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Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Paris Arrival and Transfer to Bayeux

After individual arrivals into Paris, guests meet the tour manager at Charles de Gaulle Airport before heading directly to Normandy. After arriving in Bayeux and checking into the Hotel Villa Lara, the group enjoys an optional walking tour of the historic medieval city before dinner. The walk includes stops at Cathédrale de Bayeux and the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, home of the “Bayeux Tapestry,” which portrays William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. A welcome dinner at Le Lion d’Or Restaurant, where famous photographer Robert Capa and reporter Ernie Pyle ate and first celebrated the success of D-Day, ends the first day of the journey.

Hotel Villa Lara (D)

Tourists admiring the Bayeux Tapestry Tourists admiring the Bayeux Tapestry

Day 2: Sainte-Mère-Église and Utah Beach

Following breakfast at the hotel, touring focuses on the combined efforts of various airborne assaults that took place on June 6, 1944. The first stop is La Fière, where members of the 82nd Airborne fought off four days of attacks from German troops trying to retake this strategic bridge. Guests hear the stories of Bob Murphy and Johnny Marr in their own words, from The National WWII Museum’s oral-history collection. The next stop is Sainte-Mère-Église, where paratroopers landed during the pre-dawn hours of D-Day. After touring the Musée Airborne and visiting the church made famous in the film The Longest Day, guests enjoy time on their own before continuing to Brécourt Manor, where Dick Winters and his men from “Easy Company” made their famous assault on the German guns portrayed in the book and miniseries Band of Brothers. Today’s final visit is to the Utah Beach Museum, where the story of Teddy Roosevelt Jr. and the men who landed on Utah Beach is told. This outstanding museum is nestled in the sand dunes and sea grass that once held German defensive positions. Dinner this evening is enjoyed at a quaint Bayeux restaurant.

Hotel Villa Lara (B, D)

Musée du Debarquement Utah Beach Musée du Debarquement Utah Beach

Day 3: Vierville-sur-Mer—The Bedford Boys: One Town’s D-Day Sacrifice

The morning tour begins at Omaha Beach, where the landing craft transporting the Bedford Boys came ashore. While standing on the very section of “Dog Green” sector of Omaha Beach, Alex Kershaw recounts the horror that awaited them at H-Hour on D-Day and their bloody fate, bringing these men and their histories to life. En route to the next destination, guests listen to the oral history of Hal Baumgarten, who trained with Company A and landed immediately after them. Visits to other sites along Vierville-sur-Mer and at St. Laurent-sur-Mer follow, providing a close-up view of the intricate German defense system and giving a sense of the overwhelming odds the American soldiers faced on D-Day. After a special lunch at the hotel casino overlooking the bloodiest sands in US history, the tour continues to Pointe-du-Hoc, a strategic point that overlooks the surrounding coastline. The 2nd Ranger Battalion successfully scaled the cliffs to neutralize this heavily fortified German position. Guests learn about the desperate battle that took place between the unified 2nd and 5th Rangers fighting against multiple German counterattacks before returning to Bayeux for an evening at leisure.

Hotel Villa Lara (B, L)

Alex Kershaw guides guests on “Dog Green” sector of Omaha Beach Alex Kershaw guides guests on “Dog Green” sector of Omaha Beach

Day 4: Operation Cobra and Bedford’s Final Fate in Normandy

After breakfast, the tour follows the American advance of the summer of 1944 by heading to Saint-Lô, a stronghold and transportation hub through which the German army could move men and equipment to block the progress. It was in this area, in efforts to wrest the city from German control, that the final two Bedford Boys in Normandy were killed in action. The next stop is at the museum at Le Chapelle de la Madeleine, where guests hear about those who experienced the bombardment in the Battle of Saint-Lô. After lunch and independent exploration, return to the coast at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. The group joins Kershaw to pay respects at the graves of the Bedford Boys, nine of whom are among the 9,387 Americans buried in the soil that they helped to liberate. After free time to reflect and participate in a wreath-laying memorial service, the group returns to Bayeux for a private “Farewell to Normandy” dinner at the extraordinary Chateau de Brouay, where guests will sample the region’s classic fare and its finest Calvados, an apple brandy at this storied Normandy château.

