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Paris, Normandy & the Loire Valley

10 days
France is the most popular tourist destination in the world, and for good reason, too. Few countries offer such an enticing combination of history, scenery and mouthwatering food and drink. Visit the most iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and Mont St-Michel. Sample the Sauvignon blanc and feast on coq au vin. From the bright lights of Paris to the luxurious chateaux 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 with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

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

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1

Your trip begins with an overnight flight to Paris aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Paris2 nights Hotel info

Day 2

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to 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). The rest of the day is free for you to relax or explore the City of Light on your own. You’ll meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner this evening.

Day 3

Included meals: Breakfast

An expert local guide introduces you to the historical and cultural landmarks of the City of Light. Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées, one of the world’s most celebrated avenues. You’ll pass the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World’s Fair. See Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine once stood, and absorb the haute couture of the Opera district. In the afternoon, join an optional excursion to Versailles, a small hunting lodge turned magnificent château. Designed by Europe’s most talented 17th-century architects and landscape designers to be the envy of royalty worldwide, Versailles is a sight to behold.

Optional Excursion - Versailles Palace & Gardens $105*pp 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. Tour the State Apartments and the glittering Hall of Mirrors. Then stroll through the lavish gardens with their fine statuary, splendid fountains and colorful flowerbeds.

Must be booked 45 days before departure

Normandy Coast2 nights Hotel info

Day 4

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Rouen Cathedral, Calvados wine tasting

This morning transfer to Rouen, where a local guide introduces you to the city. Perhaps best known for its association with Joan of Arc, Rouen is also home to an enormous 16th-century clock on Rue du Gros-Horloge, the two-towered Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Church of Joan of Arc, which stands in the market square where Joan of Arc was executed. You’ll also visit the multiturreted Palais de Justice on you guided tour of the city. Later, you’ll make your way to Honfleur, stopping en route to taste calvados, the region’s distinctive apple brandy. Honfleur is a charming coastal town located across the mouth of the Seine from the larger port of Le Havre. Honfleur was once one of France’s principal ports, but as the mouth of the Seine silted up, the French government invested more and more resources into the port at Le Havre. As a result, Honfleur was left untouched, and today, you’ll visit the harbor that inspired artists including Courbet and Monet. Dinner is included this evening in Normandy.

Day 5

Included meals: Breakfast

Explore the Normandy Coast at your leisure today, or you might choose to join an optional excursion to the evocative Normandy beaches, where World War II history was made during the bloody battles of the Allied invasion. On your excursion, you’ll visit the American cemetery at Coleville-sur-Mer, the D-Day Museum in Arromanches and the broad expanse of Omaha Beach.

Optional Excursion - D-Day Beaches of Normandy $75*pp Details

Relive World War II history during this excursion to Normandy, where the Allied troops landed in June 1944. First, travel to the D-Day Museum in Arromanches. Next, 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. From there, visit Pointe du Hoc to view the evocative granite monument erected by the French in honor of the American Second Ranger Battalion, who seized the German canons here before they could be used to fire on American troops landing on Omaha Beach.

Saint-Malo1 night Hotel info

Day 6

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Mont St-Michel

Enjoy a scenic transfer to St.-Malo today. En route, you’ll stop to visit Mont St.-Michel, an elegant monastery that rises from the surrounding salt marshes to create one of France’s enduring icons. Perched high on a granite rock, this eighth century abbey is surrounded by water at high tide and quicksand at low tide. After your guided tour, you’ll have free time for a stroll around town. Arrive in St.-Malo this evening.

Loire Valley2 nights Hotel info

Day 7

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

From the rocky Atlantic outpost of St.-Malo, pirates once set sail, as did explorer Jacques Cartier on his way to eastern Canada. On today’s guided tour, take in the narrow streets, tall granite homes and medieval ramparts of St.-Malo, and learn how the town’s seamen fought Barbary pirates and plundered English, Dutch and Spanish merchants. This afternoon, head south to the Loire Valley, where dinner is included this evening.

Day 8

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Chenonceau Chateau

Once known as France’s “Playground of the Kings,” the Loire Valley is perhaps best-known for its wines, fruits and artisanal cheeses. You’ll stop for a photo at Château de Chambord, and tour Château de Chenonceau with a local guide. Château de Chambord was designed to suit the short-term needs of King François I; the new château, the largest ever built in the Loire Valley, was intended to both intimidate François’ rivals and to allow the king to be near his mistress. Château de Chenonceau, by contrast, is known colloquially as the Château de Femmes— some of its famous female residents included Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. This evening, opt for our Loire Valley Dinner & Wine Tasting.

