Grand Tour of France and England
Includes a moving memory trail to iconic D-Day locations
From May 31 to June 11, 2020
(12 days including round trip)
Price: $5,850 (minimum 40 participants)
France: Paris – Versailles – Chartres
Loire Castles: Blois – Chambord – Amboise
Normandy: Caen – Benouville – WWII D-Day Route – Saint Maire Eglise – Le Mont Saint -Michel – Honfleur – Calais
England: Dover – London- Windsor – Stonehenge
Day 1: May 31, 2020 Flight from Las Vegas (or other major US airport) to Paris Charles de Gaulle
Day 2: June 1, 2020 City of Paris (historical center).
Arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, welcome by your Alex Collection Tour Operator, transfer to your hotel. Orientation tour of the City of Paris: The Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysèes, Place de la Concorde, the exteriors of the Louvre Museum, Place Vandome and the Opera.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 3: June 2, 2020 City of Paris: Sacred Heart / Sainte Chapelle / The Ile del la Cité
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning visit to the Sacred Heart overlooking the hill of Montmartre, a nineteenth century basilica, with a large medieval dome that offers an excellent view of the city. Visit the Sainte Chapelle, one of Paris’s finest Gothic attractions, illuminated by 13th-century stained glass windows.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon visit the Ile del La Cite, the Cathedral of Notre Dame (external visit of its reconstruction), the Latin Quarter, the Sorbonne and the Eiffel Tower.
Leisure time available for personal activities. You can sail the Seine on the typical “Bateau Mouche” to discover the charm of this beautiful city.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 4: June 3, 2020 Reggia of Versailles / Chartres Cathedral / City of Blois
Breakfast at the hotel. Load luggage. In the morning, a guided tour of the famous Palace of Versailles, home for over a century to the royal court of France. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage French and historical monument, it is a must visit during a trip to Paris. With 2300 rooms spread over 63,000 square meters, the Palace of Versailles is one of the largest palaces in the world, visited by more than 7 million visitors every year. During this visit we will discover the apartments of the King and Queen, the gallery of mirrors and the royal chapel (external visit). Time available for free visit to the gardens.
Lunch at a restaurant
After lunch, continue to the city of Chartres. By visiting Chartres on foot among the historic buildings and the steep and winding streets, one can relive the medieval atmosphere of the old city, of which the cathedral represents the center. The old town is divided into two zones, one upper and one lower. The Haute Ville or high city includes the Cathedral that with its towers dominates the city. The Basse Ville or Low City is located to the east of the cathedral, along the Eure River, from whose stone bridges you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the city. The Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral, a destination for pilgrimages, is considered one of the jewels in the world of Gothic architecture and its historical and cultural importance is also recognized by UNESCO.
After the visit Continue to the Loire Valley. Arrival at the city of Blois.
Hotel check in, dinner and overnight.
Day 5: June 4, 2020 City of Blois / Chambord Castle / Amboise: La Clos de Lucé / City of Caen
Breakfast at the hotel. Load luggage. Extraordinary excursion to the Loire Castles.
We will begin our excursion with a short-guided tour of the medieval town of Blois, which was formerly home to the very powerful counts of Blois.
Although Chambord and Cheverny, two of the most important castles in the Loire Valley, are located in the immediate vicinity of the city, the history of the city coincides with that of the majestic Blois Castle which was the scene of some bloody intrigues between the 15th and 17th century.
Outside visit of the castle and the 18th-century St Luis Cathedral overlooking the eastern part of the city. Behind the Cathedral is the beautiful town hall (the Hotel de Ville), built in 1700.
Continue with the guided tour inside Chambord Castle, the largest and most spectacular of all the castles in the region. It is a huge Renaissance masterpiece, with 440 rooms, 85 stairs and 365 fireplaces.
The most extraordinary element is the roof that from a distance makes it resemble an eastern city, with turrets, spires, eardrums, domes, slate roofs and skylights with its terrace, an excellent vantage point to observe the 5500 hectares surrounding the castle.
Lunch at a restaurant
Continue to Amboise, with a scenic stop at the Castle. This picturesque castle-dominated town, of which only part survives today, was one of the French kings’ favorite residences and it was here that Renaissance art landed in France from Italy.
In 1516 Leonardo da Vinci arrived in Amboise as the king’s painter, engineer and architect, and spent the last years of his life. The museum dedicated to his technical drawings and inventions are housed at the Manoir in CLos- Lucé. Time available for the independent visit of the museum.
At the end of the visit continue to the Normandy region. Arrival at the city of Caen, hotel check in. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: June 5, 2020 Memorial Museum / Pegasus Bridge / City of Caen
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning visit to the Memorial Peace Museum in Caen, it is an essential stop before our itinerary of the landing beaches, where our specialized guide will let us retrace the various stages of the conflict of the Second World War II in particular the Battle of Normandy and the advance of Allied forces into French territory.
Continue to the small town of Benouville to visit the famous Pegasus Bridge, the first bridge freed by the Americans. Meeting with the mayor of the city who will welcome the group.
