NORMANDY RIVER CRUISE 2020

Land Tours Included In Your All-Inclusive River Cruise Holiday!
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NORMANDY CRUISE SAMPLE ITINERARY & TOUR PROGRAM

Take a journey down a river of dreams The Seine isn’t the largest river in Europe, or even France, but it may be the most renowned – and for good reason. This splendid waterway cuts through the heart of Paris, before winding its way along some of the most celebrated sites in Northern France. There are few superlatives that do justice to beautiful Paris, as you’ll have ample opportunity to discover first hand. Beyond Paris, you can look forward to a serene cruise downriver to Honfleur, by the open waters of the English Channel, and pausing at the most arresting landmarks along the way. Les Andelys, Rouen, Caudebec-en-Caux – all the key points in this itinerary showcase fine historic settings and beautiful environs. However, we’ve saved some highlights – evocative Vernon and charming Conflans – for the return trip, including one last unforgettable fling in Paris.

As part of a Kosher River Cruise we add a unique educational program exploring the areas Jewish history and heritage plus Jewish Military History of The World Wars.  On our tour we will be joined by retired Jewish military officers and historians who will provide a unique Jewish aspect to some of the major battles of World War I & II, including a special D-Day tribute during our visit to the famous battleground beaches of Normandy.

Day 1 Tuesday October 20: Paris Bienvenue

Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner aboard the luxurious Scenic Gem. Later, cruise out with the beautiful city of Paris as a backdrop. What a magical start to your cruise.

Day 2 Wednesday October 21 –Les Andelys

Composed of two parts, Le Grand Andely and Le Petit Andely, this picturesque village has around 8500 inhabitants.  Life is pleasant, between nature and culture, season after season, in this Norman town. Les Andelys is a gateway open to the Norman Vexin.  Here the River Seine forms a picturesque bend that has sculpted the dazzling cliffs.  Its symbol of pride is Château-Gaillard. It is standing on the top of a spur and has been showing since the 12th century the strategic importance of Andely, a town rich in its architectural heritage.
This magnificent site, source of inspiration, has always attracted creators and artists.

Option 1:  Walking tour Les Andelys & hike to King Richard the Lion Heart’s Château Gaillard.   Built in the 12th century by the well-known duke of Normandy Richard the Lion Heart, the fortress is located up the cliff a perfect place to control the area and the navigation on the river Seine which was an important trading road for the Norman. You will learn more about the siege and the battle that happened there in between French and Norman troupes on this nice walking tour in Les Andelys and this hike to the fortress. 

Option 2:  Journey to Lyons la Forêt. Often regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in France journey to Lyons la Foret (approx. 30 min drive), and discover this delightful place that is surrounded by one of the largest Beech forests in Europe. With houses dating back to the 17th and 18th century and in typical Normandy style this town is sure to impress! Explore.  Our tour continues with a french manor and chateau tour.  This beautiful house is filled with stunning antiques and concludes with a local cider tasting before returning to our ship.

Day 3 Thursday October 22 – Honfleur & The Normandy Beaches:  

Option 1: WWII Normandy Beaches (full-day tour): Walk the historic Normandy beaches and allow your imagination to replay the D-Day landings where they took place. At the Landing Museum at Arromanches, you’ll be struck by the somber ambience surrounding the 9,387 graves (catching a glimpse of a Magen David every so often) of the Normandy Cemetery. While there, take a moment to visualize the scene, and reflect on the momentous impact of that day, as you look out from your lofty hilltop position above Omaha Beach. Alternatively, explore Normandy’s famous Calvados Route, the famous D-Day museum, and delight in the many charming villages that dot the landscape.

Option 2:  Free choice Honfleur: Those not interested in joining us at the beaches may explore by foot or e-bike the ancient town of Honfleur on your own, with its quaint architecture, its relaxed coastal atmosphere, quaint shops, and the many colorful fishing boats bobbing up and down on its waters.  

Day 4 Friday October 23: Caudebec-en-Caux – Shabbat

Option 1 (full day tour): WWI Battle Fields & The Somme:  Get a glimpse of what the Somme battlefields might have been like for those caught up in this terrible World War I battle, which claimed the lives of more than 150,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers. This full-day excursion commemorates the 100 years since the War.  Tour includes visits to area battle fields and to both Allied & German cemeteries where each sides Jewish soldiers are laid to rest.   This unique program highlights Jewish involvement on both sides of the battlefields.

Option 2: Etretat (1/2 day tour): With steep limestone cliffs that plunge dramatically towards the emerald waters of the English Channel below, the beauty of the Alabaster Coast will leave you breathless. Sitting proudly atop this dramatic seascape is the town of Étretat, where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of the famous cliffs, quaint seaside village for some shopping, and time at leisure.  

