The Normandy Experience

medieval buildings cathedral

Medieval Bayeux, home base for The Normandy Experience

2024 Dates: April 30 – May 8; May 8 – 16

2025 Dates: September 3 – 10

We were delighted to introduce The Normandy Experience for the first time in 2023, and we’re looking forward to welcoming two groups in 2024. Beginning in 2025, this will be a seven-night trip.

Our focus for this trip is the French region of Normandy, bordered on the north by La Manche (the English Channel) with almost 400 miles of coastline. We primarily focus on the department of Calvados, which gives its name to the premium apple brandy produced in this area.

To many, Normandy is best known for the Allied invasion on D-Day (June 6, 1944) that began the liberation of France and an Allied victory in Europe in World War II. Our group has a full day with an expert guide to visit some of the most important sites, and we visit a few other sites during our week in Bayeux. This is definitely be a highlight in a trip with many highlights.

military cemetery with white crosses

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, final resting place of 9,386 Americans.

But we explore many other dimensions of this beautiful region. Normandy is rich in medieval history relating to William the Conqueror, and we’ll see the ancient Bayeux Tapestry that tells the story of William’s victory in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Our group bases for seven nights in a beautiful and well-located hotel in the medieval town of Bayeux. (In 2023 and 2024, we included an eighth night at Mont St. Michel. We’ve decided that Mont St. Michel is best visited independently, and we can provide information on how to organize an overnight visit before or after our week.)

island in the sea

View of Mont St. Michel from our hotel

Experience Normandy

The Normandy Experience follows the same approach as our other Experience trips, including a variety of special activities and experiences unique to this area:

  • A guided walking tour of Bayeux, including a visit to the Bayeux Cathedral (consecrated in 1077) and the Bayeux Tapestry. You’ll have time on your own to enjoy the weekly market and to visit one of Bayeux’s several interesting museums.
  • A day focused on D-Day, led by an expert guide, and including landing beaches, museums, cemeteries, memorials, remains of military installations, and other key sites from this historic time. We’ll structure this day based on the nationalities of the travelers in our group. We’ll visit a few other D-Day sites during our week.
  • A day trip to Honfleur, a lovely town and port on the Seine estuary. We’ll enjoy a walking tour before lunch-on-your own and the opportunity to explore the streets, gardens, galleries and shops of this charming and picturesque town.
  • A day in the rural Pays d’Auge, an agricultural area known for picturesque villages, small farms, orchards and cider production, and cheese production. Our visit to a small family dairy farm is always a highlight.  We’ll enjoy tasting the local cheeses.
  • Visits to unique chateaus and gardens, including the exquisite chateau of Saint-Germain-de-Livet.
  • A visit to a family-owned apple distillery, producing juice, cider, pommeau, and Calvados. We’ll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch in the courtyard and a tour with the owner.
  • Memorable meals of local specialties in a variety of settings including a gastronomic dinner, simple crêperies, traditional dining rooms, and waterfront cafes.
  • Time for relaxing and exploring on your own.
port with boats and colorful houses

The lovely port at Honfleur

We’re especially pleased that Drew Fedorka is the co-leader for this trip. Drew will soon receive his PhD in French History at New York University. He will offer a unique and important perspective during our time in Normandy.

Arrival and Departure

Our 2025 group will meet at the Bayeux train station at 3:30 pm on the first afternoon. We’ll return to the Bayeux station on the last morning. Bayeux is about 2 hours 20 minutes from Paris by local train. Our meeting and drop-off times will be confirmed about three months before the trip when train schedules are finalized.

We always recommend arriving in Europe at least one day before our Experience trips begin and most travelers also extend their trip after our Experience ends. You can reach several destinations in Normandy by train, such as Vernon (the garden at Giverny), Rouen, Lisieux or Caen. We can also provide information so you can plan an independent trip to Mont St. Michel.

Paris is also a natural place to spend a few days before or after The Normandy Experience. From Paris you could travel south to join our four-night Inside Lyon trip, September 16 – 20. (If you book The Normandy Experience and Inside Lyon, we’ll provide a special discount to support your transportation between the trips.)

Leaders: Kathy Wood and Drew Fedorka

Prices: $4,150 per person double occupancy; $4,550 single occupancy of a double room