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The Loire Valley & A Portrait of the Impressionists' Seine

10 Days from £2,145per
person
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(Tour code: LIR19)

Explore some of the most famous châteaux and the world of the Impressionist artists

Explore the some of the most famous châteaux the stud the verdant Loire Valley and relax in the charming French town of Blois before joining a scenic cruise along the Seine that delves into the world of the Impressionist artists, from Monet's famous garden at Giverny to the city galleries of Paris and Rouen.

Highlights
  • Château d’Auvers sur Oise
  • Marmottan Museum
  • Illuminated night-time Seine cruise
  • Visit to Giverny
  • Impressionist tour of Rouen
  • Excursion along the Route des Abbayes
  • Guided walking tour of Honfleur
  • Excursion to the Alabaster Coast
  • MS Seine Princess
What’s Included
  • Standard Class Rail
  • Optional Bag Concierge
  • All-Inclusive Board Basis
    6-night cruise on the MS Seine Princess

The Loire Valley & A Portrait of the Impressionists' Seine 2019Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Eurostar
Eurostar

London to Blois

Meet at our dedicated St Pancras Departure Office where your group, escorted by your Tour Manager, will board the Eurostar service to Paris. From the French capital we take the local service through to Blois, checking into the 4-Star Hotel Mercure Blois Centre for three nights on our arrival. Later in the evening, we enjoy a three-course dinner in the hotel.

Includes:
  • Dinner
Day 2 Chateau de Chenonceau
Chateau de Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau and Château du Clos Lucé

Today begins with an excursion to Château de Chenonceau, arguably the most iconic of its kind in the Loire Valley. The Château elegantly spans the River Cher and is a fine example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. After exploring the Château and its picturesque fountain gardens, we travel by coach to the town of Amboise, former home of the French royal court. But the town's biggest claim to fame is Château du Clos Lucé, the final home of Leonardo da Vinci, who died here in 1519.

We visit the former manor house, Clos Lucé, which still contains a number of his inventions and is laid out as it would have been during the artist and visionary's final years.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 Chateau de Villandry
Chateau de Villandry

At leisure in the Loire Valley

You are free today to continue sightseeing independently. Perhaps tale a relaxed stroll through Blois and discover Château de Blois; located at the centre of the city, it was once the residence of King Louis XII. The 18th century bridge that spans the Loire is also a prime example of Renaissance architecture. Or why not head further afield? Nearby Château de Villandry is celebrated for its rich Renaissance style gardens. The castle-palace was constructed in the 16th century on the sight of the old fort, which had at one time been the location for peace talks during the Hundred Years War between the English and the French. The castle gardens are some of the most beautiful in the world and include a variety of water gardens, ornamental flower beds and vegetable patches, all set within a puzzle pattern of low-box hedges.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
Day 4 MS Seine Princess
MS Seine Princess

A portrait of the Impressionists' Seine

After breakfast, we check out of the Hotel Mercure Blois Centre, transferring to the station for the train to Paris. Here we board the MS Seine Princess for a wonderful six-day cruise.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 Paris
Paris

An impression of Paris

Today's excursions take us even further along the path of the Impressionists as we begin our discoveries with a guided morning tour of Château d'Auvers sur Oise. Situated in the village where Vincent Van Gogh spent his final months, this remarkable homage to some of the most renowned artists in the world takes us on a journey back in time, with the Château recreated to how it would have looked in the era of Monet, Renoir and Degas. There are also multimedia displays of their art alongside landscaped gardens laid out in typical Parisian style.

This afternoon we continue into the French capital proper, visiting the Marmottan Museum, which boasts a collection that features more than three hundred original works by Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse to name but a few. After time to look around the exhibits that track the time line of Impressionism into Post Impressionism, we return to the ship, where this evening we set out onto the waters of the Seine, taking in the illuminated 'City of Lights'.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Giverny
Giverny

Giverny Gardens

We start the day cruising to Poissy, during which time we are treated to another expert talk about Claude Monet and his role as a leading light of the Impressionist movement.

This afternoon we enjoy a shore excursion to the delightful village of Giverny, which lies close to the point where the River Epte meets the Seine. 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 works, and the house still has the atmosphere of a peaceful creative retreat. We rejoin the boat in Mantes-la-Jolie and tonight there is a traditional French 'guinguette' evening held on board, an 18th century take on cabaret.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Rouen
Rouen

Cruising to Rouen

Our destination today is Rouen, former capital of Normandy, where we enjoy a guided tour that follows in the footsteps of the Impressionists themselves. Arriving in the afternoon, 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. One of Monet's passions was altered lighting states on his subjects, and the way something which usually goes unnoticed can alter the viewer's perception entirely. We return to our ship for tonight's Gala dinner.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 Mont saint Michel
Mont saint Michel

The Route des Abbayes

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. This makes the perfect setting for our third and final lecture, covering the topic of the geography of Impressionism in Northern France. 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.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 Honfleur
Honfleur

Honfleur and the Alabaster Coast

This morning we take a tour of the historic fishing port of Honfleur. Its 'Vieux Bassin' area boasts a number of preserved traditional buildings and the town is famous as being an important influence in the work of many artists, including Monet, Courbet and Boudin. Here they set up the Ecole de Honfleur, an artists' colony, a melting pot for the whole Impressionist movement.

After lunch, we take a guided trip along the Alabaster Coast, part of a plateau known as the Pays de Caux. These striking, sheer chalk cliffs feature in many Impressionist artworks because of their effect on the interplay of light and shadow reflecting from the water. Back on the ship tonight we enjoy our final group dinner together.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 Eurostar
Eurostar

Return to London

After breakfast we transfer back to Paris for the Eurostar to London, where your tour comes to an end.

Includes:
  • Breakfast

Departure Times

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.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
  • Standard Class rail travel throughout

Comfortable accommodation

  • 3 nights' hotel accommodation at the 4-Star Hotel Mercure Blois Centre in Blois
  • 6-night cruise on board the MS Seine Princess

Delicious meals included

  • 22 meals including 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 8 dinners, including 1 gala dinner
  • All inclusive selection of complimentary beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks during your cruise

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Château de Chenonceau and Château du Clos Lucé
  • Guided tours of Château d'Auvers sur Oise and Honfleur
  • The Marmottan Museum or Musée de L'orangerie
  • Visit to Giverny, the Alabaster Coast and Rouen
  • Trip along the Route des Abbayes and the Seine at night
  • 3 expert talks on Impressionism during your cruise

Enhancing your tour

  • Upgrade to an Upper Deck cabin from £195 per person (twin occupancy only)
  • Upgrade your Eurostar journey to Standard Premier Class for the discounted price of £85 per person each way

 

This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Kathryn Cambridge
Kathryn
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Julie Pacalon
Julie
Helen Laverack
Helen
The Loire Valley & A Portrait of the Impressionists' Seine

Explore some of the most famous châteaux and the world of the Impressionist artists

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