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Peregrina651

Everything Viking France: Normandy, Paris, Provence

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39 minutes ago, bayareagirl said:

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

 

Have traveled a number of times with sibs --his sibs, my sibs.  We have a ground rule: we are not joined at the hip; we do not have to agreed or even compromise on any activity (other than dinner, which we always do together). We don't have to do every tour together and if they have something that they really want to do that doesn't interest us, they should plan on doing it without us. I can't tell you how many vacations--and family relationships -- this has saved.

 

 

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21 hours ago, bayareagirl said:

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

Hi Carolyn, 

 

Looking forward to hearing about the ports.  My family and I are going in early December, and I look forward to some insights.  I presume there's bus or other transportation to Paris for guest to do as they like (no tours)?   My travel agent said that he and his wife enjoyed wandering around Rouen independently, and I'm just generally interested to know about your experiences and impressions.

 

Thank you - Katie

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Took the Loire Valley Chateaus tour with Viking in conjunction with Bordeaux cruise.  Absolutely excellent.  Don't remember the nice inexpensive restaurant they recommended in Tours.  
 

Also did Paris to Normandy with 3 generations of family.  We all did Commonwealth Tour to see Bayeux Tapestry, Pegasus Bridge, etc.  CHECK on Bayeux Tapestry which is due to relocate to England maybe in 2020. Daughter, husband and granddaughters then rented a car and did Loire Valley chateaus on their own post cruise.

LePecq was fine.  If you do stop there the walking tour (bus takes you up/down the hill 5 minutes) of Saint Germaine-en-Laye is excellent.

Do Musee D'Orsay in Paris.  We just lined up and bought tickets ~20 minutes.

Edited by philw1776

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From the Bayeux Museum website...

 

The Bayeux Tapestry is still displayed in Bayeux Museum

Following to many questions of visitors, Bayeux museum confirms that the Bayeux Tapestry is still displayed in Bayeux and still for few years. Since the announcement of the eventual loan of the Bayeux Tapestry to the UK, the final decision would happen when the embroidery will be studied to explore its state of conservation. If it’s positive, the loan should happen not before 2022-2023 when the museum will be closed to the public for the construction of a new museum opening in 2025 in Bayeux.

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12 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

From the Bayeux Museum website...

 

The Bayeux Tapestry is still displayed in Bayeux Museum

Following to many questions of visitors, Bayeux museum confirms that the Bayeux Tapestry is still displayed in Bayeux and still for few years. Since the announcement of the eventual loan of the Bayeux Tapestry to the UK, the final decision would happen when the embroidery will be studied to explore its state of conservation. If it’s positive, the loan should happen not before 2022-2023 when the museum will be closed to the public for the construction of a new museum opening in 2025 in Bayeux.

Thank you for this information. DW and I are looking forward to seeing the tapestry, and we've already pre-booked the Commonwealth Tour for our November 2020 France's Finest on Viking.

 

For anyone who wants to check for themselves, the link to this information is: https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/actus/the-bayeux-tapestry-is-still-in-bayeux/

Edited by NavyVeteran

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On 10/25/2019 at 4:47 PM, bayareagirl said:

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!).

FYI Both times that I visited Monet's garden it was raining (May and August). The August trip included hail and violent thunderstorms. Normandy weather is very unpredictable so be prepared. The bike path is an old railroad right of way (hence it's flat) and parallels the road to Monet's house. Very little of it is near the river. 

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22 hours ago, philw1776 said:

LePecq was fine.  If you do stop there the walking tour (bus takes you up/down the hill 5 minutes) of Saint Germaine-en-Laye is excellent.
 

 

BTW for any fans of the TV show Outlander, James II is entombed in the church in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. We stumbled upon it during the tour.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_II_of_England#/media/File:James_II_Tomb.jpg

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15 minutes ago, OneSixtyToOne said:

FYI Both times that I visited Monet's garden it was raining (May and August). The August trip included hail and violent thunderstorms. Normandy weather is very unpredictable so be prepared. The bike path is an old railroad right of way (hence it's flat) and parallels the road to Monet's house. Very little of it is near the river. 

 

Hi, OneSixtytoOne. I did the bike tour (and I've done the motorcoach tour to Giverny on another trip) and the only real difference is how you get there. I loved the bike part, it was 99 percent flat,  and so pretty (though not all of it on the Seine). Oh, there was a difference;  at the end of the tour, before we crossed the bridge  back to Vernon, we stopped in a darling park by the old windmill (and on the river) and a lovely local brought us apple cider and some kind of apple liquor and the most delicious pastries. Perfect way to end!

