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A Portrait of Majestic France

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Tour Pace: Leisurely
Monet's Garden, Giverny
Tour Style: Boutique River Cruises
16 Days from $5,299 per person

The quintessential voyage for gourmets, oenophiles and lovers of all things French.  This picture-perfect journey blends your passion for the good life—art, culture and gastronomy—with a broad sweep of lovely French landscapes.

Experience the romance of Paris. Marvel at magnificent Rouen Cathedral, and tour the former smugglers’ harbor in Honfleur and follow in the footsteps of Monet at his beloved Giverny.  Travel to beautiful Bordeaux and delight in the countryside of southwest France. Explore Roman Saint-Émilion, with its astonishing Monolithic Church, and ancient Blaye, with its famous citadel. Enjoy the best France has to offer with Uniworld’s plethora of exclusive excursions (including an exclusive wine tasting of famous Médoc and Sauternes wines and an extraordinary evening tour of Bordeaux) as you cruise four rivers, visit bustling cities and charming towns and sample myriad culinary delights.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).

  2. Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship.

    meal(s):Dinner
  3. Monet often painted the little riverside town of Vernon, your port of call, so you are likely to recognize scenes the master rendered in oils on your way to his home in Giverny. You have a choice as to how you wish to journey to his home where he lived and worked for more than 40 years—via a short bus ride or by bike. Once there, you’ll discover how Monet immortalized his home and gardens in his paintings. Later, cruise along the peaceful Seine to Les Andelys, where you may wish to hike up to Château Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart’s 12th-century stronghold, offering inspiring views of the Seine. Cap the day off at the festive Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala dinner. Note: Giverny will be closed during the October 29 and November 5 cruise departure dates. Instead of Giverny, guests will visit the gardens of Versailles.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Captain's Welcome Reception & Gala Dinner
  4. Victor Hugo called Rouen the city with a hundred bell towers—and easily the most famous is the one rising above Notre Dame Cathedral, which you’ll visit. You will also see the Renaissance clock tower and the bronze cross marking the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Your tour includes stops to sample some delicacies of Normandy, including white cider and Camembert. For a more active experience, you have a choice to go golfing at Rouen’s Mont-Saint- Aignan, just minutes from the city. This 18-hole course offers both veterans and beginners the chance to play in a beautiful setting surrounded by woods.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  5. Travel through bucolic Calvados countryside to Honfleur, an enchanting seaside town. You’ll soon discover why impressionist painters came to paint its inspiring scenery. For those who want to continue their French golf experience, you’ll want to go play at Golf d’Étretat, perched on the clifftops more than 150 ft. above the sea, making playing golf here both a memorable experience and visual feast.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  6. Normandy has been the setting for many battles over the centuries, including the D-Day invasion of WWll. You decide how you wish to experience it. For those wishing to visit the American airborne forces’ landing beaches, you’ll want to go to the historic Utah and Omaha beaches, along with Pointe du Hoc, one of the strategic strong points between the two beaches. You’ll also visit Sainte-Mère-Église, which became the first town in France to be liberated, and its airborne museum. If you prefer to go to the Canadian landing beaches, journey to Juno Beach, where the 3rd Canadian infantry division came ashore; you’ll see the exhibit at the Canadian Center. And for those who wish to see an astonishing millennium-old textile listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, you’ll wish to travel to Bayeux to view the famous 11th-century tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings. All groups will meet later in the day at the American Cemetery and Memorial honoring US soldiers. While here, you are welcome to participate in a special remembrance ceremony that includes a wreath laying, the American national anthem and a moment of silence.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  7. Dock in Mantes-la-Jolie, gateway to either an excursion to Versailles or Château de Malmaison. Versailles set the standard for opulence, not just in the 17th century but for the succeeding centuries as well. Tour the royal apartments, which still look much as they did when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fled in 1789. Marvel at the magnificent Hall of Mirrors and walk through some of the fountain-filled gardens. Château de Malmaison, once home to Napoleon’s first empress, Josephine, is filled with Empire-style furnishings, thanks to the keen eye of young Josephine. Here the empress entertained in elegance and created gardens that were world famous in her day. Cap your royal day off with the festive Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  8. Hemingway called Paris a moveable feast: Once you’ve experienced it, you will take it with you wherever you go. You have three choices for how you wish to