Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - This small group tour of France is rich in culture, cuisine and fine wines, magnificent architecture, breathtaking scenery and stunning chateaux. Explore Monet’s Garden in Giverny, visit the Normandy Beaches to see first-hand where events of World War II unfolded, and then discover the Loire V alley, renowned for its magnificent chateaux, historic villages and splendid food and wine.

La Belle France

Land Only Small Group Tour

Duration : 9 DAYSPrice : FROM $3275Country : FRANCE
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Honfleur © www.calvados-tourisme.com.
American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer © www.calvados-tourisme.com.Mont Saint Michel © Atout France, Robert PalombaCathedral Angers © Marion Vigot Gastronomy France © www.calvados-tourisme.com.Chateau ChenonceauVillandry Gardens ©G.Girard/CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Normandy, Brittany & the Loire Valley - This small group tour of France is rich in culture, cuisine and fine wines, magnificent architecture, breathtaking scenery and stunning chateaux. Explore Monet’s Garden in Giverny, visit the Normandy Beaches to see first-hand where events of World War II unfolded, and then discover the Loire V alley, renowned for its magnificent chateaux, historic villages and splendid food and wine.

Included in the price

  • 8 nights’ accommodation
  • Driver/tour guide
  • Mini-coach transportation
  • European breakfast daily
  • 4 x evening meals
  • Cider & calvados tasting
  • Included Entrances: Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny, Angers Castle, Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux Museum of the Battle of Normandy, Chateau de Villandry & either Chateau de Chenonceau or Chateau de Cheverny.

Day 1: Paris – Honfleur

Departing Paris, our first stop this morning is the home of French Impressionist, Claude Monet, at Giverny in Normandy. The gardens inspired many of his paintings including the famous Water Lilies and the Japanese Footbridge series. We then make our way to Chateau Gaillard, for a photo stop before travelling to Honfleur, one of the best-preserved old ports in Normandy. Tonight we enjoy dinner together before we stroll around the old harbour. (D) Accommodation: Hotel Des Loges, Honfleur (3-star) or similar

Day 2: Honfleur

We begin the day with a scenic drive along the “Normandy Corniche” passing through Trouville and Deauville. Later we drive through the charming harbour of Dives-sur-Mer, before heading to Cabourg, where we have time to enjoy its exquisite sandy beaches. We then travel inland to visit a manor house and estate, home to a local producer of cider and calvados. Finally we return to Honfleur for an evening at leisure. (B) Accommodation: Hotel Des Loges, Honfleur (3-star) or similar

Day 3: Honfleur – Normandy Beaches - Bayeux

Today we visit the Normandy Beaches, forever associated in our minds with the D-Day Landings of 1944. These beaches tell us a remarkable story and it is here that we see first-hand where events of World War II unfolded. This afternoon we visit the famous American War Cemetery at Colleville-sur Mer. Our historic day concludes with a leisurely drive to Bayeux. (B, D) Accommodation: Hotel D’Argouges, Bayeux (3-star) or similar

Day 4: Bayeux

Today you have the opportunity to explore Bayeux at your leisure. This medieval town, with its cobbled streets and museums, is also home to the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the world famous Bayeux Tapestry. The old town has retained its ancient character, and the narrow streets encourage visitors to browse in the many shops or to linger in the town’s charming bistros. (B) Accommodation: Hotel D’Argouges, Bayeux (3-star) or similar

Day 5: Bayeux – Mont St Michel – Dinan

This morning we travel across the Normandy countryside to Brittany. Today’s highlight is Mont St Michel. Perched on a rocky islet, this gothic style abbey appears to rise from the surrounding waters. We then continue to Dinan, an attractive medieval town with fine old buildings, some dating back to the 13th century. (B, D) Accommodation: Hotel Le D’Avaugour, Dinan (3-star) or similar

Day 6: Dinan – Angers – Chinon

This morning we travel to the Loire Valley, renowned for its fairy-tale castles, historic villages and splendid food and wine. Our first port of call is Angers, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in France, with many notable attractions including the magnificent cathedral and an imposing moated castle. We then make our way to Chinon; resting by the banks of the majestic Vienne River, Chinon is steeped in history and rich with culture. (B) Accommodaton: Hotel Diderot, Chinon (2-star) or similar

Day 7: Chinon - Chateau of Villandry - Chinon

Today we travel to the imposing Chateau de Villandry, the last of the great chateaux of the Loire. Built during the Renaissance, the chateau’s glorious landscaped gardens are some of the finest in France. On our return to Chinon, we have plenty of free time to further explore this lovely town and sample local delicacies. (B) Accommodaton: Hotel Diderot, Chinon (2-star) or similar

