The Seine is a 777km long river in the north of France. Beginning just north of Dijon, it flows through the countryside to Paris and onto the Normandy coast before emptying into the English Channel. River cruise ships can navigate over 60 per cent of its length.
If its beauty, history and the gastronomic delights of France you are after than look no further than a cruise along the mighty Seine. Picture the sights of Paris, riverside villages dating back centuries, and landscapes that inspired artists like Van Gogh and Monet plus the emotional memorials at the Normandy Beaches.
It’s hard to pinpoint the best time to do this cruise: August is the warmest time of the year so Paris isn’t its usual crowded self as the locals have left town for their holidays, and the breezes on the river bring relief from the heat.
Though Paris itself is best seen in the shoulder months when the temperatures are pleasant and when the cultural events take place. Winter and Christmas time also bring about a romantic festive atmosphere, so any time is a good time to visit. 2019 will see heavier than normal traffic on the river as visitors flock to the area to mark the 75th anniversary of the WWII D-Day landings.
Our top reasons to jump aboard a Seine River cruise:
- The cruise will begin or end in Paris giving you the opportunity to spend time in this magical city and enjoy iconic attractions including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame , Montmarte and the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre, plus indulge in the mouth watering French delicacies you find at each turn – say no more.
- There are eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the Seine River to explore – Le Havre, Left Bank and Right Bank of the Seine, Paris, Palace and Park of Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, Palace of Fontainebleau and Provins.
- The charming quaint villages you will visit along the way. Honfleur is one of them. This harbour city is full of waterside cafes serving delicious crepes, coffee and wine and photo opportunities galore. Rouen, the capital of the Normandy region and city of 100 spires, features cycle paths to 19th century botanical gardens, Joan of Arc site, where she was burned at the stake and the historic Rouen Cathedral among its medieval laneways.
- Monet’s Gardens. The French impressionist painter’s gardens and house are quite spectacular and you will recognise many of the scenes from his paintings.
- The landing beaches of the D-Day, World War 2 invasion. Here you will find Commonwealth and American cemeteries, displaying the sea of headstones honouring those that fell during this time.
- The food – So many samples to try. You could begin by making your way through the 800 varieties of apples of the region – try the cider, it’s easier than eating them. There’s also the cheese – too many types to mention, the fresh seafood and then there’s the wine and champagne – soo much deliciousness.