William I. Hitchcock, Professor of History

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$3,495 per person, land only, double occupancy
Flights can be arranged at additional cost.

Flights from Washington Dulles available for$1,549
and include all fuel surcharges, domestic and foreign governmental taxes and security fees.

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Join U.Va. historian William Hitcock to Explore the palpable history of the towns and shores of Normandy, from the powerful memories and valor of World War II to the culinary and creative masterpieces inspired by Normandy’s rich culture and pastoral landscapes. Delight in the charming town of Honfleur and visit Monet’s home and studio in Giverny. Savor regional specialties during visits to a Calvados distillery and a producer of famous cheeses. Visit Lisieux and its magnificent basilica, and tour Rouen’s splendid cathedral and half-timbered houses. View the ancient Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the story of the Norman conquest of England. Journey to the D-Day landing beaches, including poignant Omaha Beach, led by a historian who will discuss D-Day’s events, and visit the American Military Cemetery and the Peace Memorial at Caen. Then join a panoramic tour and see the world-renowned monuments and fashionable avenues of Paris, a pleasing conclusion to this Alumni program that includes first-class accommodations, an extensive meal plan and wine with dinner.

Program Highlights

  • Explore the heart of Normandy from the scenic port town of Honfleur.
  • Tour Domaine St. Hippolyte, Château de Breuil and Lisieux.
  • Travel to historic D-Day beaches and visit the Caen Memorial.
  • Experience the wonders of Paris, the City of Light.
  • Enjoy many opportunities to sample the delicious local cuisine, including the smooth calvados at Château de Breuil and the exemplary cheeses at Domaine St. Hippolyte.
  • Visit the Carmelite Basilica of St. Thérèse, a pilgrimage site.
  • Tour Monet’s colorful home, studio and gardens in Giverny.
  • Discover the medieval beauty of Rouen and its infamous link to Joan of Arc.
  • View the famous Bayeux Tapestry, one of the world’s oldest surviving pictorial works.


William I. Hitchcock, Professor of History

William Hitchcock came to the University from Temple, where he chaired the History Department and served as director of the International History Workshop. His research has focused on the international history of Europe since 1939. He has written on French diplomacy of the post-WWII era, and published a survey of Europe’s history from the end of the Second World War up to the present. His most recent book is The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe. It explores the civilian experience of liberation in Europe at the close of World War II. It was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and won the 2009 George Louis Beer Prize from the American Historical Association. At the moment, he is working on a collection of essays, with his colleague Petra Goedde, on the international history of human rights. Will was hired through the Legacy of Distinction fund at the College of Arts & Sciences.


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In Transit from North America

Air Program travelers will depart their gateway city for Paris, France.

The Group Air Program offers advanced seat assignments on most airlines; an air price guarantee that includes all fuel surcharges and airport and airline taxes; arrival and departure transfers, including baggage handling; and many other benefits.

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Arrive at Charles de Gaulle International Airport.

Transfer to the Mercure Honfleur Hotel, conveniently located in the city center of Honfleur. After checking in, your luggage will be delivered directly to your room. Your AHI Campus Director will be with you throughout your journey to handle all program logistics and will be available daily to assist with sightseeing arrangements, dinner reservations, shopping suggestions and any other assistance you may require.

This evening, enjoy a Welcome Reception with fellow travelers at the hotel, followed by a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations—Mercure Honfleur Hotel
Meal: Dinner (D)

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Explore the picturesque port town of Honfleur, tucked along the estuary of the Seine in an area of Normandy known as the “Flowered Coast” or the “Norman Riviera.” Stroll cobblestone streets to the 17th-century Old Harbor for charming views of the tall, narrow homes that crowd the port. Visit the unusual Church of St. Catherine, the largest wooden church with a separate bell tower in France. Built by 15th-century shipwrights using maritime construction practices, it looks like the hull of a ship viewed upside down.

Calvados, Lisieux and Cheese
Take a trip to Château de Breuil, an esteemed Calvados distillery. Learn how strict methods for fermentation, distillation and aging produce this prized apple brandy, and then sample the fragrant liqueur. Travel to nearby Lisieux to visit the Carmelite Basilica of St. Thèrese, a Catholic pilgrimage site that draws two million visitors each year. Begun in 1929, the basilica is sprinkled with mosaics and beautiful stained-glass windows and can accommodate 3,000 people. Its bell tower houses 51 bells that ring out daily and are among the most melodic in Europe. Then, visit Domaine St. Hippolyte, a facility authorized to produce the cheeses, Pont l’Évêque and Livarot, using raw milk from the celebrated Norman cow.
Local Flavor: Enjoy dinner at Domaine St. Hippolyte before returning to Honfleur.

