France River Cruise on the Seine River

France is one of my favorite countries in Europe. The history, culture, food and of course, wine make it a bucket list destination. I had the chance to sail along the Seine River last April along with my business partner and Cruise Experts Travel President Denis Lim (follow him on Twitter @DenisTravels) with AmaWaterways aboard the AmaLegro. We went there with limited knowledge of the area. Throughout the trip, we learned a lot more than we expected.

AmaWaterways AmaLegro

AmaWaterways AmaLegro tied up at Les Andelys.

It may not be the first river cruise itinerary that comes to mind, but it certainly is one you should consider. Here’s a look at our trip.

Day 1 Arrive in Paris

The City of Light has been an important settlement for more than 2,000 years. We learned that during the Age of Englightenment (18th century), it was the center for education and ideas. As you may know, it was the focal point during the French Revolution (1789 to 1799), as well. Later on in the mid 19th century, the city literally took on that meaning: Napoleon III ordered the streets of Paris to be illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps.

Eiffel Tower view of Paris, France.

A view of Paris at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Day 2 Vernon & Giverny

We sailed the Seine in the morning to spend time in the medieval town of Vernon.

medieval town of Vernon.

Medieval town of Vernon, France

The afternoon was spent exploring the home and gardens of Impressionist artist Claude Monet in Giverny.

Monet House in Giverny

Monet lived here for more than 40 years.

The gardens and pond here have been immortalized by Monet’s work.

Monet famous bridge

The famous bridge in Claude Monet’s garden that he painted with water lilies.

Day 3 Rouen

Rouen is the historic capital of Normandy. We had two tours to choose from: a visit to Honfleur or an excursion that focused on Normandy’s famous abbeys.

Rouen, Normandy.

The Old Town in Rouen.

Honfleur, Normandy, France

Honfleur.

We chose Honfleur. This historic and picturesque port was a main departure point for maritime voyages. The first expeditions to Canada departed from here in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Honfleur-Normandy

Honfleur’s pastel colored houses were the subject of artists such as Courbet, Boudin, and Monet.

 Day 4 Rouen

With three tour options, it was hard deciding how we’d spend the day. Would we go on AmaWaterways’ full day excursion visiting Omaha and Utah Beaches in the US sector? Head to the Gold and Juno Beaches in the British and Canadian sectors? Or would we explore rural Normandy?

Normandy AmaWaterways excursion

Rural Normandy.

We decided on rural Normandy. Along with the quaint towns and villages, we also toured a Calvados distillery where we tasted apple cider and apple brandy.

Day 5 Rouen

We did a walking tour of the medieval city today with visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral which Monet made famous in numerous paintings, and the Town Square where Joan of Arc was martyred.

Main Square in Rouen

The Town Square in Rouen.

Day 6 Les Andelys

This scenic town with dramatic white cliffs towering over was a stronghold of Richard the Lionheart (Richard I).

White cliffs Les Andelys

See the white cliffs? We were told people keep their wines in them!

Les Andelys, Normandy

Les Andelys, Normandy

Richard the Lionheart was the King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. Before his reign, he was known as a great military leader and warrior and that’s how he go the nickname Richard the Lionheart.

Chateau Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart's castle

Chateau Gaillard, former castle of Richard the Lionheart along the Seine River in Les Andelys.

Day 7 Paris

If you look at Ama’s current Seine River Cruise itinerary, you’ll notice this day is scheduled for Conflans. We didn’t stop in Conflans. Instead we went straight to Paris and had the extra day to explore the City of Light.

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde in Paris, where Marie Antoinette and Louix XVI were guillotined.

Macaroons in Paris.

Macaroons for sale at La Duree. La Duree has patisseries all over Paris.

Le Louvre

Entrance to Le Louvre museum designed by I M Pei, famous American Taiwanese architect.

Day 8 Disembark in Paris

Our river cruise vacation came to an end and we said our farewells.

As you can you see, those interested in history, particularly World War II or the arts, would enjoy this cruise thoroughly. I don’t fall into either category and it was still one of my most memorable trips.

Whether you’re interested in a Seine river cruise or another destination, contact us to learn more. Call 1-800-565-2784 or send an email to connect with a River Cruise Specialist today.

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