Region Overviews: France Travel Guide: Overview
Long considered a global center of art, science, philosophy and sophistication, France boasts incredible diversity in its offerings to travelers.
This is a new perspective. It's Monet's quiet Seine. Joan of Arc's last moments. Richard the Lionheart's medieval château. And an American soldier's Omaha Beach. Every turn of the Seine reveals another story, another piece of history, another impressionist's impression. It's not just another trip to France.
THIS ITINERARY: 8 days, 7 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Small Luxury Ship
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
DAY 1 Ride to the palace of the Sun King in Versailles | Wander through the castle's majestic gardens with our local guide | Spin to St. Cloud, peering at the City of Light from above | Pedal into Paris and to your floating luxury hotel for the week.
DAY 2 Roll through rural Normandy to Les Andelys | Hike to Château Gaillard for impressive vistas of the village and Seine Valley below | The ruins of this medieval fortress beckon to visit | Enjoy views of the Seine as we sail this afternoon.
DAYS 3-4 Pedal through the lush landscape and thatched-roof cottages of Marais Vernier | Stroll in colorful Honfleur | Delight in fresh seafood and local delicacies in this picture-perfect town | Join a local historian for a private tour of the American Military Cemetery | Bike along Omaha Beach and amid World War II battlefields | Visit beautifully preserved Bayeux and its 11th-century tapestry.
DAYS 5-6 Explore vibrant medieval Rouen on foot | On a private tour, see where Joan of Arc was sent to the stake and admire Notre Dame Cathedral, painted by Monet in the 1890s | Wonder at the Romanesque remains of Jumièges Abbey, known as the most beautiful ruin in France | Visit impressionist master Monet's home, gardens and water lily ponds at Giverny | Ride along the Seine to Château de La Roche-Guyon.
DAYS 7-8 Bike to Auvers-sur-Oise, home to Cézanne, Pissarro and van Gogh | Cruise back to Paris, enjoying views of the Seine.
A luxurious custom-designed ship featuring stylish private staterooms, panoramic windows, French balconies, an onboard team of classically trained chefs and inviting areas to socialize with fellow passengers. (pool)
The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy
Please note: Due to the multiple stateroom options available on this trip, reservations can only be made by contacting one of our Trip Consultants on 800-462-2848 or via email.
Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next—and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do. LEARN MORE.
The key to a stellar day's ride is a bike that's perfectly in tune with your cycling style… Backroads has you covered with the best bike fleet in the world! Read on for your available bike options for this trip.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
The ships we sail on are like floating luxury hotels, so you can visit a new destination each day without touching your suitcase once you've settled in. Our ships are custom‐designed with a variety of inviting spaces that offer plenty of room for both relaxing and socializing. These ships are vastly smaller than most cruise ships, with up to just 150 passengers on our river trips and up to only 250 on our ocean trips.
We sail with up to 30 Backroads guests per group. Occasionally there may be more than one Backroads group onboard and you may cross paths with the other group on routes or at restaurants. When this occurs, each group will have their own dedicated onboard Backroads leaders.
If you're new to Backroads active cruise trips, there are a few things you need to know. Our cruises are smaller, and much more intimate than a typical cruise. They are also quite lively, social experiences, shaped by both our Backroads group and the larger ship community. Additionally, even with an itinerary subject to fixed nautical schedules that may occasionally limit our time on shore, we get out and explore far beyond the cruise norm. If you love meeting new people, enjoy the ease of unpacking once, and don't mind a set schedule of port departure times, you'll love our approach to active river and ocean cruising. Nobody does it like we do.
On our active cruises, we seek out diversity by including regionally authentic and inventive meals for onshore lunches, picnics and the occasional onshore dinner. On-ship meals, though delightful, are meant to appeal to a wide cross section of passengers and may at times feel more conventional for some, and less reflective of the region than on Backroads hotel trips.
Every river has its own unique temperament and for centuries water levels have shifted due to rain, temperature and agriculture. High water levels may mean the ship cannot pass under a bridge, low water levels result in slower sailing, and a disabled lock can also lead to some extra cruising time. Should any unforeseen change happen during your river cruise, we will work closely with AmaWaterways' Captain and staff, who are very experienced in going with the flow.
In contrast to our usual land-based trips, which have similar room categories, the AmaWaterways ships offer a wide range of stateroom categories. The top-tier staterooms often fill fast so book as early as possible if this is important to you.
Most port conditions require that ships tie up alongside each other, in which case you may need to walk through another ship to access our ship. This is a part of river cruising due to its popularity. You may experience obstructed views from your stateroom when the ship is double-docked, but rest assured that as soon as we set sail again your beautiful views will be restored.