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Giverny/ Rouen

Travel to Giverny to visit Monet’s pastoral home and wander among the colorful gardens that inspired Monet to capture them again and again on canvas. There are two gardens: the Clos Normand is nearest the house and contains some 200,000 plants, mostly eye-popping flowers. The second lies across the road from Monet’s farmhouse and was added 10 year later. Here he created the Japanese-inspired water lily pond that became a constant theme in his later paintings, including the famous water lilies series. Now a museum, the house, gardens and studio have been carefully restored.

Step back in time as you explore the architectural jewel that is Rouen. Admire its historic half-timber buildings and its soaring Gothic cathedral. Monet immortalized the cathedral in some 30 paintings in his effort to capture it in all types of weather and light. Walk along the pedestrian-only Rue du Gros Horloge to view its famous gilded astrological clock and visit the Place du Vieux Marché, where Joan of Arc was put to death. A large bronze cross marks the spot where she was martyred.

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Head to ancient Bayeux, medieval stronghold of the Norman empire in the 11th century. There, survey the famous Bayeux Tapestry, a French national treasure. In vibrant, intricate embroidery, the 230-foot-long linen tells the epic tale of how William, Duke of Normandy, became King of England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Bayeux, one of the finest cathedrals in France. Begun in the 11th century in a Romanesque style, by the 13th century alterations and additions had taken a decidedly Gothic turn with gargoyles and flying buttresses.

Stop in Caen to see the Peace Memorial. Hear the story of the Battle of Normandy through innovative presentations including videos, models and artifacts. Regarded as one of the best World War II museums in France, it is the perfect starting point for understanding the events surrounding D-Day. The exhibits encompass the history of the 20th and 21st centuries and allow visitors to contemplate the difficulties of lasting peace.

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Independent Exploration: The day is yours to pursue your own interests in Honfleur.
Educational Focus: Culinary Traditions of Normandy
Engage in an overview of Normandy’s grand culinary traditions, from its exemplary cheeses and ciders to its mouth-watering seafood, duck and lamb specialties. Learn about creamy Camembert, succulent Normandy oysters, prized lamb from the salt marshes of Mont-St-Michel, and the cider brandy connoisseurs equate to fine cognac.

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D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
Begin the day with an emotional trip to the sites of the Battle of Normandy, so crucial to the Allies’ D-Day operations during World War II. Many artifacts still remain in remembrance of what was accomplished that day. View the artificial harbor built at Arromanches, and the deadly German gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer.
Pristinely kept monuments and memorials also abound. High on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach stands the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. It is the same bluff that the U.S. 1st Division, under heavy fire and against great odds, wrested from the Nazis before the close of D-Day. Thousands of white crosses stand in mute tribute to the soldiers who fought and died there.  [Approvals pending for this day.]

Educational Focus: D-Day
Follow along as a knowledgeable historian expertly walks you through the events of D-Day, the largest military landing in history. Some 160,000 soldiers fought their way onto 50 miles of heavily fortified coastline that day, supported by more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft. Also review Operation Overlord, the code name for the Allies’ joint military campaign, for a greater understanding of the military invasion.  (B,L)

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This morning, transfer to Paris and the Hotel Jules.
During a guided tour, discover the city’s stunning landmarks. Glimpse the Champs Élysées, bookended by Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde with its Obelisk of Luxor. See the Madeleine Church and the famous symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Admire views of the Louvre Museum, former palace to the kings of France, and marvel at the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, the city’s “crown jewel.”

Independent Exploration: Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Hotel Jules (B,L)

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Independent Exploration: The day is yours to pursue your own interests.
This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception and Graduation Ceremony, followed by a Farewell Dinner. (B,D)

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In Transit to North America

Following breakfast, depart for Charles de Gaulle airport for your return flights home.

Meals—Breakfast and appropriate In-Flight Meal Service

Note: Itinerary sequence and/or scheduled events may change. Many excursions in this program involve an element of walking.


  • Six nights in Honfleur at the first-class Mercure Honfleur Hotel.
  • Two nights in Paris at the first-class Hotel Jules Paris.


8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners;Tea or coffee is included with all meals, plus wine with dinner.

Program Fees

$3,495 per person, double occupancy, land only. Does not include $255 per person for VAT/tax.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $795 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Group flights will be arranged. Please inquire.

Price Includes:

  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary including Opening and closing Receptions and Dinners; sample authentic regional specialties at featured local restaurants.
  • Eight-nights of hotel accommodations.
  • Informative educational programs presented by local experts to enhance your insight into the region.
  • Personal VOX listening devices allow you to hear every word from your expert English-speaking guides.
  • All excursions:
    – Explore Honfleur, Château de Breuil, Lisieux and Domaine St. Hippolyte; Monet’s home in Giverny; Rouen, Bayeux and Caen; the historic D-Day beaches and the wonders of Paris.
  • Detailed travel and destination information to assist you in your planning.
  • Services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • Tipping of excursion guides, drivers and wait staff gratuities for included meals.

