What started out as a vacation to play golf in Scotland, ended up on a Viking River Cruise from Paris, France to Normandy on on the Seine River.
Glorious weather, great accommodations, and being among recent and medieval history, this was a perfect vacation for an architect and an historian.
We spent a couple days in Paris and in the quaint suburb of LePecq, before departing up the Seine. Our first port was Vernon, which is a short ride to Giverny, home of Claude Monet for 40 years, and then back to explore the half-timber houses of Vernon.
A morning cruise took us to the beautiful and medieval city of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. More timbered buildings and narrow streets was perfect for walking around and taking photos. We got to see a 16th-century astronomical clock, Gros Horloge, and stood at the 14th-century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and the location where she was burned at the stake.
We next visited the amazing Bayeaux tapestry. At almost 300′ long, this tapestry depicts the events of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. After leaving Bayeaux, we immersed ourselves in more recent history, where we visited a couple of the beaches of Normandy where the allies made their landings on June 6, 1944. 160,000 Allied troops made the landing during D-Day, and more than 9,000 were killed or wounded.
The next morning we were able to enjoy the wonderful Normandy countryside, the contrast of the white limestone against the green hillside, on our way to another medieval city, Les Andelys. A short hike brought us to Chateau Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart.
Our final day was a visit and private tour of the Palace of Versailles back in Paris, which was once the royal palace of Louis XIV. We were able to tour the palace and gardens, and enjoyed the water show in the pools before we had to go back for our final evening on our wonderful Viking ship.
We again consulted our favorite cruise planner, Julie Osinski, Cruise Planners, in Bath. She was able to tailor our vacation to us, and we very much enjoyed it.