Normandy: A stroll through history
Normandy is a region well-known for its importance in European history from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 all the way to the D-Day landings of 1944. In addition to the important historical element, there are all kinds of charms that warrant a visit including gorgeous scenery and dramatic coastal landscapes, world-class museums, charming, pastoral villages, camembert, cider, oysters and the freshest and finest fish and seafood. On our 14-day tour of France (FR7), we spend several days in the region of Normandy including visits to Rouen, Mont St-Michel, the D-Day beaches of 1944 including Omaha and Juno, Bayeux with its famous tapestry and the infinitely charming seaside town of Honfleur.
Situated on the River Seine in Upper Normandy, Rouen has had a turbulent and fascinating history from fire and plague to occupation by the English during the Hundred Years War to intensive Allied bombings in WW2. The spectacular Gothic cathedral never fails to impress visitors to this region and the modernist Église Jeanne d’Arc stands on the spot where 19-year old Joan of Arc was executed in 1431 for heresy.
One of the most famous and photographed sites in all of France, Mont St- Michel is a must on any itinerary to this enchanting part of the world. The bay around Mont St-Michel has extremely high tidal variations, the time between low and high only six hours! The Mont becomes completely surrounded every month or two. Celtic mythology tells us that this place was one of the acqueous tombs to which the souls of the dead were sent. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
D-Day Landing Beaches
Standing on the golden sand of Omaha Beach, it is impossible to imagine the death and heroism that once played out here and on the surrounding beaches and bluffs of the Norman coast. A visit to this region must include these historical and sombre sights and the excellent museums and memorials that stand to respect the important sacrifices that were made and the unforgettable heroism. Throughout Normandy, particularly in towns like Bayeaux, you will be touched to still see signs in windows that read “Welcome to our Liberators” aimed at the thousands of tourists visiting from liberating nations every year.
Many end up in Bayeux simply as a jumping off point to visit the D-Day beaches and memorials but end up falling in love with the place. Bayeux was the first French town to be liberated on the morning of June 7th, 1944 and is one of the few places in the area to be have emerged virtually undamaged by the war. The small and charming city centre is full of old buildings from the 13th-18th century including a stunning Gothic cathedral. Find yourself a tiny, out-of-the-way cafe in the sunshine, sip some Norman cidre and contemplate all you have seen. Don’t miss the famous Bayeux Tapestry whatever you do which tells the dramatic story of the Norman invasion of England in 1066 in what some people have called the world’s first comic strip. This almost 1000 year old tapestry is beautifully displayed with an excellent audio-guide that walks you through the whole story leaving no detail undiscovered. End your visit with a leisurely stroll along the charming creekside promenade.
Visit Normandy and more on our full tour of France, FR7 – The Heart of France this upcoming fall or next spring!
This is a classic journey though the ‘Heart of France’, highlighting the cultural treasures of Paris, the compelling story of Normandy’s infamous Landing Beaches, the spectacular beauty of rugged Brittany, and the salubrious and sophisticated Loire Valley, as French as France gets! We include all your breakfasts and dinners, avoiding hotel buffets and limited menus, in favour of local restaurants with a range of choices — a major benefit of our small group! Our hotels are well-located, modern-yet-charming, and a Tour Leader manages expertly with the assistance of local guides. Road journeys are relatively short, scenic, and punctuated with regular stops of interest. This is France at its best, a perfect trip for either the first-timer or repeat visitor.
Tour code: FR7 | Duration: 11 Days |more details
Departure dates: 2015 - Sep 15 2016 - Apr 12, Jun 07 and Sep 13
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