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Sunrise on the cliffs

Bordeaux to London: The French Atlantic Coast

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Enjoy exquisite local French cuisine in all the lovely places you visit, as well as aboard National Geographic Orion itself. Participate in the art of cognac-making on the Île de Ré; gather oysters at a farm on St. Malo; and feast on fabulous regional specialties along the French coast. Your hunger for history will be sated as well; visit the Normandy D-Day beaches with a local historian and make a reverential visit to the American cemetery nearby; marvel at the iconic Mont St. Michel, Bayeux Tapestry, Napoleon Museum, and Vauban Citadel, a UNESCO site. Have an unforgettable experience of the magnificent Brittany Coast, and the charming port of Honfleur, which inspired great works by both Shakespeare and Monet.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Bordeaux, France | Embark
Day 2 : Ile d’Aix | La Rochelle
Day 3 : Belle-Île-en-Mer
Day 4 : Douarnenez
Day 5 : Saint-Malo | Mont-Saint-Michel
Day 6 : Cherbourg | The Normandy Beaches
Day 7 : Honfleur
Day 8 : London | Disembark


  • Follow France’s wild western coast and revisit history
  • Approach France’s iconic fortified rock, Mont-Saint-Michel, from land & sea
  • Walk the World War II beaches of Normandy with a historian
  • Explore the Crozon Peninsula with its ancient standing stones and towers


National Geographic Orion

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Sunrise on the cliffs An Allied Battle Tank from WWII A romantic bicycle ride through Europe's historical streets Utah Beach on the Normandy coast

Day 1 Bordeaux, France | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Bordeaux and embark National Geographic Orion in the elegant and ornate city center. Spend the afternoon exploring the cafes and shops along the thriving waterfront. Afterward, depart through the Gironde estuary, passing sloping hills and islands, en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 2 Ile d’Aix | La Rochelle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Stretch your legs this morning on a walking tour of the quaint Île d’Aix, Napoleon's last stop on French soil before his final exile. Visit the Napoleon Museum, then continue to the nearby port of La Rochelle for an afternoon in this charming seaside city guarded by medieval ramparts. Enjoy a special seafood dinner ashore this evening. Learn how Cognac is made in the traditional way at Château La Péraudière, a privately held estate, established in 1872.

Day 3 Belle-Île-en-Mer

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake up to the beautiful views of Belle-Île-en-Mer (beautiful island in the sea), known for its rugged cliffs on the western side and charming ports on the eastern side. Explore highlights such as the Bangor lighthouse, the rocks at Port Coton favored by Monet, the Vauban citadel, and the fishing town of Le Palais. This afternoon enjoy free time to explore Belle-Île-en-Mer on your own as well.

Day 4 Douarnenez

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today explore Brittany. Have a guided walk of medieval Locronan, officially one of “the most beautiful villages in France,” with its Renaissance buildings and church. Take time to discover its many craft workshops on your own, perhaps tasting Breton butter cake. 

Day 5 Saint-Malo | Mont-Saint-Michel

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake up in Saint-Malo, and take a walking tour of this fortified port city surrounded by ramparts dating from the 12th century. Or, head east on an excursion to the iconic abbey fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site poised dramatically on a rocky tidal island a few hundred yards off the coast. Enjoy an exclusive visit to a privateer’s mansion followed by a tasting of the cider for which the region is known. Or for an authentic ‘foodie’ experience, head to a local oyster farm to gather oysters for the ship’s chef, who shucks and seasons these delicacies for a sampling on board. If you wish to explore Saint-Malo on your own on foot or by bike, a map and a list of the best cafés and shops is provided.

Day 6 Cherbourg | The Normandy Beaches

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, visit the Normandy beaches with a local historian. The D-Day landings on June 6, 1944 were the first wave of the largest seaborne invasion in history; more than 6,000 ships landed on these beaches. Walk in the footsteps of the Allied troops at Omaha Beach, and pay your respects at the American Cemetery nearby. Travel through countryside known for Calvados, cider, and cheese, to the city of Bayeux for an afternoon exploration, including a visit to the Tapestry Museum which houses the 230-foot wool embroidered account of the Norman Conquest. There are active options planned for the afternoon, too. Cycle through northern France, stopping at relevant WWII sites and have lunch in Bayeux.

Day 7 Honfleur

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take Zodiacs in to the charming harbor town of Honfleur, a favorite of renowned artists such as Monet, Courbet, and Boudin. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Vieux Bassin (the old port), and visit the Eugenè Boudin Museum and Église Sainte-Catherine.

Be sure to savor time exploring on your own. If you're interested in art ask your concierge to map out the best galleries (there are nearly 100 in Honfleur!) Or, see for yourself what inspired many of the impressionists with a hike to the arched limestone cliffs of Etretat.

Day 8 London | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Wake up in London and disembark near Tower Bridge after breakfast aboard. Transfer to the airport for flights home.

National Geographic Orion

Per person starting at
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Main deck with 1 or 2 portholes
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1 Single
Main deck with 1 or 2 portholes
National Geographic Orion's Category 2 Cabin.
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Category 2
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Upper and veranda decks with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Upper deck with balcony
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Veranda deck - suite


Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability.

Please Note: Flexibility is a hallmark of National Geographic expeditions, and often the day-by-day itinerary will change as you take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or photographers linger ashore through the golden hour of light. Extraordinary adventure is a guarantee.

Included in Cost:
  • All accommodations aboard ship
  • Meals as indicated
  • Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship
  • Excursions
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Special access permits
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment
  • Services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guides
  • Services of a ship physician
  • All gratuities
  • All port charges and service taxes
Not Included:
  • Air transportation
  • Extensions
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees
  • Travel protection plan
  • Internet
  • Laundry


  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
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