Classic Europe Itinerary
2014 Classic Europe Itinerary
August 30th to September 5th
Day 1 Saturday 30th August - Honfleur
We start the event in a lovely hotel between Caen and Le Havre about 10 minutes from the port town of Honfleur. From Calais it’s 3 hours, from Cherbourg 2 hours, from Dieppe 1hour 30mins, from Caen 45mins, and from Le Havre 30mins meaning you have a huge choice of ferries. The hotel is ideally placed and offers secure parking. You need to arrive at the hotel in time for the evening welcome dinner.
Day 2 Sunday 31st August - Honfleur to Bagnoles
2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D Day and we’ll be spending much of today visiting various sites around the Normandy beaches. We have routed to several sites including one of the main British landing beaches at Arromanches where the ‘temporary’ Mulberry harbour was built, much of which is still in evidence today. Nearer the departure date we will provide you with precise details of the itinerary so you can choose to visit other sites if you wish on either the Saturday, or by deviating off the route on Sunday. About mid afternoon you will end up in Bayeux where you can visit the museum there, the British cemetery or perhaps go and see the world famous Bayeux Tapestry. After leaving Bayeux we take a drive south through ‘Little Switzerland’ (Suisse Normande) before eventually arriving at Bagnoles which the French Tourism Department describe as a “healthy, hedonistic town looked upon for centuries as a veritable paradise on Earth”. That might be a little overstated but nevertheless it’s a lively little place and you will enjoy your stay there.
Day 3 Monday 1st Sept - Bagnoles to Tours
We leave Bagnoles and head south towards Tours stopping on the way to visit a number of sites. First off we pass Le Mans circuit where you are welcome to call in at the Museum de 24 Heures. Our route takes us along much of the 24 Hour Circuit before heading south to the Chateau at Usse which was said to have inspired the story of Sleeping Beauty. The next stop is the award winning Maurice Dufresne museum. This is a collection of over 3000 items of antiques, machinery and collectables which Maurice collected over his lifetime. He died in 2008 and his daughter now runs this fascinating museum. If machinery and antiques are not your thing, only two miles away is the beautiful chateau of Azay le Rideau. Towards the end of the day we will be visiting Villandry. This is not only a beautiful Chateau but the location of the most imposing gardens in France which have been described in some places as the best in the world. Even if you’re not a gardener you won’t fail to be impressed. We’re staying in a city centre hotel in Tours only two minutes walk away from the pedestrian heart of the city which is packed with bars and restaurants.
Day 4 Tuesday 2nd Sept - Tours to Poitiers
Leaving Tours it’s only a short drive to Amboise. where there are two opportunities for visits: The Royal Chateau, notable for being the burial place of Leonardo Da Vinci and the, much more impressive, Leonardo’s house where he spent the last years of his life. Recreated in the cellars are many working models of his various inventions. Amboise too is a pleasant morning coffee stop. Afterwards it’s only a short drive to Chenonceau which is France’s most visited private house and when you look around it you will understand why. It’s quite beautiful and well worth the visit. Leaving Chenonceau we’ll drive down to Poitiers, hopefully reaching there about 16.30. We are staying in a hotel in the grounds of Futuroscope and we will have evening tickets to enjoy the theme park for a couple of hours before dinner. This is no ordinary theme park and has no conventional rides. Instead, the exhibits etc. are concerned with tricking the mind using multimedia and 3D. We’ll have dinner in the park and then at 21.30 we will have tickets to the evening show which is difficult to describe but it involves water, lights and lasers.
Day 5 Wednesday 3rd Sept - Poitiers to La Baule
Today is simply a driving day and we’ll have a late start. We head north towards the coast on quiet rural roads passing through many picturesque towns and villages. There is plenty of time to take a leisurely lunch somewhere en route. We are staying in the coastal resort of La Baule close to the town centre within walking distance of many beach front restaurants.
Day 6 Thursday 4th September - La Baule to Rennes
It’s only a short drive to St Nazaire where we will park. St Nazaire is the site of the gigantic German U Boat pens built in 1941 and whilst ugly and bleak they are still an interesting visit. They were clearly built to last hundreds of years. They are fully open to the public and you can explore at will. Next we will be collected by coaches for a two hour tour of the nearby Airbus factory, where they build the cockpits and fuselage sections of the A380. Once we get back from the tour it’s a short drive to the medieval walled city of Guerande, an ideal lunch stop. After lunch we’ll head north east towards a delightful motor museum which boasts 400 vehicles, including many Formula One cars and several Group B Rally Cars. Adjacent to the museum is a 2.5km circuit. We’ve rented the circuit for the whole afternoon so you can enjoy the museum and do as many laps as you want. After leaving the circuit it’s only a short drive to the outskirts of Rennes where we are staying in a Spa & Golf resort for our final night. We’ll be having dinner in the resort.
Day 7 Friday 5th September
This is the end of the event. If you enjoy golf perhaps have a round on the resort’s18 hole course. You are also ideally placed to explore more of Brittany on the way home or maybe return to the D Day sites to see more. Rennes is 1hr 50 from Caen, 2hrs 20 from Cherbourg, 2hrs 40 from Le Havre, 3hrs 30mins from Dieppe and 4hrs 50 from Calais.
Created on Tuesday, November 29th, -0001 and was last updated on Thursday, July 31st, 2014