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Our plans for PARIS-AVARANCHES-AMBOISE-PARIS, any thoughts?

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this is the suggested plan for our travels. Please let me know your thoughts on our destination choices, Also, any PRETTY LITTLE TOWNSthat we can drive through on our routes would be greatly appreciated.
Merci,
Sunny

Friday, May 17th, Arrive PARIS
Today we arrive to Paris. Arrangements by cab or van are made to transfer everyone to our Boutique Hotel the Crystal in St Germain Des Pres on the left bank. The rooms may not yet be ready so a quick freshen up at the hotel then the wandering through Paris begins. We can start by walking near the Hotel, possibly shopping at Louie Vitton and Yves St Laurent or a coffee on the patio outside Café de Flor. Time to wander this area on the left bank, we can drop in and out of the small shops and museums. Plans to pick up our 6 day museum pass (6 days @ $69euro, we save at least $23 euro and museums have bathrooms :o) The afternoon may keep us in a medieval theme visiting the Musee’ National du Moyen Age Musee, in the Latin Quarter. We might make it to the Pantheon.

Another thought may be to walk the Saints and Sinners tour on the Right bank in the Marais quarter. It’s full of architectural surprises that reveal the history of some of Paris’s most famous characters. A quick tour of Charles Garnier’s lavish Opera house or a tour through the modern art Centre Georges Pompidou would be a highlight of the afternoon. A boat ride along the Seine or maybe a Segway tour to get revived and re-energized.

Return to our hotel for a freshen up. We will have a glass of wine and light supper then collapse for a good nights rest.

Saturday, May 18th:
Up early and coffee and croissants! Grab your Museum Pass and here we go… Today we venture to the area of Montmartre. Montmartre has been associated with artists for over 200 years. There is a Funicular that we can ride up the steep hill of to the Church Sacre’ Cour, then walk down through pretty little streets, drop into a couple museums and end up at the highest point in Paris, Place du Tertre square with artists, street venders and small cafes. Maybe we will have lunch here.

At 3 pm we have a private tour of the Tower Eifell. Skipping the 2 hour lines , you get a nice tour including the history of the tower, the bunkers beneath and the technology at work. After the tour a walk through Rodin’s Garden and gaze at the “Thinker” and wonder what he is thinking about.


Dinner reservations will be at a wonderful Paris Bistro. Following dinner there is a chance to listen to music at one of the many Paris clubs or a couple more glasses of wine at a street side café. This is also the NIGHT of The Museums. Many are free and open until 1 am. Choices???? We will see what we will do ;o)

Sunday, May 19th:
A blessed breakfast of coffee and croissants. It is Sunday morning and Dean is off to church at St Chapelle or Notre-Dame. While Dean prays for us we will walk around the Ile de la Cite’. Beginning at the Flower Market. Sundays at the Market include a wide variety of birds to choose from. Dean should be able to catch up to us by now. We venture on to the anchor of Ile Cite’, the powerful presence of the 850 year old cathedral Notre-Dame. We can visit the crypt, the treasury and stroll around the inside and outside to admire the architecture . Then the 387 steps to the top to see the gargoyles and meet Mary, Jean Marie, Maurice, Benoit Joseph, Steven, Marcel, Dennis, Ann Genevieve and Gabriel the new bells of Notre-Dame.

About this time we will need a snack, maybe a picnic in the grassy square Jean XXIII on the southern side of the cathedral. Following our break we go on to the Church Sainte- Chapelle. With stunning stain glass windows, this 13th century church is a shimmering jewel.

Time to change directions and venture walking through the Cemeterie Du Pere-Lachaise and a quick tour of the Grande Gallerie de l’Evolution in the Museum National D’Historie. We can sit and enjoy a cool beverage in the Jardin des Plantes.

Dinner reservations will be arranged by the hotel concierge. If we have not managed a boat ride on the Seine…this would be a great after dinner activity.

Monday, May 20th:
Here we go. Today we have crepes with our coffee. Then enter the secret door or is it the back door of the Louve. The morning will be spent pausing and gazing at incredible works of art. Could there be a dance performance to Mony Mony? Oops probably not for the Mona Lisa. We will spend the morning and enjoy a delicious lunch along the Seine.

