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Peregrina651

Everything Viking France: Normandy, Paris, Provence

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Hi!  Thank you everyone for all the wonderful information and advice.  We are trying to decide on which direction to take the 2020 Viking Lyon and Provence river cruise.  Viking has sailings on the same day from Lyon to Avignon and Avignon to Lyon.  What are the benefits of each direction?  We will be traveling from Seattle. 

 

Have any of you ever done an add on to Normandy after your cruise?  Thank you in advance for your help!

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We did Viking's France's Finest which combines the Provence itinerary with the Normandy itinerary. 

 

We travelled from Avignon to Lyon with three nights in Avignon on our own prior to embarking and the on to Paris and Normandy. 

 

I don't if I could say what the benefits are doing one way or the other. I have no basis comparison. 

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We, my husband, two daughters, and I are taking the cruise from Avignon to Lyon this September. I chose to begin the cruise in Avignon because I spent 10 days in old Avignon three years ago, and during our free time I want to re-visit my favorite place for coffee and pastry, as well as do a little shopping. 

 

If I hadn’t been to Avignon, I would begin the cruise in Lyon, and extend my stay afterwards in Avignon, exploring more of the walled city and taking day trips to several of the towns in the Luberon and to Aix-en-Provence.

 

With the heatwave in France, I’m concerned about the water levels in mid-September.

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Are water levels on the Rhone or Seine a major consideration (worry) like the Danube?

 

Anyone done the post trip to Nice recently?

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On 7/5/2018 at 1:16 PM, jrkstl said:

Chateau des Flecheres optional excursion - Amazing!

 

Jeff, did I ever say thank you? Chateau des Flecheres was one of the highlights of the trip. Better even than visiting Napoleon's Malmaison on the second part of our adventure. I don't know that we would have even considered it had you not talked about.

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2 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Jeff, did I ever say thank you? Chateau des Flecheres was one of the highlights of the trip. Better even than visiting Napoleon's Malmaison on the second part of our adventure. I don't know that we would have even considered it had you not talked about.

Oh I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!! It really is a wonderful place, isn’t it??

 

Jeff

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7 hours ago, flowerbuyer said:

With the heatwave in France, I’m concerned about the water levels in mid-September.

 

I would think that it isn't just heat but also rainfall (or the lack thereof) that you have to look at.

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1 minute ago, jrkstl said:

 It really is a wonderful place, isn’t it??

 

Jeff

 

Fantastic in every sense of the word. 😀

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22 hours ago, travelovingnurse said:

Hi!  Thank you everyone for all the wonderful information and advice.  We are trying to decide on which direction to take the 2020 Viking Lyon and Provence river cruise.  Viking has sailings on the same day from Lyon to Avignon and Avignon to Lyon.  What are the benefits of each direction?  We will be traveling from Seattle. 

 

Have any of you ever done an add on to Normandy after your cruise?  Thank you in advance for your help!

Like @Peregrina651 we did France's Finest last year starting from Avignon.  With regards to the choice -- I base it on the length of air travel.  My rule of thumb is that the effects of jet lag are less when I travel longer for a given number of time zones (going Eastward) -- 6 hr travel with 6 time zones (e.g., Direct flight to Paris) is awful; 10-11 hrs travel for the same number of time zones (Connecting Frankfurt to Marseilles) not so bad.  I don't mind being Madame Mental Lump when I return from a vacation; just don't like being the same when I arrive on day 1 of said vacation.:classic_smile:  Basically I shoot for a longer travel time from home but not so fussy on the way back.

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3 hours ago, deec said:

Are water levels on the Rhone or Seine a major consideration (worry) like the Danube?

 

Anyone done the post trip to Nice recently?

