Honoring the 80th Anniversary of D-Day ~ Two Full Days of Exploration
Discover Normandy’s proud traditions, dramatic history and culinary delicacies on this marvelous, seven-night journey! During the 80th anniversary year of D-Day, pay tribute to the sacrifice and valor of the Allied forces as you visit Omaha and Utah Beaches, the Normandy American Cemetery, Sainte-Mère-Église and other sites associated with this pivotal World War II operation. Admire some of France’s greatest treasures, including magnificent Mont-Saint-Michel and the finely stitched Bayeux Tapestry. Savor flavorful wines and a tasty lunch at a stately, 10th-century castle, plus sample Normandy’s acclaimed Calvados apple brandy on an estate. Throughout your travels, experts share illuminating insights to enrich your experience.
Depart gateway city
AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Paris, France. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: CDG.
Paris, France | Honfleur
Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.
Transfer to the Mercure Honfleur Hotel. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.
At the hotel this evening, get acquainted with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception, and then share a Welcome Dinner together at one of Honfleur’s outstanding restaurants.
Historic Honfleur Walking Tour. For centuries, this picturesque port town has captivated artists, including Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet and native son Eugène Boudin. Soak up the maritime ambience of its picture-perfect, 17th-century Vieux Bassin, or old harbor, located where the Seine River meets the English Channel. From the 16th to 18th centuries, Honfleur was an important trading seaport and a launching point for exploration. Stroll through the colorful harbor and along the narrow side streets to see Honfleur’s landmarks. The wooden Church of Sainte-Cathérine, crafted by 15th-century shipbuilders, is a special stand-out with ceilings over its two naves that resemble upturned hulls. (Moderate)
Free Time: Explore on your own this afternoon in Honfleur. Indulging in Normandy’s delectable culinary treats should be at the top of your to-do list! The region is renowned for producing specialty cheeses that are among France’s best with the rich milk of the Normande cows. Sample its four world-class cheeses, Camembert de Normandie, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont-l’Evêque, which are all AOC-certified for origin and production methods. Pair them with some fresh crusty bread and a glass of the crisp, local apple cider!
This evening, dine on delicious cuisine at a restaurant in Honfleur.
Mont-Saint-Michel. With one glimpse of Mont-Saint-Michel’s singular silhouette rising above the surrounding flat sands, you’ll know why it is considered a wonder of the Western world. On a guided tour, explore this fascinating granite island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the tranquil abbey and church that have drawn pilgrims for centuries. Discover its unique history as not only a church and monastery but also a fortress and a prison. If you’d like, walk along the ramparts to watch the tides and admire the panoramic vistas. Enjoy lunch on your own while at Mont-Saint-Michel. (Active)
Caen | Utah Beach | Sainte-Mère-Église
Le Mémorial de Caen. Visit the award-winning Caen Memorial Museum and learn about World War II, the D-Day landings, the Battle of Normandy and the Cold War through an array of informative exhibits, photos and video footage. (Moderate)
Calvados. Normandy’s apple cider brandy is among the world’s finest brandies. Visit a traditional Norman estate, Les Vergers de Ducy, that distills Calvados from the apples grown on its 42 acres of orchards and learn about the process. Relax over lunch and a glass of smooth Calvados on the estate. (Mild)
Utah Beach and Sainte-Mère-Église. The Normandy coastline provided the theater for Operation Overlord, one of history’s largest and most complex military operations, involving more than 160,000 American, British and Canadian forces arriving by air and sea across 50 miles of territory occupied by German troops. In the very early hours of June 6, 1944, paratroopers and glider units landed inland, tasked with sealing off German access to the amphibious assault sites. By daybreak, the second phase began, as infantry and tanks came ashore on five beaches, codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, supported by 12,000 aircraft and thousands of ships. As you visit the Musée du Débarquement at Utah Beach, gain riveting insights from your guide about how the invasion unfolded. Then travel to the nearby village of Sainte-Mère-Église. It was here that U.S. paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions faced heavy casualties and later captured the town, securing its key crossroads.
Château du Bec
Château du Bec. On your route today, cross the elegant Pont de Normandie, the famous bridge that spans the Seine River. When it opened in 1995, it was the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge, and it remains the longest bridge in France. Continue to Château du Bec, a lovely castle on a 35-acre Norman estate with woods, ponds, a menagerie and a thousand years of history. Meet one of the owners and walk through the beautiful grounds. Then try flavorful local wines and beers and indulge in a tasty buffet lunch of seasonal specialties. (Moderate)
Enrichment: The French Resistance. With a local expert, delve into the origins of the Resistance, its leaders and the heroic efforts of the French patriots who fought to liberate their country.
Free Time: Head off to savor dinner at a restaurant of your choosing.
Arromanches | Omaha Beach | Normandy American Cemetery | Pointe du Hoc
Enrichment: D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. During an insightful talk, discover the pivotal role that Normandy played during this crucial period of the Allied war effort.
D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. In Arromanches, see the site of one of the offshore mulberry harbors, and visit the museum. An engineering feat, these floating harbors enabled the Allies to funnel enormous resources into France to wage war against Hitler. Then, walk along Omaha Beach, see the memorial and contemplate the extraordinary bravery of the Allied landing forces, who valiantly advanced under devastating fire across the heavily fortified shoreline.
In Colleville-sur-Mer, pay a poignant visit to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. Set on a beautiful bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, it contains the graves of 9,387 Americans who died in the invasion and subsequent battles, as well as a serene memorial garden honoring those missing in action. Finally, visit Pointe du Hoc, where U.S. Rangers courageously scaled 100-foot cliffs to destroy German artillery emplacements that posed a threat to troops landing on Omaha and Utah beaches. Learn more about this treacherous mission from your guide and examine a German defensive emplacement. (Active)
Break for lunch at a local restaurant during today’s excursion.
Bayeux | Honfleur
Bayeux. View the 229-foot-long, embroidered Bayeux Tapestry, which vividly depicts more than 50 scenes about William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The elaborate piece was commissioned in 1077 for Bayeux’s Nôtre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Norman Gothic architecture, which you will also visit today. (Moderate)
Free Time: Enjoy lunch on your own in Bayeux before returning to the hotel.
Tonight, share stories of your time in Normandy at a Farewell Reception at the hotel, then gather for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
Depart for gateway city
After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.
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