22 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 3 - Moderate
Activity

Anglo French - France, Channel Islands and England small group history tour

Our fully escorted Anglo French small group tour offered by Odyssey Traveller Australia, begins by exploring the northwest corner of France, Normandy and Brittany. We then cross the English Channel to the tiny autonomous Channel  islands of Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark. The tour finally spends two nights on the historic Isle of Wight before concluding in London, England.

The small group history tour:

Our fully escorted Small group history tour combines the dramatic scenery of Normandy and Brittany with the quirky history and natural beauty of the Channel Islands including the Isle of Wight.

After an initial night in Paris, we move to the peaceful verdant landscape of Normandy. Here, the image of apple orchards, contented cows, cider, and pungent cheese belies a more turbulent past. We then travel to Brittany. While here, we experience the strongly separate Celtic culture on a wild seafaring peninsula dotted with mysterious standing stones and dolmens.

The Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey boast charming historic ports and towns such as St Helier and St Peter. You learn on the Anglo French small group tour that the islands are not part of the United Kingdom but are British Crown Dependencies. They are a delightful mix of English and French culture. While tiny Sark is like a medieval hereditary time warp with its formal gardens of La Seigneurie and lack of motor vehicles.

The Isle of Wight is known for its stunning coastal scenery, its world-famous sailing, and the old world charm of its Victorian seaside resorts. It has a rich history. Queen Victoria had her summer residence and final home, Osborne House, built on the island.

Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands & England Itinerary:

The Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands, England Small group history tour commences in Paris.  Our tour begins in earnest by heading to Giverny, stopping off on the way at Monet's House and Gardens. After a walking tour of the Gardens, we continue to Rouen where we have time to explore this area.  Our coach continues to Bayeux for an overnight stay and dinner at a local restaurant.

Our next stop is Normandy, with its diversity of landscape and rich heritage. Normandy derived its name from the Viking Norsemen who made Rouen their capital. After the conquest of Britain it became part of the Plantagenet Empire and is now regarded as a typically French region. Normandy’s peaceful pastoral landscape belies its historic conquests and devastating experiences during World War II. Here, we learn about how Normandy’s history has been inextricably linked to that of Britain. How its history, heritage, and culture have been influential since the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. You experience Normandy’s historic cities, its typical villages, its artistic heritage, local produce, and cuisine.

Other highlights of this educational tour include visits to Brittany’s Standing Stones at Carnac. We also explore the fortified port of Malo and the ancient Concarneau. We also have the chance to see the Isle of Wight, a favoured holiday spot for Britain’s royalty in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Here, we take a walking tour of the Island of Sark, with its strong and quirky history of self- governance. Our small group tour also explores Normandy’s D-day Beaches, museums, and monuments.

Collection of Tours to France to discover.

Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands, England Small group history tour is one of more than 10 French tours offered each year by Odyssey Travel. This link details all Odyssey's tours to France for you to view.These tours are particularly suited to mature couples as well as the solo traveller who enjoy learning as they travel around this fascinating country.

Odyssey Traveller Australia, has more than 140 tours on offer each year across a range of countries and continents.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
See Brittany’s Standing Stones at Carnac, the fortified port of Malo, and the ancient Concarneau.
2
Explore the Isle of Wight, favoured holiday spot for Britain’s royalty in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
3
Visit the Island of Sark, with its strong and quirky history of self governance.
4
Explore Normandy’s D-Day Beaches, museums, and monuments.
5
Experience the French atmosphere of the British Channel Islands.

Overview: Upon arrival in Paris, we will come to the hotel individually. There is time to relax and freshen up before our welcome meeting and dinner, giving us a chance to meet our Tour Leader and fellow travelers.

Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Relais Monceau or similar.