Afternoon will bring us from old to modern.. Since they are open late, Monday is a good day to ponder the incredible works of art at the Centre Georges Pompidou. Also, we can venture to all those little shops that we missed.

Dinner? Lets make it a great choice followed by a boat ride along the Seine.

Tuesday, May 21st:
How fast the days have come and gone… Today is the Musee d’Orsay., hmm entrance is free to professional artists. We need to put on our berets and grab a paint brush. Lunch at the café on the upper floor will give us a stunning and surreal view of Paris through the glass of a huge station clock.
After we wander and ponder the beautiful impressionist paintings we can continue our shopping adventures or venture into another museum. We also pick up the VAN today for our continued journeys tomorrow.

Night brings us our last Parisian dinner this leg of our journey so lets not have Chinese.

Wednesday, May 22nd: DEPART PARIS / ARRIVE AVRANCHES
Packed up and early departure for Versailles, France’s ultimate royal palace. “It is an opulent monument to the super ego of the sun king Louis XIV”. Once we have our fill of lavish furnishings and majestic, fountain filled formal gardens, toured by golf cart we travel to another garden in Giverny.

Onward we drive through hills and valleys to our next destination Avranches. A small town at the base of Mont St Michel. “From whatever angle this isolated tidal rock is stunning. Rising from the rampart walls and clustered village o a magnificent Abby whose highest steeple spears the sky.”

We can venture to the village for dinner then settle in for the night at our hotel, Hôtel de la Croix d'Or . Of course wine is required.

Thursday, May 23rd:
Today, we can sleep in just a little. An early morning walk on the beach below the abbey chasing sheep is very tempting. Breakfast is not included in our room price so coffee and croissants it is.

Thoughts for our activities … a drive into Brittany along the costal road visiting little beach towns and small fishing villages such as Dinard and Dinan. We must ponder and reflect upon the journey of Merlin and Richard the Lionhart on these very same roads. I have read that, one of the most glorious walks in Brittany is found just north of Canale on the way between Mont Dol and St Malo. It takes a cliff top route with high level views to off shore islands and far away Mont St Michel on the way to the magnificent bay at Port Brac.” Canale just east of St Malo is famous for their high quality oysters cultivated in the bay. Lunch anyone? Restrain the aphrodisiac effects of the oysters until we return to the hotel please. Depending on the day, our destination can reach all the way to Cap Frehel, one of the largest moorlands in Europe with its pink sandstone cliffs plunging 230 to the sea. Our last stop will be Dol-de-Bretagne a very attractive medieval town. One particular attraction on the edge of Dol-de-Bretagne is a Neolithic menhir. The Menhir du Champ Dolent (standing stone), is one of the tallest and most impressive in Brittany at 9.3 meters tall.

Friday, May 24th
Ok, to do this right we must get up early! Today we travel the route to the Beaches of Normandy! If all goes well we can be on the beach by 10:00am! “Normandy is a land of apples, cider, cheese, lace and tree lined fields, but the present day region hides a land once devastated by the D-Day landings in June 1944, when the huge invasion force of Operation Overlord stormed the German defenses.” Our driving tour follows along the coast visiting several sites involved in the invasion including the American Military Cemetery and Omaha beach. A moment of silence and reflection of lives lost and pride of country. Today, we may abandon the coastal plan and head to Honfleur, or spend some time in Bayeux and check out the Bayeux Tapestry made in the year 1070, or we will work our way towards our coastal plan to Barnville-Cateret with a spectacular rocky headland down following the coast down to Granville to view the 15th century, Notrre-Dame church. Seems like all the churches are named Notre-Dame??? Supper, when we are ready at any small tavern before continuing our journey back to Avranches. It’s the “LONGEST DAY” so I am sure we will sleep well.


Saturday, May 25th:
Sleep in but not too late! It is Market Day in Avranches and the ladies love to shop. Our day today is consumed by Le Mont St Michel. “ The lowest towers and medieval sea wall protect a village of lanes and stairways. Crowning the summit, the Abby is dedicated to the Archangel Michel a triumph of 13th century Romanesque and Gothic design.” Along day of wandering and shopping, Lunch and then dinner at Madam Poullard’s at 7 pm on the Mont.