Day 5 Shabbat October 24: Shabbat – Caudebec-en-Caux

Spend a peaceful Shabbat docked in the town of Caudebec-en-Caux with optional afternoon walking tours and our renowned on-board programming.

Day 6 Sunday October 25: Rouen

City & Jewish Heritage Tour (1/2 day tour):  Explore the medieval city of Rouen, preeminent capital of Normandy. Begin with a walking tour through the center of Old Town, where you see the spectacular gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, often painted by Claude Monet, and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock.

Today we explore Jewish Normandy through Rouen where unearthed over thirty years ago in the old quarter of the city is the remains of a 12th century Yeshiva (the oldest religious Jewish building found in Europe) and now a unique monument to France’s Jewish history  and culture.  In 1976 during restoration work in the courtyard of the old French city of Rouen’s courts of law, workers discovered a series of 12th century rooms that appeared to be of a spiritual dwelling of Jewish origin. Careful archeological and historical analysis revealed it to be an extraordinary discovery not only for the famous French city of Rouen, but for the world.

The discovery of a yeshiva suggests that this capital city in spiritual France may have been a religious heritage center of Jewish culture and history, life and learning. While synagogues and small prayer rooms were somewhat commonplace wherever communities of Jews lived, the establishment of a yeshiva in towns or capital cities in France was a far more complex undertaking and would have required the support of many Jewish communities not only to build it, but to maintain and attract scholars and students to that religious heritage center in France. At this time in history Paris, Perpignan and Troyes were major centers of Jewish study. The discovery of this religious spiritual heritage monument in France underscores the role of France as a major center of Jewish learning in Norman Jewish culture and history. France has always been a melting pot, and Normandy is no different.   Jews arrived in Normandy before the advent of Christian rule, accompanying the Romans after the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar. The Romans gave the Jews religious, cultural and economic freedom. The main street of the Jewish community was called vicus judaerorum (Jews Way) and it was here that the small Jewish community lived and did business. Located within the walls of this religious spiritual heritage site in France, the vicus judaerorum (which was not a ghetto as we understand the word because the Jewish population was free to mix with the local pagan and later Christian population) extended beyond Normandy’s boundaries.

As part of of program we will also have the opportunity to meet with todays Jewish community, leaders and synagogue of Rouen which numbers approximately 700 people living in a city of approximately 115,000, many of whom are emigres from Algeria and Tunisia.

Day 7 Monday October 26: Conflans

On the hills of Albertville, Conflans is a pleasant stopping point, with its flower-bedecked main square featuring a fountain and the Maison Rouge (Red House), a beautiful 14th-century brick-built building home to the Ethnography and History museum; its high street with forged iron shop signs on facades, and its charming gardens protected by the Sarrazine tower.

Tour: Chantilly Castle (1/2-day tour): A storybook vision amid an artificial lake and magnificent gardens, the Château de Chantilly contains a superb collection of paintings within the Musée Condé. Left shambolic after the French Revolution, the greatly restored château consists of two attached buildings, the Petit and Grand Châteaux, which are entered through the same vestibule. The estate’s Grandes Écuries (Grand Stables) are just west.

The Petit Château, containing the Appartements des Princes (Princes’ Suites), was built around 1560 for Anne de Montmorency (1492–1567), who served six French kings as connétable (high constable), diplomat and warrior, and died doing battle with Protestants in the Counter-Reformation. The highlight here is the Cabinet des Livres, a repository of 700 manuscripts and more than 30,000 volumes, including a Gutenberg Bible and a facsimile of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, an illuminated manuscript dating from the 15th century that illustrates the calendar year for both the peasantry and the nobility. The chapel, to the left as you walk into the vestibule, has woodwork and stained-glass windows dating from the mid-16th century.

The attached Renaissance-style Grand Château, demolished during the Revolution, was rebuilt by the Duke of Aumale, son of King Louis-Philippe, from 1875 to 1885. It contains the Musée Condé, a series of 19th-century rooms adorned with paintings and sculptures (largest collection of art in France after the Louvre) haphazardly arranged according to the whims of the duke – he donated the château to the Institut de France on the condition the exhibits were not reorganized and would remain open to the public. The most remarkable works, hidden in the Sanctuary include paintings by Filippino Lippi, Jean Fouquet and Raphael.

Day 8 October 27: Paris Departure

*Tour will be a combination of both Jewish and secular sites.

* Please note mooring and casting off times are only guidelines. We reserve the right to make changes to the itineraries and excursion programs. Due to unforeseen circumstances such as low or high water or a defective ship sections of the river can be closed to traffic. In such cases the ship-owner reserves the right to transport guests along that section by bus, accommodate them in hotels and /or change the course of that part of the journey. In some circumstances it may be necessary to transfer to another ship. These situations are rare but do happen from time to time and are all part of riverboat vacations. There’s nothing anyone can do to control Mother Nature.

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