Day 01 - Avignon
Arrive at Marseille International Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship docked in Avignon.
Day 02 - Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Arles walking discovery tour or Tarascon walking discovery tour.
Explore one of two sun-drenched Provençal towns today, each with an allure all its own. Known for its remarkable Roman ruins, Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings there; Tarascon boasts an ancient castle, as well as a local legend about a ferocious dragon. Arles has existed since the sixth century BC, when the ancient Greeks founded it and named it Theline. It was here that the Romans built their first bridge across the Rhône River, creating a vital overland route between Italy and Spain and facilitating the expansion of their empire. Long renowned as one of the region’s most attractive cities, it lured artist Vincent van Gogh, who painted hundreds of works here (including Sunflowers and The Yellow House) in just 15 months. A short distance from Arles is the ancient and charming town of Tarascon. Its many medieval sites include a 12th-century church and a 15th-century castle that is rich with tales of a beloved ruler. Bask in the warmth of the Provençal sunlight in either of these friendly Mediterranean towns. A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Day 03 - Avignon
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Avignon walking discovery tour and choice of Palace of the Popes or Pont du Gard, and exclusive guided " Go Active" kayak ride on the Gardon River.
Avignon—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is endlessly inviting; cafés and boutiques line tree-shaded squares enlivened with street performers. Discover the city built by the Avignon papacy with your guide, including the vast Palace of the Popes, or visit the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard built by the Romans 2,000 years ago. If you prefer to see a different side of the city, join a local expert to venture “off the beaten path.” Discover the city’s picturesque hidden alleys and secret squares, strolling from enchanting Place Crillon to the Jewish quarter, and end at Place Pie, in the old city centre, home to Avignon’s famous market hall. Here you’ll want to stroll through, as there is a treasure trove of Provençal delicacies on display. Later in the day, you can also “Go Active” by paddling a kayak on the tranquil Gardon River. Note: The kayak ride on the Gardon River is only available for May through September departure dates.
Day 04 - Viviers
Exclusive intimate Viviers “Village Day”
Viviers retains much of its medieval character and charm, with narrow lanes and historic structures. See the sights on foot, then climb Rue du Château to take in the view from the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. Afterwards, you can go inside the cathedral to hear a recital of music by Puccini, Bach and Handel. Before returning to the ship, spend time enjoying some local activities. You have a choice to learn the art of clay pot making at a demonstration, and then be treated to an aperitif of the local favorites, such as olives, rosé wine and apricot juice, or you can enjoy your aperitif at a private mansion in the village.
Day 05 - Tournon, Tain l'Hermitage
Choice of Tournon and Tain-I’Hermitage twin villages stroll with wine tasting OR exclusive guided “Go Active” Hermitage vineyards hike with wine tasting
Nestled on opposite sides of the river in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage are an ideal destination for wine connoisseurs. Experience this famous wine district in one of two ways. Explore Tournon and its historic castle, then cross over the suspension bridge to Tain-l’Hermitage to taste Côtes du Rhône wines. If you prefer to explore the Hermitage vineyards more actively, then take a guided hike through the steepest vineyards on the Rhône, where the world-famous wines are produced. After you’ve seen how the grapes are grown, taste the fruit that has been transformed by the vintners’ craft into legendary wine.
Day 06 - Lyon
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of exclusive " Do as the Locals Do" Lyon walking tour or exclusive silk weavers walking tour, and exclusive guided" Go Active" Lyon peninsula bicycle tour.
As the epicenter of French gastronomy, Lyon is a city of tantalizing contrasts. There’s much to explore here, from the work of culinary visionaries to silk weavers’ secret passageways. After your choice of excursions, embrace the locals’ favorite mode of transportation with a patisserie-fueled bike ride—a great way to see the sights. Two rivers: one tranquil, one torrential. Two hills: one for labor, where the sound of the silk weavers’ looms used to echo; the other for prayers, crowned by a spectacular basilica. Two cities, as different as night and day: one boasting colorful Old World façades, medieval mansions and hidden passageways; one with a sophisticated urbanity reminiscent of Paris. Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and with roots stretching back over 2,000 years to the days of Julius Caesar, Lyon is a place of fascinating dualities. Today you have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts: Sample its culinary riches with a visit to its peerless market hall or follow the footsteps of the silk weavers in the old quarter. For a more active option, see the city from its extensive—and lovely—bike paths.
Day 07 - Macon (Beaune)
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Burgundy wine landscapes, Beaune, Hospices de Beaune with open-air farmers' market visit or Macon walking discovery tour
The pace of life is decidedly more relaxed in Burgundy, where endless rows of grapes hang heavy on the vine. The capital of the region’s wine trade, Beaune, is renowned for its history, beauty and highly prized wine, as well as its medieval-era hospital—the Hospices de Beaune. Located in the southernmost part of Burgundy, Mâcon, a Saône River port, is your gateway to Beaune. A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Day 08 - Lyon (Disembark)
Disembark the ship and transfer to the Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport for your flight home, or extend your stay with a visit to Paris.