France Culinary Delights: Paris to Normandy - 2018

Conflans • Vernon • Caudebec-en-Caux • Honfleur • D-Day Beaches of Normandy • Le Havre • Rouen • Les Andelys • Paris
  • HONFLEUR - THE HISTORIC FISHING PORT WHERE MANY IMPRESSIONIST PAINTERS FOUND INSPIRATION
  • COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS
  • EXPLORE CITIES ON TWO WHEELS USING THE BICYCLES WE HAVE ON-BOARD
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  • 13
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  • 9
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Let your senses come alive on this newly enhanced classic, a voyage that takes you from the heart of Paris, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the D-Day Landing Beaches, and back again. The culinary focus introduces the exquisite tastes of Normandy, which you’ll discover by sampling creamy cheeses, sipping calvados apple brandy, taking part in hands-on cooking lessons, and swooning over hearty regional dishes. A special visit to the D-Day Landing Beaches and the American Cemetery gives you the opportunity to honor the heroes of June 6, 1944. We’ll also find time to delve into medieval history, meet Claude Monet and the French Impressionists, and stroll ancient river towns in a serenely beautiful region. Traveling solo? Vantage is the only company in the travel industry whose river ships include cabins built specifically for solo travelers, with free Single Supplements.
  

New! Our enhanced itinerary now features two full days in Paris, as well as added time to explore Honfleur and Rouen. That gives you more time to pursue your own interests, whether it’s browsing Rouen’s antique stores, shopping in Paris, or biking along the Seine. In fact, you’ll find numerous active touring opportunities, including daily yoga classes aboard ship, bike rides, canoeing on the Seine, and longer walks and mini-hikes.

Itinerary at a Glance

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart home / Overnight flight to Paris / Embark ship / Conflans

Following your overnight flight to Paris, arrive on Day 2 to begin your Europe river cruise (or arrive earlier for your pre-trip extension to Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, and the Loire Valley). The Deluxe ms River Venture will be waiting on the banks of the Seine in Paris. You’ll have the afternoon free, then gather with your fellow travelers this evening for a Welcome Drink and briefing by your Vantage Cruise Director and the ship’s staff, followed by a Welcome Dinner in the ship’s restaurant. We’ll cast off as we’re dining, but no worries — we’ll be back in Paris at the end of our voyage!

Note that if you purchase your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met outside the customs area and the transfer to the ship will be included. (If you plan to purchase your own airfare, ask when you reserve about arranging your transfer with Vantage.)

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Conflans

Located at the juncture of the Oise River and the Seine, Conflans was once a center for barge traffic. Many antique wooden barges have been converted into charming houseboats. Active Feature: Join an active walking tour of Conflans. Alternatively, choose our "Auvers-sur-Oise: Footsteps of Van Gogh" tour, which takes you to scenes painted by the artist during the final months of his life, as well as to the churchyard where he rests in a humble grave next to his beloved brother, Theo.

Cultural Connections: During the afternoon’s cruising, join your Cruise Director in the lounge for a lively French language lesson — pick up a few key words and phrases, then use them on your trip to interact with locals! Later, the restaurant’s maitre’d will introduce you to the nuances of French drinking culture. Then, after dinner, you're in for taste of old Paris, when a talented troupe comes aboard to perform a high-energy cabaret show, featuring, of course, the can-can.

Culinary Features:

  • Introduction to French drinking culture by the ship’s maître d’
  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Cooking lesson in the Captains’ Club: Crêpes Suzette

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge
  • Walking tour of Conflans

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Auvers-sur-Oise: Footsteps of Van Gogh

Auvers-sur-Oise: Footsteps of Van Gogh

  • Approximate Cost: $75 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours, including transfers
  • Location: Auvers-sur-Oise, France
  • When: Afternoon tour
Located in the northwest outskirts of Paris, the scenic village of Auvers-Sur-Oise was a favorite destination for a number of notable 19th-century painters. However, it will forever be known as the town where Vincent Van Gogh spent the final months of his troubled life (while being treated by a local physician) and is buried alongside his beloved brother Theo. Here, he also experienced one of his most prolific periods — painting approximately 70 paintings (about one per day) in and around the village. You will enjoy a guided walking tour during which your regional expert will share anecdotes and information about the paintings, the scenes, and Van Gogh’s life at the time. Reproductions of various worls along your route will show that the buildings have not changed noticeably since the 1800s. In fact, as part of the Regional Natural Park of Vixen, Auvers-sur-Oise is considered “eternal” — and may not be altered or expanded. In the future, the village will look just as it appears in any photos you take during your tour.

