Lyon, France / EmbarkArrive in Lyon, France. Lyon not only marks the meeting of the Saône and Rhône rivers, but it is also the gastronomic capital of France. Its rich ancient history includes Roman ruins and early Christian sites. It is here that you board your luxurious small ship for an exciting European river cruise. After settling into your cabin, gather this evening on board for a Welcome Dinner.
Lyon, FranceToday your panoramic tour of Lyon takes you to Place Bellecour with its equestrian statue of Louis XIV, Place des Terreaux with Bartholdi’s Fountain, and the Town Hall. Afterwards, visit Fourvière, part of the historic region designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the "Hill of Prayers," Fourvière is famous for its iconic white Basilica of Notre-Dame, ruins of an ancient Roman theater, and majestic views of the city below. The ship departs for Belleville this evening.
Belville - Vienne, FranceThis morning’s tour takes you through the Beaujolais wine region, also known as the Pays d’Or (“land of the golden stones,” named for the ochre limestone used to build local homes and castles). Visit the medieval hilltop village of Oingt as well as the home of a local vintner, where you can enjoy a wine tasting, vineyard tour and explanation of the history of the region’s wine production. Return to the ship in the afternoon and continue your European river cruise towards Vienne, where you have a free evening to explore on your own.
Vienne - Tournon, FranceSituated between the wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais, Vienne’s Roman past can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. This morning, take a mini train tour and see the 1st-century Roman Temple of Augustus and Livia, the ruins of a Roman theater, and the medieval churches of St. Andre-Le-Bas and Abbey St. Pierre. Your ship departs at midday for Tournon. This evening, explore the town on your own.
Tournon - Viviers, FranceToday enjoy an indulgent chocolate and red wine pairing. Relax on board as the ship cruises to Viviers. After arriving this evening, you may take a "Ghost Walk" tour through this medieval town, with colorful stories brought to life by local residents.
Viviers - Avignon, FranceAfter breakfast, enjoy an excursion to Grignan, a hilltop village surrounded by lavender fields. The village’s Renaissance castle provides a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. You also have the opportunity to visit a truffle farm and learn about truffle harvesting. Continue by motor coach to Avignon, site of the bridge made famous by the French children's song "On the Bridge of Avignon." Seven popes once resided in the magnificent Papal Palace, which you can visit during your walking tour. Also look out for the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an alternative, take an excursion to the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour also visits Uzes, a lovely town known for its castle, medieval streets and picturesque town square. Enjoy free time for shopping before returning to your ship.
Avignon - Arles, FranceThis morning, arrive in Arles and board a motor coach for an excursion to the village of Les Baux de Provence. The village’s castle has a fascinating exhibit of medieval weapons. Later, visit an olive farm to learn about this age-old Provençal farming tradition. As an alternative, take the "Impressionist Experience" tour to the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Van Gogh once lived and painted such well-known works as The Irises and Starry Night. Also visit the Carrieres de Lumieres, a stone quarry that projects European artwork on its walls, including many of Van Gogh’s famous paintings. Late this afternoon, a city tour of Arles takes you to the Romanesque cathedral and the Roman Amphitheater. The ship moors overnight in Arles.
Arles, France / DisembarkDisembark your ship in Arles and transfer to the airport to continue your travels.