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17th - 22nd September 2021

 

Normandy has a remarkable history and heritage, from the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel Island and the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry to the D-Day beaches and don't forget the food. Normandy is famous for its delicious cheeses, terroir cider and Calvados. Our base for the tour is Caen – capital of the Basse Normandie region and founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The city was massively damaged during the 1944 Battle of Normandy, but considerable history and heritage survives to make it a very good-looking city, especially in its central areas. Visitors will discover the imposing bastions of a superb medieval château, two ancient abbeys and a clutch of excellent museums, including an outstanding and enthralling museum of war and peace, largely dedicated to D-Day, WWII and its aftermath.

Friday
A morning departure from the Manchester. We will be visiting Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire, the picturesque country cottage, where Jane Austen lived. It is the most treasured Austen site in the world. It was here that Jane’s genius flourished and where she wrote, revised and had published all her novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

After our visit we travel on to Portsmouth for some free time before boarding our overnight sailing to Caen.

Saturday - Arrive in Caen, with a visit to the Tapisserie de Bayeux (admission and audio guide included).

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres long and 50 centimetres tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.

After our visit you free time in Caen and check in at your hotel.

Sunday - A full day guided D-Day Landing tour including the visits to the Arromanches Landing Museum (admission included) and the Arromanches 360 Cinema (Admission included).

D-Day Museum - Musée du Débarquement: this central museum focuses on the D-Day landings and the crucial months of Allied action afterwards. It goes into fascinating detail about the setting up of the Mulberry Harbour here via models and displays. There are also powerful videos to view.

Arromanches 360°: images bombard you from all sides in this circular cinema opened for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The clips take you racing through the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy to liberate the region before the Allies moved on to free the rest of Europe from Nazi occupation. During the day guide will take you through some of the history of the D Day landings and surrounding area.

Monday - Full day to Mont St Michel including the visit to the Abbey.

The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances.

The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.

From 966 onwards, the dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added through medieval times, one vertiginous section being nicknamed The Marvel. The abbey became a renowned centre of learning.

Tuesday - Excursion to visit Fromagerie Graindorge for a cheese factory audio guided tour & tasting of cheese. Also a visit to Chateau du Breuil for a tour and tasting of Calvados.attracting some of the greatest minds and manuscript illuminators in Europe. Vast numbers of pilgrims visited, despite warring cross-Channel royals. However, the ramparts at the base of the island were built to keep English forces out. Other fine buildings went up along the steep village street, now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants and boutiques for today’s tourists to discover and enjoy.

Fromagerie Graindorge - Since 1910, E. Graindorge Cheese Dairy has been passed down from father to son. The company specializes in the production of the four Norman Protected Designations of Origin or PDO cheeses, Livarot, Pont-l’Eveque, Camembert de Normandie, Neufchatel. The milk is collected from a hundred producers. Historically, it ensures high quality raw milk, the Norman race and manufacturing in compliance with the rules established by the Protected Designations of Origin.

Château du Breuil - Be fascinated by the activity at the Château du Breuil distillery and discover thedistillation process for Calvados Pays d’Auge, a genuine symbol of the gourmet heritage of our region, Normandy. Our experts will share their knowledge and introduce you to the distillation process for Calvados Pays d’Auge Château du Breuil. Fill your senses with the beauty of the stills, the sound of the distillation and the fragrance of the freshly created nectar…

After our excursion we will make our way back to the Caen for our departure on the overnight ferry back to Portsmouth.

Wednesday – Arrive in Portsmouth and take an en-route free flow visit to Kenilworth Castle. With time to explore and have lunch.

From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England's affairs for much of its 900 year history. Today, you can scale the heights of the tower built to woo Queen Elizabeth I and marvel at the mighty Norman keep. Explore the exhibition in the Gatehouse, and imagine the majesty of the Great Hall playing host to medieval monarchs and early Tudor kings.

After lunch we will continue the journey home, arriving in Manchester early evening.

Your Hotel: The Ibis Styles Caen Centre Gare Hotel is located close to the city centre and Caen train station. The hotel features a fitness room and bar. Each of the hotels en suite modern bedrooms come equipped with TV, telephone and hairdryer in the bathroom. Hotel Website: https://all.accor.com/hotel/9086/index.en.shtml?

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

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For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)