Journey along the stunning Seine & the Douro, on this 21-day cruise from Paris to Porto. Highlights include Château Gaillard and the Somme battlefields.
Itinerary also travels in reverse.
Enjoy a welcome dinner before cruising out of Paris with the beautiful city as a backdrop.
Freechoice: Join a hike with a difference and visit King Richard the Lionheart’s Château Gaillard, or journey to Lyons la Forêt, one of the most beautiful villages of France, and visit a local farm to sample cider, the region’s specialty. Alternatively, join your local guide for a walking tour of the quaint village of Les Andelys, or take a bicycle tour through this beautiful village, set on the banks of the Seine.
Freechoice: Enjoy a walking tour of Rouen, the capital of the Normandy region. Take in the famous sites relating to Joan of Arc, and admire the city’s half-timbered houses and the historic Rouen Cathedral. Or learn about the Viking Warlord Rollo ‘the Walker’, who will host a guided walking tour through the medieval laneways of Rouen.
This region is also the gateway to the historic Western Front, and this afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to gain fascinating insights into the Somme battlefields and learn about what life was like for a soldier during WWI with a fascinating lecture.
After dinner, a local pâtissier will come on board with a selection of their finest desserts for your dining pleasure.
Freechoice: Get a glimpse of what the Somme battlefields might have been like for those caught up in this terrible World War I battle, which claimed the lives of more than 150,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers. You may choose to visit the Australian National Memorial, containing the Sir John Monash Centre as well as the Caterpillar Valley Memorial, dedicated to the New Zealand citizens who perished during the Battle of the Somme. Or, you may choose to visit the Lochnagar Crater, the Newfoundland memorial park and the Thiepval memorial. Alternatively, stay in Rouen and explore the collection of impressionist paintings, including masterpieces by Renoir and Monet, at the Museum of Fine Arts which was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Rouen > Honfleur
Relax on board this morning as you cruise toward the open waters of the English Channel.
Freechoice: Explore Honfleur on a guided walking tour, with its quaint architecture, relaxed coastal atmosphere and colourful fishing boats bobbing on the water, or visit charming Norman villages and discover their traditional Cheeses and Calvados. The small town of Pont l’Eveque is renowned for producing a cheese of the same name, and you will get to sample this and more during your guided tour.
Freechoice: Walk the historic Normandy beaches, the site of the D-Day landings, before visiting the Landing Museum at Arromanches. From here you have three options; take a moment to reflect on the momentous impact of that day, as you look out from your hilltop position above Omaha Beach you’ll be struck by the sombre ambience surrounding the 9,387 graves of the Normandy Cemetery, or visit the Juno Beach Centre, a museum that focuses on the Canadian war effort. Or visit numerous British sites such as Sword Beach, where British forces landed on the 6th June, 1944 . Alternatively, learn about history of a different era and visit Bayeux including its famous Tapestry, a hand embroidered masterpiece that depicts the tales of the Norman conquest of England and dates back to the 11th century.
Honfleur > Caudebec-en-Caux
Freechoice: Visit Fécamp and its mighty palace. Situated in spectacular surrounds, the city’s natural setting contrasts perfectly with its architectural centrepiece, the Benedictine Palace. Afterwards visit the beautiful seaside town of Étretat, sitting proudly between dramatic rock faces. Or travel to the hilltop village of Bolbec and view fabrics at the fascinating Textile Museum before visiting a traditional Normandy farm nearby. For the more adventurous, join a guided cycling tour to the charming village of Villequier and visit the Victor Hugo Museum to learn more about the famous French writer.
In a location rich in visual treasures, it’s easy to understand why this region of France inspired many of history’s most famous artists.
Freechoice: Visit Giverny and Monet’s former residence and gardens. Many of the artists most famous art works were inspired by this impressive location, or get your heart pumping on a self-guided cycle through Vernon to Giverny where you have the opportunity to visit Monet’s garden. After exploring these spectacular gardens you may feel inspired to join a painting class on board this afternoon
Built into a steep rock face overlooking the Seine River and the small village bearing the same name, Château de La Roche-Guyon is a sight to behold. Experience the opulence and grandeur of yesteryear as you enjoy a classical concert performed by the region’s most reputable musicians. The Château dates back to medieval times and you’ll be sure to have fond memories of this experience for many years to come.
Conflans > Paris
Freechoice: Discover the charms of Auvers-sur-Oise and see Vincent van Gogh’s room, or step inside the magnificent Chantilly Castle for a guided tour of this remarkable château, set amidst beautiful parklands. Alternatively, visit the great stables on the grounds of Chantilly. The stables also house a museum dedicated to the relationship between man and horse throughout time.
Today it’s your choice to either spend time exploring France’s most celebrated city, or embark on a discovery beyond the city limits.
