and Seine Cruise aboard the MS Renoir
David R. Stone is the William E. Odom Professor of Russian Studies at the US Naval War College. He received his PhD in History from Yale University. He has written or edited several books on military history, including Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union, 1926–1933, which won the ASEEES Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize and the Historical Society Best First Book Prize. He is also the author of dozens of articles on Russian military history and foreign policy, and he is the expert for the course World War II: Battlefield Europe.
Booking and Availability
Walk with Dr. Stone along Omaha Beach, where approximately 1,000 American soldiers died, and gain an in-depth perspective on the coastal landings and air invasion by the Allies.
Starting at $5,695 per person
8 Days 7 Nights | June 3-10, 2024
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The 80th-anniversary observance of D-Day is an all-too-vivid reminder of a time when the fate of Europe hung in the balance and the day was won by months of detailed planning, by devotion to duty, and by bravery in battle by Allied forces in the largest amphibious landing in history. From the Normandy landing beaches, to the fortified cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, to the impeccably kept American cemetery above Omaha Beach, we invite you to retrace the first steps in the historic liberation of France. Your cruise along the River Seine aboard the elegant MS Renoir provides an ideal balance: a military history theme including lectures and informal time with your expert; the chance to explore the charming towns of Honfleur and Rouen bookended by iconic Paris as your small ship docks in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower; and the unique opportunity to enhance your educational experience by participating in select lectures or discussions with additional content experts on board.
Arrive on individual flights into Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Spend the day at your leisure, transferring independently to the MS Renoir for embarkation at 5:00PM. (Luggage may be stored on the ship earlier in the day.) After time to settle into your cabins, gather with your fellow travelers this evening for a celebratory welcome dinner as you cruise under the bridges of Paris and marvel at Paris by night. Depart for La Roche-Guyon.
Included Meals: Dinner
Accomodations: MS Renoir
Arrive in La Roche early this morning. After breakfast, depart with a local guide to visit the Château de la Roche-Guyon. Originally built in the 12th century as a river-crossing control post over the Seine, the castle became Field Marshall Rommel’s headquarters during the war. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon of lectures by your on-board experts. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as the ship sets sail for Honfleur.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: MS Renoir
Disembark at Caudebec en Caux to discover the D-Day beaches and logistics involved in this enormous operation. Travel to Arromanches, where you will meet your local guide to see some of the vast concrete blocks towed over from Britain, remnants of the enormous, prefabricated Mulberry harbor, where Allied supplies landed. Put yourself at the center of the D-Day landings at the Arromanches 360° Circular Cinema and visit the Arromanches D-Day Museum. After a picnic lunch, travel to one of the most dramatic sites along the Normandy coastline, Pointe du Hoc, where U.S. Rangers used hooks and ropes to scale cliffs some 100 feet high in order to destroy key German gun positions. Walk along cliff-top pathways still cratered by mortar blasts, and venture into the concrete bunkers from which German forces unleashed a barrage of artillery fire. Conclude the afternoon wandering along Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting of the invasion day. Meet your ship in Honfleur for dinner and overnight in port.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
On the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, observe official ceremonies and commemorations at the American military cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer (subject to confirmation). On this major anniversary, these poignant ceremonies will likely be attended by heads of state and other dignitaries. (Details to be announced.) Return to your ship this evening for dinner.
Enjoy a day at leisure in the picturesque port town of Honfleur, which attracted many Impressionist painters. The city was spared significant damage during the war and was liberated in August 1944 by British, Belgian, and Canadian forces without combat. Given the city’s strategic position on the right bank of the Seine, this represented, for many, the end of the Battle of Normandy. You may choose to join your on-board experts for lectures and discussions throughout the day, stroll through Honfleur’s charming streets, revealing its historic charm and half-timbered buildings, or visit Sainte-Catherine, France’s largest wooden church. Your ship will depart in the evening for Rouen.
Accommodations: MS Renoir
This morning, visit the charming medieval city of Rouen with its cobblestone streets and timbered facades. The Allied bombing campaign in France to slow down the movement of German personnel, weapons, ammunition, and other vital supplies hit Rouen particularly hard. Today there is little evidence of the ravages of war in the city. A guided walking tour will focus on the Bombardment of Rouen during World War II, including memorials, the Palace of Justice, and a visit to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where you will learn how close it came to being completely destroyed. Return to the ship for lunch and engage in further discussions with your experts this afternoon. As you set sail for Paris, enjoy the picturesque scenery that inspired so many artists in the 19th century.
