Begin your journey in magical Paris, the “City of Light,” where you will embark upon your luxurious river cruise ship. Visit the village of Giverny, where Monet lived and worked for 43 years, and Honfleur, a charming French harbor town immortalized by generations of artists. Stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, then take an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches of WWII. Visit Les Andelys, home of Château Gaillard. Conclude your journey with a panoramic tour of Paris’ top sights and a visit to the Musee d’Orsay.
|Day 1||DEPART USA/CANADA
Board your overnight flight to Paris, France.
|Day 2||ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE - EMBARKATION
Arrive in Paris and embark to your luxurious ship. Meet your fellow passengers at the Welcome Dinner. (D)
Spend the morning enjoying the scenery along the Seine as you cruise to the provincial town of Vernon. Upon arrival, you will have free time to explore the town at your leisure. Later, you will visit Giverny and the home and gardens of Impressionist master Claude Monet. The artist lived here for more than four decades and immortalized his ponds and flower gardens in some of his most iconic paintings. The ship moors overnight in Vernon. (B,L,D)
|Day 4||VERNON - CAUDEBEC
After a scenic morning cruise on the Seine, arrive in the old fishing village of Caudebec. You will have 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. You will visit the ruined abbey in Jumièges as well as St. Wandrille, still a working monastery. (B,L,D)
|Day 5||CAUDEBEC – NORMANDY BEACHES
Today, you have the choice of three different excursions. “D-Day Remembered” is a full day excursion to the US sector, Omaha beach. Your first stop will be the village of Arromanches, where the remains of the floating harbor used during the WWII landings can be seen. You will have free time to see the museums and have lunch on your own before visiting the US Cemetery and Omaha Beach at St. Laurent-sur-Mer. Your last stop is the Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc before returning to the ship in Rouen. As an alternative, you can tour the Gold and Juno beaches in the British and Canadian sectors. Your first stop will be the Canadian cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer, followed by the Pegasus Monument in Ranville. You will have free time for lunch on your 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). You will visit beautiful Norman towns and villages, such as Beuvron-en-Auge, Crevecoeur-en-Auge and Crambremer, and tour a Calvados distillery where you may sample apple cider and apple brandy. (B,L,D)
|Day 6||ROUEN – LES ANDELYS
Enjoy a morning walk through this medieval city and see the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral, painted numerous times by Monet, and the square where Joan of Arc was martyred. Afterwards, you will 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. (B,L,D)
|Day 7||LES ANDELYS – CONFLANS
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 we continue our cruise along the Seine. The ship arrives tonight in Conflans. (B,L,D)
|Day 8||CONFLANS -- PARIS
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 will include 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. (B,L,D)
|Day 9||PARIS - DISEMBARKATION
After disembarking the ship this morning, guests participating in the post cruise extension in Paris will 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, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Today is yours to enjoy however you wish. Explore Paris’ multitude of landmarks, museums, cafes and shops, or choose one of several optional tours. (B)
|Day 11||DEPART PARIS
Your river cruise vacation comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight. (B)