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The Best of Northern France: Paris and Normandy

Program Number: 21095RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/9/2014 - 10/17/2014; 5/21/2015 - 5/29/2015; 9/3/2015 - 9/11/2015; 9/10/2015 - 9/18/2015; 9/17/2015 - 9/25/2015; 9/24/2015 - 10/2/2015; 10/1/2015 - 10/9/2015; 10/8/2015 - 10/16/2015; 10/22/2015 - 10/30/2015; 10/29/2015 - 11/6/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $2,349.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 7 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience two faces of France on this journey that combines field trips led by top-notch Road Scholar experts with plenty of time for independent discoveries. Begin by discovering Paris’ grand boulevards, Gothic architecture and world-class museums. Then venture to Normandy to explore its Celtic-influenced culture, medieval history, natural beauty and tantalizing cuisine.


• Explore Paris’ markets, museums and cafés and take a field trip to the opulent Palace of Versailles.
• Learn the story of the Allied Invasion of Normandy as you explore the landing beaches in period military vehicles.
• Discover Mont Saint-Michel, a medieval island fortress and abbey that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Activity Particulars

Substantial walking; cobblestones and uneven and hilly terrain. Use of the Paris Métro, accessed by stairs.

Date Specific Information


Please note on this date we will stay in Caen instead of Bayeux.

5-21-2015, 9-3-2015, 9-10-2015, 9-17-2015, 9-24-2015, 10-1-2015, 10-22-2015, 10-29-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


This departure date will stay in Caen instead of Bayeux.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Paris, 3 nights; coach to Bayeux, 3 nights; coach to Paris, 1 night; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Paris
3 nights

Begin your time in Paris with a welcome dinner and an evening excursion to see the City of Lights by night. Explore the medieval Île de la Cité and learn about two fantastic examples of Gothic architecture: Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sainte Chapelle. Spend a morning like a true Parisian as you visit a popular market then examine the unparalleled Impressionist collection of the Musée d’Orsay. Enjoy free time to experience the neighborhoods and cafés of Paris on your own.

Coach to Bayeux
3 nights
Coach to Paris
1 night

En route to Normandy, stop to walk in Claude Monet’s colorful gardens in Giverny and to visit Rouen’s imposing Gothic cathedral. Delve into the story of the Allied Invasion of Normandy as you explore the landing beaches in period military vehicles then pay your respects at the Normandy American Cemetery. Sample delicacies of Normandy including Camembert cheese and Calvados apple brandy. Journey to Mont Saint-Michel and the picturesque port of Honfleur. Discover the Palace of Versailles, lasting monument to the excesses of the “Sun King” Louis XIV.


The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.

Paris: Modern hotel in Montmartre; comfortable hotel near airport (final night). Bayeux: Charming hotel on a pedestrian street in the city’s old section.
Meals and Lodgings
   Streets Hotel
  Paris, France 3 nights
   Best Western Plus Hotel Malherbe
  Caen, France 3 nights
   Villa Beaumarchais
  Paris CDG Airport hotel, France 1 night
 Streets Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Streets Hotel is located in the heart of the fashionable district Le Marais, just a few steps away from the Place de la Republique. The hotel offers high tech and unique services.
  Contact info: 13 Boulevard du Temple
Paris,  75003 France
phone: +33 1 42 71 20 00
  Room amenities: The rooms include a smart T.V. with Miracast.
  Facility amenities: Streets Hotel offers free WiFi, a fitness center, a patio, a business center, and a restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for details Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings

