From the charms of Normandy to the magic of Paris
Discover the charm and history of Normandy on this Seine cruise to Paris. Explore the delightfully charming harbour of Honfleur, wander among the Gothic spires of Rouen, visit some of the region’s most striking Norman abbeys, take the chance to visit Monet’s house and garden at Giverny, and spend a magical day and night in Paris.
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
UK to Paris
Travel to Paris via Eurostar and embark MS Seine Comtesse. Enjoy a welcome cocktail party and dinner on board.
After a morning of cruising spend the afternoon exploring the small town of Les Andelys. Cruise overnight towards Caudebec-en-Caux.
Join an optional trip to the Norman fishing town of Honfleur, whose slate-fronted houses have provided inspiration for generations of painters. Don’t miss the amazing St Catherine’s Church, built entirely from wood. An optional excursion visits the seaside resort town of Étretat. This lovely town is set on the Alabaster Coast, known for its high chalk cliffs and white beaches.
Étretat | Half day
Travel to the coastal town of Étretat which is set in a picturesque bay between two low hills on Normandy’s Alabaster Coast. The town was a popular seaside resort in the 19th century and attracted such renowned artists as Boudin, Corot, Courbet, Delacroix and Monet. Discover what they found so inspiring on a scenic clifftop walk that will reveal the surrounding coastal scenery. The views are outstanding and these dramatic, often sheer-faced chalk and flint cliffs have been sculpted into beautiful shapes, including rock arches, tunnels and a needle. Afterwards, enjoy some free time back in Étretat.
Tour of Honfleur | half day
Built in Norman times, Honfleur’s picturesque old harbour and pastel-coloured houses have been immortalised by the likes of Boudin, Monet, Dufy, Duborg and Friesz, whose work can be seen in the local museum. The town is a jumble of criss-crossing streets and tiny alleyways, all begging to be explored. You’ll see the 15th-century church of St Catherine, the largest wooden church in France, while music lovers might like to pop into the quirky Satie Museum that salutes the work of composer Eric Satie.
Caudebec-en-Caux to Rouen
You’ll have the afternoon in Rouen, with an optional tour to show you around. See the glorious spires, Gothic churches and half-timbered houses. The town is the birthplace of Gustave Flaubert, famous author of Madame Bovary. Remain moored in Rouen overnight.
Tour of Rouen | half day
From the Vikings and Dukes of Normandy, to Flaubert and Monet, history permeates the old quarter of tall, half-timbered houses, great churches and lovely parks, all carefully restored since the war. Begin with a visit to the Gothic Notre-Dame de Rouen whose elaborate facade inspired Monet’s cathedral series. Inside, its vaulted ceiling and lavish design are just as remarkable. Contrast this with the modern Church of Joan of Arc which is decorated with 16th-century stained glass. Other highlights include the 14th-century astronomical clock – which is set in an arch spanning the pedestranised Gros-Horloge – the Palais de Justice and the florid-style Gothic Church of St-Maclou.
You’ll have the chance to visit to some of the region’s Norman abbeys on an optional trip. Fontenelle Abbey is still occupied by a community of monks and while the Gothic church is in ruins, the baroque convent building and Romanesque refectory are still intact. You can also visit the 12th-century abbey of St Martin de Boscherville, which has a lovely restored garden with views over the Seine Valley. Cruise overnight towards Vernon.
The Abbey trail | Half day
Enjoy a trip to two of the region’s most distinctive abbeys. First up is Fontenelle, which is still occupied by a community of Benedictine monks. The church here currently lies in ruins, but the baroque-style convent and the Romanesque refectory are still intact, and you’ll be free to visit them. Continue on to the 12th-century abbey of St Martin de Boscherville. The church here has been remarkably well preserved, and the light-coloured stone which it’s built from is dazzling. Inside, the high, wide windows create a bright and airy atmosphere. The church also has its very own extravagant garden, with a kitchen garden and a medicine garden, and lovely views across the Seine Valley.
Perhaps take the opportunity to visit Monet’s house and garden at the nearby village of Giverny. The artist lived here for more than 40 years and you can still see the famous bridge and waterlilies. Cruise overnight to Paris.
Giverny | Half day
The famous Impressionist lived and worked here from 1883 until his death in 1926. He began renovating the garden in 1890, taking inspiration from the Japanese prints he collected and once remarked, “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” The pink-painted house with its green shutters, the studios and the gardens, including the Japanese bridge and the famous lily pond, are all lovingly maintained and instantly recognisable from his paintings.
Wake up in the ‘city of light’ where an optional tour shows you the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées among other famous sights. You’ll have the rest of the day to explore independently – perhaps pay a visit to the Louvre or descend beneath the streets into the spooky catacombs. Alternatively, join an optional trip to the Montmartre district.
Montmartre | Half day
Crowned by the imposing Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris and offers outstanding views across the capital on a clear day. It’s a maze of cobbled streets and steps that wind their way up to the summit where cafes are waiting to ply you with much-needed refreshments – after all, it’s quite a walk to the 130-metre high summit but this doesn’t deter the legions of visitors it attracts every year. Amid the crowds it may be hard to imagine that at the end of the 19th century it was a haven for such artists as Renoir, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Utrillo. Take a short detour into a quiet side street though and you can quickly escape the throng of tourists and pseudo artists to discover the real charm of this bohemian district. Montmartre is also famous for its two windmills – think Moulin Rouge and Moulin de la Galette – relics of its time as a rural village, and more recently, the quirky 2001 movie, Amelie.
Tour of Paris | Half day
Experience Parisian daily life on a guided city tour that encompasses must-see sights, including a drive along the Champs-Elysées which is lined with designer boutiques and is the place for fashionistas to stop and be seen.
Paris to UK
Disembark after breakfast for your return journey by Eurostar.