NORMANDY - SEINE RIVER CRUISE 2020
Jewish Heroism – A Tribute to the Jewish Soldiers of World War I & II – D-Day & The Somme
Plus French Culinary Program: Classes, Demonstrations & Special Dining with Kosher Wine Pairings
Aboard the 5-Star Luxury Scenic Gem
A Tribute to the Jewish Service Members of World War I & II – D-Day & The Somme
Featuring Special Guest Lecturer Dr. Henry M. Abramson
Dean, Touro College
Plus French Culinary Program:
Classes, Demonstrations & Special Dining with Kosher Wine Pairings
Click Below For Our Omaha Beach D-Day Ceremony & Jewish Was Vet Commentary
Click Below For Seine River Cruise Video
The Journey: Explore the magic and beauty of France’s Normandy countryside and voilà! See where the course of history was changed in 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, where the Allied D-Day invasion led to the downfall of Hitler’s Third Reich. Delight in the Gothic architecture of Rouen, lose yourself in the exquisite gardens of Giverny, whose rich palette inspired impressionist Claude Monet. Walk the cobblestone streets of provincial Vernon and explore the luxurious Palace and art of Chantilly. This fascinating 8-day river journey has something for everyone.
Jewish Heroism – 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 perspective on some of the major battles and Jewish soldiers of World War I and II, including a special D-Day tribute and ceremony during our visit to the famous battlegrounds and beaches of Normandy.
* See website for details on special guest lecturers, itinerary, and videos of the program and ship.
Culinary Program: Paris is the top destination in France, but the rest of the country offers something special too. Most days, apart from Shabbat, we will gently lead you into the culinary cuisine of the country, which treats food as an art whilst you explore and travel down its most famous river, the Seine. Every region offers local culinary specialties, which you’ll discover in your cookery classes. We will introduce you to the cuisine of Burgundy and amazing produce from Provence teaching such typical dishes as Bouillabaisse and Chicken Provencal. From Languedoc we have cassoulet and a new twist on the regular presentation of duck, with Magret de Canard Rose, Jeu Szechwan. Those dishes will whet your appetite, with many more for you to learn, to cook and to enjoy. Whilst here in France, a holiday would not be complete without wine and cheese, which we will also cover (and eat) in detail.
Day 1: Thursday October 22: 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: Friday October 23: Conflans
This morning we arrive into the charming medieval town of Conflans, with its distinctive barge houses docked within easy reach of the quaint main square.
Tour Chantilly Castle: 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 famous 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 castle contains the famous Musée Condé, a series of 19th-century rooms adorned with paintings and sculptures (the largest collection of art in France after the Louvre) haphazardly arranged according to the whims of the duke. The most remarkable works, hidden in the Sanctuary include paintings by Filippino Lippi, Jean Fouquet and Raphael.
This afternoon we set sail for Les Andelys where we will dock for Shabbat.
Day 3: Shabbat October 24: Les Andelys
Composed of two parts, Le Grand Andely and Le Petit Andely, this picturesque village has around 8,500 inhabitants. Here the River Seine forms a picturesque bend that has sculpted its dazzling cliffs. Its symbol of pride is Château-Gaillard, perched on the top of a spur in the river since the 12th century, this castle shows the strategic importance of Andely, a town rich in its architectural heritage. This magnificent site has been a source of inspiration, attracting creators and artists – The perfect stop for a relaxing Shabbat.
In the afternoon partake in an optional leisurely guided Shabbat walk through the town of Les Andelys. For those interested, we have a more active walk to the top of King Richard the Lion Heart’s Château Gaillard for some incredible views! Built in the 12th century by the well-known duke of Normandy Richard the Lion Heart, the fortress is located on the top of the cliff, a perfect place to control the area and the navigation on the river Seine below which was an important trading road for the Norman. You will learn more about the siege and the battle that happened there between French and Norman troops on this active and fast paced walking tour.
This evening we set sail for Rouen.
Day 4: Sunday October 25: Rouen
City & Jewish Heritage 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.
Next, 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 our program we will have the opportunity to meet and speak with today’s 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.
This afternoon we set sail to the picturesque coastal village of Honfleur.
Day 5: Monday October 26: Honfleur & The Normandy Beaches
Walk the historic Normandy beaches and allow your imagination to replay the D-Day landings where they took place. Our first stop is the D-Day 360 Cinerama at Arromanches where we view “A Film into the Heart of the Battle of Normandy”. This film is shown on 9 surround screens in HD and surround sound. Discover exceptional archive footages collected from around the world that tell the whole story of the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy. Located on the Arromanches clifftops, the Arromanches 360 Circular cinema dominates the remnants of one of the two artificial Mulberry harbors set up by the Allies. On 8th June 1944, two days after the liberation of Arromanches, the first Phoenix blockships were sunk. They formed a dike that sheltered the ships from the swell when they unloaded their cargoes. Some “whale” floating roadways and some platforms following the movements of the tide completed the deployment. On 14th June, ships started to unload their cargo. In 100 days, “Port Winston” permitted to land 400,000 soldiers, 4 million tons of equipment and 500,000 vehicles. It remained active until 1st December 1944. Today a few dozen “Phoenix” blockships are still visible today and continue to keep the waters of Arromanches smooth.
Next, we continue to Omaha Beach where 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. Here will partake in a special Kosher River Cruise ceremony and wreath laying at the “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves” statue. Continue at your own pace to explore the area, cemetery and D-Day museum.
