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Normandy, Brittany & Loire Valley - Suggested Self Drive

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Echoes of historic struggles can be experienced across Normandy, from the Norman conquest to the 1944 D-Day landings. Travel onto rugged Brittany with its ancient walled cities and then to the Loire Valley.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Paris – Giverny – Rouen – Bayeux (263km)
Journey north to the pretty village of Giverny to visit Monet’s home and gardens that inspired the artist. Wander through Rouen’s historic quarters packed with half-timbered houses and tempting shops and restaurants.

Day 2: Bayeux – Honfleur – Bayeux (142km)
Enjoy a relaxing day in the well preserved and very picturesque town of Honfleur. A stop in Caen in one direction is a must.

Day 3: Bayeux – Landing Beaches – Bayeux (34km)
Discover the beaches of Normandy. The placid beaches are still best known by their wartime code names, such as Omaha, Utah and Juno. Monuments are placed along the 60 mile stretch of sand, and there are many war museums.

Day 4: Bayeux – St-Malo (160km)
Stroll along St-Malo’s ramparts and see the stunning cathedral. Visit the monastic island of Mont Saint-Michel, tour the Abbey and walk the narrow streets at the base of the rock, with its jumble of medieval houses.

Day 5: St-Malo – Angers – Tours (328km)
Wander through the lively university town of Angers. It’s the gateway to the Loire Valley with a pedestrianised old town and great places to eat.

Day 6: Loire Valley
Discover the charm and beauty of the château region. Chenonceau spans the water’s flow, while Azay-le-Rideau sits like a tiny jewel in the centre of its own moat.

normandy_brittany map

Highlights worth seeing along the way
Caen – Visit the poignant Caen Memorial Museum which is dedicated to peace and renowned as one of the best WWII museums in all of France.

Mont Saint-Michel – Getting to Mont Saint-Michel is half the fun, thanks to the dramatic causeway that connects it to the mainland and extreme tides. At low tide, you can walk out to the island, but watch the water, or you’ll have to wait at least 6 hours before returning.

Cancale – A great place to stop off for a feed of the best oysters ever! Other local delicacies in the same area are the mussels and lobster.

Honfleur – Stop at the Musée de la Marine, housed in the church of St. Étienne which features model ships and antique furnishings. You’ll also find many galleries with art dating back to pre-Impressionism.

Calvados and Camembert – True specialties of the Normandy region. The village of Camembert is authentic, the cheese gourmet and creamy. Local pear cider and Calvados apple brandy are the perfect accompaniments.

Villandry – Make sure to stop at the beautiful gardens of Villandry, taking time to explore the maze and see the gorgeous restored Renaissance palace.

Loire Valley – Pack a picnic today and discover the châteaux. Start at Amboise and head in a clockwise direction through to Chambord and Cheverny, ending with two favourites, Chenonceau and Azay-le-Rideau.

Our favourite places to stay 
• Hotel Le Lion d’Or, Bayeux
• Château du Colombier, St-Malo
• Château Belmont, Tours

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a compact size car for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.

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