Have you ever been on a river cruise?
I think they are the best way to see a country. Being on the river gives you a different perspective than travelling by car or bus. You float from city to city, have local tour guides who know the towns personally, and you make new friends on the cruise. It’s a very relaxed way to travel and visit a country. We just took a river cruise on the Seine river from Paris to Normandy and it was fabulous!
We flew into Paris a day ahead of our river boat trip and I highly recommend you try to do the same. It helps you to adjust to the different time zone. It also gave us a little more time walking around Paris in the Montparnasse quarter where the meeting hotel for our river cruise was located.
Paris is divided into quarters and the guide book we used explained in detail all the points of interest in each quarter, which made it very easy to maneuver as a French tourist. We stayed in the Marriott Ambassador which was located in the Opera quarter on the right bank. We took a taxi over to the hotel on the left bank .
We dropped off our bags at the Avalon Waterways hospitality lounge and headed out the door to explore the Montparnasse area. We had 4 hours to walk around before we were loaded onto buses that would take us to the dock where our boat was waiting for us.
The Avalon concierge recommended we walk to the Luxembourg Gardens which was a 20 minute walk from the hotel. I wished we had time to see the Catacombs of Paris, but that will be saved for another trip to Paris.
The gardens is a very large park with many statues lining the paths.
It was a very hot day in Paris, so the chairs stayed empty in front of the palace.
It is so lovely to see flower stands lining the beautiful streets of Paris. I love gardens but I also enjoyed seeing the flower stands.
This was our boat for our trip up to Normandy. We had 1o1 travellers who joined us on this trip and made good friends with about 20 of them. On this particular cruise, we met people from the United States, England, Canada, and Australia. Travelling on the river gave us time to visit with people and every night after dinner a group of us went on top to take in the beauty of the shoreline in the evening.
We boarded our boat around 4:00pm and were greeted by the entire crew and a glass of champagne. Yes, real french champagne, not sparkling wine . The captain gives you a brief pep talk in a heavy french accent (which I couldn’t understand), but it had to do with our prerequisite safety drill where we scampered to the top deck at the sound of the alarm and put on a life vest for a whole 5 minutes.
See the woman to the left of me? She’s about to become my friend, but she doesn’t know it yet during this safety drill. At the end of the trip we will be exchanging emails and hugs.
The Lounge is located at the front of the boat and has the best views or the river from this area.
This lounge is at the back of the ship where you can find cookies and pastries waiting for you. It also has coffee and tea served daily here too.
The dining rooms is quite lovely and we ate 3 delicious meals daily in here. Buffet style is served morning and at lunch but it’s menu style for dinner. You may also eat off a small menu for lunch and breakfast if you prefer. They even serve gluten free and vegan options for those who prefer those options.
Our bedroom was just perfect and the bed is so comfortable. (The bed is 2 twins pushed together to make a queen.)
The bathroom is small but very manageable.
Our first day on the boat was the 4th of July and how wonderful to leave Paris with the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty bidding us a fond Adieu!
You do remember that France gave us the Statue of Liberty?
The many friendships we made on this river cruise has us ready to book the next one!
We got to know so many lovely people and their stories because we had shared our table and spent time getting to know them on a more personable level.
The men enjoyed getting to know each other as well as the women did.
Are you ready to see countries in a different way? Make new friends on your journey?
I hope you enjoyed this brief introduction of the beginning of our trip up the Seine river to Normandy.
Next stop is Giverny, home of the wonderful impressionist art, Claude Monet.
I hope you join me again!
Hugs from the Avalon river cruise!