Lunch at a restaurant
Afternoon visit to the city of Caen, the city of William the Conqueror, capital of Calvados and the Lower Normandy Region.
We will visit the most important historical monuments, the Castle, its ramparts, the Abbey of Men, and the church of St. Stephen (current town hall of Caen) and the Abbey of Women, and the church of the Trinity (current regional council).
Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 7: June 6, 2020 Memorial Route and Open-Air Museum: An excursion to the emblematic places of D-Day
Breakfast at the hotel. D-Day Memorial Day.
The beaches of Normandy have profoundly marked the history of the whole world, when in this stretch of coast from Cherbourg and Deauville, one of the bloodiest battles of all time took place. The Americans landed here towards the end of World War II, on the famous D-Day of June 6, 1944, carrying out an unprecedented military operation that made it possible for Allied forces to liberate Europe from Nazi invasion.
Certainly, a travel experience at the beaches of the Normandy landings will only mark our memory. We will find ourselves admiring evocative views, visiting places full of history and humanity and remembering such an important and dramatic episode.
The marvelous Côte de Nacre where the famous Normandy landings took place, was divided from west to east in five parts: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, with the first two assigned to the United States and the rest to the British supported by the Canadians.
Today the Norman coast is not only the ideal destination for those who want to review history in the places of D-Day, but also the recommended destination for those who want to rediscover ancient medieval villages or relax in the pristine beaches of northern France, to be visited possibly in spring-summer.
Our memorial itinerary will begin from Arromanches, a village of fishermen and farmers that has been particularly popular as a holiday resort since 1870. This seaside resort was a primary target for Allied troops who here wanted to install an artificial port for the supply of weapons and ammunition of the landed troops. Many traces and remains of this port are now visible on the beaches of Arromanches, thus showing how important this town was for the liberation of Europe from the Nazis.
We will continue to Utah Beach. It was here that, on the night of June 5–6, 1944, the first U.S. paratroopers were launched to help troops to land on the sand of Utah Beach.
We will also visit the Museum of the Landing of the Allies where we will see represented the field day of June 6, 1944 as it took place on this beach. Minute by minute, in a very realistic atmosphere, it seems to witness what happened between the Allied forces led by General Eisenhower and the German army under Rommel: photos, testimonies, documents and, of course, weapons and uniforms, displayed in a former bunker of the German command.
Later we reach the headland of Pointe du Hoc (The tip of the Hoc) overlooking the sea, was chosen by the Germans to build a powerful artillery battery capable of sweeping a large sector of the coast, between Utah Beach to the west, Omaha Beach to the east. Given the strategic importance of this point on the coast, the Allied strategists decided to carry out an assault on it with a commando who would climb the cliff with ropes and ladders. This dangerous mission was entrusted to the 2nd Battalion of Rangers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James E. Rudder. It was a fierce and bloody battle that ended only on June 8 with the liberation of the Americans by troops from Omaha.
The last part of our memorial itinerary will be dedicated to Omaha Beach and Colleville Cemetery.
This beach was named Omaha (a city in the state of Nebraska) in 1944. Three months later, it entered History under the name “Bloody Omaha” because of the terrible losses suffered by the 5th Army Corps, consisting of the 1st Infantry Division (General Huebner) and the 29th Division (General Gerhardt). Here the landing operations were among the most complex because Omaha Beach, because of its topography, was easy to defend. The bloody operation, which started very badly, ended in success for the Allied troops but cost the loss of more than 3000 men.
Here we can remember the fallen at the Colleville-sur-Mer Cemetery, which holds the remains of American soldiers who died at the Battle of Normandy and stands on a cliff above Omaha Beach.
Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight
Day 8: June 7, 2020 Sainte Mére Eglise / Le Mont Saint Michel
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for the village of Sainte Mère Eglise, famous for the church bell tower, with the “monument dedicated to the paratrooper”.
During World War II it was one of the first French municipalities to be liberated from the German occupation after landing in Normandy on the night of June 5-6, 1944, and the two parachutes in the heraldic coat of arms makes us remember it.
On the bell tower of the church was placed the mannequin of a paratrooper, in memory of one of the most famous episodes of the landing.
Continue to Le Mont Saint Michel “wonder of the West”. The largest tides in the world, occurring in the bay of Mont Saint Michel, are a wonderful sight that men have decided to preserve for future generations thanks to the great project of restoration of the maritime character of Mont Saint Michel.
Twice a day the tides invade the bay creating an impressive and unforgettable spectacle to discover from the ramparts of Mont Saint Michel overlooking the bay.
Lunch in the local historic restaurant.
After lunch visit the majestic monastic complex, built on top of a rocky islet on the Norman coast, considered one of the wonders of the modern world. The islet is located at the base of ramparts, inside and above which are, in a semi-circle, the buildings of the village crowned by the picturesque abbey.
Free time for personal activities, take souvenir photos and walk around the small streets of the village.
