Have a joyeux noel on a Vantage holiday cruise

Vantage Travel Team December 17, 2017

New France departures feature the magic of the season, year-round treasures

France beckons no matter the season, but the country’s pleasures are even more rewarding during the holidays, when lucky travelers have a little bit more elbow room. While Paris is obviously the year-round destination for lovers, a different kind of romance envelops the city and all of France in the wintertime — and you can experience these festive charms in 2018 on holiday departures of Vantage’s new trip, Classic France Along the Seine.

The magic of the season take center stage on this 13-day voyage aboard the ms River Venture, where you’ll kick off the festivities with a ship-decorating spectacular. Then you’re off! From the medieval mystique of Conflans — once a hub for seafaring merchants, now dotted with houseboats — to the painterly banks of Le Havre and Rouen, you’ll tour the Seine in the footsteps of artists like Monet, Courbet, and Van Gogh, who were endlessly inspired by pastoral French life and landscapes — and you will be too.

These quaint towns feel like you’ve stepped into a movie, and make a picturesque backdrop for the holidays. You’ll get a chance to knock some gifts off your list at at least two Christmas markets, notably Le Havre’s chalet-lined streets filled with one-of-a-kinds, antiques, and even a Ferris wheel; and the market that sits under towering Rouen Cathedral, the setting for a series of Monet paintings depicting the Gothic church at varying hours and in different weather. While in Rouen, you’ll also lunch at La Couronne, where Julia Child ate what she called “the most exciting meal of my life.”

Food will definitely be a highlight on this trip, and there’s no place better than Paris to embark on a culinary spree. Croissants, pastries, crepes, quiches, and sweets of all varieties are even more alluring under the display cases of Paris’ boulangeries and patisseries. Grab a baguette — you’ll need the energy for your Parisian explorations, whether breezing through the line to the Notre Dame Cathedral (a benefit of traveling in the off-season — less wait time!); walking the stylish streets of Le Marais; shopping along the famed Champs-Élysées, all decked out for the holidays, the Arc de Triomphe in the distance … or sipping hot mulled cider beneath the glittering Eiffel Tower. Whether it’s artisanal chocolates or delectable flaky pastries and buttery cookies, the time for indulging is in France’s capital in your included walking tour of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the Sixth Arrondissement. While in Paris, you’ll also delight in a Vantage-exclusive holiday concert at La Sainte-Chapelle. 

Not everyone can say they’ve sailed down the Seine for the holidays. The weather will be crisp — perhaps a chance of snow, too! — with shorter days offset by the sparkling magic of France’s towns lit up for the holidays. Paris will definitely be a peak moment, as you see firsthand why it’s known as the City of Lights.     

So, grab a stylish coat (it is France, after all) and some mittens — with just three departures, don’t miss the boat on Classic France Along the Seine.