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Paris, Normandy & the Loire Valley

10 days
Few countries offer such an enticing combination of history, scenery and mouthwatering food and drink. Immerse yourself in World War II history on the beaches of Normandy. Visit iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and Mont-Saint-Michel. Sample the sauvignon blanc and feast on coq au vin. From the sights of Paris to the scenery of the Loire Valley, this is the France you’ve read about—now yours to discover.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 3 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads, cobblestone streets and sandy paths, with some hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 1 cheese and cider tasting

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Paris today.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Paris

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Paris! Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

A guided tour introduces you to the architecture, scenery and history of the City of Light’s many neighborhoods, called arrondissements.

• Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées in view of the Arc de Triomphe 

• Pass the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on an island in the Seine River 

• See the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier opera house and Place de la Concorde, the city’s grandest square 

• Marvel at the eclectic and iconic architecture of the Louvre 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Versailles Palace & Gardens $115pp* Details

The reign of Louis XIV, known as the “Sun King,” set new standards for decadence among the crowned heads of Europe. It took 50 years and 35,000 workers to turn Versailles, once a small hunting lodge, into the most magnificent château in all of France and the envy of royalty worldwide. On this excursion, you will see the palace in all its glory as you tour the State Apartments and the glittering Hall of Mirrors. Then, stroll through the lavish gardens to admire their fine statuary, splendid fountains and colorful flowerbeds.

Please note: The four rooms of the Queen's State Apartment are closed for renovations through 2017.

Must be booked 45 days before departure

Normandy Coast 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Normandy via Rouen & Honfleur

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Cheese Tasting

Travel through historic cities and pristine port towns on your way to the Normandy region.

• Visit Rouen, home to a large 16th-century clock and the Gothic, two-towered Rouen Cathedral 

• Walk through the Old Market Square where Joan of Arc was executed

• See the untouched Honfleur harbor, once an important port

• Sample cheeses, including Camembert, Pont-l’Évêque and Livarot, paired with cider and Calvados, the region’s distinctive apple brandy

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Normandy

  Included meals: Breakfast

Relive World War II history during a full-day excursion to Normandy, where the Allied troops landed in June 1944.

• Enter the D-Day Museum with a local guide in Arromanches

• Stop at the American Cemetery in Colleville, the burial place for more than 9,000 American soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Normandy

• Visit Pointe du Hoc to view the granite monument that honors the American 2nd Ranger Battalion, which seized German cannons here before they could be used to fire on American troops

• Walk along Omaha Beach, the landing site of American troops on D-Day

Saint-Malo 1 night Hotel info

Day 6: Saint-Malo via Mont-Saint-Michel

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Explore the striking 8th-century island of Mont-Saint-Michel on a guided sightseeing tour.

• See how the UNESCO-recognized site, perched high on a granite rock, is surrounded by water at high tide and quicksand at low tide

• Pass by medieval houses and then enter the Benedictine Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel with your local guide 

Then, continue your journey toward Saint-Malo.

Loire Valley 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Travel to the Loire Valley

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Take in Saint-Malo’s narrow streets, tall granite homes and medieval ramparts on a guided tour. Later, drive through the Loire Valley, once known as France’s “Playground of the Kings.”

Day 8: Château de Chenonceau

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know châteaux country on a guided tour of the Loire Valley region.

• Step inside the extravagant Château de Chenonceau and explore its gardens

• Discover how the castle got the nickname “Château de Femmes”—some of its famous female residents included Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici

Enjoy a free evening or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Loire Valley Dinner & Wine Tasting $99pp* Details

Cap off your day in the Loire Valley by taking in views of châteaux and greenery on your way to a local wine cellar. With its central location in the country, this area draws culinary influence from several parts of France, which you’ll experience during a wine tasting and dinner at a local restaurant.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Paris 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Travel to Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Return to France’s capital city, making a photo stop at Château Chambord on the way, and enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Dinner in Paris & Seine River Cruise $115pp* Details

Take in the nighttime allure of the City of Light on a special evening excursion. The event begins with dinner at a local restaurant. After you dine, board a boat cruise along the Seine. As you coast along the river and under Paris’ bridges, you’ll behold the gloriously illuminated monuments of Paris glittering alongside the riverbanks. Please note: The dress code may vary depending on your restaurant. Your Tour Director will advise you on what to wear, but shorts and sneakers are likely to be considered inappropriate attire.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Day 10: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home or extend your stay to continue exploring Paris.