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

Cap off your day in the Loire Valley taking in views of the Valley's 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.

Paris1 night Hotel info

Day 9

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to Paris today. Upon arrival, the balance of the afternoon is free at leisure. You might wish to join our optional Evening in Paris excursion, beginning with dinner at a favorite local restaurant and ending with a cruise along the Seine.

Optional Excursion - Evening in Paris: Dinner & River Cruise $109*pp 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 your restaurant, and your Tour Director will advise you on what to wear, but shorts and sneakers are likely to be considered inappropriate attire.

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Board your flight home or prolong your vacation with two additional nights in Paris.

Add a Paris City Stay, 2 nights $329 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.

Paris2 nights Hotel info

Day 10

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day to explore Paris on your own: take a leisurely stroll along the Left Bank, explore the Louvre or sample Parisian cuisine. Or join our optional Notre-Dame & the Marais excursion.

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

Day 11

Included meals: Breakfast

With another free day in Paris, you might view the exquisite sculptures at the Rodin Museum or browse the designer shops of the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré. Or, opt to join an excursion to Giverny to visit Monet’s studio and the gardens that inspired his work.

Optional Excursion - Monet & the Landscapes of Giverny $85*pp 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 April through October.

Day 12

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative accompanies you to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Paris, France
  • Saint-Malo, France
  • Amboise, France
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

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.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 8/8/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Excellent French Experience

As a first time traveler to the country of France, I feel my tour experience was a wonderful introduction into the quality of life and culture of this amazing country. Tour director Jean, a Parisian local and proud French man was a delight. His knowledge and passion for his country was evident and he shared most generously..as a director he met our needs and was always available to help in whatever way possible. He loves his job and that too is evident..the passion brought a fun and deeper cultural experience for our group. France is beautiful and intriguing..I can't wait to go back and know now, from this tour, what more I can experience. Thank you Go Ahead!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 7/2/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great overview of France

This tour gave a good overall view of Paris, the Normandy region and the Loire Valley. The tour director Tristen was very knowledgeable of the history in each area which helped make the tour interesting

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1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/7/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MD

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful tour!

We saw some amazing sights. Mont St. Michele was worth the price of the tour. The Normandy beaches were very powerful. Paris is a lovely city. Our tour guide was very knowledgable and took good care of us.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/24/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Bus driver ever!

Having been in Paris already for two weeks prior to this tour, we were in LOVE with Paris. Seeing our hotel with the tour being sooooooo far out of the city, we were disappointed, until we learned that the metro two blocks away went to the heart of all the city sights. We had walked the city of Paris for two weeks, rarely taking the metro and never a bus so taking a LONG METRO ride was something new. Our hotel was typical business hotel but it was Normandy we meant to see and so didn't mind too much. We met all our tour companions and they were delightful. Very glad there were only 33 so we got a chance to get to know them. Even met some people from our old home town and they knew our friends...small world. Since this trip was the 70th Anniversary of the D Day WWII invasion in Normandy, most of the people on the tour had family and memories of WWII. The Queen was in Paris when we were there, just a block away (before the Go Ahead Trip). I was disappointed that when I called Go Ahead before our tour, that no one knew of this special event. It was world wide!!!! and on national news.... But seeing the beaches and walking around was wonderful! Our tour guide tried to be informative and the local guides he chose were outstanding, especially the guide for Mt. Saint Michel. I was regretting not having rented a car and just traveled on our own and stayed in a tiny hotel on Mt.Saint Michel like my sister had done the year before; but our tour guide was so incredible. She brought the mt. to life! I felt like I'd been a monk there as well as a prisoner. I love the places we stayed even if they were far from city life. One place was on the beach...glorious! Loved walking along the beach boardwalk, all alone, into town. Only way to get to town easily was walking through the casino or historic hotel, which was an adventure in itself. I loved staying in the heart of the walled city of St. Malo. The walk around the wall overlooking the sea was super...just a mile or so...great for an early morning walk. Our tour guide in her leather pants and artist's smock was delightful. Made me want to raise kids there and get them into sailing at age 6. The hotel itself was "funky" but I prefer that to a modern "Hilton" type place. More personality and great being in the heart of the city. We had a marvelous fish dinner there with the tour! Good choice!! We really enjoyed the stop at the Apple Cider farm and learned a great deal about cider making. Reminded me so of my childhood in Northern California when my dad made cider from our apple trees, I love the castle Chenenceau having been there before. I could spend days there...pretending I lived in the castle and wandering the gardens and the maze. I do so wish we'd had many more hours there to explore the area and have lunch there at the Orangerie. I ate a very hurried lunch at Orangerie...the most relaxing and gorgeous restaurant next to the winery at Chenenceau. But we had to "rush off" to SHOP in the nearby city...how dull. I HATE SHOPPING! I do think if we'd spent just one more hour at the castle, and one less hour at the village, the tour would have been much better. That is the most gorgeous castle I've been too..you can really imagine living there, unlike the kings huge places full of gold (yck!). On the way back to Paris, we stopped at the gigantic castle (didn't go in) where a gun show and dog show were going on. It was interesting to see how people in France really spend their fun time. My biggest complaint of the tour was not spending enough time in cities like Rouen. We were left in the center to eat lunch and shop but not enough time to walk to the amazing tower where Jean D'Ar was held or go to the amazing art museum and the metal museum . Both I'd been to on my own but so wanted to show my husband. I know I could have not taken the "tour" guided tour and just gone off on our own, but the guide was interesting and seeing the cathedral improvements (5 years ago it was a mess) was well worth it. Big question....why stops for SHOPPING! Every store has the same things the US has! One other complaint other than hotels being out of town mostly, is that our tour guide didn't even realize he was to stop at Honfleur until one member of group showed hi the Go Ahead brochure and it mentioned Honfleur! I do think Go Ahead people need to communicate better. Go Ahead arranged our flight for us along with the tour. We left 2 weeks ahead of the tour. I had to call many times to get the info for our flight. Even though it was on their computer, no one seemed to READ.. The day the materials were to have arrived (plane tickets, etc.) I called and was told they would send them in two weeks! I reminded them that we were leaving on the plane they'd arranged in TWO DAYS, Nicely they apologized and Fed Exed it out to us so we didn't miss our flight. Things like this happened to others, too, If there is a holiday during the tour...when the city closes down, it should be on the itinerary!!! Back to bus drive....I still don't know how anyone can drive a huge bus in the heart of the cities and tiny streets and squeeze by...amazing! Thanks for having great bus drivers..

