Normandy is renowned for its major military efforts, from the Norman Conquest to the D-Day invasion of World War II, as well as for its charming towns, historic sites, and fine cuisine. Join us for this one-week Cultural Stay, which features time at famous D-Day sites, Honfleur and other places known for the Impressionists, and the stunning island of Mont St. Michel with its Gothic cathedral.

Starting at: $4,590 * 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 $4,590

Normandy is renowned for its major military efforts, from the Norman Conquest to the D-Day invasion of World War II, as well as for its charming towns, historic sites, and fine cuisine. Join us for this one-week Cultural Stay, which features time at famous D-Day sites, Honfleur and other places known for the Impressionists, and the stunning island of Mont St. Michel with its Gothic cathedral.

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 July 3, 2020!

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 Hotel Mercure in the delightful Norman seaport town of Honfleur, an ideal base for exploring the region.

Highlights Include

  • Cradle of Impressionism: During a walking tour of Honfleur, see why artists flocked to this charming coastal town. In Giverny, explore the beloved home, studio, and gardens of Claude Monet, and visit the Musée des Impressionnismes. And in Rouen, see the cathedral often painted by Monet, plus other important sites. 
  • Battle of Normandy: Spend an awe-inspiring day along the beaches where World War II’s Operation Overlord took place. Stirring sites include Omaha Beach, the museum at Arromanches, Pointe du Hoc, the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, and the Caen Memorial Museum. You’ll also stop in Bayeux to view the historic tapestry depicting the Norman conquest of 1066. 
  • Mont St. Michel: Discover this breathtaking tidal island with its iconic abbey and historic church (founded in 709), which is one of the most remarkable sites in France and a World Heritage site.
  • Cultural Traditions: Savor traditional culinary products such as Calvados (a world-renown apple brandy), and visit a nearby estate farm to sample Norman cheeses.

​ 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.

2020 Itinerary

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

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

Arrive at Charles de Gaulle International Airport then transfer to the Grand Hotel Cabourg. The approximate transfer time is three hours. Upon arrival at the hotel, you’ll receive a welcome package with information about Cabourg 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 lovely beach promenade and gardens surrounding the hotel. This evening gather in the hotel lobby and depart for a welcome reception and introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterward, enjoy a welcome dinner with wine at the hotel. (R, D)

Day 3 — Honfleur / Norman Countryside

A full buffet breakfast will be served each morning at the hotel. This morning depart by motorcoach for the lovely port town of Honfleur. Visit the famous wooden church of St. Catherine and other town highlights.

After lunch at a restaurant in Honfleur visit a local estate farm where you’ll sample delicious Norman cheeses and the renowned locally produced apple cider.

Return to the hotel late in the day then gather with fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for camaraderie and conversation. (B, L)

Day 4 — The Normandy D-Day Beaches

Depart Cabourg for the famed 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 and the Omaha Beach Memorial. Motor along the Calvados coastline, which provided the theater for Operation Overlord, history’s most complex and most important military initiative.

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 day and enjoy dinner and the evening independently. (B, L)

Day 5 – Giverny / Rouen

Today visit Giverny and Monet’s pink and green home, which stands near the stunningly restored gardens that inspired him. The studio where he created his Water Lily series is now a museum devoted to the master impressionist. Continue on to the Musée des Impressionnismes, dedicated to the history of this movement that influenced a colony of American artists. Continue on to the historic city of Rouen, capital of Normandy.

Enjoy a guided tour of the landmarks including Gros Horloge, the 14th-century astronomical clock and see the cathedral made famous in paintings by Monet and hear the haunting tales of Joan of Arc.

This evening join fellow travelers for dinner at a charming local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 6 — Mont Saint Michel

This morning depart for a visit to the tidal island of Mont Saint Michel. Well known, the world over, the Abbey’s 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 Cabourg late in the day where the balance of the day is free of planned activities. Later, get together with fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to discuss the day’s discoveries. (B)

Day 7 — Cabourg

The day is free, so follow your own path and explore on your own. 

Early this evening a local expert joins the group for a presentation on the French Resistance during the lead-up to the D-Day invasion. Learn about the heroic men and women who risked their lives to liberate France from German occupation. 

The remainder of the evening is free with dinner independently. (B)

Day 8 — Caen / Bayeux

After breakfast depart for the Peace Memorial at Caen that showcases 20th-century history including World War II, the D-Day landings and the Cold War through a collection of exhibits, photos, and a video presentation. After lunch at Les Vergers de Ducy featuring Norman specialties and a sampling of calvados, continue to see the 200-foot long Bayeux Tapestry, a hand-embroidered masterpiece that depicts the glory of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings fought in 1066.

Return to Cabourg late in the day. Gather with fellow travelers this evening for a farewell reception and dinner with wine at the hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

After an early breakfast transfer 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)

2021 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. 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 lovely beach promenade and gardens surrounding the hotel. This evening gather 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 American-style buffet breakfast will be served each morning at the hotel. This morning depart for a tour of the highlights of the historic fishing port of Honfleur including the famous wooden church of St. Catherine. Visit the famous wooden church of St. Catherine and other town highlights.

After lunch at a restaurant, 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 fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for camaraderie and conversation. (B, L)

Day 4 — The Normandy D-Day Beaches

Depart Honfleur for the famed 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 and the Omaha Beach Memorial. Motor along the Calvados coastline, which provided the theater for Operation Overlord, history’s most complex and most important military initiative.

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 day and enjoy dinner and the evening independently. (B, L)

Day 5 – Giverny / Rouen

Today visit Giverny and Monet’s pink and green home, which stands near the stunningly restored gardens that inspired him. The studio where he created his Water Lily series is now a museum devoted to the master impressionist. Continue on to the Musée des Impressionnismes, dedicated to the history of this movement that influenced a colony of American artists. Continue on to the historic city of Rouen, capital of Normandy.

Enjoy a guided tour of the landmarks including Gros Horloge, the 14th-century astronomical clock, and see the cathedral made famous in paintings by Monet and hear the haunting tales of Joan of Arc.

Gather this evening for dinner at a restaurant in Honfleur. (B, D)

Day 6 — Mont Saint Michel

This morning 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 late in the day where the balance of the day is free of planned activities. Later, get together with fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner to discuss the day’s discoveries. (B)

Day 7 — Honfleur

Today there's free time so that you can follow you own path and enjoy lunch at your leisure. In the early, evening a local expert joins the group for a presentation on the French Resistance during the lead-up to the D-Day invasion. Learn about the heroic men and women who risked their lives to liberate France from German occupation. 

This evening, dine-out independently. (B)

Day 8 — Caen / Bayeux

After breakfast, depart for the Peace Memorial at Caen that showcases 20th-century history including World War II, the D-Day landings and the Cold War through a collection of exhibits, photos, and a video presentation. After a luncheon featuring Norman specialties you’ll have the chance to sample the local calvados, a brandy made from apples or pears. Afterwards, continue to see the 200-foot long Bayeux Tapestry, a hand-embroidered masterpiece that depicts the glory of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings fought in 1066. Return to Honfleur late in the afternoon.

Gather in the hotel lobby in the early evening and depart for your festive farewell reception and dinner at a popular local restaurant. (B, L, 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)