13-Day Seine – Paris to Normandy
Embark on a Seine River Cruise from cosmopolitan Paris to the heartland of France, and delve into a region rich in history and culture. Stroll the same streets that inspired Monet on a tour of Montmartre—Paris’s bohemian neighborhood. Visit Conflans, or “Van Gogh Country,” and enjoy a sweet treat with a local family during a Home-Hosted Visit in Rouen. Experience a full day of D-day discoveries: pause for a moment of silence at the American Military Cemetery, walk Omaha Beach, and head to the devastating 328-foot cliffs of Pointe-Du-Hoc. Experience it all—from the moving history to the local flavors when you join TravelKatz on this cruise.
Seine – Paris to Normandy
Paris • Conflans • Vernon • Giverny • Les Andelys • Rouen • Caudebec • Normandy • Honfleur • Caen
Cruise with TravelKatz in a group of 38 or so aboard the privately owned 120-passenger ship – M/S Bizet
The M/S Bizet: Custom-built with our travelers’ needs in mind, your private river ship has a passenger capacity of just 120 with all outside cabins and an English-speaking staff. You’ll savor freshly prepared meals from the upper-level dining room. Plus, enjoy leisure time in the bar and lounge, library, and Sun Deck. Your cabin features a flat-screen TV, radio, direct-dial telephone, individual heating and air-conditioning controls, twin beds that convert to sofas, and private bath with shower and hair dryer. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in all cabins, in additional to all common areas.
Please note: Wireless Internet access may be limited at certain points throughout your River Cruise.
Cruise Overview – 90% Traveler Excellence Rating
Embark on a Seine River Cruise from cosmopolitan Paris to the heartland of France, and delve into a region rich in history and culture. Explore Paris, witnessing the monuments, cathedrals, and avenues made famous in film and photographs. Stroll the same streets that inspired Monet on a tour of Montmartre—Paris’ bohemian neighborhood. Visit Conflans, or “Van Gogh Country,” and enjoy a sweet treat with a local family during a Home-Hosted Visit in Rouen. Experience a full day of D-day discoveries: pause for a moment of silence at the American Military Cemetery, walk Omaha Beach, and head to the devastating 328-foot cliffs of Pointe-Du-Hoc. Experience it all—from the moving history to the local flavors when you join TravelKatz on this cruise.
Day-to-Day Itinerary – Paris to Honfleur w/Pre- and Post-Trip Extensions
Day 1 – Depart U.S. : Depart today on your flight to Paris, France. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Most times the departure will be from New York.
3 Nights in Paris, France
4 Nights in Loire Valley, France
- Trip Extension: Paris: Visit Paris’s iconic sites via Metro or savor the tastes of France in a local restaurant on our optional extension. Enjoy the opportunity to explore Paris at length. Often referred to as the “City of Lights,” the French capital is one of Europe’s most stunning and influential metropolitan centers.
- Trip Extension: Loire Valley: Extend your trip and discover France’s delightful Loire Valley—known as the “Garden of France.” Rich with architectural heritage and historic towns, the Loire Valley is home to world-famous castles and their surrounding gardens.
Day 2 – Paris, France • Embark ship: Arrive this morning or afternoon in Paris where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your river ship. If you began your discoveries early with our optional pre-trip extension to Paris, France, or Loire Valley, France, you will join your main group today. Unpack, settle in, and explore your ship, or just rest up in your cabin. You have the balance of the day to do as you wish after your overseas flight. This evening gather with your fellow travelers and Program Director for our first Port Talk: During your Seine River Cruise, you’ll receive daily briefings about the next day’s discoveries, so that you can make the best use of your free time there. Dinner is included onboard tonight.
Day 3 – Paris • Captain’s Welcome Dinner: After breakfast, spend the morning exploring Paris, being introduced to both the city’s classic highlights and more intimate neighborhoods. First, set off on a panoramic tour, witnessing the Eiffel Tower from different perspectives and the Notre Dame. Then, get a sense of daily life in Paris during a walking tour of one of the city’s residential neighborhoods. Finally, cap your tour with a drive along the famed Champs-Elysees, and witness the Arc de Triomphe, which stands at the end of the Champs-Elysees at a large central roundabout. Explore on your own this afternoon. After your Port Talk this evening, celebrate the beginning of your trip together with a Welcome Drink and Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Day 4 – Paris • Conflans: After breakfast, this morning, explore Montmartre, one of the most famous and lively of the city’s 20 districts on a walking tour. Spend free time following your included walking tour strolling the charming streets of this romantic neighborhood, and witness the famed Sacre Coeur Basilica, with its dramatic perch on the top of the Montmartre hill. Lunch is onboard with the remainder of the afternoon to make your own discoveries in Paris. Early this evening, board your ship and begin your Seine River Cruise, which will carry you some 230 miles from Paris to Honfleur, on the Normandy coast.
