With YourClassical MPR Host Melissa Ousley

Minnesota Public Radio and the Minnesota Orchestra's classical music adventure along the beautiful Seine River

Classical Paris to Normandy Cruise (WAITLIST STARTED)

WAIT LIST STARTED! It's April in Paris! Board the privately chartered MS Renoir river ship for a seven-night journey through Normandy where our merry group will be stopping to explore villages, markets, D-Day Beaches and Monet's Garden. You'll also savor delicious regional specialties. And la musique! We've included a robust program of classical music curated and performed on board by pianist Jon Kimura Parker, Minnesota Orchestra's beloved Creative Partner and Host for Summer at Orchestra Hall. Plus a classical music performance in Paris. S'il vous plait, join us for a unique, floating classical music festival in Paris and Normandy!

Melissa Ousley and Jon Kimura Parker

Melissa Ousley, On-Air Host, YourClassical MPR

In the fall of 2019, Melissa Ousley became the regular host of Minnesota Public Radio’s live broadcasts with the Minnesota Orchestra. Those Friday nights quickly became a highlight of her week. As she puts it, “The exhilaration that comes from playing a small part in bringing such outstanding concerts to our listeners is hard to describe.” Melissa’s passion for music began as a kid growing up just outside of New York City. While she earned a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, she’s quick to point out that her decades of work in radio is what has taught her the most. When she’s away from the airwaves, Melissa loves to run, read, and spend time with friends and family. This will be Melissa’s second hosted cruise.

Jon Kimura Parker, Minnesota Orchestra Creative Partner and pianist

Known for his passionate artistry and engaging stage presence, pianist Jon Kimura Parker has performed regularly at the Berlin Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, London’s South Bank, the Sydney Opera House and the Beijing Concert Hall. In 2019, he was appointed the Minnesota Orchestra’s first-ever Creative Partner for Summer at Orchestra Hall, a new role in which he is serving as a creative force behind the Orchestra’s summer festival and appearing each summer as a host, performer and personality. He is also artistic director of the Honens International Piano Competition and artistic advisor for the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival.


Day 0, March 31, 2024: Depart USA

Optional group flight departs USA today for the City of Light - Paris!

Day 1, April 1: Arrive in Paris

Our journey through Paris and Normandy officially begins in historic Paris. Board the ship in the afternoon, enjoy a ship orientation, and settle into your accommodations. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner, with your hosts and Earthbound Expeditions guides. Sleep on board. (D).

Day 2, April 2: Monet's Gardens

This morning we set out for Giverny, the village where Claude Monet lived and found the inspiration for his Water Lilies. You’ll see the gardens in all their glorious splendor and have time to walk beneath the weeping willow and the little green bridge immortalized in his paintings. You’ll also tour his charming home, filled with the objects and art he loved. Stroll the village of Giverny before returning to the MS Renoir for dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 3, April 3: The Seaside Town of Honfleur

Honfleur, a town of painters and Impressionism, possesses that something extra that makes it irresistible. The changing light on the Seine estuary inspired Courbet, Monet, Boudin and many others. Today dozens of galleries and artists’ studios continue to display a wide choice of classical and modern paintings. Sleep on board. (B,L,D)

Day 4, April 4: The D-Day Beaches or Bayeux

After breakfast, begin your full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy. Drive past Gold Beach, Courseulles sur Mer and Juno Beach on your way to visit such World War II landmarks as Omaha Beach and the American Military Cemetery. For those who prefer a slower day, there will be an option to visit Bayeux and its famous tapestry and other more leisurely pursuits. The choice is yours! Have dinner and relax aboard the ship tonight or take an evening stroll. Sleep on board. (B,L,D)

Day 5, April 5: A Day in Rouen

The city of Rouen, which stretches along the Seine, is Normandy’s cultural, historic, gastronomic, and vibrant capital. Monet’s canvases of the cathedral have made it the best-loved building in town, but many other glories stand out, including fine museums and the church dedicated to tragic visitor Joan of Arc. It was here in the 14th century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and on the nearby Market Square where she was burned at the stake. Sleep on board. (B,L,D)

