Cruising the scenic Seine, explore the world of the Impressionist painters from Monet's famous garden at Giverny to the city galleries of Paris and Rouen. This is a tour that delivers the very best of artistic Northern France. This tour is operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys.
Your tour begins at St Pancras where you meet at our dedicated Departure Office before boarding the direct Eurostar service to Paris. On arrival transfer to your floating hotel for the next six nights, enjoying a welcome drink as you take to the water. You are then treated to your first delicious dinner which is followed by a specialist talk introducing the topic of the Impressionist painters.
Your cruise takes place aboard either the MS Seine Princess or one of her sister ships of a similar size and quality.
Today's excursions take you even further along the path of the Impressionists as you begin your discoveries with a guided morning tour of Château d'Auvers sur Oise. Situated in the village where Vincent Van Gogh spent his final months, this remarkable homage to some of the most renowned artists in the world has been decorated how it would have looked in the era of Monet, Renoir and Degas. This afternoon continue into the French capital proper, visiting the Marmottan Museum, which boasts a collection of more than three hundred original works by Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse to name but a few. Back on board this evening, set out onto the waters of the Seine to take in the illuminated 'City of Lights'.
Start the day by cruising to Poissy, during which time you are treated to another expert talk about Claude Monet and his role as a leading light of the Impressionist movement. This afternoon enjoy a shore excursion to the delightful village of Giverny. Now synonymous with Monet, Giverny is instantly recognisable with its lily ponds - the gardens the image of how they were when Monet first painted them; almost like stepping into one of his works, and the house still has the atmosphere of a peaceful creative retreat.
Rejoin the boat in Mantes-la-Jolie for a traditional French 'guinguette' evening, an 18th century take on cabaret.
Your destination today is Rouen, former capital of Normandy, where you enjoy a guided tour that follows in the footsteps of the Impressionists themselves. Arriving in the afternoon, this medieval city is the proud home of The Museum of Fine Arts and its impressive collection of Impressionist compositions. Make a visit to the gallery as well as taking in Rouen Cathedral, which was depicted in oil paint by Claude Monet before returning to the ship for tonight's Gala dinner.
Continue to Duclair on Day 5, sailing through a landscape of steep cliffs and timeless villages, fleeting views of which helped inspire the Impressionist style itself. This makes the perfect setting for your third and final lecture, covering the topic of the geography of Impressionism in Northern France. On arrival in Duclair you embark on an excursion by coach along the Route des Abbayes. Stretching between Rouen and Mont-Saint-Michel, this historic trail has seen religious orders being built here from the 5th century onwards, and at one point there were up to 120 sites of worship. Later journey upriver to Honfleur, where the ship moors for the night.
This morning take a tour of the historic fishing port of Honfleur. Its 'Vieux Bassin' area boasts a number of preserved traditional buildings and the town is famous as being an important influence in the work of many artists, including Monet, Courbet and Boudin. Here they set up the Ecole de Honfleur artists' colony, a melting pot for the whole Impressionist movement.
After lunch, there's a guided trip along the Alabaster Coast, whose sheer chalk cliffs feature in many Impressionist artworks because of the interplay of light and shadow reflecting from the water.
After breakfast transfer back to Paris for the Eurostar to London, where your tour comes to an end.
Whether you are planning a holiday in the UK, mainland Europe or further afield, a Rail Discoveries tour offers you a superb way to experience some of the world's most beautiful destinations. You can watch the wonderful and ever-changing scenery glide past; after all, rail journeys often go where no other form of transport can.
Rail Discoveries believe that experience counts – and as part of the Great Rail Journeys group, they have over 45 years of it. They create interesting and exciting holidays, combining the best or most scenic rail journeys with conveniently located hotels and inclusive excursions so that you enjoy the journey out and back as much as your time exploring each new destination.
One of the most important features of a Rail Discoveries holiday is the added value that the friendly, helpful and knowledgeable Tour Managers bring to every tour, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy your holiday with the knowledge that everything is in capable hands.
You have the peace of mind of 100% financial protection when you book with Rail Discoveries. Their price promise provides transparency and ensures once your booking is confirmed, they won’t increase the price of your holiday, even if their costs go up. They are members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators and flight-inclusive holidays are ATOL or ABTOT protected, while non-flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ABTOT.
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