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Everything Viking France: Normandy, Paris, Provence

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1 hour ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

We did this tour last month, Carol, and loved it. It was mostly very flat so not hard, and the countryside is so beautiful! On the way back, we stopped in a river-front park and a lovely young woman from a local cider distillery showed up with the most amazing ciders to taste (the apple juice alone was so delicious) and sweets. Fun!

 

On our trip, on another call, there was a canoeing option (really it was kayaks) and that was absolutely great too.

 

Carolyn

 

Thanks so much the info!  

 

~Carol

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We're staying in Nice post cruise for 3 days with the Viking package. Has anyone taken the Panoramic Cote d'Azur optional excursion? Wondering if we should sign up for it.

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We are planning the Lyon & Provence river cruise in fall of 2021, and I am considering adding an extension to see another area of France we haven't visited. (I know we could do it less expensively on our own, but I confess to being a rather lazy traveler, so I prefer to let someone else do most of the work.) 

 

Can anyone report on the Burgundy's Vineyards extension? I do like wine, but am no expert and would more interested in the touring and seeing the sights than the vineyards themselves. I would appreciate any input from someone who has experience with this add on to the cruise.

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First, I have not been on that extension but it sounds wonderful. Like you, I prefer Viking's extensions as transfers, hotel, and more are taken care of. I do recommend adding an extension to the Provence to Lyon cruise. I did not and found it to be kind of a whirlwind. I think the extension adds a nice buffer before and/or after the high intensity days of the cruise. Our earlier cruises included hotel days at the beginning and end, and I will add them to our future cruises if not already part of the tour.

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I feel a little like Goldilocks: some vacations are too short, some are too long, and some are just right! I feel like the eight days of Lyon & Provence is just a little too short to go through the ordeal of the long flight involved in getting there. The three extra days of an extension would be just right. 

We could do the French Riviera extension instead, but I think that one day we will get there with Viking Ocean, so the Burgundy region sounds good to me.

 

Edited by lackcreativity

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We always add extra days on to any cruise.  We did Frances Finest in July and took a week in England Lake District and then flew out of Manchester to Marseille via Easy Jet and spent some time there before taking the train to Avignon (quick trip as we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express by St. Charles train station in Marseille so just a walk across the street for a quick train ride).  We do our own plans as I think the Viking add on is a bit expensive for what you get and I like to do my own research and get my own places to stay.  This trip since we actually used Viking air for our trip from Manchester UK to Marseille FR we used Viking to get us to Charles de Galle airport in Paris because I knew the ship was docked in an out of the way place outside of Paris I wanted to use Viking to get us to the airport and it worked out fine.  

Spending time before (so you don't miss the boat) and after to relax and see sites on your own is always an advantage.

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4 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

We are planning the Lyon & Provence river cruise in fall of 2021, and I am considering adding an extension to see another area of France we haven't visited. (I know we could do it less expensively on our own, but I confess to being a rather lazy traveler, so I prefer to let someone else do most of the work.) 

 

Can anyone report on the Burgundy's Vineyards extension? I do like wine, but am no expert and would more interested in the touring and seeing the sights than the vineyards themselves. I would appreciate any input from someone who has experience with this add on to the cruise.

 

I get where you're coming from.  We are taking a Mediterranean cruise at the end of the month and decided to add 4 nights in Barcelona at the beginning.  I have spent far more time planning those 4 days than the 7 days of the cruise and the 2 days of flying!  It would have been nice for someone to do that for me.  OTOH we are going to see (God willing) everything we want to see in Barcelona and Monserrat, and I don't think any packaged tour would come close.

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We took a pre-Rhone cruise excursion that was similar to the Burgundy vineyards back in 2017.  We enjoyed it, the only thing we weren't crazy about was the hotel in Dijon (Mercure).  It was out of the way with not much nearby in the way of restaurants for dinner, also had some remodeling going on.  I think things have probably changed in the past few years.  

 

lackcreativity, you will see lots of sights in addition to a couple of vineyards.  We enjoyed Dijon, Beaune, and Perouges.

Edited by LFS517
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Thanks all for the replies, and LFS517 especially for the reassurance based on your first hand experience. I do assume that all remodeling of that  hotel will be finished by the time we get there in fall of 2021!

 

I would love to have the time to spend pre/post cruises traveling on our own, but we are both still working ( though each just part-time ) so it is hard to spend too much time away from work. For now, we will let Viking do the planning and we go and have the fun. Even so, I do spend a ridiculous amount of time researching restaurants for lunch and places we might want to see after a booked excursion ends, but that is just to fill the months (years?!) until the trip. 

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Leaving in a couple of weeks for France's  Finest.  Any new thoughts about these ports.  I am disappointed that the Light Show on Rouen Cathedral stops mid September but maybe the smaller crowds will compensate!  Monet's Garden will not be as glorious as on our Spring Visit in 2017 but  the dahlias are suppose to be pretty.

 

RSPBJ next year we start a Viking Ocean Cruise in London....want to spend time before....did you enjoy the Lake District?  where did you stay?

 

Thanks everyone for all you r helpful advice.

