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10 Days | Rendevous on the Seine


Day 1 | Paris, France.. Tour begins: 7:00 PM, Hotel Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel. A transfer is included upon arrival from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Gare de Lyon Station, Charles de Gaulle Station and Gare du Nord to Hotel Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, ideally located steps from the Eiffel Tower. Dine this evening against the backdrop of the Tower, illuminated at night, as we welcome you to your rendezvous in Paris with cocktails and dinner. (D)

Day 2 | Paris. From your morning glimpse of the Eiffel Tower right outside of your hotel balcony to today’s guided excursion to one of the city’s most magnificent museums, your first full day in Paris promises to delight with an up-close look at the art and architecture that rightfully gives it a reputation as a city of arts par excellence. Join us for an orientation tour of landmark sites, stopping to explore the incomparable Musée du Louvre (subject to Tuesday closures) or the Musée d’Orsay, a showcase of Impressionist paintings. The Louvre, housed in a former royal palace, astounds with an incomparable collection of old masters, sculptures and antiquities, including the beguiling Mona Lisa and the wingless Venus de Milo. The remainder of the day is free for you to experience Paris as you wish. Your Tauck Directors can offer suggestions for sightseeing, people watching, art viewing, garden strolling and, of course, wining and dining; Paris caters to every taste and interest. Lunch and dinner are on your own today. Bon appetit! (B)

Day 3 | Paris. Embark. You have a choice of sightseeing this morning. Join us for a walking tour of hilltop Montmartre or head outside of the city to the Château de Versailles. Dominated by the distinctive white domes of the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, the “mont” was a favorite village hangout for free-thinking artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Matisse and others, whose influence comes to life in the artists who still flock to its main square today. Stroll the bustling village-like streets with your Tauck Director, before having lunch on your own. Where Montmartre celebrates a more laid-back bohemian lifestyle with street artists, musicians and sidewalk cafés, the Château de Versailles is unequalled in its glittering display of regal splendor and privilege as you will see during your visit here. Prepare to be dazzled when your guide takes you inside the palatial estate to see opulently decorated rooms in the King’s Apartments, including the Hall of Mirrors, and outside to stroll its parklike gardens. Everyone meets up this afternoon back in Paris to embark ms Swiss Sapphire for your 7-night cruise on the River Seine. Settle into your cabin and make yourself at home on your riverboat, designed to cater to your cruising comfort with spacious accommodations and premier amenities. Enjoy the Captain’s welcome festivities this evening as we chart a course for Normandy in the northwest corner of France. (B,D)