DAY 4:

Vernon (Monet's Garden)

You don’t have to be a gardener or art lover to be enraptured by the beloved Giverny home, studio, and gardens of the legendary French Impressionist Claude Monet.* The profusely colorful gardens are one of the artist’s greatest creations, which he depicted in his Water Lilies series and other well-known paintings. During our visit to Giverny, we’ll also stop in the village for an informal apertif with locals. This afternoon, tap into your inner Monet by participating in a painting lesson aboard ship.
Active Feature: Take a self-guided bike ride to Monet’s garden, following a mostly flat circuit that takes you through Bonnieres-sur-Seine and La Roche Guyon. Cultural Connections: Before dinner, enjoy an informative lecture about French Impressionism. After dinner, head for the lounge for onboard dancing demos — learn different steps as they are demonstrated during the evening 

Culinary Features:

  • Enjoy a French aperitif with locals in Giverny village
  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Cooking lesson in the Captains’ Club: Navarin of Lamb

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge
  • Bike to Giverny
  • Onboard painting lesson
  • Dancing lessons in the lounge

* Please Note: Monet's home and gardens are open from late March until late October. As a result, the site will not be available on a few early- and late-season departures. Instead, all travelers on those departures will visit the Château de La Roche–Guyon — an imposing castle built into a limestone cliff. The chateau served as the secret headquarters of German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel during the Normandy invasion. The historic walled garden features fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants laid out in a neat diamond pattern.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Caudebec-en-Caux / Honfleur

On this morning's excursion, we’ll then follow the Abbey Trail to centuries-old monastery complexes dotting Upper Normandy. Our explorations include the impressive ruins of the once-magnificent Jumièges Abbey, and the Abbey of St. Wandrille, where a small community of monks maintains a monastic tradition on this spot that dates to the year 649. Cultural Connection: Afterwards, stroll into the ancient town of Caudebec-en-Caux to the town's Notre Dame Cathedral, constructed in the style known as flamboyant gothic. Inside, take a seat for a stirring concert on the church’s massive pipe organ.

We cast off in the afternoon for relaxing cruising down the Seine towards the river mouth on the English Channel. Notice the white limestone cliffs — they’re part of the same geologic feature as the famous White Cliffs of Dover, which lie just across the English Channel from Normandy. Our destination is the broad Seine Estuary and the historic fishing port of Honfleur.* During our sail, a member of the ship’s culinary staff will demonstrate how to make a scrumptious Normandy apple tart. A

For dinner this evening, sit down to a special menu that pairs select wines with your courses, presented by the ship’s maître d’.

Culinary Features:

  • Demonstration on making a traditional Normandy apple tart
  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Wine pairing dinner, presented in the ship’s restaurant by the maître d’

Active Feature:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge

* Please Note: The ms River Venture is one of the few passenger river vessels able to navigate the tidal Seine Estuary to Honfleur. However, cruising the lower portion of the Seine River is dictated by tidal flow and weather, requiring that the itinerary be adapted on a week-by-week basis to ensure safe navigation according to local conditions. We do our utmost to ensure that all trip features are delivered as described. In the event of adverse conditions the ship will dock in Le Havre, which will become the base for the day's explorations. Additionally, all sailings in November and December will dock in Le Havre.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6:

Honfleur

Unforgettable Moment / Active Feature: Enjoy a guided walking tour of picturesque Honfleur — birthplace of the early Impressionist painter Eugene Boudin and a favorite of Monet, Courbet, and other artists, who maintained studios near the harbor. Enjoy the afternoon free, perhaps taking the opportunity to explore the area on two wheels on a self-guided biking excursion along the coast to Deauville. Cultural Connection: Later this afternoon, prepare for the next day’s tour of Normandy when you attend an insightful lecture about the D-Day Landing. After dinner, enjoy a jazz ensemble in the ship’s lounge.

