MAJESTIC CLIFFS, EXPANSIVE BEACHES, SEASIDE MANSIONS AND PICTURESQUE COUNTRYSIDE; NORMANDY REGION, FRANCE
Day 1 – Arrive Deauville
There are direct flights to/from Paris from major US cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Texas and Miami. Upon arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport we proceed to Hertz car rental to collect reserved GPS equipped automatic car. An advanced reservation of an automatic car is recommended due to limited availability of automatic cars in Europe. After a pleasant two and a half hour drive to Deauville, we enjoy a relaxing dinner at the seaside restaurant.
Day 2 – Deauville
The long stretch of pristine beach, lavish Norman mansions along the wooden boardwalk, multi-colored beach tents and glamorous town center define Deauville. A boardwalk promenade presents souvenir shops, seaside restaurants, and original beach closets memorizing old movie stars. The day passes swimming in the sea, strolling along the beach, watching sea tide, and lounging in the sun. We stop for lunch at the seaside restaurant to sample local fresh seafood. The walking pathway along marina overlooks the neighboring town of Trouville-sur-Mer and leads to the center of Deauville. The cobblestone streets, magnificent Norman architecture, lively bistros, quaint boutiques and outdoor cafes describe the center of Deauville. In the evening, sophisticated Parisians and visitors fill the streets, restaurants and cafes of Deauville, creating a stimulating and lively atmosphere.
Day 3 – Trouville-sur-Mer
Trouville-sur-Mer is a sophisticated fishing town with white sand beaches, lively town center and bustling fish market. A small boat (BAC) connects Deauville to Trouville-Sur-Mer. A walk along marina reveals Le Marche aux Poissons (Fish Market) and weekly outdoor farmer’s market featuring the freshest seafood and local produce. The center of Trouville-sur-Mer exhibits narrow pathways, classic Norman houses, pastry cafes, souvenir shops and restaurants. A walk through town passes the Notre-Dame de Bon Secours Church and leads to the white sand beach along La Manche (English Channel). A leisurely beach day passes along the calm sea, striped beach tents, long stretch of boardwalk and stylish Norman architecture. After a relaxing day and lunch picnic at the beach, we walk back to marina’s fish market to sample the freshest regional seafood and fish. At low tide, we cross over a small wooden bridge to Deauville.
Day 4 – Étretat and Fécamp
The majestic cliffs, panoramic beach and tranquil town center describe allure of Étretat. An hour drive from Deauville, Étretat entices visitors with Norman wooden architecture, quaint boutiques and narrow streets accentuated with summer flowers. The lively restaurants and cafés serve lunch in the outdoor setting. Walking through the town, we arrive to the beautiful beach defined by dramatic cliffs: Falaise d’Aval and Falaise d’Amont. A walk to the cliff’s top and the chapel of Falaise d’Amont delivers panoramic views of distant sailboats along La Manche (English Channel). The excursion continues with a 25-minute drive to Fécamp, a historic seaside town with magnificent coastal cliffs, pebble rocks beach, colorful marina and historic symbol of Palais de la Benedictine (Benedictine Palace). The semi-circle beach, seaside restaurants and beautiful sunsets create a romantic dinner setting.
Day 5 – Honfleur
The picture of an old port along estuary of Seine River, colorful sailboats, classic Norman half-timbered houses and lively outdoor restaurants and cafes describe the magical setting of Honfleur. The 25-minute drive from Deauville passes by the quaint villages, farmlands and coastal landscape, and leads to Honfleur. La Lieutenance, situated at the Vieux Basin, represents the remaining ancient fortification building in Honfleur. The Saint Catherine’s Church defines the oldest wooden church in Europe. The cobblestone narrow streets, classic Norman half-timbered houses, specialty shops, souvenirs boutiques and French bistros illuminate this charming town. The time slowly passes exploring historic sites, browsing regional specialty shops, observing fading sunset lights along the marina and sampling local cuisine.
Day 6 – Mont Saint-Michel
Atop a hill, the ancient ramparts of Mont Saint-Michel encircled by salt marsh meadows and sea, present an enchanting sight. A two-hour drive from Deauville leads to a tidal island and the medieval Abbey, symbol of Normandy’s ancient grandeur. Inside the city, the medieval architecture and narrow cobblestone streets beautify the pathway to the Abbey. The exploration of Gothic style Abbey guides to the spiritual Cloister, a central garden surrounded by double layer columns. The guided pathways continue to the Refectory, Guests’ Hall, Knights’ Hall and outside lookout with panoramic views. The descend pathway follows along plentiful boutiques and wonderful restaurants serving local specialties, including the regional delicacy of l’agneau de pré-salé (salt meadow lamb) and specialty omelet baked with butter on the open fire.
