WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour Review – Normandy

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Globus La France Tour in Normandy

Globus La France Tour in Normandy

WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour Review – Normandy

Day 3 – Exploring Normandy:
Today our group of 15 Americans, 3 Canadians, 4 Kiwis and 4 Aussies leaves Paris and ventures west to Normandy. This is the first time either of us have explored this area of France and we are both very excited to see what we’ve been missing in one of our favorite European countries.

The pre-arranged 6:15 a.m. wake-up call was an annoying 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. But it ensured we were ready with our luggage outside our room before going down to the breakfast room at 7 a.m. We also made sure that our luggage was properly tagged as Globus arranges all luggage transfers in and out of hotels.

Globus La France Motorcoach Tour

Globus La France Motorcoach Tour

By 7:55 a.m. all 26 passengers in our group were seated on the motorcoach and ready for a prompt 8 a.m. departure. As we pulled away from the Pullman Paris Bercy Hotel, Globus Tour Director,Vic Keber, entertained us with his oration regarding the sites we passed during the drive through Paris, and what we could expect the day to hold. Traffic in the city center at that time of the morning was very busy, but our expert driver, Antonio from Italy, did a splendid job of manoeuvring the motorcoach onto the ring road and onward to Normandy.

As we drove along the highway and through the very green and rolling countryside, Vic (an expert on WWI and WWII), continued his narration about all things Normandy. He even suggested that at our first comfort stop we purchase a Michelin road map of France, give it to him for a few hours, and he would highlight our route for the next 12 days. Bonus!

After two hours of driving west through the countryside, it was time for a 30-minute comfort stop at a highway service station. This was an ideal stop to use the facilities, purchase coffee, buy snacks and shop for souvenirs.

Visiting Honfleur, France

Visiting Honfleur, France

Honfleur:
Honfleur was the first destination for the day and we arrived at the traditional harbor just before noon.

Lunch in Honfleur - Ham and Cheese Galette

Lunch in Honfleur – Ham and Cheese Galette

As we walked with Vic towards the town square, he made suggestions for what typical regional fare to try for lunch – Rose Cider, Galette, Calvados, sauerkraut with fish.

Saint-Catherine Church in Honfleur, Normandy

Saint-Catherine Church in Honfleur, Normandy

After guiding us to the wooden church of Saint-Catherine near the town center, Vic also pointed out where to sample cider and Calvados, and purchase souvenirs during our free time.

Shopping for Calvados and Cider

Shopping for Calvados and Cider

Honfleur Fun Facts:

  • Normandy experiences approximately 300 days of rain each year
  • Honfleur is a commune in the Calvados region of northwestern France
  • Normandy Kir is a drink of cider and apple liquor
  • Calvados is a regional spirit (from Normandy) used as a digestive and made from apples – Brel brand is one of best
  • Rosé cider (cidre rosé) from this area of Normandy is very good
  • Saint-Catherine church is the largest wooden church in France

    Honfleur in Normandy, France

    Honfleur in Normandy, France

 

Deauville:
Following our 2-hour stop in Honfleur we returned to the motorcoach, and after a 30-minute drive south arrived at the coastal resort town of Deauville.

Casino Barrière Deauville

Casino Barrière Deauville

During our 1-hour visit to the town that is famous for its race course, international yacht scene, casino and beach, we walked the famous Promenade des Planches.

Promenade des Planches in Deauville

Promenade des Planches in Deauville

Here we saw the many beach cabanas where celebrities had relaxed after sunning themselves, and then gave Lady Luck (or lack of) a try at the Casino Barrière Deauville.

Parasols on the Beach in Deauville

Parasols on the Beach in Deauville

Deauville Fun Facts:

  • Deauville is famous for its international film festival
  • Known for having the best beaches in Normandy
  • Is one of France’s best seaside resorts
  • The 700-yard-long wooden boardwalk, Promenade des Planches,  parallels the seaside
  • The Promenade des Planches cabanas are adorned with names of celebrities that used them
  • Coco Chanel opened her second shop in Deauville – her first was on Rue Cambon in Paris
  • Casino Barrière Deauville was built in 1912

 

Bayeux:
By 3 p.m. we were once again hurtling down the motorway with Antonio driving us towards our final destination of the day, Bayeux. This charming town is home to the famous Bayeux Tapestry, where we viewed this amazing work of art with a self-guided audio tour.