Culinary Features:

  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Cooking lesson in the Captains’ Club: Normandy mussels in apple cider sauce

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge
  • Walking tour of Honfleur
  • Bike to Deauville

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Honfleur (D-Day Beaches)

Some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century are today’s focus, as we set out for a full-day tour of the beaches where Allied troops landed on D-Day — June 6, 1944. We’ll drive to the coastal village of Colleville-sur-Mer and the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, burial site of nearly 10,000 soldiers. Cultural Connection: Take part in a solemn ceremony among the rows of white gravestones in remembrance of American lives lost. Then, it's on to the coastal promontory of Pointe du Hoc, site of a German battery that was destroyed by US Rangers who scaled the sea cliff in a daring attack. Finally, continue to Omaha Beach, where US Army infantry prevailed in the face of fierce resistance. For lunch, enjoy a French le gouter, a traditional French snacktime.

Afterwards, continue your explorations with your choice of tours. You may transfer to the town of Bayeux for an English-language audio tour of the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot embroidered cloth depicting events leading up to the 1066 Norman conquest of England. Or, take an excursion to the thought-provoking Caen Peace Memorial — a site dedicated to lasting peace that has what many consider the best World War II museum in France.

Culinary Features:

  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • French le gouter experience

Active Feature:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Honfleur / Le Havre

This morning, we’ll sail across the mouth of the Seine Estuary to the major seaport of Le Havre. Cultural Connection: En route, learn about Operation Astonia, the Allied battle to drive the Germans from Le Havre that began with a devastating bombing campaign known as “the storm of iron and fire.” From Le Havre, depart on a Taste of Normandy tour to the Fécamp Benedictine monastery. Here, you’ll see how the famous Benedictine liqueur, with its secret blend of 27 herbs and spice, is produced. Afterwards, follow Normandy’s limestone sea cliffs to a working goat farm. You’ll have the opportunity to see how the farm’s fine cheese is produced, and try a sample.

Culinary Features:

  • Taste of Normandy tour, with Benedictine tasting and visit to a goat farm
  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Cooking lesson in the Captains’ Club: Joue du Boeuf

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Rouen

Daylight finds us in ancient Rouen, a city with a charming medieval quarter that has witnessed countless historical dramas, including the fiery death of St. Joan of Arc. Unforgettable Moment: You’ll enjoy a real culinary highlight for lunch, when we dine at La Couronne, the oldest auberge (inn) in France. This is where Julia Child had the meal that inspired her adventures in French cuisine. Active Feature: After lunch, enjoy a walking tour that includes views of Rouen's unforgettable gothic cathedral, which boasts the highest spire in France. It was the subject of Monet's famous series that depicted the ornate façade at different seasons and times of day.

Active Features: You’ll have free time this afternoon to explore Rouen on your own, as well as the opportunity to go bike riding along the Seine. Rouen is an antiquing capital, and a favorite pastime here is wandering among the many antique shops. Cultural Connection: After dinner, repair to the lounge to enjoy classic tunes by the singer Roberto, a favorite of Vantage travelers.

Culinary Features:

  • Lunch at La Couronne restaurant in Rouen, where Julia Child had what she called “the most exciting meal of my life.”
  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Cooking lesson in the Captains' Club: Poulet Bretonne

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge
  • Walking tour of Rouen
  • Bike along the Seine
  • Canoeing on the Seine (fee)

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Rouen

Enjoy a guided tour of Rouen’s excellent Musée des Beaux-Arts, a museum founded by Napoleon that houses a fascinating collection of paintings, furniture, sculptures, and drawings that date from the time of Leonardo to the present day. You’ll have another afternoon to enjoy the city. If you find yourself back aboard ship by 4:00 pm, enjoy tea and join the chef for a tour of the ship's galley.

Active Feature: During your free time, you’ll have another opportunity to go biking. Alternatively, your Concierge can arrange for canoeing on the Seine with a local outfitter (fee). The city is located within a loop in the river, and there are numerous islands and channels that are perfect for exploring by water. 

