By: John Scott, Senior Travel Consultant
I was fortunate enough to partake in Rendezvous On The Seine With Tauck River Cruise. It was an experience that I will never forget.
It started with three nights in Paris, at the Hotel Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, and as the name might indicate, it is next to the Eiffel Tower. We came in a day earlier than the itinerary called for, to get use to the time change. We ate and people watched at one of the several great cafes in the area after walking along the Seine, which is only a couple of blocks from the hotel. The weather was cool with periods of light rain, but nothing that kept us from getting out. Tip: take water proof shoes, a rain coat, and a travel umbrella when you travel to northern France in the spring.
Our first Tauck experience in Paris was the afterhours visit to the Louvre Museum.
There were only 90 passengers on this sailing of Rendezvous on the Seine with Tauck, so we were split into 3 groups of 30 on this tour (and most of the others).
It was amazing to see all the art in the Louvre up close, with no crowds.
Our guide told us people will wait an hour to get up next to the Mona Lisa to take a selfie, and scolded me when I told him I had not taken one when we were leaving that room.
As the guide would pick one painting in each room to give us the history on, I was able to wander the entire room and just admire each painting on my own, still listening to him in my earpiece. I am not a museum person, but I have to admit, this was a special experience. The only piece you could not get close to was the Venus de Milo.
Another place we visited in Paris was the Palace of Versailles, where we had a tour, walked the grounds and ate lunch.
I highly recommend walking the grounds and looking at all the different fountains and bronze statues. One word of warning, don’t pet the geese. They bite!
We also were able to tour Notre Dame and ate lunch at a little café in an alley near there. The food on this trip was a highlight. I was not served a bad meal in all of France.
After Paris, we embarked on our river cruise ship, the MS Sapphire. The staff on this ship were amazing, paying close attention to detail, granting requests, and always greeting you with a smile and a good attitude.
I feel like I made a whole new group of friends with the ship’s crew, from the captain to the chef, to the wait staff and bartenders. Another perk of Tauck, it is an all-inclusive river cruise. No gratuities, no bar tab, no optional excursions, nothing. I took 400 Euros on this trip, and spent less than 300, with almost all of it on food and drinks in Paris.
The river cruise had many highlights, from seeing where Joan of Arc was put to death in Rouen, to the early morning tour of Monet’s gardens, before it was open to the general public, and a tour of an organic apple farm in the beautiful Normandy countryside.
The highlight for me were the D-Day experiences.
The American military cemetery was so quiet, all you could hear were the birds. To see those 9300 perfectly white tombstones, some of them indicating an unknown soldier, was a powerful experience.
All in all, Rendezvous on the Seine with Tauck was an experience of a lifetime, and I would not hesitate to do it again.
Senior Travel Consultant
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