(19) classmates and wives checked in on the Viking Spirit docked in Paris next
to the minature copy of the ‘Statue of Liberty’ on August 29th.
Along with the ‘61’ group there were 14 couples of friends and family.
1 & 2): After an overnight on the boat there was a morning bus tour of Paris.
The afternoon was free to venture out on the subway to do our own tours of the
Louvre, Montmartre, des Invalides, Notre Dame and other famous sites. The
weather was spectacular, as it would be during the entire cruise, allowing us to
take in the beauty of Paris and the Seine.
and Vernon (Day 3): Our next adventure was a tour of Monet’s home and gardens.
We arrived early in the morning and had the beautiful gardens to ourselves. The
walking tour included the water garden, the Japanese bridge, the water lilies,
huge sun flowers, wisteria and azaleas. Everywhere one turned provided a new
beautiful visual sensation. A walking tour of Vernon followed. Vernon was
founded in the ninth century by the Viking Rollo. A beautiful village with many
half timbered homes and flowers everywhere.
4): After a couple of very busy days, we were content to spend the morning in
the lounge enjoying coffee and a lecture on the medieval city of Rouen and St.
Joan of Arc. Our program director, Mieke, was absolutely superb. Following
lunch was a walking tour of Rouen included the beautiful gothic Notre Dame
Cathedral, which Monet painted many times and the spot where Joan of Arch was
burned in 1431. The town was filled with half timbered houses and a beautiful
Great Clock built into the medieval town gate.
Beaches (Day 5) Early in themorning we
loaded the buses for our trip to Normandy. We toured the Visitor’s Center
at Gold Beach and had a delightful lunch in a local restaurant. We then visited
the beautiful, somber American Military Cemetery. The sea of 17,000 white
crosses and lovely flowering gardens were quite moving. We felt privileged and
honored to be among such heroes. We then visited Omaha beach, a truly hallowed
ground where some gathered a vial of sand from the beach.
(Day 6) The next stop was the Village of Les Andelys with it’s imposing castle,
Chateau Gaillard built by Richard the Lionhearted. Many trudged up to the top of
the hill to see this castle while others spent the time on a walking tour of the
village and browsing in the wonderful little shops. This stretch of the river
is particually beautiful with the cliffs of white limestone overlooking the
and Paris (7) The village of Conflans was our last walking tour. It was ever
so charming with the narrow side streets, cobblestone walkways, the imposing
castle, and the docks where River Boat Captains return to retire on their
boats. This village is where they send their children to school. They even
have a river boat chapel with a Priest and regular masses, christenings and
weddings. Some in the group chose to visit Versailles, the former home of Louis
XI. We then sailed on to the City of Light….Paris! Another beautiful, sunny
day with time on the top deck to enjoy the country side of France and to
reminisce with our friends before departing the next morning for home. It ended
all too soon and all of us a bit wiser in the knowledge of Paris and the Seine
River. What wonderful memories.