French cities with the Seine
- An in-depth exploration of the beautiful River Seine, featuring scenic river cruising and extended calls at two enchanting cities.
- A two-night stay in Rouen affords plenty of time to explore Normandy’s capital in search of the Gothic-style Cathédrale de Notre Dame, Place du Vieux Marché and much more; though you may opt to tour to nearby Paris.
- With time to explore Honfleur – with its 16th century cobbled streets, delightful timber-fronted structures and colourful harbour – to the full, you’re sure to charmed by this historic maritime city.
Sailing from Portsmouth
30 October 2021
You’ll feel inspired throughout your holiday, which begins with an early more sail through the countryside scenes of the Seine en route to Rouen. A two-night stay in Normandy’s regional capital will then afford you plenty of time to capture the essence of the city at leisure. You could explore Rouen’s links to Joan of Arc at Place du Vieux Marché, where the ‘Heroine of France’ was burnt at the stake; marvel at the spectacular Gothic-style cathedral; admire the traditional half-timbered houses and much more – a walking tour is a great way to see the sights.
Alternatively, from Rouen you could tour to nearby Paris, and see the famous landmarks of the French capital including the Arc de Triomphe and the iconic Eiffel Tower – these iconic attractions are best seen at night, their illuminated features drawing you in. Aside from Paris, the enchanting Claude Monet House and Gardens is within reach on tour too. Back along the Seine, you also visit Honfleur, where you exploration of the river comes to a rewarding end. Once docked in Honfleur, you’ll have plenty of time to wander the charming, café-lined 16th century cobbled streets of this historic maritime city, in search of highlights including St Catherine’s Church – France’s largest timber-built church – and the Vieux Bassin, with its lofty slate and timber-fronted houses and colourful fishing harbour.
- 5 nights onboard Balmoral
- Comfortable, stylish cabins and suites equipped with a Smart TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and individually controlled air conditioning
- A tempting choice of cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, late-night snacks and much more
- Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee available 24hrs at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea* with sandwiches and cakes, and in-room sandwiches and snacks
- A full programme of evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, comedy, dancing and live music
- Full use of on board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym
- A wide choice of engaging on board activities and lectures throughout the day
- All UK port taxes (where collectable in advance)
- Luggage porterage between your cabin and the drop-off/pick-up point
- Formal welcome and/or Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet
Day 1 Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Set sail from Portsmouth onboard Balmoral
Day 2-3 Rouen, France
The ‘City of a Hundred Bells’, Rouen, is capital of the French region of Normandy. This 2,000-year-old port city on the River Seine, important in Roman times and the Middle Ages, is a unique city rich with monuments and museums.
Rouen’s narrow pedestrianised streets lined with tall, half-timber houses and a statue marking the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, is a pointer to the city’s dark history. Devastated by fire, the plague and bombs in the past, modern Rouen is now a vibrant cultural centre, and one of Normandy’s most engaging destinations.
The skyline is dominated by the spires of Cathédrale Notre-Dame, much-painted by Claude Monet. The Gothic churches of Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen are also must-see attractions, two of the best examples of gothic architecture in France and a important part of Rouen’s history.
The city's beautiful botanical garden – Jardin de Plantes de Rouen, is also worth a visit. Its 600 different plant species and various gardens, including a rock garden, rose garden and a garden full of medicinal plants, are a joy to wander through.
Day 4-5 Honfleur, France
Historic Honfleur in northern France's Lower Normandy region is a quaint little port with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. One of France’s most visited towns, Honfleur – with its beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture and distinctive harbour – was the inspiration for Impressionist painters and poets.
Vieux-Bassin, Honfleur’s colourful old harbour, is lined with 16th to 18th-century lofty slate-and-timber fronted houses. Its sloping cobbled streets have long been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son, Eugène Boudin.
A visit to the 15th century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders, is a must, as is the maritime museum and Notre Dame de Grâce – a 17th century chapel containing various paintings and models. The chapel also offers fabulous views of the town, the Seine estuary and the impressively-engineered Normandy Bridge that crosses it.
Day 5 Portsmouth, United Kingdom
As one of the Royal Navy's most significant ports and the birthplace of Charles Dickens and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Portsmouth has an extensive heritage and boasts an abundance of unique attractions, most of which are found at the vibrant waterfront. There's plenty to discover, explore and enjoy in this often overlooked city.
The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard boasts over 800 years of maritime history and its exhibts include the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. Stunning views of the city and the Isle of Wight from the top of the iconic Spinnaker Tower - often called 'Britain's greatest viewing tower' - are not to be missed, while the Round Tower - one of the city's oldest permanent fortifications - and Southsea Castle are well worth a look too. The stylish Gunwharf Quays shopping outlet is home to over 100 premium stores and restaurants - perfect for a little retail therapy.
Time to say our farewells and make our way home.