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Tickets are not included
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Hotels not included
  • Loire + Brittany + Mont St Michel (5 days) Description

    Day 1

    After 2 hours drive on the A10 with a stop half-way for coffee and croissants, to give you a taste of Royal splendor, your tour starts with a private guided visit of CHAMBORD, the immense and unique palace of Francois I, built at the turn of the Renaissance period, that witnesses the elation and extravagance of the king obsessed by his 2 favorite pastimes: hunting and architecture. You will take the double-turn spiral staircase designed by Leonardo da Vinci, where 2 people can go up and down without ever meeting, head to the Royal Apartments of François I and Louis XIV, immerse on the floor above in the world of royal hunts and continue to the Terraces where you will find yourself surrounded by roofing and chimneys forming a fairytale village, as suspended in the sky, that offers a magnificent panorama over the huge estate.

    Chambord is so much more than a castle; it is an architectural gem, a technical feat, a stone colossus, the dream of a young king comes true.

    After the visit of Chambord, a beautiful drive along the Loire River will bring you to the town of Amboise where you will have a guided visit of the CHATEAU DU CLOS LUCELeonardo da Vinci’s last residence that is dedicated to conveying an overall picture of the art and the boundless vision of the Tuscan artist. You will visit his bedroom, his kitchen, his study, the Renaissance halls, the chapelwith its frescoes painted by his pupils as well as 40 of hisinventions on the themes of military engineering, town planning, mechanics, flying machines and hydraulics. In thePark, a landscaped walk dedicated to revealing the intellectual scope of the Florentine Master will show you the sources of his inspirations with the help of 16 giant working machines and 32 translucent panels which depict sketches and details from his paintings.

    After lunch in a nice, typical restaurant of the Loire Valley, your guide will drive you to the CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU, that is an exceptional site not only because of its original design, the richness of its collections (Murillo, Il Tintoretto, Poussin, Il Correggio, Rubens Il Primatice, Van Loo…), its furniture , its decorations (selection of very rare tapestries of the 16thC) and gardens, but also because it was loved, administrated and protected by extraordinary women who have marked history (Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Madame Dupin..).

    Throughout history, this emblematic castle has always attracted talent and inspired great artists, conveying beauty and combining the elegance of architecture with that of the spirit. The Room of the 5 Queens, the living room of Louis XIV, the Grand Gallery overlooking the Cher River, the Green Cabinet of Catherine de Medici, the Royal chapel takes you back in time to share the dreams of Chenonceau and reveal its secrets.

    (Entrance fees and accomodation not included)

    Night in Amboise or Tours

    Day 2

    VILLANDRY, the last of the great Renaissance castles to be built on the banks of the Loire. It owes uncontestably its fame to its exceptional gardens laid out on 3 levels in a happy marriage of beauty, diversity and harmony.

    The decorative kitchen gardens house a profusion of colorful flowers and vegetable plants in a chequerboard plan, the effect of the seasonal variation is an ever-changing 3 dimensional picture.

    The ornamental garden in box hedges, form musical symbols, but pride of place is going to hearts, scrolls, butterflies, allegories of love: tender, passionate, fickle and tragic.

    The water -garden, very tranquil and peaceful, ideal for relaxing and dreaming.

    The site is completed by a herb garden with medicinal and culinary plants and a maze called ” the Innocent’s Garden”.

    You will then head to the next cultural exploration of the day: the FONTEVRAUD ABBEY,

    built between 1110 and 1190 . Founded by an itinerant preacher named Robert of Arbrissel, Fontevraud was a double monastery (both nuns and monks lived at the same site) that became famous and prosperous (the order established several Fontevrist abbeys in England).

    Robert of Arbrissel declared that the head of the order should always be a woman. This position attracted many rich and noble women that became abbesses of Fontevraud such as Mathilda of Anjou 9the aunt of King Henry II of England, Louise de Bourbon, Isabella of Anjou and Eleonor of Aquitaine the queen of England that retired there as a nun after her husband’s death.

    Your guide will take you for a private guided visit of the chapter house, the cloister galleries, the 3 monastery buildings and the abbey church where you will see the graves of King Henry II of England, his wife Eleonor of Aquitaine, their son Richard Ist (Lionheart) and their daughter Joan.

    After this feast for your eyes, your guide will take you to a small local restaurant for a feast of your palate. Then youn will head to Vannes in southern Brittany where you stay for the night.

    (Entrance fees and accomodation not included)

    Night in Vannes

    Day 3

    Built as an amphitheater in the very end of the Gulf of Le Morbihan Vannes is located in one of the oldest settlement in southern Brittany.

    The city founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC called St- Patern is now one area of Vannes and is outside the city walls.

    Strolling in this very pleasant city that was once the capital city of Brittany will be a journey through time that goes from the roman left overs to the fancy and massive architecture of the 19th century such as the city hall, smaller copy of the one in Paris and discovering the medieval aspects like the timber frame houses, the market square “Places des Lices”, that used to be the jousting place.

    You will visit the cathedral St Pierre built from the late 13th to the 19th century where several architectures are mixed. You will see la Cohue which means the crowd and that the market actually. 

    Your tour guide will take you to the other unique heritage around Vannes which is the Gulf itself. The Gulf of Le Morbihan is one of the most beautiful bay in the world that will leave you breathless.

    Morbihan which means in Breton language “Little sea” is the Caribbean of Brittany where you will see an amazing amount of islands such as the Gavrinis where people carved the dolmen walls 3800 years ago, you will be overwhelmed by the constant changing colors and perspectives.

    It’s a perfect place for a nice lunch before. 

    Then after  an 1 hour drive you will reach Pont-Aven, the village of the painters where “l’Ecole de Pont-Aven” was founded by painters named by the locals “The Americans” although they were British, Scandinavian, French…“The Americans” was actually the name of this artists melting pot.

