Normandy is renowned as a center of Impressionism and for its charming towns and fine cuisine. It’s also remembered for major military efforts, from the Norman Conquest to the D-Day invasion of World War II. Join us for this one-week Cultural Stay, based in Honfleur, which features time at inspiring D-Day sites, places known for the Impressionists, and the stunning island of Mont St. Michel.

Starting at: $4,790 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The charming old port of Normandy's Honfleur  The historic Mont St. Michel off the coast of Normandy  Arromanches  Mulberries at Arromanches
  Memorial sculpture, Omaha Beach  Sherman tank along the Normandy coastline  German gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc. Credit: Atout France/R-Cast  Monet's gardens at Giverny  The cathedral in Rouen  Cabourg, France

Normandy

A One-Week Stay in France

9 days from $4,790

Normandy is renowned as a center of Impressionism and for its charming towns and fine cuisine. It’s also remembered for major military efforts, from the Norman Conquest to the D-Day invasion of World War II. Join us for this one-week Cultural Stay, based in Honfleur, which features time at inspiring D-Day sites, places known for the Impressionists, and the stunning island of Mont St. Michel.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

​ Much has been written and filmed about the Normandy invasion and D-Day. It is impossible to appreciate the complexity and scope of this critical military endeavor without seeing firsthand the immensity of the invasion beaches and understanding the complexity of engineering, logistics, creativity and disinformation that allowed it to be successful. One does not leave the American Cemetery without being humbled by the sacrifice of so many. 

- Morton C.

The unique itinerary of the Normandy trip allowed us to stay in one place while taking day excursions to sites we would never have ventured to on our own. Our Smithsonian Journeys Expert was able to answer every question about the history of each small village we drove through on our way to a destination, including its role in WWII. He truly brought history to life for us. What a pleasure!

- Barbara G.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by October 22, 2021!

No single supplement for solo travelers! (Limited availability. Book early to ensure your place.)

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Visit the Tour Details tab and click on "Special Air Rates/Services" drop down. 

Overview

Normandy is renowned as a center of Impressionism and for its charming towns and fine cuisine. It’s also remembered for major military efforts, from the Norman Conquest to the D-Day invasion of World War II. Join us for a one-week stay at the centrally located Hotel Mercure in Honfleur, the ideal base to explore this region.

Highlights Include

  • Impressionism: During a walking tour of Honfleur, see why artists like Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet and native son Eugène Boudin were in awe of this charming seaside town. 
  • Battle of Normandy: Spend an inspiring day along the beaches where World War II’s Operation Overlord took place. Visit compelling historic sites including Omaha Beach, Arromanches, Pointe du Hoc, and the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. You’ll also tour the Peace Memorial in Caen, and at Bayeux, you'll see the remarkable medieval tapestry depicting the Norman conquest of 1066.
  • Mont St. Michel: Discover this breathtaking tidal island with its iconic abbey and historic church, one of the most remarkable sites in France and a World Heritage site.
  • Cultural Traditions: Savor traditional culinary products such as Calvados (apple brandy), and visit a nearby estate farm to sample Norman cheeses. At the Château du Bec, attend a presentation on local cooking traditions by Chef Régine, a local chef, who will proceed with the preparation of your lunch. 

​ Much has been written and filmed about the Normandy invasion and D-Day. It is impossible to appreciate the complexity and scope of this critical military endeavor without seeing firsthand the immensity of the invasion beaches and understanding the complexity of engineering, logistics, creativity and disinformation that allowed it to be successful. One does not leave the American Cemetery without being humbled by the sacrifice of so many. 

- Morton C.

The unique itinerary of the Normandy trip allowed us to stay in one place while taking day excursions to sites we would never have ventured to on our own. Our Smithsonian Journeys Expert was able to answer every question about the history of each small village we drove through on our way to a destination, including its role in WWII. He truly brought history to life for us. What a pleasure!

- Barbara G.

2022 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. for Paris / Honfleur

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Paris, France.

Arrive at Charles de Gaulle International Airport then transfer to the Hotel Mercure in Honfleur. The approximate transfer time is three hours including a rest stop en route. Upon arrival at the hotel, you’ll receive a Welcome Package with information about Honfleur and the province of Normandy. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding restaurants and independent activities.

