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** Dates are firm, but the day to day itinerary could change slightly.**

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Sunday, May 2nd

Texas to Paris/Charles de Gaulle CDG

Depart USA for Paris.

Suggested flights: TBD

Monday, May 3rd

Paris to Cabourg

 

  • Arrive and clear immigration & customs.

  • Meet the tour manager, and drive directly to Cabourg on the coast of Normandy.

 

Tom and Carol Hatfield will host a welcome reception in the late afternoon followed by a dinner at the hotel, where seafront views and five-star luxury meld with timeless charm.

Overnight: Grand Hôtel Cabourg

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Thursday, May 6th

Honfleur

Today we explore a stretch of France's coast known as the Côte Fleurie (Flowering Coast) by driving to Honfleur, a his

toric port tucked between two hills that owes its distinctive character to geography. Originally a fortress town to keep English ships from wandering too far up the Seine estuary, its mariners helped to establish the French presence in Quebec.

 

Honfleur became a hub of the Impressionist movement after Eugène Boudin (1824-1898) began painting the sky, the sea, and the shoreline of Normandy. One of his many followers was Claude Monet (1840-1926). Boudin's legacy was more than a fine collection of paintings. He began a tradition that still flavors the charming ambience of Honfleur, which boasts more than 95 art galleries.

 

We will arrive in Honfleur for the opening of the Eugene Boudin Museum at ten o'clock, followed by lunch on your own in the bistro of your choice around the old Harbor.

 

Return to Cabourg to enjoy dinner at your leisure during our final night in this elegant town.

Overnight: Grand Hôtel Cabourg

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Sunday, May 9th

Sainte Mère Église;
La Fière Bridge, Utah Beach

 

Morning departure for Sainte Mère Église, the center of the American paratrooper landings. On the village square, visit the parish church with its touching stained-glass memorials to the American liberators and the highly personalized Paratrooper Museum.

 

Drive west from Sainte Mère Église to see "Iron Mike," the statue of a mythical American Paratrooper at the historic La Fière Bridge where the Germans put up a bitter, unsuccessful defense to stop the American offensive across the Cherbourg peninsula.

 

We take our group lunch in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont a small town known for its fresh seafood and farm produce, situated within a Natural Park of Marshland.

 Reconvene with the group for cocktails and dinner in the château.

Overnight: Château de Canisy

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Wednesday, May 12th

Giverny and Paris/Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG)

 

Mid-morning departure from Château de Canisy for Paris, stopping en route in the village of Giverny on the River Seine. Here we will visit the home, gardens and famous lily ponds of the Impressionist painter, Claude Monet. Lunch will be on your own in a restaurant on the autoroute, the Aire Nord de Vironvay.

Overnight: Sheraton CDG Airport

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Tuesday, May 4th

Arromanches; Longues-sur-Mer;
and Bayeux

The seaside village of Arromanches; the German gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer; and the city of Bayeux. Across verdant countryside, we drive to Arromanches and view remnants of the artificial harbor — codenamed Mulberry — from the cliffs above before descending to the village and proceeding a few miles west to the German gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer, the best preserved of Hitler's entire vaunted Atlantic Wall; enjoy lunch together at a country inn, l'Auberge des Monts in Ryes.

 

Continue to the medieval city of Bayeux to view the historic tapestry, depicting how William the Conqueror invaded England with his Norman army in 1066, the most important pictorial images of the era. Then we will stroll through the nearby heartrending British Cemetery.

 

Return to Cabourg for dinner on your own.

Overnight: Grand Hôtel Cabourg

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Friday, May 7th

Caen; the hedgerow country; Saint-Lô and the Château de Canisy

 

We drive via Caen to see the Abbaye-aux-Hommes (Abbey for Men) founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, now the City Hall; and visit the abbey church, Église Saint-Étienne (Church of Saint Stephen), the finest example of Norman Romanesque architecture in the region, and the site of grave of William, who died in 1087.

