The region of the Somme and the D-Day beaches of Normandy have a special place in world and European history. Our tour visits the Somme Battlefields of Villers-Bretonneux and Frommelles, as well as Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast. Visits to the War memorials and museums is a sober experience and reminder of man's inhumane treatment of fellow man during the "great war" and World War II. In Normandie we also visit the beautiful fishing village of Hornfluer as well as view the centuries-old Bayeux Tapestry - telling the history of William the Conqueror and the events leading to the Battle of Hastings. Travelling south we stay at the township of Avignon - where the popes had their residence for 2 centuries during the strife in Rome and the Vatican. Finally we end up on the Mediterranan coast and the infamous resorts of Nice, Antibe, Cannes and the Principality of Monaco. Our tour will alow you to see and taste the various cultures of France from the northern beaches, through the centre to the azure seas of the France's Riviera.
Day 01 PARIS. Arrival at your own leisure and check-in to out hotel located in the St. germain des Pres district. Tonight we have a Welcome Meeting followed by dinner at a local resuarant. Accommodation: Hotel Central or similar. (D)
Day 02 PARIS. Today we have a full-day guided tour of this great city, taking in the landmarks such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees,Arc de Triumphe and Sacre Couer. In teh afternoon we travela short distance to the outskirts of Paris and the community of Versailles - where France's most famous palace and gardens is located. A guided tour here before a late afternoon return to our hotel. (B)
Day 03 PARIS. A day at leisure to explore Paris, perhaps taking the stairs or elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre to see the "mona Lisa" or a sightseeing cruise on the River Seine. Tonight we take the evening meal in the lively Latin Quarter, (B, D)
Day 04 PARIS - AMIENS. A late morning departure heading northwest to the province of Pas de Calais and the city of Amien. A guided walking tour here will show us the Cathedral of Notre Dame D'Amiens, the house/museum of the great writer Jules Verne and the narrow streets of the historic old town of Amiens that grew up in the Middle Ages. Tonight dinner is taken in a local restaurant. Accommodation: Hotel Cathedral of similar. (B,D)
Day 05 - AMIENS - Battlefields - AMIENS. A short drive from Amiens lies the small village of Villers-Bretonneux. This town resonates in Australian "great war" history as it was on 25 April 1918 that Australian armed forces liberated the small village from German troops. Ironically - it was 3 years to the day after the landing at Gallipoli of the Australian and New Zealand forces, and the birth of the term "ANZAC". Today the children and townspeople of Villers-Bretonneux recognise the sacrifice and bravery of the Australian forces with a small museum and banner in the local school that reads "N'oublions jamais l'Australie" - "never forget Australia. After a visit to the local school and the Australia War Memorial and Cemetery, we continue north toward the French-Belgium border to visit the Australian War Memorial at Frommelles. It was here that Australian troops fought one of their first major battles against the Germans in 1916, and more than 5,000 soldiers became casualties. After a time of reflection of the horrors of war, we return to Amiens. (B)
Day 06 - AMIENS - HORNFLEUR. Continuing our journey north, we reach our destination at the quaint fishing village and port of Hornfleur. The small town on the coast of Normandie in Northern France has what is surely one of the most picturesque ports in Europe. Honfleur is a town of artists who are inspired to this day by the enchanting skies of Normandie, and the beauty of the town. Eugène Boudin was an early impressionist painter who was born in Honfleur. Many of his paintings are on display in the museum named after him, alongside works of other artists inspired by the region. We have a guided walking tour here followed by plentyof free time to explore the port and old town area before. The town is alive with restaurants and brasseries, so we have allowed you the chance to explore and experience the local restaurants. "Moules" (mussels) are the delicacy here..! (B).
