Five-Star Seine Cruise (Rail & Cruise)
Save £100pp on selected cabin upgrades when you book on or before 28th May 2019
Cruising the scenic Seine, explore the world of the Impressionist artists, from Monet's famous garden at Giverny to the city galleries of Paris and Rouen. And with flexible shore excursions available, you can pick and mix your favourite excursions whilst enjoying the romantic scenery of what is arguably France's best-loved waterway.
This is a tour that delivers the very best of Northern France, from the world-changing D-Day landings to traditional guinguette performances.
We meet at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International ahead of our journey to Paris on the Eurostar. On arrival we transfer by coach to our ship, the Ms Renoir, where we are welcomed with a relaxing drink before dinner.
On the morning of Day 2 we enjoy a guided tour of the splendid French capital. We see many of the major attractions such as Place de la République, the Grand Boulevards, Opera House, Place de la Madeleine, Place Vendôme, and the Louvre. After lunch aboard you have some free time to sightsee independently. We set sail in the evening for a cruise along the Seine, admiring the illuminated attractions we see along the way (weather permitting).
We start the day cruising to Giverny, during which time we are treated to an expert talk on board; 'A Definition of Impressionism', the perfect warm up for a visit to the delightful village of Giverny. Now synonymous with Monet, Giverny very nearly missed out on getting its name on the map - it was during a train journey the artist made in 1883 when he decided that this was the spot he wanted to live and work in. With its instantly recognisable lily ponds, the gardens are the image of how they were when Monet first painted them, almost like stepping into one of his actual artworks, and the house still has the atmosphere of a peaceful creative retreat.
Alternatively you may prefer to visit the slightly more opulent Palace of Versailles. Seat of the Royal family until the French Revolution, the complex is split into house and gardens and we enjoy a tour of both. The palace gardens are some of the most recognisable in the world, and feature a web of manicured lawns, extravagant fountains and dramatic sculptures. The awe-inspiring interiors are rich in colour and jewels and we even have a chance to see the historically important Hall of Mirrors, the former seat of the French government and famously the site of the Treaty of Versailles signing, which brought an official end to the conflict of World War One. We rejoin the boat where tonight there's a traditional French 'guinguette' evening held on board, an 18th century take on cabaret.
Our destination today is Rouen, former capital of Normandy, where we enjoy a guided tour that follows in the footsteps of the Impressionists themselves. This medieval city is the proud home of The Museum of Fine Arts and its impressive collection of Impressionist compositions. We make a visit to the gallery as well as taking in Rouen Cathedral, which was depicted in oil paint by Claude Monet. His series of over 30 paintings show the building at all different times of day. Following an insightful few hours, we return to our ship for tonight's dinner.
We make our way to Duclair today, sailing through a landscape of steep cliffs and timeless villages, fleeting views of which helped inspire the Impressionist style itself. On arrival in Duclair we embark on an excursion along the Route des Abbayes, exploring the abbeys that line the route of the river by coach. Stretching between Rouen and Mont-Saint-Michel, this historic trail has seen religious orders being built here from the 5th century onwards, and at one point there were up to 120 sites of worship. Later we continue upriver to Honfleur, where we moor for the night.
The charming port town of Honfleur is located on the southern bank of the Seine Estuary in the Calvados region of France famous for its apple brandy. Centred on its adorable historic port and marina - the 'Vieux Bassin' - Honfleur boasts a number of preserved traditional buildings and today you can choose to take a tour of this quaint destination, famous as being an important influence in the work of many artists, including Monet, Courbet and Boudin, who set up the Ecole de Honfleur, an artists' colony and melting pot for the whole Impressionist movement.
Otherwise you might select our excursion to the nearby beaches of Gold and Juno, two of five landing sites utilised for the D-Day landings on June 6th 1944, a pivotal event in the eventual Allied triumph over the Axis powers. Following some free time this afternoon, tonight we celebrate the end of our cruise at the captain's special gala dinner.
We transfer to Paris after a final breakfast together. From here we catch the return Eurostar service back to London.
We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid. (Look for S - Standard Class and F - First Class)
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Cruise the scenic Seine and explore the world of the Impressionist artists