Normandy | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Girl at Taj Mahal, India

    19 Mind Blowing Travel Destinations for '19

    <p>Go deep in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Have a million-star <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> moment. Shorten that bucket list. Stretch your imagination. Your options are as wide as the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Sahara </a>and as deep as <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce Canyon</a>. You’ll be on trend and away from the crowds when you follow our experts’ advice on any of these I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this experiences.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>CLIFFHANGER PIZZA</b></a><br>Toss and bake your own pizza… and then don&#39;t forget to taste it as you have lunch on a local friend’s sky-high terrace overlooking the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a>.</p> <p><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><b>STARRY INCA NIGHTS</b></a><br>Feel <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> haunt you as you return to the ruins, lit only by the starry megawatt nighttime sky over the Andes.</p> <p><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><b>ICY CAVING</b></a><br>Shiver—from the beauty of it all, not the cold—as you enter the glowing natural chamber of a glacial ice cave in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>RAREFIED GEISHA</b></a><br>In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Kyoto</a>, accept the elegant honor of dining as the honored guests of traditional geishas who entertain you with samisen and ritualized dance.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015sng" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>SECRET STONEHENGE</b></a><br>Enter sacred <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Stonehenge </a>for a private visit at dusk, and toast the falling night and mysterious past with a flute of champagne.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snl" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>PRISTINE BAY OF PIGS</b></a><br>Invade the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"> Bay of Pigs</a> in a snorkel mask, the better to see the miraculously rich marine environment under the waves.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015sri" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">PATAGONIA TO THE NTH DEGREE </a></b><br>In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Chile</a>, walk at the foot of the snow-capped Andes, eat with the Gauchos at a barbecue on a remote sheep ranch, and boat up to the sheer face of a Patagonia glacier. </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snq" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>JUNGLE LIVING</b></a><br>Paddle deep into <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama/" target="_blank">Panama’s rainforest</a> for a day of interaction with the indigenous Embera Tribe in their riverside village-on-stilts.<br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015snv" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>PENGUIN PLUNGE</b></a><br>Swim as you’ve never swum before with the world’s only warm-water penguins in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015so0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>BREEZIER MOROCCO</b></a><br>Compare the sands along the Atlantic coast with those around your luxury desert encampment on a 6-day visit that also includes <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank">Essaouira and Marrakesh</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015so5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>UP THE LAZY DOURO</b></a><br>Cruise <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal’s</a> gorgeous river to a vineyard walk, port-tasting, and a picnic for a perfeito Portuguese day.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>TUSCAN FANTASY</b></a><br>Live your dream at a glamorous hilltop villa-hotel with a count and countess as your hosts. Go ahead and go<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank"> totally Tuscan</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/china/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>GREATER WALL OF CHINA</b></a><br>Leave the masses behind and stroll on a beautiful, unrestored stretch of<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/china/" target="_blank"> the Great Wall </a>to truly grasp the imperial will that built it.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>ANGKOR WATTAGE</b></a><br>Watch <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank">Cambodia’s </a>legendary temples fade into awesome view on a morning walk in the growing brilliance of sunrise.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><b>NÆRØYFJORD</b></a><br>Stroke a silky alpaca at the family hotel where you’re greeted with wide-open arms after a cruise on <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank">Norway’s </a>skinniest fjord.<br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soU" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>TOO TAJ TO BELIEVE</b></a><br>Claim ownership of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank">Taj Mahal</a> from the unbelievable vantage point of your regal hotel room that overlooks the pearlescent masterpiece.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>LOW-TIDE HIGH POINT</b></a><br>Channel a 12th-century pilgrim as you walk to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Mont-St.-Michel </a>on the firm sandy seabed emptied by the ebbing tide.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soe" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>COOL COLLIES</b></a><br>Envy the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">Scottish shepherd</a> whose team of ridiculously smart border collies respond to his commands with extra-sensory precision.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ej5N&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015soj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>HOODOO VOODOO</b></a><br>Walk on Mars, also known as the floor of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce Canyon</a>, where the maze of sandstone spired called hoodoos transports you to a different world.</p>

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  • Hiking on the Coast of Normandy, France

    Solo Travel: Immerse yourself in history on a walking vacation

    <p>So you’re ready to book a <b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/solo/" target="_blank">solo travel</a></b> adventure? <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy and Brittany</a> are remarkable places to immerse yourself in history, walk the stunning France coastline and explore centuries-old architecture.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/itineraries/" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD AN ITINERARY FOR NORMANDY AND BRITTANY OR ANY OF OUR AMAZING DESTINATIONS FOR YOUR SOLO TRAVEL ADVENTURE!</a></h3> <p>Traveling solo need not be a frightening or lonely experience — especially when you join a Classic Journeys Cultural Walking Adventure. With our small groups, you’ll quickly make new friends and meet people with a passion for travel just like you. And, Normandy and Brittany are amazing places to explore with new friends and our personable local guides.</p> <p>Imagine retracing history on D-Day beaches where you will see ruins of the artificial harbor built in only 15 days in 1944. Pay your respects at the American cemetery in Bayeux. See the famous Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings, when William of Normandy conquered England in 1067.<br><br><img alt="Solo Traveler on Beach in Normandy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lx&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oYd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Your Normandy and Brittany <b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/solo/" target="_blank">luxury solo travel adventure</a></b> also includes visits to Honfleur, the lovely birthplace of Impressionism; walks through lush countryside with wooded valleys, cider orchards and quaint villages; and an awe-inspiring trip to Mon-St.-Michel, the island-abbey perched on a 264-foot rock off the coast — and you’ll get there by walking across the bay when the tide ebbs.</p> <p>Share these experiences with your new group of friends over a glass of wine beside the pool or wander the gardens of the 18th-century château where you’ll spend two relaxing evenings. You’ll experience the rich culture and history of this famous French region, marvel at majestic architecture and delight in some of the finest gastronomic adventures you’ve ever experienced.<br><br>Read more about Solo Travel:</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/solo-travelers-welcome/" target="_blank">Solo Travelers Welcome</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/the-sometime-solo/" target="_blank">The Sometime Solo</a></p> <p> </p>