Add Paris $349 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Paris—the city of life, love and light. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the mysterious Mona Lisa, from the bustling Champs Elysées to the winding streets of Montmartre, you'll find romance, history and beauty. Browse boutiques, stroll manicured parks, take a seat at a sidewalk cafe and watch the sun set over the Seine.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Free day in Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend the day exploring Paris on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Notre-Dame & the Marais $75pp* Details

Your guided walking tour of Paris begins on Île de la Cité, the city’s legendary birthplace and home to the majestic Notre-Dame Cathedral. Step inside the cathedral to admire the stained-glass rose windows and seemingly weightless vaulted ceilings. Walk along the flower market beside the island’s Palais de Justice, which houses the Conciergerie, the former prison where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned. Wander past the Hôtel de Ville, the city’s administrative heart, and continue through the Jewish Quarter to the gardens of Musée Carnavalet and Place des Vosges, noted as one of the prettiest squares in Paris. Lunch is included.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 11: Free day in Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend another day exploring Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Monet & the Landscapes of Giverny $85pp* Details

The village of Giverny was home to Claude Monet from 1883 until his death in 1926. On a visit to Monet’s home and gardens, discover the subtle palette of colors that inspired his Water Lilies series and gave rise to a new way of seeing. Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs from April through October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Paris, France
  • Saint-Malo, France
  • Amboise, France
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport and Visa Requirements

In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return to the United States. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the French consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry- on luggage.

Clothing and Packing Tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable in something more formal. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to France. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, patés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafés. On the restaurant scene, the prix fixe option is popular, offering a three- or four-course set menu for a good price. Nearly all restaurants post a menu outside. Browse around until something strikes your fancy.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Paris. After clearing customs and collecting your luggage, a shuttle service will provide your transfer to your hotel (details will be sent to you prior to your departure). Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. Most of the destinations on tour are best explored on foot, but in Paris you may want to take advantage of the excellent transportation system. Paris’ massive Métro is world class, easy to navigate and efficient. Make sure to take time and look for the best deal on travel passes. Ask your tour director which one might work best. Often the daily passes are not actually the best deal.

Electricity

France operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6 p.m. in Paris.

Currency

The Euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in France, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards, credit cards and traveler’s checks, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. Please note: With the conversion to the Euro, it has been increasingly difficult to exchange traveler’s checks outside Europe’s major cities—both at banks and shops—and they often attract higher fees.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/ CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour So Far!

