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Burgundy & Normandy Highlights

Combine a once-in-a-lifetime Burgundy river barge experience with the rich history of Paris and Normandy's WWII sites on a historical and gastronomical adventure you'll remember forever. Float by canal barge to medieval sites, quaint villages, and pastoral vineyards along the Sane, visit the Normandy beaches and indulge in plenty of free time to roam centuries-old cities, gardens, and grounds. France awakens all your senses.

  • Duration: 17 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Moderate%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: EFWLNG/166210
  • Starts: Dijon, France
  • Finishes: Paris, France
You will Visit
  • Dijon
  • Paris

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Dijon

Arrive at any time.

02

Day 2: Dijon

Enjoy an orientation walk in the morning to explore Dijon. Visit the Ducal Palace, the local market and the old town. In the afternoon, enjoy free time before transferring to the river barge and embarking the Danièle.

03

Day 3: Dijon/Longecourt-en-Plaine

Cycle to Gevrey-Chambertin, a small but well known Burgundy village. Enjoy wine tasting at a local winery and continue to Côte du Nuits before meeting the barge in Longecourt-en-Plaine. This mostly flat route is the best way to see quintessential Burgundy.

04

Day 4: Longecourt-en-Plaine/Auxonne

Spend this morning walking along the canal stopping in small villages and looking at the various locks. Enjoy the Burgundy canal as we walk a 10km (6.2 mi) stretch of the canal between Longecourt and St-Jean-de-Losne. Embark on the barge to continue towards Auxonne. Upon arrival, take a short train ride to the charming town of Dole for dinner and free time to explore.
You can rejoin the barge at any of the four locks along the way. Opt to use one of the bikes to ride ahead of the walkers.

05

Day 5: Auxonne/Seurre

Have a relaxing morning on board, or take some more time to wander around Auxonne. Continue on to Seurre with some free time to explore this quaint town on your own.

06

Day 6: Seurre/Verdun-sur-le-Doubs

Spend the morning relaxing on the barge. This afternoon, take in a presentation by a local winemaker and enjoy a horizontal tasting. Continue towards Verdun-sur-le-Doubs with free time to explore.

07

Day 7: Verdun-sur-le-Doubs/Fragnes

Enjoy a full day of biking through vineyards and villages along the Canal du Centre. Stop in the charming villages of Chagny and Santenay along the way. Enjoy wine tasting at the Château de Marsannay, followed by a stop in Meursault for an optional lunch before returning to the barge in Fragnes.

08

Day 8: Fragnes/Paris

Transfer to Beaune, the historic wine capital of Burgundy. Enjoy a tour with a docent, exploring the Hospices of Beaune, a charitable hospital that has been funded by the annual wine auction for over 155 years. Delve into history and discuss the relationship of the hospice with the powerful wine merchants of Burgundy. Enjoy some free time to explore before catching the train to Paris.

09

Day 9: Paris

Explore the historic covered Marché d'Aligre with a local chef and food expert. Rarely visited by tourists, this market is where locals come to shop for food. Meet vendors, enjoy tastings, and learn about the history of the market and the specialties offered here. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own.

10

Day 10: Paris

Enjoy the day free to explore Paris. Opt to visit museums, shop or take a river cruise.

11

Day 11: Paris/Bayeux

Depart for Giverny to visit Claude Monet's Garden, inspiration for the artist's water-lily series and named as one of National Geographic's "top 10 most magnificent gardens in the world." Continue on to the pretty port town of Honfleur for a walk with your CEO and some free time. Arrive this evening in Bayeux and enjoy a dinner at a local crêperie.
Depart Paris for Upper Normandy and the quaint village of Giverny. Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked here from 1883 until his death in 1926. Monet felt that his flower and water gardens here were his greatest works of art and to this day, they are meticulously maintained. These served as inspiration for his celebrated water-lily series and have been named by National Geographic as one of the "10 most magnificent gardens in the world."

