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The Plantagenets in France

(Tour code: FPH17)Be transported to a time of fragile English, French relations.

Follow the path of the backstabbing, brave, and utterly ruthless Plantagenet family through France, exploring the tense, and often tragic battles of Agincourt and Poitiers. With your specialist Tour Manager to lead the way, you'll be transported to a time of fragile English, French relations.

Tour Highlights
  • A specialist Tour Manager with expert knowledge on the Plantagenets
  • The battlefields of Potiers, Crécy and Agincourt
  • Potiers town including the cathedral and Palais de Justice
  • Fontevraud Abbey
  • Chinon Castle
  • Abbeville
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

The Plantagenet Dynasty

The Plantagenet Dynasty

The Plantagenets were a royal house, whose heritage can be dated back to 12th century Anjou, France. A notoriously bloody family, credited with numerous wars and ruthless tactics in their scramble for power, the Plantagenet line ruled England and France during the medieval era, with many of their battles fought over disputed territories and the rights of lineage.

Despite their murderous reputation, the Plantagenets both inspired and patronised classic works of English literature.

No less than three Plantagenet kings leant the poet Geoffrey Chaucer their patronage, and the infamous Battle of Agincourt - wherein Henry V's outnumbered army succeeded in a crushing defeat against their French counterparts, securing the Plantagenet rule of France until the Battle of Castillon in 1453 - inspired Shakespeare to write his most famous scene in Henry V. The prolific lineage of the Plantagenet house eventually led the family to split into the Houses of Lancaster and York, resulting in the infamous Wars of the Roses.

Day 1

London to Tours

Meet at St Pancras International in our dedicated Departure Office, in time for your afternoon Eurostar service to Paris. On arrival you and your group will be escorted across the capital by coach to Montparnasse, in time for the onwards journey direct to Tours. This city, gateway to the Loire Valley, played an all-important role in the history of the Plantagenets and their legacy in France.

With war raging between the English and the French since 1337, as the houses of Valois and Plantagenet disputed the rightful ruler of France, the two countries had been embroiled in conflict for nearly 100 years. Eventually, in 1444 Henry VI and Charles VII signed the Treaty of Tours in an attempt to bring peace to the region, but the resulting marriage between Henry and Margaret of Anjou is considered to be one of the contributing factors that led to the War of the Roses. It is this fascinating and very often bloody family story we delve into after dinner this evening, enjoying a talk from our expert Tour Manager - John Giblin.

  • Dinner
Fontevraud Abbey
Day 2


This morning we head out on a full-day's coach excursion, beginning at Poitiers, the perhaps birthplace and favoured city of Eleanor of Aquitaine. This formidable woman would, with her marriage to the Duke of Normandy (the future Henry II), become Queen of England and mother to two future Plantagenet kings. Here we visit Poitiers battlefield, site of a celebrated English victory in the Hundred Years' War, when in 1356 King Edward III won unexpectedly against a much more heavily reinforced French army, capturing the King John II in the process. We learn about this pivotal battle and its consequences for the Plantagenets both long and short-term, before continuing to the town of Poitiers itself, a centre of culture and the arts in the Middle Ages. Here we take in the Palais de Justice and Poitiers Cathedral, a magnificent Romanesque and early Gothic building built in 1162 by order of Henry II. After all these years it is still the largest medieval building in the city, and of particular interest is a window containing the figures of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Our next stop today is Fontevraud Abbey, in the county of Anjou. The Abbey once held the remains of several early members of the Plantagenet family, though they are thought to have been lost in the French Revolution, however their tombs can still be seen today. The family became considerable benefactors to the Abbey and their funds aided the construction of the first permanent structures built between 1110 and 1119 which we have time to wander around, exploring its pleasant cloisters.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Chinon Castle
Day 3

Château de Chinon

Reliving the past today we visit Château de Chinon, on the banks of the Vienne River. This turreted masterpiece once belonged to Henry II's brother Geoffrey, count of Anjou, but he was striped of the property after rebelling against the King. This was his second attempt at a revolt and after previously showing lenience, the Castle become Henry's and was soon his most prized residence. Much of the work he carried out on the building is still evident, and it was here that the fiery Plantagenet king died in 1189. During our visit we take an in-depth tour of the castle, learning about the tumultuous stories which played out here, including when Henry was once again betrayed by his family, this time by his wife and sons who believed he should be deposed. Following our explorations we return to Tours by coach.

  • Breakfast
Day 4

To Abbeville

After breakfast this morning we check out of our hotel. Saying 'adieu' to Tours, we begin our journey by coach to Abbebille in the Picardy region of France. The town, originally called Abbatis Villea or 'Domain of the Priest', was a lynchpin in the Hundred Years' war, changing hands multiple times during this period. Such fluctuation in governance created an unstable environment for the townspeople who suffered greatly from the introduction of excessive taxes, outbreaks of plague, attacks from wolves and even looting by nearby outlaws.

We set out on a guided walking tour of the area, beginning at the Collegiate Church of Saint Vulfran. Once sketched by Turner in September 1824, this ecclesiastical structure began life in 1488, with work continuing well into the 16th and 17th centuries. Even then its interior was never quite finished to the original design, but the exterior is a force majeure of Gothic architecture and style. Our next stop is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which dates back to the 15th century, although little remains from this time. It's now most famous for its flamboyant Gothic stained glass window, designed by Alfred Mannessier to provide worshippers with a kaleidoscopic light show.

We also pass by the Boucher de Perthes Museum, built in honour of the archeologist Jacques Boucher de Crèvecoeur de Perthes. Jacques's notable contribution to his field was the discovery of ancient flint tools in the Somme Valley - it was such an eminent breakthrough that Jules Verne even referenced him in his book, 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'. We spend tonight at the Mercure Hotel in Abbeville, enjoying a final group dinner together.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Battle of Agincourt
Day 5

Crécy, Agincourt and return to London

Today we visit two critical battlefields of the Hundred Years War, Crécy and Agincourt. We begin at Crécy this morning, travelling from Abbeville by coach. The battle took place on August 26 1346 and saw the rise to prominence of one of the most iconic weapons in the history of warfare, the English Longbow. The battle has been heralded as a shift of tactics, from the well-used and slightly aging emphasis of mounted aristocratic knights, who were incredibly expensive to maintain and employ, especially in a pitched battle, to the use of combined-arms and infantry tactics. The English, under the command of Edward III took the high ground and positioned their longbow men advantageously. We visit the Crécy Museum and explore the wonderful exhibits dedicated to this tragic medieval combat. Before we depart, there is a chance to view the imposing spectacle of the Moulin Edouard III Watchtower.

Following our time at Crécy we continue to Agincourt where the Lancastrian King, Henry V led his troops into uncertainty on October 25 1415. The English were once again outnumbered on some counts by as much as 5-to-1, yet superior tactics once again prevailed,; such a dramatic moment was this in Plantagenet history, that it inspired the rousing 'band of brothers' speech from Shakespeare's Henry V.

We also visit the Azincourt Centre Historique Médiéval Museum containing exhibits related to the battle, and there's plenty of time to explore the collections before we return to London via the Eurostar from Lille.

  • Breakfast
Guest Speaker
Guest Speaker

John Giblin

A former police officer with a passion for medieval history, John Giblin has been involved in guiding our Plantagenet-era tours since their inception. With both a BSc in History & Politics and post-graduate teaching qualifications under his belt, John is able to bring this incredible period to life with expert skill, as you tour poignant sites related to the Plantagenets' turbulent past.

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