Does Not Include:

  •  Fees for passports and, if applicable, visas, entry/departure fees; personal gratuities; laundry and dry cleaning; excursions, wines, liquors, mineral waters and meals not mentioned in this brochure under included features; travel insurance; all items of a strictly personal nature.

Air Program: $1,549 from Washington Dulles, economy class.

Prices include all fuel surcharges, domestic and foreign governmental taxes and security fees.
NOTE: The Air Program prices listed are current as of the effective date. Prices are subject to increase in response to changes in the airline-imposed fuel surcharges and governmental taxes and fees. You will be advised of any such change and the effective date. Passengers who are already booked on the Air Program at the time the increase becomes effective will NOT be subject to the change.

General Terms & Conditions

NOT INCLUDED-Fees for passports and, if applicable, visas, entry/departure fees; personal gratuities; laundry and dry cleaning; excursions, wines, liquors, mineral waters and meals not mentioned in this brochure under included features; travel insurance; all items of a strictly personal nature.

MOBILITY AND FITNESS TO TRAVEL-The right is retained to decline to accept or to retain any person as a member of this trip who, in the opinion of AHI Travel is unfit for travel or whose physical or mental condition may constitute a danger to themselves or to others on the trip, subject only to the requirement that the portion of the total amount paid which corresponds to the unused services and accommodations be refunded. Passengers requiring special assistance, including without limitation those who permanently or periodically use a wheelchair, must be accompanied by someone who is fit and able to assist them, and who will be totally responsible for providing all required assistance.

AIR TRANSPORTATION-The price of air transportation offered by AHI Travel is based on Advance Purchase Excursion fares. After tickets are issued, penalties up to 100% of the ticket price may be levied. If connecting flights are requested, special promotional fares may be used, in which case penalties of as much as 100% may be assessed by the airlines if reservations are changed or canceled after ticketing. After departure, if the reservations are changed, you will be charged the higher, all year Economy class fare.

VARIATIONS TO THE GROUP ITINERARY MUST BE REQUESTED NO LATER THAN 60 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. Passengers who choose to make their own airline reservations independently will be wholly responsible for any airline fees or penalties incurred as a result of program cancellation and/or change in travel dates, or airline schedule(s).

CANCELLATION-In addition to airline cancellation penalties, all cancellations for any reason whatsoever will be subject to a $250 per person cancellation fee. Cancellation from 120 days to 76 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of 10% of the entire cost of the trip per person; 75 days to 30 days, 50% of the trip cost per person; cancellation from 29 days up to the time of departure will result in 100% forfeiture of the entire cost of the trip. TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE. AN APPLICATION WILL BE SENT AFTER YOU RESERVE. All cancellations must be submitted in writing to AHI International Corporation.
BAGGAGE-Baggage restrictions vary according to the airline policy and the class of service flown. Details will be provided with your pre-departure information. Baggage allowances are subject to change by the carrier without notice. Excess baggage charges for additional or oversized/overweight pieces are expensive and not included in your trip price; plan your wardrobe accordingly. Transport of baggage and personal effects is at the owner’s risk throughout the travel program.

RESPONSIBILITY-AHI Travel does not own or operate any entity which provides goods or services for this program, and acts only as the agent for the independent suppliers of travel conveyance, transport, accommodations or other services. All such persons or entities are independent contractors. As a result, AHI Travel is not liable for any negligence or willful act of any such person or entity or any third person. In addition and without limitation, AHI Travel is not responsible for any delays, delayed departure or arrival, missed carrier connections, loss, death, damage or injury to person or property or accident, mechanical defect, failure or negligence of any nature howsoever caused in connection with any accommodations, transportation or other services or for any substitution of hotels or of common carrier equipment, with or without notice, or for any additional expenses occasioned thereby. Dates, Program Details and Tour costs, although given in good faith and based on tariffs, exchange rates and other information current at the time of printing, are subject to change at or before the time of departure. No revisions of the printed itinerary or its included features are anticipated; however, the right is reserved to make any changes, with or without notice, that might become necessary, with the mutual understanding that any additional expenses will be paid by the individual passenger. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. If the entire program is cancelled for any reason, participants shall have no claim other than for a full refund. By forwarding the deposit, the passenger certifies that he/she has no physical, mental or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for himself/herself or other passengers and accepts the terms of this contract set out herein and in more specific pre-departure passenger information. The airlines and other transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event, during the time passengers are not on board their conveyances. The passage contract in use, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the company(ies) and the passenger and/or purchaser of this trip.

AUTHORITY TO USE IMAGES AND AUDIO RECORDINGS – On occasion, AHI Travel obtains, from its staff, or from trip participants, photographic or video images of passengers and trip activities. By participating in this travel program, you authorize AHI Travel, without providing compensation to you, or obtaining additional approvals from you, to include photographic and video recordings of you, as well as voice recordings included with any videos, in AHI Travel’s sales, marketing, advertising, publicity and/or training activities.