A transfer is included from the Charles de Gaulle airport or the Charles de Gaulle, Gare du Lyon, or Gare du Nord train stations to the riverboat. Settle in aboard the riverboat and join fellow travelers in the evening for a welcome reception and dinner, followed by a musical performance in the ship's lounge.
Day 2: Auvers-sur-Oise, in van Gogh's footsteps
Sail to Conflans-St. Honorine this morning, then drive to picturesque Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent Van Gogh spent the last days of his life. Van Gogh moved to the artists' community in 1890 to recover from a mental breakdown; at the time, things were looking up; Van Gogh had finally sold a painting; his work was being shown at major exhibitions, and his star was rising in the Paris art world; at Auvers-sur-Oise he had a burst of energy and inspiration, producing 80 paintings in just 70 days; then, with no explanation, he shot himself. Follow Van Gogh's last steps on a walking tour; visit Auberge Ravoux, the inn where he stayed, preserved as a museum; visit the cafe, and Van Gogh's attic room; and see how his neighboring artists lived. Pay homage at the town cemetery, where Vincent's devoted brother and patron, Theo, lies beside him. While in town, you'll also visit the Absinthe Museum, dedicated to the history and mythology of the notorious cordial known as the Green Fairy, popular among bohemian artists and poets of Van Gogh's time. Return to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a lesson in Impressionist painting by a professional artist as you sail for Les Andelys.
Day 3: Secrets of Les Andelys and a taste of "cidre"
In 1198, Normandy belonged to England, a claim disputed by Philip II, King of France. Anticipating a French invasion, the audacious King of England, Richard the Lionheart, decided to build a mighty fortress on a cliff overlooking the Seine and the village of Les Andelys. Richard designed the fortress himself and with the help of thousands of workers built it within a year. He proudly named it Chateau Gaillard (loosely translated as "Saucy" or "Defiant" Castle), a towering middle finger to Philip; Richard declared that it was so well situated he could defend it "even if the walls were made of butter." The astonishing ruins of Castle Gaillard are still there, and you can see them up close on a guided tour, with panoramic views. Get acquainted with Les Andelys on a walking tour; then drive to an apple farm in Tilly to find the essence of calvados, Normandy's famous apple brandy. The terroir here is inhospitable to wine-grapes but perfect for apples; cidre, therefore, is Norman wine, with all its sophisticated varieties, grades, blends, and nuances. Discover the art of making cidre and calvados, with tastings, of course, and locally made paté. Return to the riverboat for lunch as you sail for Caudebec; dinner is at leisure this evening, followed by evening entertainment in the lounge.
Day 4: Mont St. Michel or Étretat & Honfleur
Legend says that sometime in the 8th Century the Archangel Michael appeared to the Bishop of Arrandos and told him to build a church on a small rocky island off the coast of Normandy. The angel was a brilliant strategist. Surrounded by water and high cliffs, accessible on foot only at low tide, the islet was a challenge to any Romanesque church-builder, but it was also impervious to raids by Vikings and Englishmen. The bishop named it Mont Saint Michel. And over the centuries, as monarchs and architects embellished it, the island became a breathtaking citadel, with fortifications, ramparts, crypts, tunnels, churches, villages, and streets, spiraling up to a Benedictine monastery. In declaring Mont Saint Michel a World Heritage Site, UNESCO calls it "a technical and artistic tour de force." Experience it yourself today on an unforgettable walking tour. Or take a drive to the white shoreline cliffs of Étretat, a favorite landscape for en plein air artists. You'll also visit the picturesque harbor-town of Honfleur, where landscape painter Eugene Boudin gave oil-painting lessons to a teenaged Claude Monet, created an artists' colony, and inspired the Impressionist movement.
Pointe du Hoc
Day 5: D-Day Beaches, then and now
2024 marks the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy in World II. Today's poignant visit to the beaches of Normandy is led by a local guide knowledgeable about the day's events, the heroics and the losses of this historic Allied operation of June 6, 1944, as well as its Allied liberation of Western Europe. See Pointe du Hoc where US Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot-high, crater-riddled cliffs and seized the German artillery pieces to keep them from firing on the American troops landing at Omaha and Utah beaches. Visit Omaha Beach, one of the five landing areas of the Normandy Invasion of World War II, today dotted with the remains of German bunkers. Pause at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, the final resting place for more than 9,300 troops who lost their lives in World War II. After lunch at Chateau la Chenevière, meet your riverboat back in Caudebec-en-Caux. Dine at your leisure tonight.
Day 6: Explore medieval Rouen
Medieval Rouen is dwarfed by its glorious Notre-Dame Cathedral, which so captivated Claude Monet that he painted it over and over again at different times of the day, to capture its many faces in fleeting changes of light. Stand in awe of this Gothic masterpiece on a walking tour of the city's enchanting half-timbered houses and winding cobblestone streets. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the Market Square in 1431, and she's memorialized everywhere in the city, including the Church of Saint Joan of Arc; there is also a chapel in the Cathedral dedicated to her. Enjoy time to explore Rouen on your own. Re-embark in Duclair and sail for Vernon tonight.
Maison de Claude Monet in Giverny, France
Day 7: Monet's house and gardens in Giverny
Dock in Vernon, and drive to Giverny for an early-opening visit to Claude Monet's house and famous gardens; the colorful house, now a museum, is preserved as he left it – and you'll explore at leisure the gardens that were Monet's outdoor studios, where he could arrange the trees, flowerbeds, compositions, and colors as it suited him. The flower garden, and the Japanese water garden are meticulously maintained, and walking in them is a unique, immersive experience, not just a sense of being present in Monet's art, but also in the painter's mind. Drop in at the Impressionist Museum for a self-guided visit, to learn more about Impressionism and its history. Then return to Vernon for a farewell reception at the grand Château de Bizy; once the residence of King Louis-Phillipe, the castle is set in a landscaped park of fountains and statuary near the Seine, its salons and dining hall exuding 18th Century French elegance. Join fellow travelers for a farewell dinner aboard ship.
Day 8: Journey home
Disembark ship by 9:00 AM. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Tauck's riverboat to Charles de Gaulle airport or the Charles de Gaulle, Gare du Lyon, or Gare du Nord train stations for your journey home.
Like what you see?
Contact an advisor and mention the Seine River Cruise itinerary for booking information.