Arrive at any time. There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.
We recommended arriving a day or two early to fully explore this world-renowned city. The "City of Lights" is unlike any other place on earth. Known for its glorious monuments, museums, and markets, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, Montmartre to the Marais, Paris has something for everyone. Discover for yourself Paris' "je ne sais quoi."
Travel to Giverny for an enchanting visit to artist Claude Monet's garden, inspiration for his famed series of water lily paintings and declared one of National Geographic's "top 10 most magnificent gardens in the world." Continue to the pretty port town of Honfleur for a CEO led walk and some free time in this historic harbour where the Seine River meets the English Channel. This evening, arrive in Bayeux and enjoy a dinner at a local creperie. Depart Paris for Upper Normandy and the quaint village of Giverny. Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked here 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. These served as inspiration for his celebrated water-lily series and have been named by National Geographic as one of the "10 most magnificent gardens in the world."
Honfleur sits on the estuary where the River Seine meets the English Channel and is considered one of the prettiest port towns in France. Its quaint harbour and historic buildings have always been a draw for artists, including Monet.
Delve into World War II history alongside a recognized war historian. Gain insights during a lecture on the Allied invasion of Normandy, and examine and handle wartime relics such as vintage weapons, uniforms, and maps at a local museum. Then board a transport vehicle and head to Secqueville-en-Bessin War Cemetery to learn about the significance of poppies??the ultimate emblem of military sacrifice. This afternoon, conjure scenes of the D-Day landing at notable Normandy sites including Omaha Beach, the cratered cliff-top at Pointe du Hoc, and the American cemetery and memorial. Take in scenes of the D-Day landing which had a pivotal role in the history of the world. Visit the moving memorials and beaches and learn about the impact this event had on the direction of the Second World War. The Battle of Normandy Historical Area is considered an open-air museum and includes all the sites, museums and memorials associated with D-Day and the invasion. Old army bunkers and war relics still exist along the five beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, while museums and memorials throughout the region stand as forceful reminders of this decisive period of WWII. Nearly 30 cemeteries (including American, British, Canadian, French, German and Polish) hold the remains of almost 100,000 young soldiers who never returned from their service in Normandy. Today these memorials offer quiet space for personal reflection for every visitor, young or old, regardless of nationality.
Go on an excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel, an island commune off the coast of Normandy. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the medieval fortress dates to the 6th century and is considered one of Europe's most stunning and imposing sites. Get your bearings on an CEO led orientation walk and then explore on your own. Opt to visit the abbey, monastery, or museums, or simply wander the winding lanes and cobblestone streets.
Enjoy a free day to explore Bayeux and its medieval centre. Amble along its quaint streets, taking in the local scene at shops and cafes. Then opt to visit the 11th-century Cathedral of Bayeux, a Norman-Romanesque architectural gem, and see the famed Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy.
Depart for riverside Rouen and set out around the port city on foot. Discover the beautiful city centre, noted for its Gothic churches and medieval half-timbered houses, and hear about its place in history as the place where Joan of Arc was tried for heresy. Enjoy free time here before heading back to Paris to spend the rest of the day at your leisure exploring the City of Lights. Rouen was an important city in the Roman era and Middle Ages, showcased by its historical (and beautiful) centre of Gothic churches and medieval half-timbered houses. it is most notable as the place where Joan of Arc was tried for heresy.
Enjoy a CEO led orientation walk this morning in the medieval centre of Paris; the Ile de la Cite. Opt to step inside Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic chapel that dazzles with 1,113 stained glass windows. Afterwards, indulge in a guided lunch presentation of French wine and cheese pairings, then take advantage of more free time to visit iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Later this afternoon and evening, you are free to explore on your own to discover the "je ne sais quoi" of this stunning city. Opt to visit the Eiffel Tower, explore the city's outstanding museums and churches, float down the River Seine on a cruise, or simply people-watch.