Low water levels on the Seine and the Rhine are not as much an issue as on the Danube and on the Rhine - and on the popular stretch on the Elbe. Both the Seine and the Rhone have a deeper navigation channel on all the stretches that river cruise ships sail. Mostly man-made I believe. I have not got any more info on the Seine, but can give you a very informative site on the Rhone. From other sources I know that the Rhone has been turned into a canalised river and you sail either in its regular riverbed or a side canal. The locks control the flow and with the help of those locks and additional digging the authorities maintain a navigation channel depth of 3m and more in parts.

 

Here is the site: https://www.cnr.tm.fr/en/living-with-the-rhone/moving-on-the-rhone/navigating-on-the-rhone/

 

notamermaid

 

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1 hour ago, CharTrav said:

Like @Peregrina651 we did France's Finest last year starting from Avignon.  With regards to the choice -- I base it on the length of air travel.  My rule of thumb is that the effects of jet lag are less when I travel longer for a given number of time zones (going Eastward) -- 6 hr travel with 6 time zones (e.g., Direct flight to Paris) is awful; 10-11 hrs travel for the same number of time zones (Connecting Frankfurt to Marseilles) not so bad.  I don't mind being Madame Mental Lump when I return from a vacation; just don't like being the same when I arrive on day 1 of said vacation.:classic_smile:  Basically I shoot for a longer travel time from home but not so fussy on the way back.

 

And I am the opposite. I want direct flights and the shortest door to door possible. I dislike changing planes (and the stress that goes with it, especially when traveling with DH), waiting in airports and flying north to go south.

 

That said we flew direct to Paris and then changed planes for Marseille. Good thing we changed our Marseille flight to the later flight because otherwise we would have missed our connection. Getting through border control at CDG was long and poorly organized: three lines feeding into one agent. Regardless of what the minimum connection times say, don't accept less than 2 hours in Paris.

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16 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

And I am the opposite. I want direct flights and the shortest door to door possible. I dislike changing planes (and the stress that goes with it, especially when traveling with DH), waiting in airports and flying north to go south.

 

That said we flew direct to Paris and then changed planes for Marseille. Good thing we changed our Marseille flight to the later flight because otherwise we would have missed our connection. Getting through border control at CDG was long and poorly organized: three lines feeding into one agent. Regardless of what the minimum connection times say, don't accept less than 2 hours in Paris.

what I didn't add was that when doing connecting flights -- I'm emphatic about getting LONG connections times  -- 2 to 3 hrs -- to accommodate the worst that can happen. Because of cost when we did France's Finest last year -- we flew Lufthansa and connected in Frankfurt coming and going. What I wanted -- and couldn't get -- was short hop to Newark (with a long connection time there knowing how bad things are in the Summer especially) and direct from there to Marseilles and then a direct back from Paris. Couldn't get it unless I paid extra.  Sigh...

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Posted (edited)

Char Trav and Peregrina,

 

My strategy is somewhere between the two of you. Definitely want direct flights when available, but if there is a layover, I want no less than 2 and no more than 4 hours between flights. On one of our first trips, we had a 75 minute layover in Frankfurt which we barely made, and a 50 minute layover there on the way back. We spent the whole trip figuring we would never make the connection on the way home, and we were right. While I'm at it, no extra early morning departures please.

 

Just this week I booked our flights with Viking for next spring's Paris to the Swiss Alps. Nonstops in both direction and perfect departure times. Yeah Viking Air Plus!!

Edited by lackcreativity

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1 hour ago, lackcreativity said:

While I'm at it, no extra early morning departures please.

 

AGREED!!!  Except, what did I do?  I picked a flight that did just that. When we left Paris I chose the mid-morning flight to Boston,  knowing that we would be up and out early. WHY? Because we would land in Boston before rush hour and be home by mid-afternoon.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

AGREED!!!  Except, what did I do?  I picked a flight that did just that. When we left Paris I chose the mid-morning flight to Boston,  knowing that we would be up and out early. WHY? Because we would land in Boston before rush hour and be home by mid-afternoon.