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56 minutes ago, deec said:

Leaving in a couple of weeks for France's  Finest.  Any new thoughts about these ports.  I am disappointed that the Light Show on Rouen Cathedral stops mid September but maybe the smaller crowds will compensate!  Monet's Garden will not be as glorious as on our Spring Visit in 2017 but  the dahlias are suppose to be pretty.

 

RSPBJ next year we start a Viking Ocean Cruise in London....want to spend time before....did you enjoy the Lake District?  where did you stay?

 

Thanks everyone for all you r helpful advice.

 

When in London, I highly recommend London Walks. We took a few of their walks and enjoyed them immensely. Their day trip to Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge was excellent. We will be back in London next year for the Chelsea Flower Show and hope to take a few additional walks. 

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3 hours ago, deec said:

Leaving in a couple of weeks for France's  Finest.  Any new thoughts about these ports.  I am disappointed that the Light Show on Rouen Cathedral stops mid September but maybe the smaller crowds will compensate!  Monet's Garden will not be as glorious as on our Spring Visit in 2017 but  the dahlias are suppose to be pretty.

 

RSPBJ next year we start a Viking Ocean Cruise in London....want to spend time before....did you enjoy the Lake District?  where did you stay?

 

Thanks everyone for all you r helpful advice.

We stayed at The Hideaway in Windermere an adult only hotel, our British friends who went with us booked it, it was perfect, could walk into town, cake and tea/coffee every afternoon. You will need a car, we flew into Manchester and drove up to the Lake District.  Really enjoyed it, drove to different lakes and towns, took boat & train rides and of course visit to Beatrix Potters home. Don't miss Castlerigg Stone Circle...enjoy 

Not to be missed on cruise a Chateau de Flechers and Carrieres de Luminaries both were so interesting, I also enjoyed the villages we visited 

Edited by Respbj

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15 minutes ago, Respbj said:

Not to be missed on cruise a Chateau de Flechers and Carrieres de Luminaries both were so interesting, I also enjoyed the villages we visited 

 

AGREED!!!!

 

Chateau des Flecheres outside Lyon

Carrieres de Luminaries, in Les Baux, outside of Arles.

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Have not booked the Chateau des Flechers because some people have said to leave some time to enjoy Lyon and just wander???  Peregrina...should we book this ?  our first day we have the included tour and Perouges which I know has mixed reviews?  we have booked the Luminaries excursion!!!

 

last minute decisons and changes..ughhh....no matter,    whatever we do we will be in France and having a wonderful time!!!

 

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1 hour ago, deec said:

Have not booked the Chateau des Flechers because some people have said to leave some time to enjoy Lyon and just wander???  Peregrina...should we book this ?  our first day we have the included tour and Perouges which I know has mixed reviews?  we have booked the Luminaries excursion!!!

 

last minute decisons and changes..ughhh....no matter,    whatever we do we will be in France and having a wonderful time!!!

 

 

Given a do-over, I would book Chateau des Flecheres again but skip Perouges, which I found to be very similar to Les Baux, and I would not want to give up the Lumieres show in Les Baux in favor of Perouges.  In retrospect, I regret not spending more time exploring Lyon.

 

But Dee, should you book C de F? I can't answer that question.

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The Lumieres show was a highlight for me.  In Lyon we took the day off of tours and booked a wonderful lunch at Le Sud, owned by 3 star chef, Paul Bocuse. You can walk there from the ship. Enjoy.

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23 minutes ago, dottythecat said:

The Lumieres show was a highlight for me.  In Lyon we took the day off of tours and booked a wonderful lunch at Le Sud, owned by 3 star chef, Paul Bocuse. You can walk there from the ship. Enjoy.

 

We did dinner there and loved it. The ship will make a reservation for you.

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Hi everyone! My friends and I are taking the "Paris and the heart of Normandy" river cruise in May 2020 on Viking Radgrid, one of the upcoming new ships that I hear will dock in Paris proper by the Eiffel Tower instead of Le Pecq.  We are staying in Paris for several days on our own before the cruise begins, but afterwards we are taking the Viking "Loire Valley" extension. 

 

Has anyone taken the Loire Valley extension in the past?  I'd love to hear about it, including whether you have any restaurant recommendations in Tours.

 

Also, do you have any specific recommendations for the "Paris and the heart of Normandy" river cruise, either in Paris itself or along the cruise?

 

I am familiar with Viking (love it) and have taken the "Grand European" cruise (highly recommend!!!) and also the "Viking Homelands" ocean cruise.

 

Thanks!!

Monique

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Hi, Monique, loved your question about all things Paris/Normandy, primarily because I took the cruise in July and loved it, and tomorrow am sitting down to finally write about it for Cruise Critic.

 

Definitely have recommendations. I'm writing two stories; one is a day-by-day account of our cruise (which was magic by the way), the other is a cruise guide to the ports we visited. I'll post here. My deadline's tight so am hoping to have the pieces ready to send a link -- next Friday. Yikes 🙂

 

And after that, absolutely happy to talk about any aspect. I really loved it, and you're doing the right thing to spend time in Paris beforehand. FWIW, have been to Paris a few times, and love it, but the most special moments of the cruise were actually on the Seine, in Vernon and Rouen and other places I hadn't had as much time in....

