River cruise on the Seine from Paris to Le Havre and back
Day 1 Switzerland ⇨ Paris
An 8-hour bus ride took us directly to the Seine in Paris. We were greeted with a welcome aperitif on board the Excellence-Royal.
We made ourselves comfortable in our cabin on the upper deck. It was to be our home for the next 9 days.
Day 2 Paris
In the morning we took a sightseeing boat on the Seine, in the afternoon we explored the Rive Gauge district on foot.
Day 3 River Cruise Paris - La Havre
At the beginning of our trip to Le Havre, our ship first sailed up the Seine to the small Statue of Liberty on the Île aux Cygnes in front of the Pont de Grenelle and we treated ourselves to a last look at the Eiffel Tower.
Here our ship was able to turn around and then sailed down the Seine.
The futuristic "Seine Musicale" building, which covers around 35,000 square metres, is located in the Seine on the small island of Seguin. There, about four kilometres southwest of the Eiffel Tower, used to be a Renault production plant, which was demolished in 2005.
The new music complex has an auditorium with 1,150 seats, a performance hall with 4,000 to 6,000 seats, several recording studios, numerous terraces and a restaurant. Ile Seguin was once home to the famous Renault factories. "Seine Musicale" aims to offer music for all. Besides classical music, musicals and techno concerts are also part of the programme, which was kicked off by Bob Dylan.
On the way, we stopped in Les Andelys, a small town on the Seine with a romantic ruined castle. From the top we had a beautiful view of the Seine valley. The Château Gaillard is a fortress of Richard the Lionheart. Below the castle, Le Petit Andely unfolds its medieval charm and offers a picturesque Seine bank with beautiful Norman houses and the beautiful Hôpital Saint-Jacques. In Les Andelys, we visited the church of Saint-Sauveur du Petit Angely.
Pictures from Les Andelys
The leisurely river trip continued past romantic chalk cliffs.
Further downstream on the Seine we passed the city of Rouen. In the picture you can see the gigantic lift bridge Pont Gustave Flaubert and the Hôtel de la Métropole with its sloping façade.
After another 70 river kilometres, we passed under the Pont de Brotonne, a huge cable-stayed bridge. The entire bridge is 1278 m long, the main bridge is 607 m long and its span is 320 m. The bridge has a height of 50 m for ships. The clearance height for ships is 50 m.
Here we pass Caudebec-en-Caux with its late Gothic church Notre Dame.
Late at night we arrived in Le Havre.
In the morning we visited Étretat on the English Channel with its imposing chalk cliffs.
In the afternoon we drove to the Pays d'Auge area to Pont l'Évêque, Pierefitte en Auge, Saint Hymer and the Domaine de Drovin to taste the cheese and Calvados produced there.
In the morning, a tour of Le Havre was on the agenda with a visit to the market hall, including cheese and cider tasting, and a visit to the reinforced concrete church there.
In the afternoon we drove over the huge Pont de Normandie to Honfleur on the other bank of the Seine. There we visited the old town with the old harbour district.
Day 6 Caudebec-en-Caux
In the morning we visit the village with the church Notre Dame. It dates from the 15th and early 16th century. Around its upper balustrade, a part of the Song of Songs is written in Gothic script. The church's impressive west portal, its ornate stained glass and the decorations on the spire make it one of the most beautiful buildings in the diocese of Rouens. Inside is one of the largest hanging vault stones of the late Middle Ages.
... and then continued by boat to Rouen.
Rouen is the capital of Normandy. We visited the sights in the old town.
In the late afternoon we left Rouen and continued by boat to Vernon.
Along the Seine you can see chalk cliffs ...
... and many an elegant castle.
The old mill of Vernon, a half-timbered construction, lies straddling two piers of the ancient bridge over the Seine River. Several mills like this one used to be operating on the river all along the old wooden bridge. This bridge itself was built in the XII th century, the mill is probably of the XVI th century. The old bridge has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in the middle age. It was very unsafe and was definitively detroyed in the beginning of the XIXth century. Then it was replaced by a stone bridge in 1861. Destroyed during the war in 1870 it was rebuilt in 1872 and then bombed in 1940. So the bridge you cross today to go from Vernon to Giverny is the fourth generation. It was built in 1955.
As we continued our river journey, we passed La Roche, a town on the border with Normandy. Originally, a first cave castle was built here in the early Middle Ages for defence, and around 1190 a donjon was added, which was connected to the castle by a staircase cut through the rock. In the 13th century, a castle was built below the castle, which gradually caused the inhabited caves to disappear.
Directly on the Seine in the royal town of Mantes-la-Jolie is the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame. This Gothic building dates from the XIIth and XIII. century.
In the evening and at night we drove back to Paris.
Day 9 Paris ⇨ Switzerland
By bus we went back to Switzerland.