Day 6, April 6: A Day with Van Gogh and Josephine Bonaparte

Famous for its many visiting painters (Cézanne, Daubigny, Pissarro, Corot, Van Gogh), and as the burial place of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo, Auvers-sur-Oise is located just 25km north of Paris. Enjoy a stroll of the village’s highlights. After lunch, join an excursion to the Chateau de Malmaison, the former residence of Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoléon Bonaparte. Your local guides will regale you with stories about the history of the estate and the famously passionate and stormy relationship of Joséphine and Napoléon. Return to our ship for dinner. Sleep on board (B,L,D)

Day 7, April 7: Vernon: Cider Tasting and Domaine de Villarceaux

Enjoy a walk in the Domaine de Villarceaux, a stunning chateau surrounded by magnificent gardens. We’ll also taste the pride of Normandy: cider and Calvados. Made typically with apples, but also pears on occasion, French cider is a refreshing beverage for the over 21 crowd. Think of Calvados as cider’s aged sister, in the form of brandy, which makes a good (consumable) souvenir of France. This evening, enjoy a gourmet feast as we cruise overnight to Paris. Sleep on board. (B,L,D)

Day 8, April 8: Flavors of Paris

This morning, local experts will treat you to a walking tour of the highlights of Paris. Meals will be enjoyed independently today and we’ll meet up for an included concert tonight (or tomorrow, TBA). Sleep in Paris (B)

Day 9, April 9: The Opera Garnier

Tour the beautiful Opera Garnier this morning followed by a festive farewell lunch together. The afternoon is yours to further explore Paris or relax and people watch in a café. (B,L)

Day 10, April 10: Depart Paris

Return to the USA today with a lifetime of memories.


  • Hosted by Melissa Ousley of YourClassical MPR
  • Special on-board performances featuring Minnesota Orchestra Summer Creative Partner, pianist Jon Kimura Parker
  • A pre-trip gathering for cruise guests at Orchestra Hall with tickets to a performance
  • All shore excursions
  • Complimentary one-year subscription to Minnesota Orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall
  • Guided by Matthew and Danna Brumley of Earthbound Expeditions
  • Visits to Normandy’s top historic sites including the D-Day Beaches
  • Two post-cruise nights in Paris in a centrally located hotel
  • A classical concert in Paris
  • Tour the Opera Garnier
  • An historic walking tour through Paris
  • All meals included on board, plus one meal while in Paris

Pricing and Terms

Double Cabin Category Per Person Before DiscountDeposit by Nov. 1, 2023 & Each SavePay Final Balance by Check & SavePrice After Discount Each
Debussy Deck$5,995-$200-$100$5,695
Ravel Deck$6,495-$200-$100$6,195

Single Travelers: Debussy Deck add $1,995 and Ravel Deck add: $2,395. Space is limited.

Not included: Gratuities for ship staff, round trip airfare, travel insurance and any items not mentioned in your itinerary. Port taxes, charges and fees are currently at $250 per person and are additional. Fuel surcharges may apply.

Additional Savings: All MPR and Earthbound travel alum receive an additional $100 discount

Advanced, canceled or delayed sailing for cruises: Please note that cruise schedules and tour activities are subject to change due to changes in water levels, port accessibility, weather, labor disputes or for any other reason whatsoever.

The Owner or Operator of the cruise vessel may, at any time, cancel, advance or postpone any scheduled tour and may, but is not obliged to, substitute another vessel or itinerary, and it shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever to passengers by reason of any such cancellation, advancement or postponement.

Need more information?

Call us: (1) 800-723-8454 Earthbound Expeditions is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Contact us! Complete our contact form and one of our travel consultants will contact you to answer your questions and help you complete your reservation.