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Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 148
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

May 01, 2013

Leaving June 1st for Pre Trip to Mont St Michel, then Seine River Cruise from Honfleur to Paris.

Anyone going our way? So looking forward to this trip.

 

Grammyflo 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 01, 2013

Grammyflo,

I'm going in July in the other direction.  Please post on your return, especially about the optionals you did and did not take.

Have a great time!

Pauline

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 148
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

May 01, 2013

 Pauline,

Rest assured I will write a trip report when we return. I am a note taker.  As of now, we fully intend to go on all the optionals even tho we have been on this same cruise- Seine at Christmastime- a few years back which didnt cover Normandy and Brittany.

I intend to write a little about each and every Optional we take because I cannot find reviews of them that tell me what I want to know. Fully intend to question PD on what is included on the vague optional explanations and before I spend, what seems to me, such a large amount of extra money. 

If there is anything in particular that you want me to watch out for, let me know. 

Florence

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 01, 2013

Remember a few months ago, we were questioning the value of the Bayeux Tapestry optional?  I've pretty much decided to give it a miss and spend the time poking around Honfleur.  Unless, of course, I hear something wonderful about it to make it worth $85.

The traveler reviews for this current year are from when the weather was colder, and they didn't seem to think much of the other optionals.  So I'd really appreciate a report of what those cliffs are like in the warm weather.  That optional also included the Benedictine Abbey, which looked interesting.  And a chance to get some good liqueur.

Pauline

 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 443
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

May 01, 2013
Pauline,

You cn't go wrong with extra time on Honfleur. particularly if you are there on Saturday as we were. It is market day. The cliffs st Etretat and the beach were a very good take, but it was windy and cool when we were there in April, but there were many people walking the boardwalk. The Benedcitine palace is not really an abbey and never was. It is a combination distillery and museum. It is a beautiful structure with a lot of museum quality artwork, especially the stained glass. They also have good museum guides and a tasting of Benedictine, but us a high class brewery tour. if you remember the Carling Brewery in Natick from your younger days.

Jack

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 148
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

May 02, 2013

 Pauline and Jack,

Totally agree on all subjects.  Honfleur seems to be what we are looking for. Seaside quay and good food!  We lived 20 years in Plymouth MA so the ocean and cliffs are a big draw. The tapestry (crewel, really, ((I do crewel)), doesnt interest me but on Rick Steves video the town looks charming and quaint (another draw).   But $85?  

The poor PD who gets me is going to be questioned under hot lights.  Wandrille is another questionmark.  But if we get to go to a Gregorian Mass with the monks singing that would be a big draw for me too.  My husband is always a sucker for the liquor (liquer) sampling so I have to lure him with something like that.

Seriously, whatever we experience will be a joy. Going to Normandy first to be close to a June 6th happening.  My husband fought in Korea so this will be memorable as it usually is when we visit 'our boys.'  I guess you can see that I will indeed write a lengthy (if not, windy) report when we get back. Weather, of course, will temper everything.

 

Florence

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 02, 2013

Jack,

I just checked the itinerary and we don't get to Honfleur until dinnertime on the Saturday.  So I'll miss the market, which is a pity because I always find them fascinating wherever I am.

I do remember the Carling Brewery in Natick.  The grounds were beautifully landscaped with a little waterfall that went into a pool that must have been stocked, because sometimes I'd see people fishing.  Right on Route 9!

 

Florence,

When I was on the Tuscany  and Amalfi Coast trip, we were taken to an American Cemetery.  And even though nobody in my family fought in the European Theatre of Operations (everybody seemed to have been in the Pacific), I did cry.  And found a little stone to put on the star marking the grave of a Jewish soldier and said a little prayer.

Author: baywaves

Joined: 3/19/2010
Posts: 15
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2001

May 02, 2013

We're leaving for Paris on Monday for the Paris to Normandy river cruise with the Brittany and Mont. St. Michel add-on.  I'll try to send some info on the optionals and the trip itself when we get back.

