22719
France

Paris & Normandy: A Fantastic French Voyage With Your Family

Explore Paris’ famous landmarks as the city sweeps you and your family off your feet before sailing the River Seine to discover the gardens, cathedrals and the beaches of Normandy.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22719RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
4,299
Flights start at
1,150
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14 days
13 nights
32 meals
12 B 9 L 11 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Paris, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Paris
D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Family program. Adult participants are responsible for their children at all times. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. In addition to the Group Leader, our program will be staffed with a licensed local instructor who will give lectures and provide on-site commentary during most field trips. Extensive use of public transit is made during this program. Participants must be prepared to go up and down unavoidable steps, navigate crowds, and stand when seats are not available. Expect the Metro to be hot during summer months. All port stops and field trips are subject to change as weather and river conditions may affect the itinerary. Conditions could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Therefore, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. Also, the time available in each port is set by the cruise line and the cruise line reserves the right change the itinerary without prior notice. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant near the hotel, we'll enjoy a welcome meal together. French restaurants take pride in creating a relaxed atmosphere where patrons expect to take their time, savor every bite, and set the pace of the meal, requesting “l’addition” — the check — only when they are ready. Meals are accompanied by complimentary “pain” (bread) and “eau” or “l’eau” (water), so you need not ask for them. When wine is offered, it is customary to fill your glass only half way so the wine can breathe and to be sure everyone has a share. Servers wait until everyone at the table has finished their dish before clearing and bringing the next course. To indicate that you have finished your meal, place your utensils together on the right hand side of your plate.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Montmartre, Paris Overview, Embarkation
Paris
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Botticelli

Activity note: Use of Paris Metro (subway); unavoidable stairs (12-36 steps) with railings; elevators/escalators not available in every station; standing on moving train when seats are unavailable; underground is hot in the summer; crowds expected during peak travel times. Walking up to 2 miles on cobblestone and paved streets. Walking uphill in Montmartre at a leisurely pace. Note: this is a 'Chartered Exclusively for Road Scholar' ship. Program 21266, the Grandparent version of 22719, will also be on board.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and store our luggage in a safe place. Then, we'll depart on foot and take the Metro to Montmartre. Here we will walk the winding streets of this “village” and learn about its significance. Montmartre and the Basilica of Sacré Coeur can be seen from many points in Paris, and we will be able to see it up close! This butte (hill) is a delightful area of village streets and steep stairways that suddenly rise from the Grands Boulevards. The Romano-Byzantine Basilica of the Sacred Heart dates to the late 1800s, and its interior is decorated in mosaic. The bell, named La Savoyarde, is one of the world’s heaviest bells at 19 tons. Nearby, the Place du Tertre (Painters Square) is very popular with tourists and street artists vying for the chance to paint their portraits. Poets, singers, and artists were drawn to the area by its reputed Bohemian way of life. In the early days, they gathered in the cafés to share their works. This led to the tradition of the café-concert. The most famous of these, the Moulin Rouge, opened in 1889. Until the outbreak of World War II, La Butte remained the city’s artistic and literary center. Especially for Kids: We will embark on a treasure hunt to discover more of Montmartre.

Lunch: At a Montmartre restaurant, we'll enjoy a plated meal with a soft drink or glass of wine; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will return by Metro to the hotel to gather our belongings and board a motorcoach. We'll then set out for an overview drive of Paris. Accompanied by expert commentary, we will see landmarks such as the Opera, Place Vendôme, Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Invalides, the Louvre Museum, Ile de la Cite, and the Left Bank. We will conclude our overview by the Seine River to embark on our riverboat. Once we are settled in, we will have an orientation on ship procedures and safety regulations by the ship crew members.