Gather for an orientation walk of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. This evening meet fellow travelers for a welcome reception with your Smithsonian Journeys Expert then depart for a welcome dinner at a popular bistro nearby. (R, D)

Day 3 — Honfleur / Norman Countryside

A full breakfast will be served each day during your stay at the hotel. Later this morning, depart for a tour of the historic fishing port of Honfleur including a visit to the famous wooden church of St. Catherine crafted by local shipbuilders in the  second half of the 15th century. Other town highlights include the Vieux Bassin or old harbor. It’s here the Seine River meets the English Channel.  

After an independent lunch, visit a local estate farm where you’ll sample delicious Norman cheeses and the renowned, locally produced apple cider.

Return to the hotel in late afternoon then gather with new friends in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for camaraderie and conversation. (B, D)

Day 4 — Honfleur / D-Day Beaches

Depart Honfleur on an emotional journey to visit the legendary beaches of Normandy. During the drive, a local expert will offer fascinating history of Normandy and the sites pivotal to the success of Allied armies on D-Day. Visit Arromanches, a seaside town near Gold Beach, landing site of British invasion forces. Continue to visit the Omaha Beach Memorial dedicated to those died on June 6, 1944. Continue along the Calvados coastline, which provided the theater for Operation Overlord, one of history’s most complex and most important military initiatives.

The day includes a visit to the U.S. Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer as well as the German defensive emplacements at Pointe du Hoc. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

Return to the hotel late in the afternoon and enjoy dinner and the evening independently. (B, L)

Day 5 – Honfleur / L’Étretat / Le Havre

After breakfast, depart on an excursion to L’Étretat crossing the famous Pont de Normandie bridge opened in 1995 that spans the River Seine at the point where it flows into the sea. At L’Étretat, a resort on the north coast of France known for the striking rock formations the sea has carved from its white chalk cliffs. Claude Monet and other Impressionists famously painted the arches and cliffs during the 19th century. Stroll along the ocean boardwalk and marvel at the beautiful views. Continue to the Château du Bec, a beautiful 10th century privately owned chateau surrounded by lovely parkland. Here, you will be welcomed by the owners and Chef Régine and learn about Normandy’s cooking traditions. Chef Régine will proceed to prepare a delicious lunch featuring traditional dishes she has re-created from the recipe books of Claude Monet who lived nearby at Giverney. After this special lunch, travel to Le Havre, a World Heritage site, located on the English Channel. Relentlessly bombed during World War II, the city was rebuilt after the war by a team headed by the renowned French architect, Auguste Perret. This afternoon, visit the Musée Malraux of Modern Art or MUMA. The museum showcases Impressionist paintings, many of them donations and legacies from major private art collections. After returning to the hotel, join fellow travelers in the Travelers Corner for a cordial get-together. (B, L)

Day 6 — Mont Saint Michel

This morning, after an early breakfast, depart for a visit to the tidal island of Mont Saint Michel. Well known, the world over, the Abbey’s iconic spire can be seen for many miles around. The island’s buildings have been rebuilt and re-purposed over the centuries serving as fortress, monastery and a prison.

Explore on your own and enjoy lunch at your leisure. Return to Honfleur where the balance of the day is free of planned activities. (B)

Day 7 — Caen / Bayeaux

Travel this morning on an excursion to the compelling Peace Memorial in Caen. During the visit you’ll learn about 20th century history including World War II, the D-Day Landings and the Cold War through an array of exhibits, photos and video footage. Travel on to the estate of Les Vergers de Ducy, where you’ll be served lunch and sample the estate Calvados. Afterward, continue to Bayeux to see the 200-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, that depicts the events surrounding William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings. You will also see the Nôtre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Norman Gothic architecture. In early evening, a local expert will offer a presentation on The French Resistance. You’ll learn about the origins and leaders of the resistance, and the role of the French people in the lead-up to D-Day. You’ll hear about the heroic efforts of the patriots who fought to liberate France from their German occupiers. (B,L)

Day 8 — Honfleur

Today is free of planned activities to allow you to follow your own path and explore Honfleur on your own. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,R,D) 

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

After an early breakfast, transfer by motorcoach to Paris and Charles de Gaulle International Airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)

Please note: The progression of this itinerary and inclusions may change due to operational considerations. 

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)