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The Seine: D-Day Beaches to Paris

Program Number: 12416RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/1/2013 - 5/14/2013; 9/2/2015 - 9/15/2015; 10/3/2015 - 10/16/2015; 10/11/2015 - 10/24/2015; 4/21/2016 - 5/4/2016; 5/8/2016 - 5/21/2016; 6/1/2016 - 6/14/2016; 9/7/2016 - 9/20/2016; 9/21/2016 - 10/4/2016; 10/7/2016 - 10/20/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $3,993.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; History & Culture
Meals: 33; 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Trace the events of history’s largest invasion on June 6, 1944, from Normandy’s beaches to the liberation of Paris. At charming ports of call local experts discuss life along the Seine River, ranging from medieval history to Impressionist art.

Activity Particulars

Extensive walking along unpaved lanes and cobblestoned streets; some stairs without railings and/or uneven. Participants should be able to stand for at least one hour.

06/14/2015, 10/03/15, and 10/11/15 will start in Paris and the cruise will operate Paris to Honfleur and end with 5 nights in Caen.

6/14/15 and 10/11/15 sail on the MS France.
9/2/2015, and 10/3/2015 sail on the MS Seine Princess.

Please note that the 9/21/2016 date is designed with a Moderate activity level and is meant for participants who feel that an Active program would be too strenuous. Field trips on this date will be slower paced and will follow less strenuous routings wherever possible.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Caen, 5 nights; aboard vessel, 6 nights; Paris 1 night.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-6: Arrival Paris (France) / coach to Caen:

Trace the events of D-Day with experts at Sainte Mere Eglise, and Utah and Omaha beaches. Study the logistics of the landing, the technology used, and the planning stages, as well as military division involved.
Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 7: Caen / coach to Honfleur / embark vessel:

Enjoy a free morning before visiting Le Memorial de Caen, a major museum dedicated to the history of the 20th century. Board the ship in the late afternoon.

Day 8: Honfleur:

Discover the unique architecture of historic Honfleur and visit one of the last remaining wooden churches. At the scenic Musee Eugene Boudin, examine works by Eugene Boudin, Dubourg, Monet and others.

Days 9-10: Caudebec / Rouen:

Take an in-depth look at the foundation of the region’s Benedictine Monks at the Abbey of Saint Wandrille. On a narrated walk through Rouen, explore the city’s half-timbered houses and the site of Joan d’Arc’s trial and execution.

Day 11: Giverny:

Wander through Monet's gardens at Giverny and study the history of Impressionism along the Seine.

Days 12-14: Paris / disembark / departure:

Discover the capital of France and the beginning of Paris on the Ile de la Cite, and later explore the historic sites of the city's occupation and final liberation in August 1944. Visit the Louvre Museum and enjoy some free time to see more of the city. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Please Note: 06/14/2015, 10/03/15, and 10/11/15 will start in Paris and the cruise will operate Paris to Honfleur and end with 5 nights in Caen.

MS Botticelli

The MS Botticelli is a deluxe two-deck river ship that was built in 2004. It is 110 meters long and can accommodate 154 passengers in its 75 cabins, all of which have windows. The restaurant, lounge-bar and sun deck can be accessed by stairs.


The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.

