Detailed Itinerary 2014
Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Paris
Depart the U.S. for Paris, France. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
Day 2 - Arrive in Paris
Upon arrival at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) Airport, claim
your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form
before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the
customs area. Please make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags.
This helps the representative identify you.
After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for
your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your
representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via
taxi or van to our Paris hotel (a drive of approximately 60 minutes, depending
upon traffic). At this time, please verify with your airport representative the
time of your transfer tomorrow to Bayeux. If you are delayed in meeting your
VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15
15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615
15 15 25.
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel
Booklet that includes information and recommendations about what to see and do
in Paris. Enjoy the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring the “City of
Light” on your own.
Day 3 - Transfer to Bayeux
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your fellow travelers in the
lobby of the Hotel Pullman Paris Bercy at 8:45 am for a 9:00 am departure
by private coach to Bayeux. Travel time is approximately 3.5 hours, depending
upon traffic. If you prefer to make your own way to Bayeux, at your own
expense, hotel details are listed in your final documents. You will meet your
VBT Trip Leaders at Le Lion D'Or, Bayeux. Please contact this hotel to advise
of any travel delays or changes which will result in you missing the 3:00 pm
safety and bike-fitting session, and the staff will pass your message on to
your VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After
breakfast, meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 am to join a private coach
transfer to Bayeux, departing at 9:00 am. Travel time is approximately 3.5
hours, depending upon traffic. Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at Le Lion d'Or,
After settling in, you'll have free time to have lunch on
your own and to discover the medieval city of Bayeux and its famous
11th-century tapestry. Also highly recommended is a visit to the Battle of
Normandy Memorial Museum.
At 3:00 pm, your Trip Leaders will conduct a safety and
bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride, which takes you from
the hotel into the countryside.
This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a
welcome reception, followed by dinner at the hotel.
Day 4 - Cycle to Arromanches
After breakfast this morning, we'll cycle through rolling
farmlands and picturesque country villages to the coastal town of Arromanches,
which played a vital role in the D-Day landings. For it was here that the
Allies built one of their famous Mulberry harbors—a portable, temporary
structure that facilitated the transfer of troops and supplies—the remains of
which still can be seen at low tide today. Learn more about the harbor, and the historic June 6, 1944 landings, at
the D-Day Museum, which you'll have time to explore on your own. You might also
visit Arromanches 360, a circular theater showing a fascinating film that uses
both wartime footage and modern images of the area to tell the story of
“Operation Overlord,” the largest military operation in history, and its
After our visit and
lunch on your own, you can either cycle or shuttle back to our hotel.
Tonight you have the night free to enjoy dinner on your own
Day 5 - Visit Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery with our local guide
This morning, we cycle through the verdant countryside, past
fragrant orchard fields and old stone farmhouses, to Omaha Beach, perhaps the
best-known D-Day landing site. You'll have free time for lunch here before we
join Guillaume Marie, a World War II expert and our local guide. His passion
for his subject will be evident as he leads us along these now-tranquil shores
and shares with us the dramatic events that once took place here. Code-named
“Operation Overlord,” the D-Day landings were the largest military operation in
history and the beaches of Normandy bore the brunt of the invasion. It was
Omaha that witnessed the most intense fighting, as nearly 7,000 boats hit the
beaches along this coastline, pouring tens of thousands of Allied soldiers onto
French shores, in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944.
We'll then cycle the short distance to the American
Cemetery, a 170-acre, meticulously landscaped memorial overlooking Omaha Beach
and the English Channel. The site contains 9,387 perfectly aligned white
crosses and Stars of David marking the graves of the brave American servicemen
and women who perished during World War II. Guillaume will again provide
insight and answer questions.
Later we'll transfer to our hotel, La Ferme des Mares, on
the outskirts of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay (a drive of about 1.5 hours, depending
upon traffic). The building harbors a unique history: Once an ancient Norman
fortification, it later became a sprawling country farmhouse before being
transformed into a hotel. This evening, dinner is at our hotel.
Day 6 - Explore rural Normandy
On our ride today, we'll enjoy a close-up look at life in
rural Normandy. We'll pedal along a scenic route, passing fertile pasture lands
dotted with grazing cows and half-timbered country manors. We'll stop at the
town of La Haye du Puits. After the D-Day landings and the liberation of
several of the surrounding towns and villages at the end of June 1944, the
American troops headed south. The Germans, seriously reinforced, waited at La
Haye du Puits and a fierce battle, lasting more than a week, pursued. The human
loss on both sides was extremely heavy and a monument commemorating the
sacrifices of the American 79th DI and commemorative stones for the
82nd Airbourne and the 90th DI can be seen in the town.
