Review: Treasures of France
Escorted Tour - Coach
Treasures of France - Silver Travel Advisor prize
We were thrilled to win a trip to France in the April 2018 Silver Travel Advisor prize. The Treasures of France from Trafalgar was an 8 day coach tour of France starting and ending in Paris. As we had to catch the tour in Paris, we left London on the EuroStar and arriving in Paris took a taxi to our hotel Evergreen Laurel Hotel close to the city centre. We had missed the start of the tour but after contacting Sarah our excellent Tour Director adventured onto the Metro to go to the Welcome Reception and orientation drive to admire the beautiful cityscape of Paris – past grand boulevards and iconic sites like the Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. Our group was a good mixture of Americans, Canadians and a few Brits.
The next day up and off to Rouen to see where Joan of Arc was burnt to death. Then onto Honfleur for lunch and a short tour. Its narrow lanes and colourful shopfronts were facinating. Arriving in Bayeux, we visited the Tapestry Museum and saw the Bayeux Tapestry, depicting events before and during the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In the evening we dined at the hotel the Mercure Omaha Beach.
The third day we began the day visiting the D-Day Museum and the bunkers and Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc. We paid tribute to the brave souls who lost their lives on the D-Day Landing Beaches of Omaha, imagining the sense of terror and triumph they felt that fateful day as they set foot on mainland Europe. We stopped for lunch in the seaside setting of Arromanches, a lovely little town and finished the day on the beaches of Juno, one of the five D-Day landing beaches.
In the evening we took an optional tour to a Cider Farm. A drive through the Norman countryside took us to a family-run cider farm, where we visited and tasted the local tipple. Then to a Farmhouse Inn for a Norman feast with drinks included!
The fourth day we travelled to the fortified island town of Mont St. Michel. Here we joined a Local Specialist for a tour of Mont St. Michel’s medieval Benedictine Abbey. Legend has it, the abbey was built after the Archangel Michael appeared to the Bishop of Avranches inspiring him to build a church atop the island.
As we decided not to do the optional tour to St Malo we had a free afternoon exploring more of the Mont.
That evening we stayed at Le Relais Du Roy enjoying an enjoyable meal with wine.
The fifth day we journeyed through the scenic countryside, stopping to ‘Connect With Locals’ over a light Be My Guest meal with wine at a 17th-century château set within beautiful gardens. We then journeyed to the Loire Valley, where we spent the next two nights at Novotel Amboise.
The optional trip that day was a tour of the narrow streets of the medieval part of Tours’ Old Town, lined with timbered houses. St Martin, who was once Bishop of Tours is buried the Basilica built around his tomb.
We spent our sixth day admiring the beautiful châteaux of the Loire Valley and joined a Local Specialist for a visit to the Amboise Royal Château. It is here that King François I hosted Leonard da Vinci, whose tomb now lies in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert adjoining the château. We continued with a visit to Chenonceau, a château built on the Cher River. The château is often referred to as the Ladies Castle, due to the many women who influenced its construction and development. Today it contains priceless collections, including Renaissance furniture, tapestries and masterpieces by Rubens
An optional visit to the Manor house and gardens where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years, is preserved much as he left them on his death almost 500 years ago. The tour culminated in a display of Leonardo’s most extraordinary inventions – from submarines to helicopters. A fascinating tour!
Then in the evening we took another optional trip to Santé. Here we toasted our new-found friends as we enjoyed a typical French meal in an atmospheric Old World setting. Drinks were included with entertainment provided by a lovely elderly guitarist playing all the old Beetle and 60’s songs. His English was minimal but he knew all the songs’ words.
The last day our first stop was the royal Château de Chambord of King François I, regarded as one of the world’s most remarkable châteaux, with its exquisite Italian Renaissance architecture and decorative moat. Then back to Paris to spend the rest of our day in the City of Lights with free time to take in some of the sights. That evening we enjoyed a Farewell Dinner with local wines at a Parisian bistro.
We ended the tour staying at Renaissance La Defense on the outskirts of Paris. Not the most ideal setting but quick access to the Metro. We spent an extra day in Paris going back to London on EuroStar.
A very enjoyable trip with Sarah, our excellent Tour Director from Trafalgar. All the hotels were comfortable but in some cases basic. A Buffet breakfast was included at all the hotels as was the Be My Guest lunch and four dinners with wine.
For more details see www.trafalgar.com
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.