The Seine led to the development of Paris as the center for French trade, politics, religion, and culture. Like travelers of old, cruise this legendary river and discover the significant historic, artistic, and cultural highlights of Île-de-France and Normandy.

Starting at: $4,390 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Cityscape of Paris  Entrance to the Louvre, Paris  Seine River, Paris  The Palace of Versailles  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 Gros Horloge in Rouen  The cathedral in Rouen  View of Pointe du Hoc   American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer  The American Cemetery  The charming port of Honfleur

A Seine River Cruise

9 days from $4,390

The Seine led to the development of Paris as the center for French trade, politics, religion, and culture. Like travelers of old, cruise this legendary river and discover the significant historic, artistic, and cultural highlights of Île-de-France and Normandy.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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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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Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: River cruise that pulls into a pier for disembarkation. Morning, afternoon, or full-day excursions at a moderate pace. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and/or outdoor activities such as gardens. Walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, the absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Choice of excursions with varying activity expectations offered on some days.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with long days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Tour Extension

Paris Pre-Tour Extension  3 Days, 2 Nights

Experience Parisian opulence at the newly refurbished Hilton Paris Opera hotel. Situated in the bustling Opéra district of the city, this classic landmark hotel is close to Paris’ famous Galleries Lafayette and Au Printemps, iconic points of interest like the Opera Garnier and the Louvre. The hotel offers stylish rooms and suites and superb dining options as well as first-class amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi. It’s the perfect hotel for your exciting stay in the French capital.

Day 1 & Day 2  Depart the U.S. for Paris, France

Depart the U.S. for Paris via overnight transatlantic flights. After a morning arrival at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, transfer to the Hilton Paris Opera. This evening enjoy a welcome reception at the hotel. (R)

Hilton Paris Opera

Day 3 - Paris

After breakfast, depart the hotel for a panoramic tour of Paris. View some of the city’s most iconic historic and cultural highlights. You’ll then depart the motorcoach for a walking tour of the Marais district. Your expert guide will take you through the heart of this intimate artistic and cultural mecca. Marais means “marsh,” but the neighborhood is much more elegant than its name suggests. After a leisurely lunch, linger longer and explore more of Paris on your own. (B)

Hilton Paris Opera

Day 4 - Paris

Enjoy a leisurely morning and time free of planned activities with lunch independently. Then transfer to MS Renoir docked on the River Seine. Join the main Smithsonian Journeys program this afternoon. (B)

Hilton Paris Opera

Special Air Rates/Services

FlexAir is designed to provide you with the flexibility and choice you need to personalize your air travel experience. Explore a wide range of flight options in consultation with our experienced travel professionals to select the flights, routing, class of service, and dates of travel that most fit your needs. Our partner tour operator has negotiated contracts with a wide variety of carriers that allow them to hold flight reservations and then issue your ticket close to departure without additional fees. This protects you from the need to purchase published-fare tickets, which must be ticketed within 24 hours of purchase. FlexAir reservations provide the flexibility to adjust reservations without penalty and to accommodate extensions and upgrades right up until ticketing time, usually around 45 days before departure. We look forward to providing you with more choice and the best possible itinerary for your air travel plans.

Program Includes:

  • Guaranteed transfers between the airport and your overseas accommodations upon arrival and departure (in most cases). We will provide you with all of the details you need to guarantee your transfer.
  • Air schedule change and delay assistance. Book FlexAir to ensure assistance should schedule changes or delays impact your air travel plans.
  • Flight insurance worth up to $250,000, subject to policy terms, is automatically included.
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments at the time of booking (in most cases).
River Cruising

Guidance on water levels and itinerary modifications

Your ship is designed with state-of-the-art flexibility in navigating rivers. On rare occasions, river cruising is subject to challenges due to unannounced river lock maintenance and/or weather-related increases or decreases in river depth. Extreme conditions may render a portion of a river itinerary unnavigable.