Overview: We depart Paris for Giverny, and we stop at Fondation Monet House and Gardens. We have lunch individually before we continue to Rouen where we have time to explore this area with the Tour Leader. Our coach then continues to Bayeux for our overnight stay and dinner at a local restaurant. Normandy, with its diversity of landscape and rich heritage, derived its name from the Viking Norsemen, who made Rouen their capital. After the conquest of Britain it became part of the Plantagenet Empire, and is now regarded as a typically French region of apple orchards, contented cows, cider, and pungent cheeses. Normandy’s peaceful pastoral landscape belies its historic conquests and devastating experiences during World War II. We will learn about how Normandy’s history has been inextricably linked to that of Britain and how its history, heritage and culture have been influential since the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 through to the 20th century. We will experience Normandy’s historic cities, its typical villages, its artistic heritage, local produce, and cuisine.

Accommodation: 4 nights at Hotel Bayeux  or similar.

Overview: Today we will have a city tour of Caen, where William the Conqueror’s favoured residence was located.

Accommodation: Hotel Bayeux or similar.

Overview: Today we will tour the D Day Beaches on which the Allies landed in June 1944.

Accommodation: Hotel Bayeux or similar.

Overview: Today we will Visit the medieval city of Bayeux and see its famous tapestry. We will taste the local produce of Normandy.

Accommodation: Hotel Bayeux or similar.

Overview: En route to Brittany we explore the impressive island of Mont-St-Michel, linked to the mainland by a causeway before staying overnight in the Breton capital, Rennes. We explore this historic city and pause in the former Breton capital of Vannes, which still boasts impressive walls and city gates.

Accommodation: 1 night at Mercure Centre Parlement or similar.

Overview: We have a guided tour this morning of Rennes viewing the main historic sights.We travel onto Vannes with free time in the afternoon to explore. Late afternoon we travel onto Fouesnant on the west coast of France. Its rugged shores washed by the Atlantic, Brittany has a strong Celtic heritage. It is a wild seafaring peninsula dotted with mysterious standing stones, dolmens, and cromlechs. Bretons have their own language and cuisine, with the Duchy of Brittany not becoming part of France until the 15th century. The gentle scenery of the southern Breton coastline contrasts with the rugged grandeur of the north.

Accommodation: 4 nights at Hotel Cap Coz or similar.

Overview: Today we will enjoy local treats in Benodet, before travelling on to the ancient cathedral city of Quimper for a city tour.

Accommodation: Hotel Cap Coz or similar.

Overview: Today we will take a city tour of Lorient, followed by a visit to the Flore submarine museum in Lorient. We will have a guided tour of the standing stones in Carnac, which are as old as Stonehenge, and explore the Quiberon Peninsula.

Accommodation: Hotel Cap Coz or similar.

Overview: We will see the artistic village of Pont-Aven and take a walking tour of the walled town of Concarneau.

Accommodation: Hotel Cap Coz or similar.

Overview: From Fouesnant we explore the prehistoric heritage of the region, the coastal scenery, and the artist villages made famous by Gauguin. We also experience Brittany’s medieval cities, its cuisine, and its cider. Travelling between Fouesnant and Trégastel, we explore the west of Brittany with its ancient churches and dramatic landscapes. We will learn why Brittany is one of the most popular family retreats and contains some of its premier fishing ports.

Accommodation: 2 nights at Club Belambra le Castel Sainte- Anne or similar.

Overview: Our touring takes us to Perros -Guirec where we take the tour of the 7 isles. We then continue to Dinan.

Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Arvor Dinan or similar.

Overview: In the morning we depart Dinan and enjoy a walking tour of St.Malo before heading to the port of St. Malo where we take our ferry to the Channel Island of Jersey. Measuring less than 120 square kilometres, the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, and together with the Bailiwick of Guernsey (less than 80 square kilometres) it forms the grouping known as the Channel Islands. These are separate possessions of the British Crown and are not part of the UK. Their history and culture are influenced by their strategic location between the northern coast of France and the southern coast of England. Formerly under the control of Brittany, invaded by Vikings, and annexed to the Duchy of Normandy, they emerged as miniature self–governing territories. The islands have a seafaring tradition and their trade with the Newfoundland fisheries gave rise to the name New Jersey in the US. Trade further laid the foundations of these attractive islands’ prosperity as well as agriculture (Jersey and Guernsey cows are recognisable the world over), milling, fishing, shipbuilding, and financial services. Each island has its own heritage and patois, but during World War II they were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by Nazi Germany. Both islands boast charming historic ports and towns such as St. Helier and St. Peter Port as well as famous former residents like the actress Lillie Langtry (the Jersey Lily) and Victor Hugo, who wrote some of his best-known works while in exile in Guernsey.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel de France or similar.