Day 5 – Conflans • Impressionists discussion • French language lesson • Vernon: After breakfast this morning, join your Program Director for a walking tour of Conflans. Enjoy some free time for independent exploration, followed by an onboard lunch. Or following lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll begin your travels through the landscapes that inspired Impressionist painter Claude Monet on your way to Vernon. Along the way, you may also choose to take part in an onboard discussion about Monet, providing historical context for tomorrow’s tour of Giverny. Shortly afterward, enjoy the opportunity for a French language lesson, and pick up a few key phrases to use throughout your trip. Later, this afternoon take part in a Scavenger Hunt in Vernon—you’ll be given you a list of three French items, a map of the city, and 15 Euros. This is a great opportunity to fully immerse yourself in French culture and have authentic local interactions.
- Optional: Path of Van Gogh: Led by a local guide on this optional walking tour of Auvers-sur-Oise, you’ll see the final resting place of Vincent van Gogh in the simple and quaint town that inspired much of his work. Along the way, discover the various places that inspired the famed Impressionist, such as the Auvers Church and the artist’s residence.
Day 6 – Vernon • Giverny • Les Andelys: After breakfast, disembark for an excursion into the countryside to see the lovely landscapes that inspired Claude Monet. He first witnessed the village of Giverny while looking out a train window in 1883, and the unique light of the Seine Valley kept him in residence for 43 years. He stayed here until his death in 1926, and you’ll find his grave in the family vault at the town’s Romanesque church. Explore the artist’s home and gardens, left by his son Michel to the Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1966 and now a museum dedicated to the great painter. You’ll see with your own eyes the landscapes that have graced countless Monet paintings. You’ll spot the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden shaded by weeping willows, its pond still full of the water lilies that so permeated his work.
Please note: This tour is available in April through October only. In March and November, a walking tour of Vernon is available.
This afternoon, take part in a walking tour of the sleepy village of Les Andelys, where you can relish views of Chateau Gaillard, an imposing fortress from the era of Richard the Lionheart. Later, put brush to canvas during an onboard exclusive Discovery Series watercolor painting lesson—perhaps channeling the scenery along the Seine as inspiration. Dinner will be onboard tonight.
Day 7 – Les Andelys • Rouen: Depart Les Andelys after breakfast this morning, enjoying lunch onboard as you sail. This afternoon, disembark for a walking tour of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. This important French commercial center brimming with half-timbered houses has a distinguished history dating to pre-Roman times. But it is more infamously known as the city where Joan of Arc was imprisoned, tried for heresy, and burned at the stake in 1431. Here you’ll see the 14th-century abbey where she was sentenced to death, and visit the Market Square where her execution took place. During your free time after your tour, you may want to visit the Joan of Arc Museum. Stop to savor something sweet during a tasting in a chocolate shop. The rest of the afternoon is yours. Dinner will be onboard this evening.
Day 8 – Rouen • Home-Hosted Visit: This morning, join a local family for a sweet treat, as well as an opportunity to learn more about life in rural France, during an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit. Afterward, the rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps you’ll choose to visit Rouen’s wonderful Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, whose facade has graced more than 30 Monet paintings. Lunch and dinner will be served onboard today. This evening, enjoy a night cap at a local guinguette, a traditional French bar and oftentimes dance hall.
Day 9 – Rouen • Caudebec • Cooking demonstration • French cheese tasting • Honfleur: Enjoy a relaxing morning of river cruising during which you can partake in two onboard exclusive Discovery Series events. First, learn how to prepare a few of France’s culinary delights as your ship’s chef demonstrates cooking techniques. Then partake in a French cheese tasting. Following lunch onboard, spend your afternoon at leisure. Early this evening, you’ll begin your cruise to Honfleur, your final port of call. En route, you’ll pass under the town’s 90-foot-tall Tancarville Bridge. Dinner tonight will coincide approximately with your arrival.
- Optional: The Cliffs of Etretat: Explore the picturesque cliffs of Etretat this afternoon. First, take a train to the top of Amont cliff where you’ll discover the 19th-century Chapel Notre Dame de la Garde. The chapel atop the cliff has a short but fascinating history about how the church was rebuilt after it was destroyed during World War II. Then descend the cliffs by train to explore the white-sand beaches and take in the views from a different perspective. Later this afternoon, sample local specialties before setting off to Allouville. You’ll visit this enchanting site of two chapels built into a France’s oldest tree.