We will also explore the town’s weekly Wednesday market. A
variety of local producers bring their wares to sell and our Trip Leaders will
purchase a few delicacies for our picnic lunch later today.
Our ride then continues through country roads banked by the
famous hedgerows of this region, to the farm of Alain Dauget, an award-winning
cider maker. Since the 1600s, Normandy has been known for its exceptional
pommes (apples) and the distinctive beverages they produce, including cider and
Calvados, the famous apple brandy that shares its name with the region. During
our visit, Alain will show us how his apples are harvested and pressed, then
allowed to ferment, to produce cider—and, of course, share with us some samples!
A picnic lunch prepared by our Trip Leaders will follow.
We'll then continue cycling to the small town of Lessay,
with its interesting Abbey dating back to 1056. Learn about how it was bombed
in 1944 by the German’s before they retreated from the town. We’ll then cycle back to the hotel.
Day 7 - Visit Dinan / Saint-Suliac / Saint-Malo
After breakfast we check out of our hotel and transfer approximately
2 ½ hours to Dinan, a fairy-tale-like medieval walled city perched high atop a
hill. Here we meet a local guide for a 1 hour walking tour through its medieval
center, along its narrow cobblestone streets and to admire its Gothic church.
After free time for lunch, we will be reunited with our
bikes at the port of Dinan and begin cycling along the River Rance. Our
ultimate destination is Saint-Malo, a beautiful medieval walled city along the
Brittany coast. En route, we'll stop in Saint-Suliac, a charming village known
for its quintessential granite homes, draped with fishing nets.
We'll continue cycling to Saint-Malo, the legendary home of
French corsairs, or privateers—and our home for the next two nights. Our hotel
is located outside the walled Old Town, resting at the edge of the beach. It
features several spa and therapy rooms, including an indoor, seawater swimming
Late in the afternoon, discover Saint-Malo's Old Town on
your own, then end your evening in one of the city's numerous small restaurants
Day 8 - Cancale / Saint-Malo / Farewell dinner
Today's journey takes us along the beautifully rugged Brittany
coast to the tiny fishing port of Cancale, known for its superior huîtres
(oysters). In fact, King Louis XIV was reportedly so enamored of these briny
bivalves that he had fresh oysters brought daily from Cancale to Versailles. We'll
have the opportunity to taste these acclaimed huîtres for ourselves, along with
the locals, during a visit to an oyster market.
After free time for lunch our afternoon ride takes us back
through the countryside to Saint-Malo.
Tonight, we'll gather at our hotel for a special farewell
Day 9 - Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport via Mont Saint-Michel / VBT No-Air
VBT No-Air Package guests: You are welcome to join our
full-day transfer, via Mont Saint-Michel, to the hotel at Roissy, CDG Airport,
Paris. Arrival time is expected around 5:30 pm. Or you may make your arrangements to leave the hotel at any time that is
convenient. Checkout time is 11:00 am. Trains depart from Saint-Malo to Paris
Montparnasse or Paris CDG Airport via Rennes. You are responsible for all
transfer arrangements. We recommend you ask your VBT Trip Leaders or the hotel
to assistance in making any travel reservations at least one day in advance.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your
VBT Trip Leaders and depart for Paris via one of the most visited monuments in
France: Mont Saint-Michel.
Upon arrival, walk to the nearby tourist information center
and meet our local guide, who will accompany you across to the cone-shaped
islet in the Gulf of Saint-Malo, connected by a causeway with the mainland.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island is best known for
the spectacular and well-preserved Benedictine abbey of Saint-Michel that sits
at its peak. The abbey is surrounded by the winding streets and architecture
characteristic of a medieval town. Small houses, shops and street stalls are
found on its lowest level. Above these stand the monastic buildings, many of
which date from the 13th century and are considered outstanding examples of
Gothic architecture. The entire islet is crowned by the abbey church, which
soars about 73 meters (roughly 240 feet) above sea level.
After free time for lunch on your own, rejoin the shuttle
and transfer to our hotel, located near Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris (a
drive of approximately 4.5 hours, depending on traffic).
This evening is free. You may wish to stroll through the
park into Roissy village and have dinner on your own in one of the restaurants
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, transfer by shuttle to Charles de Gaulle
Airport, Paris. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel entrance area at
the designated transfer time. The shuttle is complimentary for hotel guests,
and runs approximately every 30 minutes. Please ask hotel reception for exact
times. Upon leaving the bus at the airport, make sure that you follow the signs
for flight departures.
Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk
to verify the times when breakfast is served.