Paris offers you a great way to begin your Seine River cruise, as it provides you with a veritable introduction to the French culture. Not only is it the most popular travel destination, Paris also gives you great insight into the pace of French life and its diverse attractions. Along with seeing sights, such as the Eiffel Tower, you can also visit out-of-the-way cafes or get caught up in the excitement of visiting the shops and sights of the Champs-Elysees.
Best Time To Visit While many visitors like to see Paris in the spring, or in June and July, you may want to go during August when Parisians go on holiday.
You Should Know Named for Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower is the most popular landmark in the world. Before your Seine River cruise, why not picnic on the banks of the Seine River? Buy some fruit, cheese, and baguettes and watch the boats float over the water in the late afternoon or toward the end of the day. The Palace of Versailles was the home of Louis XIV, an important royal residence until 1789, or the beginning of the French Revolution. A visit to Paris gardens in the spring and summer, such as Jardin des Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries, makes any trip to Paris all the more magical.
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and Auvers-Sur-Oise
Located close to Paris, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is a suburb in north-central France and is named for the geographic confluence of the Seine and Oise rivers. From this section in Paris, you can travel to Auvers-Sur-Oise, which is the town where the painter Vincent Van Gogh died.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and Auvers-Sur-Oise is during August, or when Parisians are usually on holiday. This will give you more time to visit the two places without distraction.
You Should Know In Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, the Musee de la Batellerie reveals all you need to know about river transportation and canal building in France during the 17th and 18th centuries. Antique shipbuilding tools and navigational items are part of the exhibits. Visit the Chateau de Malmaison, where Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte once lived. Summer is the ideal time to visit the estate's beautiful gardens.
Vernon and Giverny
While you will dock at Vernon, you will travel to Giverny, a short distance away. Giverny is famous, as it was the home of painter, Claude Monet. The location inspired the artist's work and is the setting for Monet's gardens and ponds.
Best Time To Visit You can see the area's gardens in full bloom during the summer months, so these are the times that most travelers choose to visit Giverny.
You Should Know Located in northern France, Giverny is a must-see attraction. Claude Monet, the famous Impressionist artist, worked and lived in the village from 1883 until he died, in 1926. Monet created his water lily series in Giverny, which are now featured in Giverny's Foundation Claude Monet Museum.
Located on the Seine River, Les Andelys, which is located in Upper Normandy, is separated into Grand-Andely and Petit Andely. The village offers visitors a chance to visit historic attractions, such as the fortress, Chateau Gaillard, which can be seen from afar when walking along the Seine's banks.
Best Time To Visit Based on tourist scores, the best time to travel to Les Andelys is from June to September.
You Should Know Chateau Gaillard is the fortress and castle built by Richard the Lionhearted or Richard I, otherwise known as the Duke of Normandy. The Petit Andely St. Sauveur Church was constructed from 1198 to 1202. The Grand Andely Notre Dame Collegiate Church was built over a 500-year period, with construction beginning in the 1200s. This site is where the wife of Clovis, Queen Clotilde, founded the first Norman abbey in the year 511. Clovis is known as the first Christian king of the Franks.
Sitting along the banks of the Seine River, Rouen provides river cruise-goers with an impressive view as they sail toward this medieval city. Also known as the capital of Normandy, Rouen was badly destroyed during the Second World War. Since that time, the "City of 100 Spires," has been successfully restored.
Best Time To Visit You should travel to Rouen is in the late spring, summer, or early fall.
You Should Know One of the popular tourist sites in Rouen is the marker showing the spot where Joan of Arc died. She was burned at the stake in 1431. Rouen is home to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The painter, Claude Monet, noticed how natural light impacted the building's façade. From this observation, he started painting at different times of the day.
Caudebec serves as a primary river cruise port for visiting the beaches of Normandy and the seventh-century Jumieges Abbey ruins. The green and shaded riverbank in Caudebec is a popular place for walking during the summer and early fall.
Best Time To Visit Visit Caudebec from June to August when you can enjoy the sights and green canopies of trees along the Seine River.
You Should Know Visit the Church of Notre Dame, built in the 1400s. The church's richly carved exterior and beautiful stained-glass windows make it a popular tourist site. The Maison des Templiers serves as the town's museum of local history.
Located about 2 hours from Paris and only 10 minutes from the Normandy beaches, Caen is an energetic city whose history played a pivotal role during World War II. The Battle of Caen lasted for two months before the end of the conflict on August 6, 1944.
Best Time To Visit According to tourist scores, the best time to see Caen is usually from June and September.
