There are still a few days of remaining holidays left and so my husband Dirk and I decide to spend them on a river cruise on the “Arosa Viva” on the river Seine.(Zum deutschen Blog.) But is not it too cold in November, too wet and too fast dark? We are not deterred by the prejudices and book this four-day tour.
On Monday we fly with Eurowings to Paris. Unfortunately, we have so much delay that we no longer reach the appropriate transfer to the boat and have to wait over 2 hours for the next.
On board of Arosa Viva
For this we get a very warm welcome on board of Arosa Viva, me as a woman I even receive a rose. Our cabin tickets are already in our booked cabin, which has a French balcony. This is not a real balcony, but a door that opens completely and then offers about 25 cm of space to the railing. Even at night it can remain open, a fly screen that can be pulled down, protects against uninvited guests, also called insects.
We are hungry after the long waiting, so we walk first into the restaurant, where there is now the afternoon coffee and cake. All meals on board are served in buffet form and everyone can choose their own sitting. Even a dress code does not exist. Well, it should be long pants for the gentleman and of course no swimwear. Since there is no pool on the sundeck on this ship, it’s not that hard and it’s too cold in November anyway.
Before the ship departs in Paris, there is a compulsory security briefing for everyone in the lounge, followed by a short presentation of the bookable land excursions.
Then we can go upstairs to the sundeck for departure and experience a bit of Paris at night. It is quite chilly, so we do not enjoy the light spectacle for too long, but rather the delicious dinner.
If you like, you can also go to the on-board sauna or small fitness area. Massages and beauty treatments are offered at the spa. Both areas are at the front of the ship and offer a great view.
Smokers got a heated outdoor area behind the Weinwirtschaft, which is located behind the restaurant on deck 3, unless they go straight to the sundeck.
After dinner, there is a bit of entertainment in the lounge every night, dancing or drinking, or both.
That we will pass some locks at night is not to be heard in the cabins. Nobody has to be afraid of seasickness, because the ship, which holds around 200 passengers, lies absolutely calm in the water.
In the morning, a look out the window shows me that it is dry and we are driving past picturesque limestone cliffs and one or the other pretty village with its typical half-timbered houses.
Around noon we dock in the middle of Rouen in Normandy. Although it is gray outside, but dry and much warmer than at home. Armed with a map we go and discover Rouen at our own pace. The extraordinary Jeanne D’Arc church on the market square, where she was also executed. A few hundred meters further on is the moon phase clock La Grande Horloge, which also displays the hours but not the minutes.
We continue through the pedestrian area with its many small shops and boutiques to the Cathédrale de Notre Dame, in front of which a large Christmas market is being built. Of course, we also look at the church from the inside. It is tall and quite gloomy. However, a stone staircase inside impresses me a lot.
Behind the church we let ourselves be tempted to a mulled wine and a crêpe in the Antico Café, before we continue our tour and visit the plague cemetery, the Aître Saint Maclou. This closed area is gloomy somehow, but that is probably more due to the dark houses with the skulls and bones, which were carved into the framework.
Slowly we walk back now through the pedestrian zone, buy some more macarons (I love these colorful little cakes!) and Christmas gifts and wonder how the ferris wheel and the ice rink could be built over the uncovered remains of a long-gone church. Actually there is no room for it …
If you like, you can test the nightlife in Rouen, because we leave at 1.30 clock, but I am sound asleep. When waking up we just dock in
and the sun comes out!
Gorgeous! With a bright blue sky above us, we climb the 130 m difference in altitude to the ruin of Château Gaillard, which was strategically placed here by Richard the Lionheart. From here everyone has a fantastic view over the Seine. Below the Arosa Viva is moored just in front of the small island in the river.
On the way down into the village, we meet not only sheep and goats, but a particularly cuddly cat that accompanies us a bit.
Again, we visit the Church of Notre Dame, which is much less gloomy than her “big sister” yesterday and also the ancient church of Saint-Sauveur.
It has become really warm, no cloud is in the sky and so we enjoy sunbathing on the sundeck, before we depart on the Arosa Viva into the sunset, driving towards
Dirk and I know Paris so we decide to pay a visit to the Louvre. Since the pier is located in the district of St. Denis, it is quite a distance to go. Last night we payed attention in the lounge, and now we know how to get by metro into the city centre.
The Louvre almost kills me. After a good four hours of culture (which I really enjoy!), the most expensive coffee I ever had there, in the snack bar and queuing at the Mona Lisa, we decide to pay a visit to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
Of course we do not climb one or the other, because we wouldneed several hours for the tour. Instead, we drive with our Métro day ticket into the coming nightfall to the Tour Montparnasse, probably the tallest skyscraper here in Paris. For a € 15, – per perso, in 5 minutes we are up on the glazed observation deck and are impressed by the many lights and especially the great view over the French capital.
Then we say goodbye to the friendly crew of the Arosa Viva. The next morning, the shuttle takes us to the airport and if the Eurowings had not been delayed by one hour, everything would have been great!
As you might know, you can book this cruise in “my” travel agency as well 😉