 

We did board in Le Pecq and I didn't mind it at all. It's a lovely suburban village and kept my blood pressure low 🙂 -- mind you, probably it is more convenient to board right in the heart of Paris, but I didn't actually miss it. And if cruising on the Seine on a true Viking Longship requires it, I'd do it again, just for time spent on the Aquavit Terrace. Loved dinners there, especially.

 

 

 

Carolyn

 

Carolyn Spencer Brown

Chief Content Strategist

Cruise Critic

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We took France’s Finest in July which went south to north. Don’t miss Monet Foundation, it’s was fabulous 

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22 hours ago, bayareagirl said:

Also, do you have any specific recommendations for the "Paris and the heart of Normandy" river cruise, either in Paris itself or along the cruise?

 

You will be given the choice of the American Tour or the Commonwealth Tour of the D-Day beaches. We took the Commonwealth tour for a few reasons.

  1. We thought it would be less crowded and we were right. There were only 10 people.
  2. It goes to Bayeaux to visit the famous "tapestry." I consider that a bucket list item for anyone remotely into history. The tapestry is scheduled to go to the UK in the next few years so it might be one of the last times it's viewable in Bayeaux for a number of years. The museum is quite interesting. Besides the fantastic tapestry, there is an exhibit about the Norman Conquest.
  3. It goes to the Pegasus Bridge and Museum, which was featured in the movie "The Longest Day." It's the site of the first casualty of D-Day. They have full size models of the gliders used in the assault.
  4. Juno Beach has no cliffs so you have easy access to the beach. The visitor's center there is purposely staffed by Canadian college students, because they are the same age as most of those who fought and died that day. 

 

Edited by OneSixtyToOne

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22 hours ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

Hi, Monique, loved your question about all things Paris/Normandy, primarily because I took the cruise in July and loved it, and tomorrow am sitting down to finally write about it for Cruise Critic.

 

Definitely have recommendations. I'm writing two stories; one is a day-by-day account of our cruise (which was magic by the way), the other is a cruise guide to the ports we visited. I'll post here. My deadline's tight so am hoping to have the pieces ready to send a link -- next Friday. Yikes 🙂

 

And after that, absolutely happy to talk about any aspect. I really loved it, and you're doing the right thing to spend time in Paris beforehand. FWIW, have been to Paris a few times, and love it, but the most special moments of the cruise were actually on the Seine, in Vernon and Rouen and other places I hadn't had as much time in....

 

We did board in Le Pecq and I didn't mind it at all. It's a lovely suburban village and kept my blood pressure low 🙂 -- mind you, probably it is more convenient to board right in the heart of Paris, but I didn't actually miss it. And if cruising on the Seine on a true Viking Longship requires it, I'd do it again, just for time spent on the Aquavit Terrace. Loved dinners there, especially.

 

 

 

Carolyn

 

Carolyn Spencer Brown

Chief Content Strategist

Cruise Critic

Hi Carolyn, I can't wait to read your stories!  Good luck finishing them in time for your deadline, and thank you so much for your post!

 

-Monique

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19 hours ago, Respbj said:

We took France’s Finest in July which went south to north. Don’t miss Monet Foundation, it’s was fabulous 

Hi Respbj, thanks for the tip!  I have been in love with impressionist art my whole life, so I'm excited to visit the Monet Foundation.  I'm considering the "Monet's Garden by Bicycle" tour, but I want to understand the specific differences between it and the regular Monet Foundation tour by bus.  (For example, do both excursions go into the museum/home?) I figure I'll never have another opportunity to bicycle along the Seine, and I understand the whole ride will be flat (and it better be, haha!).

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1 hour ago, OneSixtyToOne said:

 

You will be given the choice of the American Tour or the Commonwealth Tour of the D-Day beaches. We took the Commonwealth tour for a few reasons.

  1. We thought it would be less crowded and we were right. There were only 10 people.
  2. It goes to Bayeaux to visit the famous "tapestry." I consider that a bucket list item for anyone remotely into history. The tapestry is scheduled to go to the UK in the next few years so it might be one of the last times it's viewable in Bayeaux for a number of years. The museum is quite interesting. Besides the fantastic tapestry, there is an exhibit about the Norman Conquest.
  3. It goes to the Pegasus Bridge and Museum, which was featured in the movie "The Longest Day." It's the site of the first casualty of D-Day. They have full size models of the gliders used in the assault.
  4. Juno Beach has no cliffs so you have easy access to the beach. The visitor's center there is purposely staffed by Canadian college students, because they are the same age as most of those who fought and died that day. 

 

Hi OneSixtytoOne,  I hadn't considered going on the Commonwealth tour, I just assumed we'd take the US tour.  But now you've got me thinking, and I should consult with my friends.  However, one of them is a veteran who is looking forward to this experience, so I'm not sure how he'd feel about it.  The tapestry would be amazing to view (and a smaller group would be a definite plus).  Thank you for the tip.

 

-Monique

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