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The Best of Northern France: Paris and Normandy

Program Number: 21095RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/21/2015 - 5/29/2015; 4/28/2016 - 5/6/2016; 5/12/2016 - 5/20/2016; 5/19/2016 - 5/27/2016; 5/26/2016 - 6/3/2016; 9/1/2016 - 9/9/2016; 9/8/2016 - 9/16/2016; 9/15/2016 - 9/23/2016; 9/22/2016 - 9/30/2016; 9/29/2016 - 10/7/2016; 10/6/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/13/2016 - 10/21/2016; 10/20/2016 - 10/28/2016; 10/27/2016 - 11/4/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $2,496.00 - 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; Low Salt; Low Fat    

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

5-21-2015, 4-28-2016, 5-12-2016, 5-26-2016, 9-1-2016, 9-8-2016, 9-15-2016, 9-22-2016, 9-29-2016, 10-6-2016, 10-13-2016, 10-20-2016, 10-27-2016

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


Please note this program will spend 3 nights in Caen instead of Bayeux. Program elements will remain the same
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 8th arrondissement; comfortable hotel near airport (final night). Bayeux: Charming hotel on a pedestrian street in the city’s old section.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
  Paris, France 3 nights
   Churchill Hotel
  Bayeux, France 3 nights
   Mercure Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle
  Paris CDG Airport hotel, France 1 night
 Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg is located in the heart of the 9th arrondissement of Paris, close to the Opera Garnier and Montmartre. With 101 rooms, this boutique hotel has both a contemporary style and inspiration from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  Contact info: 49-51 rue La Fayette
Paris,  75009 France
phone: +33 1 42 85 05 44
  Room amenities: Rooms include air conditioning, flat screen, satellite T.V., free WiFi access, a safe, and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel includes free WiFi access, a business corner, an elevator, a bar lounge, dry cleaning service, and air conditioning.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Please contact Road Scholar Please contact Road Scholar.

 Churchill Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located in a pedestrian street in the heart of old Bayeux, a medieval town near the D-Day landing beaches, the Churchill Hotel is just a few steps away from the famous tapestry and the cathedral. This charming hotel is in a quaint, rambling old building and is ranked one of the top hotels in Normandy.
  Contact info: 14-16 rue Saint Jean
Bayeux,  14400 France
phone: +33 2 31 21 31 80
  Room amenities: The rooms are equipped with a bath or shower, a flatscreen satellite television, air conditioning, internet access, and a direct dial telephone.
  Facility amenities: The hotel includes an air-conditioned lounge and a spacious veranda.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Mercure Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Mercure Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Hotel is conveniently located near the airport and offers a free shuttle bus service between the hotel, terminals and RER/TGV train stations from 05:30 a.m. to midnight. The hotel offers a comfortable, stylish setting and a cozy atmosphere.
  Contact info: 1 Allee du Verger
Roissy en France,  95700 France
phone: +33 8 25 80 49 49
  Room amenities: Rooms are air-conditioned and are equipped with a safe, air conditioning, a mini fridge, free WiFi internet, a large desk, a flat-screen TV with video on demand. The bathroom includes a bathtub, hair dryer and complimentary items.
  Facility amenities: The hotel includes WiFi, dry cleaning, and a restaurant and bar.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 11:30 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program starts with the orientation at the Paris hotel. You will be staying at Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the Paris Mercure CDG hotel. You will be staying at Mercure Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle 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 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.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Paris CDG Airport hotel
  Transportation from site: The last program location is the Mercure Charles de Gaulle airport hotel. The Mercure CDG hotel offers complimentary transfers from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. All participants will be taking this shuttle at leisure.
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 for France
(Thursday, May 21)
 In Transit: International flights to France.

Day 2: Arrivals in Paris / Orientation / Evening City Tour
(Friday, May 22)
 Morning: Transfers from the airport to the hotel.
 Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel in Paris. Take some time to unpack and to relax before orientation. We will gather in our private meeting room in the early evening 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: Enjoy an evening bus tour where you will see the highlights of the city.
Accommodations: Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: L'Ile de la Cité / The Sainte Chapelle / Notre Dame Cathedral / Free Time
(Saturday, May 23)

Note: Today's activities include use of the metro which is typically accessed by stairs; Elevators and escalators may not be available.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will take the metro for a field trip where we will explore the heart of Paris: L'Ile de la Cité. You will discover the flower markets and the Sainte Chapelle, one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture. We will end the morning at Notre Dame Cathedral. We will then cross the Seine over to Beaubourg for lunch near the famed contemporary museum and its fountain.
 Lunch: At a crêperie near Les Halles.
 Afternoon: Enjoy Saturday afternoon free to explore Paris, do some shopping in Les Halles, or see one of the many museums that are easy accessible. Alternatively, you may join your leader who will head into the Marais for a walk in this historic and dynamic part of Paris. Visit the Musée Carnavalet's permanent collection and end the afternoon at the Place des Vogues. You will then take the metro back to the hotel.
 Dinner: On your own in Paris.
Accommodations: Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Parisian Market / Orsay Museum / Montmartre
(Sunday, May 24)

