Trip Review April 16-29, 2023 2023 part 2
Day 1. I was lucky that my time in Versailles was over the weekend, so I was able to enjoy the fountains being on and music being played. This day was beautiful, so I walked and enjoyed the Grand Canal. I ended the day with a visit to The Coach Gallery which houses many of the carriages the royal family used over the years – total opulence! Covered in gold leaf, the weight of these carriages created a need for large teams of horses to be able to pull the carriage and the people.
Then we gathered for our Welcome dinner. The Gordan Ramsey Restaurant was hotel food for sure. I don’t think Gordon Ramsay knows what’s being served here. Chicken was ho-hum. I’m sure the fish was a better choice.
Day 2. Chartres and an evening at a chateau. Drove to Chartres where we visited our first cathedral. Beautiful example of gothic art and stained glass. Lunch on our own in town. We were there on Monday and the town does not open up until about 2:00 as they have a big market day on Sunday. We all found a place to have a quick lunch and then off to Chateau de Rochecotte for a two-night stay. That evening we went to Chateau De Champchevier which is a private country estate. We were treated to a hunting hound demonstration, tour of the estate and a very delicious dinner. Really special.
Day 3. The Loire Valley’s Chateaux Country. Beautiful day for visiting 2 Chateaus and a vineyard. Dating back to 1491 the morning was spent touring Chateaux Langeais. Very medieval with beautiful tapestries and 15th Century furniture. Then to the vineyards of Le Moulin Bleu. We all enjoyed a lovely, albeit long lunch with wine. Then to Villandry, a large Chateaux with beautiful formal gardens. It was a beautiful sunny day and while it was still too early in the season to see many flowers, it was none the less beautiful. I wish we could have taken a guided tour of the estate, but that was not part of the day. Dinner at the hotel which was very good.
Day 4. Medieval Angers and Port Crouesty. This morning was a prerecorded tour of the famous Apocalypse Tapestry. I was a bit confused following the guide as he explained the different tapestry panels. I was never quite sure whether I was on the right panel as the explanations didn’t seem to match the commentary. Walked the town a bit and grabbed lunch somewhere unremarkable as I have no memory of it.
On to Port du Crouesty where we stayed at Miramar La Cigale. This resort looks like a cruise ship…. really. It is very contemporary and one of the oddest hotels I’ve been in. Maybe its because I’m not a fan of contemporary architecture, nor do I care for large cruise ships, but the whole thing just didn’t go with an old seaside port, in my opinion. I nearly killed myself getting into the tub to shower as all the controls were as far away from my grasp as they could be. I’d love to know who designs these rooms sometimes. Then the fact that there was filming for a French drama going on in the lobby which caused us not to be able to use the elevators or sometimes the front door. A little annoying.
Day 5. La Petite Mont & Golfe du Morbihan. Don’t miss the walking tour in the morning. It is very interesting and the views of the coastline are beautiful. The weather was just beautiful! There are remnants of WWII bunkers and the gal who gave the tour was excellent. In the afternoon we boarded a boat to do a sightseeing cruise of the area’s islands followed by an excursion of Rochefort-enTerre. Very pretty town and time to shop a bit. Lunch was on the boat and then we walked into town that evening and had dinner at Le P’tit Crabe. It was delicious seafood with large portions.
Day 6. Lovely day seeing some of Brittany and the seaside including Vannes and Josselin.
Day 7. Mont St-Michele is fascinating and quite a walk to the top. There is the option to stay in town to explore, but town seemed touristy to me and the tour was very good. There is time to grab a take away sandwich after seeing the Abby. The optional tour of St Milo was also interesting. Very windy the day we were there. Dinner on our own tonight. A’Lbri Des Flots is a nice restaurant with tasty seafood and only a short walk from the hotel.
Day 8. A visit to see the Bayeux Tapestry is amazing. Afterwards, be sure to go upstairs to see the museum. Bayeux is a beautiful town. Afternoon at the Peace Museum and Memorial Gardens. This is a large history museum with different sections to explore. I love museums and ran out of time and was not able to see much of the wing dedicated to D-Day. If I had it to do over, I’d go the wing that talked about D-Day first and then explore the rest of the museum.
Day 9.- Day memories. This was a very emotional and powerful day. Our guide Jean’ Paul was fabulous. There is so much to this day that can only be experienced by being there. That evening was dinner on our own and most of us walked over to an Italian restaurant named Parasole. It was delicious.
