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Tour lands of fine wine & cuisine
Sail the scenic Saône and Rhône Rivers through beautiful French countryside. Explore the famed region of Beaujolais and the colorful fields of Provence. Explore Gallo-Roman ruins in Vienne, stroll the cobblestone streets of Arles that inspired Vincent van Gogh and visit Avignon, the “City of Popes.” Discover wine-making traditions, sample Beaujolais varietals and try world-famous regional cuisine in Lyon.
Fly to Marseille. Transfer from the airport to your ship, docked in Avignon.* After boarding, take free time to explore this quaint town on the scenic Rhône River, or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and get oriented. (D)
Disembark after breakfast and take a walking tour of Arles with its diverse architectural highlights. Experience the city’s vibrant colors and striking quality of light that have inspired artists. Arles is also the site of some impressive Roman ruins, including Les Arènes, an arena that seats 20,000 and is still in use, as well as Romanesque monuments such as the Church of Saint-Trôphime, completed in the 15th century. Return aboard for lunch followed by an afternoon on your own to explore or shop for handcrafted gifts. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served as you depart. (B, L, D)
This morning, set out on a guided walk of Avignon, nicknamed “City of Popes” because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377. Stroll through the historic center, stop at the picturesque Pont d’Avignon and walk the Place de l’Horloge. Continue to the renowned Palace of the Popes for a guided tour through this rambling maze of Gothic architecture that served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. After the tour, enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring Avignon. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner are served aboard your ship. Late this evening, arrive in Viviers, a quaint town in a mountainous setting. We remain docked here this evening. (B, L, D)
This morning join a walking tour of Viviers’ Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Once a 5th-century Roman settlement, today the cobbled streets are dominated by the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. Set sail to Tournon during lunch, docking just after dinner. Enjoy a stroll under the plane trees lining the riverbanks before retiring for the evening. (B, L, D)
Tournon & Vienne, France
All aboard the Train de l’Ardèche this morning for a locomotive ride through the deep gorges of the Ardèche plateau, cut by the Doux River. You’ll return to your ship and enjoy lunch aboard as we cruise past dramatic landscapes. Arrive in Vienne this afternoon, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. Visit the Temple of Augustus and Livia, the Roman amphitheater and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice on a walking tour before dinner aboard the ship. We remain docked in Vienne this evening. (B, L, D)
Vienne & Lyon, France
After breakfast, disembark in Lyon for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Continue with a guided visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), with free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world famous. We depart just before midnight. (B, L, D)
Mâcon, France & Beaujolais Wine Tour
After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Beaujolais, where viticultural tradition runs deep. See the legendary Moulin-à-Vent, the windmill that gives its name to one of the most prestigious wines of the region, learn about the art of winemaking in a small museum and enjoy a tasting in one of the Beaujolais’s famous cellars. Return to your ship for lunch. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or, take an optional excursion to the picturesque Burgundy town of Cluny, known for its magnificent medieval abbey ruin. Return aboard late this afternoon for departure to Lyon. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Lyon airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your time in France with three exciting nights in Paris, one of the world’s most romantic cities. (B)
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Viking - Lyon & Provence
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*Some dates may feature reverse itinerary.