Hotel Villa Lara (B, D)

The Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville- Sur-Mer The Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville- Sur-Mer

Day 5: Paris Arrival: Following Kershaw’s Avenue of Spies

This morning begins with breakfast at the hotel before enjoying a scenic drive to Paris for a full day following Kershaw’s Avenue of Spies. Upon arrival, guests visit Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides before touring the “Nazi Triangle,” the upscale area where the Gestapo occupied several offices, including the leafy Avenue Foch, which was one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France. During the tour, Kershaw brings to life the tales of intrigue, deception, and danger that took place at various addresses along the avenue, beginning with American physician Sumner Jackson, the protagonist in Avenue of Spies. Jackson lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, performing dangerous deeds for the French Resistance right under the Nazis’ noses. Down the street at Number 72, Kershaw recounts Colonel Helmut Knochen’s orchestration of the crushing of Resistance forces from this imposing white villa. Across the street at Number 31, Captain Theodor Dannecker and Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann spent much of June 1942 planning the Grand Rafle—the Great Roundup—of July 16–17, in which German forces took more than 13,000 Jews to a velodrome before sending them to death camps. Continuing to Number 84, Kershaw relays the stories of horror that took place as brutal Gestapo operatives tortured their “enemies,” including legendary British Special Operations Executive agents Violette Szabo, “The White Rabbit,” and “Madeleine,” in efforts to keep their sinister regime in power. This evening, after checking into the Westin Paris Vendôme, guests enjoy an evening at leisure in Paris.

The Westin Paris Vendôme (B, L)

View of the tree-lined avenues of Paris View of the tree-lined avenues of Paris

Day 6: The Liberation of Paris

The morning tour of Paris begins after breakfast and includes sites with a focus on the occupation and liberation of the city more than 70 years ago. Guests follow in the footsteps of the Führer, visiting several of the landmarks that Hitler admired during his victory tour in June 1940, which proved to be his one and only visit to “The City of Light.” In addition to the Opera, Notre Dame, and the Pantheon, the tour includes a stop at the Hotel de Ville, where liberating American troops fought fiercely in August 1944, and Hotel Meurice, where the high drama of the German surrender played out, as portrayed in the movie Is Paris Burning? After free time for lunch, the last day in Paris fittingly ends at Père Lachaise, the famous cemetery where guests pay respects to French Resistance heroes and the victims of Nazi rule, many of whom, like Dr. Jackson and his family, were deported to concentration camps. The tour wraps up at Pasco, which became a favorite of Kershaw’s during his many research trips to France, for a farewell dinner with a very special guest who lived through Nazi occupation.

The Westin Paris Vendôme (B, L, D)

The Grand Staircase in Palais Garnier, National Opera House, Paris The Grand Staircase in Palais Garnier, National Opera House, Paris

Day 7: Return to the United States

After breakfast at the hotel, guests are transferred to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Alternatively, guests who participate in the Versailles post-tour extension program remain for one additional night at The Westin Paris Vendôme.

(B)

Liberation of Paris Liberation of Paris

Versailles: Optional Two-Day Post-Tour Extension Program

October 19 - 20, 2017

Our post-tour extension program spends the day at the Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. It was the site where the world’s statesmen signed the ill-fated peace treaty ending World War I. The defeated Germans ultimately rejected the harsh provisions of the pact, setting the stage for another world war. Guests visit the famous Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), the actual site of the treaty signing, and tour the royal apartments, which still look much as they did when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fled before an outraged mob in 1789. The tour then returns to Paris for an evening at leisure in preparation for the return journey home the next day.

The Westin Paris Vendôme (B, L)

Versailles Versailles

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Rosenheim

What Is Included In The Tour?