Freechoice: Walk through the trendy Marais district with a resident expert and hear tales that only the locals know, or admire the extravagance and grandeur of the famous Opera Garnier on a guided tour. Alternatively, see the highlights of Paris during a city tour and marvel at the many iconic sights of the city, or you may wish to explore beyond Paris and tour the 17th century estate of Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, Louis XIV’s inspiration for Versailles Palace.
Paris > Porto
Board your included flight from Paris to Porto, on arrival transfer to the Scenic Azure for your 10 night cruise along the Douro River.
Porto > Entre-os-Rios
Freechoice: Discover the historic treasures of Porto, including a visit to Palacio da Bolsa, a neoclassical style building which started construction in 1842 and took over 65 years to complete. Instead, if you’re feeling more active, join a walking tour that includes a cable car ride allowing you to see Porto from a different perspective.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising as your luxurious Scenic Space-Ship meanders its way to Entre-os-Rios.
Freechoice: Guimarães was the seat of the first King of Portugal and is dominated by the impressive Ducal Palace, which dates back to medieval times. Alternatively, you could choose a tasting at the fairytale property of Quinta da Aveleda. Located in the famous Vino Verde region and a renowned regional sparkling wine producer, the incredible gardens alone make the excursion worthwhile.
Later, enjoy a blissful cruise to Regua where you have the chance to explore the Douro Museum at your leisure. Learn about the culture, history and identity of the people living in this wine growing region of the Douro Valley.
This morning, discover the captivating Varosa Valley and visit the charming village of Tarouca where you’ll explore the restored Monastery of Saint John of Tarouca. En route, walk the fortified bridge of Ucanha, Portugal’s first toll bridge, spanning the crystal-clear waters of the Varosa River.
Freechoice: Tour the elegant town of Lamego, with its many fine Baroque structures such as the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios and the Lamego Museum, or enjoy a guided visit of Mateus Palace, the historic icon depicted on the labels of Portugal’s famous Mateus rosé wine.
Regua > Vega de Terron
Enjoy a full day cruising the Douro Valley’s Vinhateiro wine growing region. A World Heritage-listed Site, Vinhateiro has a history of wine production that stretches back for 2,000 years. In fact, its impeccable port wines have been world-famous since at least the 18th century.
Vega de Terron
Today you have the opportunity to cross the Spanish border.
Freechoice: Take your time absorbing the architectural splendour of Salamanca, a city as visually striking as it is historically intriguing. From humble beginnings during the Iron Age to darker times, such as the economic crises and the War of the Spanish Succession, Salamanca has been shaped over time to become the fascinating beauty it is today. Explore the city on a guided tour before free time to explore at your leisure. Alternatively, you may choose to visit the Portuguese village, Freixo de Espada à Cinta for a guided tour and visit to their silk museum. Freixo de Espada à Cinta is the only municipality where handcrafted silk is still processed entirely by hand.
Pocinho > Pinhão
Freechoice: Visit the award-winning Côa Valley Museum and enjoy a pre-historic workshop, or if you’re more adventurous at heart, take a canoeing excursion on the Sabor River. Alternatively, you could join the ‘Tastes of the Côa Valley’ excursion and visit Casa Painova for a sweet almond workshop and a tasting of their almond, olive and fruit products.
Tonight, be entertained by a traditional Portuguese musical performance on board.
Visit the remarkable village of Provesende, showcasing the Portugal of yesteryear, and wander the quaint streets with locals as they proudly introduce you to their way of life – including their local bakery. This is a specially choreographed experience exclusive to Scenic guests. You’ll also visit the church for a special recital, and enjoy wine tasting at the restored manor house of Morgadio da Calçada.
Freechoice: Top off a truly unforgettable day with a visit to a local estate for a tasting of their famous export, or if you’re feeling energetic, you could choose a walk through the hillside vineyard for a tasting among the vines.
Pinhão > Porto
Having spent the previous eight days discovering the treasures of the Douro, Varosa and Côa Valleys, enjoy an exclusive Douro Valley Wine Review. Otherwise, simply enjoy the beauty of the region as you cruise back into Porto.
The sheer beauty of São Francisco Church is sure to impress. The façade is a mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture, while the interior glows with intricate wood carvings swathed in gold. Immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Portuguese music as you witness a spectacular private concert in these wondrous surroundings.
Freechoice: Step outside of Porto and join an excursion to Aveiro for a guided tour including a cruise on the waterways that meander through this historic and colourful city. Alternatively, visit a local corking factory and learn how cork is produced as well as its multitude of uses, or visit Vila Nova de Gaia, the historic district set on the banks of the Douro River, for a tasting of the region’s famed drop in one of Porto’s most renowned port wine aging cellars.
You have the opportunity to explore Porto at your leisure this afternoon, or simply make the most of the remainder of your time on board Scenic Azure.
Your cruise concludes after breakfast as you’re transferred to Porto airport. Your time in Portugal’s Douro Valley may have come to an end, but you’ll leave with wonderful memories and newfound friends.
This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions.