Normandy and Brittany

Culture, History, and Hiking in Northern France

Overview

With spectacular coastlines, medieval towns, and renowned cuisines, Normandy and Brittany are ideal for a cultural hiking adventure. We visit Normandy’s evocative D-Day beaches with a local historian, walk across tidal flats to reach the stupendous island-abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, and savor coastal hikes on Brittany’s ravishingly beautiful Côte de Granit Rose, where pink cliffs soar above the deep blue—and sometimes wild—sea. Culinary treats abound, including cider fresh from the orchards, sweet crêpes, savory galettes, and a bounty of local seafood, from moules marinières to scampi (Brittany’s oysters are so beloved that Louis XIV had them brought to him at Versailles). If you love hiking, history, and great food, this is your trip!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Caen / Bayeux / D-Day Beaches

In the medieval town of Bayeux, we view the thousand-year-old Bayeux Tapestry, then head to Pointe Du Hoc, the high cliffs between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. We’ll walk this evocative trail, joined by a historian, and visit the American war cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer, with its neat rows of crosses on tranquil clifftop lawns.

Château de Sully
Bayeux, France
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Days 3-4
Mont-Saint-Michel

Mont St. Michel’s spire-topped abbey is one of the most famous silhouettes in Europe. We hike the coast for stunning views of it, then approach this sanctuary on foot, crossing the bay at low tide to ascend the island’s single narrow street past cloisters and medieval gabled houses. Our private visit here lets us see rooms and chapels that the general public doesn’t have access to.

Manoir de la Roche Torin
Courtils, France
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Days 5-6
Cancale / Dinan

The harbor village of Cancale on the Cote d’émeraude is home to probably the tastiest oysters in Brittany and we’ll sample some along the docks. After a visit to the charming port of Saint Malo, we enjoy a hike along the banks of the River Rance as flows past 13th century Dinan, one of the best preserved medieval towns in Brittany.

Days 7-10
Côte de Granit Rose / Ploumanac’h

Surreal rockscapes of rose-tinted crags line this exquisite section of Brittany’s coast, known as the Côte de Granit Rose. Our hikes follow coastal trails leading to a revered pilgrimage site, and we’ll see Castel Meur, a famous stone house wedged between rock outcrops. We explore Tréguier, a gem of a medieval town, savor plates of delicious fruits de mer, and enjoy our historic seaside hotel set along pink granite rocks in the village of Ploumanac’h. Depart on Day 10 via Guingamp.

Castel Beau Site
Perros Guirec, France
Days 7 to 9 (3 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

See the extraordinary 11th century Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Norman Conquest of England
Visit the evocative D-Day sites of Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach with a historian
Hike to spire-topped Mont-Saint-Michel, France’s famous island-abbey
Explore Brittany’s most spectacular coastal trails
Savor fresh seafood, famous oysters, legendary cheeses, crisp ciders and ales of Normandy and Brittany along with classic French wines

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $6595  
Arrive: Caen, France
Depart: Guingamp, France
Lodging: 9 nights charming hotels and coastal inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures, Culinary
Trip Level:

Easy to moderate walks and hikes, 3-6 hours a day, van support