Fall in love with France on this delightful autumn-time journey along the dazzling Seine River. Featuring three full days in Paris, and several days in Normandy, you’ll experience the culture, history, and cuisine of this remarkable country for yourself. Explore the City of Lights with included tours designed to let you delve into Paris’ iconic sites, including the legendary Louvre, plus free time to discover even more at your leisure.
Sailing directly to picturesque Honfleur, head to the American Cemetery during a full-day tour of Normandy — significant for its place in World War II history — and immerse yourself in the artistic treasures of the region when you walk in the footsteps of Impressionist genius Claude Monet at the gardens of Giverny. Throughout your journey, you’ll have opportunities to savor the flavors of France with food samplings and wine tastings, and dine in the world famous Le Couronne in Rouen.
Your homebase throughout this journey will be the m/s Renoir, an elegant river vessel whose design was inspired by the legendary Coco Chanel. With a maximum capacity of only 105 guests, this ship was destined for immersive, small group travels. When not taking in the shoreside delights of France, you’ll can relax in your large, comfortable cabin, or enjoy onboard amenities including a sophisticated dining room, panoramic sundeck, and convivial lounge and bar.
Whether you’re new to French travel or a seasoned Francophile, our included features and Cultural Connections will bring you inside French culture with engaging lectures and scintillating onboard performances that contextualize the discoveries and destinations on your cruise. With so many choices, your trip is sure to be tres magnifique!
Discover the elegant village of Chantilly, named for one of the grandest of French châteaux, and spend a day exploring the heart of the Champagne region. During your excursion to the rolling vineyards where Champagne originated, you’ll visit an estate where the legendary sparkling wine is produced and stored in cool limestone caverns beneath acres of vineyards. You’ll also tour Reims, home of the imposing cathedral where French monarchs once received their crowns.
Depart home and fly overnight to Paris, France
Board an overnight flight to Paris, France today.
Arrive in Paris and embark your ship
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to the m/s Renoir. Settle in and get to know your ship’s amenities. This evening, attend a Welcome Dinner on board.
Exploring the iconic sites of Paris
Following breakfast this morning, set off on a panoramic tour of Paris and discover the highlights of this vibrant cultural capital, including the iconic Eiffel Tower and the sprawling Champ de Mars.
Return to the ship for lunch, where you’ll take in the views of the city from the UNESCO-listed banks of the Seine. The afternoon is at your leisure, so use this time to explore further, shop, or simply stroll around — there’s no shortage of beauty in this city, where a stunning monument awaits on almost every corner.
Back on board, your Cruise Director will guide your culinary discoveries, leading a session on French specialties and regional cuisine, along with teaching you about the nuances of French drinking culture. You’ll also have the opportunity learn a few key words and phrases during a French language lesson.
Venture into Vernon
This morning’s walking tour will introduce you to French provincialism at its finest in picturesque Vernon. Once home to renowned artist, Claude Monet, the town’s centuries-old, half-timbered homes, and imposing Gothic cathedral were often captured in his artwork. Your excursion includes a visit to Monet’s home and garden, site of the Fondation Claude Monet. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to spend as you wish.
This is the land of the Impressionists so why not tap into your inner artist during an onboard painting lesson? An engaging lecture on the Impressionists will further inspire you as you discover their colorful history in the area.
Visit Saint-Wandrille Abbey and enjoy an organ concert
After breakfast, we’ll follow the Abbey Trail to ancient monastery complexes dotting Upper Normandy. Our explorations include the Abbey of Saint-Wandrille, where a small community of monks maintains a tradition dating to the year 649 A.D. Your tour concludes with a stirring organ concert inside the town’s Notre Dame Cathedral.
This afternoon we’ll cast off for a relaxing cruise down the Seine towards the river mouth on the English Channel. Our destination is the broad Seine Estuary and the historic fishing port of Honfleur. As you edge closer to this town, a highlight will be the yacht-filled harbor and the famously narrow buildings housing restaurants and cafés.
Sample Calvados apple brandy and local cheeses this afternoon, then sit in on an engaging lecture where you’ll hear about Normandy’s fascinating and dramatic history during the D-Day landings of World War II.
Explore Honfleur and get a "Taste of Normandy"
Enjoy breakfast on board, then head out for a "Taste of Normandy" tour to the Fécamp Bénédictine monastery. Here, you’ll see how the famous Bénédictine liqueur, with its traditional blend of 27 spices and herbs, is produced. A scenic drive will next bring us to Étretat, another iconic site on France’s coast.
Be sure to bring your appetite this afternoon when you set off on a guided walking tour of picturesque Honfleur. This is the birthplace of the early Impressionist painter Eugene Boudin and a favorite of Monet, Courbet, and other artists who maintained studios nearby. Here, you’ll be treated to a delightful session of local flavors with a tasting of either oysters — a regional specialty — or cheese.
