London, Normandy, the Loire and Paris Educational Tour
London, Normandy, the Loire and Paris tour map

London, Normandy, the Loire and Paris

9 Days London 2 • Caen 1 • St. Malo 1 • Tours 1 • Paris 2

Accommodations

Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $280 per person.

Transportation

Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.

Meals

All breakfasts. All dinners. Dinner aboard ferry on Day 4.

Guides

Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.

Inclusions

Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.

Travel Protection

passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.

Days 1-2: Home - London

Arrival transfer

Optional Ride on the London Eye

Day 3: London

London City Sightseeing: Local guide

Optional West End Theatre Performance

Day 4: London - Caen

Visit to the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, Departure transfer, Ferry Portsmouth-Caen/Ouistreham, Transfer from the pier

Day 5: Caen - St. Malo

D-Day Beaches, Film at the Arromanches 360 circular cinema, Visit to the Normandy American Cemetery

Day 6: St. Malo - Tours

Visit to Mont Saint-Michel Abbey

Day 7: Tours - Paris

Visit to the Château de Chenonceau

Visit to the Louvre Museum

Eiffel Tower Level Two ascent: Optional Eiffel Tower Summit (subject to availability)

Optional Capitaine Fracasse dinner cruise

Day 8: Paris

Paris City Sightseeing, Excursion to the Palace of Versailles, RER train to Paris

Photo stop near Notre-Dame Cathedral

Day 9: Departure

Departure transfer

Days 1-2: Arrival, Optional London Eye

You head east, into a short night, and suddenly it's morning, and you're in England. Londontown: the hub and focus for theatergoers worldwide!

Settle into your hotel, then venture into your surroundings. Red, double-decker buses groan along the "wrong" side of the road, escorted by innumerable black taxicabs with engines that sound like sewing machines.

Optional Ride on the London Eye

Enjoy a ride on one of the world's top ten Ferris wheels, magnificently situated by the River Thames, across from the Houses of Parliament. As it slowly revolves, this "Millennium Wheel" offers unique views of the capital city.

Day 3: London City Sightseeing, London, Optional West End Theatre

Enjoy a tour of the sights and sounds of the British capital. See such sights as St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Kensington, and Trafalgar Square.

A local guide will accompany your group.

Free time in London

Enjoy some free time in London today.

Consider a visit to the Tower of London to view Traitors' Gate, the Bloody Tower, the Block (where two of Henry VIII's ill-fated wives lost their heads), the White Tower and the Crown Jewels. If you choose to follow one of the Beefeaters, you'll also be able to visit the Royal Chapel.

Optional West End Theatre

Attend a performance at a West End venue. In London you can find anything you're looking for, from classical drama to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Perhaps a good tear-jerker?

Day 4: Portsmouth, Ferry to Caen
Travel to Caen, via ferry Portsmouth-Ouistreham,

Depart London and head to the English Channel coast.

You'll visit the D-Day Museum to learn more about the planning stages, the communication systems and the logistics involved in the Allied invasion. A 272-foot-long work of art, the Overlord Embroidery, tells the story of the D-Day operation.

Ferry Portsmouth-Caen/Ouistreham

From Portsmouth Harbor, a ferry will take you across the English Channel to the port of Ouistreham, the gateway to Caen, hometown of William the Conqueror. Have a thought for the young Allied troops who embarked on a momentous journey along this same route, over seventy years ago, headed, as you are now, for Normandy.

Day 5: D-Day Beaches, St. Malo

This is indeed Second World War country, with sobering memorials, bunkers, and occasional remnants of barbed wire. Three-quarters of a century after D-Day, the beaches of Normandy are still referred to by their WWII code names.

Film at the Arromanches 360 circular cinema

Stop on the cliff that overlooks the landing beach of Arromanches to watch the impressive Normandy's 100 Days, an HD film with surround sound that's presented in a circular cinema. It places spectators in the middle of the Battle of Normandy, thanks to archival footage.

Visit to the Normandy American Cemetery

Just over the coastal bluffs, in Colleville-sur-Mer, lie the 9,387 military graves of the American Cemetery. The endless, crisp rows are poignant reminders of heroic days that changed the outcome of World War II.

