Tracing history along the Seine with Scenic

Be transported to a world of past French kings, crusaders and artists as Scenic helps you to uncover the historic towns of northern France.  
To wind along the Seine River of France is to delve into art, culture and the tales of history that span centuries of civilisation in fascinating and alluring France.  
An inspiration to artists, a treasure trove of medieval abbeys and castles and a labyrinth of cobblestone laneways and modest homes dating back to the Middle Ages – to visit the cities and countryside of the Seine River Valley of Northern France is to follow the footsteps of Vikings, nobility, writers, poets and soldiers.  
On a 5-star, truly all-inclusive luxury France river cruise with Scenic, you will be transported back through time and discover tales of triumph and woe – of French heroes and foes.  Our Tour Directors and professional local guides will have you standing in the very places where events of global significance took place – visiting where Joan of Arc was burned, where Richard the Lionheart bravely battled, the Somme battlefields where Allied troops dug in during WWI or the Normandy beaches where troops landed in WWII.  

Find out some of the incredible sites you can visit with Scenic on the 11-Day Normandy & Gems of the Seine river cruise.  

Richard the Lionheart and Joan of Arc 

Spending two days in Rouen, the capital of Normandy, you won’t want to miss the chance to visiting Château Gaillard, a medieval castle occupied by English King, Richard the Lionheart. Joining this active tour, you’ll roam the streets of Les Andelys town with specialist tour guide Ben Baillie, dressed up in chainmail armour as Richard the Lionheart. Together, you’ll ascend to the castle with ‘Richard’, listening to the stories of how the Duke of Normandy, ruling between 1189 and 1199, was an important Christian commander during the Third Crusade.  

Also in Rouen, you will find the presence of Joan of Arc in several locations around the city. Visit the Joan of Arc History Museum that houses the remains of the Room of Officiality where Joan’s condemnation was announced in 1431 and see where she was tragically burned.  

Somme battlefields 

A moving yet important pilgrimage for many travellers in this region is to visit the Somme battlefields and Australian National Memorial to pay tribute to the 10,773 Australian troops who lost their lives here during the fierce trench warfare battles of World War I.  Your excursion with Scenic will be accompanied by tour guides who are experts in military history, taking you to the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery – a World War I Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Longueval, France. The cemetery is named after Caterpillar Valley, the name given by the British army to the long valley.  

Beaches of Normandy

It’s hard to grasp the fear and terror that Allied troops must have felt when landing on Normandy’s beaches to an onslaught of firing machines by German forces. To visit Normandy’s beaches in person with an expert guide bringing the horrors of the landing operation into stark reality is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a greater appreciation for this tumultuous period of world history. Scenic’s guides will transport you to Normandy and Arromanches Landing Museum for a guided visit; and to the various cemeteries and memorial sites honouring the different nationalities of troops who fought and died here.  

Monet’s house and garden

In Giverny, visit the home and beautiful Japanese-inspired water gardens of French legendary Impressionist painter, Claude Monet – credited as the ‘painter of light’. The iconic painter lived here for 43 years, between 1883 and 1926 with his wife Alice, his two sons, his four step-daughters and two step-sons. Join the Scenic Freechoice activity, taking a guided tour as you view the dining room that he had painted bright yellow; his artist studio, an aqua-blue sitting room and his bedroom where he passed away. Original furniture and objects still adorn the home, creating an incredibly authentic experience. In the water garden, you can view the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisteria planted by Monet, surrounded by weeping willows and bamboo. Some of his most famous paintings including Water Lillies and The Artist’s Garden at Giverny were painted here.  

Château de La Roche-Guyon

In Vernon, be treated to an incredible Scenic Enrich experience that will leave a long-lasting impression on your French sojourn. Visit the Chateau La Roche Guyon property built on the Chalk Hillside with a history that dates back to the 16th century. During WWII, the chateau was the headquarters of Nazi German general, Erwin Rommel. Pass through the chateau's orchard and vegetable garden that is manicured and tended to by a team of nine on-site gardeners. Ascend an atmospheric short walk, up cobblestones, to arrive to beverages including some local drinks and juices from the chateau's orchards. Be immersed in an evening of French finery as you listen to an exclusive concert hosted by classical French composers.  In the chateau, you can view the beautifully decorated walls and ceiling frescoes as well as centuries’-old tapestries.  

Auvers-sur-Oise on the outskirts of Paris

Located 30km from Paris, the village of Auvers-sur-Oise (on the banks of the river Oise) was a popular location to a number of prominent 19th century artists including Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh. Take a Scenic Freechoice activity to visit Auvers-Sur-Oise and let our local guides point out landmarks that are immortalised by Vincent Van Gogh in some of his most renowned artworks, including the Notre Dame de l'Assomption. Take the tour to view Van Gogh’s room and the last place where he lived.  

Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, Louis XIV’s inspiration for Versailles Palace

In Maincy, 55km southeast of Paris, let our guides transport you to another world during this amazing Scenic Freechoice activity visiting Chateau Vaux le Vicomte – a spectacular Baroque Chateau credited as the founding French formal garden. King Louis XIV was so impressed that he hired the same team to create the gardens at Château de Versailles. The garden is designed in perfect symmetry, the work of André Le Nôtre which is explained in the basement of the château via a large audio-visual display. A museum on site also displays a rare collection of antique carriages.  
These are just some of the historic sites you’ll traverse during a Scenic 5-star, truly all-inclusive luxury cruise along the Seine River. Discover fortresses, laneway cafes, traditional churches and picturesque villages with your Scenic expert guides, trained to guide you to the very best sites and highlights that will help you make the most of your cruise.   

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