 

I enjoyed reading jackthetraveling man's blog and you may find it's worth the time because it's a wonderful description of the trip.

Lynn

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 443
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

May 02, 2013

 Pauline,

What is the date of your arrival in Honfleur. Your actual docking time is dependant of the tides, as longer ships, such as the Bizet generally enter the harbor at about high tide, due to the locks, as both the inner and outer docks must be open at the same time. We docked much laster than dinner, you could dock earlier. It is all up to the harbormaster.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 02, 2013

According to the itinerary, we get to Honfleur on Day 9 which, if I haven't made any mistakes, will be Saturday, July 13th.  That's after the optional Cliffs of Etretat and Fecamp.  Then we have some time on our own in Rouen before getting back on the ship and heading for Honfleur.  So we have our first full day in Honfleur on Bastille Day.  On my first visit to France in 1954, we arrived in Paris in the evening of July 14 on a train from Grenoble (I think).  And there were crowds in the streets singing and dancing all night.  I've never forgotten.

Author: golforme

Joined: 5/20/2013
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2013

May 20, 2013

Could you do the Bayeux Tapestry on your own?  We saw it a few years ago, and it was interesting.  Did you know that Halley's Comet was depicted?  What else does the optional tour include?  We did a trip on our own to Mont St Michel and the Normandy coast a few years ago.  It was wonderful!!  MSM is magical!

 

 

Author: baywaves

Joined: 3/19/2010
Posts: 15
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2001

May 27, 2013

We have just returned from the Paris to Normandy trip on the MS Bizet with the post trip option to Brittany.  It was a good trip despite the fact that the temperatures were in the 50s and it rained almost every day.  We dressed in layers, carried our umbrellas, and needed our hats and gloves at Normandy.

I want to comment on the optional excursions for this trip.  We didn't do the Louvre or Versailles as we had visited those places on a previous trip.  If you haven't been there, they are quite impressive!

The trip to the Abbey at St. Wandrille was disappointing.  The buildings are old, older, and oldest but you cannot go inside to see where the monks work, eat, or live.  The tour was led by a monk who spoke in French and the Program Director translated.  This is a working monastery so the modern gift shop sells some of the products they make.  I would skip it.

The Cliffs of Etretat and Fecamp option is another one that I would skip.  The cliffs are wonderful white, chalky cliffs overlooking a pebble beach.  There's a scene that you see on all the post cards.  If it's a beautiful sunny day you can walk the beach or sit on the "boardwalk" and watch the waves and the people.  When it's cold, raw, and drizzly, it's not such a good trip.  At Fecamp you learn about Benedctine.  However, this never was an abbey or a religious building.  It's a monument built by a very wealthy man.  It is interesting to see but....  Skip it.

The Bayeaux Tapestry is a must see.  This is actually a very long piece of embroidered cloth that tells the story of 1066 and the battles and William the Conquerer, etc.  It's amazing that it still exists.  You are given an audio device that explains each panel of the "tapestry."  There is a pause button so you can study the panels as you walk by.  This was our favorite optional tour of the trip.  It's definitely worth the long bus ride to get there!!  Don't miss it.

Dinan, a medieval city, is the optional tour on the post trip extension.  It's an interesting city with half-timbered houses.  However, St. Malo has very similar buildings and unless you have a real fondness for this kind of architecture, I would use the afternoon for browsing in St. Malo or, if sunny, for relaxing on the deck of the ship.

Honfleur is a great city for walking around and exploring.  Use a free afternoon to "get lost" there.  The same goes for St. Malo.

There is a lovely neighborhood restaurant around the corner from the hotel at St. Malo.  It is called La Hoguette.  They speak some English and even have a menu with some English.  Their specialties are "moules frites" - mussels and fries - and pizza.  We ate there two nights and tried both.  You can't go wrong with either choice.

If you have specific questions I'll try to answer.

