Luxury cruising on the River Seine: The height of sophistication when exploring France
When it comes to choosing the chic-est of holiday destinations, it doesn’t get much better than Paris. Known as the world’s most romantic city, it’s home to over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, whilst its trendy streets are lined with high-end designer fashion boutiques – and that’s before we even get started on its rich culture and numerous and iconic historic sites.
The epitome of sophistication, Paris is one of those rare cities that really does have it all, and its unique vibe and all-round upmarket feel make it the perfect destination for the luxury traveller.
A large city sprawling over 105 square kilometres, it is not a city to be explored entirely on foot – but crowded metros and unreliable taxis can make getting around stressful – especially if you are short on time whilst in the city and are keen to see as much as you can.
If luxury is the order of the day, however, then there is certainly a more appealing way to get around – and not only will it allow you to take in some of the sights of Paris, but you’ll get a scenic tour of some other French hotspots, too.
Cruising through the country
The entire city evolved around the river that acted as both a transportation and commercial waterway hundreds of years ago. Even to this day, the river Seine seems to have a magnetic pull on the people of Paris, drawing them together from all walks of life.
The Seine is still recognised as one of Europe’s great waterways, and is also one of France’s most spectacular. Rising near Dijon, it flows northwest through Paris, across Normandy and into the English Channel at Le Havre.
There’s nothing quite like a cruise on the Seine on a riverboat restaurant, and this scenic journey through France will appeal to historians, nature lovers, art enthusiasts, sightseers and shoppers alike. Not only that, but due to a convenient starting (or finishing) point in the capital, you’ll get to enjoy breath-taking views of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Musée d’ Orsay and the Eiffel Tower before heading off on a French adventure.
Outside of Paris, the Seine flows through miles of remote French countryside, dotted with medieval fortresses and charming towns along the way.
Art lovers will delight in Caudebec-en-Caux – a region famed for inspiring some of the world’s best-known artists to create some of their most iconic paintings. Whilst you’re there, you can visit Monet’s former residence and gardens in Giverny and see Vincent van Gogh’s last place of residence at the Le Maison de Van Gogh in the town of Auvers-sur-Oise.
You can also expect to visit Giverny – the former home of the artist, Monet – and Rouen, the place which saw Joan of Arc tried and sentenced here. Rouen is also home to the historic Rouen Cathedral and the Museum of Fine Arts, which includes masterpieces by Monet and Delacroix.
The romantic region of Les Andelys, an area that holds King Richard the Lionheart’s Chateau Gaillard, is also memorable, while Honfleur, has a wealth of sights to see. You can visit Normandy beaches, explore sophisticated Deauville and wander the Landing Museum at Arromanches.
Choosing your cruise
Currently, there are many companies offering luxury cruises on the Seine, and echoing the indisputable elegance of the French capital, a range of five-star boats boasting comfortable and stylish accommodation and flawless service throughout are available to choose from.
You may find yourself spoilt for choice, but it’s still wise to shop around to find the most opulent and exclusive experience. If you’d like to cruise the Seine on a riverboat restaurant, for example, then it won’t be hard to find a boat offering a range of high-end dining venues, each serving a mouth-watering menu based around the finest French delicacies and made with the freshest locally sourced ingredients money can buy. Accompanied by a specially designed flight of French wines, matched painstakingly to each course, it’s the type of culinary experience you hope for during a getaway to France.
A river cruise has got to be one of our favourite ways to beat the hustle and bustle of some of France’s most famous hotspots, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the nation’s breath-taking beauty. Whether slick city life is your style or you’re a countrysider all round, there’s something in it for you – and when you can do it all in the utmost of luxury and comfort, then what’s left to think about?
Image at the very top of the article credit: Prasit Rodphan/Bigstock.com