Cathy O’Dea shares her memorable trip on the Avalon River Cruise!

This cruise starts and finishes in Paris which is so easy to get to from anywhere in the world and it is very easy to extend before or after the cruise to incorporate a stay in Paris or elsewhere in Europe.

Our trip began in Paris so I chose the optional tour to Eiffel Tower. This small group tour bypassed the long, unmoving queue and we were soon in the lift to the 2nd floor and on that beautiful clear and sunny day, we could see all over Paris as far as Sacre Coeur and Montmartre and the skyscraper belt at the edge of the city limits.

We didn’t have far to go to get on board our home for the next 5 days. We were greeted with a friendly smile and a welcome drink. Our cabins were compact but well designed with plenty of wardrobe space and a Juliet balcony to enjoy the views as we sailed along. We were soon able to sample the wonderful cuisine, so beautifully presented and perfect for all tastes and dietary requirements.

On Day 2 most of us chose Monet’s house and garden in Giverny which was just a short distance from Vernon. This was one the loveliest trips I have ever done, just like being inside Monet’s paintings. If you love flowers and gardens, you must do this trip. In the afternoon we sailed along to the small town of Les Andelys, flanked by its distinctive small white cliffs and overlooked by Chateau Gallard. The more energetic ones amongst us walked up to the castle, the rest of us relaxed on the sundeck or walked around the town

We sailed in the evening to Caudebec en Caux where were based for two days. We chose Route des Chaumieres, beautiful thatched and timbered cottages followed by a visit to the interesting little market town of Pont Audemer. We enjoyed the market and some great bargains. In the afternoon we walked around Caudebec en Caux which was small but did have a Carrefour that was open and its very own Notre Dame which was badly damaged during the war and has some very impressive restoration work at the entrance and lovely stained glass windows. A more quirky and endearing feature of this town were knitted covers for the posts and trees.

On Day 4 most of chose Taste of Normandy rather than Normandy Landings which was influenced by the prospect of heavy rain and also by the visit to Bayeaux to see the famous tapestry and the impressive Cathedral of Notre Dame as well as some Creperies and little tourist shops. I enjoyed Bayeaux and wish I had more time there. Taste of Normandy included a simple, traditional lunch in Beuvron-en-Auge an incredibly pretty chocolate box village with timbered houses. We finished off our day with a visit to a Calvados distillery and a chance to sample some amber nectar with apple tart at the end of the day. Sadly tonight was our last night and a last chance to sample the wonderful cuisine, say goodbye to our new American and Canadian friends and our friendly crew and dance along to low key entertainment.

Day 5 – The later ones got a chance to walk round Rouen and a chance to see their Notre Dame but sadly we had to go back straight after breakfast.

We thoroughly enjoyed our short but very memorable river cruise along the Seine

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