 Best Western Plus Hotel Malherbe
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Best Western Plus Hotel Malherbe is located in downtown Caen in front of the racecourse and is within walking distance from the Exhibition Center. There is a lot to discover in the area, including two medieval Abbey Churches and the Castle of Caen, all founded by the Duke of Normandy and the Memorial of Caen - Museum for Peace.
  Contact info: 4 PLACE MARECHAL FOCH
Caen,  14000 France
phone: +01 49 02 00 33
  Room amenities: The 88 spacious bedrooms offer a very trendy graphic atmosphere with beige and chocolate tones. All the rooms are equipped with a bathrooms with a bathtub or shower and a hair-dryer, a flat screen TV and international satellite network, a telephone, a safe attress and free WiFi access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers high speed internet, a fitness center, a restaurant, and room service.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Villa Beaumarchais
Type: Hotel
  Description: Nestled at the corner of the Passage du Grand Veneur, the Villa Beaumarchais echoes the charm of typical lanes of the Place des Vosges.
  Contact info: 5 rue des Arquebusiers
Paris,  75003 France
phone: +33 (0)1 40 29 14 00
  Room amenities: Cable television, complimentary newspaper, air conditioning, phone, internet access, minibar, wake-up calls, private bathroom, bathrobes, hair dryer, pay movies, in-room safe
  Facility amenities: Buffet breakfasts, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, WiFi, safe.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and availability.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program starts with the orientation in Paris at 6 PM. You will be staying at Streets Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the Hotel in Paris. You will be staying at Villa Beaumarchais the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Driving to this program is not recommended.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and buses are available. Schedules and directions change regularly. Please consult the CDG airport website for the most up to date information:
To Start of Program
  Location:  Paris
  Nearest airport:  Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
  Transportation to site: An arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Transfers are organized by shared shuttle. Participants who plan on arriving early and make their own way to the Streets hotel in Paris should notify Road Scholar prior to departure. Taxis are available readily at the Paris-DeGaulle airport and shared shuttles can be reserved ahead of time. Parishuttle, a third party service, offers a discounted shared shuttle and private transfer rates to Road Scholar participants. The rate they offer is about 10% discount off their published rate. Use the website below to take advantage of these rates and book your transfers for arrival and departure from Paris. You will need to pay in advance with a credit card to confirm reservations and print your own voucher. (Please note when using this link that the website does not indicate that the prices are discounted.)
  From End of Program
  Location:  Paris CDG Airport hotel
  Transportation from site: A departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and departs on the group date. Transfers are organized by shared shuttle. Independent travelers may join the group transfer if their flight coincides with the transfer. Alternatively, a taxi can be taken or a Parishuttle reservation can be made.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures from the USA
(Thursday, October 9)
 In Transit Overnight: International flight to France.

