Paris: Optional Pre–tour Extension
September 12 - 13, 2017
Guests settle into France prior to the start of the Normandy tour program! As a part of our optional two-night pre-tour extension, tour members enjoy Paris at their leisure. After arrival into Charles de Gaulle Airport on Tuesday, September 12, guests take a private transfer to The Westin Paris – Vendôme, a luxury property that offers the best of the City of Lights. In addition to the magnificent views of the city from the hotel, guests are moments away from the Louvre Museum and Tuileries Garden, the Eiffel Tower, and more. Visitors can explore Paris or relax while adjusting to the time change. Breakfast is included at the hotel each morning. Guests return to Charles de Gaulle Airport on Thursday, September 14, to meet the tour group to start D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy and the Liberation of France Tour
Westin Paris – Vendôme (B, x2)
Day One : Paris / Normandy
Guests meet the tour manager at Charles de Gaulle Airport and transfer to Normandy by private motorcoach. The tour enjoys independent lunch and a visit to Memorial de Caen prior to check-in at the hotel. Guests join the tour manager, battlefield guide, and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a local French restaurant.
Hotel D’Argouges (D)
Day Two : Pegasus Bridge / Gold / Juno / Sword
The day’s tour of Normandy begins where the first shots of the invasion were fired—at a few minutes after midnight on June 6, 1944—by British troops at the crucial Pegasus Bridge. Guests tour the British and Canadian sectors, then explore Arromanches, famous for the remains of a “Mulberry Harbor,” and enjoy lunch independently. Next is a trip up the commanding bluff where the well-known German gun emplacements at Longues-sur-Mer are located. Dinner this evening is at a quaint local restaurant.
Hotel D’Argouges (B, D)
Day Three : Château de Bernaville / Sainte Mère-Église / Utah Beach
A visit to the private Château de Bernaville begins the day. Guests travel along rural lanes, past hedgerows, and over causeways to La Fiere where the 82nd Airborne fought off attacks from German troops trying to retake this strategic bridge for four days. Continue to Sainte-Mère-Église, where paratroopers landed during the predawn hours of D-Day, then tour the Musée Airborne and visit the church made famous in the film The Longest Day. This afternoon, the tour visits Brécourt Manor, where Dick Winters and his men from Easy Company made the famous assault on the German guns portrayed in the book and miniseries Band of Brothers. A visit to the Utah Beach Museum concludes the day. Upon return to Bayeux, the group enjoys dinner with a local citizen who shares stories of the German occupation and American liberation.
Hotel D’Argouges (B, D)
Day 4 : Carentan / St. Lô
This morning’s first stop is the church at Angoville au Plain, where two American medics treated both American and German soldiers without prejudice, as long as they entered the church unarmed. The group continues to Carentan, the scene of fierce fighting between American 101st Airborne and German Fallschirmjäger troops. Guests stop at the small village of Graignes on the way to Saint-Lô, a valuable strongpoint and transportation hub through which the German army could move men and equipment to block American advances. Saint-Lô became the designated starting point for Operation Cobra, the breakout from the Bocage of Normandy. After time to lunch and explore Saint-Lô independently, an evening at leisure awaits the group on return to Bayeux.
Hotel D’Argouges (B)
Day 5 : Omaha Beach / American Cemetery / Pointe-du-Hoc
The morning begins at Omaha Beach with visits to Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and Vierville-sur-Mer, which provide a close-up view of the intricate German defense system and give a sense of the overwhelming odds the American soldiers faced on that first day. The tour continues to Pointe-du-Hoc, enjoying a picnic lunch en route, where guests learn the story of the 2nd Ranger Battalion scaling the cliffs to neutralize this heavily fortified German position. A visit to Colleville-sur-Mer concludes the day, with an opportunity to pay respects to the 9,387 Americans buried in the ground they helped liberate. A special “Farewell to Normandy” dinner is offered this evening.
Hotel D’Argouges (B, L, D)
Day 6 : Argentan / Falaise Gap / Chambois
Upon return to Paris, the tour visits Argentan, where Patton’s Third Army liberated the city from staunch German resistance, then continues to the Memorial de Montormel on Hill 262, where the Falaise Gap was sealed. A picturesque location on the way to Chambois will be the setting for the day’s picnic lunch. The Normandy portion of the tour symbolically ends there, at a memorial that commemorates the long-awaited linking of Allied forces when American, Canadian, and Polish troops were victorious in the final battle of Normandy. This evening, after checking into Sheraton Hotel Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, guests enjoy the City of Lights on your own.
Sheraton Hotel Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (B, L)
Day Seven : Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to the United States
After breakfast, group transfers are provided to Charles de Gaulle International Airport for your flight home.
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