Braemar, French Cities with Spain & the Seine ex Southampton Return

EU West & Atlantic Islands

Details

9 Night Cruise sailing from Southampton roundtrip aboard Braemar.

9 Night Cruise sailing from Southampton roundtrip aboard Braemar.

Making full use of her smaller size, Braemar takes you on an inspirational discovery of meandering waterways, gorgeous landscapes and fascinating, culture-rich riverside cities. Sailing the Loire, you’ll experience serene scenic cruising passing by the river’s tree-lined banks en route to Nantes, gateway to famous vineyards sprawled across the picturesque Loire Valley. Your smaller ship docks in the centre of Nantes, so attractions such as Château des ducs de Bretagne and Cathédrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul – are also easily uncovered just a gentle walk from your ship’s gangway too.

Picture-perfect scenes of lush-green countryside fronted by quaint communes come into view during a serene, gently journey along the Seine. Meanwhile, Rouen awaits your exploration on the banks of the river; this enchanting city alive with French history and wandering the charming streets amongst its highlights, such as the gothic cathedral and medieval architecture of Place du Vieux-Marché, is like walking back through centuries. Rouen is also close enough to Paris for tours to see the capital’s iconic landmarks. At the mouth of the river, the cobbled streets and historic Vieux Bassin of Honfleur are also yours to explore.

Highlights of this cruise:

Rouen, France
The ‘City of a Hundred Bells’, Rouen, is capital of the French region of Normandy. This 2,000-year-old port city on the River Seine, important in Roman times and the Middle Ages, is a unique city rich with monuments and museums.

Rouen’s narrow pedestrianised streets lined with tall, half-timber houses and a statue marking the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, is a pointer to the city’s dark history. Devastated by fire, the plague and bombs in the past, modern Rouen is now a vibrant cultural centre, and one of Normandy’s most engaging destinations.

The skyline is dominated by the spires of Cathédrale Notre-Dame, much-painted by Claude Monet. The Gothic churches of Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen are also must-see attractions, two of the best examples of gothic architecture in France and a important part of Rouen’s history.

The city's beautiful botanical garden – Jardin de Plantes de Rouen, is also worth a visit. Its 600 different plant species and various gardens, including a rock garden, rose garden and a garden full of medicinal plants, are a joy to wander through.

Honfleur, France
Historic Honfleur in northern France's Lower Normandy region is a quaint little port with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. One of France’s most visited towns, Honfleur – with its beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture and distinctive harbour – was the inspiration for Impressionist painters and poets.

Vieux-Bassin, Honfleur’s colourful old harbour, is lined with 16th to 18th-century lofty slate-and-timber fronted houses. Its sloping cobbled streets have long been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son, Eugène Boudin.

A visit to the 15th century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders, is a must, as is the maritime museum and Notre Dame de Grâce – a 17th century chapel containing various paintings and models. The chapel also offers fabulous views of the town, the Seine estuary and the impressively-engineered Normandy Bridge that crosses it.

Nantes, France
Regarded as one of the best places in France for quality of life, Nantes is a vibrant, friendly and welcoming city for both residents and visitors alike. Situated at the mouth of the Loire River, Nantes is a picturesque city and a true joy to explore.

Nantes has plenty to see, discover and explore so there is always something to do. The Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is one of France’s historic monuments and now serves as the Nantes History Museum. It is one of Nantes must-visit sites, along with Cathédrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul, the city’s grand cathedral.

There are also several places to shop and enjoy a bite to eat or glass of wine in Place du Commerce - the central hub of the city - and a few beach resorts that are found nearby - perfect if you want to spend some time relaxing in the sunshine.

Lorient, France
The Brittany town of Lorient is a fusion of heritage and landscapes. Its houses, beaches and quays point to the conquest of India and the East Indies, deep-sea fishing, the Second World War and the restored pride of the Celtic nations

A former German U-Boat base, Lorient played a huge role in the Second World War and was a primary target for Allied bombing raids. Today’s rebuilt city is awash with post 1950's architecture and a number of museums and galleries to explore.

Close to Lorient harbour, the Cité de la Voile (City of Sailing), is a modern interactive exhibition with giant audio-visual presentations that highlight the city’s importance in shipbuilding, fishing and, now, ocean racing. With its proud Celtic connections, a glorious mix of kilts, Breton bagpipes, Irish fiddles and Galician pipes, come together at the annual Festival Interceltique.

Away from Lorient, a trip across the water to Port Louis offers up the National Maritime Museum and French East Indies Company Museum. Housed in 16th century military buildings, these museums are rare examples of Lorient’s original architecture and are must-visit sites.

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