May 26, 2016

Seine-sational


Explore one of the most important rivers in Europe

Stretching 780 kilometres from Seine, its source and namesake in north-eastern Burgundy, to the English Channel between Le Havre and Honfleur, the Seine River is one of the oldest trade routes on Earth. The Celts used the river to transport tin from Brittany and Cornwall to present-day Europe before the Romans greatly increased trade along the waterway. Eventually, the Vikings sailed south on the Seine and made the section north of Paris an integral part of their trade routes – a network connecting northern Europe and the British Isles. Flowing through the iconic French capital of Paris, its wide path cuts the ‘city of light’ in two and has become an easy way to define your location – Left Bank or Right Bank. All along the Seine, innumerable universities, abbeys, museums, orchestras, opera, theatre, and dance companies, and other major cultural institutions have prospered for centuries. 

Perhaps one of the most influential cultural influences this lovely river has had on artists is in the medium of painting. The Seine, and the many towns and villages along its path have been the inspiration and subject for painters for centuries, and none more so than the Impressionists. 

The precursor of the Impressionist movement, l’école de Honfleur was launched in Honfleur, the beautiful seaside village at the mouth of the river. Drifting down the Seine, from Rouen to Giverny, Auvers-sur-Oise, Conflans-Sainte- Honorine, and, of course, Paris you’ll see sight after sight that has been famously interpreted and depicted in light-flecked detail by artists, including Monet, van Gogh, and Seurat. 

It is also a region of great historical significance. From the legend of Joan of Arc in Rouen to the moving Somme battlefields and Normandy beaches that were sites of formidable fighting during both World Wars, the Seine River has witnessed aeons of life-changing moments for many. When you take a Seine River Cruise with Scenic, you’ll have the opportunity to not only cruise this historic river in all-inclusive luxury on board our Scenic Space-Ships, but also immerse yourself in the history and culture of this unique region. 

Our 11 Day Gems of the Seine journey offers the perfect introduction to this intriguing river. Beginning in Paris, you’ll visit the chateau of King Richard, the Lionheart in Les Andelys, walk in the footsteps of Joan of Arc in beautiful Rouen and explore the historic Western Front, the spot where the heartbreaking Battle of the Somme took place in 1916. 

One of the highlights of your time will be a special visit to the Australian National Memorial and Victoria School in Villers- Bretonneux. A place of great emotional significance for many Australians. 

On the night of 24–25 April 1918, Australian soldiers recaptured Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans, a battle also remembered in the Franco-Australian museum at the Victoria school in the town. In the playground is a sign: ‘Do Not Forget Australia’. Discover the unique relationship Australia still shares with this little town. 

From there you’ll spend time on the Normandy coast. Honfleur is the hidden gem of the Seine. A sleepy fishing village, filled with quaint architecture and the most incredible natural light which has charmed many an artist over the years. 

Combined with a visit to the breathtaking Alabaster Coast with its grand limestone cliffs and azure waters the artist within is sure to stir. A visit to Giverny and the king of the Impressionists, Claude Monet’s extraordinary home and gardens will send your soul into raptures. A key inspiration for many of his last paintings, the waterlilies and green-hued garden is a thing of beauty. Conflans is your next stop where you’ll have the chance to continue your artistic pilgrimage as you visit Auvers-sur-Oise and step inside the room of the great Vincent van Gogh. You’ll finish in Paris where there is a surfeit of museums and galleries to see the work of the masters. 

A river for the ages. An experience you’ll love. Cruising the Seine River is the trip of a lifetime and with Scenic you’ll be travelling with the French specialists.