Paris always sizzles while Normandy beckons with its stunning coastline, incredible food and artistic beauty. Monet’s Gardens, Rouen’s Cathedral of Notre Dame and the charming harbor town of Honfleur, will inspire you the same way as they inspired the great Impressionists. For inspiration of a different kind, travel the “Routes des Abbayes,” visiting some of the most magnificent monasteries, and to the unforgettable beaches of Normandy where Allied forces landed during WWII’s D-Day invasion. Relive the grandeur of royalty at Château Malmaison, the former home of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte, and at Chateau de Bizy, once referred to as “the Versailles of Normandy.” Blend a passion for the good life with culture, art, architecture and timeless landscapes, and you have Northern France.
EMBARKATION – PARIS, FRANCE. Board the ship in Paris for your Paris & Normandy cruise.
LES ANDELYS. Uncover the history of Château Gaillard, the former stronghold of Richard the Lionheart, situated on the chalk cliffs high above the Seine, on a morning tour. Or, if you prefer a more active adventure, you can hike there from the banks of the Seine, admiring the scenic views along the way. For those who wish to explore the area on two wheels, join a guided bike tour through the charming town of Les Andelys. After your adventures, set sail along the meandering Seine for a scenic cruise.
LE HAVRE. There are several different choices of excursions, both during the morning and afternoon, depending on your interests. You can choose between an excursion to the seaside town of Honfleur, renowned for its picturesque harbor, and for being an inspirational site for Impressionist painters; or enjoy a full-day excursion that includes Honfleur and the delicious Pays d’Auge region of Normandy, where apple cider, Calvados and pommeau outrank French wine. Enjoy a country drive through Beamont-en-Auge and Pont l’Eveque, and afterwards, be treated to a cheese and Calvados tasting. During the afternoon, you can join a city tour of the UNESCO-designated Le Havre. Alternatively, you have the choice of a bike tour through Le Havre.
LE HAVRE - CAUDEBEC-EN-CAUX -NORMANDY BEACHES. Experience the Normandy region with one of three tours. For those wishing to go to the American sector of the historic Normandy Beaches, you will visit the cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach, the artillery battery at Longues-sur-Mer and the village of Arromanches, where the remains of the floating harbor used during the WWII landings can be seen. If you prefer, you can tour the Gold and Juno beaches in the British and Canadian sectors, where you will visit Ranville Cemetery, Pegasus Bridge, the Canadian cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer, the WWII museum in Courseulle and, finally, Arromanches. If you wish to experience a different kind of inspiration, the Romanesque Normandy Abbey Route will take you to one of the magnificent historic abbeys of the region. Later in the day, travel to Caudebec-en-Caux and journey back in time with the interactive exhibits and vessels at the Seine Museum.
ROUEN. Spend the morning enjoying medieval Rouen with a choice of several excursions. Join a walking tour past the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral, painted numerous times by Monet, and see the square where Joan of Arc was martyred, as well as the Medieval Quarter and Great Clock. You also have the choice to explore Lyons-la-Forêt, built on the site of a former fortress and featuring remarkable centuries-old architecture; go on the “Tastes of Normandy” tour, where you’ll be treated to the delicious flavors of the region, including chocolate, macaron, Norman cheese and cider; or get active by going on a guided bike tour.
VERNON - LA ROCHE-GUYON. Enjoy scenic cruising around Vernon before disembarking the ship for your excursion. You will have a choice of three excursions, depending on your interests. Visit Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny. Art lovers will immediately recognize images immortalized in Monet’s most beloved paintings—such as water lilies, Japanese bridges and graceful willow trees. Wander around his famous gardens and home where he lived for more than four decades. Or visit the regal 18th-century Château de Bizy, inspired by the opulence of Versailles. Enjoy an escorted tour of the palace and gardens. If you prefer a more active adventure, go on a guided bike tour, taking in the beautiful French countryside. In the evening, visit the quaint village of La Roche-Guyon, one of the most beautiful in France, and enjoy free time to stroll along the Seine or amid the pretty architecture. (B,L,D) *PLEASE NOTE:Monet's Gardens may be closed; therefore, an alternative tour will operate instead.
CONLFANS. Travel to Auberge Ravoux in the heart of Auvers-sur-Oise, the last home of artist Vincent van Gogh. His spirit still lingers in his former attic rooms at the Ravoux Inn. The mere 70 days Van Gogh spent in Auvers-sur-Oise were astonishingly prolific as he painted more than 70 works here before his death. Or enjoy the youthful energy of Chateau Saint-Germain-en-Laye, with its museums, bookstores, churches and galleries. If you prefer something more active, strap on your helmet and pedal around the city of Conflans. Later in the day, relax on the Sun Deck or on your balcony as the ship takes a scenic cruise on its way to Paris.
PARIS – DISEMBARKATION. Bid farewell to Paris and prepare for your flight home.