This was my fourth tour with GoAhead and it was probably my favorite and most memorable! First, the group dynamic was amazing! From my experience, the group has a lot to do with the enjoyment of the tour. On this tour, there were a lot of fun, middle aged professionals like myself, in addition to my regular travel buddies, so it made the tour extra enjoyable. Second, Sebastien was our tour guide and he was very professional, knowledgeable and organized. I should note that my birthday fell on one of the days during the tour and he had the bus sing happy birthday and presented me with a small box of French chocolates from GoAhead. How thoughtful! Next, on these tours, I usually have one terrible hotel experience, but I can't think of one. In fact, the hotel in Deauville was absolutely charming! It didn't look like much from the outside, but on the inside, the hotel opened up to a cute little French country courtyard and my room faced the courtyard. It was adorable. The Marriott in Paris was nice too, of course. I know, it's Marriott, but sometimes it is nice to have all the American comforts were accustomed to abroad. The beds were nice and there were washcloths, etc. Yes, the hotel was a little removed from the city center, but I enjoyed that. The hotel was in an arrondissement that was adjacent to Montparnasse, so we enjoyed walking around that area and discovering an area we might not normally have explored. And, we're used to walking around so the walk was really nothing for us. Lastly, we thoroughly enjoyed the cities of Honfleur, Deauville, St. Malo and of course, the trip to Normandy was very memorable. I have wonderful memories of meeting a local lady who handmade soaps in Honfleur then sipping white wine by the water, or eating crepes then sipping champagne with the group in St. Malo, or the beautiful evening boat ride down the Seine. So many great memories! I guess if I had to provide some ways on how the trip could be improved, I was not really a fan of the calvados (apple brandy) tasting. While the scenery was quaint and the lady giving the explanation was super sweet, I understand the process of fermentation and the apple brandy was not tasty. The best part of the calvados tasting was the various cheeses they provided. The same goes for the wine tasting. We were taken to a very small winery in the country where the girl giving the tour spoke almost zero English. Frankly, I took French in school and probably would've understood more if she had just spoken French. The wines they provided were just okay, and I love wine. Again, the best part of the wine tasting was the cheeses provided. Also, there was a large old St. Bernard type dog roaming around the tasting area and while I absolutely adore animals, my travel buddy is scared of large dogs and seemed very put off by the dog roaming around. I thought it sort of added to the atmosphere, but she certainly did not. LOL! So, that's about all I can think of at the moment. I would not hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone! This was my fourth tour and I've since taken my fifth. This tour is still my absolute favorite. You will not be disappointed! I think this tour was extra special considering just a few weeks after we left Paris, the Paris incident happened. We felt such a special bond with the French people that the news devastated us all. We wish them all peace.

 

Hi Angela! Thank you for your lovely review! We’re thrilled that this was your fourth – and most memorable – tour with us! We agree that group dynamic plays a role in your overall tour experience, and it sounds like your group really clicked. It’s great to hear you enjoyed your Tour Director, your accommodations, and the overall itinerary. It sounds like you had many wonderful experiences, such as meeting the local lady who produces handmade soaps and sipping white wine by the water. We appreciate your feedback on the calvados tasting. Though it wasn’t of much interest to you, we’re glad you were able to enjoy some nice cheeses. We’re glad that you would recommend this tour, and we thank you for your detailed review. We look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 29, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: WA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Experience

Thank you Go Ahead Tours. My Dad is a WWII veteran and this trip was a special journey for him and me. He trained with many of the men who jumped in Normandy. We enjoyed the contrast between Paris and the countryside we traveled through. Mont St. Michel was high on our list of must sees, too, and we enjoyed walking the streets of St. Malo. We really enjoyed our tour guides care and knowledge that he shared with us as we traveled. We are ready to plan our next adventure.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/30/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

First Go Ahead Tour

Just got back from our first Go Ahead Tour to Paris and France and we were very pleased. Franck, our tour director was wonderful and went out of his way to make sure everyone was enjoying their trip. The hotels that were chosen were clean with friendly staff and wonderful breakfasts. The dinners, for the most part, were very good and the staff at each location was pleasant. Each of our individual tour guides were well informed and you could tell they enjoyed being with us. I would highly recommend Go Ahead Tours.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/2/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Good value

Although hotel in Paris was not in the best location, Go Ahead provides really good value.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/2/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Worst airlines ever - United!

Our Friday 5 PM 10/2 flight Rochester to Newark was delayed several times, finally canceled. Saturday flight 10/3 Rochester to Dulles delayed 2 hours, flight from Dulles to Charles de Gaulle delayed 2 hours causing us to lose our first full day in Paris as we arrived 24 hours later than scheduled. We also missed our first optional tour, Versailles. Our Sunday 10/11 flight from Newark to Rochester also delayed 2 hours.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/11/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Viva la France

This tour was well planned. Our main tour guide as well as other guides gave excellent presentations and were well informed. Meals and accommodations were excellent. All in all it was a pleasant pace with plenty of time to go out on our own.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

History and Beauty

We enjoyed this tour very much! There is no other place like Paris! The rest of the itinerary was amazing---so much history in a beautiful part of France. The mix of touring with some free time seemed just about right.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/25/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Wonderful tour!