experience the city. If you are experiencing Paris for the first time, you may wish to take a cruise along the Seine for an unforgettable look at the heart of Paris from the water and continue on a panoramic tour to see the City of Light’s most famous sights, with a stop at the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. For those who wish to experience Paris as a true Parisian, join the “Do as the Locals Do” tour. Take the Métro to the Île de la Cité, the historic center of Paris, and the great cathedral of Notre Dame. An expert in the history and architecture of this magnificent cathedral is your guide as you explore both inside and out. After you’ve admired Notre Dame’s stained glass, flying buttresses and idiosyncratic gargoyles, cross the Archbishop’s Bridge to the Left Bank and the Latin Quarter. Wander through the narrow streets where for centuries artists, writers, philosophers and the Sorbonne’s students have lived and worked, argued politics, painted, sipped absinthe and lived the bohemian lifestyle for which the district is famous. And for those who prefer a more active exploration of the city, hop on a bicycle for a guided ride along the Seine.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  9. Disembark the ship, transfer to Bordeaux via TGV high-speed train, and embark your next ship.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  10. You’re in for a treat as you embark on a fascinating study of Sauternes, the highly prized, golden-hued sweet wine that takes its name from the region. Visit one of the area’s finest estates for a wine tasting, and then be treated to a delectable wine-pairing lunch at Château de Cazeneuve, an 85-acre estate. Here, you’ll gather for a delectable wine-pairing lunch and learn how easy (and fun) it is to pair a sweet wine with a whole new variety of dishes. Extend your celebration into the evening with the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner. Note: Sailing on this stretch of the Garonne depends on the tides. If it is not possible to sail to Cadillac, you will be taken to your destination via motorcoach.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception & Gala Dinner
  11. Sail the Garonne River and the Gironde Estuary before heading to Pauillac, gateway to the storied Médoc wine route and the prestigious “châteaux road.” You’ll have a panoramic tour of the heart of the celebrated Haut-Médoc wine-growing region and taste wines at one of its estates. If you wish for a more active exploration of the region, take a guided bicycle ride through Pauillac and the lush landscapes of historic estates that have seemingly remained unchanged for centuries. Do all those beautiful vineyards make you yearn to sample their fruit? Luckily, this adventure includes a stop at Château Lynch-Bages for a wine tasting.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  12. Sail across the peaceful waters of the estuary, where fishing huts rise above grassy marshlands edged by limestone cliffs, as you make your way to the town of Blaye. A visual feast awaits you on a storied road named for the many flowers that line it, Route de la Corniche Fleurie, which wends its way through picturesque hamlets filled with old stone houses. Stop in the medieval walled village of Bourg-sur-Gironde, with a rich historic and architectural heritage, before heading back to Blaye, where you’ll be guided through the imposing 17th-century Blaye Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  13. Hilltop Saint-Émilion offers both exceptional architecture and historic vineyards. The Romans were the first to plant grapes here, and this was the first vineyard region to be protected by UNESCO because of its history. Saint-Émilion is entered by way of one of the seven gates that are part of the original medieval fortifications. Inside the walls, discover steep, narrow cobblestone streets, stores brimming with wine and wine tools, and the extraordinary 12th-century Monolithic Church, carved into a cliff—only the tower is above ground; the rest of the church is subterranean. After touring Saint-Émilion, you’ll visit the cellars of a premier Grand Cru estate where you’ll taste some of the world’s most highly rated wines.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  14. How could you visit this rich agricultural land without delving into a farmers’ market? Libourne’s sprawling farmers’ market is a food lover’s paradise, with stands selling fresh produce, cheeses, charcuterie and more. Explore its bounty with a local expert and take a peek inside the workshops of talented local artisans. Cap the day off with the “Bordeaux under the Stars” tour via an open-top bus for a view of this extraordinarily beautiful city illuminated at night.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  15. How to spend your last day in Bordeaux? You have two exclusive opportunities to see this magnificent place, whose seamless blend of classical and neoclassical architecture led to its being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Do as the Locals Do” as you stroll the most graceful streets with your local expert, including luxury food halls; local delicacies, such as canelés and chocolates; and popular wine bars. If you prefer a more active experience, join a guide for a bicycle ride through city. Celebrate your last evening onboard with the festive Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Lunch & Captain's Farewell Reception & Gala Dinner
  16. Disembark the ship and transfer to Bordeaux–Mérignac International Airport for your flight home.