Dinner: On board, we will have a welcome meal including wine, soda, coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
L'Île de la Cité, Tour Montparnasse
Paris
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Botticelli

Activity note: Use of Paris Metro (subway); unavoidable stairs (12-36 steps) with railings; elevators/escalators are not available in every station; standing on moving train when seats are not available; the underground is hot in the summer; crowds expected during peak travel times. Walking up to 2 miles on cobblestone and paved streets. Taking a high speed elevator to top of the Tour Montparnasse.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: We will set out by Metro to discover the heart of the city, where Paris was founded, l'Île de la Cité. We will see the exterior of one of the world's most famous cathedrals, Notre Dame, as well as the stunning stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle. The Sainte-Chapelle, one of the glories of Gothic architecture, was begun in 1239 and completed less than a decade later, an achievement in itself almost miraculous given its structure and decoration. Originally part of the royal palace of Capetian monarchs, it was built by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to house religious relics he acquired from the Holy Land — including the Crown of Thorns! The sense of otherworldliness in the upper church comes from amazing stained glass, held within slender columns in the flamboyant Rayonnant style of architecture, creating the sensation of being inside a jewel box. Construction on Notre-Dame Cathedral began in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. Damaged and restored a number of times — including the disastrous fire of April 2019 — it remains one of the largest and finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: We will head out via the Metro to La Tour Montparnasse, where we will experience the best view of Paris! We will take an elevator all the way up to the 56th floor in 38 seconds to the observation deck and open-air panoramic terrace. From here, we will see the astonishing Parisian skyline, including the famous Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), which was built from 1887-89 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, World's Fair, marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. The Group Leader will take those who wish to visit the Eiffel Tower by Metro to Champs de Mars. If you are interested in taking the elevator up the Eiffel Tower on your own, it is advised to make reservations online in advance for these tickets.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Monet's Giverny
Vernon
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Botticelli

Activity note: Walking on pavement and gravel for up to 1 mile. Standing for up to 2 hours total.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: On board, we will enjoy a lecture about Impressionism and Claude Monet in Giverny by our expert instructor. We'll learn the basics of the Impressionism movement and its artists, while the ship navigates along the Seine.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: We will disembark and discover Claude Monet's gardens at Giverny, where he created and painted his incredible gardens. Looking at the very gardens that inspired him, we’ll learn about his famous art and the Impressionist movement with commentary by our instructor. Walking through the water garden and Clos Normand, we may feel as if we have stepped right into one of the Monet’s famous water lily paintings!

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Historic Rouen
Rouen
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Botticelli

Activity note: Walking on pavement and gravel for up to 1 mile. Standing for up to 2 hours total.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: On board, our Group Leader and Instructor will lead an activity especially for kids to teach us about French culture.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: We will set out on foot to explore historic Rouen with our expert instructor. We will see its magnificent gothic cathedral where Monet studied and painted the effects of changing light, and its famous medieval half-timbered houses. We'll stroll the cobblestone street of the Big Clock to the Old Market Square, the site where Joan of Arc was martyred.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Duclair, Abbey of Saint Wandrille
Duclair
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Botticelli

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile; some steps at the Abbey; even and uneven ground. Standing up to 1 hour. Getting on/off a motorcoach.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: On board, our Group Leader and Instructor will lead an activity especially for kids to teach us about French culture.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: We will go by motorcoach a short distance from Duclair, to Fontenelle Abbey, also called the Abbey of St. Wandrille. Accompanied by one of the abbey’s monks, we'll visit the monastery and learn the story of its founder, 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, we will have the opportunity to attend mass with the Benedictine monks as they sing Gregorian chants.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Honfleur, Marine Museum
Honfleur
B,L,D
CroisiEurope’s Botticelli

Activity note: Walking on cobblestone streets and pavement for up to 2 miles. Standing for up to 2 hours total. Extent and duration of independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: We will head out on foot to enjoy the unique architecture of historic Honfleur with our expert instructor. We will 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: On board.

