Cruise the River Seine between Paris and Normandy, following in the footsteps of Impressionists, kings, and the soldiers of D-Day as you explore historic sites and picturesque towns from Versailles to Honfleur.

Starting at: $4,690 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Cityscape of Paris
Cityscape of Paris
 Entrance to the Louvre, Paris
Entrance to the Louvre, Paris
 Seine River, Paris
Seine River, Paris
 The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles
 The gardens of Versailles
The gardens of Versailles
 Monet's gardens at Giverny
Monet's gardens at Giverny
 Monet's gardens at Giverny
Monet's gardens at Giverny
 The famous lily pads and green bridge at Giverny used as inspiration for Monet
The famous lily pads and green bridge at Giverny used as inspiration for Monet
 The famous Gros Horloge in Rouen
The famous Gros Horloge in Rouen
 The cathedral in Rouen
The cathedral in Rouen
 View of Pointe du Hoc
View of Pointe du Hoc
 American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer
American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer
 The American Cemetery
The American Cemetery
 The charming port of Honfleur
The charming port of Honfleur

A Seine River Cruise: Paris to Normandy

9 days from $4,690

Cruise the River Seine between Paris and Normandy, following in the footsteps of Impressionists, kings, and the soldiers of D-Day as you explore historic sites and picturesque towns from Versailles to Honfleur.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

We looked at several river cruise vendors. But when the Smithsonian Journeys catalog arrived, there was no question this was the one! Competitive pricing PLUS Smithsonian expertise, plus I just knew we would be comfortable with fellow lovers of the Smithsonian.

- Mary S.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by August 30, 2024!

No Single Supplement for solo travelers! (Limited availability, book early to ensure your space)

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Visit the Tour Details tab and click on "Special Air Rates/Services" drop down. 

Overview

The River Seine meanders through the heart of Paris to the coast of Normandy, a historic trade route linking sites and cities where pivotal moments in French history unfolded. Along its banks, artists—especially the Impressionists—painted some of their most memorable canvases, from Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" to Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series. Travel through time as you glide from Paris to Le Havre and back, aboard an elegant river ship, exploring the gilded halls of Versailles; early Christian abbeys; Rouen, where Joan of Arc met her fate; and the evocative beaches of D-Day. Soak up the charms of Honfleur and follow in Monet’s footsteps on the chalk cliffs of Étretat and at his beloved home and gardens in Giverny.  

Highlights Include:

  • Paris and Versailles: Begin and end your sojourn in the “City of Light,” enjoying a sightseeing cruise through the heart of the city and a walking tour of its historic center. Discover the iconic Palace of Versailles and its legendary Hall of Mirrors on a guided tour.
  • Rouen: Dock in Rouen and set out to explore the 7th-century abbeys of Jumièges and Saint Wandrille. On a walking tour of Rouen’s historic center, trace its fascinating history from Joan of Arc to World War II, and admire the facade of the cathedral, immortalized by Claude Monet.
  • Normandy Coast: Walk along the chalk cliffs of Étretat, taking in scenes captured by Claude Monet. Choose to visit a family-owned cider farm, the Musée Malraux of Modern Art in Le Havre, or the 19th-century resort town of Deauville. Then explore the charming Old Port of Honfleur, a favorite subject of the Impressionists. Delve into World War II history at the Caen Memorial Museum, and trace the events of D-Day at Omaha Beach and the Normandy American Cemetery.
  • Giverny: Immerse yourself in the world of Claude Monet while touring the house and the gardens he designed and stroll through stunning scenes made famous by his paintings.
  • Small Ship Experience:  Your home base is an elegant river ship featuring sophisticated staterooms and public spaces, superb amenities, excellent cuisine, and an informal ambiance. (2024) Amadeus Diamond (2025) MS Renoir. For more information and deck plans, please visit the Tour Details tab. Each voyage will also host other cultural and educational institutions, adding diverse perspectives and dynamic energy to the experience.

We looked at several river cruise vendors. But when the Smithsonian Journeys catalog arrived, there was no question this was the one! Competitive pricing PLUS Smithsonian expertise, plus I just knew we would be comfortable with fellow lovers of the Smithsonian.

- Mary S.

2024 and 2025 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Paris, France

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Paris, France.

Day 2 — Paris

Arrive in Paris and transfer to the city center, whree the MS Amadeus Diamond is docked along the River Seine. If you arrive early, transfer to a centrally located hotel in Paris where you can relax, enjoy refreshments, and leave your luggage in a secure area while you explore the city.  Board the ship in the afternoon, and gather for a welcome reception and dinner this evening. (R,D)

Day 3 — Versailles and Conflans-Sainte-Honorine

After breakfast on board, venture to the Palace of Versailles, a World Heritage site and principal residence of French royalty from 1682 until 1789. The palace is one of the finest achievements of art and architecture in the world. A guided visit will take you through the King’s Grand Apartment; the extraordinary Hall of Mirrors, more than 230 feet long with more than 350 mirrors; and the Queen’s Apartments. Time and weather permitting, there will be free time to stroll through the formal French gardens created by André Le Notre for Louis XIV. Return to the ship for lunch.