Day 8: Chinon – Beaugency

Departing from Chinon, we have the choice of two wonderful chateaux to visit this morning, the Chateau de Chenonceau with its exceptional museum and magnificent gardens; or the Chateau de Cheverny, owned by the same family for more than six centuries and surrounded by an English-style park. We then proceed to our overnight stop in the charming town of Beaugency, where we enjoy our final dinner together. (B, D) Accommodation: Hotel La Tonnellerie, Beaugency (3-star) or similar

Day 9: Beaugency – Chartres – Paris

A fitting climax to our last day on tour is the celebrated cathedral of Chartres, incomparable anywhere in the world for its stained glass windows dating from the 13th century. We return to Paris this afternoon where our tour ends. (B) [Pick-Up: The tour commences from Hotel la Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005, Paris at 8:30am. Please ensure you are at the meeting point at least 15 minutes prior to departure.] [Drop-off: 5:30pm at Hotel la Demeure, 51 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005, Paris. Please bear in mind that drop-off time is an estimate only – traffic can be unpredictable!]

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach

If the Normandy landings nearly failed anywhere, it was certainly on Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer. The heavy losses suffered by American troops on D-Day earned it the name of "Bloody Omaha". Omaha Beach is one of the five Landing beaches. The future of France and Europe was at stake here on 6th June 1944. When you visit this beach which extends over Vierville-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville-sur-Mer, you will obtain a clearer idea of the progress of the battles. The Bessin coastline is composed of steep chalk cliffs, which rise one hundred feet or so above the sea. Inaugurated in 1956,  the American cemetery at Colleville was laid out in an area of 70 hectares (170 acres) which was ceded to the United States by the French government.
Mont-Saint-Michel

Mont-Saint-Michel

It's one of France's most iconic images: the slender towers and sky-scraping turrets of the abbey of Mont St-Michel rising from stout ramparts and battlements, the whole ensemble connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway (which will be replaced by a bridge by 2014). Fortunately, although it's visited by huge numbers of tourists, both French and foreign, the Mont still manages to whisk you back to the Middle Ages, its fantastic architecture set against the backdrop of the area's extraordinary tides.
Giverny: Claude Monet's House and Garden

Giverny: Claude Monet's House and Garden

The light in this delightful village can be found nowhere else, according to the master of Impressionism, Claude Monet... Sited on the right bank of the Seine, Giverny is known the world over through the paintings of Claude Monet, who lived here from 1883 to his death in 1926. His presence in the village drew numerous artists of different nationalities, who contributed to turning it into a site which even today remains a symbol of Impressionism.  Giverny now relives the days when Claude Monet took his inspiration from his gardens, of which he took great care. In the changing light, the flowers regulate the seasons.
Loire Valley: Château Chenonceau

Loire Valley: Château Chenonceau

The Château of Chenonceau is located in the Centre Val de Loire region, and was once a royal residence as property of the crown. It is a truly exceptional site, both for its original idea of building it on the Cher River, and for its destiny: to be loved, managed, and protected by women such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. Today, the Château of Chenonceau is second only to Versailles as the most visited château in France.
Honfleur

Honfleur

This is a gem ! Honfleur is a key tourist destination in Normandy, and you too will certainly be enchanted by this lovely port, which has inspired so many artists. Honfleur offers the warm welcome of a little town.  This little maritime city, which has somehow escaped the ravages of time, has managed to preserve the traces of a rich historical past, which make it one of the most visited towns in France, with its picturesque backstreets and old houses. Its international renown is partly due to the authenticity of its narrow paved streets and timber-framed house-fronts, its little shops, charming hotels and typical restaurants, but also to the variety of its monuments and the wealth of its cultural and artistic heritage.  Simultaneously fishing harbour, marina and commercial port, Honfleur has succeeded in making the most of its rich historical and artistic heritage.
The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux has become famous throughout the English-speaking world thanks to a 68m-long piece of painstakingly embroidered cloth: the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry, whose 58 scenes vividly tell the story of the Norman invasion of England in 1066. But there's more to Bayeux than this unparalleled piece of needlework. The first town to be liberated after D-Day (on the morning of 7 June 1944), it is one of the few in Calvados to have survived WWII practically unscathed. A great place to soak up the Norman atmosphere, Bayeux' delightful city centre is crammed with 13th- to 18th-century buildings, including lots of wood-framed Norman-style houses, and a fine Gothic cathedral. 
Dinan