Note: Today's activities include use of the metro which is typically accessed by stairs; Elevators and escalators may not be available.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the life of a typical Parisian during a field trip to the market at Richard Lenoir. Enjoy the smells and flavors of Paris as you discover this small, popular, outdoor market. We will continue the morning at the Orsay Museum for a self-guided visit using the museum's audio guide system. Orsay has the largest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world.
 Lunch: At the Orsay Museum.
 Afternoon: We will end the afternoon by taking the metro to visit Montmartre, a neighborhood that was made famous by past artists and continues to be popular with current Parisian artists and writers. In addition, we will see Sacre Coeur and Place du Tertre, while also exploring the back and side streets of the well-known neighborhood.
 Dinner: On your own in Paris.
Accommodations: Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Giverny and Monet's Garden / Rouen and Cathedral of Rouen
(Monday, May 25)

Note: Today's activities include four hours of coach travel.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart the Paris hotel by coach for Bayeux via Giverny and Rouen. (Paris to Giverny - One hour). We will take a field trip to explore the beautiful gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny. Afterwards, we will continue on to Rouen (One hour).
 Lunch: On your own in Rouen.
 Afternoon: Explore the historic city of Rouen, which has been 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. Next, we will board the coach for Bayeux (Two hours). Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant near the hotel.
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: WWII in Normandy / The Landing Beaches / The U.S. WWII Cemetery
(Tuesday, May 26)

Note: Today's activities include travel by coach.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart Bayeux by coach to explore the landing sites of WWII in a very unique way- using period vehicles. Start the morning at Pointe du Hoc to learn about the preparation to D-Day and the bombing leading up to the troop arrivals. We will continue on at the landing beach of Omaha and learn about how the beach head was taken with great sacrifice by the U.S. troops. We will see and discuss many of the remaining gun positions that still survive even today. We will then leave Omaha Beach and pay our respects to the fallen soldiers of the U.S. WWII War Cemetery where we will have a brief ceremony. We will end the morning in Arromanches to see the remnants of the artificial harbor built by the troops to unload the equipment that won the war for the allies.
 Lunch: In Arromanches.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an excursion titled, "Calvados and Cheese: Normandy's Pride" where you will have the opportunity to sample the region's renowned apple brandy at the Château d'Englesqueville, the first U.S. monument built to honor WWII soldiers. Later, you will have free time to explore Bayeux. You can see the small but untouched cathedral or discover the Bayeux tapestry, which is a famous embroidered cloth (not an actual tapestry) that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in the Battle of Hastings.
 Dinner: On your own in Bayeux.
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Mont St. Michel
(Wednesday, May 27)

Note: Today's activities include four hours of coach travel as well as significant walking at Mont Saint Michel. Please wear comfy footwear!

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Depart by coach for Mont Saint Michel (two hours), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tiny tidal island houses the majestic St. Michel Monastery.
 Lunch: At a local farmhouse inn featuring Normandy specialites.
 Afternoon: We will take the coach back to Bayeux (two hours). You will have free time to explore the city a bit more on your own.
 Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Honfleur: Charming Coastal Village / Palace of Versailles and Royal Gardens
(Thursday, May 28)

Note: Today's activities include four hours of coach travel.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will take a field trip by coach (one hour) to enjoy unique architecture during a tour of historic Honfleur. Learn why this city has one of the few remaining all wooden churches and its important role in the settlement of new France. You also will have the option to discover the Musée Eugène Boudin. Located in a 19th century chapel and two modern extensions with views over Honfleur and the Seine, the Eugène Boudin Museum is named after Honfleur's most famous painter, and houses some 1200 square metres of permanent exhibitions in nine rooms. On display are works by Eugène Boudin and other great impressionists such as Dubourg, Monet, and Jongkind - many of whom stayed and worked at the Saint-Simeon farmouse on the outskirts of Honfleur.
 Lunch: On your own in Honfleur.
 Afternoon: We will take a field trip by coach (two hours) to discover 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. Afterwards, we will depart by coach for Paris (one hour) where you will check-in at the hotel for one night.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the CDG airport hotel.
Accommodations: Mercure Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Departure from France or Onward to your Combination Program
(Friday, May 29)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Indvidual shuttles will provide transfers for those departing for the airport. Note for participants combining this program with 21096: Since 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 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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