Day 7 – Normandy’s Inland Villages
The rolling hills, green pastures and Norman villages reflect the real charm of Normandy. The inland excursion traverses an undefined route along Normandy’s picturesque countryside filled with beautiful manors, fertile pastures, colorful livestock and scenic valleys. A visit to the traditional Norman village reveals the half-timbered architecture, brown and cream colored stone houses and majestic Catholic churches in the village center. Normandy’s developed farming system, fertile farmlands, and healthy livestock contribute to its production of high quality food products that are distributed throughout France and the world. As we explore the countryside, we sample delicious French country style cooking and artisan sweets.
Day 8 – Deauville Departure
After a delicious French style breakfast, we enjoy a boardwalk promenade and few hours shopping spree at Deauville’s upscale boutiques and Printemps department store. An afternoon departure offers two options: drive to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for departure flight or extend travel for one week exploration of the neighboring Brittany. A separate travel itinerary guides to the magnetic, historic and cultural Brittany Region and begins with a multi-hour drive from Deauville to Saint-Malo.
Deauville – The multi-colored beach tents, pristine beaches, stylish Norman wooden architecture and picturesque yacht marina describe Deauville’s allure. Parisian bourgeoisie, writers, artists and tourists appreciate Deauville’s pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations, regional seafood cuisine and infinite sea views. The seaside landmark of Royal Barrière Deauville Hotel and Casino Barrière de Deauville augment the glamour of Deauville. A walk along the wooden boardwalk displays beautiful seaside scenery, lavish Norman mansions and multi-colored tents lining the beach. The boardwalk promenade displays the original beach closets honoring the famous movie stars of the classic cinema. The pathway continues along the lively beachside restaurants, souvenir shops, ice cream parlors and the colorful yacht marina overlooking the sister town of Trouville-sur-Mer. Center of Deauville charms with cobblestone streets, magnificent Norman architecture, lively bistros, quaint boutiques, outdoor cafes and blooming flowers in the summer. The summer season in Deauville promises stylish Parisian attire, energetic conversations and refined cuisine. Enveloped by the beautiful architecture, the outdoor bistros serve royal seafood platters (Fruits de Mer) and become a perfect people watching venues.
Trouville-Sur-Mer – The image of vibrant fishing town, historic boardwalk and long stretch of pristine beach captures the essence of Trouville-sur-Mer. A small boat transfer (BAC) connects Trouville-sur-Mer and neighboring Deauville. A weekly outdoor Farmer’s Market along the marina offers local artisan products, fresh fruits and vegetables, hand-made cheeses, and regional wine. Le Marche aux Poissons (Fish Market) entices visitors with fresh and cooked seafood and fish, including local Breton Lobsters. The narrow streets, classic Norman houses, pastry cafes, souvenir shops and plentiful restaurants paint the town center of Trouville-sur-Mer. The walk by the Notre-Dame de Bon Secours Church leads to the expansive beach stretching along La Manche (English Channel). The coastal landscape of Trouville-sur-Mer is defined by the classic striped beach tents, historic wooden boardwalk and stylish mansions along the beach. The return stroll to the Fish Market at the marina offers a casual dinner venue with the freshest local seafood. At the low tide, the fishing boats reside in the muddy sand of the marina and a small wooden bridge enables crossing to Deauville.
Étretat – The majestic cliffs, mystical pebble beach and lovely small town describe the appeal of Étretat. Situated between Falaise d’Aval and Falaise d’Amont, the town of Étretat captivates imagination with dramatic cliff formations along the coast. A pleasant hiking pathway guides to the chapel of Falaise d’Amont situated atop the cliff and offering panoramic sea views. The picturesque pebble beach is covered with perfectly shaped grey and white rocks that sparkle during sunny summer days. Étretat offers a tranquil beach setting with crystal clear waters of La Manche (English Channel), colorful scenery of passing sailboats and gentle waves creating an almost musical sound when brushing against the pebble stones. Étretat’s town center exhibits characteristic Norman architecture, quaint souvenir shops, lovely streets with flowers and restaurants serving regional specialties and the freshest gifts from the sea.
Fécamp – A scenic semi-circle beach covered with small pebbles, panoramic sea views and coastal cliffs create an image of Fécamp. Fécamp serves as a port, resort town and historic place. Palais de la Benedictine (Benedictine Palace) reflects a Gothic-Renaissance style and hosts the ancient art collection. The coastal scenery shows a beautiful beach, walking promenade, seaside restaurants and lively cafes as the sunset paints the sky. This romantic setting creates a wonderful place for dinner, local dessert or drinks. The drive back along Fécamp’s marina exhibits colorful yachts and fishing boats as the evening light begins to fade away.
