History up close: AmaWaterways Paris to Normandy River Cruise

Britni Dutz

This year France celebrates the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings of World War II. The history and world-changing events that surround Normandy are legendary, and recently Bon Voyage Travel agent Susan Gould had the chance to see the unforgettable historic sites of these events on the seven-night Paris and Normandy AmaWaterways River cruise.

Susan has sailed with AmaWaterways before, and once again loved the service, and the experience of river cruising. She explained that with river cruising you get to see the small towns you wouldn’t see on an ocean cruise, and with only 100 to 140 guests on board, you really get to know people in a quieter, more intimate environment. “During the day you explore the towns, and every evening local entertainment is brought on board.” said Susan.

At each stop there is always an option for a full tour, along with shorter excursions or the option to go off on your own. Susan especially enjoyed learning about various local wines from the local vineyard owner that was on board for the whole cruise, and seeing the museums and experiencing the history surrounding the Normandy invasion.

“It was so moving to see how the French people in Normandy still love Americans,” said Susan. “In the middle of a small town called Honfleur we were approached by an old woman who must have been about 85 years old. She came up to us and just said, ‘Thank you America. Thank you America.’”

There was so much to see, from a tour of the U.S. sector including the village of Arromanches, where the remains of the floating harbor used during the WWII landings can be seen, to excursions to Monet’s magnificent gardens in Giverny. The cruise also visited the timeless city of Rouen, famous for its Gothic cathedral and its tragic connection to Joan of Arc.

“There were so many picturesque towns and castles. We saw artists painting in Fleur, and took a tour of a castle that a family still lives in. AmaWaterways really creates unique experiences like these castle tours, where you can go in and meet the family and taste the cider they make or whatever else they actively produce,” said Susan. Susan highly recommends the AmaWaterways river cruises, especially for people who love history and want to get a sense of authentic, local experience. There are many other itineraries to explore, so to learn more contact your local Bon Voyage Travel location at 520-441-2860.