Day 6: Tuesday October 27: Caudebec-En-Caux
Option 1: 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 over 1.2 million casualties of allied and German 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: Fecamp: 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. Framed by these impressive white cliffs, this historic coastal town offers a heady cocktail of attractions. Fécamp is both port, resort, ducal town, pilgrimage destination, art center and the home of a famous liqueur. Our visit includes Le Palais Bénédictine
(Benedictine Palace): this truly palatial building makes a grand impression in central Fécamp, built in neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance styles for Alexandre Le Grand, the entrepreneur who developed the alcoholic herbal drink, Benedictine. The liqueur has been produced in this exceptional site, and exported all over the world, for over a century. The Palais Bénédictine contains three centers of interest: the distillery in which the famous liquor is prepared; its collection of religious works, mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries, displayed just as they were at the end of the 19th century and a contemporary art gallery.
This afternoon we depart for Vernon
Day 7: Wednesday October 28: Vernon
In a region rich in visual treasures, it’s easy to understand why this part of France inspired paintings by many of history’s most famous artists.
Today we visit Giverny and Monet’s former residence and gardens. Admire the beauty of the landscape as you walk the paths exploding with color and life. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can explore by bike, with a guided cycling tour.
Afternoon Concert: Built into a steep rock face overlooking the mighty Seine River and the small village bearing the same name, Château de La Roche Guyon is a sight to behold. The château dates back to medieval times and you’ll experience the opulence and grandeur of yesteryear as you enjoy here a live classical concert.
This evening we will arrive back to Paris with a spectacular up-close cruise around the Eiffel Tower for that perfect picture and a perfect end to a perfect vacation!
Day 8: Thursday October 29: Paris - Disembark
|from $5890 pp/db||8|
10/22/20 – 10/29/20
Our all-inclusive program provides delicious Glatt Kosher cuisine, on-board synagogue with daily minyanim, engaging lectures and on-board programming, and local tours of Normandy that allow you to explore the area’s history and Jewish heritage.
Our 5* luxury ship has bright, airy cabins with unrestricted views of the scenery through wide, glass panoramic windows, each with private balconies. Imagine all the thrill of European travel with the sheer ease of river transport!
Intimate and comfortable, with every amenity you could wish for, The Scenic Space-Ship were designed with you in mind. From the moment you step on board you’ll be spoilt for choice. From our wide selection of dining venues to our luxuriously appointed private balcony suites, you’ll enjoy the ultimate in all-inclusive river cruising, every moment of the day. Take a 360˚ tour of The Gem below.
Click Below For Cabin Overview Video
Our all-inclusive river cruise vacation includes daily tours at each of our ports of call.
- October 22 (Th) Paris: 4:00pm check-in
- October 23 (Fr): Conflans / Les Andelys Shabbat overnight
- October 24 (Sa): Les Andelys – Shabbat
- October 25 (Su): Rouen
- October 26 (Mo): Honfleur
- October 27 (Tu): Caudebec-En-Caux
- October 28 (We): Vernon, Paris
- October 29 (Th): Paris: Disembark
* Please note mooring and casting off times are only guidelines. We reserve the right to make changes to the itineraries and excursion programs. If due to low or high water or a defective ship a section of the river is closed to travel, the ship-owner reserves the right to transport guests along this section by bus, accommodate them in hotels and /or change the course of this part of the journey. In certain 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.
For those who need assistance with booking your air please call us and we can supply you the contact information for an outside air agent. Please note there will be a ticket issue fee of $50 per person for this service.
Embarkation & Disembarkation
Embarkation (October 22 Paris):
Clients will be able to check-in and board in Paris beginning at 16:00. Guest who arrive earlier may leave their luggage at reception beginning at 13:00 but will not be able to check-in or receive their cabin until 16:00. Paris Airport is approximately 45 minutes from city center and pier. Scheduled group airport transfers are included in the price of your tour on Oct 22.
Disembarkation (October 29 Paris):
Boat will arrive Paris at approximately 21:00 om Oct 28. Clients will be required to disembark by 9:30a on Oct 29. We can assist in pre-arranged transfers from boat to local destinations, scheduled group airports are included in the price of your tour on Oct 29.
We welcome guests with limited mobility but want all guests to understand that challenges will exist both on board and during shore excursions. There are stairs between decks and our ships has an elevators. In addition there are split-level decks and/or significant thresholds that could make movement difficult. Shore excursions are a mix of walking and bus touring that require movement over cobblestones or up and down stairs. Therefore, a physically challenged guest will require the services of a responsible adult as crew availability is very limited in most circumstances. Motorized scooters are typically not suited and cannot be used on-board. Guests have the option of taking taxis and meeting the group at our designated meeting points to cut down on the amount of walking from site to site. Please note that this is at the expense of the individual guest and must be arranged by guests themselves. The ship’s reception can be of assistance in ordering taxis from the dock.
*The Gem is equipped with an elevator for easy access between decks
Security: The safety of our passengers is something we take very seriously and we consider it our most important responsibility. Our policy is to be in constant contact with local municipalities as to our arrival and departure at our various locations.
Connect With Us
Call Us: USA +1 310-237-0122
Call Us Toll Free USA: 800-923-2645
Office hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm PST
Israel: 052 836 2661
United Kingdom: 020 3393 6823
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