 

Continue toward Saint-Lô, pausing to retrace the footsteps of Sgt. Thomas B. Rouse of Medina, Texas – the Hill 192, and the crossroads called Le Calvaire where he was fatally wounded on July 11, 1944. From our viewpoint, we have a visual perspective of the first five weeks of the Normandy campaign, from Omaha Beach inland. In Saint-Lô, we tour war-related sites.We will stop at the statue of the U.S. Army Major Thomas D. Howie and hear about "The Clay Pigeons of Saint-Lô," commanded by Lt. Col. Glover Johns of Austin, Texas.

Cocktails and dinner at Château de Canisy.

Overnight: Château de Canisy

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Monday, May 10th

German Cemetery; Pointe du Hoc; Omaha Beach; and the Normandy American Cemetery

We go first to the German cemetery at La Cambe. Each of the more than 21,000 graves is marked with a dark volcanic stone, making it a solemn contrast to the British and American cemeteries. 

 

Then to Pointe du Hoc, site of the famed assault on D-Day up 100-foot cliffs by U. S. Army Rangers commanded by Lt. Col. Earl Rudder, later President of Texas A&M University, to knock out its powerful guns. 

 

Next to the nearby scenic coastal town of Grandcamp-Maisy for a group lunch at a family restaurant, La Trinquette. Proceed to Omaha Beach, continuing to Normandy American Cemetery to contemplate 9,387 perfectly aligned white marble crosses and Stars of David, lending an air of optimism, brightness and triumph to the lives lost in battle. 

 

Return to Château de Canisy for dinner.

Overnight: Château de Canisy

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Thursday, May 13th

Return to the USA or proceed to another destination   

 

The Sheraton CDG is located inside airport Terminal #2. Proceed on your own to airline check in.

 

Suggested flights:

  • TBD

Overnight: n/a

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Wednesday, May 5th

Caen; Pegasus Bridge; the home of Marie-Louise Osmont, diarist of the occupation and liberation

The city of Caen, its Memorial Museum, the Pegasus Bridge. We journey to the heart of Caen, the capital and principal city of Lower-Normandy, as well as the location of the University of Caen founded in 1432 and utterly destroyed in 1944. Here we visit the Caen Memorial, a Museum of Peace and of the Battle of Normandy. 

 

Lunch on your own in either the museum's restaurant or sandwich shop.

 

Returning to Cabourg, we view the home of Marie-Louise Osmont, author of an extraordinary diary about the German occupation and the liberation; and we stop at the Pegasus Bridge where the first Allied troops (British) landed on French soil on D-Day.

 

Return to Cabourg for dinner in the hotel.

Overnight: Grand Hôtel Cabourg

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Saturday, May 8th

An optional day: Château de Canisy or Bayeux

 

This is a day to rest, relax and explore the château or go to Bayeux, the best-preserved medieval city in the region. Our motorcoach will leave Canisy at 10:00 AM for the one-hour drive to Bayeux and return at 3:00 PM.

 

Bayeux has several fine restaurants and fashionable shops. If you remain in Canisy, this is a good time to explore the perfectly manicured grounds, the glimmering ponds and the botanical garden. The parish church is on the grounds of the

château and you can walk into the village.

 

If you remain in Canisy, a light lunch will be served in the château.

 

Cocktails and dinner at the château.

Overnight: Château de Canisy

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Tuesday, May 11th

“Operation Cobra”, the historic town of Avranches; Mont Saint Michel

We begin by retracing the route of the American breakthrough of German defenses – "Operation Cobra" on July 25th – then on to Mont Saint Michel where we have a guided tour of the great monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded in the year 708 AD. En route, we stop in the historic hilltop town of Avranches to visit the Patton Monument where the general established his headquarters after the break through.

 

Then to Mont Saint Michel, one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights and religious edifices. Set on an island in a mesmerizing sea, the view has inspired awe and imagination for thirteen centuries. Lunch on your own in one of numerous cafes and restaurants on the ground level of the ancient abbey.

 

Return to Canisy for our farewell reception and dinner in the Château.

Overnight: Château de Canisy

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@2016 Gay Gillen Travel. An independent associate of Brownell Travel, a Virtuoso Company. Photos graciously provided by Aman Resorts, Firmdale Hotels and Great Plains Conservation, 

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