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1 / 5

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 4/25/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MO

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Bad Tour Director

It was a good trip through Normandy. Really enjoyed that part of the tour. Didn't get to see much in Paris during the tour. We saw it on our own during the "extension"(our two free days in Paris). Really only saw one chateau in the Loire Valley(and not the one I remember being pictured in the brochure), though we rushed through a couple other places during our free couple hours in Amboise(most the people went back to the hotel, we just kept going). The main problem was our tour director(Susan, I think). Very disorganized. Figuring out who ordered what at dinner was always an ordeal(she never kept notes). When we arrived in Paris, she didn't seem to know much about the museums and misinformed us with regard to the museum passes(costing us extra money). Bad for someone who has lived in Paris for decades. Might have been better to make this a two week tour, spending a bit more time in Paris and giving us a couple days to visit other chateaus in the Loire Valley and not just the one that all the tour groups visit.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/2/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fabulous Tour Director

Our trip in May of 2014 to France was wonderful! Especially because of the outstanding kindness and knowledge of Brian our tour director!! He was there to help no matter the circumstance and was a true teacher in every way. Outstanding knowledge of every location we visited and just a great person to get to know!! Would advise to dress warm if you go to France in May but we managed and it was a pure joy!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/2/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Ever Tour Directer

Very informed and helpful at all times.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/25/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Paris, Normandy, and the Loire Valley

My wife and I thought this tour excellent. Our Tour Director, Lisa, was highly knowledgeable and interesting, and kept us moving at a comfortable pace. We covered a lot of ground in our 10 days, yet we had sufficient time at each stop. The were some fascinating and useful extra stops. The hotels were fine, the bus was clean and comfortable, and her advice on where to eat and places to go on our free time was right on. Our companion travelers were a wonderful group that we enjoyed being among. Our flights were also very good. We couldn't have asked for more.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/25/2014

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

La France

France in April/May is lovely. Our guide, Lisa, was excellent, and she went the extra mile for us. The Normandy tour is well worth the extra cost. My only complaint is that the Paris hotel, although a nice hotel, was too far out from the center of town and too far from the Metro.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/1/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Normandy very moving

Once we got to Paris everything turned out to be a great tour. We didn't appreciate the diverted flight to Boston for a day, but Paris made us forget that discomfort. Normandy beaches were awesome and spiritual. When we were there, it was windy and rainy, but that just added to the special feelings that we had for that sacred spot. We also enjoyed the local cusine - too many muscles in too short a time. The wine and food in Paris was like no other tour. I thought that I would put on some pounds, but that didn't happen - must have been the good wine. All in all, a great tour.

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