Accommodations: Ms Renoir
Arrive in Paris this morning, and step ashore close to Bartholdi’s smaller version of Liberty Enlightening the World, better known as the Statue of Liberty, which symbolizes the special relationship between France and the United States. A guided tour this morning looks at the liberation of the city from August 19-25, 1944, starting at the Arc de Triomphe and traveling down the magnificent Champs Elysées to Place de la Concorde, following the path taken by Charles de Gaulle and the liberators. Visit the Liberation Museum, newly designed and reopened in August 2019. Return to your ship for lunch or enjoy the afternoon exploring Paris before gathering for a farewell dinner on board and toasting your journey, the Allies, and new friends.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer independently to the airport for flights home or onward.
Included Meals: Breakfast
SPECIAL London Pre-Cruise Extension View Details
We are able to offer a London-based pre-cruise land program for travelers who wish to experience the preparations for D-Day that took place in England. Please note that this would be open to all travelers and would therefore not be branded for a specific partner unless you wanted to make the extension exclusive to your group.
Saturday, June 1st - Arrival in London
Arrive on individual flights into London’s Heathrow Airport. Transfer independently to your centrally located hotel the early afternoon. Gather as a group in the early afternoon for a visit to Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms and the adjoining Museum. It is from this underground “safe place” that Churchill directed the British war effort and where today one can still see maps, telephones, and bunks preserved since the war. Pause at the monument dedicated to the Women of World War II at Whitehall A visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral will highlight the American Memorial Chapel behind the high altar which honors the fallen US soldiers during World War II. After some time back at your hotel to get settled, dine together at a festive welcome dinner.
Included meal: Dinner
Accommodations: The Bailey’s Hotel or similar 4* superior property
Sunday, June 2nd: Bentley Priory and Bletchley Park
Travel to Bentley Priory, best known for its pivotal role as Headquarters Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. It was from the Priory’s underground bunker that the D-Day landings were monitored. Visitors to the bunker on June 6th included King George VI, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Continue to Bletchley Park and discover the real story behind the Enigma code breakers, credited with shortening the war by successfully deciphering the encryption used by the Wehrmacht to safeguard its messages. Enjoy an explanation of the decoder, as seen in the award-winning film, The Imitation Game. Return to London for an evening at leisure.
Included meal: Breakfast, Lunch
Monday, June 3rd: On to Paris
Check out of your hotel this morning, and transfer by private coach to London St. Pancras station. Board the Eurostar for a quick two-and-a-half-hour train ride to Paris. A light lunch will be served on board. Upon arrival, a private coach will take you from Gare du Nord directly to the MS Renoir in time for embarkation at 5:00PM. After time to settle into your cabins, gather with your fellow travelers this evening for a celebratory welcome dinner as you cruise under the bridges of Paris and marvel at Paris by night. Depart for La Roche-Guyon.
per person based on double occupancy
per person based on double occupancy
Main Deck - per person based on double occupancy
Main Deck – single supplement
Upper Deck- per person based on double occupancy
Upper Deck – single supplement
Inspired by the friendship between French fashion designer Coco Chanel and French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir, all 3 decks of this luxury ship emphasize elegance, classic refinement, and tasteful tranquility. Renovated in 2018, the 54 cabins are spread between the upper and main deck, offering clean, modern design with coral pink hues, black and white bedding, and large, bright windows and mirrors. The sun deck features a large, shaded area, a relaxing space to admire the landscape. The casual, elegant on-board restaurant showcases upscale French cuisine by Chef Alain Bohn with panoramic views through large bay windows.
The information imparted to us and the cultural experiences were both exciting and eye-popping. On this trip, we were able to completely relax and enjoy each day because The Great Courses planned and executed this tour so well.
–Mark & Rachel H.
The Great Courses delivers. If you're looking for an educational adventure with like-minded people, then this is a go-to.
Due to the well-planned pacing and cultural aspects, it wasn't just a canned touristy event but really showed a lot of the localities. The Great Courses really went all out to make this a great tour.
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