Normandy River Cruise Group - May, 2020
From $4,109.00 USD
May 24 - 31, 2020
Join your hosts Mike & Jane Berger for a cruise through this historical area.
River Heritage Club members receive the current applicable reduction. Call Mike at 712-239-2667.
See below for pricing.
A journey steeped in wonder
Cruise from Paris through Normandy’s countryside, uncovering its many charms: Richard the Lionheart’s Chateau Gaillard, the medieval capital of Rouen, Monet’s beloved home in Giverny and the famed Normandy beaches.
Normandy has been the setting for many battles over the centuries, including the D-Day invasion of WWII, and the Normandy Beaches mean different things to different people, so you’ll have a rare choice to visit several of its historic sites, such as Utah and Omaha beaches, Juno Beach or the famous 11th-century tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings.
Experience a different side of Northern France’s history with a choice to tour two majestic palaces, Versailles, once home to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, or Château de Malmaison, once home to Napoleon’s first empress, Josephine.
See the best of Paris in one of three ways via the “Heart of Paris” cruise and city tour, an exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” tour or an exclusive guided “Let's Go” bike tour. There are plenty of opportunities to take part in more active experiences, such as golfing at Sainte-Mère-Église in Étretat, perched on the cliff high above the sea, making playing golf here a memorable experience and visual feast.
Who will enjoy this cruise
History buffs will be fascinated by D-Day sites and Rouen where Joan of Arc was martyred.
This itinerary is based on the 2019 departures and is subject to change.
MAY 24: Paris (Embark)
Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
MAY 25: La Roche-Guyon, Vernon (Giverny)
Today is a celebration of Northern France’s natural beauty, with an excursion to a splendid chateau and gardens situated in an equally grand setting, plus a chance to immerse yourself in the very landscapes that inspired Impressionist master Claude Monet. Visit the hilltop Chateau La Roche-Guyon, surrounded by beautiful gardens and offering sweeping views over the Seine. Later, you can visit the home and gardens of Impressionist master Claude Monet—the inspiration for many of his most beloved works. Or, take in the beautiful French countryside in a more invigorating way, with a guided bike ride from Vernon to Giverny.Featured Excursion:
- Monet’s gardens at Giverny
Monet often painted the little riverside town of Vernon, so you are likely to recognize scenes the master rendered in oils on your way to his home in the village of Giverny, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. When Monet bought the property, most of it was an orchard; he transformed it over the years into the enchanting visions immortalized in his paintings, essentially creating each work of art twice: once as a living garden and again as a painting. As you stroll through the grounds, you’ll see the famed Japanese bridge and water garden shaded by weeping willows. Monet’s house, which you will also visit, remains furnished as it was when the leader of the impressionist school lived here, complete with his precious collection of Japanese engravings.
- Exclusive guided “Let's Go” bicycle ride to Giverny
The country roads between Vernon and Giverny offer easy—and pretty—biking. Hop aboard your bike and pedal about three miles to the village where the artist lived for decades. You’ll pass the church and cemetery where Monet is buried and the Hotel Baudy, where his painter friends often stayed, and arrive at the artist’s home and garden for a tour.
- Chateau La Roche-Guyon
From cave dwelling to fortress to castle to palace: This is the history of Château La Roche- Guyon (the Rock of Guy), which takes its name from its medieval lords (traditionally named Guy) and its location, a limestone outcropping—a rock—above the Seine. Medieval knights kept watch for marauding Vikings from the tower high atop the hill and later defended the double wall around a 13th-century manor house; successive lords added to the buildings over the centuries, so you can see not just troglodyte chapels but Renaissance rooms where kings Francis I and Henry II were entertained (and, legend says, Henry IV pursued a lovely chatelaine without success) and handsome 18th-century state apartments. Enlightenment thinkers met with the Duchess d’Enville, who owned the château before the revolution and who had the huge kitchen garden laid out according to Enlightenment principles. You might think, as you walk through the elegantly designed garden and beautifully paneled rooms (mostly without furniture these days, so you can appreciate the Gobelins tapestries without distraction) that the residence’s military function was in the far distant past, but Rommel made his headquarters here during WWII, precisely because the ancient fortifications and caves were so secure.
