Live From The City Of Light: On CroisiEurope’s Botticelli, Discovering Paris

Whimsical Paris. © 2014 Monica Frisk
Whimsical Paris. © 2014 Monica Frisk

After our evening cruise through the heart of Paris last night, we woke up to another beautiful day in this gorgeous city. On tap, a day “dedicated to the discovery of Paris,” with an optional guided tour, and also optional, late-evening entertainment at Nouvelle Eve, billed as traditional French Cabaret and situated just a block away from the famed Moulin Rouge in Montmarte.

Tours are not included in Botticelli’s fares. The morning guided tour went for €30 per person, the Cabaret, with a bottle of champagne for each couple to share, went for €105 per person. Many of CroisiEurope’s competitors would likely include the guided tour but not the Cabaret.

Later this week, an 11-hour excursion to the Normandy Landing Beaches will go for €93 per person, with lunch included. A guided walking tour of Rouen costs €18 per person. Many river cruise companies would include the guided walking tour but not all would include the extended tour to the landing beaches. The extra expense of tours is something you’ll want to factor into the equation when comparing CroisiEurope with its competitors.

In yesterday’s post, I promised to tell you about Thomas Wolfe’s visits to Paris. The writer from my hometown (Asheville, North Carolina) visited Paris six times between 1924 and 1936. Wolfe’s Of Time and The River portrays the sights and sounds of the city from the perspective of Eugene Gant, the novel’s lead character through which Wolfe personified himself.

Gant, or Wolfe, observed of the Parisians: “They were a quaint lot, a droll lot, an incomparable lot — they were charming, amazing, irresponsible — they were French.”

As the fictional Gant “slowly became intoxicated by the City, he noted that … everything that has been said or written about Paris is true … it is evil; it is beautiful; and it is fascinating; it is bewildering. For the first time in several years I am faced with an utter suspension of my faculties.”

Like Wolfe, I had visited Paris multiple times, so I chose to spend the morning exploring on my own. Monica, my traveling companion, chose to do the morning guided tour. She writes:

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