We visit Boston frequently ( our son went to grad school there and never moved back home), but have only left Logan on the T, so never had to worry about that! We fly into Philadelphia at 3:30 pm, and since rush hour down I-95 begins at least by 2:00, we are doomed. I am considering a Sleep - Park - Fly deal at the Clarion where we take the room at the end of the trip, and can go take a nap and complete the trip home after rush hour is over! For someone who loves to travel, I sure hate the going and coming part!

Edited by lackcreativity

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, lackcreativity said:

For someone who loves to travel, I sure hate the going and coming part!

 

You are not alone.

 

I call it a "necessary evil" and I try my best to tune out the whole process (the muscle relaxant I take for my back really, really, really helps achieve this goal--while achieving a pain free flight).

 

I think CDG is also on that list of necessary evils.

Edited by Peregrina651

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9 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

We visit Boston frequently ( our son went to grad school there and never moved back home), but have only left Logan on the T, so never had to worry about that! We fly into Philadelphia at 3:30 pm, and since rush hour down I-95 begins at least by 2:00, we are doomed. I am considering a Sleep - Park - Fly deal at the Clarion where we take the room at the end of the trip, and can go take a nap and complete the trip home after rush hour is over! For someone who loves to travel, I sure hate the going and coming part!

We are on the Rhône now but we have a direct flight CDG to PHL on AA gets in at 1:15pm hope to get to S. Jersey before real rush hour on July 16, can I tell you it’s 97 degrees right now!! It’s a 2-3 shower trip but loving it. We started our trip in Manchester England with 70 degrees then to Marseille 98🥵 Luminaries this afternoon 

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1 hour ago, Respbj said:

We are on the Rhône now but we have a direct flight CDG to PHL on AA gets in at 1:15pm hope to get to S. Jersey before real rush hour on July 16, can I tell you it’s 97 degrees right now!! It’s a 2-3 shower trip but loving it. We started our trip in Manchester England with 70 degrees then to Marseille 98🥵 Luminaries this afternoon 

I would wilt in that heat, so it's April or October for us! Sorry for your weather, but glad you are still loving your trip. I'd be interested in your opinion of the Luminaries. I have heard others say it it wonderful, but I am struggling to figure out how to spend our precious time in Paris. This will be our second two day visit, so we have toured Notre Dame, the top of the Eiffel Tower, spent six hours at the Louvre, and done the panoramic bus ride. We have not seen Versailles, the Musee d'Orsay, Sainte Chapelle, or Montmartre. I think Musee d'Orsay is a must, and love just walking the streets of Paris, so I haven't decided on the rest yet.

 

Enjoy the rest of your trip, and have a safe flight home.

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51 minutes ago, lackcreativity said:

Sorry for your weather, but glad you are still loving your trip. I'd be interested in your opinion of the Luminaries.

 

Saw it. Loved it. But would not do it in Paris where it is in a warehouse. Part of what I loved about seeing it in Les Baux was the fact that it was in an old quarry and thus the show had to be designed to take advantage of the space, which was neither flat nor square and had multiple levels with in the space.

 

IMHO, Saint Chapelle is an absolute must. I have been there twice now and was completely bowled over both times. The whole experience can be summed up by one voice that I heard, one utterance as the person emerged from the stair well into the sanctuary. "Wow" was all that was said.

 

You have to go through metal detector before entering the property. Face the gates of the Palace of Justice and then turn left. You will see signs and stanchions marking the entrance. Then just follow the signs.

 

With the help of a cab, you can do Ste Chapelle and D'Orsay in one day and then take the train to Versailles the other day (read up on taking the train there; there are two Versailles train stops --the right one and the wrong one). With the gardens, Versailles can be an all day adventure.

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Getting psyched for our Paris (Yeah, really LePecq) to Normandy cruise next week.  Cooler temps please!
Viking has sent us photos of some of our fellow passengers.
Vikings.jpg.fd42b243dffba7f02fb8c6b591e3fb51.jpg

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philw1776,

 

I hope that young lady on the left will come over to you with a smile and sit down opposite you at the dinner table (unless you are travelling with an even lovelier companion that you brought over from the states).