    meal(s):Breakfast
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  • All Meals All Meals
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Professional Cruise Management Professional Cruise Management
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • All Gratuities All Gratuities
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Six-Star Ships Six-Star Ships

Taste

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 14 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 14 dinners
  • 2 Captain’s Welcome and 2 Captain’s Farewell Receptions
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water

Travel

  • 14-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the magical S.S. Joie de Vivre and the breathtaking River Royale
  • First-class TGV train between Paris and Bordeaux (v.v.)
  • All transfers on arrival and departure days

Explore

  • 12 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by Englishspeaking local experts
  • Guided “Go Active,” “Do as the Locals Do,” “Village Day” and “Gentle Walking” programs
  • 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audioheadset system on all excursions
  • Use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks

Experience

  • Captivating onboard local entertainment Cultural enrichment, including 2 Signature Lectures
  • Exclusive Connoisseur Collection and Generations Family Program on select summer departures
Definite Departure
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*These departures also operate a reverse itinerary. Advise your Travel Specialist which you would like at time of booking.

#Solo Friendly Departures. Single Supplements waived on these dates. Call for details.  

+Connoisseur Collection on these departures

√Generations Family Program on these departures. Program is on the Paris & Normandy portion of itinerary only.

NOTE: Flights must arrive between 5am and 5pm and depart between 6am and 6pm. Airport arrival and departure transfers are included on arrival and departure days only.

Order of sightseeing may change throughout the itinerary. Substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water levels or other uncontrollable factors.

Price shown is per person based on two people sharing a twin bedded Stateroom andcruise in category 5 Cabin. Single rooms are available at a supplement.  Cabin upgrades available at a supplement. Port charges included for 2017 only. 2018 port charges are an additional $280 per person.

Early Booking and Pay in Full Discounts vary based on Stateroom category.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

Special Discounts and Promotions: At times we offer discounted departures. These discounts are valid for new bookings only and are not combinable with any other discounts other than our Frequent Traveler Discount and $100 AARP Member Discount. Other restrictions may apply, please call for details.

Cancellation Penalties: 90-60 days prior to departure: 35%; 59-30 days prior to departure: 50%; 29-1 days prior to departure: 80%; Day of departure: 100%.

 

 

 

Length: 361 ft / Width: 37.5 ft / Voltage: 110/220 volts / Guests: 116 / Staff: 41

Suite: 4 (256 sq ft) / Staterooms: 54 (128 sq ft) / Rivers: Seine River

The alluring River Baroness captures the essence of chic French style and sophisticated flair. Vibrant colors such as coral, salmon, and pink adorn the walls of the Monet Lounge and lobby, while mirrors and a classic white palette lend elegance to the Van Gogh Restaurant. A collection of resplendent art can be found throughout the ship—including The Three Women, an oversized original oil painting displayed in the Monet Lounge—creating a visual feast at every turn.

Click HERE to view a PDF of ship facts.

Staterooms

Suite

Lavishly appointed riverview suite (256 sq ft - 24 sq m) with a French balcony

Handcrafted Savoir® of England bed, built-in closet, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Marble bathroom with L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, waffle bathrobes, and slippers

Additional special amenities and services

Category 1

Lavishly appointed riverview stateroom (128 sq ft - 12 sq m) with a French balcony

Handcrafted Savoir® of England bed, built-in closet, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Marble bathroom with L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, backlit magnifying mirror, cozy bathrobes, and slippers

Category 2 & 3

Lavishly appointed riverview stateroom (128 sq ft - 12 sq m)

Handcrafted Savoir® of England bed, built-in closet, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Marble bathroom with L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, backlit magnifying mirror, cozy bathrobes, and slippers

Features & Amenities

Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds draped in high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, along with a menu of pillow options.

