Church. The enclose reveal also the very particular cult for the local saints and the cult of the dead in the rural Breton populations, fed with the marvels and magic of pagan Celtic legends and naïve piety.

Day 8 / xxxxxxxxxxx

A day inland today via les “Monts d’Arré”, remnants of the world oldest mountains. After 600 million years not too much is left of the original 40,000 ft high mass but only a very distinctive landscape.

Not as old is the village of Locronan; austere and charming at the same time, the village is representative of the 17 and 18 century wealth of the region.

The Locronan “pardons”, or pilgrimages, count among the most important in Brittany, they even have their own name: Troménie. Every 6 years, mixing pagan traditions and Christianity, the Grande Troménie follows the course of a Celtic sacred path around Locronan’s hillside, reflecting the Celtic calendar and gods; a large, phallic Neolithic stone can be spotted close to the route.

The village stemmed from the success of local weavers and merchants, who supplied fine sails not just to the French navy, but also to English and Spanish clients. Locronan’s grandest houses, with their remarkable dormer windows, are mainly 18th century. The local celebrity is Ronan; after having successfully spread the Christian word in western Brittany, he retired quietly to Locronan. Falsely accused of devouring a young girl, Ronan found her and revived her. His legendary powers fêted, Ronan came to be associated with fecundity. On the back of his potent story, the very dukes of Brittany donated generously for the building of the sumptuous Gothic church that dominates the village. It contains a polished medieval image of Ronan.

With the steam power, local trade dried up but Locronan stayed pickled in the past. Filmmakers have frequently shown Locronan’s charms on the silver screen. We will walk up the nearby summit for calm but beautiful views to the Bay of Douarnenez.

Lunch on the road.

Crepes and cider or oysters and white wine?

We will push all the way to the most western point of France, the “Pointe du Raz”. High coefficient tides (above 110) are possible around the date of our visit. With a little bit of luck we can have an entertaining time and spectacular views, if it is the case, bring your rain gear!

Night and dinner at the wonderful Manoir de Locquenolé**** above the Blavet river, this is also a Michelin table.

With eighteen rooms only between forest and Ocean, the historical manor is full of charm.

Day 9 / xxxxxxxxxxx

The town of Vannes, the mysterious “alignments of Carnac” (see under), salt marshes of the peninsula and the town of Guérande.  All this will take a full day.

The “Carnac stones” are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the village of Carnac, in Brittany, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuli and menhirs.

More than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, and are the largest such collection in the world. The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 4500 to 3300BC.

Regardless of the age, modern myths were formed which resulted from 1st century AD Roman and later Christian occupations, such as Saint Cornelius a Christian myth associated with the stones held that they were pagan soldiers in pursuit of Pope Cornelius when he turned them to stone. In its own local versions of the Arthurian cycle, the local tradition claims that the reason they stand in such perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin.

Lunch on the road, dinner and night in the charming resort town of La Baule at the Hotel Royal***** facing the Ocean.

Farewell dinner around another exceptional table at our hotel or in town.

Day 10 / xxxxxxxxxxx

Morning at leisure in La Baule for a stroll along the beach, perhaps some “peche a pied” – literally “fishing by foot” – in front of our hotel for crabs and clams at low tide or do some shopping in this lively resort.

Last lunch together in the small harbor of Le Poulinguen before taking an afternoon train from La Baule to arrive at CDG airport at 21:11 for a next morning departure (or to arrive in Paris at 19:20).

 

THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONAL LUXURY TOUR.

nights (double occupancy) /  lunches /  dinners / 1st class train / one massage / transfers / all taxes and service charges. $ per person.

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