 

If you are not happy with the gentlemen's manners (they look a bit filled with testosterone to me) leave them near Bayeux and they can go and conquer England all over again!

 

Have a great cruise.

 

notamermaid

 

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1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

philw1776,

 

I hope that young lady on the left will come over to you with a smile and sit down opposite you at the dinner table (unless you are travelling with an even lovelier companion that you brought over from the states).

 

 

LOL! Actually more like ROTFLMAO. I've been following his story. He is traveling with his family, including his granddaughters. So, I think his answer is going to be something along the lines of "Hell, yes! Much lovelier!"

 

Hey, Phil. Have a great time!

 

BTW, I was looking at some old posts, maybe even this thread else 2019 FF roll call. There is a lace-making museum near the tapestries. I forgot all about it. It would have been fun to see. Maybe the ladies would be interested?

 

 

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6 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

IMHO, Saint Chapelle is an absolute must. I have been there twice now and was completely bowled over both times. The whole experience can be summed up by one voice that I heard, one utterance as the person emerged from the stair well into the sanctuary. "Wow" was all that was said.

 

With the help of a cab, you can do Ste Chapelle and D'Orsay in one day and then take the train to Versailles the other day (read up on taking the train there; there are two Versailles train stops --the right one and the wrong one). With the gardens, Versailles can be an all day adventure.

Sounds like good advice. We have the Lyon to Provence river cruise on our list for the future, so maybe I will postpone the Luminairies, and then Versaille, Musee d'Orsay, and Sainte Chapelle becomes more manageable in two days.

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7 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

I would wilt in that heat, so it's April or October for us! Sorry for your weather, but glad you are still loving your trip. I'd be interested in your opinion of the Luminaries. I have heard others say it it wonderful, but I am struggling to figure out how to spend our precious time in Paris. This will be our second two day visit, so we have toured Notre Dame, the top of the Eiffel Tower, spent six hours at the Louvre, and done the panoramic bus ride. We have not seen Versailles, the Musee d'Orsay, Sainte Chapelle, or Montmartre. I think Musee d'Orsay is a must, and love just walking the streets of Paris, so I haven't decided on the rest yet.

 

Enjoy the rest of your trip, and have a safe flight home.

We went to Carrieres de Lumieres today and it was unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it. I think Sainte Chapelle is a must too. Versailles requires a full day. If you like Medieval Art then include the Cluny also. But with limited time I would do d’Orsay and Sainte Chapelle.

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1 hour ago, Respbj said:

We went to Carrieres de Lumieres today and it was unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it. I think Sainte Chapelle is a must too. Versailles requires a full day. If you like Medieval Art then include the Cluny also. But with limited time I would do d’Orsay and Sainte Chapelle.

I’ve brought family to Versailles on the 9am train, did a complete tour & even some had time for the garden.  Was back in Paris by 2pm train, but it does take a big block of time.

Since short on time, stick to basics & forget rest.  The Musee d’Orsay is a few blocks from Louvre- easy walk. There’s no way you can see everything, so walk through the statues to the back and take elevator to 5th floor & see the famous Impressionists.  Then go back down & go to Van Gogh, skip everything else.

Directly across the Seine is L’Orangerie. Go directly to the Monet Water Lilies & then leave.  You will have see the best of both!

 

Sainte Chapelle is great if sunny, the stained glass is then beyond lovely!  Next door, is the Concergerie (where political prisoners were kept during the French Revolution, many on way to guillotine).  Marie Antoinette cell has been converted to a chapel but an adjoining room is set up as her cell.  Interesting, less than perfect, but the history is there.

 

The Paris Museum Pass makes it easy to just pop in and not feel compelled to see everything.

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