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  • Pointe du Hoc Beach, Normandy, France

    D-Day: 75 Years Later

    <p><i>This year, D-Day will be honoring its 75th anniversary... and the memories still feel fresh.</i></p> <p>I went to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy </a>imagining I could focus on sipping calvados with my Camembert, decoding the Bayeux tapestry, and walking a cow path through a tufted pasture to a 400-year-old barn that’s still in use.</p> <p>Theoretically, I suppose, that’s possible. If the beach had never been code-named Omaha. If bunkers didn’t still frown from the brow of oceanside bluffs. If that high wooded meadow were just a meadow and not the achingly beautiful American Cemetery…If, if, if, then <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy </a>would be nothing more than a gorgeous getaway destination. Of course, it’s so much more.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mJ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015sJR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>When I travel, I fully expect to make memories. But it turns out that <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy and Brittany </a>are more about the chemistry of remembering, about tapping into a collective history that’s astonishingly vivid even if you are a bit fuzzy on the details.</p> <p>The people here who lived through it all certainly can’t forget the period of occupation, invasion and liberation. When I asked Dominique, our friend and local guide, how <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">D-Day is remembered</a> here, she told me a story of innocence skipping under the radar. “During the occupation, my grandparents would send my mother—then just a child—to the village on silly little errands. ‘Why this purchase? Why this shop?’ she remembers thinking. Only much later did she grasp that she was actually delivering secret messages to aid the local Resistance.”<br><br>She remembers the stories of her father who was supposed to scour the sky for American and British planes, but who went “blind” if he actually saw one. Resistance fighters knew they could hide at the family’s stud farm. “The people don’t speak of it so much now,” she adds. As long ago as the 50<sup>th</sup> Anniversary of D-Day in 1994, none of the teenagers interviewed in Argentan realized that their town was so devastated that only 21 homes survived. Still, the stories are there to be teased out gently, and Dominique makes sure we hear them as we spend time with the locals.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"><img alt="Village in Normandy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mJ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sCH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The places and facts of the great invasion aren’t so shy. Consider Arromanches. The Norman coast had no harbors large enough for the invasion force; those that did exist were heavily defended by the Germans. So the Allies built enormous caissons in England, filled them with 600,000 tons of cement and tugged them across the Channel. Deployed offshore at Arromanches, they formed an artificial harbor through which 2.5 million soldiers, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tons of supplies passed. Today, as you stand on a lookout over the beach, the last of them still tilt above the waves, like a stubborn salute to ingenuity. The local museum built to memorialize the “débarquement” is one of the most interesting I’ve ever visited.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Omaha Beach</a>, on the other hand, bears virtually no trace of the epic landing. It’s surprisingly quiet; today, you find a few cottage rentals here and there, but the blue water is too cool to be a major draw. The people of this region always lived with the beach to their backs, as farmers and dairymen rather than sailors and fishermen. The broad, flat expanse of sand is just soft enough that you’re tempted to take off your shoes. And then you flash to G.I.’s splashing their way onto it in combat boots, heavily laden with their weapons. To stand ankle-deep in that sand—back to the water, facing the bluffs that were lined with wall-to-wall firepower—is a moment that etches itself in your imagination.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mJ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015sJW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you’re on alert, the vestiges of Operation Overlord are everywhere. Road signs point to Caen and Saint-Lo, towns that were burned into the headlines. It seems that every village has a commemorative statue, fountain or plaque. Markers along quiet rural lanes note the progress of the liberation forces. You can duck into the stark German bunkers, staring fixedly at the flat horizon that bristled with ships on that morning in late spring. I don’t even know how to capture the feeling as the shadow of a lone cloud floats across the Cemetery as Taps echoes in the air. Words are too small to say what it means.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"><img alt="Cemetery" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mJ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sCR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">The D-Day sites</a> can be heroic and beautiful, humble and humbling, serene and fascinating and inspirational. In the end, that’s even more the case because they co-exist alongside rich cultural sites that aren’t primarily about World War II. There’s Mont-St.-Michel, soaring over the sea as it has since the 15<sup>th</sup> Century. In Bayeux—one of the rare cities in these parts that was spared from bombing—the 230-foot-long tapestry portrays the Norman Conquest. And believe me, there is plenty of time for long, sunny farmhouse lunches, where the cider and calvados flow.<br><br>In the end, Normandy affected me like I had never predicted. I’m no war buff, yet I came away with a real sense of the scope and near-cosmic grandeur of the undertaking. I felt how much it means to preserve the memories of a time that for many of us is still only a generation or two away. I will always remember it.</p>

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