10 Days Paris, Champagne and Normandy
Day 1 — USA / Paris. Tour members gather at the ticket counter at the airport three hours prior to our departure to Paris. Dinner and breakfast are served in-flight.
DAY 2 – PARIS. Arrival at Charles De Gaulle airport. You will meet your tour escort and transfer to your hotel. Overnight.
DAY 3 – PARIS. Today we begin our tour of the historical city of Paris: Place de la Bastille, dominated by the Colonne de Juillet. It marks the site of the prison known as the Bastille which was stormed by the Mob in 1789 at the start of the French Revolution. Continue to the Palais de Justice, the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame, the Quartier Latin, the Panthéon, situated on the Montagne St-Genèvieve, it has a commanding view of the city. Today that monument is considered the temple to the great men of France. Our tour ends with a visit to the Palais and the Jardin du Luxembourg. In the afternoon time to have shopping at the Lafayette Galleries. Overnight at your hotel.
DAY 4 – PARIS. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the modern Paris: Tour Eiffel, built for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889 commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution. View the Champs-Elysées, the Arc du Triomphe, built between 1806 and 1808 by Napoleon I following the model of the Arc of Constantine in Rome. Drive through the Rue de Rivoli, the Madeleine, the Trocadero, Les Invalides, where you will have the opportunity to see Napoleon’s tomb. After lunch on your own, you will spend some time touring the Louvre. The Louvre Museum or simply The Louvre, is one of the world’s largest museums, and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet). With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum.
DAY 5 – PARIS/REIMS. This morning after breakfast, depart to Reims. Guided tour of the Reims Notre Dame Cathedral, whose the construction of today dates back to 1211, masterpiece of gothic architecture and famous for its sculpted doorway (the angel with the smile). The cathedral had been the theatre of the French Kings’ coronations since Clovis’ baptism in 500. Lunch is at your convenience in Reims. France Champagne Tours opens the doors to the Grande Maison de Champagne: Guided tour and tasting at world famous Mumm. This Maison de Champagne was founded in 1827, however the Mumm dynasty dates back to the 12th century. They were German and in the 18th century they were already wine producers and merchants. Recognizing the quality and the potential of the sparkling wines produced in the nearby Champagne region, in 1927 they decided to establish a branch of their wine company there. “Only the Best” being their motto, they soon seduced illustrious European royal families. The creation of the “Cordon Rouge” definitely established their fame: they became the official supplier of the British Royalty – which they still are – and they attracted artists such as Utrillo and Foujita. Overnight at your hotel.
DAY 6 – REIMS/HAUTVILLERS/BILLECART SALMON/REIMS. Today after breakfast, tour of the exquisite village of Hautvillers, overlooking Epernay and all the vineyards. You will see the grave of the Monk Dom Perignon in the village church. We’ll walk to the edge of the hill and enjoy the view on the whole Marne Valley and all the vineyards owned by the most famous Champagne producers around Epernay. Champagne tasting lunch. (drinks included) Drive to Epernay, the Capital of Champagne. Tour and Champagne tasting. Tour of the world famous Moet and Chandon, producer of the Dom Perignon. Grand Vintage tour: after a guided tour of the caves, you will taste a set of vintage champagnes in a private salon. Drive to Billecart Salmon winery along the picturesque vineyard roads. Tour and Champagne tasting. Billecart-Salmon is a medium-sized champagne house in Mareuil-sur-Ay. Founded in 1818 with the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, it is one of the few to remain family owned. At the end of the afternoon, return to your hotel. Dinner at your leisure.
DAY 7 – REIMS/ROUEN/NORMANDY/CAEN. Check out after breakfast. Transfer to Rouen. Lunch at your leisure on the way. Guided tour ofRouen.A walk through the streets of Rouen is a walk through the history of centuries of architectural development – Notre Dame Cathedral, St Maclou, the Abbey church of St Ouen, the Gros Horloge, the Palais de Justice or Law Courts, the Tourist Office building and the Aître Saint-Maclou. If this were not enough the 20th century added the fabulous Church of St Joan of Arc while the 21st century has seen the latest addition to the city’s landmarks in the Pont Flaubert. The region is full of historical buildings that now regroup heritage with the best in today’s recreational activities such as Saint-Martin de Boscherville and Jumiège Abbey or the magnificent Elbeuf Community Circus and Performing Arts Centre. Calvados and Cidre tasting at a local domain. Transfer to Caen to your hotel and overnight.
DAY 8 – CAEN/OMAHA BEACH/CAEN. Today free tour of Caen Memorial. This museum recalls the general history from the World War I to the end of World War II. Drive to Omaha Beach and American cemetery. The Normandy American Cemetery, which was inaugurated in 1956, lies at the heart of a vast seventy-hectare site granted to the United States by the French Government. Overlooking Omaha Beach, it contains 9,386 white marble crosses or stars of David arranged in impeccable rows. A father and son lie side by side, as do some thirty-three pairs of brothers. 307 headstones simply bear the words “Known but to God”. The graves belong not only to the soldiers who fell on Omaha Beach on June 6th 1944, but also to service personnel who were killed elsewhere in Normandy and were initially buried in temporary cemeteries such as the one at Sainte-Mère-Eglise. Several years after the war, their bodies were exhumed and transferred to the symbolic site of Omaha. At the end of the afternoon, return to your hotel. Overnight.
DAY 9 – CAEN/MONT SAINT MICHEL. This morning, drive to Mont Saint Michel. Guided tour of Mont Saint-Michel. It may be Brittany’s best-known attraction. Surrounded by the most powerful tides in Europe, perched high on a rocky island, this medieval city and its abbey are a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site. Many of its monastic buildings date from the 13th century and are considered outstanding examples of Gothic architecture. Balance of the day at your leisure. Overnight at your hotel.
DAY 10 – MONT SAINT MICHEL/GIVERNY/PARIS. Today, drive to Giverny. You will visit the house and garden of Claude Monet. The Monet family has settled in Giverny in 1883. Then Claude Monet made a one hectare garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colours. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely. The two parts of Monet’s garden (the water lily pond/ the Clos Normand) contrast and complement one another. In the afternoon, drive to Paris. Free time to explore the main sites of the city on your own. Overnight at your hotel.
DAY 10 –PARIS/DEPARTURE. After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport of Paris for your flight departure.