Lynn

Mont St. Michel is amazing!  Yes, there are hundreds of steps but they are scattered.  Everyone is our group was able to go through the whole area.  And, remember, lots of those steps are coming back down! 

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 148
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

May 27, 2013

LYNN:  We are 5 days away from leaving on this cruise and will do the Mont St. Michel first. thank you, thank you for such an in depth review. Watching the weather in both Honfleur and Paris, we hope we have packed accordingly.  We pretty much decided on the optionals we will take and since we have always lived near or on the water, will probably not take the ones you suggested to avoid and just enjoy the seaside towns (and seafood). 

One question. Is the Bayeau Tapestry Optional worth $85. What else do you see on this trip. I understand fully how marvelous this Tapestry is but this trip is not high on my list. Have to be lured by something other than this. Does viewing this take up the entire visit?  Thanks for the in depth reviews of the Optionals. I am sure Pauline will also like the info.  Regards, Florence

(back to packing and unpacking my suitcase.) :D

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 443
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

May 27, 2013

 A lot of the steps at St. Michel have no railing, just a wall along side. Unless you are quite agile, I would suggest bringing a cane. Remember, going down can be worse than going up.  This is not to discourage you, just to add a caution.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 27, 2013

I was discussing this trip, via e-mail, with the woman who was my roommate in college and the following year.  We took an 8-week trip to Europe after Commencement and ended up in Paris.  She insists that we saw the Bayeux Tapestry while we were there.  I've thought it looked familiar, but I figured that I'd seen a reproduction somewhere.  What we can't figure out is where we might have seen it.  Except for a tour of Versailles, we didn't go outside of Paris once we were there.  We did take the train from Paris to Le Havre to get to our ship going home, and we've agreed that our train reservations might have included a stop somewhere along the way that allowed us to visit Bayeux.  She remembers that it was very rushed.

But we're talking 59 years ago, and at 80 years old memories aren't that great.

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 42
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2007

May 27, 2013

Pauline (05/02/2013)

 

For a quiet and beautiful view of the two American WW2 military cemeteries in Italy (Florence; and Sicily-Rome), see www.abmc.gov, the site of the American Battle Monuments Commission.  Wonderful.

Author: rogerdawhip

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 16
Trips Taken: 21
Countries Visited:

OAT trips taken: Egypt, China, Ireland, Guatemala, Thailand, Peru and Adriatic Cruise. Nine GCT river cruises: Great Rivers(3 times), Rhine& Mosel (2 times), Eastern Europe to the Black Sea, Rhone River, Holland & Belgium. Other: Russian river cruise twice.

Traveler Since: 2001

May 27, 2013

Pauline....we might be on the same trip.  I fly out on July 5th and arrive in Paris very early on the 6th. 

Roger

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 27, 2013

That's it.  But I don't get in very early on the 6th.  I changed my flight to get Premium Economy, so I don't get in until late morning.  There wasn't that option on my previous reservation.

See you then.

Pauline

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 885
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 28, 2013

Did anyone get Euros ahead of time?  Or is anyone planning to do so?  I'll be near a bank tomorrow that always has them available, which would save me the extra charge if having them sent to my local bank.

Author: rogerdawhip

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 16
Trips Taken: 21
Countries Visited:

OAT trips taken: Egypt, China, Ireland, Guatemala, Thailand, Peru and Adriatic Cruise. Nine GCT river cruises: Great Rivers(3 times), Rhine& Mosel (2 times), Eastern Europe to the Black Sea, Rhone River, Holland & Belgium. Other: Russian river cruise twice.

Traveler Since: 2001

May 28, 2013

I always have some Euros left over from previous trips.  I have about 90E to take with me.  I'll use ATMS as needed throughout the trip. 

I also have premium economy from JFK and arrive CDG at 5:50 am.  I know the ship won't be ready when i arrive so I'll drop off my carry-on and take the metro into central Paris for a few hours.

Roger

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