Afternoon: We will walk to the Marine Museum in Honfleur to learn how Honfleur’s history is tied to the sea. We will see model ships, paintings and objects that depict daily life, business, and crafts of the 18th and 19th centuries. The rest of the afternoon is open for independent exploration in Honfleur. You may like to enjoy the atmosphere of the Old Port or visit the Eugène Boudin museum.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for disembarkation and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
9
Disembarkation, Bayeux Tapestry, Transfer To Caen
Caen
B,D
Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance

Activity note: Walking on cobblestone streets and pavement for up to 2 miles. Standing for up to 2 hours total. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice. Getting on/off a motorcoach; the drive from Bayeux to Caen is about 40 minutes.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: We will disembark the riverboat and depart by motorcoach to Bayeux. In Bayeux, we will have the opportunity to examine the Bayeux Tapestry, a lively description of the Middle Ages that describes the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The tapestry is nearly 230 feet long and depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings. The actual origins of the tapestry remain a mystery, but legend has it that William's wife Mathilda and her ladies-in-waiting embroidered it. We will visit the museum at our own pace to learn about the making of the Tapestry. We'll then have some time for independent exploration in Bayeux's pedestrian area.

Lunch: On your own in Bayeux. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We will depart by motorcoach to Caen where we will check in at the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will enjoy a plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Caen Memorial & Museum, Free Time
Caen
B,L
Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing up to 2 miles over the course of the day on paved and unpaved ground. Walking and standing in the museum on flat ground. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll choose from a buffet including eggs, breakfast meats, breads, cheese, cereals, fruit, jam, butter, yogurt, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will depart by motorcoach to visit the Caen Memorial and Museum, where displays, films, and exhibits tell the story of World War II and the D-Day landing beaches.

Lunch: At the Caen Memorial, we'll have a plated meal with soft drinks; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Omaha Beach, American Cemetery, Pointe du Hoc
Caen
B,L,D
Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing up to 2 miles over the course of the day on paved and unpaved ground. Walking and standing in the museum on flat ground.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will head out on a motorcoach to Omaha Beach. We will meet a WWII expert to learn about the battle for Omaha Beach and hear stories about those who lived through it. We will also walk part of the beach to see historic sites.

Lunch: At a restaurant near Omaha Beach, we'll have a plated meal with soft drinks; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will continue on to the U.S. Normandy American Military Cemetery to honor those who served under the Allied Forces. We will then go to Pointe du Hoc and learn about the Ranger Assault that took place there. Our expert will show us the craters, now grassed over, left by the bombings of WWII.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Caen, we'll enjoy a plated meal including a soft drink or glass of wine; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Mont Saint Michel
Caen
B,D
Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles on cobblestone streets and pavement. Mont Saint Michel is built on a hill, therefore there is uphill walking and steps to arrive at the abbey.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: By motorcoach, we will go to Mont Saint Michel, a place the locals call "le Mont," a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perched on a small rocky island that is connected to the mainland at low tide, Mont Saint Michel is a Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel Michael dating from the Middle Ages. Here, we will enjoy a self-directed visit of the abbey and grounds.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you would like at Mont Saint Michel.

Afternoon: We will return by motorcoach to the hotel with some time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll have a plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Sainte-Mère-Église, Cotentin Peninsula
Caen
B,L,D
Mercure Caen Centre Port de Plaisance

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles on uneven and even terrain. Getting on/off a 'duck boat' (a boat with wheels that allows travel on land and in water), which will take us to Tatihou Island. Plan to wear shoes that can get wet as, depending on the tide, we may have to walk on sand at low tide.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will take the motorcoach to Sainte-Mère-Église to learn the story of John Steele, the American paratrooper whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church the night before D-Day. His story is the town's main draw for travelers; a nearby tavern is named after Steele, and a likeness of him attached to a parachute continues to hang from the church.

Lunch: We will take the motorcoach to Sainte-Mère-Église to learn the story of John Steele, the American paratrooper whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church the night before D-Day. His story is the town's main draw for travelers; a nearby tavern is named after Steele, and a likeness of him attached to a parachute continues to hang from the church.

Afternoon: We will explore the island of Tatihou, just opposite the port of Saint Vaast La Hougue. It is accessible on foot at low tide or by amphibious vehicle. This 72-acre island is home to an annual folk festival, an ornithological reserve, and a botanical garden. Access to the island is limited, and there are no permanent residents.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a plated meal with a glass of wine or soft drink. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
14
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon. Early check-out from hotel in Caen to transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 157 miles (253 km), approximately 2.75 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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