Should your river cruise be affected: 

  • You will receive a revised schedule outlining any changes prior to your departure either by regular mail or email. 
  • Any additional transportation, hotel accommodations, meals or special events, as a result, changes to the published itinerary will not increase the price of your trip. 
  • All ports of call and trip highlights contained in your original itinerary will be included in your revised schedule.  Under these extreme circumstances, additional motor coach travel, ship changes and/or hotel nights may be required to ensure participants experience the trip safely and as advertised.
Ship

MS Renoir

The charming MS Renoir represents an exciting new generation of ships sailing the rivers of Europe. Newly re-built and launched in 2018, this intimate ship has 54 premium staterooms accommodating 105 travelers. The ship offers passengers the highest level of service, safety, and comfort. The bright open restaurant accommodates all travelers at one convenient sitting with panoramic views of the passing scenery. Delight in refined French and international cuisine accompanied by fine regional wines. A welcoming lounge and bar provide a meeting place for shipboard leisure time and entertainment. An open bar featuring house brand wine, beer and spirits is available throughout the cruise.

On the Sun Deck, travelers can enjoy the outdoors as the ship sails to its next port. Staterooms and suites are well-appointed and its stylish décor features contemporary design and a palette of color that harmonizes with the quiet ambiance onboard. Accommodations feature a modern bathroom with shower and some have French open-air balconies. Wi-Fi service is available aboard ship.

MS Renoir

The charming MS Renoir represents an exciting new generation of ships sailing the rivers of Europe. Newly re-built and launched in 2018, this intimate ship has 54 premium staterooms accommodating 105 travelers. The ship offers passengers the highest level of service, safety, and comfort. The bright open restaurant accommodates all travelers at one convenient sitting with panoramic views of the passing scenery. Delight in refined French and international cuisine accompanied by fine regional wines. A welcoming lounge and bar provide a meeting place for shipboard leisure time and entertainment. An open bar featuring house brand wine, beer and spirits is available throughout the cruise.

On the Sun Deck, travelers can enjoy the outdoors as the ship sails to its next port. Staterooms and suites are well-appointed and its stylish décor features contemporary design and a palette of color that harmonizes with the quiet ambiance onboard. Accommodations feature a modern bathroom with shower and some have French open-air balconies. Wi-Fi service is available aboard ship.

Testimonials

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.
Reading List

Highly Recommended

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
By: Graham Robb
The New York Times bestseller: the secrets of the City of Light, revealed in the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten―by the author of the acclaimed The Discovery of France. This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction, of the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten. A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter. A well-dressed woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map―there were no reliable ones at the time―Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine. Baudelaire, the photographer Marville, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Boheme, Proust, Adolf Hitler touring the occupied capital in the company of his generals, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt in Notre Dame)―these and many more are Robb’s cast of characters, and the settings range from the quarries and catacombs beneath the streets to the grand monuments to the appalling suburbs ringing the city today. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel. 16 pages of full-color illustrations
DK Eyewitness Paris: 2020 (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Jean-Pierre Masclef
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful French phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Ask about tucked-away vineyards, bargain with local farmers at the market or order wine like a professional; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cuesCovers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary , a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture.About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves.
The Secret Life of the Seine
By: Mort Rosenblum
Mort Rosenblum, a celebrated foreign correspondent, invites us aboard his fifty-four-foot launch tied up in the center of Paris and introduces us to the characters who share his life along the river, ranging from eccentric movie stars and reclusive novelists to barge families just scraping by. He then hauls in the bow line for an unforgettable tour of the river itself from its source to its mouth. The Secret Life of the Seine is a love story between man and boat and the river that they live on, a discourse on the sensual beauty of France and the art of living well. In the tradition of A Year in Provence, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Paris to the Moon, here is what Garry Trudeau called "a moveable feast [with] a top speed of five knots—fast enough for fun, languid enough for dreaming. Take a trip you'll never take: This is what books are for."