Our meticulously designed ships feature enticing public areas and luxurious amenities, including a lounge with full-service bar, well-equipped fitness center, restaurant, Serenity River Spa, and a Sun Deck where you can relax and take in the ever-changing views.

Lobby

Ship at sail

Lounge

Lounge

Lounge

Captain's Dinner

Length: 361 ft / Width: 37.5 ft / Voltage: 110/220 volts / Guests: 130 / Staff: 41

Suite: 1 (217 sq ft) / Staterooms: 64 (140-151 sq ft) / Rivers: Garonne River, Dordogne River

The River Royale was remodeled in 2014 to capture the essence of the Bordeaux region, with a timeless style that emphasizes elegance and comfort as you sail through southwestern France. Carrying no more than 130 passengers, this intimate ship is a wonderful place to savor the scenery, dine on exquisite cuisine, and relax with friends over drinks in the Salon Gascogne’s Aquitaine Bar and other richly appointed public areas.

Click HERE to view a PDF of ship facts.

Staterooms

Suite

Lavishly appointed riverview suite (217 sq ft - 20.2 sq m) with French Balcony

Handcrafted Savoir of England beds draped in fine linens with choice of pillows, built-in closets, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV wit infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Bathroom features L'Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, cozy bathrobes and slippers

Category 1

Lavishly appointed riverview stateroom (140 sq ft - 13 sq m) with French Balcony

Handcrafted Savoir of England beds draped in fine linens with choice of pillows, built-in closets, hair dryers, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Bathroom features L'Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, cozy bathrobes and slippers

Category 2

Lavishly appointed riverview stateroom (151 sq ft - 14 sq m) with full picture windows

Handcrafted Savoir of England beds draped in fine linens with choice pillows, built-in closets, hair dryer, safe, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, and bottled water

Bathroom features L'Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, waffle bathrobes, and slippers

Features & Amenities

Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds draped in high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, along with a menu of pillow options.

Our meticulously designed ships feature enticing public areas and luxurious amenities, including a lounge with full-service bar, well-equipped fitness center, restaurant, Serenity River Spa, and a Sun Deck where you can relax and take in the ever-changing views.

Reception

Restaurant

River Queen Lounge

River Queen Main Lounge

Serenity River Spa

Captain Lounge

Length: 410 ft / Width: 37.5 ft / Voltage: 110/220 volts / Guests: 128 / Staff: 52

Royal Suites: 2 (410 sq ft) / Suites: 8 (260 sq ft) / Staterooms: 54 (162-194 sq ft) / Rivers: Seine River

Uniworld’s newest Super Ship—S.S. Joie de Vivre—is designed to reflect the “joy of living” as it cruises the Seine River in northern France. This luxurious 128-passenger vessel is a showcase for handcrafted furniture, sumptuous fabrics, beautiful antiques, gilded accents and every modern convenience. The Salon de Toulouse features a full-service bar and art and antiques curated from renowned auction houses and private collections. Enticing dining venues include Le Restaurant Pigalle, Bistro Saint-Germain and Café Flore. Intimately scaled so it can dock in the heart of Paris, the Joie de Vivre features two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites, and 54 staterooms, all with made-to-order Savoir of England beds and marble-lined bathrooms.

Click HERE to view a PDF of ship facts.

Features & Amenities

S.S. Joie de Vivre features lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and uniquely designed suites. All accommodations have custom-made-to-order Savoir of England beds with handcrafted headboards, high-thread-count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, a menu of pillow options, and marble-lined bathrooms. Guests staying in suites also enjoy enhanced amenities and services, including professional butlers.

This meticulously designed ship features enticing public areas and luxurious amenities, including a beautiful lounge filled with art and antiques, multiple dining venues and bars, a well-equipped fitness center and enclosed heated swimming pool, Serenity River Spa, and a Deck de Montmartre with a life-sized checkerboard and comfortable seating, ideal for relaxing and savoring in the ever-changing views.

Le Club l'Esprit

Salon de Beaux-Arts

Suite

  • U.S. citizens traveling to France must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering France.

  • The currency in France is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in France, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in France. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

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