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7 minutes ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

 

Hi, OneSixtytoOne. I did the bike tour (and I've done the motorcoach tour to Giverny on another trip) and the only real difference is how you get there. I loved the bike part, it was 99 percent flat,  and so pretty (though not all of it on the Seine). Oh, there was a difference;  at the end of the tour, before we crossed the bridge  back to Vernon, we stopped in a darling park by the old windmill (and on the river) and a lovely local brought us apple cider and some kind of apple liquor and the most delicious pastries. Perfect way to end!

 

The liquor is an apple brandy called Calvados. It dates back to before the days of Charlemagne. It's impossible to visit Normandy without drinking some. Our tour guide said her grandmother would give it to her when she had a cold. She said it would either kill the cold or kill you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvados

Edited by OneSixtyToOne

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1 hour ago, OneSixtyToOne said:

 

The liquor is an apple brandy called Calvados. It dates back to before the days of Charlemagne. It's impossible to visit Normandy without drinking some. Our tour guide said her grandmother would give it to her when she had a cold. She said it would either kill the cold or kill you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvados

 

Actually it wasn't Calvados (have tried that) but a hard apple cider. It was so hot that I just tasted the apple juice, best apple juice I've ever tasted! And yes, we saw both the house and the gardens.

 

Carolyn

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48 minutes ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

 

Actually it wasn't Calvados (have tried that) but a hard apple cider. It was so hot that I just tasted the apple juice, best apple juice I've ever tasted! And yes, we saw both the house and the gardens.

 

Possibly Pommeau which is a dangerously drinkable blend of Calvados and unfermented apple juice. Very popular in Normandy.

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On 10/25/2019 at 8:58 PM, Peregrina651 said:

 

Have traveled a number of times with sibs --his sibs, my sibs.  We have a ground rule: we are not joined at the hip; we do not have to agreed or even compromise on any activity (other than dinner, which we always do together). We don't have to do every tour together and if they have something that they really want to do that doesn't interest us, they should plan on doing it without us. I can't tell you how many vacations--and family relationships -- this has saved.

 

 

Amen to this  many years ago when we started doing  family trips with 3 generations and kids of assorted ages we adopted this rule.... It’s  vacation.  Anyone old enough to make a mortgage payment doesn’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. Anyone not old enough to make a mortgage payment has to do what their mom tells them 😁

The mortgages are now paid, the kids are all grown and working on the next generation and the rule still applies. It has saved many a family trip and we still love to travel together!  

 

It it works especially well on river cruises. Everyone does what they want and at dinner you get to hear about everyone’s day and what they got to see and do. 

Edited by mhb1757

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  •  
REVISITING AND OLD POST WITH NEW INFORMATION
 
 
USC Wino said:
My irons have dual voltage and I have used them in Italy, Ireland and on a Scenic cruise on the Danube. I didn’t have any problems. I don’t understand why you can’t bring them. If they have 110 voltage, why can’t I just plug into that with my converter plug?

 

Because Viking says they are not permitted.

It has nothing to do with voltage and everything to do with both high wattage and with the proliferation of cheaply made products--a hazardous combination on board a ship. Since the crew cannot test every product that might be brought onto the ship they simply ban them all.

 

 

Since this post was made in 2018, Viking has revised its position on curling irons and they are now permitted.

 

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I have never known a cruise line, river or ocean that permitted irons of any kind in passenger rooms. 

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35 minutes ago, mhb1757 said:

I have never known a cruise line, river or ocean that permitted irons of any kind in passenger rooms. 

 

The conversation was about curling irons. Viking now permits them. It still does not allow clothing irons.

 

For the entire list of prohibited items, see: http://wpc.475d.edgecastcdn.net/00475D/mvj/onboard-prohibited-list.pdf

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On 10/28/2019 at 11:31 AM, editor@cruisecritic said:

 

Hi, OneSixtytoOne. I did the bike tour (and I've done the motorcoach tour to Giverny on another trip) and the only real difference is how you get there. I loved the bike part, it was 99 percent flat,  and so pretty (though not all of it on the Seine). Oh, there was a difference;  at the end of the tour, before we crossed the bridge  back to Vernon, we stopped in a darling park by the old windmill (and on the river) and a lovely local brought us apple cider and some kind of apple liquor and the most delicious pastries. Perfect way to end!

Hi, would love some help (yes, still writing the story, laughing). When Viking does the tour of Giverny, do the guides stay with you and guide you through? Or are you set loose to explore on your own? I was sort of restless and went off on my own but can't remember if there was a tour....