MAY 26: Rouen (Normandy Beaches)
The Normandy coast will forever be associated with the Allies’ D-Day invasion, a day that comes vividly to life today on an excursion to the beaches of 1944. Immerse yourself in the tactics, desperate courage and horrendous human cost of the 1944 Allied invasion of France, the first step in the ultimately victorious land campaign against the Third Reich. It began here, on these Norman beaches.Featured Excursion:
- Omaha Beach and the Normandy Military Cemetery
Join your fellow passengers in a journey to the American cemetery, where almost 10,000 US soldiers are buried, most of whom lost their lives during the D-Day invasion.Today's journey also includes visits to Juno Beach and the Centre Juno Beach museum.
- Full-day Normandy beaches with Utah Beach, Sainte-Mère-Église, Airborne museum, Pointe du Hoc, American Cemetery.
Join your fellow passengers in a journey to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery, where almost 10,000 US soldiers are buried, most of whom lost their lives during the D-Day invasion. Today's journey also includes visits to Utah Beach, Sainte-Mère-Église, the Airborne museum, and Pointe du Hoc.
- Full-day Normandy beaches with Arromanches and Bayeux, Tapestry Museum, and the American Cemetery
Join your fellow passengers in a journey to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery, where almost 10,000 US soldiers are buried, most of whom lost their lives during the D-Day invasion. Today's journey also includes visits to Arromanches, Bayeux and the Tapestry Museum.
MAY 27: Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur or Étretat)
Golfing? On a river cruise? This delightfully unexpected excursion—a Uniworld exclusive—features a dramatic links course set atop Normandy’s Alabaster Coast. In a word, magnifique. Not into golf? Stroll through seaside Honfleur, captured on canvas by generations of artists. Caudebec, a lovely little town on a serene loop of the Seine, is your base for one of two very different excursions. You could drive through the beautiful Calvados countryside to Honfleur, a delightful seaside harbor and city of painters, or head to the windy cliffs of Étretat for a game of golf.Featured Excursion:
- Honfleur walking discovery tour
A walking tour of the fishing village begins at the former smugglers’ harbor of Vieux Bassin—the most frequently painted scene in Honfleur—which looks much as it did a century ago, though now the boats in the harbor are more likely to be pleasure craft than fishing vessels. Your local guide will take you down tiny lanes, where houses stand shoulder to shoulder in a jumble of styles: narrow 19th-century slate-roofed townhouses, 15th-century fishermen’s cottages, and tall and elegant mansions— many adorned with figures of chimeras or saints. You’ll also see St. Catherine’s Church, built in the 15th century by shipwrights who gave it an oak ceiling that looks like the hull of a boat.
- Exclusive guided “Let's Go” golfing in Étretat
It would be hard to find a more spectacular location than Étretat’s clifftop course, which is ranked as one of the best in France. Originally laid out in 1908 and substantially redesigned in the 1990s, it offers a multitude of challenges: Two nine-hole loops take players right to the cliff’s edge, the wind can be a serious challenge in and of itself, and the 10th through 14th holes offer formidable tests of a golfer’s skill. Spend the morning on the course, lunch on your own in charming Étretat and explore the seaside village that so many artists, including Monet, rendered in paint, or return to the ship for lunch and a leisurely afternoon onboard. Note: Golf excursion is open to a limited number of golfers.
MAY 28: Rouen
Walk in the footsteps of greatness in Normandy’s medieval capital, a city with a historic quarter that remains amazingly intact. From the cathedral Monet painted dozens of times to the cross marking to spot where Joan of Arc was martyred, Rouen is a treasure trove for the culturally curious. The medieval capital of Normandy, Rouen has managed to preserve much of its historic core, despite being turned into a battlefield numerous times. The roll call of famous people who lived or died in Rouen is long and varied— Richard the Lionheart, Joan of Arc, Gustave Flaubert and Claude Monet are among them.
