Marcia Strykowski

Seine River Cruise

chalk mtsBonjour—I must share where I’ve been the past two weeks—I’ve been cruising along the coast of France! Our ship began its journey in the lovely village of Honfleur.painters

The next day, we rode by bus to the Normandy D-Day beaches.beach scene

We stopped at the American Cemetery. After a brief ceremony, it was especially moving when veterans from our group went up to stand at the memorial after we all sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Later, we placed red and yellow roses on many of the almost 10,000 grave markers.cemetary double

Next we sailed to Caudebec. Once there we visited Fecamp and the Cliffs of Etretat.seagull at cliffs 2

DSC00165 - CopyWe sailed on to Rouen. Later we spent a special afternoon with a good-humored French monk at the Abbaye St. Wandrille. Despite our language barrier, we learned a lot about his way of life.

Oh, and if you’re ever in Rouen, do NOT miss the sound & light show at Notre Dame Cathedral–every night from 11 to midnight (check for seasonal time changes).

The next day we set sail for Les Andelys. Although there was always lots to see while cruising (wild horses!) …wild horsesthere was also plenty of onboard activities held each day, as well, such as French lessons, watercolor and cooking classes, Impressionism study, and various entertainments.

Once in Les Andelys, we had a fun hike up to the Chateau Gaillard. What a view!DSC00184 - Copy

Next stop: Vernon. First thing in the morning, we piled onto a bus for Giverny to tour Monet‘s gorgeous home and gardens which I’ll be saving for an upcoming blog post.

DSC00211 - CopyLater that afternoon we visited French homes in small groups. At ours (which also happens to be a Bed & Breakfast) we were served cider, lemonade, croissants, and apple cake. Our host’s eclectic collections were interesting, to say the least. At one point we realized we were tiptoeing across a real zebra skin, complete from head to tail, that her father had hunted down years ago. 😦

statue of liberty - CopyThe following day we found ourselves in Conflans-Saint-Honorine and then a trip to Auvers sur Oise to discover where Van Gogh was inspired.

Soon we arrived in Paris where an optional tour of the Palace of Versailles was offered. And if you go to the top of the Galaries Lafayette roof, you’ll find an awesome view of the whole city.

Too many WONDERFUL experiences to squeeze into one blog post, but have I mentioned the food? The chef kept telling us that all of his food was fat-free with no calories. Perhaps he spoke the truth, because after eating at least 10 courses a day, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t gained weight. I guess it’s all part of the magic of a French cruise. Bon appétit!time for dessert - CopyIsabelle, Mimi, Federica, 2nd capt., Capt. Jacky

Top picture is of one of the final desserts being served (Baked Alaska) and bottom: a few of the Grand Circle Travel crew bidding us farewell (our tour guide, Isabelle, on the left and Captain Jacky on the right).Sunset


  1. Michele Sova

    What a beautiful experience!


    • It was wonderful! I hope you enjoyed your recent travels, as well, Michele.


  2. Louise

    Oh, how I envy you, Marcia! I remember some of those places–loved Honfleur. Can’t wait to see your other pictures.


    • I absolutely loved Honfleur–so quaint and picturesque. Thanks, Louise!


  3. pierrmorgan

    Beautiful trip. My favorite photo is that gull closeup. And is that a heron flying toward the Eiffel Tower? Chefs with sparklers…I’ll be looking for your travel book on no-calorie meals. Thanks, Marcia!


    • Thanks for your comment, Pierr! I was very surprised the gull held his pose while I pulled out my camera. 🙂


  4. clarehelenwelsh

    Sounds like a great trip, Marcia! I think I’ve been to the same cemetery as you… I went in a school trip many years ago, very humbling.


    • Hi Clare! To see that massive cemetery in person really puts into perspective how many young lives were lost as they took their first steps onto the beautiful beaches.


  5. This sounds like an amazing experience! Love the photos.


  6. Hi Marcia, My husband and I did the same cruise this Spring. Your photos brought back memories. The same talkative monk, lots of birthday celebrations on board ship, etc. Thanks for sharing. Dotty Anderson


  7. Bette Norton

    What a beautiful adventure you had. I love your photos!


    • Thank you, Bette! The coastline of France is very photographic. I hope you enjoyed your recent vacation, too!


  8. Katie L. Carroll

    So, gorgeous! How lucky you are to be able to travel to France. Thanks for sharing your photos so I could visit it vicariously.


  9. Hello Marcia, what a wonderful trip. I can’t tell you how jealous I’m feeling right now, but I’m very glad you had such a good time. I love the picture of the cheeky seagull but am sad about the poor old Zebra. I would love to visit Monet’s garden, so I’m very much looking forward to that post. x


    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Barbara. Monet’s garden was definitely one of the highlights!


  10. Thank you for sharing your breathtaking trip and photos with us! I love the horse photo the most, so serene. (Being a semi-professional photographer, I must ask what kind of camera you have?)


    • Thanks so much, Lynn! Those horses were a great surprise to come upon. My camera is a little pink Sony Cyber-shot. I’ve had it for 10 years and carry it everywhere.


  11. Ashley

    This is so awesome, what a wonderful place to visit and the no calorie food sounds perfect!


  12. Hi Marcia
    Great !!! I know all the places you mention. Normandy is a really beautiful part of France.
    While you were cruising there, Michel and I were in the south of the country.
    Your photos are beautiful ! Thanks.
    Maryse, from France


    • Bonjour Maryse! I feel I know so much more about beautiful France now and it was wonderful meeting and talking with people who live there. The rare heat wave was certainly a surprise, but didn’t turn out to be too bad. I hope you and Michel enjoyed your vacation, as well. 🙂


  13. We have been looking at river cruises and it sure looks like you had a wonderful trip. 🙂 We visited my uncle’s grave in the American Cemetery in Luxembourg in May – moving experience. 🙂


    • I’m a new fan of river cruises, so much fun. That’s wonderful that you were able to visit your uncle’s grave. Thanks for your comment, Judy!


  14. Wow! Looks like you had an amazing time. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


  15. Beautiful places and nicely done photos, Marcia!


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