Why a river cruise through Paris is a perfect short break

Monday, 2 April 2012 9:14 AM

Paris is one of Europe's great short break destinations, thanks to its combination of fantastic restaurants, cultural attractions and world-famous landmarks. The area around the French capital also has lots to see and do, which you can take in with a river cruise on the Seine.

Choosing a cruise ship for your holiday will mean you stay in a luxurious floating hotel and enjoy comfortable accommodation and excellent cuisine as you travel between destinations. On the vessels used for river journeys all the cabins have windows or balconies, so you can enjoy the sights as you travel.

This is a real bonus in this part of France, which has some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe. The views of cities like Paris and Rouen from the Seine are also spectacular, particularly when they are lit up at night.

Explore Paris during a river cruise

Seine cruises begin and end in Paris, so there is plenty of time to explore the cosmopolitan city. Most of the capital's main attractions are located close to the water; in fact, there are so many architectural masterpieces here that the banks of the Seine have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After viewing the landmarks from the water, you can head onshore and see some of them close up. There are lots to choose from, but the cruise itinerary means you will have time to visit everything you wish to.

Among the unmissable sights is the imposing Arc de Triomphe, a huge war memorial that honours those who lost their lives in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic conflicts. It is located at the western end of the Champs Elysees, a tree-lined avenue where you will find a wide selection of high-class shops and restaurants.

You will want to see and possibly climb that most iconic of Paris landmarks, the Eiffel Tower, and admire some of the capital's religious architecture. Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the finest examples of the French Gothic style, while La Madeleine is also an eye-catching sight.

No visit to Paris is complete without a tour of the Louvre, a world-famous art museum that has a collection of 35,000 objects that covers everything from ancient Egypt to 19th century French painting. For culture of a very different kind, try one of the capital's legendary evening cabaret shows.

What else is there to see on a Seine cruise?

There are a number of different itineraries for voyages down the Seine that stop at a variety of locations on the river. If you are not sure which is the most suitable for you, try reading some online cruise reviews from passengers who have already taken similar holidays.

One destination all the cruises stop at is the beautiful city of Rouen. Perhaps its most spectacular attraction is the vast Gothic cathedral, which you may know from paintings by Claude Monet and Camille Pissaro.

If you are a fan of Monet you will also have the chance to visit his home and garden at Giverny. It is now a museum and a tour will allow you to see some of the sights that inspired his work.

You can also stop at Chateau Gaillard, a ruined medieval fortress at Les Andelys that was once a stronghold for Richard the Lionheart, and take a fascinating excursion to the sites of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

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