Culinary Features:

  • Cocktail of the Day demonstration by the bartender
  • Cooking lesson in the Captains’ Club: Matelote (fish cooked in cider)
  • Learn about the French apero experience, a convivial drink with snacks

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge
  • Walking tour of Rouen
  • Bike along the Seine
  • Canoeing on the Seine (fee)

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:

Les Andelys

This morning finds us in Les Andelys, a picturesque village tucked into a river bend. Unforgettable Moment / Active Feature: Above, you’ll see the ruins of Château Gaillard, a fortress built by England’s Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century to guard his Normandy holdings. You have a choice of following the path up the hill to visit the ruins and take in the spectacular views. Alternatively, join the more leisurely walking tour of Les Andelys to view half-timbered houses and ancient churches. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure aboard ship as we continue sailing upstream. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare for the Captain’s Gala Dinner, which begins with the cocktail hour at 6 pm.

Culinary Features:

  • Captain’s Gala Dinner

Active Features:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge
  • Climb to Château Gaillard

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12:

Paris

This morning finds us back once again in the City of Light. A panoramic city tour takes you to such “must-see” sights as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, with entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral. After lunch on board, enjoy the afternoon at leisure or take off on our optional tour to explore Montmartre, the Parisian hill that is topped by the gleaming white dome of the Basilica of Sacrê-Couer. The crooked streets of the historic district that descend from the basilica were an enclave where a who’s who of artists, including Van Gogh, Picasso, Dalí, and Toulouse-Lautrec, once maintained studios, painted, and frequented the cafés and bars.

Active Feature:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Montmartre Tour

Montmartre Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $65 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Paris, France
  • When: Half-day tour (limited availability)

Join us on this special walking tour that takes you away from Paris’s grand boulevards to explore village-like Montmartre. Your guide will take you along winding streets to see where Picasso, Toulouse-Latrec, Dalí, and their companions set up their easels, and by Au Lapin Agile, one of their favorite drinking spots. When Montmartre was the center of French bohemian life, old windmills on the hill — moulins — were converted to raucous nightclubs featuring the can-can and other scandalous entertainment, hence the name Moulin Rouge, the Red Windmill, for one of the most famous. The Montmartre Cemetery, located in what had been a quarry, is the final resting place of a who’s who of artistic souls of all nationalities, including the painter and sculptor Edward Degas and the French New Wave director Francois Truffaut. A funicular will take you to the top of Montmartre, where the great white dome of Basilica of Sacré-Couer makes its mark against the Parisian skyline. It has a beautiful interior, but you’ll undoubtedly find yourself drawn to the plaza out front, perhaps joining the ranks of visitors, tourists and Parisians alike, taking selfies with the sweeping view of the city as the background. While you’re here, take note of the many sketch artists who congregate here, busy keeping Montmartre’s artistic traditions alive and well.



DAY 13:

Paris

You have a full day to enjoy the city, so let your imagination be your guide. There’s a Paris for everyone, whether you’re into haute couture shopping, poking around in flea markets, exploring the Latin Quarter, visiting museums, seeking out artistic treasures, or visiting some of the world’s most recognizable monuments, from the elegant ironwork of the Eiffel Tower to the “inside-out” architecture of the Centre Pompidou. And, of course, the food, whether your simply relaxing over a pastry and a coffee in a streetside cafê, or asking your Concierge to reserve a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Be sure to check our optional tours to the Louvre and Château de Malmaison, Napoleon Bonapart’s country home — they’re a great way to make the most of your sightseeing time.

Active Feature:

  • Sunrise yoga on the Sun Deck (weather permitting) or in the lounge

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Louvre Museum Guided Visit (limited availability),

Louvre Museum Guided Visit (limited availability)

  • Approximate Cost: $99 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Paris, France
  • When: Half-day tour (limited availability)

The Louvre has one of the world's most important art collections and averages 15,000 visitors per day. First constructed as a fortress in 1190 by King Philippe Auguste to protect Paris against Viking raids, it was then changed into a magnificent Renaissance style building. Throughout the centuries, French kings and emperors have improved and enlarged it, making it the impressive site you see today. With its 800 years of history, the Louvre is not only a museum but a palace with a centuries-old architectural evolution.



