Normandy - A Visit With History
Normandy on the north coast of France is steeped in history. In 1077, the Duke of Normandy (later William the Conqueror) successfully invaded Normandy to claim it for the British crown. Most Americans today know Normandy for its “plages de débarquements” or the D-day beaches that launched an epic assault between Allied and German forces during World War II. Today Normandy is also known for gastronomy (crêpes, cheese, seafood, and all things apple), Norman architecture, and spectacular limestone cliffs along the beaches. We’ll explore the best of Normandy in west and the east during our 8 day visit here.
Day 1: Paris (Sunday June 14)
We begin in Paris in the late afternoon to give those departing the U.S. on Saturday (arriving Sunday) opportunity to adjust before we set off for Normandy the following day. We'll enjoy a casual dinner at a crêperie in the Latin Quarter, followed by an optional nighttime visit to the Eiffel Tower. Lodging: Excelsior Hotel Latin Quarter.
Days 2 - 4: Bayeux (June 15 - 17)
We set off early Monday morning for the medieval city of Bayeux, traveling from Paris by train to the city of Caen where we will pick up the cars to drive onto Bayeux. Bayeux is the gateway to the D-Day beaches, and was the first village to be liberated by Allies in 1944. Years later (76 now), the people of Bayeux are still thanking the British and Americans. The warmth and hospitality of Bayeux is extraordinary. Day 1 in Bayeux includes a late afternoon walking tour of the city and a visit to the Cathédrale de Bayeux. Our second day starts with a visit to the Musée de la Tapisserie were we find the story of the Duke of Normandy’s conquest of England recounted in an elaborately embroided cloth spanning over 225 ft. Later in the day, we will visit the Musée de la Bataille de Normandy and the Reporter’s Cemetery. Day 3 is D-day, all day, where noted authority Francois Gauthron will guide us through several beaches and monuments, including the American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Utah Beach, Sainte Mère Eglise, and Saint Côme-du-Mont American Airborne Museum (which boasts a C47 flight simulator and Imax 3D films!). Lodging: Hôtel Le Lion d’Or.
Days 5 - 8: Rouen (June 18 - 21)
We say au revoir to Bayeux, and head east for the history, culture and food of Rouen. (Rouen is where Julia Child said she had “the most exciting meal of my life”.) We stop en route at the Chateau du Breuil to learn about the production of Calvados (Normandy’s famous apple brandy). On arriving in Rouen, you'll have the opportunity to wander about town on your own before meeting up with us later for dinner. The following day we have a cooking class at Faites-le-Vous-Meme (literally, make it yourself). You’ll burn off those calories later in the day with walking tour of Rouen to see the Cathédral Notre-Dame, Abbatiale Saint-Ouen, Tour Jeanne d’Arc, Tour du Gros-Horloge (Big Clock Tower), and other monuments. Our final full day in Rouen’s takes us to the famous Musée des Beaux Arts, with time in the afternoon for on your own shopping, sightseeing, or perhaps people watching from an outdoor café. At nightfall, you have the option to visit the Cathedral Notre-Dame for Rouen’s spectacular light show. Lodging: Gustave Flaubert Hotel Litteraire.
The cost for this 8 day program is $2675 USD per person/double occupancy (see below for early bird discount rate). Included in the program cost: 7 nights’ lodging at 3 star hotels, excursion transportation, transportation from Paris to Bayeux, most meals (7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 5 dinners with wine), excursion & tour fees (except optional Eiffel Tower excursion, 18€ per person), basic insurance, and program and material fees. Single supplement fee is $430 USD.
Register by October 1, 2019 and save $200 USD per person. The early-bird registration is $2475 USD. Click here for registration.
Program begins in Paris and ends in Rouen (1.5 hrs by direct train to Paris). Open to all individuals 18 or older.
Not included in the price: Airfare to/from U.S., travel to/from Paris, and travel from ending destination (Rouen) to your next destination, transportation from airport to hotel in Paris (9€ by train or 50€ flat rate for taxi), or mad money for souvenirs, etc. Participants are strongly encouraged to obtain additional travel insurance beyond basic insurance provided through AIG Travel Guard.
In 2019, a roundtrip coach fare from SFO to Paris was about $1500. Tickets train from Rouen to Paris are about $28 USD per person when purchased well in advance.
Interested in Registering?
Space is limited to 10 participants. We fill the program as registrations come in and then close the program (or waitlist it) once we have a group of 10. Note: if the program is full by the October 1 "early bird" deadline, we will waitlist you but cannot guarantee the discount rate (we will do our best).
If you would like to sign up, the registration form can be downloaded here.