Day 10 – Honfleur • Normandy beaches: The D-Day landings, code-named “Operation Overlord,” were the largest military campaigns in recorded history with the beaches of Normandy bearing the brunt of the invasion. Beginning at 6:30 am on June 6, 1944, nearly 7,000 landing craft hit the highly-fortified coastline. Those vessels carried tens of thousands of soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and many other Allied nations, all of whom arrived determined to carry out General Eisenhower’s order, “Full victory—nothing else.” After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the American Military Cemetery. You’ll see a monument honoring the fallen, and visit the cemetery of Colleville sur Mer, where 9,386 American soldiers were laid to rest. Walk down to Omaha Beach for an up-close look at where the first Allied footing was achieved in German-occupied France. When they arrived on shore, the Allies were met with a deafening barrage of German gunfire. As Nazis soldiers shot from secure concrete pillboxes built high above the open sand, Allied fighters were mowed down while exiting the Higgins boats and wading to shore. In time, some doggedly made it to the ridge overlooking the beach, finding shelter from the hail of enemy bullets. More than a thousand Allied troops died on Omaha Beach alone. Continue delving into D-Day’s unprecedented history as you make your way to Pointe du Hoc—a site all Normandy veterans know well—where Allied forces scaled 328-foot cliffs as they sought to silence German artillery. After returning to the ship, your dinner is on onboard. Discussions of this eventful day may very well continue into the evening.
Day 11 – Honfleur • Captain’s Farewell Dinner: After breakfast, set off on a walking tour of this well-preserved port town of Honfleur, founded in the 11th century. Situated on a Seine estuary opposite Le Havre, the town was once one of the most important ports in France. It was from here that many voyages of discovery were launched. The port changed hands frequently between France and England and was finally won back by France. In the 1800s, Le Havre displaced Honfleur as a major port. Following your included tour, you’ll have time to explore Honfleur on your own. Gather with your new friends to share memories and toast to your enriching Seine River Cruise at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner. The ship remains in port tonight.
- Optional: Bayeux: The Tapestry Museum of Bayeux showcases a remarkable piece of embroidered fabric—230 feet in length—depicting events of the 1066 Norman invasion of England. Study the elaborate scenes created with wool yarn of russet and gold, and learn the history that inspired such a fascinating work of art.
Day 12 – Honfleur • Disembark ship • Caen Peace Memorial Museum • Roissy-Charles De Gaulle Airport area: This morning, disembark your ship and transfer to the Peace Memorial Museum in Caen, a state-of-the-art facility that does an outstanding job of presenting the events of World War II, including D-Day. It’s an excellent way to put into context what you saw at the Normandy beaches. After time for lunch on your own here, transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport, located 18 miles from the Paris city center, for a final night in France before your return flight. Or, if you’ve chosen our post-trip extension to Brittany & St. Michel, France, transfer by motorcoach to St. Malo.
Day 13 – Return to U.S. : After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, begin your post-trip extension in London, England.
4 Nights in Brittany & Mont St. Michel, France
4 Nights in London, England
- Trip Extension: Brittany: Sample St. Malo’s local flavors, hospitality, and maritime charms on our optional extension. Off the coast of France, surrounded by swirling seas, a magnificent cathedral rises from the rock: Mont St. Michel. Discover this ancient abbey—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—as well as the idyllic village, plus Brittany’s verdant landscapes and unique blend of Celtic and French cultures.
- Bazaar: London – Design City: Experience our extension to London, where arts, architecture, and design thrive. The bustling capital of England offers discoveries both historic and cosmopolitan, from Trafalgar Square to some of the world’s most pre-eminent museums. Enjoy an included city tour of London’s attractions, including Parliament and Westminster Abbey, and enjoy ample free time to explore more such as: the Royal Albert Hall, Victoria and Albert Museum, or British Museum on your own.
Pre- Post-Hotels for Trip Extension Stays – Most accommodations include fitness center, pools and spas:
- Novotel Convention & Wellness Roissy CDG: Within close proximity to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Each room features a satellite TV, Internet access, and a minibar.
- Hotel Crowne Plaza Republique: Situated in the heart of Paris, it is your gateway to history culture, shopping and fine dining. A restaurant and lounge are located on site. Each room features, wireless Internet, private bath and hair dryer.
- Hotel Mercure Blois Centre: This First-Class hotel faces the Loire river, and is located in the center of Blois. Each room features coffee- and tea, a minibar, TV, refrigerator; daily, newspaper is delivered.
- Grand Hotel de Courtoisville: Located in the heart of charming St. Malo, this hotel sits within walking distance of both the waterfront and city center. Find modern amenities in your air-conditioned room.
- Holiday Inn London: This is a Moderate First-Class hotel in London’s Kensington district and is a short walk to the Gloucester Road tube station. Renovated in 2010, each room includes a coffeemaker, iron and board, minibar, telephone, and television. Wireless Internet is available for an additional fee.
TravelKatz and Grand Circle Cruise Line are committed to providing the most immersive and authentic European River Cruise vacations—all while making the most of your travel dollar, guaranteed. No matter where in the world you venture with Grand Circle, you’ll have one of the local Program Directors by your side, every step of the way. There are so many ways to personalize each aspect of your trip to create a unique travel experience that’s just right for you. Just let TravelKatz know, and we’ll make it happen. Also offered is international airport transfers to and from your hotel. And a personalized air itinerary with a wider array of choices—including airline, routing, and connection times. After you reserve your vacation, TravelKatz will work with you to ensure your air arrangements meet your specific needs. When shall we depart?