From D-Day Beaches to Renaissance Castles: The Normandy and Loire Valley Experience
3 nights in Bayeux, 1 night in Saint Malo, 2 nights in Tours, 2 nights in Chambord
Set out on an extraordinary journey through the historic heartlands of France with our Normandy and Loire Valley tour. This exquisite 9-day vacation begins in the storied landscapes of Normandy, where the echoes of D-Day resonate along the sweeping coastlines. From the solemn stretches of Omaha Beach to the quaint maritime charm of Cherbourg and Deauville, you’ll explore the profound depth of French history and culture.
As we traverse the Normandy region, each day unfolds with discoveries — from the breathtaking Mont Saint-Michel, a timeless symbol of French perseverance, to the oyster-rich shores of Cancale and the fortified elegance of Saint-Malo. These iconic destinations weave a resilient, beautiful, and culinary excellence narrative.
The journey then guides you to the heart of the Loire Valley, a region celebrated for its magnificent châteaux and verdant landscapes. Here, the Renaissance comes alive at the Châteaux of Azay Le Rideau and Villandry, where the elegance of French formal gardens and architectural marvels await. The tour continues with visits to the illustrious Chenonceau and Amboise Castles, each telling a unique story of French heritage.
Concluding in Paris, this tour promises an impressive blend of historical exploration, scenic beauty, and the rich flavors of French cuisine. It’s an invitation to indulge in the timeless allure of France, making memories that will linger long after the journey ends.
Day 1 Arrival in Paris
Our driver will await you at the arrival hall holding a sign with your name. You will be transferred by private car to your accommodation in Normandy. Overnight in Bayeux.
Day 2 Omaha beach and D- Day Anniversary
After a short drive west of Bayeux aboard one of our comfortable cars, you will reach the stretch of coast chosen for the US landings of June 6th, 1944. You will visit Omaha Beach, the place where 3,000 American soldiers lost their lives during the operation, and the moving memorial museum that displays a collection of uniforms, weapons and personal objects found on the site. Next stops will be Utah Beach, which played a strategic role in the landings and now hosts a war museum with documents and historic artifacts that recount the events of the D-Day, and Sainte-Mère-Eglise, one of the first towns to be liberated by the American troops. You will also see the promontory of Pointe du Hoc, where the American rangers defeated the German batteries in preparation for the landings in Omaha and Utah beaches.
NB: Due to the Anniversary date the itinerary can slightly change. Overnight in Bayeux.
Day 3 Deauville & Cherbourg
Today meet your driver at the hotel. During the excursion you will visit two iconic towns of Normandie that perfectly represent the region’s character: charming cities and maritime culture.
One of France’s great Channel ports, Cherbourg, is strictly connected to French naval history and transoceanic adventures. It also has glamorous connections with cruise ships and important yacht races. The Titanic even made its final stop here on its fateful voyage, as remembered at the Cité de la Mer, at the pier.
Later, you will visit Deauville, a stylish seaside resort hosting glamorous events such as horse races and polo matches. Deauville was conceived with tourists in mind. It emerged from the dunes in the 1860s, thanks to the vision of Dr Olliffe and his friend, Emperor Napoleon III’s half-brother, the Duke de Morny. The resort came into full bloom within just four years. Later, the city hosted the first Coco Chanel’s shop outside Paris.
After World War II, the seaside resort’s international reputation grew. A cluster of marinas beside the Touques estuary added to its permanent attractions. The Deauville American Film Festival, inaugurated in 1975, began drawing stars and fans of the silver screen every September. Overnight in Bayeux.
Day 4 Mont Saint Michel, Cancale and Saint Malò
Check out from the hotel and make your way to the car rental depot in Bayeux. Pick up your car and start your journey to Saint Malò.
On the we suggest a stop at Mt. Saint Michel, one of the symbols of France.
The world-famous island abbey stands just across Normandy’s border, but much of the remarkable World Heritage Site Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel is part of Brittany.
The bay is subjected to some of the most extreme tidal variations globally, putting on an ever-changing yet always sublime show.
The mount became an important Christian pilgrimage site when Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches, declared that the Archangel Michael himself had pressed him to build a church atop the island just out to sea.
