An Incredible Journey: Seine River


Mari-Lou Wong-Chong


Mari-Lou Wong-Chong


Traveling can be a very gratifying and invaluable learning experience. Traveling out of the country gives us an insight into different cultures, people, history, landscapes, traditions, and awareness of our own culture and at the same time learning and having fun.

As we navigate guidelines to take steps to protect ourselves, others at home, community, and limited travel—I invite you to travel with me along the River Seine.

Running through the very heart of Paris, the Seine is the beating heart of the City of Light. Possibly the world’s most famous river, the Seine not only captures our imaginations in the present day: it has mesmerized and seduced those who have encountered it since pre-medieval times. The River runs for 482 miles through France and into the English Channel at Le Havre and Honfleur (Belgium). Its source is in the French region of Burgundy, and its mouth is the English Channel.

Our home away from home will be M/S Bizet, a floating hotel.

We start in Paris, where we visit such iconic places as the Eiffel Tower, go through the city’s residential neighborhood, Montmartre, one of the most famous and lively cities, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Louver and Orsay museums, explore monuments, churches and avenues made famous in films and photographs. We will stroll the charming streets and visit the famed Sacre Coeur Basilica with its dramatic perch on Montmartre hill. We will delight in watching the views, watching street artists at work, browsing local shops, experiencing Paris like a local, and sipping coffee at an outdoor café as we watch the bustle of everyday life all around. We will learn how to use the Metro to get to places we want to visit.

As we glide the Seine, we arrive in Conflans, the capital of France’s inland waterways. Its picturesque harbor is lined with an array of barges, most as private houseboats and floating chocolate shops. We will visit the resting place of the famous artist, Vincent van Gogh.

Our next stop is Vernon and Giverny. We will take a motor coach to Giverny, the hometown of Claude Monet. Traveling along the countryside, we will see the lovely landscapes that inspired Claude Monet. We will visit his home and gardens, where he lived for 43 years until his death in 1926. We will explore the artist’s home and magnificent garden, which serve as an inspiration for his paintings. We will see his famous Japanese garden and the magnificent flowers blooming. This enormous property is now a museum dedicated to the great painter.

Cruising along, we arrived in Rouen. Here we will walk up a steep hill to get to Chateau Gaillard, an imposing fortress from the era of Richard the Lionhearted. At the top of the hill, we will have an incredible view of the town below. Rouen, the capital of Normandy, is more infamously known as the city where Joan of Arc was imprisoned, tried for heresy, and burned at the stake in1431. Here also, we will have a very memorable visit with a formidable host, Laurence Lechevalier, in the community of Mont Saint Aignan. Most memorable visit as we got to learn more about life in Laurence’s community. Laurence is the city councilor in charge of children in nurseries 0 to 3 years old. She belongs to a club called AGORA. They do fundraising to provide blades for amputee children and care for battered women.

Finally, we arrived at Honfleur and Normandy beaches. Here we will learn about D-Day landings, the largest military campaigns in recorded history, with the beaches of Normandy bearing the brunt of the invasion. We are standing in the very spot where nearly 7,000 landing craft hit the highly fortified coastline. Those vessels carried tens and thousands of soldiers from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and many other Allies forces. Over 2,800 American lives were lost on the beaches of Omaha and Utah. We will visit the American Military Cemetery. Here we will witness a very emotional ceremony honoring all who have sacrificed their lives to help and liberate a nation. It brought us Americans to tears, witnessing and being part of this moving tribute. A fitting ending to an incredible journey