Tour Inclusions

  • Exclusive itinerary designed by The National WWII Museum and Alex Kershaw
  • Full-time access Kershaw, who will personally guide guests through the locations that inspired his best-selling books Avenue of Spies and The Bedford Boys
  • Video oral-history presentations from the Museum collection
  • Special access to sites note offered on other tours, including Kershaw’s selections of France’s most fascinating sights
  • VIP events with the opportunity to meet eyewitnesses to the history of WWII-era France, including the D-Day invasions, life in occupied Paris, and the daring efforts of the French Resistance
  • Personalized, autographed copy of Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris
  • Full-time logistical tour manager
  • Roundtrip airport transfers (when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates)
  • Luxury five-star and deluxe four-star hotel accommodations
  • Welcome and farewell receptions
  • Entrance fees to all sites, museums, and historic attractions in itinerary
  • 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • Free-flow beer, wine, and soft drinks included with lunches and dinners
  • Personal listening devices on all included touring
  • Private, first-class air conditioned motor coach transportation
  • Included gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and servers
  • Document wallet, personalized luggage tags, and customized name badge
  • Personal journal and pen to document your journey

What Isn't Included In The Tour?

Tour Exclusions

  • International and/or domestic airfare, unless noted otherwise within the program brochure
  • Fees for passports and, if applicable, visas, entry/departure fees
  • Laundry and dry cleaning
  • Meals and beverages not outlined in the program brochure under included features
  • Travel insurance
  • All items of a strictly personal nature
  • Airport/hotel transfers outside of official program dates
  • Excursions not included in program itinerary

Additional Services

Please contact us regarding:

  • Additional pre and/or post-hotel nights
  • Travel insurance
  • Flight assistance
  • Private transfers

We’re pleased to assist you with additional services you may require, ensuring you a worry-free journey with The National WWII Museum.


Featured historian

Alex Kershaw

Alex Kershaw

Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed best sellers The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, The Few, The Liberator, and Escape from the Deep, as well as biographies of Jack London, Raoul Wallenberg and Robert Capa. An honorary colonel in the 116th Infantry Regiment, he began his research for his latest book, Avenue of Spies, while leading a tour of Europe for The National WWII Museum. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son. He is currently researching a follow-up book to The Bedford Boys about D-Day.

Museum Historian

Larry Decuers

Larry Decuers

After serving in the US Army's 101st Airborne Division as an infantryman, Larry Decuers joined The National WWII Museum as a curator in 2008. Specializing in infantry weapons, uniforms, and equipment of World War II, Larry brings this vast knowledge on our Normandy and Battle of the Bulge tours. Since joining the Museum, he has curated exhibits on the Battle of Midway, the Eastern Front, and the Air War in Europe. Larry has led multiple tours to Europe, and has led hundreds of tours through The National WWII Museum’s artifacts and armament collection, providing an in-depth perspective of what the soldiers carried and how it affected outcomes on the battle field.

Kershaw Describes the Tour

Larry Decuers Describes the Tour

Tour Map


Tour Price

$5,995 Per Person Double Occupancy

$7,690 Per Person Single Occupancy

$1,000 Deposit to register, final balance due 90 days prior to departure

$699 Per Person Double Occupancy - Two-Day Post-Tour Extension - Versailles

$898 Per Person Single Occupancy - Two-Day Post-Tour Extension - Versailles

BOOK YOUR TRIP TODAY!

Accommodations

Hotel Villa Lara

Hotel Villa Lara

This centrally located, exquisite four-star boutique hotel offers a breathtaking view of the Cathédrale de Bayeux, while placing guests within a short stroll of the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux and the Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie. The elegant rooms come equipped with free Wi-Fi, flats-screen TVs, and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Buffet breakfast is served daily.

Westin Paris-Vendôme

Paris: Westin Vendôme

The Westin Paris – Vendôme, a four-star hotel, is close to the Louvre Museum and the Place Vendôme and offers stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. The upscale rooms offer plush furnishings, Wi-Fi (fee), and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms offer views of the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Amenities include a luxurious spa and an exercise room, plus a chic restaurant serving modern dishes, a lavish 19th-century inspired bar, and a terrace with seating and a fountain.