Meals and Lodgings
   Churchill Hotel
  Bayeux, France 5 nights
   MS Botticelli
  Honfleur, France
Rouen, France
Vernon, France
Paris, France
6 nights
   Villa Beaumarchais
  Paris, France 1 night
 Churchill Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located in a pedestrian street in the heart of old Bayeux, a medieval town near the D-Day landing beaches, the Churchill Hotel is just a few steps away from the famous tapestry and the cathedral. This charming hotel is in a quaint, rambling old building and is ranked one of the top hotels in Normandy.
  Contact info: 14-16 rue Saint Jean
Bayeux,  14400 France
phone: +33 2 31 21 31 80
  Room amenities: Direct telephone • Cable TV • Hair dryers
  Facility amenities: Internet access. Please note that hotel rooms in France are smaller than hotel rooms in the US and often do not have dressers. This hotel does not have an elevator; participants will be staying in rooms on the first or second floor.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MS Botticelli
Type: Luxury Barge
  Ship Information: The MS Botticelli is a deluxe two-deck river ship that was built in 2004. It is 110 meters long and can accommodate 154 passengers in its 75 cabins, all of which have windows.
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,  67080 France
phone: +33 (0)3 88 76 44 44
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with shower and toilet, hairdryer, satellite TV, radio, safe.
  Facility amenities: Lounge-bar with a dance floor - bar - dining room - large sundeck with deckchairs - gift shop. Central heating, 220V electricity, air-conditioning, radar, radiophone.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Villa Beaumarchais
Type: Hotel
  Description: Nestled at the corner of the Passage du Grand Veneur, the Villa Beaumarchais echoes the charm of typical lanes of the Place des Vosges.
  Contact info: 5 rue des Arquebusiers
Paris,  75003 France
phone: +33 (0)1 40 29 14 00
  Room amenities: Cable television, complimentary newspaper, air conditioning, phone, internet access, minibar, wake-up calls, private bathroom, bathrobes, hair dryer, pay movies, in-room safe
  Facility amenities: Buffet breakfasts, room service, air conditioning, mini bar, WiFi, safe.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and availability.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins in the early evening with an orientation meeting at your hotel in Bayeux. You will be staying at Churchill Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast at the Paris hotel. You will be staying at Villa Beaumarchais the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses, taxis, and trains are available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Bayeux
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Independent travelers are welcome to join this group transfer. Independent travelers who plan to make their own way to Bayeux can take the RER train to Gare du Nord and transfer to Gare St Lazare either by taxi or metro. There are several trains daily from the Gare St Lazare to Bayeux. Upon arrival in Bayeux take a taxi to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Paris
  Nearest city or town:  Gonesse
  Nearest highway: A1
  Nearest airport:  Charles de Gaulle Airport
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and depart on the group date. Independent travelers can take a taxi from the hotel to the airport or can ask the hotel for assistance in arranging a shuttle transfer. Paris Shuttle, a third party service, offers discounted shared shuttle and private transfer rates to Road Scholar participants. The rate they offer is about 10% discount off their published rate. By using the web link below, you can take advantage of these rates and book your transfer for departure in Paris. You will need to pay in advance with a credit card to confirm reservations and print your own voucher.
Elevation Note: 500 feet is the highest elevation.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: US bound for Paris
(Wednesday, May 1)
 Depart From: International flight to France

