I truly believe that a river cruise is the best way to see the Normandy region of France. Quaint villages are dotted along the river making for nice stops along the way. With a river cruise you need to only unpack once. There is no need to have your suitcase out the door 7:00am and be on the bus by 8:00am. You can choose to stay on the ship and relax or take the included tours if you wish to see the sights.
This itinerary begins and ends in Paris, the only city you will visit twice on this adventure. It is fun watch as your river boat pulls into the lock system. You can watch as the boat lowers due to the land elevation on your way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Departing Paris, you will pass the Eiffel Tour and a smaller replica of the Statue of Liberty in the middle of the Seine. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty was built in Paris and shipped to the United States in pieces? You will enjoy dinner and evening entertainment while cruising west.
Vernon and Les Andelys
The first stop on this itinerary is Vernon where you will be able to take an included tour to Giverny & Monet’s Garden. You can walk through the small village and visit Monte’s home and gardens. Your other option would be a visit to a private chateau ~ Chateau De Bizy. Returning to the boat for lunch as you set sail for Les Andelys.
Here you can walk up to the ruins of Richard the Lionheart’s Gaillard Castel and have a spectacular view of the Seine Valley. Your other option is to take a leisurely guided walk to see hidden treasure of Les Andelys.
Caudebec-en-Caux overnight here
Tonight, enjoy dinner as you sail past half timbered houses on the edge of the water while sailing to Caudebec-en-Caux. The included tours here are a scenic drive into the Norman countryside to visit the area that England ruled for many years and brought over the tradition of thatched cottages. The ruins of Jumiege Abbey is the other choice in Caudebec. On this tour you will enjoy a picturesque drive along the medieval route to the beautiful ruins of the abbey.
The second day in Caudebec you will choose between going to the US Landing Beaches of Omaha and Utah. Visit the American Cemetery and German pill boxes. View the beach from the cliffs to better understand the forces that came down on the Allied troops.
You might also choose to take the Taste of Normandy tour. Here you will visit Bayeux’s Tapestry to learn about
Returning to the boat you will sail to Honfleur while enjoying lunch. Honfleur is picturesque port town which was painted many times by Monet. Enjoy a glass of cider at a café on the edge of the Vieux Bassin or stroll through the art galleries and shops. Take some time to stop and go inside the Church of Saint Catherine. Built almost entirely from wood, it dates to the 15th century. The church was constructed by ship builders and because of that the interior looks like an upside-down ship’s hull, the best way they knew to build it strong and high.
Return to your boat for dinner and evening entertainment.
The center piece of Rouen is their gothic churches, half-timbered houses and their gardens. Be sure to take the included guided walking tour of this historic town, which is a rich example of Gothic style of the late Middle ages in France.
Don’t miss the “Gros Horloge” an astronomical clock, Church of Joan of Arc and the Cathedral of Our Lady. This Cathedral was begun in the 12th century and finished 4 centuries later.
Don’t forget to take some time for a rest at a café or do some shopping.
The tour at this stop is to Auvers-Sur Oise which take you through the villages that Van Gough was inspired to paint. You will see the town hall and the Church of Notre Dame d’Auvers, the wheat fields and sunflower fields.
The other tour option today is Versailles ~ the palace of kings and queens.
After a long day of sightseeing enjoy dinner as you sail into Paris for 2 more nights as your hotel in the City of Lights as you explore the capital of France.
There are 2 city tours to choose from in Paris.
One option is a walking tour of the Heart of Paris. Walk the old city which is made up of t he 2 islands in the Seine ~ Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis. Walk past the old flower market, Notre Dame and hear stories of Paris’ past. Your other option is Paris Panoramic Drive that is mainly a coach tour of the main sights with a couple of stops.
Enjoy your last night with dinner on board with piano music and dancing or go out on the town on your own for one last walk along the streets of Paris.