Dinan

Dinan is without doubt one of the most attractive and best preserved small towns in Brittany. With its 1.8 mile (3km)-long ramparts, half-timbered houses, attractive port and cobbled streets filled with art galleries and craft shops, it’s worth a day of anyone’s time
Angers

Angers

Often dubbed 'Black Angers' due to the local dark slate used for its roofs, the lively riverside city is famous for its tapestries: the 14th-century Tenture de l'Apocalypse in the city's château and the 20th-century Chant du Monde at the Jean Lurçat museum. A bustling old town, with many pedestrianised streets and a thriving café culture, makes it a good western gateway to the Loire Valley.
Loire Valley: Chinon

Loire Valley: Chinon

Chinon is a town rich in both culture and history. The old town – la vielle ville – is nestled in between the Château on top of the hill and the river Vienne. For many generations, it was the home of kings and the seat of the government.
The Cathedral of Chartres

The Cathedral of Chartres

Built in the middle of stretches of golden wheat swaying in the wind, Chartres has several strings to its bow. Its cathedral, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, will be your lighthouse in this Beauce landscape. With 2,600m² of stained glass lighting up the heart of the nave, this monumental building is a model of gothic architecture. The picturesque streets of Chartres, its ancient half-timbered houses and old bridges are all an invitation for a stroll. Shops, crafts workshops and restaurants are all to be discovered in the old town. In the paved streets and up and down staircases, the shop windows of glassblowers, perfumers or cabinet makers mingle with restaurants in which you will find foie gras, pâté de Chartres, Perche cider...
LaCity Travel - Traveller Tips for France    

VISAS: France tourist visa is not required for citizens of Australia for a stay up to 90 days, although you will need to have a return ticket. All passports must be valid for 6 months from the date of the arrival. Some other nationalities may require a visa. For further information please contact the French consulate website or your travel consultant   

MONEY: 1 AUD = 0.65 € (20/02/2014). You always get a better exchange rate in-country, though it’s a good idea to arrive with enough local currency to take a taxi to a hotel if you have to. Carry as little cash as possible while travelling around. In Paris, exchange bureaux (bureaux de change) are faster and easier, open longer hours and give better rates than most banks. In general, post offices in Paris can offer the best exchange rates and accept banknotes in various currencies as well as American Express and Visa travellers cheques. The commission for travellers cheques is 1.5% (minimum about €4). Familiarise yourself with rates offered by the post office and compare them with those at exchange bureaux. On small transactions, even exchange places with less-than-optimal rates may leave you with more euros in your pocket.   

ELECTRICITY: Type C (European 2-pin), Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)   

CLIMATE / WEATHER: France has several climatic zones and substantial variations in its weather due to its great size and location on the western edge of Europe. The north and northeastern areas have predictably warm summers and cold winters with abundant rainfall while the Atlantic Ocean provides cooler summers from westerly winds and warmer winters along the western coast. South of the Loire river is where the weather becomes significantly warmer. The Mediterranean zone in the south and southeast has hot and somewhat dry summers, mild winters, and low, yet unpredictable rainfall. The south is also subject to the formidable mistral (violent winds) and sudden storms, but generally has reliable weather for visitors. The mountainous zones are in the Pyrénées, Alps, and Massif Central and have heavy winter snowfall, yet cool and sunny summers with abundant rain.   

TIME DIFFERENCE: (GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris   

BEST TIME TO VISIT FRANCE: Depending on what you want to get out of your trip, there is always a good time to visit France. Winter is a great time to enjoy snow sports in the Alps and Pyrenees, while the summer is great for soaking up the sun on the beaches of the Cote d’Azur. Generally, France enjoys a temperate climate with cool winters and warm summers, except for the Mediterranean areas that bask in warm temperatures most of the year. Popular tourist spots can get crowded during the peak holiday periods of Christmas, Easter and the school holiday months of July and August; if travelling during these times, be prepared to share France with many other travellers and holidaying locals.   

LANGUAGE: French is the official language but English is widely spoken.    

ACCOMMODATION: Travelling with LaCity Travel is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.   

FOOD / DRINK: LaCity Travel believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savoring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world. The gastronomic pleasures of France are world-renowned, so travellers won’t be disappointed with the food of France. There’s something to suit all budgets here, from Michelin star restaurants to humble cafes and market stalls.   