Day 2: Group Arrival and Welcome
(Thursday, May 2)
 Arrive To: After arrival in France, transfer by coach to Normandy and the first program site, Bayeux.
 Lunch: Light lunch en route to Bayeux
 Afternoon: Check-in at hotel and have time to freshen up and relax before meeting for a welcome orientation and program briefing.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Pegasus Bridge, the British Sector and the Bayeux Tapestry
(Friday, May 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: On-site Lecture / Field Trip: Your WWII expert will lead you to Pegasus Bridge and from here, along the British and Canadian sector of the D-Day operation. Learn the importance and creation of the "Mulberry Harbours" and the stubborn German Battery at Longues sur Mer.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Independent Discovery of the legendary tapestry that is part of UNESCO's "Memory of the World" registry. Take some time to linger over each of the 58 scenes which depict in exquisite detail the Norman invasion of England.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Bayeux to explore local cuisine.
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and Pointe du Hoc
(Saturday, May 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: On-site Lecture: "The Landing at Omaha." This morning your expert leads you through the American landing on Omaha Beach. You will learn about the ferocity of this battle and look at the landing from a number of perspectives.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Field Trip and On-site Lecture: Start the afternoon with a wreath laying ceremony at the US Normandy American Military Cemetery, then continue on to Pointe du Hoc to learn about the Ranger Assault. Finish the day with a tasting of the region's renowned apple brandy at the Chateau d'Englesqueville, where the first US monument to WWII soldiers was built.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Utah Beach, Sainte Mere Eglise and the Battle of the Hedgerows
(Sunday, May 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: On-site Lecture/ Field Trip: "The Battle of the Hedgerows." This morning you travel to Saint-Lo to explore the hedgerows, which proved to be a very unique and difficult obstacle for American soldiers.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: This afternoon your WWII expert returns to lead an on-site discussion of the operations in Ste. Mere l'Eglise and Utah Beach. Ste. Mere l'Eglise was at the center of the US paratrooper landing and is known for the US soldier whose parachute got stuck on the church's steeple, leaving him stranded overnight.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Bayeux
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Mont Saint Michel
(Monday, May 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: Enjoy a few hours of free time to explore Bayeux at your own pace before your mid-morning departure.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local farm/restaurant en route to Mont Saint Michel
 Afternoon: Explore a place the locals call "le Mont" - better known as Mont Saint Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
Accommodations: Churchill Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: The Caen Memorial
(Tuesday, May 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 Morning: Free Time: Enjoy a relaxing morning to pack your belongings and and see some final sites in Bayeux before your departure.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Caen Memorial
 Afternoon: Excursion: The Caen Memorial is a major museum dedicated to the history of 20th century. This is a self-guided visit, and you may wander at your own pace through the different galleries focusing on WWII, the Cold War, and Peace. In the late afternoon you will continue on to Honfleur to board the river barge.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS Botticelli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Honfleur and Eugène Boudin
(Wednesday, May 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: Field Trip: Enjoy unique architecture during a tour of Historic Honfleur. Learn why this city has one of the few remaining all wooden churches and the important role of this city in the settlement of New France.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: Independent discovery of the Eugène Boudin Museum, which is named after Honfleur's most famous painter and contains works by Boudin as well as other Impressionists. Located in a 19th century chapel and two modern extensions, the museum houses some 1200 square metres of permanent exhibitions in 9 rooms.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS Botticelli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Caudebec and the Abbey of Saint Wandrille
(Thursday, May 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: Field Trip: A short distance from Caudebec you will find Fontenelle Abbey, or the Abbey of St Wandrille. Your local guide will take you through the monastery, founded in the first century by Wandregisel or Saint Wandrille. Although much of the abbey has been rebuilt, the chapel of St-Saturnin remains standing on the hillside overlooking the abbey and is one of the oldest ecclesiastical structures still in existence. After exploring the abbey you will have the option of attending mass with the Benedictine monks as they sing Gregorian chants.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: Onboard Lecture: Impressionism and Claude Monet in Giverny." With your Study Leader, explore 19th century painting, the Academy, Manet and Monet as you sail along the Seine.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS Botticelli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Historic Rouen
(Friday, May 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: On Site Lecture/ Field Trip: Explore historic Rouen, its magnificent cathedral where Monet studied and painted the effects of changing light, and its famous half-timbered houses. Your expert guide walks you through this unique city's history, also taking time to pause at the site of the burning of Joan of Arc.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: Onboard Lecture: "Robert Capa". With your Study Leader, learn about the fascinating photographer who captured some of the most well-known images of the D-Day invasion and the Liberation of Paris.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS Botticelli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Monet's Giverny
(Saturday, May 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: Field Trip: Discover Claude Monet's gardens at Giverny and the stunning foiliage that inspired the great artist.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: Onboard Lecture: "War and Discoveries". With your Study Leader, explore some of the new discoveries that emerged during World War II, such as Penicillin, jet aircraft and nylon.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS Botticelli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Paris and Île de la Cité
(Sunday, May 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: On-site Lecture/ Field Trip: Accompanied by an expert lecturer and Paris resident, you will explore Medieval Paris and the Île de la Cité on a walking tour.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard
 Afternoon: Free Time: Take some time this afternoon to enjoy Paris at your own pace.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: MS Botticelli
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: The Louvre and the Liberation of Paris
(Monday, May 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet onboard
 Morning: Field Trip/Lecture: The Occupation and Liberation of Paris. With your local expert guide, discover areas of Paris under German occupation and discuss the resistance and liberation. Begin at the Hotel Meurice, once the German Headquarters, and end at the statue of Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysées. Later in the afternoon you will check in at your hotel in Paris for one night.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in Paris. This is your chance to explore some of the world-famous cuisine offered by the city's sidewalk cafes and renowned restaurants.
 Afternoon: Free time to continue your explorations of Paris or join the group for a self-guided visit of the Louvre using an audioguide created exclusively for Road Scholar participants, containing informative commentary by lecturers sharing their passion for highlights of the Louvre.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a restaurant near your hotel
Accommodations: Villa Beaumarchais
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Departures
(Tuesday, May 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel
 In Transit: Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport for return flights to the U.S.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