Honfleur – An enchanting old port of Honfleur located on the scenic estuary of Seine River, is encircled by colorful sailboats, Norman style houses, bustling cafes and lively outdoor restaurants. La Lieutenance, situated at the Vieux Basin, represents the remaining ancient fortification building in Honfleur. The religious symbol of Saint Catherine’s Church defines the oldest wooden church in Europe. The cobblestone narrow streets, classic Norman half-timbered houses, specialty shops, souvenirs boutiques and French bistros illuminate Honfleur’s charm. The summer flowers decorate the seaside restaurants serving regional cuisine and specialty drinks, including Normandy’s apple based alcoholic beverage, Calvados. As the dusk approaches, we enjoy a tranquil scenery along the marina.
Mont Saint-Michel – Situated atop a hill and encircled by 15th century fortifications, the Mont-Saint-Michel symbolizes the mystical medieval times. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont Saint-Michel began as an Abbey and displays the Statue of Archangel Michael atop the abbey. During Hundred Years War, the majestic Ramparts and fortifications prevented any breach of Mont Saint-Michel. Normandy’s Mont Saint-Michel represents a tidal island where Couesnon River creates an estuary. The changing tides create a unique landscape of salt marsh meadows, sand and sea. The salt marsh meadows serve as nutritious sheep pastures contributing to production of a regional delicacy, l’agneau de pré-salé (salt meadow lamb). Inside the city, the medieval architecture and narrow cobblestone streets paint the walking pathways to the Abbey. The Gothic style arches and tall windows accentuate Abbey’s architecture. The Cloister, historically prayer and meditation place, displays a central garden surrounded by double layer columns. The designated visitor pathway leads through Refectory, Guests’ Hall, Knights’ Hall and panoramic lookout to appreciate the beauty of the bay. As we descend along the cobblestone alleys, we stop to sample a local omelet with butter specialty baked on the open fire.
Exploring Normandy’s Countryside –The rolling hills, green pastures, farmlands and traditional Norman villages reflect the hidden charm of Normandy. The style of Deauville, energy of Trouville sur Mer, serenity of Étretat, sunset of Fécamp, colors of Honfleur and majesty of Mont Saint Michel describe diverse landscape of Normandy. Yet, the natural scenery of green pastures, colorful livestock, quaint villages, beautiful manors and valleys reflect the heart of Normandy. The half-timbered architecture, brown and cream colored stone houses and majestic Catholic churches in the center symbolize the traditional Norman village setting. The fertile farmlands, refined production of Calvados apple brandy and preserved cheese making traditions contribute to the wealth of the region. Traversing countryside, we admire its striking natural beauty, peaceful country life and sophisticated country style cooking.
Breton Lobster (Blue Lobster) – In the cold ocean waters, Breton Lobster develops its wonderful sweet and fresh flavor. The Atlantic Ocean waters of Normandy and Brittany supply the abundant fresh seafood distributed throughout France. In Trouville-Sur-Mer, a lively Fish Market (Le Marche aux Poissons) displays row of stalls selling the freshest local seafood and fish, raw and freshly cooked. The casual outdoor dining area offers a chance to sample the freshest regional seafood cuisine. The Breton Lobster, also called Blue Lobster, changes color from blue to red after cooking. The seafood platter includes fresh oysters served with shallot vinaigrette and Breton Lobsters served cold with mayonnaise. The lobster’s sweet meat and red colored lobster eggs deliver a perfect union of colors and flavors.
Fruits de Mer – The coastal waters of Normandy and Brittany serve as fertile habitat for diverse shellfish. The abundance of seafood and established culinary traditions result in culinary feasts from the sea served throughout France. The decadent Fruits de Mer (Fruits of the Sea) represents a classic cold platter of raw and cooked shellfish served on bed of ice. The variety of mixed seafood can please everyone’s culinary needs and preferences. Our selected Royal Fruits de Mer arrives with fresh oysters, langoustines, shrimps, snails, clams and mussels displayed around the platter’s edges, and lobster and crab in the center. The distinct sea flavors and aromas are complemented by condiments of lemon wedges, champagne vinegar and special home-made aioli with hint of garlic.
Royal Barrière Deauville – The long stretch of pristine beach, panoramic sea views and historic boardwalk create a backdrop for Royal Barrière Deauville Hotel. Many poetic verses were written about the charm of Deauville. Royal Barrière Deauville offers a perfect balance of elegance, luxury and privacy. The hotel’s seaside setting ensures collection of various room categories, including the recommended seaside view rooms with windows opening towards the sea and fresh Norman air. The classic European interior décor offers warmth and comfort, while outdoor heated swimming pool offers guests extra relaxation. The stylish lobby decorated with colorful rugs, classic furniture and piano, creates welcoming atmosphere. An elegant royal style dining room defined by high ceilings, arched windows and beautiful chandeliers, invites guests to a delicious French style breakfast buffet. Royal Barrière Deauville reflects the old European charm, traditions and glamour. The nearby lavish mansions beautify the coastal landscape while neighboring Barrière Casino offers an evening glamour and entertainment venue.