Stay in a Loire Valley château-turned-hotel; explore Paris from the seat of a vintage Citroën 2CV; see Monet's Giverny and the final resting place of Van Gogh at Auvers-sur-Oise; and ply the Seine River during a seven-night cruise through the north of France, disembarking for Connections-exclusive shore excursions, including a day trip to the D-Day landing sites at Normandy.
DAY 1. ARRIVE PARIS, FRANCE
Arrive in Paris, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy time at leisure. This evening, join your Resident Tour Director — exclusive to Connections guests — for a welcome dinner. Then, sleep in comfort in your hand-selected, centrally located boutique hotel.
DAY 2. PARIS | VINTAGE MOTOR TOUR
Join fellow Connections guests as you explore Paris by classic Citroën 2CV, the car that revolutionized the French auto industry. Enjoy lunch at a typical restaurant before exploring the city on your own during an afternoon and evening at leisure.
DAY 3. PARIS/LOIRE VALLEY | VERSAILLES
Head to Versailles for a guided small-group tour of the magnificent royal château. Originally built as a hunting lodge, Versailles was expanded to many times its original size, eventually becoming the foremost symbol of the might of the French crown. Continue to the Loire Valley and settle into your own château-turned-hotel.
DAY 4. LOIRE VALLEY | RIVER-SPANNING CHÂTEAUX
Visit Château de Chenonceau this morning, a remarkable structure that spans the Cher River. Follow this up with a vineyard tour and tasting at a local estate. Enjoy a free evening to relax in your boutique hotel.
DAY 5. PARIS | YOUR CRUISE BEGINS
Explore the markets of charming Tours this morning, then take the high-speed TGV train back to the center of Paris. On arrival, enjoy the views during an intimate lunch atop the soaring Tour Montparnasse, Paris’ tallest building. Later, board your ship, with priority embarkation. After settling into your premium cabin or suite with an open-air French or walk-out balcony, join fellow guests for a welcome cocktail, followed by dinner.
DAY 6. PARIS & AUVERS-SUR-OISE | DISCOVERING VAN GOGH
Dock this morning in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on the outskirts of Paris. Disembark for an art-rich, Connections-exclusive excursion to nearby Auvers-sur-Oise. Visit Van Gogh’s last home and see his grave in the local cemetery. Then, delve deeper and explore the town. After lunch back on board, pay visits to Château d’Auvers, a 17th-century estate with a Van Gogh and French art exhibit, and, as a Connections exclusive, the Daubigny Museum with its collection of contemporary and 19th- and 20th-century art.
DAY 7. ROUEN | TEA AT A PATISSERIE
Join your intimate group of Connections guests for a morning sightseeing tour of Rouen, where you stroll through the Saturday markets, including Old Market Square. After visiting the cathedral, enjoy time at leisure in the town, followed by tea at a popular patisserie and tea room, a Connections exclusive.
DAY 8. NORMANDY | SOBERING HISTORY
Your ship docks in Le Havre this morning. Meet your expert local guide and depart early for a full-day Connections excursion through Normandy’s World War II history. See Omaha Beach, Pointe-du-Hoc and Arromanches. Then, discover the Peace Museum of Caen, which chronicles the events of World War II, the Normandy landings and the Cold War. Return to your vessel late this afternoon, with time to reflect on your day during dinner aboard.
DAY 9. CAUDEBEC-EN-CAUX | SAMPLING CIDERS & CALVADOS
Begin your cruise back up the Seine. This afternoon, pay an intimate, Connections-only visit to Domaine Coeur de Lion, a fourth-generation family estate that produces the ciders and Calvados the region is known for. Sample them with local Camembert. Then, wander the streets of ancient Honfleur and visit Saint Catherine’s Church. Tonight, sit down to a gourmet dinner ashore, prepared exclusively for Connections guests.
DAY 10. GIVERNY | MONET’S INSPIRATION
This morning, your vessel docks in Les Andelys. Disembark with your small group and travel in your Connections vehicle to Giverny. Roam the beautiful gardens, which inspired some of Monet’s greatest work. Rejoin the ship at Vernon for a relaxing afternoon spent cruising, followed by a captain’s gala dinner aboard.
DAY 11. PARIS | THE “CITY OF LIGHT”
Begin your day as the French do — at the markets — when a local guide escorts your intimate group on a Connections-exclusive food exploration. Then, ride the funicular to the artists’ colony of Montmartre, home to Paris’ only vineyard, a visit planned specially for Connections guests. After lunch, discover its colorful history during a walking tour and wine tasting. Celebrate your last night aboard with a private Connections cocktail party, followed by an exclusive Chef’s Table dinner.
DAY 12. PARIS | A DAY OF ART
Further your art experiences during a guided, small-group tour of the Musée d’Orsay, taking in its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Continue on to the Musée de l’Orangerie, home to Monet’s Water Lillies series, inspired by his home at Giverny. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Join your Resident Tour Director and fellow guests this evening for a farewell dinner.
DAY 13. DEPART PARIS
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.