Normandy and Brittany LUXURY Trip
Tour WWII sites, Calvados and rough SEAS
On our Normandy and Brittany luxury trip you will tour two distinct regions of France that boast larger-than-life personalities, legacies of conquests and conquerors and stunning land and seascapes. In Brittany, discover prehistoric megalithic sites and Celtic origins, as well as a culture influenced by the sea. In Normandy, explore Mont Saint Michel, Norman and Gothic architecture, and landscapes captured by the Impressionists, as well as Normandy's connections to the liberation of Europe in World War II.
AUGUST 31 - SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 / 11 NIGHTS / COST: $5,493
Only 7 seats are available for this extraordinary “LUXURY TRIP”
B=breakfast / L= lunch / D=dinner
Day 1 | PARIS TO GIVERNY AND HONFLEUR
Friday, August 31, 2018
Landing early morning in Paris, we will hit the road immediately. If you didn’t sleep on the plane, time to catch some rest on the way to Normandie. Our first stop will be Giverny to visit Monet’s house and gardens.
Next, you will have lunch then walk the cobbled streets of the charming port of Honfleur. A stroll in the meandering lanes will allow you to admire medieval and traditional Normand houses, the 15th-century Sainte-Catherine church, with a bell tower separated from the principal building is the largest church made of wood in France, Saint Etienne church built in the 14th-century, the two remaining “Grenier a Sel” (salt barns) which were used to store 10 metric tons each of the precious preservative for the fishing industry. This picturesque old port, characterized by its slate-covered frontage houses, is where artists including Courbet, Boudin, Claude Monet, and Jongkind, were inspired to paint. These artists founded École de Honfleur which contributed to the birth of the Impressionist movement. Samuel de Champlain left Honfleur to found Quebec city.
You will have dinner and spend the night in Honfleur.
day 2 | HONFLEUR TO BAYEUX
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Driving west toward Bayeux, we will stop to taste the local beverages, cider and the famous Calvados, and the cheeses of Normandy, Camembert, Pont L'evêque, and Livarot. The picturesque villages of Beuvron, Cambremer, Deauville, and Trouville we will see along the way are typical of Normandy. Before checking in at our Bayeux hotel for three nights, we will visit the city museum to see the Queen Mathilde Tapestry, the first historical “comic strip” (dated 1077). The tapestry is more than 200 feet long and describes the invasion of England by the Normand of Guillaume le Conquerant in great detail. Hint: an easy way to figure out who is who is to look at the men; the Englishmen wear a mustache while the Normand have their face and neck shaved.
B - L - D
Day 3 | D-DAY TOUR
Sunday, September 2, 2018
We will spend the full day exploring some of the most important sites of this pivotal point in the war. A historian will guide us from the cliff of Pointe du Hoc to Arromanches, via Omaha beach and the American cemetery, to help us better understand this special day.
Lunch on the road. Dinner on your own and second night in Bayeux.
B - L
Day 4 | CHEESE AND CALVADOS TASTING IN NORMANDY
Monday, September 3, 2018
A full day for tasting cheeses and Calvados. The three kings of Normandy are Camembert, Pont l'Eveque, and Livarot, famous cheeses. A visit to a cheese farm is on the program. We will also stop by a distillery for a tasting of the local beverages, hard cider, and the famous Calvados. We will be able to buy some bottles directly at the farm.
Visits to the villages of Beuvron and Cambremer followed by the seaside towns of Deauville and Trouville will keep us busy the rest of the day. These picturesque villages are typical of Normandy.
Dinner and third night in Bayeux
B - L - D
day 5 | MONT SAINT MICHEL, CANCALE, DINARD AND SAINT-MALO
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
In the Morning we will drive to Mont Saint Michel, an 11th-century abbey rising in the middle of the bay. A historian guide will help us discover some of the Island's secrets and its fascinating history. After our guided visit we will have lunch on the island.
We will spend the afternoon visiting 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. Later it became 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, the discoverer of Canada, lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo
Convivial dinner in Saint-Malo.
B - L - D
day 6 | NORTHERN BRITTANY COAST
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Let's start the day with a morning visit to The Fort de la Latte. We will stop by typical small harbors along the coast. Lunch on the road.
