You can see plenty of amazing sites in the City of Light. However, because you only have about three days to see the French capital, you will need to plan your time wisely. One must-do activity is a visit to the Eiffel tower, where you can view Paris from upon high. You also want to set some time aside to shop along the Champs-Elysees, or to people-watch from a sidewalk café.
Best Time To Visit According to U.S. World Travel, you should visit Paris from June to August or September to October. The weather from June to August is idyllic if not parfait, as the average temperature hovers around 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
You Should Know When the Eiffel Tower was built, it was designed to stand temporarily for 20 years, as it was erected for the 1889 World's Fair. Travelers who visit the Eiffel Tower can either climb 1,665 steps to get to the top or take the elevator. By comparison, visitors only need to climb 270 steps to get to the entrance of the Basilica del Sacre Coeur. Three replicas of the Statue of Liberty can be found in Paris, with the most famous replica positioned on an isle in the middle of the Seine River. It is pointed toward the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Sitting between Paris and Rouen, the
Seine River town of Vernon endears its visitors with its chateaux and half-timbered homes. Some of the town's sights were painted by the French painter, Claude Monet, who resided across the river. The intimist painter, Pierre Bonnard, immortalized many of Vernon's landmarks as well.
Best Time To Visit Travel from June to August to enjoy the shade and greenery along the Seine River.
You Should Know Try the chocolate mousse at La Halle Aux Grains in Vernon. The town's timbered frame houses date back to the 12th century. The newer residential areas of the town provide a nice shaded walk in the summer. A quiet place to view the Seine River is the Quai Garnuchot, a peaceful lane that runs along a grassy bank of the stream.
Located in the Normandy region, the village of Giverny is located in northern France and offers anyone interested in Monet paintings a chance to learn more about the painter. The Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, made Giverny his home from 1882 until his passing in 1926. Anyone who takes France river cruises along the Seine to the Normandy beaches will want to make sure Giverny is included on their itinerary.
Best Time To Visit Giverny is best visited during the shoulder season in April or October if you wish to avoid the crowds. During the summer, the destination attracts a throng of tourists.
You Should Know Monet created his famous water lilies at his home and gardens in Giverny. They are now a part of the Foundation Claude Monet Museum. The Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny showcases Impressionist art.
Another stopover along the Seine is Rouen, France. Known as the "city of 100 bells chiming in the air," Rouen is famous for its cathedrals. Some of the churches include the Cathedrale Notre-Dame and the Gothic churches of Saint-Ouen and Saint-Maclou.
Best Time To Visit Mark your calendar for a France river cruise to the port city of Rouen in April or October. You will spend less money and enjoy a slower pace.
You Should Know The spires of Cathedrale Notre-Dame can be seen when entering the city of Rouen. The church was the subject of several Monet paintings. The cobblestone pedestrian center in the city features half-timbered homes built during the medieval period. A cross marks the spot where Joan of Arc was martyred.
Situated on the right bank of the Seine estuary, Caudebec-en-Caux often serves as a hub for different day trip excursions. Many river cruise-goers land at this port to venture to nearby Honfleur or to play golf at Etretat.
Best Time To Visit For reduced river cruise rates and to experience fewer crowds, it is always better to visit Caudebec-en-Caux during April or October.
You Should Know An excursion to Honfleur from Caudebec will give you a chance to see more of the French countryside and see why the coastal town served as an inspiration for artist Claude Monet's paintings. The colorful and bright houses in the port area welcome guests, even on blustery and cloudy days. Listen to an organ recital at the Caudebec-en-Caux Cathedral while admiring the church's stained-glass windows. Caudebec lies near the stunning seaside resort of Deauville.
No France river cruise that includes Paris is complete without a visit to Le Havre. This Seine River port city sits at the mouth of the River Seine. The city was extensively rebuilt after the Second World War. Because of the architectural expertise of Auguste Perret, who showed new ways of working with concrete, Le Havre was cited as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.
Best Time To Visit Book a France river cruise to Le Havre during the spring (April or May) or in the fall (October).
You Should Know Le Havre is a great place to enjoy a repast in one of the restaurants that line the city's promenade. In 1872, Claude Monet painted the morning sun rising through the smokestacks of Le Havre. The artist called his painting, "Impression Sunrise." A negative art critic derided the artist's style as "Impressionism," a term that caught hold and led to a new art movement.
The small town of Les Andelys basks in the shadow of Chateau-Gaillard, one of the most imposing sites in the Seine River Valley. The fortress, which was built in 1196 by Richard the Lionhearted, was constructed to ward off attacks by Philip Augustus, King of France, and protect the city of Rouen.
Best Time To Visit Plan to visit Les Andelys in May or October to get a better river cruise rate and to avoid the heavy peak season crowds of summer.
You Should Know Ascending to the Chateau-Gaillard allows visitors to see picturesque views of the Seine River, as it flows along the lovely bank of Petit-Andely. Limestone cliffs create a memorable and scenic view as they flank the Chateau-Gaillard fortress. The Notre Dame Collegiate Church, in Les Andelys, dates back to the 1200s.
The Normandy Beaches
One of the great attractions to see at the end of a classic France river tour along the Seine are the beaches of Normandy – the sites for the D-Day landings and invasions. This is where the Seine River empties into the English Channel.
Best Time To Visit Schedule a trip to Normandy beaches when the weather is more temperate, or during May or October.