Day 2: Arrival in Paris / Orientation / Evening City Tour
(Friday, October 10)
 Arrive To: Arrival in Paris and transfer to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel and take some time to relax and to freshen up before orientation. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner near the hotel.
 Evening: See the highlights of the city of Paris by tour bus. Depending on the time of year, you may or may not see the lights of Paris.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: L'île de la Cité / Sainte Chapelle / Notre Dame Cathedral / Free Time
(Saturday, October 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will take a field trip to explore the heart of Paris: L'île de la Cité. Discover the flower markets and Sainte Chapelle - one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture. We will end the morning at Notre Dame cathedral and then cross the Seine River over to Beaubourg for lunch near the famed contemporary museum and its fountain.
 Lunch: Lunch at a creperie near Les Halles.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to explore Paris, do some shopping in Les Halles or see one of the many museums that are easy connections. Alternatively, join your group leader who will head into the Marais for a walk in this historic and dynamic part of Paris. Visit the Paris' History Museum's (Musée Carnavalet) permanant collection and end the afternoon at the Place des Vogues.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Parisian Market / Orsay Museum / Montmartre
(Sunday, October 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Experience the lifestyle of a typical Parisian. We will visit the Sunday market at Richard Lenoir and enjoy the smells and flavors of Paris as we explore this popular little outdoor Sunday market. We will then continue the morning at the Orsay museum for a self guided visit using the museums audio guide system. Orsay has the largest collection of Impressionist painters in the world.
 Lunch: At the Orsay Museum.
 Afternoon: We will end the day at Montmarte to explore the neighborhood that was made famous by artists and still is to this day popular with current Parisian artists and writers. See Sacre Coeur and Place du Terte, and also explore the back and side streets of the well known neighborhood.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Streets Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Giverny and Monet's Garden / Rouen and the Cathedral of Rouen
(Monday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart by coach for Normandy. En route, you will enjoy a field trip to the beautiful gardens of Claude Monet at Giverny. Learn about the history of Giverny in the Impressionist movement. Afterwards, we will continue on to Rouen for lunch.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: We will discover historic Rouen. We will start at the Cathedral of Rouen, painted multiple times by Monet as he studied the impact of light. Rouen is also a city that offers outstanding examples of half timbered houses. Afterwards, we will continue on to the hotel in Caen.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant near the hotel.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Hotel Malherbe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: WWII in Normandy / The Landing Beaches / U.S. WWII Cemetery
(Tuesday, October 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will explore the landing sites of WWII in a very unique way- using period vehicles. Start the morning at Point du Hoc to learn about the preparation to D-Day and the bombing leading up to the troop arrivals. We continue the morning on the landing beach of Omaha and learn about how the beach head was taken with great sacrifice of the U.S. troops. We will see and discuss many of the remaining gun positions that survive still today. We will leave Omaha beach and pay our respect to the fallen soldiers at the U.S. WWII war cemetery where we will have a brief ceremony. We will finish in Arromomanches with a visit to the remants of the artificial harbor built by the troops to unload the equipment that won the war for the allies.
 Lunch: In Arromanches.
 Afternoon: We will depart by coach for Bayeux. Sample the region's renowned apple brandy at Le château d'Englesqueville, where the first U.S. monument honoring WWII soldiers was built. Afterwards, enjoy some free time in Bayeux to explore the city on your own. See the small but untouched cathedral or discover the Bayeux Tapestry which is a famous embroidered cloth—not an actual tapestry—depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Hotel Malherbe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Mont St. Michel / Farmhouse Lunch
(Wednesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont St. Michel. This tiny tidal island houses the majestic St. Michel Monastery.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local farm house inn featuring typical local Normandy specialties.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time in Caen.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Hotel Malherbe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Honfleur Charming Coastal Village / Versailles Palace and Gardens
(Thursday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Marvel at the unique architecture during a tour of historic Honfleur. Learn why this city has one of the few remaining all wooden churches and the important role it had in the settlement of new France. Please note that the Eugène Boudin museum will be closed during this time.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.
 Afternoon: We will depart by coach for a field trip to Versailles Palace. Enjoy visiting the inside of the castle and the Hall of Mirrors and later take some time to explore the gardens on your own.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the Paris hotel.
Accommodations: Villa Beaumarchais
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departures from France or Onward to your Combination Program
(Friday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfers to Charles de Gaulle airport. NOTE FOR PARTICIPANTS COMBINING THIS PROGRRAM WITH PROGRAM 21096: Because these programs are designed to be taken together, your transportation to Aix en Provence has been arranged by Road Scholar and is complimentary. Please see details of program 21096 for the start time on this day. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Paris Musee Jacquemart-Andre
The Jacquemart-André Museum, founded by collector Édouard André and his portraitist wife Nélie Jacquemart, is in an opulent mid-19th-century residence on one of Paris’ posher avenues. It has furniture, tapestries and enamels, but is most noted for its paintings by Rembrandt and Van Dyck and Italian Renaissance works by Bernini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Donatello, Mantegna, Tintoretto, Titian and Uccello. Don’t miss the Jardin d’Hiver (Winter Garden), with its marble statuary, tropical plants and double-helix marble staircase. Just off it is the delightful fumoir (the erstwhile smoking room) filled with exotic objects collected by Jacquemart during her travels. The salon de thé is one of the most beautiful in the city. For additional information, visit
  Musee National du Moyen Age
The National Museum of the Middle Ages is housed in two structures: the frigidarium (cooling room) and other remains of Gallo-Roman baths dating from around AD 200, and the late-15th-century Hôtel de Cluny, considered the finest example of medieval civil architecture in Paris. The spectacular displays at the museum include statuary, illuminated manuscripts, weapons, furnishings, and objets d’art made of gold, ivory and enamel. But nothing compares with La Dame à la Licorne (The Lady with the Unicorn), a sublime series of late-15th-century tapestries from the southern Netherlands now hung in circular room 13 on the 1st floor. Five of them are devoted to the senses, while the sixth is the enigmatic À Mon Seul Désir (To My Sole Desire), a reflection on vanity. For additional information, visit
  Musee de L’Orangerie
Located in the southwestern corner of the Jardin des Tuileries, this museum, with the Jeu de Paume, is all that remains of the once palatial Palais des Tuileries, which was razed during the Paris Commune in 1871. It exhibits important Impressionist works, including a series of Monet's Decorations des Nymphéas (Water Lilies) in two huge oval rooms purpose-built in 1927 on the artist's instructions, as well as works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Sisley, Soutine and Utrillo. For additional information, visit
  Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
The rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is a street in the 8th arrondissement. Although relatively narrow and nondescript (especially in comparison to the avenue des Champs-Élysées), it is cited as being one of the most fashionable streets in the world, thanks to the presence of virtually every major global fashion house.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