Return to Caen in time for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: June 8, 2020 Honfleur / Calais / England: Dover / London
Breakfast at the hotel. Load luggage. In the morning departure for the picturesque town of Honfleur on the Norman coast. A guided tour of the old town that gravitates around the Vieux Bassin, the old port, to the east the heart of the old city, called Enclos because of the fortifications that once encased it. Its center is a maze of narrow streets enclosed between narrow houses, built in slate, where it is sweet to walk observing the architectural styles of the buildings. Its marina is a triumph of pleasure boats and small fishing boats, which return every day to the setting of the sun.
There is a formidable game of colors that makes the country very quaint and unique, always considered a meeting place for artists, especially in past centuries.
We will visit the Eglise Sainte Catherine, built entirely of wood by the city’s naval carpenters, with a vaulted ceiling like the hull of a ship and two beautiful twin aisles.
After lunch we will reach the port of Calais and cross the English Channel by ferry to England (duration 1h30).
Arrival at the port of Dover and continue to the City of London. Arrival
and check in at the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 10: June 9, 2020 City of London
Breakfast at the hotel. Meeting with the guide and visit of the capital city of the United Kingdom and England, multi-ethnic metropolis of global importance inhabited by people belonging to the most diverse nationalities, religions and cultures.
The “old England” atmosphere of royal London comes perfectly with the modernism of technological and cosmopolitan London.
On our city tour we will see: Trafalgar Square, the most popular square for Londoners with the Nelson Monument, the granite column dedicated to Admiral Nelson who won the battle against the French at Cape Trafalgar, Charing Cross, the nerve center of traffic London, the “Big Ben” Clock Tower, the Palace of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Victoria Tower, Westminster Abbey, the famous Abbey, a monument of the first English Gothic architecture.
Lunch on your own in Covent Garden, a colorful and trendy neighborhood bustling with chic restaurants, cafes, stalls and trendy boutiques.
In the afternoon we will visit the Tower of London (UNESCO site) which houses the Crown Treasure.
Free time for personal activities. Return to hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 11: June 10, 2020 Windsor Castle / St George’s Chapel / Stonehenge / London by night
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning we will reach the counties of the south of England starting from Windsor. In this historic town we will visit St George’s Chapel and the Royal Castle, the most important of the English castles. The chapel and apartments can sometimes close without warning and in this case, we will visit Henry VIII’s impressive Hampton Court Palace as an alternative.
Lunch in a restaurant
In the afternoon we will visit Stonehenge, a complex of huge megaliths arranged in a circle dating back 5000 years, the most enigmatic prehistoric monument in the world.
It seems that Stonehenge was built in three different stages of history but even today no one knows its function for sure. Some assume that Stonehenge was born as a temple of worship of ancient deities or as a Bronze Age burial place. Others believe that it is a gigantic astronomical clock that allowed our ancestors to make complicated celestial calculations. According to legend, it was Wizard Merlin who erected Stonehenge by transporting the heavy boulders from Ireland with the help of magical forces.
After the visit back to London, free time in the city center.
Dinner in a typical English pub. After dinner a panoramic tour of the city by night. Like all major European capitals, London at night expresses its best charm, with the extraordinary illumination of palaces, bridges and churches. Return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 12: U.S. Re-entry Flight
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and transfer to the airport for the return flight to the USA.
Grand Tour of France and England
From May 31 to June 11, 2020
(12 days including round trip)
Price quoted per person in a double (40 participants minimum)
The price includes:
- Round trip flight Las Vegas (or other major US city (extra fee may apply) -Paris/London – Las Vegas (or other major US city – extra fee may apply)
- Comfortable GT motor-coach service for the entire trip
- 4 star centrally located hotels (Paris, Blois, Caen, London)
- Check-in, ZTL and bus parking at all cities to visit
- Full board (hotels and restaurants) unless indicated as “on your own”
- Drinks included with meals (water and 1 soft drink per person at meals)
- Seven lunches at restaurants and one dinner in a typical London PUB
- Excursions and guided tours as scheduled (in English)
Paris: Basilica of the Sacred Heart – Sainte Chapelle
Versailles: Palace of Versailles
Chartres: Chartres Cathedral
Chambord: Chambord Castle
Amboise: La Clos de Luce: Leonardo da Vinci Museum
Caen: Memorial Museum, Castle, Men’s Abbey, Women’s Abbey
Utah Beach: Landing Museum
Omaha Beach: Colleville Cemetery
Le Mont Saint-Michel: Mont St. Michel Abbey
Honfleur: St. Catherine’s Church
London: The Tower of London
Windsor: Windsor Castle
Stonehenge: Stonehenge archaeological site
- Audio guides
- Accompanying service Alex Collection for the entire tour
- Ferry service from Calais (France) -Dover England
- Tourist hotel tax
- Medical insurance, baggage, accident and repatriation
- Gift to all participants
The price does not include:
- Personal extras
- The entrance fees not mentioned in the included fees
- Travel cancellation insurance (quote on request)
- Lunches indicated as “on your own”
- Single room supplement $564