A Private Visit to Monet’s Gardens

Nothing like a sunrise visit to Monet’s home and gardens at Giverny – all by ourselves. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

If there was any question left about what makes a voyage aboard Tauck’s ms Sapphire special, this morning should have answered it. On this, the last day of our Rendezvous on the Seine river cruise, Tauck invited guests to visit Monet’s home and gardens – privately, before opening hours – as part of our day in Giverny, France.

One of the most popular attractions in this part of the country, to visit Monet’s house privately, without interference from other tourists, is worth its weight in gold. To do so just as the sun crests over the horizon is breathtaking.

The blissful solitude lasted for 90 minutes, until bus and cruise ship tour groups started filing in. I made my exit from the gardens shortly after that, preferring to spend my last hour nursing an espresso in blissful solitude.

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

From the start of this journey in Paris until its conclusion, Tauck has been delighting us with experiences like this. These are the sorts of things that you can’t buy your way into. Private dinners in Paris, Chateau dinners, one-on-one guiding – this is what makes the Tauck experience so special, and so very worthwhile.

Tauck is, as you might have guessed, not an inexpensive river cruise line. However, I strongly feel you get what you pay for – and then some. It’s the same reason some people choose to stay at high-end properties like Ritz-Carlton, or fly in Business Class: there’s an intrinsic value in spending money on those experiences, simply because every aspect of your journey is upgraded.

This is true of Tauck, too. With under 100 guests aboard a ship that really should hold between 140 and 160 people, a Tauck river cruise has the opportunity to provide more personalized service, both onboard and on-shore.

Our full journey, revisited:

From Paris to Normandy with Tauck

October 9, 2017ParisArrival in Paris; check-in to Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel hotel.
October 10ParisTour of the Opera Garnier
October 11ParisTour of the Palace of Versailles; embark ms Sapphire
October 12RouenGuided tour of Rouen; evening chateau reception, dinner and music
October 13Caudebec-en-CauxVisits to Etretat and Honfleur
October 14Caudebec-en-CauxD-Day history in Normandy with visits to Omaha Beach, American Cemetery & the Arromanches Museum
October 15JumiegesVisit to Jumieges Abbey ruins
October 16Les AndelysChateau Gaillard tour; cider & calvados tasting; scenic cruising
October 17VernonGiverny and Monet home visit; farewell reception
October 18ParisDisembark ms Sapphire

This was my third river cruise with Tauck, and the Connecticut-based company managed to exceed my high expectations once again. I wasn’t alone; the majority of my fellow guests had experienced Tauck before, either on one of the company’s land tours, ocean cruise programs, or river cruises.

There’s that old saying that you get what you pay for. Tauck gives you everything you paid for, and then some.

This is no ordinary vacation. This is the experience of a lifetime.

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report from onboard Tauck’s ms Sapphire has sadly come to a close. Follow along with our latest cruise adventures on Twitter: @deckchairblog.



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