You Should Know On June 6, 1944, the beaches of the departements of Calvados and Manche became the designated sites of the famous Normandy Landings. This military maneuver took place to liberate and restore peace to Europe. You can see memorials, dedicated to D-Day activities at sites, such as Utah Beach in Manche, and the Omaha, Sword, Juno, and Gold shorelines in Calvados. Military cemeteries in the area as well as the remains of the Arromanches-Les-Bainsport bear witness to the scale of operations conducted by the military.
France's river cruise ports are well-connected and easy to reach. If you're looking to start your river journey, you'll find that major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Bordeaux serve as common launch points. These cities boast well-equipped ports that are accessible by France's extensive train network or by flying into the country's international airports. From there, you can take a short taxi or shuttle ride to the cruise terminal. Cruise ships navigate through famous waterways like the Seine,
Dordogne, offering travelers a seamless transition from bustling city life to the tranquil pace of river cruising. Getting on your river cruise is hassle-free, setting the stage for a relaxing holiday on France's beautiful waterways.
The Perfect Time for a French River Cruise
When planning a French river cruise, the timing is a key consideration for a memorable journey. The ideal time for a river cruise in France is from late spring to early fall, specifically from May to September. During these months, the weather is generally mild, and the days are longer, providing ample opportunities for sightseeing and relaxation on the deck. The average temperatures range between 15-25°C (59-77°F), creating a comfortable environment for enjoying the scenic beauty of France's rivers.
However, July and August, the peak of summer, can see temperatures climbing above 30°C (86°F), and these months also tend to attract more tourists. For those seeking a quieter river cruising experience in France with fewer tourists, the late spring period from May to early June or early fall in September are excellent choices. The weather remains pleasant during these times, and the summer crowds are either not yet present or have dwindled. Additionally, river cruising during these shoulder seasons often comes with the advantage of better deals.
Winter river cruises in France offer a unique and magical experience, especially with the enchanting Christmas markets. While the weather is cooler and the days shorter during winter, if you're comfortable with the colder temperatures, a winter river cruise in France can be incredibly charming. The festive lights and smaller tourist crowds contribute to a tranquil and cozy cruising atmosphere, providing a different but equally delightful river cruising experience in France.
Experience the Flavors of France
France is a treasure trove of culinary delights, with each region boasting its own signature dishes and flavors. French cuisine is all about quality ingredients, time-honored techniques, and a passion for creating sumptuous dishes. From the freshly baked croissants of Paris to the hearty bouillabaisse stew of Marseille, there's a taste for every palate.
In the countryside, don't miss the chance to try local cheeses paired with crusty baguettes. Lyon, often considered the food capital, is the place to savor traditional dishes like coq au vin. For those with a sweet tooth, the patisseries of France are second to none, offering an array of pastries and desserts like delicate macarons and rich éclairs.
When it comes to drinks, French wines are celebrated worldwide. A river cruise is the perfect opportunity to sample these, perhaps with a guided wine tasting at a vineyard. And, of course, no culinary exploration in France would be complete without sitting at a café and sipping on a robust café au lait.
To truly experience the flavors of France, look for bistros and cafes where locals dine, as these often offer the most authentic and delicious selections. Food markets are also essential to visit. They're not just spots to grab a bite but cultural hubs where the French zest for cuisine comes to life right before your eyes.
Immerse Yourself in French Culture
French culture is rich and varied, defined by its elegant language, historical traditions, and vibrant festivals. Respect for culture and a love for discussion are cornerstones of French society. When greeting, a quick, light handshake is common, or a cheek kiss among friends. Remember to say "bonjour" in the morning or "bonsoir" in the evening to acknowledge others, as politeness is highly valued.
Festivals are the heartbeat of French culture, from the world-famous Cannes Film Festival to local celebrations like the Fête de la Musique, which fills the streets with music every June 21st. The country's history is celebrated through reenactments and medieval festivals, particularly in regions like Normandy and Brittany. Wine festivals also abound, celebrating the harvest and the fine art of winemaking. These cultural experiences offer a deep dive into the local customs and are a highlight for any visitor.
Why Book a French River Cruise?
Booking a French river cruise is an excellent choice for travelers looking for value, unique views, and convenience. On a cruise, you unpack once, and your floating hotel takes you from city to scenic countryside, connecting you seamlessly to diverse destinations. You get to wake up to new vistas each day without the hassle of checking in and out of hotels or navigating local transport. The cost often covers meals and onshore excursions, making it a sensible option for budget-conscious explorers. River cruises also offer perspectives of France that you simply can't get from land. The rivers weave through the heart of the country, providing access to exclusive docks near quaint villages and secluded spots that are typically hard to reach by traditional means. Additionally, some cruises include special activities like visits to vineyards, private galleries, and even after-hours access to attractions, making them exclusive experiences that add value to your journey. There's a certain charm to traversing France's waterways, where each bend in the river reveals another layer of the country's rich tapestry, ready for you to discover.
Ready to Book Your French River Cruise?
A French river cruise is your ticket to an unforgettable journey through the heart of one of the world's most beloved countries. It's a vacation where history, cuisine, and scenic beauty come together to create a travel experience like no other. Glide past rolling vineyards, step into stories etched in ancient stone, and dine on world-class cuisine prepared fresh onboard or in local bistros. Whether you're soaking up the sun on the top deck or exploring cobblestone streets for hidden treasures, a river cruise in France offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure.
So why wait? Book your French river cruise today and set sail on a voyage that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.