Overall, we really loved our tour!!! We had never been to France, and we wanted to experience some of the highlights and to get a feel for the country. We were most excited about going to the Normandy to see the D-Day beaches and the American cemetery both were wonderful and deeply moving, but we did not have enough time to fully savor this as we would have liked...we could have spent another day here). Our tour director was terrific and attentive, and he was very knowledgeable about France. We enjoyed our fellow tour-mates, and they added a lot to the richness of the trip. We loved getting out of Paris and into Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley....this gave us a much better and more nuanced sense for this beautiful country. The group meals were hit and miss in terms of the quality of the food. Several of the meals were excellent, and several were terrible. It's hard to serve such a large group and to get it right for all. I'm a foodie and so I am, perhaps, pickier than most. Also, several of the means included just one glass of wine (which sparked many grumbles from the group). We would have loved a bit more downtime to relax and to shop. We will probably take fewer excursions next time to give us more time to do just this. The accommodations were very good with the exception of the rooms at the hotel in Deauville which were very dark (I like a lot of light - preferably natural - in my spaces). We particularly liked the Novotel in Amboise. I'm partial to the Marriott chain, and so I liked the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche (in terms of amenities and helpful staff). It was, however, not as close to many of the key sites in Paris as we would have liked.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 12

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Paris & Normandy at their finest!

I highly recommend this extraordinary tour and, if you are fortunate enough to take it, hope-hope-hope that you get Adoram as your TD. He was absolutely amazing, going the extra mile to maximize our time and filled it with fun-filled activities. (The TD can make or break a tour ... Adoram was the best!!) PROS of the Tour: We had the perfect number of people in our group (a very sociable, compatible group of 16) and the weather was picture-perfect at 70F every day! Our room on the 25th floor of the Hyatt Regency had the most spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower, particularly the nighttime light show (I have since recommended this hotel to others planning a visit to Paris). The beaches of Normandy were extraordinary, and the visit to the museum and cemetery were unparalleled. Quick stops in Honfluer and Rouen was enjoyed by all. Approaching Mont St Michel was like stepping back in time to King Arthur, Sir Lancelot & Geneviève ... simply magical. The Loire Valley was beautiful and extraordinary & the Chateau de Chenonceau was exquisite. Fun times at the winery (the wine tasting was perfect) and the Calvados tasting was enjoyed by all! Everyone raved about the Michelin-rated farmhouse restaurant after our visit to the Plou et Fils winery. It was everyone's favorite meal, hands down. Do not pass up a chance to take the nighttime Seine River cruise to see Paris in all her glory. Fabulous!! Cons of the Tour: (Only 2, actually). #1 We were so close to the Bayeux Tapestry (we could see the Cathedral's spires) ... why not work that in?? To pass up the opportunity to see such an extraordinary historical artifact is beyond me. #2 Everyone was a little disappointed with our hotel outside of Tours ... we all would have preferred a hotel in Tours instead of 30-40 minutes out. While it was a nice hotel, it was too remote: So, the bottom line is: I still highly recommend this tour to everyone ... definitely 5 STARS to our wonderful, very impressive TD and 5 Stars for the extraordinary tour itself.

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4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 6/7/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Best Kept Secret: St. Malo

When you arrive, you will know why Paris is the most visited city in the world. Our guide, Thierry was a most excellent host and ambassador for the French country. His friendly disposition and knowledge of French history made this trip extraordinary. If Normandy is on your bucket list, go on this tour. St. Malo was an exceptional surprise. The hotel was only a place to sleep, but the food and history were amazing! We purchased all but one of the excursions---well worth the money. Our anniversary coincided with the optional "Evening in Paris": a wonderful dinner and a cruise on the River Seine that ended with docking at the Eiffel Tower just as the lights are twinkling on.

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