Day 1 Arrive in Paris, France (Embarkation)
Welcome to Paris, France’s capital on the Seine River, the “City of Light,” where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides out of Paris. A WWII expert will join you for the duration of the cruise. (Dinner)
Day 2 Vernon–Les Andelys
This morning in Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Giverny and a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at GIVERNY for almost 43 years (1883-1926), and viewed his flower and water gardens as works of art—just like his paintings. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration. Or, visit BIZY CASTLE, built in 1740 and nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles.” It is known for its famous stables—inspired by those at Versailles—and its magnificent courtyard and water garden. Later, while your ship is sailing to Les Andelys, situated on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France, enjoy the ONBOARD LECTURE by our expert. In the afternoon join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK of Les Andelys, visiting the PARISH CHURCH OF LE PETIT ANDELY. Alternatively, you may wish to join your guide on a hike up to the ruins of imposing Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. (Breakfast, Lunch,Dinner)
Day 3 Caudebec
Today, join a guided excursion along the “NORMANDY ABBEYS ROUTE,” a short drive from Caudebec. More than 100 abbeys once covered this region, which has a microclimate suited to growing fruit such as apples, pears, plums, and cherries. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur. (Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)
Day 4 Caudebec
Make your choice today between an included full-day excursion to the historic NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES—with poignant sites such as Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery—or a “TASTE OF NORMANDY” for an in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important products are dairy, apples, and grain. Camembert cheese is a specialty, as is CALVADOS, a strong apple brandy you’ll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. And for a touch of history, visit the famous BAYEUX TAPESTRY. (Breakfast, Lunch,Dinner)
Day 5 Rouen
Rouen, capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned, and burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Enjoy the included GUIDED WALK through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take photos of the intricate Gros Horloge astronomical clock, dating back to the 16th century. Visit the gothic CATHEDRAL, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet or join the included WALKING TOUR focused on the French resistance, the daily life of the Rouennais during the occupation and the sites that were heavily bombed The afternoon is free to explore on your own after which, upon departure for Conflans, you are sure to be interested in our ONBOARD LECTURE. (Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)
Day 6 Conflans
After breakfast, you may either join our included guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or to Napoleon and Josephine’s CHÂTEAU DE MALMAISON just outside Paris. Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation.” (Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)
Day 7 Paris
Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris delights the senses. Join a GUIDED WALK through historic Île St. Louis with its narrow one-way streets and Île de la Cité, the center of Paris where the medieval city was founded and home to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Or you can join the visit of LES INVALIDES dedicated to the liberation of the city: Museum of the Order of the Liberation. (Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)
Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
This fabulous river cruise combines time in France’s unparalleled capital of Paris with beautiful scenery along the Seine River and the picturesque and historical region of Normandy.
Embark on your adventure in Paris and sail to Vernon, where you’ll choose between two exciting guided visits—Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or the remarkable Bizy Castle, known as “Normandy’s Versailles.” You may choose to go on an excursion to the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. In Rouen, best known as the home of Joan of Arc, you’ll go on a guided walk through the medieval quarter and visit the gothic Rouen Cathedral—once the tallest building in the world. From Conflans, go on an excursion to the quaint and inspiring town of Auvers-Sur-Oise—associated with several famous artists, including Vincent Van Gogh—or visit Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison.
On this French river cruise, you’ll enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery along the Seine River, and stops in charming and historical parts of France, but your adventure would not be complete without some time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The “City of Light” has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A guided walk through the historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets, and Île de la Cité where medieval Paris was founded, will be a delight.