We like this 2-day tour that give you the chance to see Normandy & the Loire Valley, including stunning Mont St-Michel. What's better than spending a couple of action-packed days in the French countryside? You're going to love climbing the ancient steps of Mont Saint-Michel for commanding views of the bay from the craggy island. We're not the only ones who find this place fascinating. Mont Saint-Michel was declared a historic monument in 1874 thanks to a campaign launched by French writer Victor Hugo.
In the Loire Valley part of the tour you visit the châteaux that best showcase the diversity of the place called the Valley of 1,000 Castles. Like all of our recommended tour activities, the details of the journey have been planned for you, just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Don't worry — there will be plenty of time to wander and explore on your own.
You start out by traveling to Mont St-Michel on the coast of Normandy, where you arrive in time for lunch & exploration. In the afternoon, head off towards the Valley of 1000 Châteaux, the Loire Valley. The afternoon will be spent on a tour of Château de Langeais and Château de Chambord. Pass by the charming town of Cheverny on your way to Angers, your overnight destination.
Start the day with a visit to Château d'Angers to see one of the world's most famous tapestries from the Middle Ages. Drive through Amboise and Saumur towards Château de Langeais. Lunch will be served in the bustling small town of Amboise.
Spend the afternoon exploring one of the most romantic castles, Château de Chenonceau. Your last visit is at the largest and most classic castle of the Loire Valley, Château de Chambord. Say au revoir to the Loire in the late afternoon and bonjour to Paris in the evening.
Transportion by luxury, air-conditioned coach, entrance fees, guided tours, some meals, overnight accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Angers.
Rising like a mirage on the horizon, the medieval skyscraper of Mont Saint-Michel is connected to the mainland by thin strip of land which is flooded during high tide. In ancient times, Mont St-Michel would be completely covered at high tide, while low tide would reveal the island, endowing it with a mystical quality. The tides shift rapidly near Mont Saint-Michel, Victor Hugo described the tide as traveling as "quickly as galloping horses".
If you're able, you must climb the 900 steps of the Escalier de Dentelle (Lace Staircase) to the gallery of the abbey. Halfway up the hill is Saint Pierre, the medieval parish, with a statue of Saint Michel slaying the dragon. Even if you can't climb the steps wander among the maze of streets, staircases, shops and restaurants of Mont Saint-Michel.
A power base in the medieval times, today Angers is a bustling university town with broad boulevards, manicured public gardens and narrow, cobblestone streets. It's where the delicious orange-flavored liqueur Cointreau is made. Also worth visiting are the Musée des Beaux Arts and a museum devoted to the making of Cointreau.
The moat, once a 36-ft-deep, treacherous defensive ditch, is now filled with a series of bold geometric flower beds. The central drawbridge leads to the Porte de la Ville (Town Gate) and is the main entrance to the 9th-century château. Château d'Angers is also famous for its legendary Apocalypse Tapestry. At full length the tapestry stretches to 104 meters! The modern Galerie de l'Apocalypse Tapestries was built just to display this masterpiece of the Middle Ages.
Château de Langeais has remained unchanged over the centuries. Its collection of 15th- and 16th-century furniture, tapestries and paintings offer a fascinating picture of aristocratic life during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The forbidding outer walls, towers, drawbridge and sentry contrast with the elegant interior courtyards.
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Surrounded by formal gardens and forest, Château de Chenonceau is a Renaissance masterpiece that stretches across the River Cher. Many consider it a jewel amongst the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Visit the small waxworks museum that tells the history of Chenonceau. There's even a small train that rides down the tree-lined drive.
Château de Chambord is a classic Disney-like example of a castle — it teems with wild boar and deer and has magnificent hunting lodges. It was built in 1519 by François I as a masculine getaway for hunting game and wooing women. Think of him as the medieval James Bond.
• 2 Days In The Loire Valley…
• Normandy & Mont St-Michel…
• 2 Days In The Heart of France…
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• 4 Days In The Heart of France…
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