Sep 12, 2017

Exploring the gems of the Seine


We were so delighted with our recent Scenic river cruise – Gems of the Seine. With much anticipation, we awaited the date of 19 July 2017, when we would set sail from Paris to experience the natural wonders, profound history, cultural richness and enchantment that only France, and her city of light, can offer.

Our 11-day cruise took us through Normandy where, amongst the highlights, we visited the charming fishing town of Honfleur, the delights of Monet’s garden at Giverny, the sumptuous Scenic-only dinner at the Benedictine Palace, to the quiet somber of the Somme battlefield.

Our Scenic cruise ship was a modern-day resort on water with every amenity to ensure the utmost passenger comfort – attractively-fitted cabins equipped with the facilities of a five star hotel, lavished with L’Occitane toiletries and a refreshed mini-bar each day, to the dignified professionalism of our personal butler service, the friendly and attentive staff and polished skills of Valerie, our French Cruise Director, supplemented further by knowledgeable and engaging local guides.

From the tour planning and variety and depth of our daily onshore excursions, Scenic has brought together a team who really help shape an experience and narrative about this part of France, its history, its people and its culture. Our French tour guides imparted their expertise and skill with verve, humour and panache! They even gave added insights into other gems worth our own visit at a future time, such as the Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris, where we could view dozens (!) of his famous and less famous works. We took up their suggestions wherever we could and were elated with these added discoveries.

In the lead up to our emotionally charged full-day visit to Villers-Bretonneux and the Somme battlefield, we were treated to a lecture on board, providing an historical overview of the times, political mood of the day and events leading up to the Great War, by a young 20 something teacher. Everyone was just enthralled with her adept account - all delivered within 45 minutes!

Such was the richness of each day’s activities that, on our walking tour of the old town of Rouen, we even ventured ourselves, to have lunch at the famous La Couronne restaurant, operating since1349, where we, too, joined the long procession of Hollywood stars of the likes of Audrey Hepburn, who also enjoyed the delicious cuisine of this traditional restaurant. That evening, Valerie, our Cruise Director, alerted us to a marvelous video show being projected onto the whole façade of the Rouen cathedral. A brisk walk into the town, accompanied by many locals, saw us captivated by two themed stories about Joan of Arc and the Kings of France.

Yes, we certainly savored many gems of the Seine and learnt much along the way, and enjoyed our bottomless champagne glasses every night. Thank you Scenic for a wonderful river cruise experience. You have whet our appetites for another river cruise in the future!

Philippe & Kathleen