Also Recommended

A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition
By: Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, now available in a restored edition, includes the original manuscript along with insightful recollections and unfinished sketches.Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most enduring works. Since Hemingway’s personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined the changes made to the text before publication. Now, this special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published. Featuring a personal Foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s sole surviving son, and an Introduction by grandson of the author, Seán Hemingway, editor of this edition, the book also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son, Jack, and his first wife Hadley. Also included are irreverent portraits of literary luminaries, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Maddox Ford, and insightful recollections of Hemingway’s own early experiments with his craft. Widely celebrated and debated by critics and readers everywhere, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.
A Traveller's History of Paris
By: Robert Cole
Packed with facts, anecdotes, and insight, A Traveller's History of Paris offers a complete history of the city and the people who have shaped its destiny. Illustrated with line drawings and historical maps.
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
By: Joan DeJean
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Paris was known for isolated monuments but had not yet put its brand on urban space. Like other European cities, it was still emerging from its medieval past. But in a mere century Paris would be transformed into the modern and mythic city we know today.Though most people associate the signature characteristics of Paris with the public works of the nineteenth century, Joan DeJean demonstrates that the Parisian model for urban space was in fact invented two centuries earlier, when the first complete design for the French capital was drawn up and implemented. As a result, Paris saw many changes. It became the first city to tear down its fortifications, inviting people in rather than keeping them out. Parisian urban planning showcased new kinds of streets, including the original boulevard, as well as public parks and the earliest sidewalks and bridges without houses. Venues opened for urban entertainment of all kinds, from opera and ballet to a pastime invented in Paris, recreational shopping. Parisians enjoyed the earliest public transportation and street lighting, and Paris became Europe's first great walking city. A century of planned development made Paris both beautiful and exciting. It gave people reasons to be out in public as never before and as nowhere else. And it gave Paris its modern identity as a place that people dreamed of seeing. By 1700, Paris had become the capital that would revolutionize our conception of the city and of urban life.
Seven Ages of Paris
By: Alistair Horne
In this luminous portrait of Paris, the celebrated historian gives us the history, culture, disasters, and triumphs of one of the world’s truly great cities. While Paris may be many things, it is never boring. From the rise of Philippe Auguste through the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIV (who abandoned Paris for Versailles); Napoleon’s rise and fall; Baron Haussmann’s rebuilding of Paris (at the cost of much of the medieval city); the Belle Epoque and the Great War that brought it to an end; the Nazi Occupation, the Liberation, and the postwar period dominated by de Gaulle--Horne brings the city’s highs and lows, savagery and sophistication, and heroes and villains splendidly to life. With a keen eye for the telling anecdote and pivotal moment, he portrays an array of vivid incidents to show us how Paris endures through each age, is altered but always emerges more brilliant and beautiful than ever. The Seven Ages of Paris is a great historian’s tribute to a city he loves and has spent a lifetime learning to know."Knowledgeable and colorful, written with gusto and love.... [An] ambitious and skillful narrative that covers the history of Paris with considerable brio and fervor."—LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Monet at Giverny
By: Adrien Goetz
In 1890, Claude Monet bought a house at Giverny in Normandy. Soon he had laid out the first of the three studios in which he could paint. Now the garden that was to be a constant source of inspiration for those paintings claimed all his attention. In 1893, work started on the excavation of the famous pond that he would plant with water lilies, and over which he would build a Japanese bridge festooned with wisteria.Richly illustrated with photographs taken as the seasons unfold, this guide takes us on a tour of the house and gardens, inviting us to explore the settings in which Monet and his family spent their daily lives, from the iconic yellow dining room to the famous salon-studio. Adrien Goetz leads us through the gardens laid out by the father of Impressionism, where we can admire the dazzling planting schemes and successive flowerings that inspired the paintings that now hang in the world's greatest galleries and museums: drifts and avenues of iris, tulips and narcissi, wallflowers, peonies and forget-me-nots, roses and cascades of clematis and wisteria, not forgetting the legendary water lilies.