Harold Baumgarten Oral History

Dr. Harold Baumgarten

Dr. Harold Baumgarten

Baumgarten served with the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division during the first wave of attacks on D-Day. He was part of Company A, known as the "boys from Bedford."

Watch Oral History

The Official Avenue of Spies Book Launch

Watch The Official Book Launch of Alex Kershaw's New Book "Avenue of Spies" by The National WWII Museum on livestream.com


About the Books

  • Bedford Boys
    June 6, 1944: Nineteen boys from rural Bedford, Virginia, died in the first bloody minutes of D-Day. They were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, and among the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches at Normandy. Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia community died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sons of Bedford lost—it is a story one cannot easily forget and one that the families of Bedford will never forget. Here is the true and intimate story of these men, and the friends and families they left behind—the story of one small American town that went to war and died on Omaha Beach.

  • Avenue of Spies
    At the dawn of the 1940s, few could boast a more exclusive address than those on Paris’s renowned Avenue Foch. Home to dignitaries, socialites, and some of Europe’s wealthiest citizens, in June of 1940 it would gain a new reputation as the Nazis marched into the City of Light, marking the beginning of over four years of German occupation. Paris was the jewel in Hitler’s Crown and from the confiscated mansions of Avenue Foch, his Gestapo would hold the city in its sinister grip. What the Nazis did not know, however, was that just down the street at number 11, a strong-hold of French resistance had taken root. InAvenue Of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris (Crown; August 4, 2015), New York Times best-selling author and acclaimed WWII historian Alex Kershaw recounts the story of one family’s heroic efforts to defeat the evil in their midst.

    Phillip Jackson was only 12 when the Nazis became his neighbors in Paris, the Gestapo setting up their base of operations at 72 Avenue Foch. Phillip's father, Sumner, was an esteemed American doctor at the nearby American Hospital in Paris and so he and his wife, Toquette, were allowed to remain in their home with their son. While an American by birth, Sumner had made his home in Paris to be near his wife’s family and he would do what he could to serve his adopted country during its darkest days. From his position at the hospital, Sumner would help Allied soldiers brought to him for treatment escape the Nazis, smuggling them out of France with new names and forged documents. Meanwhile, at home on Avenue Foch, Toquette would let members of the French resistance movement use the Jackson home as a key meeting place and drop site for relaying crucial information to the Allies. On May 25, 1944, just weeks before the liberation of France, however, there came a knock on the Jacksons’ door. Discovered at last by the Nazis, the Jacksons would suffer the fate of those whom they had spent years trying to save—a journey into the hell of Hitler’s making.

    Today, nearing 90, Phillip Jackson has shared the story of his family's remarkable efforts with Kershaw in a series of interviews from his home in Paris. Combining these conversations with other first-hand accounts, and painstaking research into military, hospital, and intelligence archives in both Europe and the U.S., Kershaw has crafted an astounding work of history that reads like the best of spy novels. Avenue of Spies affords us an unforgettable window into the life of an ordinary family whose extraordinary efforts and sacrifice helped change the course of history.


Testimonials

  • “I can't imagine traveling with a more knowledgeable group than Larry, Alex, and Roland.  Alex's commentary brought a very personal insight to the people and events of Normandy and the Bulge.” —David L., Tempe, Arizona

  • “Alex did a splendid job. Courteous, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and engaged. I could not hope for more. I appreciated the balance of a larger scope of history with the human stories interwoven.” —Rebecca R., Lexington, Massachusetts

  • “Alex Kershaw was a terrific historian—both informing and entertaining us throughout the trip.” —David B, Danville, California

  • “The tour was excellent, food was great and hotels were very nice. Having Alex Kershaw made the entire trip!” — Kristin S., Burleson, Texas

  • “I could not have been more impressed. Alex Kershaw was fascinating and the trip was five stars throughout.” —Richard R., Jacksonville, Florida

  • “It was awesome! I'm a huge Alex Kershaw fan so it was great to visit some of the spots he talks about in his books.” —Constance S., Chelsea, Alabama