7 Night Cruise sailing from Arles to Chalon-Sur-Saone aboard Avalon Scenery. 1 night stay pre-cruise in Cote D’Azur and 2 night stay post-cruise in Paris.
Opportunities abound on this grand vacation to learn about France and to taste its sumptuous wines and cuisine. Your adventure begins when you embark your ship in Arles in the Provence region. Sailing northward up the scenic Rhône and Saône River, explore Avignon, charming Viviers, medieval Tournon, Vienne, France’s gastronomical capital of Lyon, as well as Mâcon, Tournus and Chalon-sur- Saône.
Day 1 ARRIVE IN COTE D’AZUR, FRANCE.
Welcome to France! Located between the mountains and the deepblue Mediterranean Sea, the Cote d’Azur is synonymous with prestige and beauty-with its enchanting yachts, glamorous villas, and famous events. Time at leisure lets you get acquainted with this amazing place.
Day 2 COTE D”AZUR-ARLES (EMBARKATION).
This morning, enjoy free time to explore further or join an optional excursion to Nice, known as the “Queen of the Riviera.” In the early afternoon, transfer by motorcoach to Arles in the Provence region, where you’ll board your river cruise vessel. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception.(B,D)
Day 3 ARLES-CAMARGUE REGION.
In Arles, capital of the Provence, join your Local guide for a GUIDED CITY TOUR. See the church of St. Trophime, dating from the 12th century, and visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, the amphitheater dates to the 1st century, and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. Vincent Van Gogh was inspired by the special light of the Provence and spent a very productive year in Arles. In the early evening, depart Arles and sail toward Port St. Louis on the mouth of the Rhone, with a unique opportunity to experience the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park. (B,L,D)
Day 4 CAMARGUE REGION-AVIGNON.
During the night, set sail for Avignon, where you arrive during breakfast. During your GUIDED TOUR you may choose to join an included visit of the PALACE OF THE POPES, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes’residence. With a living space equivalent to four gothic cathedrals, it is the largest gothic fortress in the world. Alternatively, you may opt for only city sightseeing and more free time to explore on your own or to join an optional outing to Pont du Gard or to the famed wine cellars of Chateauneuf-du- Pape. (B,L,D)
Day 5 CRUISING-VIVIERS
A leisurely morning on board to relax and enjoy the passing scenery as you glide gently by. After lunch, join your LOCAL GUIDE for a walk around the charming town of Viviers, which developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.(B,L,D)
Day 6 TOURNON/TAIN L’HERMITAGE-VIENNE.
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhone River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. Enjoy a GUIDED WALK of Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. As you cruise to Vienne, there’s a treat in store for chocoholics: an onboard CHOCOLATE TASTING to delight the palate. Arriving in Vienne in the late afternoon, a GUIDED WALK shows you the charming little town surrounded by steep hills and one of the oldest towns in the region. Explore the town center to see the Roman theater, which once held 13,000 spectators, and the Augustus and Livia Temple, built around 20 BC and converted into a church in the Middle Ages. (B,L,D)
Day 7 LYON.
Lyon is France’s second-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Founded by the Romans in 43 BC, the city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial, and banking activities. Roman remains, many excellent museums, and much renaissance architecture delight visitors. You are joined by a LOCAL GUIDE as you survey the city from Fourviere Hill and explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafes, monuments, and the famous fountain often depicted on postcards. Be sure to sample Beaujolais, the wine of the region. Before dinner tonight, attend an ONBOARD LECTURE and learn more about the French. (B,L,D)
Day 8 MACON-TOURNUS-CHALON-SUR-SAONE.
Wake up this morning in Macon on the Saone River, a city that plays an important role in the wine trade. From here, a choice of optional excursions, including a visit to a wine cellar, is available. A short cruise takes you to Tournus. Be sure to visit the abbey of St. Philibert, which dates back to the 10th century and is a superb example of Romanesque architecture. In 2002, while the abbey was being renovated, electricians discovered a mosaic portraying the zodiac under the floor coverings’ this is now available for public viewing. Before dinner, arrive in Chalonsur-Saone. (B,L,D)
Day 9 CHALON-SUR-SAONE (DISEMBARKATION)-BEAUNE-DIJON – PARIS.
After breakfast, head by motorcoach to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Cote d’Or area and Burgundy’s wine capital. Although life here centers around wine, Beaune offers much more with its ramparts, medieval houses, cobblestone streets, and historical monuments. You have a choice of how to spend your day. Perhaps you’d like to join an INCLUDED EXCURSION to visit the HOTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years’ War left many of the town’s population destitute. Today it houses Van der Weyden’s painting of the Last Judgment and is one of France’s architectural highlights. Alternatively, enjoy an included TASTING of Burgundy wines. After lunch, continue to Dijon, where you board the TGV to Paris, the “City of Light.” (B)
Day 10 PARIS.
Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your included CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysees with its lavish cafes, or perhaps visit the worldfamous Louvre or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacre Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is also well known for its colorful nightlife that includes some of the world’s most famous cabaret shows, such as the Moulin Rouge. All of this awaits your discovery! (B)
Day 11 PARIS.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
30 Jun 2014 departure – Jazz Themed Cruise