J’adore France and all that the country has to offer. The juxtaposition between tiny villages with their laidback vibe and the big cities with iconic landmarks; the first bite of each meal that makes you exclaim “oh my gosh!”; and the spectacular scenery as you travel between places.
Here are some of our favourite places to explore along the Seine – not a definitive list by any means but featuring some unmissable places that must be added to your bucket list!
Found in Vernon with the nickname “Versailles of Normandy”, how could we not include Château de Bizy? Dating back to the 18th century, the castle has seen French kings and aristocracy through its doors. The expansive area features immaculate gardens, a plethora of sculpted fountains, stable grounds and of course, castle interiors reminiscent of a bygone era. To round off your visit, stop by the tearoom to enjoy a refreshment whilst taking in the grounds.
Touted as one of the most picturesque spots on the Seine, you’ll probably spot its Château-Gaillard Castle before the town itself! Standing high above the town, the castle was built in just one year by Richard the Lionheart and King of England to keep watch of potential attacks from the armies of the King of France. Les Andelys is made up of two neighbourhoods – Petit-Andely and Grand-Andely – with the former situated right on the riverbank. We guarantee that you’ll fall in love with the half-timbered houses of Petit-Andely!
It isn’t a visit to France without a visit to the famous Normandy region. While not a city or town right on the Seine, the region is found at the northern end of the river. Filled with quaint towns, delicious food and the historic Normandy landing beaches, you could easily spend days (weeks, or months!) here. In particular, Normandy has an extremely strong cuisine. Taillevent, a cook for two of France’s Kings, called Normandy home and he wrote the earliest French cookbook – Le Viandier. Key delicacies to wrap your tastebuds around are camembert, oysters, cider, calvados, and a wide variety of pastries and meat dishes that are typical of this gastronomic area.
Of course, we couldn’t look past the City of Lights. Whatever your passions may be, Paris will offer you just that! Everywhere you look will encompass history, architecture, food, romance or culture (or a combination of all of the above!) so we like to dabble in a bit of everything. Exploring the sculpture garden at the Musée Rodin, wandering through the Montmatre neighbourhood, or even just sitting at a café with a wine or café au lait for a spot of people-watching is parfait.
Dreaming of France now? Take a look at our French river cruises by clicking here.