Paris & The Heart of Normandy 2020 Viking River Cruise
Explore Giverny and visit the beautiful gardens and charming farmhouse where impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked, the setting that inspired many of his masterpieces. Trace the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Rouen. Walk hallowed ground at Normandy’s American Military Cemetery and World War II beaches. Savour Normandy cuisine, and visit a farm where these delicacies are made. This 8-day cruise along the Seine River cruise celebrates history, art, food, customs and all things Français in the country’s most dazzling urbane and pastoral settings.
Arrive in Paris, romance capital of the world. Transfer from the airport in Paris to your ship. After boarding, take free time to explore Paris, or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and get oriented.
After breakfast, embark on a tour of this dazzling city and take in its most remarkable sights, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. You’ll also see the École Militaire, Orsay Museum and Latin Quarter and the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral. Then we’ll drive past the Louvre and Opera House and along the famed Champs-Élysées. Return aboard for dinner and start your cruise on the Seine this evening.
Arrive in Vernon before breakfast; take a short ride into the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926. Visit the beautiful gardens and charming stone farmhouse where he lived and worked; see the water garden with the recognizable Japanese bridge, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas that inspired many of his masterpieces.† After lunch, spend some time with your Program Director in the provincial town of Vernon. Take a stroll to see the Maison du Temps Jadis (House of Past Times), Vernon’s oldest house, and the 11th-century Church of Notre Dame. Dinner is served aboard
† Monet garden not available before April 1 or after November 1; a visit to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, favored by van Gogh and other artists, will be substituted.
Indulge in leisurely morning cruising along the Seine. You’ll spend the afternoon in the medieval city of Rouen, preeminent capital of Normandy. Begin with a walking tour through the center of Old Town, where you see the spectacular Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, often painted by Claude Monet, and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock. As you walk among the half-timbered storybook buildings, you’ll feel transported back through time; see the 14th-century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and the nearby Market Square where she was martyred. Take free time to discover more of Rouen or visit one of its museums of art or antiquities. Dine aboard or at a sidewalk café. Your ship remains docked overnight.
After breakfast, begin your full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy. Drive past Gold Beach, Courseulles sur Mer and Juno Beach on your way to visit such World War II landmarks as Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery and Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum. Alternatively, you may take a tour of Bayeaux, where you can admire the magnificent tapestry that chronicles the pre–Battle of Hastings events. Afterward, continue to Normandy’s coast and enjoy some free time at Juno Beach after your visit to the museum; then visit the Pegasus Museum. Return to your ship for dinner and relax aboard, or take an evening stroll in Rouen.
Enjoy a leisurely morning cruise to the small town of Les Andelys, known for its imposing castle, Château Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. After lunch, join a guided walk to this fatally flawed masterpiece of Middle Ages architecture. Return aboard for scenic cruising and dinner.
After breakfast, disembark for a visit to Chateau de Malmaison, where Napoleon Bonaparte spent his final days in France. Along with the Tuileries, this elegant manor house, purchased by the emperor’s wife Josephine in 1799, served as the seat of Napoleon’s French government from 1800 to 1802. Or, join an optional tour to the luxurious Palace of Versailles, former home of Louis XIV.
Note: The Paris port authority assigned Viking a docking location in Le Pecq, a western suburb of Paris. To help maximize your time in the city center, we are offering complimentary shuttles throughout your stay.
After breakfast, transfer to Paris airport for your return flight to the UK
Please note all departure dates are listed in the enquiry form.
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Extend your stay, pre or post cruise, with these great value cruise extensions! Simply give our award winning team a call for full details on 0800 810 8220
- 3 Nights pre cruise stay in Paris from only £549pp
- 3 Nights post cruise stay in Loire Valley from only £949pp
- Savings of up to £700pp on selected dates - book by 29 February 2020
- Onboard gratuities
- Return scheduled flights from the UK from a choice of up to 14 regional airports at no extra cost. Please call for details
- 8 days on board in a stateroom with a river view
- 7 guided tours with audio headset
- All meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 7 dinners, featuring regional specialties and including Welcome Cocktail Reception & Dinner
- Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with on board dinner and lunch
- Visit 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Culture Curriculum: Taste French cheeses, learn how to create your own tarte au citron; attend lectures on Jeanne d’Arc & French Impressionists; learn to say a few words en Français; visit a local market
- All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers
- Free Wi-Fi, connection speed may vary
- PRICE GUARANTEE: Once you have paid in full for your trip, you are safe from any additional charges. Airfare increases, currency fluctuations, increased fuel surcharges, new government taxes—none of these will apply to you