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Loire Valley & Seine Cruise

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Spend 10 days exploring the vast offerings of the Loire Valley and the Seine River by both rail and luxury cruise liner

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
10 days From $3,225 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-SIRA-21

About the tour

The verdant landscapes and exquisite châteaux of Northern France await your exploration on this tour of the Loire Valley and the Seine River. This journey is made by both high-speed rail lines and a river cruise vessel, the MS Renoir. Begin with a Eurostar ride to the charming French town of Blois, by way of London and Paris. Brimming with Renaissance architecture, Blois is lined with ancient stone streets and features a royal past that comes to life through its abundance of châteaux. We explore two - Château de Chenonceau and Clos Lucé - while here and enjoy time to sightsee through the region at leisure before returning to Paris to board our floating hotel. As the MS Renoir sets sail, ports of call include Giverny, Rouen and Honfleur. Our time on the ship is highlighted by magnificent French cuisine, fascinating entertainment and excursions to historic destinations. Select adventures such as touring the Palace of Versailles and exploring the beaches of Normandy.

Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Blois

Meet your group and Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International ahead of your journey to Paris on the Eurostar. Next we change for the rail service to Blois, situated on the banks of the River Loire. Here we check into the Mercure Blois for a three-night stay.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Château de Chenonceau and Clos Lucé

Today begins with an excursion to Château de Chenonceau, arguably the most iconic of its kind in the Loire Valley. The Château elegantly spans the River Cher and is a fine example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. After exploring the château and its picturesque fountain gardens, we travel by coach to the town of Amboise, former home of Leonardo da Vinci, who died here in 1519. We visit his former manor house, Clos Lucé, which is filled with some of his fascinating inventions. You are free to explore this delightful manor house and walk in the footsteps of the master himself, who was so inspired by his scenic surroundings. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Discover Blois

You are free today to continue sightseeing independently. Perhaps take a relaxed stroll through Blois and discover Château de Blois; located at the center of the city, it was once the residence of King Louis XII. The 18th century bridge that spans the Loire is also a prime example of Renaissance architecture. Or why not head further afield? Nearby Château de Villandry is celebrated for its rich Renaissance style gardens. The castle-palace was constructed in the 16th century on the sight of the old fort, which had at one time been the location for peace talks during the Hundred Years War between the English and the French. The castle gardens are some of the most beautiful in the world and include a variety of water gardens, ornamental flower beds and vegetable patches, all set within a puzzle pattern of low-box hedges

Includes
  • Breakfast
Days 4-5 - Return to Paris and the MS Renoir

Following breakfast, we check out of our hotel and transfer to the train station for the return rail journey to Paris. Then it's time to meet our floating hotel for the next six nights, the MS Renoir, and the rest of our cruise family. 

On the morning of Day 5 we enjoy a guided tour of the splendid French capital. We see many of the major attractions such as Place de la République, the Grand Boulevards, Opera House, Place de la Madeleine, Place Vendôme, and the Louvre. After lunch aboard you have some free time to sight-see independently. We set sail in the evening for a cruise along the Seine, admiring the illuminated attractions we see along the way (weather permitting). 

Includes
  • Day 4 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Giverny or Versailles

We start the day cruising to Giverny, during which time we are treated to an expert talk on board; 'A Definition of Impressionism', the perfect warm up for a visit to the delightful village of Giverny. Now synonymous with Monet, Giverny very nearly missed out on getting its name on the map - it was during a train journey the artist made in 1883 when he decided that this was the spot he wanted to live and work in. With its instantly recognizable lily ponds, the gardens are the image of how they were when Monet first painted them, almost like stepping into one of his actual artworks, and the house still has the atmosphere of a peaceful creative retreat. Alternatively, you may prefer to visit the slightly more opulent Palace of Versailles. The seat of the Royal family until the French Revolution, the complex is split into house and gardens and we enjoy a tour of both. The palace gardens are some of the most recognizable in the world and feature a web of manicured lawns, extravagant fountains, and dramatic sculptures. The awe-inspiring interiors are rich in color and jewels and we even have a chance to see the historically important Hall of Mirrors, the former seat of the French government and famously the site of the Treaty of Versailles signing, which brought an official end to the conflict of World War One. We rejoin the boat where tonight there's a traditional French 'guinguette' evening held on board, an 18th century take on cabaret. (

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Rouen

Our destination today is Rouen, the former capital of Normandy, where we enjoy a guided tour that follows in the footsteps of the Impressionists themselves. This medieval city is the proud home of The Museum of Fine Arts and its impressive collection of Impressionist compositions. We make a visit to the gallery as well as taking in Rouen Cathedral, which was depicted in oil paint by Claude Monet. His series of over 30 paintings show the building at all different times of day. Following an insightful few hours, we return to our ship for tonight's dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - The Route des Abbayes

We make our way to Duclair today, sailing through a landscape of steep cliffs and timeless villages, fleeting views of which helped inspire the Impressionist style itself. On arrival in Duclair we embark on an excursion along the Route des Abbayes, exploring the abbeys that line the route of the river by coach. This historic trail has seen religious orders being built here from the 5th century onward, and at one point there were up to 120 sites of worship. Later we continue upriver to Honfleur, where we moor for the night. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Tour Honfleur or discover the beaches of WWII

The charming port town of Honfleur is located on the southern bank of the Seine Estuary in the Calvados region of France famous for its apple brandy. Centered on its adorable historic port and marina - the 'Vieux Bassin' - Honfleur boasts a number of preserved traditional buildings and today you can choose to take a tour of this quaint destination, famous as being an important influence in the work of many artists, including Monet, Courbet and Boudin, who set up the Ecole de Honfleur, an artists' colony and melting pot for the whole Impressionist movement.Otherwise you might select our excursion to the nearby beaches of Gold and Juno, two of five landing sites utilized for the D-Day landings on June 6th 1944, a pivotal event in the eventual Allied triumph over the Axis powers. Following some free time this afternoon, tonight we celebrate the end of our cruise at the captain's special gala dinner. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Return to London

We transfer to Paris after a final breakfast together. From here we catch the return Eurostar service back to London.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Hotel Mercure Blois Centre, Blois

Hotel Mercure Blois Centre, Blois

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Train

Eurostar

Ship

MS Renoir

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