Arrive Paris / Embark Ship
Tour begins: 4:00 PM. A transfer is included from the Charles de Gaulle airport or the Charles de Gaulle, Gare du Lyon, or Gare du Nord trains stations to Tauck's riverboat. Join us for the captain's briefing, followed by a welcome reception and dinner aboard ship.
Sightseeing in Paris
Bonjour! Your first day in Paris begins with your choice of included morning visits to one of the city's world class museums, subject to opening times. Our local guides will show you the highlights and masterpieces of each, sharing expert insights to enrich your tour. In the Musée du Louvre, meet Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. View Claude Monet's larger-than-life masterworks, the Water Lilies, painted in the artist's garden at Giverny, on display at the Musée National de L'Orangerie, or discover French art dating from 1848 to 1914, at the Musée d'Orsay, housed in a 19th-century Beaux-Arts railway station. Youmay also choose to visit the Rodin Museum dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Spend the afternoon as you wish or join us for an optional excursion to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, a mix between a tree-lined English park and a shrine with more than 70,000 burial plots. Celebrities interred here include Maria Callas, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Frederic Chopin and Jim Morrison. Dine at your leisure tonight as your riverboat charts a course for Poissy and a visit to Versailles.
Château de Versailles
The epicenter of French royal power until 1789, King Louis XIV's Château de Versailles epitomized the royal lifestyles in Old World Europe. Standing on the grounds of a once humble hunting lodge, the palace at Versailles was built to impress, inside and out. Your visit here today includes a look inside the most famous of its 700 rooms, the gilded Hall of Mirrors and the king's over the top royal apartments, and a tour of the gardens, one of the biggest in the world. Spend the remainder of the day enjoying the amenities of your riverboat along with picturesque scenery as you cruise along the Seine to Rouen.
Memories of Rouen
Your riverboat docks in Rouen today, the historic capital of Normandy, after a morning spent onboard. As you cruise into the city, keep an eye out for the bell towers that so impressed Victor Hugo who poetically called it "a city of hundred spires." A medieval city of history amidst half-timbered houses and storied squares, Rouen has been immortalized in paint and prose. One of its most immortalized residents is Joan of Arc who lost her fight and life here. On your guided visit with a local guide, hear tales of her triumphs and trials, walking in places where she lived and died. You may recognize the Cathedral Notre Dame de Rouen the moment you see it; Monet painted it more than thirty times to capture the ever-changing play of light on it during different times of the day. Even the city's astronomic clock gracing a Renaissance arch has acquired renowned acclaim for its timely efficiency since 1527. Enjoy time at leisure to explore the sights as you wish before returning to the riverboat for an afternoon at leisure, This evening join us for a Tauck Exclusive gala reception and dinner with music at the 16th century Château du Taillis in Duclair, a true Renaissance treasure.
D-Day Beaches, then and now
The day went down in infamy and it is no less painful now as it was then. Today's poignant visit to Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery is led by a local guide knowledgeable about the day's events, the heroics and the losses of this historic Allied operation of June 6, 1944, as well as its Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany's control. After lunch, meet your riverboat back in Caudebec-en-Caux and enjoy dinner at your leisure.
Les Andelys, cider and Calvados
Look up as your riverboat pulls into Les Andelys this morning to see the ruins of Château Gaillard reigning atop its hillside perch. Built by Richard the Lionheart, King of England in 1197, it was considered the mightiest castle of its time. Exactly how did an English king lay claim to this important strategic stronghold in France? At the time, Richard I of England was the feudal duke of Normandy and he wanted to keep it that way. He constructed the fortress with the help of more than 6,000 workers in just one year in an attempt to keep the King of France from invading Normandy. Richard carefully chose the site for his fortress, building it where the Seine takes a sharp curve at Les Andelys. Take a walking tour of the town and the castle ruins above before a drive into the countryside where apples are king. A tasting and visit to a local farm shares the bounty of the land in the form of freshly pressed cider and aged brandy with pâte and confiture, preserved fruit. Cruise to Vernon after lunch onboard ship, arriving in time for an orientation walk of the town before dinner. Tonight, get ready to kick it up a few notches when dancers come aboard to perform the Parisian Can-Can!
Monet's house and gardens in Giverny
A Tauck Exclusive early opening visit to Monet's house and gardens in Giverny gives you the rare privilege of experiencing the beauty of his home in the changing light of the day as Monet did every morning. Go inside his pink house, left exactly as it was when the artist and his family lived here, and stroll through painted gardens you may have seen in Paris on your museum visit. Flowers, planted according to their colors, are left to grow freely in the gardens and lilies bloom all summer long in the water garden where you will see the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, along with smaller bridges, weeping willows and a bamboo wood. You will time to visit Giverny's Impressionist Museum at your leisure. Back aboard ship, join in a painting class led by a local artist as he sharesinsights, tips and techniques about the Impressionist works you have seen during the cruise, in preparation for creating your own impressive work of art. Join us onboard your ship this evening for a farewell reception and dinner as we bid adieu to our new friends.
Tour ends: Paris. Disembark ship by 9:00 AM. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Tauck's riverboat to Charles de Gaulle airport or the Charles de Gaulle, Gare du Lyon, or Gare du Nord trains stations for your journey home. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check in at the airport.