Château de Malmaison

Château de Malmaison

  • Approximate Cost: $75 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Rueil-Malmaison, France
  • When: Afternoon tour

Get an intimate glimpse of the home life of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine on this visit to their private country house just outside of Paris. In contrast to grand showpieces like Fountainebleu and the Tuileries, the elegant Château de Malmaison was designed as private home, a place for France’s premier power couple to get away from the stuffy formality of official life to relax, entertain friends, and hold private meetings and receptions. The extensive grounds gave Josephine the canvas she needed for her love of gardening, and today they are largely restored to their former glory.


DAY 14:

Paris / Disembark ship / Return home

Following breakfast on board, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, begin your optional post-trip extension to Chantilly and the Champagne Region.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.

Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.

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France Culinary Delights: Paris to Normandy - 2018

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Vantage Viking River Cruises Uniworld Vantage Advantage
Journey France Culinary Delights: Paris to Normandy Paris & the Heart of Normandy Paris & Normandy 2-for-1 Cruise Prices & 2-for-1 Airfare! The BEST Value in River Cruising.
Cruise-Only Price* 13 Days from $2899 8 Days from $2649 8 Days from $2799 The BEST pacing & Greatest value compared to our competitors.
Per Diem $223 per day $331 per day $349 per day Save up to $252 per couple per day - that's a total of $3,276 for 13 days.
Ship & Staterooms The 134-passenger ms River Venture offers all staterooms face outside and feature a glorious view (cabin size ranges from 165-330 sq ft). Deluxe staterooms and suites on the Navigator deck have French balconies, which offer the best of all worlds: grand, panoramic views and the ability to open your room to fresh river breezes — without reducing valuable interior space, the way a traditional balcony does. Our meticulously designed ships feature enticing public areas and luxurious amenities, including a lounge with full-service bar, well-equipped fitness center, restaurant, Spa, and a Sun Deck where you can relax and take in the ever-changing views. Viking Longships offer you a choice of stateroom category (cabin size ranges from 150-445 sq ft). The S.S. Joie de Vivre has two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites and 54 staterooms. Join us and unpack just once! We have the most square footage on lower and bottom cabins, plus the best Suite Life Deal in the cruise business!
Single Travelers 4 Single-Occupancy Cabins (125 sq ft) with the most single-friendly prices. 100% Single Supplement A limited number of singles are available for an additional supplement.  The ONLY deluxe tour operator in Europe with specially built single cabins.
Included Tours 20 included features & 8 Cultural Connections 6 Included Tours 8 Included Tours The Most Included Tours.
Special Features Cruise on the ms River Venture, one of the few vessels that sails all the way to Honfleur — more convenient for you! Participate in culinary lessons, cocktail demonstrations, and special tastings. Get active with biking, hiking, and canoeing! Lectures on French language, Impressionist painters, and history on WWII and Normandy D-Day including tour to the Normandy beaches. Lectures on Jeanne d'Arc & French Impressionists, French Cheese tasting, French Language Lesson and local market visit Onboard local entertaiment, one lecture on impressionist paintings, complimentary use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks, visit museum in Rouen The MOST Cultural Connections + interactive features. The most complimentary bikes, culinary demos, and included features—exclusive to Vantage travelers! Plus, special departure dates for art, music, and history lovers, don't miss out on your chance to experience the D-Day Beaches during the landing anniversary week!
Meals 36 meals—competitive meal inclusions, plus spa dining 20 meals 19 meals The most included meals with Five-Star Dining. Plus culinary demonstrations and lectures with local produce, learn to make regional meals and cook with our chefs
Discover More 2 Choices: 4 Days Extension to 3 UNESCO Heritage Site: Chateaux of Loire Valley, Versailles, and Chartres - from just $1099, $274 per day 4 Days Extension to 2 UNESCO Heritage Sites: Chantilly, and Champagne region + the lost battlefields of WWI. - from just $899, $224 per day 2 choices: 4-days Paris from $699, $174 per day 4-days Loire Valley from $999, $249 per day No extension choices The ONLY travel company that offers full experience of two unique and immersive trip extensions: Versailles, and Chantilly.
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