7 Night Cruise sailing from Chalon-sur-Saone to Arles aboard Avalon Scenery. 2 night stay pre-cruise in Paris and 1 night stay post-cruise in Cote d’Azur.
Opportunities abound on this grand vacation to learn about France and to taste its sumptuous wines and cuisine. Board your ship in quaint Chalon-sur-Saône and set sail for lovely Tournus, Mâcon, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as medieval Tournon, charming Viviers, Avignon, and Arles.
Day 1 ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE.
Welcome to Paris, France’s capital on the River Seine and the “City of Light,” where romance fills the air!
Day 2 PARIS.
Known as one of the world’s most passionate and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your included CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, such as 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 world-famous Louvre museum or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacre Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is also well known for its colourful nightlife that includes some of the world’s most famous cabaret shows. All of this awaits your discovery! (B)
Day 3 PARIS-DIJON-BEAUNE-CHALON-SUR-SAONE (EMBARKATION)-TOURNUS.
This morning, board the TGV train to Dijon and from there, drive to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Cote d’Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, aging, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centers around wine, Beaune offers much more. You may choose to join the included GUIDED EXCURSION to 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 Vander Weyden’s painting of the Last Judgment and is one of France’s architectural highlights. Alternatively, enjoy a TASTING of Burgundy wines before continuing south to Chalon-sur-Saone, where you’ll board your river cruise vessel. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as your ship departs for Tournus. (B,D)
Day 4 TOURNUS-MACON.
After breakfast, a LOCAL GUIDE will show you the highlights of the delightful town of Tournus, tucked away in the southeast corner of Burgundy. Tournus is one of the oldest and most important monastic centers in the region, with a superb ABBEY, St. Philibert, part of which dates back to the 10th century. There’s free time to stroll through the quaint streets or to explore the arts and crafts shops near the abbey. After lunch your ship departs for Macon, a city with a rich history and which plays an important role in the wine trade. depicted on postcards. A choice of optional excursions, including a visit to a wine cellar, is available. (B,L,D)
Day 5 BEAUJOLAIS REGION-LYON.
Enjoy a leisurely morning of cruising before arriving in Lyon after lunch. France’s second-largest city, Lyon is 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, excellent museums, and renaissance architecture delight visitors. A LOCAL GUIDE joins you as you survey the city from Fourviere Hill and explore the Old Town 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. Before dinner tonight, attend an ONBOARD LECTURE and learn more about the French.(B,L,D)
Day 6 LYON.
Enjoy a free day in this fascinating city to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon’s parks, discover some of the murals (there are over 100 of them), or take an optional biking tour. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample Beaujolais, the wine of the region; wine connoisseurs know that the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have plenty of suggestions for things to do.(B,L,D)
Day 7 TOURNON/TAIN L’HERMITAGE-VIVIERS.
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhone River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. As you cruise to Viviers, there’s a treat in store for chocoholics: an onboard CHOCOLATE TASTING to delight the palate. Arriving in Viviers in the late afternoon, a GUIDED WALK shows you this charming town that developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.(B,L,D)
Day 8 AVIGNON.
The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region, the most picturesque part of Provence with its intact ramparts encircling the entire city, cobblestone streets and squares, and private mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as the “City of Popes,” it was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. 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. A photo of the famous Pont Saint Benezet, of the popular song Sur le Pont d’Avignon, is a must. Optional outings to Pont du Gard or to the famed wine cellars of Chateauneuf-du-Pape are available. (B,L,D)
Day 9 CAMARGUE REGION-ARLES.
During the night your ship will have sailed to Port St. Louis at the mouth of the Rhone. If you are an early riser, watch the sun rise over the Camargue and take in the tranquil scenes as you sail through this nature park toward Arles during breakfast. In Arles, located on the northern tip of the Camargue and the capital of the Provence region, your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you’ll visit the RO MAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. Alternatively, you may take the included sightseeing tour in the afternoon. There is free time to relax or to join an optional excursion.(B,L,D)
Day 10 ARLES (DISEMBARKATION)-COTE D’AZUR.
After breakfast, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the Cote d’Azur for a Palace of the Popes, Avignon Avignon 38 Meals are indicated by (B) breakfast, (L) lunch, and (D) dinner Arles last night in France. Also known as the French Riviera, the Cote d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border, and is synonymous with prestige and beauty.(B)
Day 11 COTE D’AZUR.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
26 Oct 2014 departure – Wine Themed Cruise