Later you will reach Cancale.
Mention Cancale to a Frenchman or a foodie, and the instant reply will be ‘oysters’; the marvellous molluscs have been cultivated in this charming fishing village for centuries. You will also enjoy breathtaking views over the Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel and scenic walks around the coast.
Finally, you will reach the gem of this coast, St Malo, established by the Welsh monk St Maclou, who erected a church on the ruins of the Roman city of Alet. You will have time to explore the beautiful 14th-century Tour Solidor, which houses the Museum of Cape Horners, sailors who were able to pass the dangerous Cape Horn.
Opposite the old town are two tiny islands that can be reached at low tide. On one is the Vauban-built Fort National and on the other is the tomb of the writer and politician Chateaubriand, born in St Malo in 1768. Overnight in St Malo.
Day 5 Loire Valley
Check out from your hotel and drive south to Loire Valley.
On the way you can stop in Rennes , the capital of Brittany. It is known for its medieval half-timbered houses and majestic cathedral. Parc du Thabor includes a rose garden and aviary, while south of the Vilaine River stands the Musée des Beaux-arts with works by Botticelli, Rubens and Picasso. The Champs Libres cultural center houses the Musée de Bretagne and the Espace des Sciences, with an annexed the planetarium. Overnight in Tours
Day 6 Azay le Rideau and Villandry Castle
Today discover two beautiful castles of the Loire Valley: Chateaux of Azay Le Rideau and Villandry.
Honoré de Balzac once said of the Château of Azay-le-Rideau that it was “a facet cut diamond set in the Indre”, and for good reason! The stunning splendour of this residence never fails to astonish and its elegant shape and graceful Renaissance architecture are beautifully reflected in its water mirror. This gem of a château nestles in the romantic setting of a landscaped park, lulled by the tinkling water of the Indre and the gentle breeze blowing through the leaves of its large trees. Carefully renovated and looked after, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau proffers poetic moments you’ll never forget.
The next stop is Villandry. Villandry is renowned for its magnificent French formal gardens which provide an enchanting setting for the last Loire château built during the Renaissance. The history of the domain is intricately linked to that of the Carvallo family, who restored it to its former glory. The gardens create a feeling of blissful contentment, while the residence enthrals visitors with its elegance.
The spirit of Villandry inspires respect through its work to protect the environment and local heritage.
The gardens of Villandry are well known for their beauty, but even those who are aware of this fact are often blown away by the magnificent garden scenery. The Villandry estate, which has been restored thanks to the work of the Carvallo family, is a veritable opus and remains one of the finest testimonies to the Renaissance arts. Overnight in Tours.
Day 7 Chenonceau and Amboise Castle
Your next destination is the Domain de Chambord. On the way stop to discover Amboise and Chenonceau Castle, among the most beautiful castles of Loire Valley.
Stop in Amboise to visit the Royal Castle of Amboise, residence of Charles the 8th and young François d’Angoulème, (the future Francois the 1st). Here you will discover perfect examples of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance styling, as well as the Saint Hubert Chapel which shelters the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci.
In the city of Amboise there are many good restaurants to choose from and you will have the opportunity to lose yourself wandering around.
Later, continue to the Château de Chenonceau, also known as The “Chateau des Dames”, bridge built across the Cher is famous for the prominent women who lived in it (Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medicis…) and for the beauty of its Renaissance Gardens. Overnight in Chambord.
Day 8 Domaine de Chambord
Immerse yourself in the splendor of Château de Chambord, where a day unfolds with enchanting possibilities. Picture yourself cycling along the lush pathways of the estate, discovering hidden corners and breathtaking views on a guided bike tour. Embrace the flavors of France with a hands-on cooking class, where you’ll learn to craft exquisite local dishes under the guidance of a skilled chef. As the day wanes, ascend to the skies in a hot air balloon, witnessing the majestic Château and its verdant grounds from a breathtaking aerial perspective. Each experience at Château de Chambord promises a unique blend of adventure, culture, and unforgettable memories. Overnight in Chambord
Day 9 Paris
Check out from your hotel and make your way to Paris.