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Trip Report Burgundy, Normandy & the Loire Valley

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Loved, loved, loved our week on the barge Papillon in Burgundy. One of the best vacations ever. Very, very pampered by a skilled and friendly crew: Cedric, Stephan, Ollie and Barb. Ollie, the chef, prepared amazing meals. Stephan organized great outings for us and was a consummate tour guide. Everything was spectacular. We lucked out and the weather was incredible (late September). Papillon accommodates three couples but there were only two couples for our time and we did enjoy the extra space. Riding bikes along the canal was a blast.

Took the train from Paris to Caen and picked up a rental car and then spent four nights in Bayeux @ the Hotel Churchill. Very well located and helpful staff but no a/c and nights we needed to keep the windows open so there was some noise. But the convenience of the location made up for it. So very near the Bayeux Tapestry. Had an all day tour of D Day locations with Nigel Stewart (great guide) on the day before the American Cemetery was closed because of the government shut down, which is shameful. Can't imagine how horrible it might have been for veterans or next of kin to find it closed. Highly recommend touring the German cemetery: very moving and poignant. Also did our day trip pilgrimage to Mont St Michel, of course.

Next was Loire,stopping on the way to see the Abbaye Fontevraud, which is mostly interesting to me for its connection to Eleanor of Acquitaine. We based in Amboise at the Hotel Choiseul which we liked very much. Toured Chenenceau, Chambord, Cheverny (loved the feeding of the hounds), Clos Luce, Wonderful meals at Auberge au Bon Laboreur and at Chateau du Pray.

For our final day, stopped to see Chartres before returning our rental car to Orly and spending a night at the airport to catch an early flight.

Wonderful trip! Would not change a thing. BUT, hands down, the highlight was a week on Papillon.

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