After checking out of your hotel, board the TGV train through the French countryside to Lyon, France’s culinary capital. Upon arrival, enjoy free time before being treated to an exclusive hands-on cooking lesson. Later, transfer to your luxurious ship.
Discover dynamic Lyon, starting in Fourvière Hill, part of the city’s historic region that is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the 19th-century basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Continue on to the old town of Lyon, followed by a guided walk through the St. Jean district, where you are introduced to the city’s unique covered walkways, known as “traboules.” During the afternoon, enjoy leisure time or join a guided bike tour through the city designed with cyclists in mind.
Travel to the Beaujolais wine region—known as the Pays d’Or or “land of the golden stones." Indulge in a wine tasting at a traditional winery and learn about the history and techniques of their vineyard. Later set sail for Vienne and enjoy free time to explore the town.
Situated between the wine regions of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône lies Vienne with a Roman past that can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. Take a walking tour to see the amazingly well-preserved Augustus and Livia Temple, the Saint Maurice Cathedral, a Gothic church that took more than 500 years to build, and St. Pierre Abbey—one of the oldest surviving churches in France, and now an Archaeological Museum. For those wishing to be more active, you can either take a guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route or a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet.
Wine and chocolate lovers enjoy visiting Tournon located in the heart of Côtes du Rhône. You have a choice of three excursions. Take a train ride past magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux, stopping at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where the train maneuvers in preparation for its return journey. Alternatively, lovers of wine and chocolate can visit Le Château de Tournon for a presentation and tasting on the pairing of red wine and chocolate. For a more active adventure, take a hike through the vineyards of Tain l’Hermitage, followed by a visit to a local winery to sample some of the wines.
Avignon, aptly named the “City of Popes,” was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century when its “Palais des Papes” was the equivalent of today’s Vatican. Depending on your interests, you have three options of excursions. Discover the history of Avignon on a guided walking tour that includes the Papal Palace and the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you can go to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the impressive Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of ancient engineering. Or if you prefer, learn the art of Provençale cooking by joining a local chef as he shares his insight with you, and afterwards, taste the fruits of your labor. During the afternoon, you can enjoy free time in Avignon; go on a bike tour; or go to the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provencal town, go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles, with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion.
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in France, Arles enchants. For art lovers, visit Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Vincent van Gogh once lived and painted such well-known works as “The Irises” and “Starry Night.” Many people consider Van Gogh’s Arles period to be the most creative of his career. Afterwards, go to the Carrières de Lumières, where are treated to a spectacular presentation of art, sound, and history projected on the walls of caves. Alternatively, venture to the medieval hilltop village, Les Baux de Provence, followed by a visit to an olive farm where you can learn about age-old Provençal traditions from a master olive miller as well as sample the olive oil. During the afternoon, you can join a walking tour of Arles highlighting top sites, including the Romanesque cathedral and Roman amphitheater, or take a guided bike tour to the Roman ruins. For those who wish to delve further into Van Gogh’s Arles, join a special walking tour along with a visit to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, showcasing his legacy.
Day 11: Arles | Disembark | Barcelona, Spain
Disembark your ship in Arles and travel a short distance to Nîmes. See the highlights of this delightful town with one of the finest collections of Roman buildings in France. Afterwards, board the TGV high-speed train to the city that inspired Antoni Gaudí and is certain to inspire you.
Day 12: Barcelona
Barcelona, the bustling capital of Catalonia, is an artist’s, architect’s, foodie’s, historian’s and culturist’s dream. Tour the cobblestoned lanes of the Gothic Quarter in the medieval city center and Las Ramblas. Visit Montjuïc Hill and see some of Antoni Gaudí’s imaginative architectural creations, including Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia.
Day 13: Barcelona
Spend a full day at leisure to discover the vast treasures of this eclectic city.
Day 14: Depart Barcelona
Bid farewell to Barcelona and prepare for your homeward flight.
255 sq. feet. 4 cabins on
Violin Deck. French balcony, sitting area, bathtub and shower, Infotainment system, safe, hair dryer, bathrobes, A/C, ample closet space.
- 7 nights luxury accommodation in an outside stateroom (most with French balconies)
- Computer for internet access
- Entertainment-On-Demand in all staterooms featuring free high-speed internet access, movies, a music library and English language TV stations
- Desk and sitting area
- Bottled water replenished daily
- Wellness Program with a dedicated Wellness Host leading various exercise classes as well as discussions on healthy eating and relaxation techniques, both on board and on shore.
- Personalized service from a highly trained Cruise Manager during both cruise and land programs
- Internet and Wi-Fi access
- Sun deck whirlpool and walking track
- Fitness room, massage services and hair salon
- Main Lounge with panoramic views and bar
- Daily entertainment including cultural performances
- All onboard dining in a variety of venues
- Regionally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients
- The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
- Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Dinner, Captain's Cocktail and Gala Dinner
- La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs exclusive dining experience
- Unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast
- Sip & Sail Daily Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks
- Tapas, sandwiches, snacks and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge
- Immersive tours in every destination
- Gentle, regular, active and late-riser tour options
- Bike tours and hikes
- Special Interest Tours
- Knowledgeable guides
- Personal headset for easy exploration
- Airport transfers with purchase of air from the expedition company
- Land Program
- 3 nights hotel in Barcelona at Le Méridien Barcelona (or similar), including dailybreakfast
- Transfer with high-speed TGV train from Barcelona to Nîmes with highlights tour and then transfer to the ship in Arles
- Transfer from Lyon to Paris via high-speed TGV train
- 3 nights hotel in Paris at the Renaissance Arc de Triomphe or the Renaissance Paris Le Parc Trocadero (or similar), including daily breakfast
Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.