Sunday, May 26th:
DEPART AVRANCHES / ARRIVE AMBOISE
Sleep in a little. Except for Dean, he must go and pray for us this morning at church. Pack up it is time to take a lazy long drive to Amboise.

We plan our route through pretty little French towns and villages, skirting LeMans…(we could shift gears and go to Monaco for the Formula 1 Race, oops, that’s another trip :o)

Continuing the drive we might arrive at Chateaudun built by Jean Dunois illegitament brother of the Duke of Oleans and buddy of Joan of Arc. The road now becomes much more wooded as we approach the appealing town of Vendome and its 13th century castle on a lofty crag. The Loire River runs through the middle of Vendome.

We approach our next destination, Amboise in the middle of the Loire Valley. Our arrival will be met with a glass of wine from our hosts at Le Vieux Manior . Le Vieux Manoir, is an enchanting 18th century mansion hidden in the heart of Amboise, a historic village with a celebrated Royal Chateau.

The Manoir grounds are surrounded by ancient stone walls that enclose exquisite gardens. Within a five minute walk are over 30 restaurants, charming shops, and Clos-Luce the last home of Leonardo de Vinci.

Monday, May 27th:
Enjoy a wonderful Breakfast prepared by our hosts at the manoir, then freshen up and start another day in the chateaux drive along the Loire. A short stop at the PARC des MINI-CHATEUX, containing 40 miniature models of the country’s most famous châteaux. A bit run down but, we remember Tiny Town in Colorado! ($12.75 euro/per person/ optional- if not, wait at a café or shop?) Our order of châteaux and interior tours are to be determined. We will travel to Chateau de Chenonceau. The most glorious of all the Loire Valley châteaux. (highly suggested interior tour) We will use our imaginations to re-create the atmosphere of a 16th century royal party! Chaumont is known for its picture book castle, whose massive pinnacle roofed turrents soar up on a bluff above the Loire. Cheverney stands out because of its elegant Louis XIII style. If we are here at 5pm we can hear the dogs howling for their food. Its feeding time. The area is also known for their beautifully crisp white wines. (guess what …lunch with wine???) Chambord, the most awe inspiring of all the chateaux, built in 1519 for King Francois and believed to have parts of it designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. We will walk in the steps of kings and queens down the remarkable double spiral staircase and view the vast estate from the windows or a lovely walk.

Blois is the town nearby and close enough to Amboise to have supper here or head back to Amboise. Wine will be involved with dinner but not too much, our next day is filled with sampling.

Tuesday, May 28th:
Today we turn south towards the vineyards of Bourguell and Chinon. Bourguell, is one of the Loire’s prime areas for red wines and the wine cellars or caves in the Loire are real caves. Snow white and the seven dwarves might be found drinking in one? In Chinon below the Chateaux is a huddle of medival streets and wine caves. We can also wander through the beautiful gardens at Chateux Villandry and Chateux Azay-le Rideau. I am sure there will be shopping stops. Prices are always better with wine involved. After a long slow drive around the area ( Dean you are the designated driver this day) we return to the manoir for our last night there and another glass of wine.

Wednesday, May 29th:
DEPART AMBOISE / ARRIVE PARIS
Packing up this morning can be quick or slow… the drive the same there are sights to see along the way to Paris. We can stop in Blois, Orleans and, or Fontainebleau? Our Hotel, the Hilton at CDG is near the airport. Arrival early to the hotel will provide time to return to the heart and soul of Paris by train, with time to grab the trinkets and couture apparel left behind. Dinner, our last in the country of France will be reflective discussion of joyful journeys and French adventures. Sleep well my friends tomorrow we journey home.

Thursday, May 30th :
DEPART PARIS / ARRIVE HOME…..VACATION OVER We still need to drop off the van and find the correct terminal. CDG can be a bitch to get around so pack well and early. Breakfast at the hotel then off to the airport.

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