Normandy - Tulips, Castles & Calvados

Normandy - Tulips, Castles & Calvados

Discover Chateaux and Gardens in this delightful part of France


Discover Chateaux and Gardens in this delightful part of France


Amiens in northern France lies to the north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Hauts-de-France. 

It has one of the biggest university hospitals in France with a capacity of 1,200 beds.

Amiens Cathedral, the tallest of the large, classic, Gothic churches of the 13th century and the largest in France of its kind, is a World Heritage Site. The author Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and served on the city council for 15 years. During December, the town hosts the largest Christmas market in northern France. Amiens is known for a few local foods, including "macarons d'Amiens", almond paste biscuits; "tuiles amienoises", chocolate and orange curved biscuits; "pâté de canard d'Amiens", duck pâté in pastry; "la ficelle Picarde", an oven-baked cheese-topped crêpe; and "flamiche aux poireaux", a puff pastry tart made with leeks and cream.


Château de Vendeuvre

Between Falaise and Lisieux, the Château de Vendeuvre is quite remarkable thanks to its unique water gardens inspired by 18th century pleasure gardens. One of many remarkable gardens in Calvados.

Formal and landscaped gardens, kitchen garden and "surprise" water gardens combine to form the setting of the Château de Vendeuvre. The latest addition is exotic: jasmine, banana trees, yuccas, succulent plants... The gardens are punctuated by original architectural features such as the shell grotto, temple, pavilion and waterfall. Yews and roses intermingle to form an amusing maze. Lots of fun guaranteed for the young and the not so young in search of the lost rabbit amidst this labyrinthine maze. You can also visit the castle interior and the miniature furniture collection.


Chateau du Breuil

Set among rolling and forested hills between Deauville and Lisieux in Basse Normandy is the 400 year old Chateau du Breuil - maker of Calvados and other apple based liquors. The grounds of the Chateau are lovely and they offer both tours of their distillery and tastings of some of their products.

Basse Normandy isn't known for its wine production, however, it is famous for its apples and what better use to apply some of their bounty than to the distillation of Calvados? Following a tour that takes you through the distillation process [a double distillation to assure the highest purity] and the cellars [wherein one immediately takes in the bouquet of the 'Angel's Share' that welcomes you among the aging barrels]; your tour concludes in the tasting-room. On offer the samplings take you through the raw/twice-distilled {pre-barrel-aged} liquor, akin to an aeu de vie ['water of life'] or an American 'white-lightening.' For those familiar with high alcohol content liquors, this aeu de vie has its appeal. Unfortunately - even for those who are attracted to this spirit, it isn't offered for sale. On the other hand, there are numerous products to be sampled and that are on offer for sale.

From the minimum aged two-year-old, to 20 year-old Calvados, there's something among the range to appeal to most any palette. There are even chocolate-covered/Calvados liquid center treats to be had.



Honfleur is situated on the estuary where the Seine river meets the English Channel.  As both a sea and a river port, but also a sailing port, the city of Honfleur has preserved its rich artistic and historic heritage. Its Vieux-Bassin (old harbor), lined with 16th- to 18th-century townhouses, has been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son Eugène Boudin who found its changing light and picturesque quays inspiring. Nearby Saint Catherine's Church is a vaulted wooden structure erected by shipbuilders beginning in the mid-1400s.

You can choose from an exceptionally enticing selection of restaurants and shops around town and stroll through civic gardens to the beach.


Trouville is on the Normandy coast to the east of Honfleur and next to Deauville (which lies on the other bank of the Touques river). Its full name is Trouville-sur-Mer. Although it has a history dating back several hundred years, the town has grown and developed essentially as a seaside resort over the last 120 years, although there is still an active and pretty fishing port. Trouville was one of the earliest seaside resorts to be developed in France when the 'new craze' for sea bathing took hold towards the end of the 19th century.


Deauville is a seaside resort on the Côte Fleurie and has been an upscale holiday destination since the 1800s, it’s known for its grand casino, golf courses, horse races and American Film Festival. Its wide, sandy beach is backed by Les Planches, a 1920s boardwalk with bathing cabins. The town has chic boutiques, elegant belle epoque villas and half-timbered buildings.


Le Touquet

Le Touquet blends old English charm with French style, there is no better place to blow away the cobwebs than Le Touquet. Just 45 miles south of Calais, the resort was invented by the British 100 years ago. With its pine forest and golf courses, neat villas and winding roads, this seaside town still has echoes of the good old days when Noël Coward, PG Wodehouse and their chums popped over to relax on the Côte d'Opale. Rather than having street numbers, local holiday villas rejoice in names such as Sevenoaks, Sunny Corner and Peppermint. But there is also plenty of French je ne sais quoi, since the resort has been known as Paris-Plage (Paris-on-Sea) since 1912. Thanks to the demanding Parisians who still weekend here, there is a good range of hotels, restaurants and shops. 

Thursday 25th April

A morning departure via York to Hull for our overnight crossing to Zeebrugge.

Friday 26th April

After disembarkation we head south through Belgium and into France for a lunch stop in Amiens, home to one of France’s most awe-inspiring Gothic cathedrals. We leave mid afternoon for the remainder of the journey to Lisieux and our hotel the Mercure, Dinner in the hotel.


Saturday 27th April

Our first visit today is to the Chateau De Vendeuvre where in April each year the gardens explode into a fabulous riot of colour with a vibrant display of tulips, narcissus and hyacinths, marvel at the array of over 30,000 bulbs on display creating a wonderful pattern of colours. We also have time to look around the impressive 18th Century Chateau before visiting the Chateau de Brueil distillery, where we will have an informative talk on Calvados making followed by a tasting and some traditional Norman apple pie. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Sunday 28th April

Today we have an excursion showing you the best of the beautiful Normandy coast, first is Honfleur, this quaint old port Town with its picturesque narrow paved streets and timber framed houses is a haven for artists, take time for lunch in one of the many stylish cafes before we head to the seaside resorts of Trouville, famed for its amazing long beach, and Deauville a stylish and chic resort, a favorite retreat for rich Parisians, with its yachting harbour and stunning coastline. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Monday 29th April

We leave our hosts at the Mercure Hotel for our return to Zeebrugge, we travel through Northern France, stopping off at Le Touquet, an upmarket seaside resort with many designer shops and lovely restaurants. We leave late afternoon for the remainder of the journey to Zeebrugge and our overnight sailing to Hull.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Hotel restaurant Mercure Lisieux Normandy

Just a 5-minute drive from the centre of Lisieux, this Mercure hotel is in the heart of the Normandy region. It features an outdoor swimming pool, a bar and a restaurant that serves dishes from the region.

Free Wi-Fi access, a mini-fridge and a flat-screen TV with international channels are provided in the rooms, each has a private bathroom with a hairdryer.

Breakfast is available every morning at the hotel. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and offers dining on the terrace for sunny days.

The hotel is easily accessible for people with reduced mobility.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
From Price Call Back Telephone Favourites

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