 

Many thanks!

 

CSB

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 12:47 AM, NavyVeteran said:

Thank you for this information. DW and I are looking forward to seeing the tapestry, and we've already pre-booked the Commonwealth Tour for our November 2020 France's Finest on Viking.

 

For anyone who wants to check for themselves, the link to this information is: https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/actus/the-bayeux-tapestry-is-still-in-bayeux/

This is why I love Cruise Critic members. I was looking hard for this information the other day and could-not-find-it. Thank you, NavyVeteran, for sharing!

 

Carolyn

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On 10/26/2019 at 5:14 PM, katie scarlette said:

Hi Carolyn, 

 

Looking forward to hearing about the ports.  My family and I are going in early December, and I look forward to some insights.  I presume there's bus or other transportation to Paris for guest to do as they like (no tours)?   My travel agent said that he and his wife enjoyed wandering around Rouen independently, and I'm just generally interested to know about your experiences and impressions.

 

Thank you - Katie

Thanks, Katie. The story is due Monday so it's a working weekend 🙂

 

In Paris, you could take a designated shuttle in and also just hop on one of the included tours' bus, and get off in the center of Paris. There weren't a lot of shuttles, maybe just one each way, and the last one left from a central location on the Seine at about 4 pm or so. You can also take Uber to Le Pecq though of course that's extra. Still, it's an option.

 

Rouen was really easy to wander around in.  We docked about a 10 minute walk from the cathedral and from there it was easy access to all of the old town. I do deal with that in our port guide; hang tight!

 

One of the things that's fun about this job is it's almost as wonderful to relieve the trip in detail while you're writing about it as it is just taking it! 🙂

 

Carolyn

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29 minutes ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

Hi, would love some help (yes, still writing the story, laughing). When Viking does the tour of Giverny, do the guides stay with you and guide you through? Or are you set loose to explore on your own? I was sort of restless and went off on my own but can't remember if there was a tour....

 

Many thanks!

 

CSB

 

 

In March, it was a little bit both. We went through the Japanese Garden together, then walked to the house together where we were given a time to be back at the meeting point (near the gift shop). Things may have been handled differently later in the season or by different guides. 

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5 hours ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

In Paris, you could take a designated shuttle in and also just hop on one of the included tours' bus, and get off in the center of Paris. There weren't a lot of shuttles, maybe just one each way, and the last one left from a central location on the Seine at about 4 pm or so. You can also take Uber to Le Pecq though of course that's extra. Still, it's an option. 

DW and I are interested in spending all day at the Louvre instead of taking a Viking tour. How close does the shuttle go to the Louvre. Could we take a taxi or Uber from the shuttle drop off to the Louvre and back?

 

DW has some walking difficulties - walks slowly with a cane or walker and cannot walk long distances without resting. I believe we would be better spending more time in the Louvre going at her pace than trying to keep up with a tour guide.

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36 minutes ago, NavyVeteran said:

DW and I are interested in spending all day at the Louvre instead of taking a Viking tour. How close does the shuttle go to the Louvre. Could we take a taxi or Uber from the shuttle drop off to the Louvre and back?

 

DW has some walking difficulties - walks slowly with a cane or walker and cannot walk long distances without resting. I believe we would be better spending more time in the Louvre going at her pace than trying to keep up with a tour guide.

 

We used the included tour bus to get us to the Notre Dame area and then at the end of the day, took the shuttle back to LePecq. The return shuttle at 4pm was from the Winston Churchill Statue by the Petit Palais ( just off the left side of the map below).

 

The first stop of the included tour was the Place de la Concorde (for a pit stop and some picture taking). The bus then drove right past the Louvre, and pulled in so that we could all see the Pyramid. You have two options. Leave the group at the bathroom stop (marked with a B on the map) or find out if you can be dropped at the Pyramid (ask the Cruise Director in advance so you don't waste time). Whatever you do, make sure that the guide knows you are leaving the group.

 

HOWEVER, take note that the Place de la Concorde is right by the Musee de L'Orangerie, which is where the huge Monet waterlilies canvases are housed -- and even if that is all you see at that Museum, you are getting the full Monet.  From there, you can take a cab to the Louvre.

 

 

image.png.c55ebd21ac97224ea067c74e49b0eaa9.png

 

 

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19 hours ago, editor@cruisecritic said:

Hi, would love some help (yes, still writing the story, laughing). When Viking does the tour of Giverny, do the guides stay with you and guide you through? Or are you set loose to explore on your own? I was sort of restless and went off on my own but can't remember if there was a tour....