Day 07 - HORNFLEUR -Chateau du Breuil - CAEN. Some free time in Hornfleur before we depart for a visit to Chateua du Breuil, known for it's production of "calvados". This strong spirit, made from fermented apples, is a delicacy of the area and used quite often in cooking. After a visit to the distillery and cellars, we sample calvados and "pommeaux" before departing to Caen. The largest city and capital of the region of Basse Normandie, it was almost completely destroyed during the bombings of 1944. 900 years earlier it had been the favourite residence of William the Conqueror. We have a guided city walking tour before check-in at our hotel. Accommodation; Hotel Mercure Centre or similar. (B)
Day 08 CAEN - Omaha Beach - Bayeux - CAEN. Today we have a full-day tour to the infamous Omaha Beach where the main D-Day landings were staged. The newly-opened museum will tell the history of the Allied forces and their tragic miscalculated beach attack against the German forces. We also spend some time in the American War Cemetery - the first on European soil - where the bodies of more than 9,300 soldiers have been laid to rest. Nearby is the small village of Port en Bassin where former German big gun emplacements have now been turned into museums. In the afternoon we continue to Bayeux where we will see the 70m "tapestry" made in the 11th century and telling the story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex, the men who led the Norman and Saxon armies in 1066. William's defeat of Harold at the Battle of Hastings ensured the success of the Norman invasion of England.we conclude the day by returning to Caen. Teh evening at leisure to enjoy one of the local restaurants. (B)
Day 09 CAEN - ROUEN. This morning we visit the newly-opened Caen Memorial, which has an impressive display of artifacts from World War.II. After lunch we continue oir journey to Rouen, situated on the Sein River, and the capital city of Normandy. Here we have a walking tour which will show us the highlight ofthe city - the Cathedral of Notre Dame - whichewas completed in 1250.! Tonight we take dinner in the Restaurent La Couronne, France's oldest restaurant and featured in the movie "Julie & Julia". Accommodation: La Bourgtherolde or similar (B,D)
Day 10 ROUEN - PARIS - AVIGNON. This morning we return to Paris to board the TGV (very fast train) and travel toward the south of France and the region of Provence. With its bridge, famous the world over in the beloved children's song, the Palace of the Popes, testimony to its prestigious past as Capital of Christianity in the Middle Ages, Avignon offers grandiose architecture, ranked among UNESCO's World Heritage. Dinner will be taken in a local restaurant this evening (B,D)
Day 11 AVIGNON. This morning we have a guided walking tour of the old town, including entry and a tour of the Palace of the Popes - one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. Afternoon at leisure to explore the town at your own pace. (B)
Day 12 AVIGNON - NICE. Today we continue on the TGV to the Mediterranen coast and the renowned city of Nice. Tonight we take dinner at a restaurant in "old Nice". Accommodation: Gold Star Suites or similar (B,D)
Day 13 NICE - Eze - Monaco - NICE. Today we have a full day tour along the "Riviera". First stop is at the tiny village of Eze - perched in an "eagle's nest" at the height of an imposing and superb cliff, the village and its light ochre church can be seen from afar. Next stop will be the Principality of Monaco, currently ruled by Prince Albert II. Monaco is well known for its tax haven status, and has a great deal to do with its exclusivity and appeal. It is also well known for tourism as a playgroud for the rich and famous, with it's renowned Monte Carlo Casino. We have some f ree time here before returning via the coast road to Nice. Tonight is at leisure to enjoy the old town or the port district.. (B)
Day 14 NICE - Grasse - Cannes - NICE. We have a full-day excursion from the coast to the hinterland and the village of Grasse, renowned for it's perfumes, mainly derived from the lavender plant. Grasse has been called 'the perfume capital of the world' and despite four centuries as the Queen of Perfume it still rightly deserves this title. while here we will visit perfume factory to learn how some of the world's famous essences are produced. In the afternoon we make our way back down to the coast and the ritzy resort port of Cannes. Today, everyone sees Cannes as the world capital of cinema, the city of spangles and starlets, gold and yachts (often immobile), glitter and stars. It is a paradisiacal holiday venue for the wealthy and mighty, the stir of international conventions and also, in summer, the thrill of holidaymakers treading on the red carpet of the Festival Hall steps, with their head in the stars. Free time here to explore the port and old town before we return to our hotel in Nice. Tonight we have a farwell dinner at one of the restaurants in "old Nice".(B,D)
Day 15 NICE - End of Tour. The tour concludes after breakfast with a transfer to Nice Airport or the railway station.