You Should Know In the center of Caen sits the Chateau de Caen, built around 1060, by William the Conqueror. The building is flanked by the abbeys of Saint-Etienne and Staine-Trinite, which were erected at about the same time. Caen serves as home to a multimedia war museum that features exhibits covering the Battle of Normandy, the Second World War, and the Cold War.
Not all Seine River cruises include Honfleur on their itinerary. Therefore, make sure you find a river cruise that adds this port to its schedule. The 17th-century harbor town of Honfleur can best be seen on a walking tour. Here is where the Seine River finally empties into the English Channel. The town, which has inspired French paintings, takes you back in time with its old townhomes lining the Vieux-Bassin or old harbor.
Best Time To Visit Honfleur is best seen during the summer months or in September.
You Should Know Built by shipbuilders in the 15th century, the vaulted St. Catherine's Church is the largest timber church in
France. The Notre-Dame de Grace was constructed by the Duke of Normandy during the 15th century. The building replaced a chapel that was destroyed when a cliff collapsed. To show his thanks for surviving a violent storm, the duke had the church built.
To start your Seine River cruise, you'll likely fly into Paris. This iconic city is not just a cultural hub but also the main gateway for your river adventure. The ports for these cruises are well-connected and easy to find, often located in the heart of the city along the Seine itself. Ships usually dock near major landmarks, making them hard to miss. From Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport, you can take a taxi, bus, or train to reach the port. Once you're on the ship, you'll sail northwest, heading towards the Normandy coast, with stops at storybook towns and sites of historical significance along the way. Getting to and from your cruise is as easy as a Parisian stroll.
Immerse Yourself in French Culture
Immersing yourself in French culture is a highlight of any Seine River cruise. France's culture is deeply rooted in its history, art, and gastronomy. Respect for tradition is everywhere, from the way a table is set to the importance of greeting others politely. A simple "bonjour" when entering a shop or starting a conversation goes a long way. Meals are a leisurely affair, meant to be savored as much as the food on the plate.
Festivals are a vibrant part of French life, with celebrations for everything from music and film to local saints and seasonal harvests. Bastille Day on July 14th is a nationwide celebration of French pride, marked by parades and fireworks. If your cruise coincides with a local festival, it's a perfect opportunity to experience the community spirit and joie de vivre that is quintessentially French.
Experience the Flavors of France
French cuisine is renowned worldwide, and a Seine River cruise will introduce you to its delights. In Paris, bistros and cafés offer classics like "croissants" and "escargot." Don't miss trying a warm "crêpe" from a street vendor or indulging in a "macaron" from a patisserie.
As you venture out of the capital, each region presents its specialties. Normandy is famous for its creamy "Camembert" cheese and "tarte Tatin," an upside-down apple tart. Here, the apple orchards produce not just fruit but also "cider" and "calvados," a potent apple brandy you've got to taste.
In the small towns along the Seine, explore local markets for fresh produce and regional delicacies. Restaurants in these areas often serve up hearty dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Make sure to try "coquilles Saint-Jacques," scallops with a rich sauce, if you find yourself in a coastal town.
For an immersive experience, consider a cooking class on board or in a local kitchen, where you can learn how to bring the flavors of France to your own home. With every meal and sip, you're not just eating; you're experiencing the very essence of French culture.
Why Book a Seine River Cruise?
Booking a Seine River cruise is the perfect way to delve into the rich tapestry of French culture and history with the utmost convenience. From the comfort of your floating hotel, you can soak in the stunning views of the French countryside and its coastal gems without the hassle of packing and unpacking at each new destination. You'll enjoy the value of having most of your travel needs—like meals, accommodation, and transport—neatly wrapped up in one cost. What's more, river cruises often provide exclusive access to certain landmarks, guided tours, and private excursions that aren't available to the general public. This means you can enjoy intimate experiences away from the crowds, delving deeper into the areas you explore. With the combination of scenic relaxation, cultural immersion, and the ease of travel, a Seine River cruise offers a unique and enriching way to experience the heart of France.
Ready to Book Your Seine River Cruise?
If you're thinking of a unique way to discover France, a Seine River cruise is the answer. It's a journey that takes you from the iconic landmarks of Paris to the storied beaches of Normandy, all while you enjoy the ease and comfort of river travel. Along the way, indulge in exquisite French cuisine, delve into rich history, and engage with vibrant local cultures. Every stop brings a new experience, a new taste, and a new story. Onboard, relax with like-minded travelers as picturesque landscapes unfold before you. A Seine River cruise offers the perfect blend of leisure and exploration, luxury and authenticity. So why wait? Book your cruise today and set sail for the heart of France, where adventure and elegance await at every bend of the river.