1066, The Year of the Conquest

Author: David Howarth

Description: A crack medievalist and storyteller, Howarth brings to life the momentous events of 1066 in rich, anecdotal history -- a classic portrait of the Norman invasion and conquest of England.

A Moveable Feast

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Description: A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.

A Traveller's History of France

Author: Robert Cole

Description: This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.

Battle of Normandy 1944 Map

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A reproduction of a 1947 map of Normandy showing the main sites of the summer 1944 battle.

Between Meals, An Appetite for Paris

Author: A.J. Liebling

Description: Liebling captures with stylish prose his coming-of-age in Paris in this elegant memoir, which is also a tribute to French cuisine.

D-Day June 6, 1944, The Climactic Battle of World War II

Author: Stephen Ambrose

Description: Written by the best-selling historian Stephen Ambrose, this well researched book draws together interviews and government documents to tell the gripping tale of D-Day. This comprehensive account contains 32 pages of photos and eight maps.

Fodor's Paris' 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This shirt-pocket map and guide includes essential information on the city's history, highlights and sightseeing, ideal for a short visit to the City of Light.

Joan of Arc

Author: Mary Gordon

Description: In elegant, insightful prose, novelist Gordon meditates on the courageous and complex young girl and the iconic status she has acquired.

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook

Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet

Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Madame Bovary

Author: Lydia Davis (Translator), Gustave Flaubert

Description: The landmark novel of a woman who suffers in search of relief from her humdrum life in a provincial village outside Rouen.

Made in France, A Shopper's Guide

Author: Laura Morelli

Description: Both a fascinating history of France's artisanal legacy and an insider's shopping guide, the book includes illustrations, maps, a primer on French shopping culture and craft festivals.

Michelin Green Guide Normandy

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A thorough introduction to Normandy and the Channel islands in the classic Michelin style, featuring brief descriptions of all the major attractions. Organized alphabetically, we like it for its broad coverage, and especially for its excellent local maps.

Monet, the Ultimate Impressionist

Author: Sylvie Patin

Description: A colorful pocket-size reference to Monet's life, paintings and contemporaries, perfect for those visiting Giverny.

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres

Author: Henry Brooks Adams

Description: First published at the turn of the century, this classic work is a meditation on the Medieval world as reflected through its most famous religious structures.

Normandy Map 513

Author: Michelin

Description: A colorful, detailed map of Normandy at a scale of 1:200,000, featuring Rouen, Le Havre and the route of the Seine from west of Paris to the Atlantic.

Paris to the Moon

Author: Adam Gopnik

Description: Gopnik writes with candor and humor about Paris and Parisian ways in these charming reflections on adapting to life in glorious exile.

Six Armies in Normandy, From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris

Author: John Keegan

Description: A provocative account of the invasion of Normandy and the battles that proceeded it. Keegan's intense descriptions of the war in northern France are accompanied by perceptive analysis of the military tactics that resulted in Allied victory.

The Food of France

Author: Waverly Root

Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).

The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France

Author: Ina Caro

Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.

The Secret Life of the Seine

Author: Mort Rosenblum

Description: After losing his Paris apartment, Rosenblum, a born storyteller, takes to a houseboat moored on the Seine. The result is this entertaining tour of the places and people he encounters during his explorations along the river.

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