1066, The Year of the Conquest

Author: David Howarth

Description: A crack medievalist and storyteller, Howarth brings to life the momentous events of 1066 in rich, anecdotal history -- a classic portrait of the Norman invasion and conquest of England.

A Moveable Feast

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Description: A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.

A Traveller's History of France

Author: Robert Cole

Description: This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.

Battle of Normandy 1944 Map

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A reproduction of a 1947 map of Normandy showing the main sites of the summer 1944 battle.

Between Meals, An Appetite for Paris

Author: A.J. Liebling

Description: Liebling captures with stylish prose his coming-of-age in Paris in this elegant memoir, which is also a tribute to French cuisine.

D-Day June 6, 1944, The Climactic Battle of World War II

Author: Stephen Ambrose

Description: Written by the best-selling historian Stephen Ambrose, this well researched book draws together interviews and government documents to tell the gripping tale of D-Day. This comprehensive account contains 32 pages of photos and eight maps.

Fodor's Paris' 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This shirt-pocket map and guide includes essential information on the city's history, highlights and sightseeing, ideal for a short visit to the City of Light.

Joan of Arc

Author: Mary Gordon

Description: In elegant, insightful prose, novelist Gordon meditates on the courageous and complex young girl and the iconic status she has acquired.

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook

Author: Marie-Helene Girard, Anny Monet

Description: This handy phrasebook focuses on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Madame Bovary

Author: Lydia Davis (Translator), Gustave Flaubert

Description: The landmark novel of a woman who suffers in search of relief from her humdrum life in a provincial village outside Rouen.

Made in France, A Shopper's Guide

Author: Laura Morelli

Description: Both a fascinating history of France's artisanal legacy and an insider's shopping guide, the book includes illustrations, maps, a primer on French shopping culture and craft festivals.

Michelin Green Guide Normandy

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A thorough introduction to Normandy and the Channel islands in the classic Michelin style, featuring brief descriptions of all the major attractions. Organized alphabetically, we like it for its broad coverage, and especially for its excellent local maps.

Monet, the Ultimate Impressionist

Author: Sylvie Patin

Description: A colorful pocket-size reference to Monet's life, paintings and contemporaries, perfect for those visiting Giverny.

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres

Author: Henry Brooks Adams

Description: First published at the turn of the century, this classic work is a meditation on the Medieval world as reflected through its most famous religious structures.

Normandy Map 513

Author: Michelin

Description: A colorful, detailed map of Normandy at a scale of 1:200,000, featuring Rouen, Le Havre and the route of the Seine from west of Paris to the Atlantic.

Paris to the Moon

Author: Adam Gopnik

Description: Gopnik writes with candor and humor about Paris and Parisian ways in these charming reflections on adapting to life in glorious exile.

Six Armies in Normandy, From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris

Author: John Keegan

Description: A provocative account of the invasion of Normandy and the battles that proceeded it. Keegan's intense descriptions of the war in northern France are accompanied by perceptive analysis of the military tactics that resulted in Allied victory.

The Food of France

Author: Waverly Root

Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).

The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France

Author: Ina Caro

Description: Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.

The Secret Life of the Seine

Author: Mort Rosenblum

Description: After losing his Paris apartment, Rosenblum, a born storyteller, takes to a houseboat moored on the Seine. The result is this entertaining tour of the places and people he encounters during his explorations along the river.

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