From the magic of Paris to the romance of Barcelona, this itinerary is truly captivating. Begin with three nights in Paris, then travel in style aboard the high-speed TGV train to Lyon, France’s gastronomical capital. From there, cruise through France’s legendary wine growing regions, home to such famous vintages as Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône. Enjoy wine tastings at local vintners, marvel at ancient Roman ruins, stroll through medieval villages and shop for Provencal crafts. Your itinerary includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon as well as Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh spent much of his life. Conclude your journey with three nights in magnificent Barcelona or opt for a 2 night stay in Marseille, one of France's most vibrant cities.
Tour Paris' famous sites such as the Eiffel Tower & Notre Dame
Visit the home of a local vintner & enjoy a wine tasting
Arrive in Barcelona and check-in to your hotel. The balance of the day is free to start exploring this beautiful city.
Day 2: Barcelona
Your full day in Barcelona begins with a driving tour to the top of Montjuic Hill where you can enjoy glorious views of the city below. Continue along the waterfront to Las Ramblas, the iconic tree-lined boulevard at the heart of the city. Explore the Gothic Quarter, the medieval center of the city. Your tour also includes the unique architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, including Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia, the basilica and UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been under construction for over a century.
Day 3: Barcelona
Enjoy a full day at your leisure, or take part in an optional excursion to Montserrat, where you can visit the famous Benedictine Abbey atop Montserrat Mountain. This evening is free for you to explore Barcelona after dark.
After breakfast, transfer from Barcelona to Arles, the gateway to Provence. Along the way, stop in the medieval town of Perpignan, France, close to the Mediterranean. Here, take free time for lunch and explore on your own. Continue on your transfer, passing through the eerie marshland region of the Camargue before arriving in Arles and boarding your ship. This evening, meet your fellow passengers for a Welcome Dinner.
This morning, board a motor coach for an excursion to the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence. The village’s castle provides a fascinating exhibit of medieval siege weaponry. Later, visit an olive farm to learn about this age-old Provençal farming tradition. As an alternative, take the “Impressionist Experience” excursion to the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Van Gogh painted such well-known works as The Irises and Starry Night. Late this afternoon, your city tour of Arles takes you to the Romanesque cathedral and the Roman Amphitheater. This evening cruise to nearby Avignon. As your ship docks, look for the Avignon Bridge, made famous by the French children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon” (“On the Bridge of Avignon”).
This morning, choose between two excursions in and around historic Avignon. Seven popes once resided in the magnificent Gothic Papal Palace, which you may visit during your city walking tour. Also see 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. In the afternoon, visit the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape region where you can enjoy a wine tasting, tour a local vineyard and learn about the wines and winemaking process. Return to the ship and cruise to Viviers, where the ship moors overnight.
After breakfast, take an excursion to Grignan, a magnificent hilltop village surrounded by lavender fields. The village’s Renaissance castle provides a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy some free time to explore local shops for confections, homemade lavender soaps and other crafts. You also have an opportunity to visit a truffle farm and learn about truffle harvesting. Rejoin the ship in Le Pouzin, then cruise to Tournon as you enjoy an onboard wine lecture. This evening, enjoy a “Red Wine & Chocolate Pairing” at the Tournon Chateau.
This morning, enjoy a scenic drive to the Tain-l’Hermitage region for a wine tasting. Return to the ship in time for lunch onboard as you sail towards Vienne. Arrive this afternoon in Vienne, situated between the wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais. Vienne has a significant Roman history, which is highlighted by its marvelously preserved ruins and remains.
Vienne’s Roman past can be readily seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. This morning, take a guided walking tour of Vienne 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. Enjoy an onboard wine lecture and tasting as your ship departs for Lyon, arriving mid-afternoon. Your panoramic tour of Lyon takes you to the Place Bellecour with its equestrian statue of Louis XIV, the Place des Terreaux with Bartholdi’s Fountain, and the Town Hall. Afterwards, visit Fourvière, part of the historic region designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the “Hill of Prayers,” Fourvière is famous for its iconic white Basilica of Notre-Dame, ruins of a Roman theater, and majestic views of the city below. Tonight’s Captain’s Gala Dinner is a memorable feast for the senses. The ship moors overnight in Lyon.
This morning, enjoy some free time in Lyon to explore on your own or shop for souvenirs and gifts. The ship departs after noon and cruises to Collonges for your excursion through the Beaujolais wine region, 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 and the home of a local vintner, where you can enjoy a wine tasting and vineyard tour, and learn about the history of wine production in the region. Rejoin the ship in Collonges and return to Lyon, arriving late tonight.
Day 11: Lyon | Disembarkation | Paris, France
After disembarking the ship, guests continuing on to Paris are treated to a demonstration of Lyonnaise cooking. Take some free time for lunch on your own before transferring to the train station to board a TGV high-speed train that whisks you through the French countryside to Paris. Upon arrival in Paris, transfer to your hotel. This evening, an optional “Parisian Cabaret Dinner Show" is available, featuring excellent French cuisine and a fantastic, high-spirited theatrical performance.
Day 12: Paris
Enjoy Paris’ famous sights during this morning's guided tour where you can see the Champs Élysées, Place de la Concorde, and the Eiffel Tower. Conclude your visit at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. The afternoon is free for you to explore the “City of Lights.” Tonight, an optional “Montmartre & Illuminations” tour is available, with breathtaking and not-to-be-missed views of Paris after dark.
Day 13: Paris
Enjoy your last full day in Paris at your leisure.
Day 14: Depart Paris
Your splendid vacation comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight.
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