Paris & Normandy
Visit Monet’s home in his beloved village of Giverny, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. When Monet bought the property, most of it was an orchard; he transformed it over the years into the enchanted vision that he painted, essentially creating each work of art twice: once as a living garden and again as a painting. Stroll through the gardens and admire the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden that inspired him. Though the town suffered bomb damage during WWII, you’ll still be able to recognize many scenes from the master’s iconic paintings. Step even further into the past with a hike to Château Gaillard. Your adventure takes you to the dramatic white-stone remains of the English king’s stronghold. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the river and surrounding countryside. Or take a guided Nordic walking tour along the popular trail to Château Gaillard and the cliffs above St. Jaques hospital. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
Note: Giverny will be closed during the March 16, March 23, March 30, and October 26 cruise departure dates. Instead of Giverny, guests will visit Versailles Palace.
Normandy’s proximity to the sea has made it the site of many battles, including the famous D-Day Invasion by Allied forces during WWII. Before visiting the beaches of Normandy, you’ll go to Mulberry Harbor at Arromanches and explore the D-Day Museum. Or choose to visit Juno Beach where the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed, and take in the exhibits at the Canadian Center. Or, after spending time in Arromanches, drive to Bayeux to see the famous 11th-century tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings. Continue to the Allied landing sites at Omaha Beach before visiting a haunting reminder of the Allied forces’ hard fight for freedom—the American Cemetery. Located in Colleville-sur-Mer, near the section of coastline designated “Omaha Beach,” the cemetery and memorial honor American soldiers who lost their lives while fighting in Europe. Uniworld guests can participate in a special ceremony during their visit that involves a wreath laying, the American national anthem, and a moment of silence.
Rouen, founded in pre-Roman times and the Medieval capital of the region, has managed to preserve many notable buildings despite being invaded, conquered, and bombed countless times over the years. Your visit will take you to the stunning Gothic cathedrals, the haunting Medieval quarter and the Gros Horloge, a Renaissance clock tower. The walk ends at Vieux Marché, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the English in 1431. Or enjoy a bike ride along the Seine with an expert guide. The Seine River banks are popular with locals, and cycling on the docks is part of the art of enjoying Rouen.
After crossing the river delta via the majestic Normandy Bridge, travel through the Calvados countryside to Honfleur, a charming French harbor town re-created in paintings by such artists as Monet, Courbet, and the painter who inspired so many others to come to Honfleur: Eugene Boudin. Charles Baudelaire, the French poet, called Boudin’s stormy pictures of the harbor “meteorological beauties.” Tour the former smugglers’ harbor of Vieux Bassin—the most frequently painted scene in Honfleur—whose streets reveal the rich history of the port, and St. Catherine’s Church, which was built by shipwrights.
Find yourself in Auvers-sur-Oise, following the footsteps of Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh. The ill-fated artist spent just the last two months of his life here, but in that time painted many of its buildings, including the Town Hall, the church, and the home of his doctor, Dr. Gachet. You can see the former inn where he stayed until his death in 1890 and then visit his tomb in the “new cemetery” (inaugurated in 1858). He’s buried beside his brother, Theo, who died a year later. Your guide will transport you to the 19th century and give you a true-to-life sense of the artist’s final days as you stand in the very place where Van Gogh set his easel. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
Your panoramic city tour includes the most Parisian of sights: the grand Champs-Élysées, where you will pass the Arc de Triomphe before stopping at the Champs de Mars for an opportunity to photograph the Eiffel Tower. Then continue on to the Place Vendôme, Hôtel de Ville, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Latin Quarter. Then it’s on to Les Invalides, the Louvre courtyard, and Luxembourg Gardens, where you can stretch your legs and see a slice of Parisian life. Or, take a more intimate look at Parisian daily life with a walking tour of the Île de la Cité, the historic center of Paris, which is home to the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame. Your tour also includes a stop by a traditional open-air market to shop as the Parisians do for bread, cheese, and other regional delicacies. Or take a guided Nordic walking tour under Paris’s bridges, and along the Seine River to discover many styles of houseboats, the Statue of Liberty, and the Eiffel Tower.