Mad Enchantment
The Most Beautiful Villages of Normandy (The Most Beautiful Villages)
By: Hugh Palmer
Featuring 34 of the most picturesque villages from the five departements of Normandy, this book also presents special sections on the churches, chateaux, harbours and coastline. A varied region of open country and woodland, it includes Mont-St-Michel and Monet's garden at Giverny.
Michelin Green Guide Normandy: (Travel Guide)
By: Michelin
The Normandy Battlefields: D-Day and the Bridgehead
By: Leo Marriott, Simon Forty
Over 75 years have passed and the D-Day landings have lost none of their impact. Even today the vestiges of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall speak of the huge undertaking necessary for the Allies to gain a foothold in Normandy. In this beautiful new full-color book, the reader goes “on-site” to the sacred battleground from its scarred medieval villages to the remains of modern means of destruction. The huge armada that attacked from Britain left behind many signs of their passage: from the huge caissons of the mulberry harbor around Arromanches, the gun emplacements at Longues and Merville, to the multitude of hardware used as memorials—tanks, artillery, pillboxes—and the many graves and cemeteries that honor those who died on both sides. It is in memory of the dead that much of what can be seen on the ground survives, but as the last few survivors reach their 90s, a new audience requires information about the events of the past that can only come from seeing the ground where the battle was fought. Today, the beaches are a fascinating mixture of the new and the old, including the new visitors’ center at Colleville and the renovation and expansion of the Utah Beach museum—even as further new memorials jostle with the older sites that have changed little in 75 years.The Normandy Battlefields details what can be seen on the ground today using a mixture of media to provide a complete overview of the campaign. Maps old and new highlight what has survived and what hasn’t; then-and-now photography allows fascinating comparisons with the images taken at the time—particularly the aerial views—and computer artwork provides graphic details of things that can’t be seen today.The book describes the area from Cherbourg to Le Havre by way of the key D-Day locations, providing a handbook for the visitor and an overview for the armchair traveler. It covers, wherever possible, the forces from both sides and the memorials to those young men who fought so many years ago.
D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
By: Stephen E. Ambrose
Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history.D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.
Houseboat on the Seine: A Memoir
By: Wharton, William
Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
By: Stephanie Cowell
A vividly-rendered portrait of both the rise of Impressionism and of the artist at the center of the movement, Claude and Camille is above all a love story of the highest romantic order.In the mid-nineteenth century, a young man named Claude Monet decided that he would rather endure a difficult life painting landscapes than take over his father’s nautical supplies business in a French seaside town. Against his father’s will, and with nothing but a dream and an insatiable urge to create a new style of art that repudiated the Classical Realism of the time, he set off for Paris. But once there he is confronted with obstacles: an art world that refused to validate his style, extreme poverty, and a war that led him away from his home and friends. But there were bright spots as well: his deep, enduring friendships with men named Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, Manet—a group that together would come to be known as the Impressionists, and that supported each other through the difficult years. Even more illuminating was his lifelong love, Camille Doncieux, a beautiful, upper-class Parisian girl who threw away her privileged life to be by the side of the defiant painter and embrace the lively Bohemian life of their time.  His muse, his best friend, his passionate lover, and the mother to his two children, Camille stayed with Monet—and believed in his work—even as they lived in wretched rooms and often suffered the indignities of destitution. But Camille had her own demons—secrets that Monet could never penetrate—including one that when eventually revealed would pain him so deeply that he would never fully recover from its impact.
Turbulence: A novel (Vintage International)
By: Giles Foden
Giles Foden, the prizewinning author of The Last King of Scotland, delivers a mesmerizing blend of fact and fiction in this novel about how human beings deal with uncertainty. Five days before D-day, a team of Allied scientists is charged with making an accurate weather forecast for the landings. Henry Meadows—a young math prodigy from the Met Office—is sent to Scotland to uncover Wallace Ryman’s revolutionary system for understanding turbulence, one of the last great mysteries of modern physics. But Ryman is a reclusive pacifist who stubbornly refuses to divulge his secrets, and when Henry meets Gill—Ryman’s beautiful wife—events, like the weather, begin to spiral out of control.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.