- Rouen gourmet walking discovery tour
Rouen’s most famous landmark, the cathedral—celebrated in 30 paintings by Monet—was begun some 800 years ago, acquiring a multitude of spires and styles as it was expanded and renovated in different eras. Ramble from the cathedral square, with its ornate Renaissance clock, and begin your exploration of the Old Town. The cobblestone alleyways are lined with tall half-timbered houses, often with shops on the first floor and apartments above; it may be a historic district, but it is also a living one. Step into a couple of these shops and patisseries for tastes of regional specialties—delicious cider, for instance, and the chocolate confection unique to Rouen known as the “tears of Joan of Arc”—as you make your way toward the Old Market Square. Reminders of life and death are common here: Note the carved skulls and other symbols of death on the buildings near Saint-Maclou, a spectacular late-Flamboyant Gothic church, and the adjacent Aître Saint-Maclou, once a cemetery for plague victims and now a garden. As you enter the Old Market Square, you’ll spot a bronze cross marking the most famous death in the city—the place where the English burned Joan of Arc at the stake. The Church of St. Joan, on the square, may seem incongruous in its modernity; it was built on the site of Saint-Sauveur church, which was destroyed during WWII—the stained-glass windows in the new church were salvaged from the ruins.
MAY 29: Mantes-la-Jolie (Versailles)
How did France’s rulers live over the centuries? Step into the private rooms of either the Palace of Versailles, the lavish palace built by the Sun King, or Château de Malmaison, home to Napoleon Bonaparte’s Empress Josephine, to find out.Featured Excursion:
- Palace of Versailles
It was the official residence of the country’s kings and queens from 1682 until the revolution, and though the monarchy possessed other palaces, Versailles stood alone in magnificence. Tour the royal apartments, which still look much as they did when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fled in 1789. In these rooms, you’ll find lush silk draperies, exquisite marquetry tables, gilded beds, Aubusson carpets and porcelain ornaments that reveal the elegance of the 18th-century royalty’s lifestyle, as well as the extravagance that helped fuel the rage leading to the revolution. Climb the great staircase and enter the jaw-dropping Hall of Mirrors, where the absolute ruler of France held court for the ambassadors of Siam, Persia and the Ottoman Empire, along with all the great seigneurs of France. Ladies intrigued behind their fans, plots were hatched, and careers were made and destroyed beneath the sparkling chandeliers here.
- Château de Malmaison
Part great romance, part scandal, part politics—this is the story of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine, the fascinating (and notorious) widow he married in 1796 and divorced 14 years later in order to marry Marie-Louise of Austria (who gave him the son Josephine could not bear him). Despite the divorce, Napoleon remained devoted to Josephine: Malmaison is a testament to that devotion. The jewel-box palace was redesigned under Josephine’s direction in the 1790s, with every facet intended to reflect both the “Little Corporal’s” glory and Josephine’s own exquisite Directoire tastes. Though the palace fell on hard times in the 19th century, it has been beautifully restored. The Consulate Chamber, where Napoleon met with his staff, resembles a military tent; the library is furnished with the emperor’s desk from his apartments in the Tuileries. Josephine’s bedroom retains the elegant tented Jacob-Desmalter bed in which the empress slept. Among the many gems on display here are David’s original Napoleon Crossing the Alps and the Austerlitz table inlaid with Sèvres plaques commemorating Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz.
A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
MAY 30: Paris
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the “City of Light” or you’ve been here many times before, there’s something for everyone today in Paris. Enjoy a panoramic overview of the city, join a local expert for a walk through two much-loved neighborhoods, or pedal your way along the Left Bank, a fresh and fun way to take in the sights.Featured Excursion:
- Paris city tour
Hemingway called Paris a moveable feast: Once you’ve experienced it, you will take it with you wherever you go. If you are experiencing Paris for the first time, this tour will introduce you to the City of Light’s most cherished landmarks. You’ll head via motorcoach from the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his Grand Army’s 128 victories, down the Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Concorde. These broad 19th-century avenues and stately buildings were created by Baron Haussmann in a great urban development that eliminated the cramped, crazy-quilt medieval city and gave Paris its modern form. You’ll pass the magnificent Opéra Garnier, the Place Vendôme (home to designer salons), the legendary Louvre and, on the Left Bank, the Sorbonne University and the Panthéon. Stretch your legs at the Luxembourg Gardens, then take in the École Militaire before arriving at the manicured grounds of the Champs de Mars, the perfect vantage point from which to see Paris’s most iconic structure—the Eiffel Tower. Cross the Seine via the most stunning single-arch bridge in Paris, Pont Alexandre III; it displays elegantly sculpted nymphs, winged horses and graceful art nouveau lamps. Once on the other side of the river, you’ll be sure to spot the largest glass ceilings in France, which shelter the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais. As you continue along the Seine’s banks you’ll see many striking contemporary bridges too. Your city tour will finish at your ship’s dock.
- Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Île de la Cité and Latin Quarter walking tour
As a true Parisian would, take the Métro to the Île de la Cité and the great cathedral of Notre Dame. Henry IV said that Paris was worth a Mass when he converted to Catholicism—and he made that conversion official here, in the center of Paris. In fact, Notre Dame is officially the center of France; facing its main entrance is Kilometer Zero, the location from which distances in France (including those of the French national highways) are traditionally measured. An expert in the history and architecture of this magnificent cathedral is your guide as you explore both inside and out. Begun in the 12th century and finished about 200 years later, Notre Dame is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in Europe. After you’ve admired Notre Dame’s stained glass, flying buttresses and idiosyncratic gargoyles, cross the Archbishop’s Bridge to the Left Bank and the Latin Quarter. Wander through the narrow streets where for centuries artists, writers, philosophers and the Sorbonne’s students have lived and worked, argued politics, painted, sipped absinthe and lived the bohemian lifestyle for which the district is famous. Matisse, Picasso, Rimbaud and Sartre, as well as American expatriate writers Hemingway and Fitzgerald, are just a few of the notables who made this district home. Take some time to meander through the area’s little squares, perusing the shop windows and perhaps relaxing with a drink at a classic café.
- Exclusive guided “Let's Go” Left Bank bicycle ride
The Seine’s quays may be protected by UNESCO for their cultural importance and significance in the development of Paris, but they are also the scene of a host of fun outdoor activities: games for kids and grown-ups, a climbing wall, a running track, yoga classes, even a beach in August—and an inviting bike path. Join a guide to pedal along the Left Bank, crossing the bridges that link historic Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis and getting a close look at the heart of the city’s origins. Bike to the Esplanade des Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb is one of the monuments here) and along the Quay d’Orsay to the Champs de Mars, one of Paris’s largest green spaces . . . which just happens to have one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower in the city. It’s a fun way to take part in the life of the city while also getting some exercise.
MAY 31: Paris (Disembark)
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for your flight home.
Your price for this Fanfare Travel Group:
|Classic (Sold Out)||$4799||$4109|
|French Balcony (Sold Out)||$5699||$5054|
|Deluxe French Balcony||$6299||$5684|
|Grand Suite (Sold Out)||$10,299||$9884|
Port charges are $190.
These prices are per person, based on double occupancy. River Heritage Club members can also apply the applicable savings of $100 per person. Airfare is additional. Extended stays in Paris are available.
You will visit the following 3 places:
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,193,031, but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,836,970, and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. In 2009 and 2010, the city has been ranked among the three most important and influential cities in the world, among the first three "European cities of the future" according to a research published by Financial Times and among the top ten cities in the world in which to live according to the British review Monocle. The city is the home of the most visited art museum in the world; ''the Louvre'' as well as the ''Musée d'Orsay'' noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the ''Musée National d'Art Moderne'' a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations. It is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.
Étretat is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in Normandie region in north-western France. It is a tourist and farming town situated about 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Le Havre, at the junction of the D 940, D 11 and D 139 roads. It's located on the coast of the Pays de Caux area. It is best known for its cliffs, including three natural arches and the pointed "needle". These cliffs and the associated resort beach attracted artists including Eugène Boudin, Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet, and were featured prominently in the 1909 Arsène Lupin novel The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc. Two of the three famous arches are seen from the town, the Porte d'Aval, and the Porte d'Amont. The Manneporte is the third and the biggest one, and cannot be seen from the town.
Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. An important city in the Roman era and Middle Ages, it has Gothic churches and a cobblestoned pedestrian center with hundreds of medieval half-timbered houses.
Photo By Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection