Friday, February 03, 2017

The Splendour of the Seine Pt 1

After a splendid cruise on MS Insignia from Southampton to Spain & France, we  flew to Paris and embarked on an outstanding river cruise on board MS Amalegro. It would take us from Paris to Normandy on the River Seine. With only 130 guests, it was just delightful and most relaxing!
The itinerary included fascinating places with as much history and scenic beauty you can take in - let alone the scrumptious meals with all their trimmings.

Everything was a highlight and the next couple of blogs are but a 'toe in the water' experience. In Jeanette's words, "I like it even better than ocean cruising." We will take you from Paris to Normandy and will call in on fascinating towns that include Vernon, Giverny, Caudebec-en-Caux, Rouen, Les Andelys, Conflans and back to Paris.

Enjoy the journey with us -

 Most inviting! The Amalegro on the right is our ship.
 A right royal welcome by Captain  Frank.
The lounge and all facilities were comfortable.
 A new decoration on the bed every day. So clever!
 Captain Frank is showing us the lights of Paris and had a lot of fun doing it!

Arriving in Vernon for our first sightseeing.

First, breakfast to get our strength up!
 The City Hall in Vernon.

Vernon suffered when the allies  liberated France as the above plaque recognises. The massive reconstruction of the town was a major undertaking, including Our Lady Collegiate Church that dates back to 1072 and was built in the Romanesque style. It was damaged by air raids during World War II, but thanks to restoration efforts now stands witness to the city's historical heritage.
Our Lady Collegiate Church
 Beautifully restored!


To our delight we saw a notice inviting the public to an evening concert put on by local musicians, including light classical  music. It was too tempting not to go and straight after dinner we walked to the church thinking that in such small town, there wouldn't be a big crowd. How wrong we were! Arriving at least a quarter of an hour before the scheduled start, we found the place packed out. We finally found a couple of chairs that we dragged to somewhere in the middle where there was just enough room. It was a most enjoyable occasion and we felt privileged to share in this village activity.
Love the Tourist Bureau!

After lunch, buses drove us to the special village of -


Giverny is a place that is impossible to separate from the great Impressionist Claude Monet who, quoting Wikipedia, "is the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the impressionist, especially in landscapes." What an absolute joy and privilege it was to wander through his garden and his house and feel the ambiance that inspired him to be among the greatest in his art! To Jeanette this was really her Mecca! The next pages are a mere glimpse of this man's life. Enjoy it with us.
We took our time walking through Monet's gardens.

No wonder Monet painted these scenes a lot.


Going through Monet's house was a special  treat on its own. Special atmosphere and a sense of occasion that we both very much enjoyed!

Having walked where Monet lived, seeing where he slept, ate and worked we wandered down through the village and found the church and cemetery where he was buried:

Claude Monet
May he rest in peace.