Cap off a day of culture, cuisine, and breathtaking vistas with a jazz night in the ship’s lounge.
Normandy’s D-Day Beaches and an afternoon le goûter snack
Some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century are today’s focus, as we set out for a full-day tour of the beaches where Allied troops landed on June 6, 1944, officially known as D-Day. We’ll drive to the coastal village of Colleville-sur-Mer and the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, burial site of nearly 10,000 soldiers. Take part in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in remembrance of American lives lost. Then, it's on to the coastal promontory of Pointe du Hoc, site of a German battery that was destroyed by U.S. Rangers who scaled the sea cliff in a daring attack. Finally, continue to Omaha Beach, where U.S. Army infantry prevailed in the face of fierce resistance.
You’ll have time to enjoy traditional French snack time, called le gouter, with a tasty treat from a local restaurant.
Afterwards, continue your explorations with your choice of tours. You may transfer to the town of Bayeux for an audio tour of the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot embroidered cloth depicting events leading up to the 1066 Norman conquest of England. Or take an excursion to the thought-provoking Caen Peace Memorial, a site dedicated to lasting peace that has what many consider the best World War II museum in France.
Visit Rouen and dine at La Couronne
Daylight finds us in ancient Rouen, a city with a charming medieval quarter that has witnessed countless historical dramas, including the fiery death of St. Joan of Arc. We’ll embark on a guided walking tour of this enchanting city that includes a visit to Rouen’s unforgettable Gothic cathedral, which boasts the highest spire in France.
You’ll enjoy a true cruise highlight for dinner this evening when we dine at La Couronne, the oldest auberge (inn) in France and site of the meal that inspired Julia Child’s lifelong culinary devotion to French cuisine. It’s here where Child had what she called “the most exciting meal of my life.”
Return to the ship after dinner and retire to the lounge, where you can lose yourself to some American standards performed by Vantage’s favorite crooner, Roberto.
Explore Les Andelys and Château Gaillard
You’ll have a choice of tours when we visit Les Andelys, a scenic medieval village tucked into a river bend. Active travelers can choose to follow the path up the hill and visit the ruins of 12th-century Château-Gaillard Castle and take in the spectacular views of the valley and the river below. Alternatively, join the more leisurely walking tour of picturesque Les Andelys to view its charming half-timbered Norman houses and ancient churches.
Back on board, enjoy the panoramic views of the Seine and the villages lining the riverbanks as we make our way back to Paris. Your Cruise Director will host a special “Taste of Paris” lecture where you will sample what are sure to be your favorite Parisian treats: chocolates and macaron.
After dinner, relax with an onboard movie night featuring the Academy Award-winning “Midnight in Paris,” a spirited, fantasy comedy set in the City of Lights.
Art in the morning, cabaret in the evening
Say oui to Paris once more, as we wake up with a full day to enjoy the city. There’s a Paris for everyone, whether you’re into haute couture shopping, poking around in flea markets, exploring the Latin Quarter, visiting museums, seeking out artistic treasures, or visiting some of the world’s most recognizable monuments — from the elegant ironwork of the Eiffel Tower to the “inside-out” architecture of the Centre Pompidou. And, of course, you’ll want to experience the food — whether it’s a croissant and a café au lait in a street side café or asking your Concierge to reserve a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
This morning, we’ll pop into what is arguably the world’s most famous museum: the Louvre. What was once the palace of the kings of France now houses the largest museum in the world with almost 10,000 years of history represented. This is where you’ll find distinguished masterworks, including Da Vinci’s famed Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, sculpted by Alexandros of Antioch in 2nd century B.C.
This afternoon, you’ll enjoy sampling local vintages during a taste-and-learn wine session with a sommelier. After a delightful dinner on board, you’ll feel like you’ve entered the Moulin Rouge when a high-energy cabaret troupe performs a can-can show.
A leisurely day in Paris
Following your onboard breakfast today, you’ll have the full day to explore Paris on your own. Perhaps you’ll choose to return to the Louvre or take time to visit even more of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Champs-Élysées or the Eiffel Tower. Your Concierge can provide recommendations or make reservations on your behalf to ensure your free time in Paris is everything you desire.
Depart Paris and fly home
Following breakfast on board, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, begin your optional post-trip extension in Versailles!
Go back in time to discover some of the crowning achievements of French civilization, including the Palace of Versailles and Gardens. On this special extension, you’ll stay just outside Paris in the charming village of Versailles, in a lovely hotel that’s steps away from the spectacular royal château and its acres of perfectly-manicured gardens. In addition, round out your journey with plenty of opportunities for cultural and culinary immersion during your free time.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.