Normandy

A History and Culture itinerary

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History and Culture

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A 5-day History and Culture trip in Normandy

Day 1

Arrival in Paris and transfer

Day 2

D-Day beaches, part I

Day 3

D-Day beaches, part II

Day 4

Bayeux

Day 5

Mont Saint-Michel

Day 1: Arrival in Paris

• Meet & greet at the airport or location of your choice around Paris.

• Transfer in a luxury car or van to your boutique hotel in the heart of Bayeux.

Day 2: D-Day beaches, part I

Morning: American Cemetery & Omaha Beach

• Our first stop is at the American Cemetery with its 9000 tombs, memorial and museum. We will discover more about the D-Day invasion with a short film. If you wish, we can participate in the flag-raising morning ceremony.

Omaha Beach, also known as “Bloody Omaha,” where more than 1000 young American soldiers gave their lives on June 6, 1944. One of the 5 points of attack, the Allied forces faced numerous obstacles that day: rough seas, obstacles on the beach, and German artillery already in place for a counterattack… 

Elegant picnic lunch on Omaha beach, weather permitting.

 

Afternoon: Cheese-making 

• Discover the long history and tradition of cheese in Normandy. We propose a unique encounter with a local cheesemaker who will explain to us the traditional process of making world-renowned Normandy cheeses. (And of course, enjoy a tasting of some of his finest!)

Day 3: D-Day beaches, part II

Full day : D-Day beaches, part II

• Spend the day exploring the history of D-Day and go to famous sites which still carry remnants of the invasion:

• The untamed Pointe du Hoc where US rangers scaled its 90-foot cliff July 6, 1944. Visit a genuine bunker from WWII and the German “pillboxes” scattered along the hillside.

• The village of Sainte Mère Eglise where the paratrooper John Steel got stuck on the church steeple as he was trying to evade enemy lines.

• The wide and expansive Utah beach, the American D-Day beach where General Theodore Roosevelt – the son of the US President – landed with his cane.

 Personal family history investigation: if you have relatives who fought in the 1944 Battle of Normandy, we can pinpoint exactly where and when your ancestor set foot on Norman soil using historical databases.

Day 4: Bayeux

Morning: Bayeux & ceramics

• Take a walk through time. We will discover the story of William the Conqueror as it is told in the famous 11th century Bayeux tapestry – one of the most famous in the world, hand stitched by his wife Queen Mathilda and her servants that recounts his invasion of England and Battle of Hastings in 1066.  

• Go behind the scenes of Aline’s workshop, potter who will show you the secrets of ceramics. You will see her machines, work the clay, and choose your colors. The whole group will leave with unique creations!

Afternoon: Apples & cider

• Meet Olivier as we tour his unique apple cider cellar – the only disco cellar in Normandy! Amidst the light and colors, take in the fragrance of the barrels as we compare the different apple-based juices. Olivier produces ciders, Pommeau and Calvados: everything is apple based and will give us an exclusive tasting of the range of typical Norman drinks.

• Spend the night on the storied Mont-Saint-Michel.

Day 5: Mont Saint-Michel

Morning: the Abbey

Mont-Saint-Michel dates back to 708 AD when St-Michael the Archangel appeared in a dream to the local bishop, Saint Aubert, and asked him to build a sanctuary in his name. 250 years later, pilgrims began arriving and the first church was built…

• Wake up on the Mont-Saint-Michel and admire the 360° view of the surrounding bay. At high tide the Mont becomes an island, completely cut off from the mainland, and at low tide visitors can discover the sandy bay on foot.

• Our first stop will be touring the medieval portion of Mont-Saint-Michel, including the 15th century castle walls and the 13th century abbey. The Mont has welcomed communities of contemplative monks and religious sisters for almost 1000 years – it is still possible today to join with them in their daily prayers (Liturgy of the Hours) inside the Abbey church.

• Enjoy lunch featuring local specialties such as “salty lamb” (agneau pré salé – the best lamb in the region), oysters and mussels, or Norman crêpes.

Afternoon: the Mont

• As we wander through the cobblestone streets of the Mont, we will sample traditional Norman cider, Pommeau or Calvados – local spirits derived from apples – and taste traditional Norman cookies “les galettes Normandes.”

• We will also get to know Emmanuel, a jolly shop owner who loves to crack jokes as he mans his shop on the Grand Rue at the heart of Mont-Saint-Michel. He’ll tell you all about his family’s arrival on the Mount… in 1680!

• At the end of the day we will head back to Paris where you will spend the night in an elegant boutique hotel.

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