HISTORY
New Early History: France has a fascinating history marked by war, invasion, imperialistic expansion and revolution. Enduring the ravages of the Black Death, and the uncertainty of political upheaval and civil unrest, it's probably these events that give the modern French people their passionate, fighting spirit. 
Recent History: France’s recent history is as interesting as its beginnings. Invaded by Germany during World War I and World War II, France suffered many losses during both of these wars. Civilian and military lives were lost, strict rationing created harsh living conditions, and regular airstrikes and shelling created a climate of fear. The French Resistance has been the subject of many books and movies, mainly because it’s such an interesting example of the French spirit. The French Resistance is the name given to pockets of men and women who rallied against the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. Using guerrilla tactics, as well as underground press and other means, these groups provided safe houses and escape networks for Allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. They also provided intelligence and other information to the Allies, as well as committed acts of sabotage against the German military. Visitors to France can choose to see many sites that reflect these times including the beaches of Normandy and the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. 
More recently, France has enjoyed the stability that comes with being a part of the European Union and NATO; even though unemployment remains high, France is currently enjoying more peaceful times than it has had in the past.
  

SHOPPING:  Home to designer fashion houses, luxurious perfumeries, exclusive boutiques and antique merchants, France isn’t a great shopping destination for those on a budget. Regardless, there’s much fun to be had whether you’re window shopping or indulging in the real thing. It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.   

TAXIS: You should only use licenced, official taxis in France, as assaults and robberies have occurred in unlicensed taxis. Unlicensed taxis often target high traffic destinations such as airports, train stations, theatres and nightclubs. In Paris, licenced taxis have the sign ‘Taxi Parisien’ located at the top of the car. Private car companies are legal but must be pre-booked.   

DRIVING: Australians wanting to drive in France must have a valid Australian driver's licence and a valid International Driving Permit (IDP), issued by the relevant IDP authority in your state before leaving Australia. The minimum age to drive a vehicle is 18. Australians resident in France may exchange their Australian driver licence for a French licence within the first 12 months of their residency. It is obligatory for all vehicles to carry a reflective vest and warning triangle for use in case of breakdown.   

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS  
Wednesday 01 January - New Year's Day 
Sunday 20 April - Easter 
Monday 21 April - Easter Monday 
Thursday 01 May - Labour Day 
Thursday 08 May - VE Day - WWII Victory Day
Thursday 29 May - Ascension Day 
Sunday 08 June - Whit 
Sunday 
Monday 09 June - Whit Monday
Monday 14 July - Bastille Day 
Friday 15 August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
Saturday 01 November - All Saints' Day 
Tuesday 11 November - Armistice Day 
Thursday 25 December - Christmas Day   

HEALTH: No vaccinations are required to travel to France.   

SAFETY / SECURITY: France is generally a safe place in which to live and travel, but crime has risen dramatically in the last few years. Property crime is a major problem but it is extremely unlikely that you will be physically assaulted while walking down the street. Always check your government’s travel advisory warnings.   

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY
SAMU (medical emergencies): 15 
Police emergencies: 17 
Fire Service emergencies: 18 
European emergency line: 112 
SOS Médecins (Paris – emergency doctors): +33 (0) 1 47 07 77 77 or +33 (0) 820 332 424 
SOS Dentistes (Paris – emergency dentists): +33 (0) 1 43 37 51 00   

TIPPING: it is usual to leave a tip.   

TRAVEL INSURANCE: All passengers must have comprehensive travel insurance. You can complete this with LaCity Travel if you wish. Check your Travel Insurance Policy for an Emergency number and details of services to be provided, Carry these details with you.   

Australian Embassy 
4, rue Jean Rey 
75015 Paris Métro 
Ligne 6 Station Bir-Hakeim 
RER C Station Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel
WWI BATTLEFIELD WEEKEND

3 DAYS FROM AU$875PP

The Somme, Villers-Bretonneux & Vimy Ridge - This three day introductory tour allows visitors to see the major areas of British and Commonwealth involvement across the Western Front. All the major Commonwealth countries; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India, as well as Britain, played major roles in ensuring ultimate victory and the tour is flexible enough to ensure that visitors from all countries will see the memorials to their countries fallen, as well as gaining a greater understanding of the overall conduct and strategy of the war.

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$3275

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Optional
Single room supplement from AUD$3785

Terms and Conditions
1. Price are in AUD, subject to the availabilities and per person twin-share price.
2. Valid for sale & departure until 28 October 2018
3. LaCity Travel reserves the right to adjust the itinerary as it sees fi­t to ensure the smooth running of the tour and to substitute hotels of a similar standard if the hotels listed in our brochure are not available.