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Let France romance you with its culture, cuisine, and history on this dazzling new river cruise that showcases the absolute best of Paris and Normandy. You’ll fall in love with the City of Lights with a whopping four nights here — two nights each bookending your cruise — with plenty of leisure time to enjoy Paris as you wish. Spend 6 nights cruising aboard one of two classically-decorated river ships and discover Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, Normandy’s dramatic D-Day Beaches, and Rouen’s gothic magic.
You’ll be spoiled along the way with culinary delights at every turn, including special lunches, a wine-paired dinner at the elegant La Ciel de Paris — a panoramic restaurant situated atop the Montparnasse Tower — and a wine tasting and talk with a local sommelier. Plus, oyster tastings, chocolate and macaron samplings, and a lesson in French drinking culture! In all, 28 included features and Cultural Connections will bring you inside French culture with lectures and a series of scintillating onboard performances and movie nights that contextualize the discoveries and destinations on your cruise. Don’t miss this marvelous journey down the Seine!
Discover the elegant village of Chantilly, named for one of the grandest of French châteaux, and spend a day exploring the heart of the Champagne region. During your excursion to the rolling vineyards where Champagne originated, you’ll visit an estate where the legendary sparkling wine is produced and stored in cool limestone caverns beneath acres of vineyards. You’ll also tour Reims, home of the imposing cathedral where French monarchs once received their crowns. Warm up your taste buds before joining your base tour, thanks to added features like an included Welcome Dinner and Champagne tasting.
Depart home and fly overnight to Paris, France (or depart earlier on an optional extension)
Depart home tonight bound for Paris. Or, leave earlier and enjoy our pre-trip extension in Chantilly & the Champagne Region.
Welcome to Paris! Enjoy a Welcome Dinner in the City of Lights
Following your overnight flight, you'll arrive today in Paris. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport by a representative who will assist with your transfer to the hotel. Get settled in and, tonight, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner in Paris!
Discover the iconic landmarks of Paris
Is there anything better than waking up in Paris? Likely not, but today’s explorations will certainly rank high on your list! On a morning panoramic tour, you’ll discover the highlights of this vibrant cultural capital, including the iconic Eiffel Tower alongside its sprawling Champ de Mars and the UNESCO-listed Banks of the Seine. During your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to learn a few key words and phrases with a French language lesson.
Lunch is on your own, so you can dive right into the fabulous French cuisine at your fingertips. After, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to shop or stroll — there’s no shortage of beauty in this city, where a stunning monument awaits on almost every corner. But don’t worry about trying to accomplish it all — we’ll be back in Paris at the end of this journey!
Dinner is at your leisure tonight — if you’re looking for same-day recommendations, see your Cruise Director or Concierge. You might also check in with our Concierge ahead of time to secure your spot at one of Paris’ many esteemed restaurants.
Discover Honfleur (and its oysters), then embark your river ship
This morning after breakfast, you’ll transfer to Honfleur and enjoy a guided walking tour of this picturesque town — birthplace of the early Impressionist painter Eugene Boudin and a favorite of Monet, Courbet, and other artists, who maintained studios near the harbor. Here, you’ll also be treated to a delightful tasting session of Normandy’s famous oysters. Lunch in Honfleur is on Vantage, and we’ll provide you euros to lunch in town with an afternoon at leisure to explore more of Honfleur. Later, you’ll embark ship and enjoy evening onboard entertainment — a fantastic ballroom duo!
Tour Normandy’s D-Day beaches, visit the American Cemetery, and enjoy your choice of tours
Some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century will be 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. Take part in a solemn ceremony — exclusive to your Vantage group — 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 U.S. Rangers who scaled the sea cliff in a daring attack. Finally, continue to Omaha Beach, where U.S. Army infantry prevailed in the face of fierce resistance. For lunch, enjoy le goûter, a traditional French snack time, in a local restaurant.
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.
Embark on a “Taste of Normandy” tour, then dine at a restaurant beloved by Julia Child
Building on your experiences yesterday, hear a lecture on World War II this morning and enjoy an early lunch onboard. This afternoon, set off on a “Taste of Normandy” tour to the Fécamp Benedictine monastery. Here, you’ll see how the famous Benedictine liqueur, with its traditional blend of 27 spices and herbs, is produced. A scenic drive will next bring us to Étretat, an iconic site on France’s Normandy coastline.
Tonight, you’ll enjoy a true cruise highlight when we dine at La Couronne, the oldest auberge (inn) in France and site of the meal that inspired Child’s culinary adventures. It’s here where Child had what she called “the most exciting meal of her life.” See what she means tonight, then head back to the ship for evening entertainment from a local crooner.
Discover ancient Rouen with your choice of tours
After breakfast on board, you’ll have your choice of tours in Rouen, a city with a charming medieval quarter that has witnessed countless historical dramas, including the fiery death of St. Joan of Arc.
Your first option is a guided walking tour (with an option for a more active walking tour) that includes a visit to Rouen’s unforgettable Gothic cathedral, which boasts the highest spire in France. Once the subject of Monet’s famous series that depicted the ornate façade at different seasons and times of day, today the cathedral is vying to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or, choose to experience more of France’s amazing culinary heritage at a fun cooking class in a local school.
Later, enjoy a sampling Calvados apple brandy and local cheeses onboard. Tonight, attend our movie night featuring The Longest Day, a 1962 war epic depicting the events of D-Day.
Venture into Monet’s life in Vernon and Giverny
You’ve seen the city life, but this morning’s walking tour will introduce you to French provincialism at its finest in Giverny. Today’s guided tour leads you to Monet’s house and gardens, and you’ll also admire Giverny’s centuries-old, half-timbered homes, and the imposing Gothic cathedral — a centerpiece of local life that Monet painted six times.
Spend the afternoon at leisure — or, tap into your inner Monet during a painting lesson and an engaging lecture on Impressionism and its figureheads. After dinner, relax with another onboard movie night featuring Midnight in Paris, a spirited Woody Allen fantasy flick transporting its protagonist back in time to interact with some of the city’s most notable artists.
Taste your way through France with confections, lectures, and wine tastings
While your ship cruises to Paris this morning, we invite you to deepen your understanding of Parisian food culture with a day of gourmet surprises. First, attend an introduction to French cuisine and drinking culture, followed by a macaron and chocolate sampling. After lunch, a local sommelier joins us on board for a special afternoon lecture on France’s wine regions with an included wine tasting. After dinner, more fun awaits with a flamboyant cancan performance!
Disembark ship and savor a special lunch on the Seine
This morning you’ll disembark your ship back in Paris! Enjoy a special lunch along the banks of the Seine on a sightseeing boat. This afternoon, check into your hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Dinner is on your own in Paris tonight!
Explore Paris as you like it
Say oui to Paris once more, as we wake up with a full day to enjoy the city. You’ll find that 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 it’s a pastry and a coffee in a street side café or asking your Concierge to reserve a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Enjoy local vintages tonight at a wine-paired Farewell Dinner at the elegant La Ciel de Paris, the highest panoramic restaurant in Paris, situated atop the Montparnasse Tower.
Fly home, or head to Versailles for an optional post-trip extension
Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, begin your optional post-trip extension in Versailles!
Go back in time to discover some of the crowning achievements of French civilization, including the Palace of Versailles and Gardens. On this special extension, you’ll stay just outside Paris in the charming village of Versailles, in a lovely hotel that’s steps away from the spectacular royal château and its acres of perfectly manicured gardens. In addition, round out your journey with plenty of opportunities for cultural and culinary immersion during your free time.
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.