Bretagne has a very strong identity, it is a region of traditions, with a specific culture and dark legends. It’s ancient Gaelic tongue still is spoken and taught in school.
Driving along the jagged Northern Brittany coast we will see Tregastel, Ploumanech, Perros-Guirec on the way to our lovely four-star 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 pleasant and welcome relaxation after our group tour (for ladies only).
Dinner in the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant. The 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.
B - L - D
day 7 | BAY OF MORLAIX, HARBOR OF CARANTEC AND FORT DU TAUREAU
Thursday, September 6, 2018
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.
An afternoon ride will take us 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.
A little bit of history about this fort: 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 warships 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.
A fort built at the river’s mouth to prevent another invasion 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), a religious ensemble of structures, only found in this region. 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.
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 coincides with the steady development of international maritime trade. Commercial ships from Bretagne were found in harbors all around the world; so much that during the 16th-century and at the beginning of the 17-century, Breton was the international commercial language almost like English today.
Each village was competing with its neighbors to have the most magnificent enclose. Guimiliau and Lampaul are only two kilometers apart. This ostentatious rivalry to own the most ornate enclose is also explained by the “counter-reform”. When Protestantism required religious buildings to be sober and without ornament, the most baroque décor was encouraged by the Catholic Church. The enclose also reveal the very particular cult of 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 | LOCRONAN
Friday, September 7, 2018
Let's take a short detour inland today via les “Monts d’Arré”, remnants of the world oldest mountains. After 600 million years not much is left of the original 40,000 ft. high mass but a very distinctive landscape.
Not as old is the village of Locronan. Austere and charming at the same time, the town is representative of the 17th and 18th-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 six years, mixing pagan traditions and Christianity, the Grande Troménie follows the course of a sacred Celtic 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 was 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 magnificent Gothic church that dominates the village. It contains a polished medieval image of Ronan.
With the invention of steam power, local trade dried up, and 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 of the Bay of Douarnenez.
Lunch on the road. Shall we dine on crepes and cider or oysters and white wine?
If time permits, 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!
We will stay at the four-star Manoir de Locquenolé above the Blavet river, and dine at its Michelin table. With only eighteen rooms between forest and ocean, the historical manor is full of charm.
B - L - D
Day 9 | VANNES, CARNAC STONES AND THE SALT MASHES OF GUERANDE
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Today we will spend a full day visiting the town of Vannes and the mysterious “alignments of Carnac”, as well as the salt marshes of the peninsula and the town of Guérande.
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, hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, is the largest such collection in the world. Though difficult to date it is thought that the stones were erected between 4500 to 3300BC during the Neolithic period.
These tall, upright-standing stones are the stuff of local legend. One myth associates them with Saint Cornelius. In this particular folktale, Cornelius, pursued by pagan soldiers, invoked the power of Christ and transformed the soldiers into stone, where they remain today. A similar English variation holds that it was the famous magician Merlin who cast this stony spell upon the advancing legion.
We will have lunch on our way to the charming resort town of La Baule. We will dine and stay the night at the five-star Hotel Royal which faces the Ocean.
Farewell dinner around another exceptional table at our hotel or in town.
B - L - D
Day 10 | DEPARTURE BY TRAIN FROM LA BAULE TO CDG OR PARIS
Sunday, September 9, 2018
You will spend a leisurely morning in La Baule. You may stroll along the beach, perhaps do some “pêche 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.
Our last lunch together will be in the small harbor of Le Pouliguen before you board the train in La Baule. The train arrives at CDG airport at 9:11 pm. You will spend the night at CDG and depart the next morning. Alternatively, you may take the train to Paris which arrives there at 7:20 pm.
B - L
NORMANDY AND BRITTANY LUXURY TRIP
RATES + Dates + REGISTRATION
AUGUST 31 - SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 | CODE: NB0918 | 11 NIGHTS | COST: $5,493 Per Person
THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONAL LUXURY TOUR / 11 NIGHTS (DOUBLE OCCUPANCY) / LUNCHES AND DINNERS AS DESCRIBED ABOVE / 1st CLASS TRAIN / ONE MASSAGE / TRANSFERS / ALL TAXES AND SERVICE CHARGES