Overview: Today we will tour the town and port of St. Helier. We will visit the Jersey Museum and see the Occupation Tapestry at the Maritime Museum to learn about the German occupation at the Jersey War Tunnels.

Accommodation: Hotel de France or similar.

Overview: On Jersey we learn about the island’s history and culture as we explore the capital St. Helier on a guided walking tour. We will experience some of the island’s stunning coastal scenery as we tour the island and view the dramatic Castle of Mont Orgueil. We also learn about the occupation of the island with a visit to the Jersey War Tunnels.

Accommodation: Hotel de France or similar.

Overview: On Guernsey, we will explore the bustling cobble-stoned streets of St. Peter Port. We tour the island and view its soaring cliffs and rural backdrops.

Accommodation: 3 nights at Duke of Richmond Hotel or similar.

Overview: We will visit Sausmarez Manor, see the Subtropical Gardens, and visit the Occupation Museum.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel or similar.

Overview: We will take a ferry to the neighbouring islet of Sark to visit its Seigneurie Gardens, where we take a scenic carriage ride. The island has no cars and has been traditionally run almost feudally by its Seigneur under powers granted by Elizabeth I. There has been some recent reform and Sark now comes under the government of Guernsey, but it is still a fascinating and tranquil place to visit, known for its dramatic seascapes, abundant wildflowers, and seabirds.

Accommodation: Duke of Richmond Hotel or similar.

Overview: Before we head off to the Southampton we have a guided tour of Hauteville House, Victor Hugo's former home. We also take time to explore the Dorey Centre with entrance to see the Guernsey Tapestry. From Guernsey we take the Ferry to Poole, foot passengers only allowed on this ferry. We arrive in Poole and transfer to Southamptom where we overnight.

Accommodation: 1 night at Grand Harbour Southampton Hotel or similar. at Holmwood Hotel, Isle of Wight, or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we take the ferry to Isle of Wight and on arrival enjoy a full day exploring the island. Late afternoon we transfer to Cowes where we stay overnight. The Isle of Wight is England’s largest island, separated from the mainland by the Solent. The island is known for its outstanding natural beauty, its world-famous sailing, and the old world charm of its Victorian seaside resorts. It has a rich history, including a brief status as an independent kingdom in the 15th century. Until 1995, in common with Jersey and Guernsey, the island had its own Governor, most notably Lord Mountbatten. It was home to the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and to Queen Victoria, who built her much loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. The island's maritime and industrial history encompasses boat building, sail making and the manufacture of flying boats. The island has some exceptional wildlife and is one of the richest locations of dinosaur fossils in Europe. On the Isle of Wight, we learn about the geology and history of this island with a guided tour to include the historic Victorian seaside resorts of Ventnor and Shanklin. We will see the dramatic coastal scenery of the Needles, the old port of Yarmouth, ancient Carisbrooke Castle which once held Charles I prisoner, Newport, the island’s capital, and Cowes, famed for its sailing regatta.

Accommodation: 1 night at Holmwood Hotel or similar.

Overview: In the morning we will visit Queen Victoria’s Osborne House and local sights in Cowes with some free time. We take a coach to Fishbourne Port and then take the ferry to Portsmouth with a coach transfer to London. Our farewell dinner this evening will be in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: 1 night at Millennium Baileys Hotel or similar.

Overview: Our tour concludes after breakfast.

What's included in our Tour
  • 21 nights hotel accommodation.
  • 21 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 10 dinners.
  • Touring by comfortable modern coach with ferry links between islands.
  • Transport and field trips as indicated.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Services of a Tour Leader.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.
What's not included in our Tour
  • Return international airfares and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
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Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands, England small group history tour
Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands, England small group history tour
French Odyssey

Tour Reviews

June 29, 2017

I was impressed by the number of places we visited. It was a very full itinerary which I like. We saw things of interest every day. I see no fault with the tour.

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