Travel to St. Malo

Proceed to the medieval harbor known as la Cité des Corsaires for famous native seafarers such as Surcouf, who captured countless English ships, and Jacques Cartier, who sailed to the New World and up Canada's St. Lawrence River in 1535. Saint-Malo is perched on a rock at the mouth of the River Rance, its only link to the mainland a narrow causeway.

Day 6: Mont St. Michel, Tours

As you get closer to the site, see how the Mont Saint-Michel rises out of the sea mists, its spired abbey church perched upon a rocky island set in a tidal bay.

On your way up the hill for a visit to the abbey, you will walk along steep streets filled with tales of pilgrimages and of prisoners who were once kept on this small island.

On the way back, spend some time browsing in the village's souvenir shops. Have a look at the surrounding seabed, a flat sandy expanse at low tide, where incoming tides are said to rush in as fast as a galloping horse.

Vineyards color the roads of the Vallée de la Loire. The poet Joachim du Bellay spoke eloquently about the douceur angevine of the sister province: in Touraine, you will feel the douceur tourangelle of a region regarded as the Jardin de la France.

Arrive in Tours, hometown of Saint Martin and of the novelist Honoré de Balzac. Of particular interest is the renovated Vieux-Tours with its Gothic cathedral, towers and timbered houses.

Day 7: Chenonceau, Paris, Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower

Many of France's loveliest castles were built in the Loire Valley during the Renaissance.

Discover the prettiest of the Loire Valley châteaux, which spans the River Cher. In 1547, King Henri II gave this property to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. On her orders, splendid gardens were added and a bridge was built to link the castle to the other bank of the Cher. The famous gallery later erected upon that bridge by Queen Catherine de Medici served, during World War II, as an escape route between Nazi-occupied northern France and unoccupied southern France.

Travel by coach to Paris.

Settle into your hotel, then have a look at one of the world's most beautiful capital cities.

Time permitting, you may want to head to Montmartre, Paris' highest hill and its most celebrated bohemian district. Artists still flock to the charming Place du Tertre, as they did when Toulouse-Lautrec painted the French Cancan dancers at the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Visitors enjoy panoramic views of the city as they make their way to the Sacré-Coeur, the white-domed basilica that anchors the Parisian skyline.

Visit to the Louvre Museum

Enter the Musée du Louvre and walk along grand galleries filled with treasures. See Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Vénus de Milo sculpted between 130 and 100 BC, the 19th century painting depicting The Coronation of Napoléon among many other masterpieces.

Eiffel Tower Level Two ascent

Take an elevator to the deuxième étage of the most famous cast iron structure ever built, la Tour Eiffel, for an unforgettable panorama of Paris.

Optional Eiffel Tower Summit (subject to availability)

Ascend to the third level of the tower.

Optional Capitaine Fracasse dinner cruise

This evening, dine in style and see illuminations transform Paris into a wonderland like no other as the Capitaine Fracasse cruise ship takes you along the River Seine.

Day 8: Paris City Sightseeing, Excursion to Versailles, RER train to Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral Photo Stop

Set out on a coach tour of the city in the company of a local guide. On the Right Bank of the River Seine, see Napoléon's Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, and the exuberant Opéra Garnier. On the Left Bank, discover the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Visit to the State Apartments and the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles

Enjoy a bit of relevant French history today at the palace where the Sun King, Madame de Pompadour and Queen Marie-Antoinette all come to life. In this ultimate example of Baroque architecture, you will marvel at the lavish decoration, abundant gilding and exuberant ornamentation, particularly in the Royal Apartments of Louis XIV and in the Hall of Mirrors. Imagine the sense of self-importance that must have inflated the ego of these kings and queens.

Then, take a stroll around the Main Gardens.

Return to Paris using the efficient RER transit system.

Photo stop near Notre-Dame Cathedral

View Notre-Dame de Paris, gutted by the fire of April 15, 2019, but still standing, solemn and magnificent with its iconic towers miraculously preserved from destruction.

Begun in 1163 and completed in 1272, this cathedral has presided over centuries of glorious and somber French history, including its desecration during the French Revolution. In 1831, Victor Hugo launched a campaign of restoration with a novel he titled Notre Dame de Paris. Because he saw the cathedral as the main character, he strongly objected to the title of the English edition: The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Day 9: Departure

Most good things must come to an end. Your suitcase full of memorabilia and of photos ready to be processed, you'll arrive home later today, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.

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