Discover Bayeux in France

Discover Bayeux in France

Bayeux Tapestry Fun Facts:

  • The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex
  • The tapestry depicts scenes of the Norman and Saxon armies in 1066
  • The tapestry is embroidered in 58 scenes
  • It measures 70 meters/230 feet long
  • It was made in the 11th century
  • The Bayeux Tapestry was listed in the UNESCO “Memory of the World” register on August 2, 2007
Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry

Once we had finished viewing the tapestry we had a short amount of time to wander around the town, and visit the Bayeux Cathedral before joining the motorcoach at 6 p.m. for a 10-minute drive to the Novotel on the outskirts of town.

Bayeux Cathedral is a Norman-Romanesque Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral is a Norman-Romanesque Cathedral

 

Novotel:
At 7 p.m. we met with our group for a simple 3-course fish dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Hôtel Novotel Bayeux

Hôtel Novotel Bayeux

Hôtel Novotel Bayeux

Hôtel Novotel Bayeux

The meal consisted of a salmon and courgette starter; white fish with grilled tomato and rice for the main course; apple tart and crème fraiche dessert; followed by coffee or tea. The non-fish eaters in our group dined on a salad starter and spaghetti bolognese main course.

Salmon and Courgette Starter

Salmon and Courgette Starter

White Fish with Grilled Tomato and Rice Main Course

White Fish with Grilled Tomato and Rice Main Course

Apple Tart and Creme Fraiche Dessert

Apple Tart and Creme Fraiche Dessert

As the hotel was located on the outskirts of Bayeux, a taxi would be needed to return to town in the evening, so everyone in our group opted to just return to their guestrooms after dinner.

If You Go:

Read More About WAVEJourney’s Globus La France Adventures:
| Overview | Paris Day 1 | Paris City Tour Day 2 | Normandy Day 3 | Normandy and Brittany Day 4 | Loire Day 5Loire Valley and Bordeaux Day 6 | Saint Emilion Day 7 | Biarritz and Lourdes Day 8 | Carcassonne and Nimes Day 9 | Pont du Gard and Avignon Day 10 | Monte Carlo Day 11 | Grasse to Grenoble Day 12 | Lyon to Dijon Day 13 | Dijon to Paris Day 14 |

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One Response to WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour Review – Normandy

  1. With only eight days and one day trip planned, I woudln’t necessarily recommend going very far out of Ile-de-France. Versailles is accessible by RER, so you don’t need to take the national rail. Fontainebleu isn’t far away, either. Chartres is very do-able as a day trip it’s a nice little medievalish town with a lovely cathedral. As for Normandy, Rouen is only an hour away. Giverny is also 45 minutes by train as well, although the train station is in Vernon, so you’d either have to take a taxi or a bus from there to Giverny a few kilometres away. With the new (well, as of 2007, anyway) TGV Est, Reims, the capital of Champagne and the site of the cathedral where France’s kings were crowned, is a mere 45 minutes away. Unfortunately, some of more interesting sites in Normandy that others are suggesting, such as Bayeux and Mont Saint-Michel, are a bit too far away (or, rather, require transfers and long layovers) if you’re going to taking the train. If you’re driving or plan to spend a night away, I would highly recommend those two. I really adored both. But I also REALLY adore Paris and think that an overnight day-trip on an eight-day trip is too much. But that’s just me.Someone else suggested some place in the Loire valley. Given a choice between Normandy (with the exception of Bayeux and Mont St-Michel) and the Loire, I’d actually take the latter. Tours is an hour away by TGV, but doesn’t boast any castles of its own. Orleans is only an hour away as well (but, again, no castles). Blois, which does have a castle, is between an hour and a half and two hours away. As with the case of Normandy, some of the other castles that I really loved (Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau) require too much time to visit in just one day by train.IF you decide to go to Versailles, DO visit the town and not just the palace

    Juancho 10/26/2012 at 4:16 pm

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