Day 10. Monet’s Giverny. Beautiful gardens. No matter what the weather it is just beautiful. Weather was cold and a bit rainy for our group, but none the less it is beautiful. Monet’s house is charming, so don’t miss it. After lunch on our own, we headed to Paris.
Day 11. I can’t speak about the city bus tour as I decided I was “bused out”. The traffic in Paris is very heavy and as I had been to Paris before, I opted to have a morning to myself. The others who did go loved it and said the guide was fabulous. You will want to see Notre Dame all wrapped up in scaffolding (which I was able to do on my own). I heard the optional walking tour was excellent. As for me, I made arrangements with a private guide to tour the Jewish Quarter of the Marias District in the afternoon. The tour started at Notre Dame. Excellent tour. If your interested in who I booked my tour with, send me an email. Happy to share.
Day 12. Musee D’ Orsay. This is a fabulous museum that if you have the time, you can easily spend the entire day. Tour was from 9:30 until noon, giving us an entire afternoon to explore on our own. I purchased tickets to tour The Opera House about a month ahead of the trip. I was glad I did as others on my trip wanted to join me and the guided tours were all sold out. A couple of folks were able to get general admission tickets from the hotel. Tour started at 2:00 and ended at 3:30. It’s an easy walk from The Le Scribe Hotel.
Farewell dinner at Fouquet’s. I enjoyed this Restaurant and it was a great way to say “au revoir” to a great trip and wonderful traveling companions.
Next I'll try to insert some photos.
Thanks for sharing
What a lovely review! Well written and covered the highlights of your experiences. Thank you for sharing.
Fran, great transcription! Any problems? Can't wait to see some photos!
When I read your review a few days ago it didn't catch my attention, but when I re-read it this morning, something stood out that I want to ask about. You were in Chartres (Day 2) on a Monday, and had difficulty finding a suitable place to eat lunch since most places didn't open until 2:00. Day 4, when we visit Angers, is a Monday and lunch is on our own as well. Do you think we could run into the same problem you had in Chartres?
Did anyone get the opportunity to try to blow a hunting horn? It can't be as hard as an alpenhorn!
Fran great review, thank you.
I seem to recall Angers is a pretty large town and attracts a lot of visitors. Chartres is a small town and has the Cathedral. Now that I think of it; the day I was there we saw the Tapestry and walked the town. stopped at a little pastry shop, bought a quiche which the shop warmed up and a group of us ate quickly and walked to the bus. I must have paid cash for lunch as I have no receipt. Alan, I don't think you'll have a problem finding a place to eat as the town is large.
When you're at the hunting demonstration you'll be pretty far away from the dogs and the horn blowers. We all had champagne and Hors D'oeuvre's and listened to the Baron explain what we were looking at. I'll go to my iPad in a minute and insert a picture.
I had an easy time posting the review although I'm not sure how you got your part 1and 2 to be under the same heading.
You can always "edit" a post to add more text directly or via cut and paste (and insert photos as well) at any time.
If you get interrupted or run out of time, rather than posting a partial, just do a "Save Draft" then you can close out and come back and work on it later. My Drafts are listed at the right side of the screen. Click on the words then the name of the draft then start editing. the little "x" to the right deletes the draft, so don't click on that unless you really want to delete your draft!
There is a text limit on characters (I think spaces count too!). Like you, I often compose in MSWord, however the forum character count is different than that used by Word, so I sometimes have to do a bit of trial and error editing to get my reports down to size to fit a single post. I forget what that limit is, but I believe the forum software will tell you how many characters over the limit and not let you upload or save if you are. Just keep editing it down until it loads or stick with a two-part post.
Thanks for info on Angers. 12 Days to go.
Thank you for the informative and helpful review. We will be doing this tour in September. i do have a question about the coach driver. Do you have the same driver for the entire tour? Two of our most recent tours had multiple drivers and there seemed to be some confusion about when to tip them, and how to count the number of days they were with us. Thanks.
Fran, said, except for one day when the main driver had to take a mandatory 24 hours "crew rest," she had the same driver for the whole including Paris at the end. This is common for long land tours. We've experienced it several times.
Unless the TD advises differently and tips the substitute with Tauck money, most people tip their main driver for the full time (same number of days as TD).
By the way Alan, the place I stopped for lunch in Chartres was Le Serpente. It was cold and rainy that day, so a bowl of French Onion Soup and crusty bread was just what I needed. This is a large restaurant that easily accommodates large groups. It's right on the town square. If the weather is nice there are take away sandwich places to grab a bite and then do some shopping.
Thanks! French onion is one of my favorites.