    In Paris when the art schools and workshops closed for summer the artists started to leave the city, this how Robert Wylie went to Pont-Aven and settled around 1865. The American painter Henry Bacon had visited Pont-Aven in 1864 and recommended it to Wylie.  

    The “Ecole de Pont-Aven” style was definitely established from 1886 to 1896 by an international community of artist whose leader Paul Gauguin defined their works by saying : “they took the right to dare to do everything”.

    The painters made the fame of Pont-Aven thanks to the hospitality and the help of locals such as Julia Guillou named “the kind hostess”who ran the Hotel des Voyageurs where many “Americans” stayed whose restaurant could receive 250 persons and had 4 workrooms. This is today the city hall. 

    The actual bookshop was Marie Jeanne Gloanec modest bed and breakfast that hosted in 1860 the “Impressionist Painters”called also the “Revolutionaries”, then in 1891 she opened a hotel where Gauguin lived in 1892 which today the Ajoncs d’Or hotel.

    In 2016 you will be among the first visitors of Pont-Aven Fine Arts Museum. Actually this museum opened in 1985 thanks to the passion of locals for The “Ecole de Pont-Aven” has been closed since 2012 for works. With the reopening you will enjoy the paintings of artists who were inspired by Brittany and Pont-Aven from 1860 to 1970 such as Paul Gauguin, Maurice denis, Emile Bernard, Paul Sérusier…

    After such great day in southern Brittany your tour-guide will drive you to St-Malo in the northern part.

    (Entrance fees and accomodation not included)

    Night in St Malo

    Day 4

    You will start your day with the visit of St Malo.

    St-Malo was named after Maclow a monk who came from Wales in the 6th century based on the hermitage settlement tradition and the evangelization of the local population.

    St-Malo city is one of the greatest examples of the fortifications works made between the 12th and the early 18th centuries. The greatest military engineer Maréchal Vauban and his disciple Simèon Garengeau designed in the 17th century the expansions and reinforcement city walls and the amazing island forts such as la Conchée, le Fort National, Harbour, le Grand Bé where François René de Chateaubriand one of the most famous French Romantic Writer is buried.

    Walking on the city ramparts you will see and understand that St-Malo was originally an island.

    You will visit with your private guide the Saint-Vincent Cathedral where some of the most famous people are buried such as the bishop Jean de Chatillon, real founder of St-Malo as we know it today, Jacques Cartier who discovered Canada in the 16th century. Thanks to the Cathedral to have a different point of view you will see what St-Malo had to go through during World War 2.

    80% of the city was down until the reconstruction that started in 1947.

    To really understand the story and the expansion of St-Malo, your private tour-guide will take you to Alet area, the original settlement of Maclow where there is still a left over of the Roman city wall, that same area where the German troops established a heavy battery artillery on the Atlantic wall.


    Then your guide will drive you to Dinan, one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Brittany is located on a 75 meters (220 feet) high hill over the Rance River and offers a unique overview of the Rance. From here, by Saint-Sauveur Basilica, where the heart of the constable Bertrand Duguesclin is kept, you will notice that the river is under the influence of the tides. That’s why from St-Malo to Dinan, the people call it the sea river and from Dinan to its source further inland it is the river.

    Dinan became the Duke of Brittany territory in the late 13thcentury that’s why huge city walls were built. The wealth, until the French Revolution, was exhibited through Saint-Sauveur Basilica, the private mansions, the Belfry…But thanks to all the stores, inns of the city that you can still see today the main aspects of Dinan are the timber frame houses very well preserved covering the period that goes from the 15th to the 17th century. Dinan is an amazing journey through the middle ages.

     Then you will head to Dinard that sprawls around the Western approaches of the Rance estuary with its casino, spacious villas, social calendar of regattas and the beautiful “Plage de l’Ecluse” with the unexpected statue of Alfred Hitchcock. You will follow the enjoyable footpath that leads to “Pointe du Moulinet” from where you will have a marvelous view over St Malo.

    The perfect place for lunch.


    Then, you will visit the amazing gardens of la Malouinière le Montmarin listed as national monument and dating from 1760 and the only Malouinière located in the left bank of the Rance river.

    A Malouinière was a large secondary residence where the rich ship-owners could stay because St-Malo was too neural inside the walls. The Montmarin Malouinière is not opened to the visitors because people live inside but the 6 ha gardens are with 2 parks one “à la Française” and one “à l’Anglaise”, an enchantment!!!

    Montmarin is closed on the saturdays

    (Entrance fees and accomodation not included)

    Night in St Malo

    Day 5

    Mont Saint Michel

    Many writers have tried to define the “Marvel of the Occident”, some say that it is to the sea what the pyramid of Keops is to the desert, some describe it as an imaginary manor-house, stupefying as a dream palace, others say that is not dry land and yet not the sea. Surrounded by the sea with one of the highest tidal ranges in the world the Mont St. Michel is simply unique.

    On the Mont St. Michel, the tour will begin with a guided visit of the Abbey founded by Aubert at the beginning of the 8th Century and that became a major cultural and pilgrimage center during the Middle Ages. You will admire the Romanesque Church, the Gothic “Marvel” with the monk’s Cloisters and Refectory, the Knights Room, the Guest Room, the Undercroft, the Refectory, as well as various chapels: St. Stephen, St.Martin, etc.

    After lunch, you will enjoy a stroll through the steep-sided narrow streets of the town and its ramparts.

    On the drive back to Paris you will stop in a nice little town in Normandy.(if time)

    (Entrance fees included when non-mentioned)

    Extra charge for a pick up and/or a drop off outside Paris

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