Seine River Cruise: From Honfleur to Paris
6 Sep — 12 Sep 2019 | Tour Directors: Peter Higginson, Cathy Oakes, Emilie Capulet, Christopher Catling, Sarah Burles
• Discover centuries of history along France’s most famous waterway, all from the comfort of our privately chartered vessel, the MS Renoir
• Several ACE Tour Directors provide their unique perspectives on our historical and artistic visits, perfectly complemented by afternoon lectures and evening piano recitals
• Delve into the rich heritage of Paris, Rouen and Honfleur, while making excursions to the Bayeux Tapestry, two Norman abbeys, and Monet’s beautiful Garden at Giverny – the subject of so many of his most famous works
Captivated by the shifting effects of sunlight on the Seine, Monet spent several months rising at dawn to paint the river from his studio boat. His Mornings on the Seine series has since been exhibited all over the world, showcasing the truly magical character of this ever-changing river, witness to thousands of years of history.
In September 2019, following two anniversary voyages in 2018, we are delighted to announce the return of our spectacular Seine river cruise. Our private vessel the MS Renoir will take us from the town of Honfleur with its picturesque Old Port to the vibrant streets of Paris, stopping at Vernon, Rouen and Duclair en route. Several ACE experts – including medievalist Cathy Oakes, art historians Peter Higginson and Sarah Burles, archaeologist Christopher Catling, and musician Emilie Capulet – will provide unique introductions to sites from the Bayeux Tapestry and Norman Abbeys, to Monet’s stunning garden at Giverny, resplendent with autumn flowers.
19th century art history will be one of the central focuses of the tour. Excursions to some of France’s most impressive art collections – including visits to the treasure troves of the Musée Marmottan Monet and Musée d’Orsay in Paris – will be supported by illuminating lectures from our art historians, immersing us in the lives of the artists and the people and places they sought to capture. Complementing the daytime excursions, international pianist Emilie Capulet will draw on Impressionist themes in a series of engrossing afternoon and evening recitals.
Long before the Impressionists captured the colours and light of the region, however, the Seine bore witness to the construction of magnificent medieval abbeys. Embraced by a meandering curve in the river, stately Jumièges Abbey with its mix of Carolingian and Romanesque architecture would later be described by Victor Hugo as “the most beautiful ruins in all of France”. Saint Wandrille, meanwhile, was one of the first Benedictine abbeys to be founded in Normandy and retains an active monastic community today. We make visits to both these sites, in addition to uncovering the rich medieval history of the towns along our route and that most celebrated remnant of Normandy’s medieval past: the Bayeux Tapestry.
The cruise builds to a magnificent finale in Paris, culminating in a Gala Dinner on board the MS Renoir.
We stay throughout the tour on the MS Renoir, a five-anchor vessel offering accommodation of a luxurious 4-star hotel standard alongside generous public areas, a spacious sundeck and a range of facilities.
Our Tour Directors will joined by Michaela Rowland-Hall, Frances Neville and Sarah Kelk, three of our most popular and experienced Tour Managers.
Please note that the below itinerary represents a guide to what we hope to offer and some details may be subject to change.
expert in art history and consultant lecturer at Christie's, London
Associate Professor in Art History at Oxford University.
MA, FSA, MCIfA
an archaeologist who has worked on sites in Portugal and in the Portuguese African islands of Cape Verde
art historian who works in museum and gallery education
MA, MMUS, PhD
award-winning pianist, writer and lecturer
Transfer via Eurostar from London to Calais-Fréthun. Continue by coach to Honfleur and board the MS Renoir. Welcome drink and Tour Director introductions.
Morning excursion to Bayeux, including visits to the Tapestry Museum and cathedral with short organ recital from ACE Tour Director John Bryden (subject to confirmation). Afternoon: free time in Honfleur (picturesque old harbour, subject of works by Boudin, Monet and Courbet), with option to visit the Musée Eugène-Boudin (charming galleries showcasing works by Boudin and other local artists) and St Catherine’s Church.
Norman Abbeys trail: Saint Wandrille (ancient foundations with unique 7th century chapel) and Jumièges (dramatic ruins of former Benedictine monastery).
Walking tour of Rouen Old Town (including Notre Dame Cathedral and Great Clock) and visit to Musée des Beaux-Arts (founded by Napoleon I in 1801; collections include works by Rubens, Caravaggio, Pissarro, Degas, Monet). Evening piano recital.
Morning visit to Giverny for Monet’s Garden (Clos Normand flower garden and Japanese inspired water garden) and Museum of Impressionism. Afternoon piano recital.
Visits in Paris: Musée Marmottan Monet (Monet, Degas, Manet, Renoir) and Musée d’Orsay (the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world including works by Cézanne and van Gogh). Gala dinner on board MS Renoir followed by evening piano recital.
Further visits in Paris followed by transfer to Gare du Nord for Eurostar to London, where tour disperses.
6 Sep — 12 Sep 2019
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I will certainly recommend it to anyone who would enjoy the mix of arts, museums, cathedrals, lectures and music.
Recent ACE Customer
A five-anchor vessel offering accommodation of a luxurious 4-star hotel standard alongside generous public areas, a spacious sundeck and a range of facilities.
return travel, accommodation based on sharing a twin cabin (main deck), breakfast, four lunches, six dinners with unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks, tea & coffee, shore excursions & admissions, gratuities.
travel insurance, upper deck twin cabin supplement of £250 per person, twin cabin for single use supplement of £500 for a main deck cabin or £1000 for an upper deck cabin.