Day 4: Conflans-Sainte-Honorine – A Royal Visit With U by Uniworld
11 Oct 2017
I started the day having Brunch as we gently approached the French town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, located just 15 miles from the centre of Paris. The farm to table dining concept really works on The B, and it’s great to try amazing healthy foods, sourced locally where possible.
Due to a national strike in France, we were all told that unfortunately the tour to Versailles would be cancelled as it would be closed for the day. I got off the ship and explored the hilly surroundings of the riverfront. Visiting Conflans-Saint-Honorine was a chance to see the true French way of life, instead of bustling streets filled with tourists like Paris and Rouen. The charming alleyways and tree-lined roads were just waiting to be explored.
Just before 1 pm, I got a message from the U Hosts, on the Whatsapp group chat, saying the strike had been called off and that Versailles was open. Yay!
I walked back to the ship and enjoyed a drink in the gothic/punk-themed U Lounge, before heading ashore again to board the coaches which would take us all to Versailles. It was around 45 minutes to get to the Palace. We arrived in front of the beautiful giant golden gates, where we waited for our guide to sort out the tickets. Due to the earlier planned strikes, the tour reservation the ship had booked us all on was not possible, so we were denied access while the U by Uniworld representatives scrambled to arrange alternatives. The managers successfully secured us a private tour led by a Versailles expert guide, as well as arranging for us to go to an otherwise fenced off area of the Palace, the Chapel. This is what I love about U by Uniworld – when there’s a problem, they will go above and beyond to solve it and secure us exclusive experiences, something not possible when you travel independently. We were shown around the grand palace, where the treaty of Versailles was signed, and into one of the most famous rooms in the Palace, the Hall of Mirrors. 17 floor-to-ceiling mirrors run along this gigantic hall, along with beautiful chandeliers.
The Chapel was simply stunning. The detailed paintings on the curved roof, depicting scenes of heaven and biblical teachings was amazing, and we had this whole area to ourselves thanks to U by Uniworld and the team at Versailles. We continued our tour around the other rooms, before heading back to the ship.
We were almost an hour late arriving back, which meant the planned beer tasting on one of the rooftops in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine was cancelled. It didn’t stop the crew bringing a crate of the local craft beer back onboard for guests to try in the lounge. Once everyone was back onboard, we swiftly departed.
We didn’t have too far to sail – we were due alongside in Paris just after midnight. Tonight was a self-serve buffet in the U Dine restaurant. There was an amazing French onion soup, salmon coulibiac, macaroons, and a regional specialty for dessert called St. Honoré. It was fabulous! I will really miss the food onboard. To commemorate our final night onboard, there was a giant pyjama party onboard! The ship docked just after midnight, and I was awake and off the ship at 6 am.
And that’s it. My time onboard U by Uniworld’s first ever river cruise is over. It’s been a blast! Thank you for coming align with me on my adventures through this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Au Revoir.