Join a guide for an afternoon walk through the medieval lanes of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Set at the confluence of the Seine and Oise rivers, the charming town has been considered the capital of France’s inland waterways for centuries. Return for dinner and a relaxing evening onboard as you sail for Rouen. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Rouen

Today’s excursion begins with a tour of Jumièges Abbey, originally built in 654 when Christianity first arrived in the region. Destroyed by Viking invaders and rebuilt in the 11th century, the abbey was described by Victor Hugo as the most beautiful ruins in all of France. Next, explore the cloisters and ruins of the Church of Saint Peter before stopping to see the Abbey of Saint Wandrille, constructed in 649 and still a working Benedictine abbey today.

Return to Rouen for lunch on board followed by a walking tour. Dating back nearly 2000 years, Rouen’s storied past includes centuries of English rule following the Hundred Years’ War, the burning at the stake of Joan of Arc, and Allied bombing during World War II. View the landmark Gros Horloge, the city’s spectacular 14th-century astronomical clock; and visit the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame, whose facade was immortalized in Claude Monet’s famous Rouen Cathedral series. Relax on board this afternoon, taking in the scenery as the ship makes its way to the port city of Le Havre. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Le Havre and the Normandy Coast

Set out for the charming village of Étretat, perched high above the English Channel on Normandy’s northern coast. View the impressive chalk cliffs and needle-like formations that rise from the sea—a popular subject for artists such as Gustav Courbet and Henri Matisse, as well as Monet. Following lunch on the ship, choose from several excursions this afternoon.  Spend time at a family-run cider farm, learning how calvados, pommeau, and pure juice are derived from Normandy’s famous apples, and enjoy a tasting in this picturesque spot. Or head to Le Havre for a guided tour of the stunning Musée Malraux of Modern Art (MUMA) and its renowned Impressionist collection. Alternatively, visit Deauville, a fashionable seaside resort since the 1800s, and stroll along the famous boardwalk, taking in the elegant villas and historic buildings along the beachfront.

All three excursions end with a tour of Honfleur, where the Seine meets the English Channel.  Follow cobblestoned streets past half-timbered houses and see Ste-Cathérine, the largest wooden church in France. During free time this afternoon, soak up the ambiance of this jewel-like harbor town, long an inspiration for artists, poets, and composers.  Return to Le Havre and gather on board for a talk by a local speaker on the history, culture, and people of Normandy. After dinner, enjoy an evening of French Chansons performed by local singers. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Caen and the D-Day Beaches / Caudebec-en-Caux

Travel to Caen this morning for a visit to the Caen Memorial Museum, the world’s largest World War II museum, and tour evocative exhibitions that explore the causes and consequences of many wars. After lunch at the museum, continue to Arromanches, where the ruins of one of the Allied forces’ Mulberry harbors still lies on the beach. Trace the dramatic events of D-Day at the town’s Landings Museum, and continue to Omaha Beach, where American forces landed in a hail of German fire on June 6, 1944, suffering nearly 10,000 casualties. The Omaha Beach Memorial, a protected historic landmark, stands in silent homage to the fallen. Later, stroll among endless rows of white crosses and stars at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, where 9,386 American soldiers lie buried overlooking the shores where most gave their lives. Return to the ship late in the day and begin the voyage back to Paris. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Les Andelys / Giverny / Vernon

Go ashore in the lovely town of Les Andelys and journey to Giverny to explore the home and gardens of Claude Monet, where the artist lived and painted for 43 years. On a tour of the house, designed by Monet and little changed since his death, view his studio-sitting room and apartments and admire his exceptional collection of Japanese prints. Meander through exquisite gardens, where the artist planned out striking interplays of light, color, texture, and reflection, even diverting a narrow arm of the River Epte to create his spectacular water garden with its Japanese bridge and water lilies. Continue towards Paris tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Paris

Awaken in the heart of Paris, and embark a local boat for a scenic cruise, plying the Seine past many of the city’s highlights, including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d’Orsay, and Notre Dame Cathedral. After five years of reconstruction following the devastating fire of April of 2019, the cathedral is scheduled to reopen at the very end of 2024. Explore the Île de la Cité in the historic center of the city for a closer look at Notre Dame, and cross the Archbishop’s Bridge to the Left Bank and the Latin Quarter. Stroll through narrow streets where for centuries artists, writers, philosophers, and students from the Sorbonne lived a bohemian lifestyle and helped define French culture. Return to the ship and enjoy lunch onboard. Take advantage of an afternoon at leisure to explore Paris as you wish. Throughout the afternoon, a shuttle bus will be available from the ship to different points in the city. This evening, gather with fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for a farewell reception and dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Depart Paris for the U.S.

This morning, disembark the ship and transfer to Charles de Gaulle International Airport for your onward flight. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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