Honfleur sits on the estuary where the River Seine meets the English Channel and is considered one of the prettiest port towns in France. Its quaint harbour and historic buildings have always been a draw for artists, including Monet.

12

Day 12: Bayeux

This morning we immerse ourselves in WWII history with a local, accredited expert. Begin with a lecture on the Allied invasion and visit a museum to view and handle WWII relics including vintage weapons, uniforms, and maps. Then board a WWII transport vehicle to visit Secqueville-en-Bessin War Cemetery to learn the significance of poppies, the ultimate emblem of military sacrifice. This afternoon continuing exploring with our CEO, visiting Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and the American cemetery and memorial.
Take in scenes of the D-Day landing which had a pivotal role in the history of the world. Visit the moving memorials and beaches and learn about the impact this event had on the direction of the Second World War. The Battle of Normandy Historical Area is considered an open-air museum and includes all the sites, museums and memorials associated with D-Day and the invasion. Old army bunkers and war relics still exist along the five beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, while museums and memorials throughout the region stand as forceful reminders of this decisive period of WWII. Nearly 30 cemeteries (including American, British, Canadian, French, German and Polish) hold the remains of almost 100,000 young soldiers who never returned from their service in Normandy. Today these memorials offer quiet space for personal reflection for every visitor, young or old, regardless of nationality.

13

Day 13: Bayeux

Today enjoy an excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel, an island commune off the coast of Normandy. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the medieval fortress is considered one of the most stunning and imposing sites in Europe, with origins dating back to the 6th century. Take an orientation walk with our CEO then enjoy free time to explore. Opt to visit the abbey, monastery, or museums, or wander the winding lanes and cobblestone streets.

14

Day 14: Bayeux

Enjoy a free day to explore Bayeux and its medieval centre. Wander its quaint streets to visit shops and cafes and opt to visit the cathedral and the famed Bayeux Tapestry.

15

Day 15: Bayeux/Paris

Depart for the river port city of Rouen where we take an orientation walk with our CEO and enjoy some free time. Continue back to Paris where we visit the studio of renowned, National Geographic photographer Reza. Enjoy an exclusive behind the scenes tour with one of Reza's assistants to learn about his work in conflict zones around the world and how his stunning photos make it from lens to page. After, enjoy some wine and cheese in this artistic setting; if we are lucky, we may even get to meet Reza.
Rouen was an important city in the Roman era and Middle Ages, showcased by its historical (and beautiful) centre of Gothic churches and medieval half-timbered houses. it is most notable as the place where Joan of Arc was tried for heresy.

16

Day 16: Paris

Enjoy a morning walk with our CEO in the medieval centre of Paris; the Île de la Cité. Opt to visit inside Notre Dame, and the Sainte-Chapelle. Afterward, take advantage of free time to explore the city.
This afternoon, you are free to explore on your own to discover the “je ne sais quoi” of this stunning city. Opt to visit the Eiffel Tower, explore the city's outstanding museums and churches, float down the River Seine on a cruise, or simply people-watch.

17

Day 17: Paris

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Burgundy Wine Talk and Horizontal Tasting, Chalon-sur-Saône National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Visit Hospices of Beaune, Beaune National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Local Market Visit with a Chef, Paris National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: D-Day Historical Experience, Bayeux National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Paris Photography Studio, Paris Hands-On: Côte de Beaune Bike Ride, Chalon-sur-Saône
    • Six nights aboard the Danièle canal river barge
    • Orientation walk of Dijon and Ducal Palace
    • Verdun-sur-le-Doubs walking excursion
    • Visits to Saint-Jean-de-Losne, Auxonne, and Longecourt-en-Plaine
    • Cycle through Gevrey-Chambertin
    • Côte de Nuits visit
    • Use of bicycles during shore excursions
    • Tour of Monet's gardens
    • Excursion to Mont-Saint-Michel
    • Paris orientation walk
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Aboard the Danièle river barge (6 nts), hotel (10 nts)
    • 16 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
    Transport
    • Private vehicles, Danièle river barge, bicycle, train, walking, antique WWII vehicle
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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