Our magical journey on France’s Seine River includes an exploration of Paris, the “City of Light,” and brings us to Giverny, home of artist Claude Monet, Honfleur, immortalized by generations of artists, and Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. A highlight is an unforgettable excursion to Normandy’s famous D-Day beaches.
Our first river cruise. Excellent, capable staff, great shore itineraries and guides.
— Pamela S., Guilford, CT
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.
Arrive in Paris, with a mid-afternoon transfer to the luxurious AmaLyra. This evening, meet your fellow passengers at the Welcome Dinner.
Vernon / Giverny
Spend the morning enjoying the lovely scenery along the Seine while cruising to the provincial town of Vernon. The afternoon brings the chance to visit Giverny, where you tour the house and gardens of the Impressionist master Claude Monet. The artist lived here for more than four decades, immortalizing the flowers, foot bridges, and stone structures of his country estate in some of his most famous paintings, including the renowned Water Lilies series.
Caudebec / Honfleur or Normandy’s famous abbeys
After a scenic morning cruise on the Seine, arrive in the old fishing village of Caudebec, with a choice of two different tours. The first option is to visit Honfleur, a historic and picturesque port with pastel-colored houses that was a favorite subject of artists such as Courbet, Boudin, and Monet. The town’s medieval Sainte-Catherine church, with its separate bell tower, is the largest wooden church in France. As an alternative, choose the "Routes des Abbayes" excursion spotlighting Normandy's famous abbeys, more than 100 of which once covered this region. Visit the ruined abbey in Jumièges as well as St. Wandrille, still a working monastery.
Normandy Beaches or Pays d’Auge
Today we have the choice of three different excursions. “D-Day Remembered” is a full day excursion to the US sector, Omaha and Utah beaches. Our first stop is the village of Arromanches, where the remains of the floating harbor used during the WWII landings can be seen. We will have free time to see the museums and have lunch on our own before visiting the US Cemetery and Omaha Beach at St. Laurent-sur-Mer. Our last stop is the Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc before returning to the ship in Rouen. As an alternative, we can tour the Gold and Juno beaches in the British and Canadian sectors. Our first stop is the Canadian cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer, followed by the Pegasus Monument in Ranville. We have free time for lunch on our own before visiting the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s WWII museum, with a final stop at Arromanches. A third option is an excursion to rural Normandy, which includes a visit to the Pays d’Auge and “Routes du Cidre” (the Cider Road). We visit beautiful Norman towns and villages, such as Beuvron-en-Auge, Crevecoeur-en-Auge, and Crambremer, and tour a Calvados distillery where we may sample apple cider and apple brandy.
Rouen / Les Andelys
Enjoy a morning walk through medieval Rouen and see the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral, painted numerous times by Monet, and the square where Joan of Arc was martyred. Afterwards, you have free time to explore Rouen on your own, perhaps stopping to sample some of Normandy’s famous and delicious cheeses. This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising on the Seine to Les Andelys.
Les Andelys / Château Gaillard
An afternoon stroll along the river in Les Andelys offers beautiful views of the Seine Valley’s dramatic white cliffs, centuries-old half-timbered houses, and the hilltop ruins of Château Gaillard. This former stronghold of Richard the Lionheart changed hands a number of times during the Hundred Years’ War. Athletically-inclined guests may enjoy hiking up to visit the ruins of this historic castle before continuing our cruise along the Seine. The ship arrives tonight in Conflans.
Château Malmaison or Auvers-sur-Oise
Today you have a choice of two excursions. The first option is to visit Château Malmaison, former home of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine. Your tour includes the Château’s interior, gardens, and museum. Alternatively, travel to Auvers-sur-Oise, a town famous for the Impressionist painters who lived there in the 19th century, such as Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. Your “Artists’ Walk” tour includes many sites associated with their work, including the Auberge Ravoux, former home of Vincent van Gogh. The upstairs room where Van Gogh died has been meticulously preserved. He and his brother Theo are both buried in the nearby town cemetery. The ship departs this afternoon for Paris, arriving in the evening.
Paris / Disembark / City tour of Paris
After disembarking our ship this morning, enjoy a panoramic tour of Paris plus a visit to one of the city’s most renowned museums, the Musée d’Orsay, built in a former railway station on the Left Bank. Its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces is the largest in the world and includes well-known works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. After touring the museum, transfer to a hotel for overnight.
Day free in Paris
Today is free to explore Paris’ multitude of landmarks, museums, cafes, and shops, or choose one of several optional tours.
Transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flight.