Itinerary

Hotel BarriereThursday/Friday~May 31-June 1

Charlotte/Paris/Deauville

Your journey begins as you board your flight in Charlotte on May 31. Upon arrival in Paris on the morning of June 1, you will board your motor coach for your transfer to Deauville, and the chic Hotel Barriere le Normandy.

With lightly woven Toile de Jouy fabrics highlighted by the wood of the half-timbering, Hotel Barriere Le Normandy cultivates a dazzling Anglo-Norman style. The ribbed grain of the armchairs and comfortable king-size bed shroud guests in a soft warmth. Cozy bars and chic brasseries perpetuate the joyful Belle Epoque elegance. Enjoy the private pool and the fabulous amenities of your hotel.

This evening, join the UNC Charlotte group for a specially arranged welcome reception and overview of our upcoming week together.

Overnight at HOTEL BARRIERE LE NORMANDY.

Utah BeachToday’s drive takes you to Pointe du Hoc, a cliff overlooking the English Channel, the highest point between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. The German army fortified the area with concrete casements and gun pits. On D-Day, the United States Army Ranger Assault Group assaulted and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs. Striking and rare, this site remains today much as it was in June of 1944. After the fighting was over, the bunkers and fortifications remained largely forgotten until the 1960's when large numbers of curious tourists visiting the area prompted the French Government to preserve the site. Today, the American Battle Monuments Commission manages Pointe du Hoc.

We will continue to the westernmost beach of the five landing areas of the Normandy Invasion, Utah Beach. This is the stretch of the Normandy coastline where the son of President Teddy Roosevelt came ashore to lead the first assault wave. Committed to this deployment, General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. landed with his men at 6.40 am. Accounts report that the Normandy Invasion is where the general delivered his famous address: "We will start the war from here!”

Afterwards, we will transfer to Sainte-Mere-Eglise to tour the town, have lunch together and enjoy the UNC Charlotte Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band performance at the D-Day Memorial parade.

  • Student performance at Sainte-Mere-Eglise

Airborne MuseumIn the afternoon, time permitting, Dr. Perry will lead us on a tour of the Airborne Museum, dedicated to the memory of American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions who parachuted into Normandy on the night of June 5–6, 1944. The museum opened its door in 1964 with the help of veterans and residents. John Steele, suspended in the air when his parachute hooked on the belfry of the church on June 6, 1944 brought fame to Sainte-Mere-Eglise. Today, the museum holds more than 10,000 mostly American items including a C-47 cargo plane and WACO Glider.

We will drive back to Deauville and your hotel where you have some time to relax before your evening reception with our marching band and UNC Charlotte community members.

Overnight at HOTEL BARRIERE LE NORMANDY.

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Brittany American Cemetery and MemorialAfter breakfast, your morning drive takes you towards the eastern edge of Brittany to visit the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial where we will have another opportunity to see the UNC Charlotte Pride of Niner Marching Band perform in honor of the American veterans of WWII. There are 4,410 American soldiers buried under stark white crosses at the Brittany American Cemetery in St. James, a place that is strikingly serene compared with its more-famous, more-visited counterpart in Normandy. The names of 499 missing American soldiers are inscribed along the retaining wall of the memorial terrace, one of fourteen permanent American World War II military cemetery memorials erected by the American Battle Monuments Commission on foreign soil.

 

It’s just a special place to meditate on the sacrifice of the soldiers who gave their lives during the liberation of Europe,” said Gerald Arseneault, the St. James cemetery superintendent. “And also, to meditate on what is happening in the world today.”

  • Performance and ceremony at the Cemetery in honor of the American veterans of WWII

Following the visit to the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial, a 35-minute drive brings the Pride of Niner Marching Band and us to the towering 1,000-year-old church-town, Mont Saint-Michel, one of France’s most-visited tourist attractions. The appearance of the town is that of a child’s sand castle with narrow, cobblestoned streets winding up to the 12th-century abbey and lovely Romanesque church, dedicated to Archangel Michael.

Abbey of Mont Saint-MichelFounded in 708, the abbey embodies the cultural aesthetic of a world that existed a thousand years ago. Legend has it that the Archangel Michael appeared to Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, inspiring him to build an oratory on what was then called Mont Tombe.

Following the French Revolution (1789), the Clergy's goods were confiscated, the monks chased away and the monastic building was shamefully transformed into a prison until 1874. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, sometimes referred to as "La Merveille" (The Marvel) due to its architectural design, is regarded as one of the most ambitious achievements of the Christian world.

Return to your hotel where the rest of the evening is at leisure.

Overnight at HOTEL BARRIERE LE NORMANDY.

Beach Sculpture

Travel to the site of the Normandy Landings at Omaha Beach, codenamed Operation Neptune. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war. Visit the Omaha Beach Cemetery, American Cemetery at Omaha Beach’s most visited cemetery, receiving approximately one million visitors each year. Here, we will see the last performance of the UNC Charlotte Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band. Overlooking Omaha Beach, the American cemetery located at Colleville-sur-Mer covers an area of 170 acres. These lands were offered to the United States by France so that 9,387 men and women fallen in Normandy could rest on American soil. Of those killed, 149 were Jewish and are buried under a Star-of-David shaped stela. A cross marks all of the other gravesites. Four women and 307 men remain unknown. Perfectly lined up, the graves of white marble stand out against a carefully well-kept lawn. And, 1,557 men whose remains have never been found after the Normandy campaign also receive tribute with the inscription of their names on the Wall of the Missing.

  • Student performance at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach

On your way back to Deauville, visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry, one of many museums not to be missed in Calvados. Listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register since 2007, the Bayeux Tapestry is a genuine masterpiece of Romanesque art. This truly amazing tapestry is actually an embroidery on a linen canvas, 230 feet long and 20 inches high, made in the 11th century and tells the story of William the Conqueror's conquest over England.

Bayeux Tapestry

We will continue with our drive back to Deauville where the rest of the day is at leisure. Enjoy a seafood farewell dinner at le Ciro’s restaurant on the Deauville boardwalk.

Overnight at HOTEL BARRIERE LE NORMANDY.

Sadly, for some of you, it is time to return to Paris to catch your flight back to Charlotte. You will depart with memories of Normandy to last a lifetime.

For others, we are off to explore the Isle of Jersey!

Optional Post-Extension to British Channel Island of Jersey

British Channel Island of Jersey

Today, you bid the rest of the group returning to the USA goodbye, and prepare for your next adventure. The Atlantic Hotel, situated on one of the most stunning sites in the Channel Islands will be your home for the next two nights. All rooms feature 4-star comforts, including full-height windows, marble en-suite bathrooms, Molton Brown toiletries, complimentary Wi-Fi, satellite television, laptop safe, daily newspaper, Hildon mineral water, fruit bowl, hairdryer, large bathroom mirrors with demisters, shaving mirrors and DeWitte bathrobes. The Ocean Restaurant offers modern British cuisine with a focus on local produce, and received one Michelin Star for the eighth year running in 2014.

Overnights at the ATLANTIC HOTEL.

We drive to the historic walled city of Saint Malowhere we will enjoy lunch. This port city ideally situates between northern and southern Europe on the English Channel in Brittany, on France’s west coast. It is hard to believe this jewel is not the original city. St Malo was severely bombed during its liberation in World War II and rose again, painstakingly restored stone by stone by the determined Malouins.

Transfer to St. Malo port and begin your island escape as you board the ferry for your trip to the Isle of Jersey, the Anglo-Norman statelet in the Bay of Mont St. Michel.

About 14 miles off the coast of France, the Channel Islands consist off Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm plus many smaller islands, each with its own unique character. They are British "Crown Dependencies,” but since they are territorially separated from the British mainland, they are not covered under the heading of Great Britain. Jersey, the biggest of the Channel Islands, extends nine miles from east to west and five miles from north to south. Nazi Germany invaded Jersey in 1940. It was heavily fortified and not liberated until May 9, 1945. The Jersey War Tunnels are the place to go for those wanting to learn about the horrendous conditions endured by the islanders during the occupation. Remains of fortifications are numerous and visible almost everywhere. There are also underground tunnel systems dug during that period and several war/occupation-related museums.

Jersey CoastEverywhere in Jersey has a French name. Until quite recently, a dialect of Norman French codified Jersey Law. Subsequently, French civil law underpins much of the island’s legal codes to this day. Some of the older inhabitants still speak Jerriais, the old Norman-French dialect, and yet this is a patriotic British island (albeit one that is not in the UK).

This small in size but spectacularly beautiful island offers plenty of striking scenery, especially on the north coast with its high cliffs, rocky inlets, and caves. Here you can find the beauty of Britain and the flavors of France. Jersey Island has the best of both worlds, but retains its own personality.

We will spend some time together exploring the beauties of the island, including St. Aubins, Noirmont, St. Brelades Bay, and the Corbiere Lighthouse. We will also visit St. Ouens Bay, Grosnez, and Greve De Lecq. We will then journey to the North Coast to see Rozel Harbour and St Catherines Breakwater. Finally, we will visit the East Coast including La Rocque Harbour, St. Clements Bay, St. Helier Harbour, St Aubin's Bay, and the Waterworks Valley.

Corbiere LighthouseDuring your stay, you may also want to consider visiting some of these places on your own:

  • Jersey Museum, Art Gallery & Merchants House
    This fascinating museum provides history from 250,000 years ago when the first people arrived in Jersey and continues through the centuries to explore the factors that shaped this unique island and the people who live here. Find out why Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown despite being so close to France; listen to Jersey-French spoken and learn about the Island's traditional farming industry.
     
  • The Botanic Gardens are a development of gardens created in the 1920s by millionaire ship owner and plant enthusiast, Sir James Knott.
     
  • Jersey LavenderJersey Lavender is a working farm that grows lavender. During the harvest season (June to mid-August) the lavender crop is processed, the oil extracted and used to make a range of fragrant Jersey Lavender products. Do not miss the talks in the distillery at 11.30 and 3.00 when you will learn about the whole process. Also, wander around beautiful gardens, feed the chickens, relish homemade treats from Sprigs Café and find that perfect gift from Sprigs Shop.

Say farewell to Jersey Island this morning as you cross over to St. Malo on a ferryboat and begin your journey back to Paris. The evening is at leisure at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Marriott Hotel.

Chantilly CastleThe Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Marriott Hotel is ideally situated at the heart of Roissy-en-France, a charming verdant residential village just one mile from Charles de Gaulle Airport. Make yourself comfortable in your spacious room equipped with useful amenities like a flat-screen TV, luxury bedding, a workspace and much more. The hotel has high-speed internet in rooms WI-FI in public areas and meeting rooms. Famous attractions in the region include the Chantilly Castle and Disneyland.

Overnight at the Paris Marriott Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel.