France Family Journey: From Paris to Normandy and Beyond

National Geographic Family Journeys, Paris to Paris

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Explore the wonderful history, art, and culture of France on an adventure from iconic monuments in Paris to amazing cave dwellings in the Loire Valley. Find secret spots in the splendid gardens at Giverny and Versailles, study the strategy behind World War II operations, and solve ancient mysteries in the halls of historic castles and cloisters. From crepes to cathedrals, discover the many treasures this incredible country holds for travelers of all ages.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: D-Day Experience and Memorial Visit, Bayeux Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Crepe-Making Demonstration and Dinner, Bayeux Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Palace of Versailles Family Visit, Versailles
  • Arrival transfer
  • Guided Paris Île de la Cité walking tour
  • Giverny and Monet Gardens visit
  • Excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel
  • Bayeaux orientation walk
  • Troglodyte cave visit
  • Canoeing on the Cher River
  • Chenonceaux Castle Visit
  • Visit Clos Lucé
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Experience the magic of medieval cities
  • Delight in delicious flavors at a crepe-making demonstration
  • Learn about the history of world war ii and d-day
  • Explore the château de chenonceau and its winding hedge maze.

Itinerary

Day 1 Paris Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Arrival Airport Transfer
Day 2 Paris (1B) Head straight to the heart of Paris on a walking tour of the Île de la Cité, the island in the Seine where the city was first settled. Cross the stone arches of the Pont Neuf, or New Bridge—which is actually the oldest bridge in Paris! The rest of the day is yours to explore the City of Light. Choose to climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower, satisfy your sweet tooth at a chocolate-tasting workshop, or explore inside the iconic pyramid of the Louvre, home to treasures such as the "Mona Lisa" and the "Venus de Milo." Additional Notes: If you wish to visit the Louvre, catacombs or the Eiffel Tower, we recommend booking admission tickets online, prior to your departure. Many popular attractions in Europe have a timed ticketing system, so please ensure you are booking admission for the afternoon of this day. Without reserved tickets, there is the risk of waiting in long queues - a little planning goes a long way. Included Activities: Paris Île de la Cité Walking Tour
Day 3 Giverny/Honfleur/Bayeux (1B, 1L) Depart for Upper Normandy and the quaint village of Giverny; where Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked from 1883 until his death in 1926. Monet felt that his flower and water gardens here were his greatest works of art and to this day, they are meticulously maintained. Included Activities: Claude Monet's Gardens Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 263km)
Day 4 Bayeux (1B, 1D) This morning, delve into the story of D-Day and the battle to liberate France during a hands-on, sensorial World War II history experience. Feel the weight of real GI equipment, try on a field jacket, and taste the chocolate bars carried in soldiers’ kits. Climb aboard a military vehicle and drive to the nearby Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, the first American World War II cemetery established on European soil. After lunch, spend a free afternoon exploring historic Bayeux. Later, learn the delicate art of making crepes before gathering for a delicious dinner. Included Activities: D-Day Experience and Memorial Visit Crepe-Making Demonstration and Dinner Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours)
Day 5 Bayeux (1B) Venture to the amazing Mont-Saint-Michel, an island stronghold perched on a rock off the Normandy coast. Built in the eighth century, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been attacked and besieged, but rarely captured—perhaps due to the quicksand that surrounds the fortress at low tide! Head out on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to wander winding lanes and cobbled streets, climbing from the base of the mountain to its crowning medieval abbey. Meander through the cloister of the monastery or discover the island’s history at a museum. Return to Bayeux and choose to view the incredible Bayeux Tapestry, tracing the Norman conquest of England in colorful embroidery. Included Activities: Excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours)
Day 6 Loire Valley/Blois (1B, 1L) Say au revoir to Normandy and enter the lush green Loire Valley. Set foot inside the amazing cave dwellings known as troglodyte homes—charming houses built in and around cliff-side caverns. On an underground walk, delve into the geological history of the region and learn about the local troglodyte lifestyle. Continue to the ancient city of Blois, perched above the lovely Loire River, and enjoy a free evening to relax or explore this hillside city’s many staircases. Included Activities: Troglodyte Cave Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (4.50-5.00 hours, 465km)
Day 7 Chenonceaux/Ambroise/Blois (1B) Wake up this morning and head out on the water for a canoeing excursion along the Cher River. Paddle past picturesque medieval towns to the incredible Château de Chenonceau. This fairy-tale castle spans the river, while the gardens enclose sculpted hedges, a fantastic fountain, and a tricky maze. Later, venture to the last home of Leonardo da Vinci—the spectacular Château du Clos Lucé. Young travelers can pick up a special "inventor’s notebook" and set out to invent a machine using da Vinci’s ingenious tips and tricks. Additional Notes: You must be able to swim to take part in canoeing; if anyone in your family cannot swim, or if you choose to opt out of the canoeing, that is not a problem. We can transport you directly to the castle where you will have more time to explore. Included Activities: Cher River Canoeing & Chenonceau Visit Château du Clos Lucé Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-2.10 hours, 138km)
Day 8 Versailles/Paris (1B, 1D) Today, be amazed by the Hall of Mirrors in the magnificent Palace of Versailles, a World Heritage site. Imagine yourself decked out in velvet and gold as you stride between sparkling rooms on a guided tour, or explore the endless winding pathways in Versailles’ vast gardens. Return to Paris and enjoy a free afternoon to wander the banks of the Seine, munch on macarons, or shop in elegant boutiques. In the evening, gather for a farewell dinner. Included Activities: Palace of Versailles Family Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50-2.75 hours, 200km)
Day 9 Paris (1B) Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day
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