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The Shrines of France
Paris ... Chartres ... St. Theresa of Lisieux ... St. Malo ... The Chateaux of the Loire
Valley and Mont St - Michel
Day One – Departure: Today we begin our journey to Europe. Meals will be served aboard our Transatlantic flight.
Day Two – Paris / Chartres: This morning we will arrive at the Paris airport, where we will be met by our tour manager and motor coach to drive to Chartres. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of France’s most important places of pilgrimage and a beacon of Christianity through the Middle Ages. Our tour of the Cathedral will reveal the treasures of this Gothic masterpiece, most famous for the vivid colors and narrative quality of its stained glass windows. In the late afternoon we will check in to our hotel for our overnight.
Day Three – Chartres/Blois: This morning we will travel to the Valley of the Loire, where there are more than 1000 medieval, Renaissance and Classical chateaux, manor houses and palaces. On arrival in Blois our tour of its Chateau is a journey through French architectural history from the Middle Ages to the Classical era, as well as bearing witness to royal intrigues and assassinations. In the afternoon we will check in to our hotel for our overnight.
Day Four – Loire Valley Excursion: Following breakfast we will visit another favorite of the Loire-the Chateau of Chenonceau is the most romantic of all the valley’s chateaux, as it straddles the Cher River, with its history is dominated by four women. In the afternoon we will visit one of the region’s vineyards and wineries for a wine-tasting experience of the local fruit of the vine. We return to Blois for our overnight.
Day Five – Blois / Mont St-Michel: Today we leave the Loire Valley to drive north to the dramatic island village of Mont St-Michel, rising majestically off the Normandy coast, with the Abbey crowning its summit. Following our tour of the ancient complex dedicated to the Archangel Michael, there will be time to wander the winding, cobbled streets, filled with delightful shops and cafes. Overnight near Mont St-Michel.
Day Six – St. Malo / Bayeux: After breakfast we cross the border into Brittany en route to the coastal resort of St. Malo. Lovingly reconstructed after World War II, the original medieval ramparts still bear witness to its ancient history. After free time for lunch we will continue to Bayeux in the early afternoon to enjoy its magnificent Gothic Cathedral, but most of all to see the unique tapestry, which records the events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. Overnight in the Bayeux area.
Day Seven – D-Day Beaches and Museum Excursion: Today will be dedicated to exploring the sites associated with the heroic events of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Our visits will include the D-Day Landings Museum at Arromanches-les-Bains, to gain an insight into the background to the invasion, the Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach as well as the American Cemetery at St. Laurent-sur-Mer. At the end of a poignant and moving day, we will return to Bayeux in the late afternoon for an evening at leisure.
Day Eight – Bayeux/Lisieux/Rouen: Following breakfast this morning, we will depart Bayeux to drive to Lisieux, where our sightseeing is dedicated to the life of St. Theresa. We will visit her birthplace at Les Buissonnets, the Carmel convent where she made her vows and which houses her tomb and the Basilica dedicated to the devotion of the Little Flower. Later, we continue to Rouen for our overnight.
Day Nine – Rouen / Giverny / Paris: This morning we’ll enjoy a walking tour of Rouen, capital of Normandy, which will explore its magnificent Gothic cathedral, immortalized so often by Monet, and the site where St. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Later we continue to Giverny, the sleepy rural village which was home to Claude Monet for the second half of his life. It was here that he created the gardens, which became the subject for so many of his paintings–the numerous versions of‚ ‘Water Lilies’‚ ‘The Bridge at Giverny’, and ‘Hay Stacks’ are the masterpieces inspired by the tranquil setting of the home, which now houses the main museum dedicated to the great artist. There will be time to wander through the spectacular gardens, visit the house still furnished and decorated as it was during Monet’s lifetime and the studio where he worked. In the late afternoon we will continue our journey to Paris for our overnight.
Day Ten – Paris: This morning we will begin our sightseeing of the French capital and ‘City of Lights’ with a sightseeing tour which will include such famous sights as the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, as well as visits to the Church of the Miraculous Medal and the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The afternoon is free for shopping and individual exploration. Try the Louvre with its art treasures of the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, the artists’ district of Montmartre, or perhaps the ascent of the Eiffel Tower, if the weather is good. Overnight in Paris.
Day Eleven – Paris: Today is completely free to enjoy some of the city’s iconic landmarks, its many museums and art galleries or perhaps take an excursion to the magnificent extravagance of Versailles. This evening we will enjoy our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day Twelve – Paris / This morning we will be transferred to the airport to begin our journey home.
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