Day 4| Rouen. Enjoy informative insights about the history and sights you’ll see today as we spend the morning cruising to Rouen. Victor Hugo called Rouen “the city of hundred spires,” and while the ravages of war destroyed many of the steepled buildings he was referring too, those that still stand today are rich with historical associations. A guided city tour this afternoon shows you the Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame, immortalized in close to 30 paintings by Impressionist artist Claude Monet, and the Place du Vieux Marche, site of Joan of Arc’s untimely death when she was burnt at the stake. Normandy is lush with fertile landscapes that make its agricultural endeavors flourish and prosper. This evening you’ll have the opportunity to experience life in Normandy when we enjoy a private, exclusive reception, dinner and music at a picturesque local château. Your riverboat departs for Caudebec late tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Caudebec. You have a choice of excursions today both of which take you to the English Channel coast to explore a quintessential village steeped in history, cultural treasures and seaside pleasures. Agriculture and dairy products are mainstays here and farms, like the goat farm you may choose to visit today in Étretat, dot the countryside. A Tauck Exclusive – savor a taste of locally produced chèvre fermier (farmhouse goat cheese), made in accordance with time-honored traditions, before exploring the beach resort town on a guided tour, followed by lunch. Sheer cliffs cut in a perfect arch protude into the sea, making it a great spot for a photograph. Those joining us for a day in Honfleur will enjoy an orientation tour with time at leisure for lunch. The first Impressionist artists, including Claude Monet, Charles-François Daubigny and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, developed their painting style in Honfleur, one of the most charming fishing ports in all of Normandy. See a parade of Renaissance architecture and half-timbered houses along its cobbled streets as you discover for yourself why this colorful town was so beloved by artists. Back aboard ship, an interesting lecture about D-Day, one of the most somber dates in history, shares insights on the immortalized sites you will see tomorrow. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Normandy Beaches. Marking its 70th anniversary in 2014, the D-Day beaches along the Côte de Nacre stand as poignant reminders of the historic Allied operation of June 6, 1944 when a massive armada of troops, with more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, converged on the heavily fortified Normandy coastline to fight Nazi Germany. The wartime code names for the beaches along this 50-mile stretch still exist – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword – paying proud tribute to the heroism of the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives here. Your visit here today includes stops at Arromanches, situated along Gold Beach, Omaha Beach, bordered at each end by large rocky cliffs, and the American Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, eternal resting place for some 9,300 American World War II soldiers. Return to your riverboat after lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Normandy Region. Les Andelys. Have you ever tasted apple brandy? It has been a specialty here in the landscapes of Normandy since the days of Charlemagne and today you will find just how proud the locals are of “Calvados” when you drive along the Abbey Road to Breuil-en-Auge for a tasting and look at some of the beautiful abbeys in this region. Visit Jumièges Abbey, once one of the great Benedictine abbeys of France. First built in 654, this wealthy limestone abbey grew to house 700 monks and 1,500 lay brothers in its first 50 years. Destruction came in waves when it was attacked by Viking raiders between 841 and 940, rebuilt in the 11th century, then razed again in a succession of French wars. Today it reigns unrivalled in a parklike setting that evokes memories of its former grandeur, giving measure to what Victor Hugo called “the most beautiful ruin in France.” Drive along country roads past churches and châteaux in various states of repair seeing other Norman abbeys resplendent still. Stop for a taste of locally made Calvados, distilled from cider rather than wine, but with similar “secrets of the terroir” that make French vintages distinctive from region to region, where the soil, fruit and customs can differ. Enjoy! Return to the ms Swiss Sapphire for lunch and your relaxing afternoon cruise to the twin towns of Les Andelys, strategically located on a picturesque bend of the Seine. (B,L,D)Day 8 | Les Andelys. Vernon. Château Gaillard is the crowning centerpiece of Les Andelys. Built in 1197 by the King of England, given the moniker Richard the Lionheart for his bravery on the battlefields, during a power play with Phillip II, the then reigning King of France, Château Gaillard, meaning well-fortified in French, was lauded as the strongest castle of its time. Unlike other castles of the period which took a decade or more to build, Château Gaillard was completed in just two years by some 6,000 laborers under the watchful, and often impatient, eyes of its king. What remains today evokes images of how this medieval castle looked and operated at its height of power, with the riverside views affording you the same vantage point coveted by its royal inhabitants. Pommes, apples in English, play an important part in the history of Normandy, with apple orchards taking root in Roman times. While the first cider was said to have been distilled in 1553, before that the Norman apple was used in poultices, ointments and cosmetics (hence the term “pommade”). With over two thousand varieties of apples, Normandy is naturally proud of its cider and of its Calvados. Visit a local farm for a taste of fresh-pressed apple cider en route back to your riverboat. Have lunch onboard while we cruise to Vernon for a late afternoon arrival. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Giverny. In springtime, it's awash in pink and green, adorned in wisteria, azalea and water lilies, and basked in dappled sunlight that is reminiscent of the works of its famous 43-year resident, painter Claude Monet. Giverny invites discovery today on a visit that shows you the artist’s home as he lived it and painted it. His pink stucco house gives the impression that his family of 10 still lives there; its rooms showcase his private furnishings and his collection of Japanese prints adorn walls throughout. Outside, you’ll find easels displaying works-in progress in his garden studios, including replicas of the immense water lily paintings that hang in Paris at the Musée l’Orangerie, and the gardens that inspired them. You will have time to walk pathways bordered with nasturiums, hollyhocks, hybrid lilies or snapdragons, depending on the season’s blooms, and go through the tunnel that leads to the Water Garden and the oft-painted Japanese Bridge. You may want to pose for a photo or a quick sketch during your visit, perhaps painting your own impressionist work from it when you return home. Meet your riverboat in Conflans-Saint-Honorine after lunch as it heads back along the Seine bound for Paris. You last night aboard ship will be a festive affair as you are invited to celebrate with us during the Captain’s Farewell reception and dinner.

Day 10 | Paris. Disembark. Tour ends: Paris. Fly home anytime; a transfer from your riverboat to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Gare de Lyon Station, Charles de Gaulle Station and Gare du Nord. Allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in. For additional hotel nights in Paris, ask at booking.(B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.)

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