Paris Welcomes the Roving Ranchers

Pat Sand

The Roving Ranchers recently embarked on a 10-day AMA Waterways Cruise from April 22 to May 2, with 14 residents exploring France and having a phenomenal week.

The Ranchers flew to Paris and stayed at the Maison Astor, where everyone met for a cocktail party before walking to a local restaurant for some great food. The next day, the group toured the city of Paris, seeing some of the sights and enjoying some wines and cheeses. That evening, at our group dinner, we celebrated Gary Coe’s birthday.

On April 25, we boarded the AMA Waterways Amalyra boat and saw some famous sights like Moulin Rouge and Montmartre, a town known for its artistic history and the Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur. At dinner, everyone enjoyed wines paired with tasty entrees and delicious desserts.

The next day, the group toured St. Andelys, which features Renaissance architecture, and the Chateau Gaillard, better known as the medieval castle of Richard the Lionheart. It was built in the 12th century to protect the Norman frontier and has a bird’s eye view of the town below.

On April 27, the group had a full-day tour of Honfleur in northwest France, an old port known for its quaint homes and frequent paintings by artists. We were fortunate to visit during the farmers market, which featured a variety of foods and souvenirs. Sainte-Catherine church, which has a bell tower separate from the church and features a wooden ceiling that resembles the hull of a boat, was a highlight.

On Sunday, the group toured the Normandy area, beginning at the National Cemetery, Omaha and Utah beaches, and the German bunkers. In the evening, we were entertained by the “Popcorn Sisters,” dressed as Woman Army Corp soldiers who sang 1940s music, including a perfect rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” It was a fitting ending to a historical and emotional day.

Our next stop was Rouen, where we walked to the town and our guide showed us how much of the old city buildings remained even after the Nazi bombings. Cheese and chocolate tastings were the highlight of the tour. Rouen is also where Joan of Arc was burned to death, and a church and monument were resurrected there to honor her martyrdom. From there, we sailed to Vernon, Conflans, and ended in Paris for a river tour of the city sights. On the Seine, we floated past the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Louvre, and the beautiful bridges that span the river. Back on board our ship, our Captain agreed to take a final Rancher group photo before dinner. Later, we said our goodbyes as many had early flights the next morning.

The Ranchers enjoyed not only a wonderful vacation but also had a great time getting to better know each other. We look forward to our next cruise, which will be on Holland America in January 2025. Please contact Joe Murauskis at [email protected] for details.