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Scenic Gem: 11 day Gems of the Seine plus Normandy (hopefully live thread)

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We leave July 31 to spend a week in Paris then board the Scenic Gem on Wednesday August 7 - 17.  I intend to post with updates and photos as both our pre hotel the boat have free WiFi.  I’ll see how good it is!  I was a regular HAL cruiser with my family, or as regular as a full time mum and employee could be until I got sick in 2015.  I haven’t been on the water since.  This is our first tentative step back on-board and our first river cruise.


i now have compromised balance so use a cane.  I may miss a few excursions because of this.  I’ll have to see how it goes.


so if you have questions I will try to find the answer.  We are in Paris to celebrate our daughter’s 18 birthday which is why we are going a week early.




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Did this itinerary with Scenic a couple of years ago - loved it (and love Scenic!).  There is a lot of walking, especially when visiting the Australian  grave sites during your day at the Somme battle sites (sorry can't remember the actual name) but you could easily stay on or near the bus.  Go on every excursion as you get to see a lot from the bus ride and how far you walk when off the bus is totally up to you.


Also they have great tour guides travelling onboard with you, spend some time with them discussing where you might have issues with walking and if its okay to stay on the bus.


Visiting the Somme and Normandy were two of the most emotional days of travel I've had.


Enjoy your first river cruise - you'll be back for more!

Edited by cruiseryyc

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Safe Travels today! Will be following along as well. This sailing is on my bucket list. Post when time allows but most importantly enjoy your first river cruise!!!! We have sailed one so far and are hooked vs ocean sailings.



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We did the very first scenic Gem cruise and we would do it again so far we’ve done eight scenic cruises. The Australian memorial and museum day was long but so worth it. We were the only takers for the Bolbec excursion we had our own car and guide it was so interesting even my husband enjoyed it. Have a wonderful cruise. CA

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I did a whole report and just lost it!  No time right now to rewrite so it will have to wait until this afternoon.  Suffice it to say we are here and loving it!










Edited by 1of4

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Okay, l’m trying again.


We bought our airfare through Scenic as when we reserved fly free to Europe was the promotion. So we upgraded to business for the flight over and will fly premium economy on the way home.  The cost for this upgrade was slightly more than regular economy tickets from Toronto to Paris, direct.  It was very worth it as I slept for the first time in my life on an airplane.




They distributed fast pass stickers for our passports so we were through immigration before there was a queue and our luggage was amongst the first to arrive so we were out of the airport before the last passengers were off the plane - or it felt that fast!


Normally Scenic provides transfers as part of the itinerary but our daughter is with us for the first 6 days so we are not staying at the Westin Vendome, which is the pre-cruise accommodation.  Their rooms for 3 were just too dear for us so we are at this beautiful hotel located directly across the Seine from the Westin; one block from the river and one block from the Musée D’Orsay.




I had arranged for a car to meet us at the airport.  It was a little more expensive than a taxi but, in my experience, arriving from an international flight it is very worth it to have someone waiting for you.  And he was.


The hotel is one of 9 Esprit de France properties, 8 of which are in Paris. As a guest in one, we are welcome in all others whether it be to use the washroom, borrow an umbrella or just rest.  We reserved the suite in this old mansion because it has the ability to sleep 4 and doesn’t charge for use of the extra beds.  Something to watch out for in Paris in summer.  By booking early we didn’t pay any more than a regular room in a nice hotel in Toronto but received breakfast, bottled water and WiFi.  The cost for breakfast with this promotion would be €15pp.




The extra side room has two single beds and a door into the bathroom.




The room has had two small balconies overlooking the rooftops of Paris.




very quickly we were changed and on our way over the pedestrian bridge to the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre.


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Morning greeted me with sun and pleasant temperatures from one of our two balconies.




We had an early night so we’re ready for breakfast when the service started at 7:00 this morning.  It was a lovely spread of granola, cheese, meat, fruit, yogurt, eggs and sausage.  Of course there were pastries and croissants!






This hotel is actually two old mansions together.  One house belonged to Napoleon’s personal physician.  One has this staircase:




While the other this old style elevator.  Don’t worry, there is a more modern elevator too!




but the suite is up these stairs all on its own




Now we were ready for our morning tour of the sights of Paris via Private Tours Paris.  Very highly rated on CC sister rating site for non cruise travel information.



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Thank you so much for posting.

The Hotel looks charming! - something right up my alley vs a large chain property.

One of the things I love about these boards! All the information and insight one can gather!


Enjoy - looking forward to traveling along!



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Glad to follow along.  Never done a river cruise so looking forward to traveling with you!  Great detail & photos.  

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Happily following along, Gail and enjoying every word and picture 😄 


Your reports are always great and your pictures fantastic.


I have a feeling from the way this has started that this will be the best, ever 🙂 



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A few days have passed and we have been busy enjoying everything Paris has to offer...okay, not everything....


Friday morning we booked a tour through Private Tours Paris.  In face we have book 3 tours through this company.  They are award winners, highly rated, and they are willing to customize every tour.  Since I have a medical condition where I need to be mindful of waiting, long bus trips and noise having a private car and guide was perfect and this was a 4 hour overview tour to give my daughter and husband a good view of the city.  We were very happy with our guide and she also took my husband and daughter to Versailles on Saturday while I conceded that was just too big and crowded for me.  She is not working on Tuesday otherwise she would also be our guide for our Secret Paris tour we are sharing with friends who are joining us on the river cruise.


Notre Dame is heartbreaking.  All the stained glass windows have now been removed for safe keeping during reconstruction.




DD getting her first real look at the Eiffel Tower 




i love the metro signs




220 steps to Sacré Coeur...and no I didn’t confirm personally!




Sacré Coeur was busy (you need to watch for pickpockets at all the tourist locations...mostly they carry clipboards and ask you to sign.  Don’t do it).




The Louvre pyramid 



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Saturday began early with DH and DD being picked up at our hotel for their private tour of Versailles.




I knew I couldn’t do that tour so I walked around Rue St. Germain and back over to the Tuileries Gardens.  I wanted to save my energy for fabric shopping in the afternoon.  My husband promised to take me to the fabric district and I had been researching and had to save my energy...priorities!




The chestnut trees are suffering from the two heatwaves that hit Paris so far this summer






imagine having that much energy!



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I can not imagine Norte Dame without her windows. 


Thank you you so much for posting. You have a great “eye” for pictures.

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People on my bag making site seem fascinated by my laundry methods so I’ll share here.  It is frightfully expensive to have the hotel wash for you and I just am not about to pack up dirty clothes to find a laundromat with my cane in one hand and bag-o-washing in the other so I have a Scrubba, which is essentially a dry bag with nodules on the inside for agitation and a small salad spinner.  Yes you read that correctly...a salad spinner.  I bring a line and clothes pegs and I am set.




i fill the scrubba with some liquid detergent, water and clothes and close the bag and release the air through the valve.  Then roll around.




Then I fill it with clean water to rinse.  I may do this twice depending upon how big the items are.  Then I transfer each item to the salad spinner and spin.  Dump the water and repeat up to 4 times, rearranging the item at least twice.








then i I hang out the items to dry.  I have been able to dry two lines of clothes a day because the salad spinner gets out so much more water.




And it came over in DH’s carry-on backpack...he didn’t even know it was in there!


Now you know, whether you wanted to or not!

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