AU$8,980 Per couple
- Tour TypePrivate tour
- France RegionNormandy
- Duration5 Days/4 Nights
- Tour CodePTPBRMSM5
- Capacity8 passengers
- Tour HighlightsEscorted tour Experienced private English speaking guideTransfers Transfers from/to your Paris accommodation
Visit the beautiful towns and cites of Brittany such as Rennes, Saint Malo, Dinan. You will also enjoy a guided tour of Mont Saint Michel and its abbey. Mont Saint Michel is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous landmarks of France.
Meeting Point: From your hotel in Paris
After picking you up at your hotel, during the one-hour drive (approximately) to Chartres, your guide will give you an introduction to the city of Chartres as well as Gothic Art.
Located about 50 miles southwest of Paris, in the town of Chartres, the « Capital of Light and Perfume », the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres is without doubt one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world. The cathedral that we see today was built over a 26-year period after the fire of 1194. Several other churches and an earlier cathedral had already stood in the same location when work on the current cathedral started, including an impressive roman style cathedral which remains can be seen predominantly in the crypt and the west towers. Upon your arrival, you will have an exhaustive private guided visit of the cathedral (inside and outside).
Ornamented with over four thousand sculptures, the cathedral has been an important destination for travelers since the 12th C many of whom that come to venerate its famous relic: the “Santa Camisa” (the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ’s birth), the others that come to admire the remarkable collection of 176 stain-glass windows that create a relatively dark but richly colored interior in which the light filtering through the myriad narrative and symbolic windows is a main source of illumination. (Some myths believe that nowadays people cannot create anymore the same blue color called “Chartres blue” which dominates the windows of Chartres).
The labyrinth, in the center of the nave , one of the biggest labyrinth ever built in French cathedrals and the crypt beneath the cathedral are 2 other “not to miss” attractions inside before focusing on the outstanding architectural structure : the cathedral towers built in different styles, , the façade with the detailed sculptures and statues, , the astronomical clock of the 15thC, the nave and flying buttresses and the bishops garden where you can enjoy the view over the old city and the labyrinth garden of the 18th C.
After the private visit of the Cathedral, you will enjoy a stroll around the city before heading to Rennes.
You will reach Rennes that is the capital city of Brittany to enjoy at first a great lunch (not included in the tour price) in one of the typical bistros of the city (not included in the price). Then, your private guide will give you a guided visit of the city that includes the impressive historical centre where you will see the old timber framing medieval houses and one of the most refined garden in France designed by Denis Buhler, The Thabor Park that used to be the orchard of the monks of Saint Melaine Abbey. This former 11th century abbey was rebuilt in the 14th and 17th centuries.
You will stop by the parliament, actually the court of justice nowadays, designed by Salomon De Brosse, the architect of the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, the actual Senate. You will pass by the city hall, designed by Gabriel 1st architect of the king Louis the XVth who designed the Concorde Square in Paris and several parts in Versailles palace such as the Petit Trianon. He is the one who redesigned most of the areas after the big fire that took place in 1720. Fortunately, the fire did not reach the historical centre of Rennes and its 15thand 16th century buildings. This guided visit will give you a complete vision of the historical local heritage.
The Cathedral St-Pierre of Rennes is at least the third building in that spot since the 6th century. It’s been completed in 1844 that means that you will see several aspects of different times and styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Classic and Roman Basilica.
You will also have the opportunity to get an amazing prospective of the city during the market “Des Lices” that hosts the 2nd food market of France where 300 local or regional producers and 10000 people gather in a very colourful and authentic moment. This amazing market is opened only on the saturdays.
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.
Night in St-Malo. Entrance fees not included.
You will start your day with the visit of 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 Fort La Latte. During a 40-minute drive to the amazing fortress Fort La Latte whose construction started in the 13th century. Located on the cliff over the sea with a gorgeous view of the Emerald Coast from Frehel Cape to Cancale. It is one of the best examples of a medieval defensive fortress in use until the early 1800, very picturesque. Some scenes of the movie “The Vikings” with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis were shot there especially the final fight on the dungeon.
Now it’s time for a nice lunch in a typical restaurant (not included in the price).
Then you will head to Montmarin where 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 Saturdays. Night in St-Malo.
After 1.5 hours you will reach the Abbaye de Beauport. Count Alain de Goëlo founded Notre-Dame de Beauport Abbey in 1202 in a quiet sheltered bay near Paimpol city to ensure his parents to be hosted in heaven and to provide a religious structure to the local population. The canons that stayed there came from la Lucerne Abbey in Normandy, the motherhouse, as those who became priests in the local parishes. After several centuries of economic prosperity thanks to the contributions, the taxes, the fertile and farming land and orchards…the decline started in the 16th century. The abbey was restored in the 17th century but it started to fall apart again in the 18th century. After the French Revolution it’s been turned into apartments, city hall, school. Finally the local council decided to preserve and maintain the remaining parts of the building and to not rebuild the ruins. That’s why most of the Abbey today is a very beautiful and evocative ruin where medieval architecture and wildlife (birds, bats…) live together.
Then From Beauport Abbey to The Pink Granit Coast.
A unique place where the pink stones carved a ragged coast and where future Christian saints coming from England arrived as they did all over Brittany. Ploumanach which is an area of the little charming town Perros-Guirec is one of the best example of this mix of splendid nature and history.
In Ploumanach bay you will see the St-Guirec oratory made of pink granit in the 12th century and which is the spot where St-Guirec coming from Wales reached Brittany from, that was then known as Armorique, in the 6th century. You can walk to this charming oratory at low tide. The Chapel is a bit above the beach . You will enjoy a very nice lunch in such beautiful area.
Your next step for the day is the Château de la Roche Jagu. There was a fortress in that spot since the 11th century but the Castle where your private guide will take you to dates from the early 15th century, between 1405 and 1418. The castle is one of the best examples of the civil medieval architecture in Brittany and a great key to understand these times in France called feudal times that cover most of the Middle Ages. The location selected on purpose on a hill over a loop of the Trieux River, the altitude, the wealth…are the main aspects of the power of the local lord whose any other person in the community was a vassal. In 1532 Brittany was attached to the French crown, it became part of France, so such fortresses were not useful anymore although garrisons could be stationed in. It was both a fortress and a lord residence, as you will notice through the main wings of the building.
Until recently, the 19th century, it was a prosperous farm located in a beautiful park on a hill with a gorgeous and impressive view of the valley.
Overnight in St-Malo
You will leave St-Malo at 8 am for 2 hour drive down south to reach the former capital city of Brittany: Vannes. 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.
Then after, a one-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 an 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 in souther Brittany your tour-guide will drive you back to St-Malo.
Discover the beautriful 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.
- Pick-up/drop off at your hotel in Paris
- Private, licensed driver-guide
- Hotel or accommodation
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