Now that our trip is finally within shouting distance, I thought I would post the itinerary that we are eagerly anticipating upon our arrival in France. Then, we will expand daily on the planned activities with what ACTUALLY transpires so you can all live through the experiences with us.
Thank you so much in advance for accompanying us on our journey!Day 1 | Paris, France
We will arrive in Paris, romance capital of the world, and transfer from the Charles de Gaulle airport in the city to our ship. After boarding, we will have the option to take free time to explore Paris, or join the “welcome walk” to stretch our legs and get oriented.
Day 2 | Paris, France
How fabulous to wake up to a full day in Paris! After breakfast, we will embark on a half-day tour of this dazzling city and take in its most remarkable sights, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. We'll also view the École Militaire, Orsay Museum and Latin Quarter and, of course, the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame. Then we'll drive past the Louvre and Opera House and along the famed Champs-Élysées. After returning aboard for lunch, during the afternoon we're free to take in the Louvre, shop the fashionable boutiques (ooh-la-la!), visit the artists’ district of Montmartre, or enjoy a cruise along the Seine. As always, our Program Director will help us plan our free time.
Day 3 | Giverny & Vernon, France
The Viking Neptune will arrive in Vernon before breakfast, after which we can take a short ride into the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926. Imagine our delicious anticipation of visiting the beautiful gardens and charming stone farmhouse where this quintessential Impressionist lived and worked, and seeing the water garden with the famously recognizable Japanese bridge, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas that inspired so many of his masterpieces.
After lunch, we will spend some time with our Program Director in the provincial town of Vernon. While there, we will take a stroll to see the Maison du Temps Jadis (House of Past Times), Vernon’s oldest house, and the 11th-century Church of Notre Dame.
Day 4 | Rouen, France
After leisurely cruising along the Seine in the morning, we'll spend the afternoon in the medieval city of Rouen, preeminent capital of Normandy. This excursion begins with a walking tour through the center of Old Town, where we see the spectacular Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, often painted by Claude Monet, and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock. As we walk among the half-timbered storybook buildings, we'll feel transported back through time as we visit the 14th-century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and the nearby Market Square where she was martyred.
Later in the day we will have the choice of taking free time to discover more of Rouen or visiting one of its museums of art or antiquities.
Day 5 | Normandy Beaches, France
After breakfast, we embark on our full-day tour of the historic beaches of Normandy. Our route will take us past Gold Beach, Courseulles sur Mer and Juno Beach on our way to visit such World War II landmarks as Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery and Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum.
Day 6 | Les Andelys & Conflans, France
Once again, we will indulge in a leisurely morning cruise to the small town of Les Andelys, known for its imposing castle, Château Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. After lunch, we’ll join a guided walk to this fatally flawed masterpiece of Middle Age architecture, then re-board the Neptune for scenic cruising and dinner. Late in the evening we will dock in Conflans, a riverside town whose unique culture reflects its status as a local hub for barge transportation along the Seine and its tributaries.
Day 7 | Conflans & Paris, France
After breakfast, another tough choice: Do we set out on a walking tour through the charming neighborhoods of Conflans, or join an optional tour to the luxurious Palace of Versailles, former home of Louis XIV? Stay tuned to find out which direction our wanderlust takes us! The group will lunch aboard our ship as we sail back to Paris this afternoon. After dinner aboard, we can then enjoy a final opportunity for free time in the City of Light.
Day 8 | Paris, France
After breakfast, we will (sadly!) disembark and proceed to the Paris airport for our return flight non-stop to DFW airport and home, sweet home.