 

Many thanks!

 

CSB

 

Our July tour the guide took us from the bus and through all the gardens finishing at the house where she gave us a heads up on how best to tour the rooms.  Gave us a meeting point after time on our own (gift shop and surrounding restaurants, etc.) where she then took us back to the bus.  Best of all worlds.

You could easily leave the garden tour on your own after telling the guide and either meet at the meeting point or better yet at the bus at time T.  Discuss explicits with the guide.

IMG_6698.jpeg

 

IMG_6726.jpeg

 

Edited by philw1776

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We are booked on Paris to the Swiss Alps in April, and I am trying to work out our schedule for the two days in Paris at the start of our trip. We have been to Paris for a short visit previously, so we are skipping the included panoramic bus tour. We have scheduled the Montmartre tour with Viking from 2:15 to 5:45 on our one full day in Paris so we can meet some of our fellow travelers and see an area of Paris we haven't visited.  At the end of that tour, we will stay and have dinner at a restaurant I have found nearby. 

 

My goal is to see both the Musee d'Orsay and Sainte Chapelle during our remaining time. Our overnight nonstop flight from Philadelphia arrives at 10:50 AM on a Saturday. Would it be too ambitious to try to do both of those on arrival day? Should we just aim for  the museum on arrival day and save Sainte Chapelle for the morning before the Viking tour?

 

Can anyone give me a rough idea of the travel time by metro from the Meridian Etoile to Ile de la Cite? Do the RER train system and the underground Metro use the same tickets? Is one of those systems any easier to navigate than the other? From the Paris metro map it  looks like we could use either one.

 

Sorry for such detailed questions, I am just trying to pass the time until April!

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I can’t help you much with Paris public transit, but I do think doing both the d’Orsay and Sainte Chapelle on your arrival day is a bit over ambitious. If your flight gets in at 10:50 you can figure it may be close to noon before you get through immigration, get your luggage, meet Viking and wait for other passengers to do the same. Then you have a decent drive to your hotel so it will likely be 1’ish before you are ready to even start touring (maybe even later).  Not to mention you likely had very little sleep on the plane. Museums will likely close at 5 so I’m thinking by the time you make it to the d’Orsay you will have time for a decent (but not extensive) visit before closing. 

You may be Energizer Bunny kinds of people but that would be plenty for me on arrival day. You will be ready for a quick dinner, shower and an early bedtime to get ready for the next day. 

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3 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

We are booked on Paris to the Swiss Alps in April, and I am trying to work out our schedule for the two days in Paris at the start of our trip. We have been to Paris for a short visit previously, so we are skipping the included panoramic bus tour. We have scheduled the Montmartre tour with Viking from 2:15 to 5:45 on our one full day in Paris so we can meet some of our fellow travelers and see an area of Paris we haven't visited.  At the end of that tour, we will stay and have dinner at a restaurant I have found nearby. 

 

My goal is to see both the Musee d'Orsay and Sainte Chapelle during our remaining time. Our overnight nonstop flight from Philadelphia arrives at 10:50 AM on a Saturday. Would it be too ambitious to try to do both of those on arrival day? Should we just aim for  the museum on arrival day and save Sainte Chapelle for the morning before the Viking tour?

 

Can anyone give me a rough idea of the travel time by metro from the Meridian Etoile to Ile de la Cite? Do the RER train system and the underground Metro use the same tickets? Is one of those systems any easier to navigate than the other? From the Paris metro map it  looks like we could use either one.

 

Sorry for such detailed questions, I am just trying to pass the time until April!

 

If you travel well, you can do both your first afternoon.

For first time visitors, I suggest just viewing highlights rather than intensive museum tours.  You can never absorb it all in one visit anyhow.

Metro & RER tickets are interchangeable within zones 1 & 2.  And I’d say maybe 30 min to get to Saints Chapelle w very frequent trains.

Go directly to Saints Chapelle,from there go to Musee d’Orsay.  Walk through the sculptures and then held to the back and take the elevator to the 5th floor; enjoy the impressionists.  Depending on time, then either go to the Van Gogh exhibit downstairs or walk across the Seine to l’Orangerie & go directly to Monet’s waterlily murals.

If you are content with a brief visit to each sight, you can easily do in an afternoon as D’Orsay is open til 6. 

Check the prices for the Paris Museum Pass vs entry fees & see if you can break even.  I always use the PMP to skip the lines.  

After d’Orsay, you can walk to Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysees for a stroll before entering a Metro station.  There are several Metro stops along the Champs.

Plenty of time to rest the next morning.

 

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