If your soul is craving beauty, history and culture, there is no better destination for a relaxing cruise than France, a country steeped in all three.
Modern life can weigh heavily on us. Despite the technological advances, there are no robotic maids cleaning our homes—in fact, we seem to be working even harder than ever before. Between our work, our commute, our families and the myriad other responsibilities eating up our time, it can be difficult to find time to recharge the batteries with things as simple as taking time to read a good book or to nap in a hammock out in the backyard.
The end result can be a loss of energy and that spark for life that once defined you. Getting that spark back requires several things: Beauty, culture, history, good food and wine. Luckily, there’s one place on the Earth that has all of these qualities in abundance: France.
The ideal way to enjoy France is slow and comfortably—in other words, a cruise.
Your options for a visit to France are limitless, and the choices can actually paralyze you; after all, there’s only so much time in the day and so much to see. Luckily, there are three Avalon Waterways itineraries to consider that offer distinct experiences in France:
The France Sampler: Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches – 8-Day River Cruise from Paris to Paris. Beginning in the City of Light, this cruise takes you down the Seine for a series of guided visits to some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. From Vernon where you can visit Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or tour historic and beautiful Bizy Castle. Then it’s on to Les Andelys and a stop at Château Gaillard (dating back to the 12th century), and Caudebec, where you can stand on the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy or take a culinary tour. This slow-paced cruise will fill your soul with natural beauty, great food, and as much history and culture as you wish, looping back to Paris at the end for an expert tour of the city that hits all the must sees. Click here for more information.
The South Experience: Grand France – Southbound – 16-Day River Cruise from Paris to Côte d’Azur. Departing from Paris, this cruise initially follows the same path as the 8-day cruise above, taking you to Normandy and back to Paris and offering the chance to visit Rouen, where Joan of Arc was executed in 1431, and Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh lived and worked. From Paris, you take the train south to Dijon, stop in Beaune for a wine tasting or visit of the Hôtel-Dieu, and then board your second cruise ship in Chalon-sur-Saône for a tour of the south, including Tournus, Lyon, Arles and Avignon. The cruise concludes in the Côte d’Azur, where you’ll stay the night. For more information, click here.
The Full France Monty: Grand France – Northbound – 16-Day River Cruise from Côte D’azur to Paris. A combination of everything France offers, this cruise will cure any level of ennui with generous doses of stunning scenery, great food and wine, sobering history, and glimpses of French culture. Starting off in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Côte d’Azur, the cruise heads to the Camargue area for dinner and then on to Arles. From there we head north along the Rhône and Saône rivers, marveling at the beautiful scenes around us, and pause long enough at Lyon to have one of that city’s legendary gastronomical experiences. North to Paris, then west to Normandy, Rouen, and Conflans, where you can walk in Napoleon’s Château de Malmaison. Finally back to Paris for a concluding expert tour of that ancient, beautiful city. For more information, click here
No matter how much stress you carry, a tour of France will cure you. We know this because cruises are what we do—you could say we’re in the stress cure business. What we’ve learned over the years is simple: The details matter. Details like ensuring the beds in our rooms always face windows so you can watch the scenery, and not a wall. Or including wine from the precise region we’re moving through with every meal so you can truly feel part of the area. We believe river cruises are the ideal way to see France—or any place. Click here to learn more about us and the cruises we offer!