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Seine River Cruises

Seine River Cruises

There may be no river more popular, more romanticized throughout all of Europe than the Seine. Since long before Seine river cruises became the luxury vacation of choice in Europe , writers have sat along the river’s banks in the heart of Paris, letting the languid waters coax from them great prose. In some cases, they also brought the river into their works. In his controversial, though acclaimed novel Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller wrote: “So quietly flows the Seine that one hardly notices its presence. It is always there, quiet and unobtrusive, like a great artery running through the human body. . . . I feel this river flowing through me.”

Similarly, painters have sat along those same banks or followed the river to more pastoral settings in an attempt to capture its tranquil beauty on canvas. And while painters of many divergent styles have made the Seine their muse over the centuries, it is the Impressionists—and Claude Monet, specifically—who pledged their unwavering faithfulness to the river. “I have always painted the Seine throughout my life, at every hour, at every season,” Claude Monet once said. “I have never tired of it. For me, the Seine is always new.”

Even modern day singers and songwriters have shared a profound interest in the river. “I bought a Dutch barge and turned it into a recording studio,” Pete Townshend, lead singer of The Who, once revealed. “My plan was to go to Paris and record rolling down the Seine.”

Paris is a pivotal part of any travel enthusiast’s journey down the Seine. Thomas Jefferson once said of the French capital: “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and the point of life.” While 19th-century playwright Oscar Wilde opined that “when good American’s die, they go to Paris.”

River Cruising Through Paris

When a Scenic European river cruise stops in Paris, the ship’s travelers are free to explore the city at their leisure. They may choose to participate in one of Scenic’s pre-arranged activities, such as a culinary experience at restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel or dinner and show at Lido on the Champs-Élysées. They could visit local markets with the ship’s chef, and sample many of the delicacies that are sold there; or they could take a walking tour with a resident of the city, learning the secrets that are only privy to Parisians. Alternatively, guests can visit the Palace of Versailles and tour the halls made famous by Marie Antoinette and the French monarchy of the 17th and 18th centuries.

But that is only a sliver of what Paris can offer Scenic French river cruise guests. From the Louvre to Notre-Dame Cathedral, shopping on Champs-Élysées to the clubs and scandalous history of the Moulin Rouge, the City of Lights has something for everyone. And if your travels should take place in the summer, don’t be alarmed if you spot a palm tree or two. Since 2002, tons of sand has been transported to the banks of the Seine each summer, and with the help of transplanted palm trees, beach chairs, and ice cream stands, the banks of the river are transformed into urban beaches called Paris Plages.

The Normandy Coast

If, however, you prefer real beaches to urban interpretations of them, a Seine River cruise is certain to please. Cannes and the rest of the French Riviera may attract most of the world’s attention when it comes to chic coastal destinations in France, but the Normandy coast has its own appeal. There you won’t find turquoise waters the likes of which define the French Riviera and its Mediterranean coastline. Instead, you’ll find a bolder coast—the Côte Fleurie—one that is windswept and dotted with charming coastal villages where fishing is as important as seasonal tourism.  However, travelers who are attracted to the grandeur and affluence of Cannes will find a similar ambiance in Deauville, a seaside retreat that caters to the rich and famous with a race track, grand casino, numerous luxury resorts, and—in early September—an international film festival.

River Cruising Through France

City of Love

Paris

The Seine River is 482 miles long and showcases gothic cathedrals, postcard scenery and legacies of centuries of war. France’s second longest waterway is most celebrated on its World Heritage-listed Parisian banks, however its hidden depths also reveal Impressionist inspirations, medieval masterpieces, picturesque ports and postwar architectural genius.

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