12417
France
The Best of the Rhone River From Provence to Paris
Alongside local scholars, explore the Rhone aboard a deluxe river ship, discovering ancient vineyards, Old World villages, Provencal history and the artistic legacy of Paul Cezanne.
Rating (5)
Program No. 12417RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
3,795
Special Offer
Flights start at
950
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13 days
12 nights
29 meals
11 B 8 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Departure from the U.S.
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival and Orientation in Aix-en-Provence
Aix en Provence
D
APPART'HÔTEL ODALYS ATRIUM

Activity note: Transfer time from the Marseille Airport to Aix en Provence is about 30 min.

Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel and then take some time to rest and freshen up before orientation. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Cézanne in Aix
Aix en Provence
B,L,D
APPART'HÔTEL ODALYS ATRIUM

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a walking field trip around Aix-en-Provence to discover this historic city and heart of Provence. Discover the old religious and civil districts around the cathedral and the city hall, 17th and 18th century mansions' façades, typical squares with their fountains and the Cours Mirabeau.

Lunch: At a local bistro.

Afternoon: This afternoon there will be an on-site lecture about the Footsteps of Cézanne. Explore the artist's birthplace and the landscape that inspired many of his paintings. We will then take the coach to return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
The Classic Coastal Village of Cassis
Aix en Provence
B,L
APPART'HÔTEL ODALYS ATRIUM

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Today the coach will depart to Cassis where you will discover the famous and unique calanques (deep narrow bays). Learn about their geological history and how they determined the way of living in this little Provençal village.

Lunch: At the old port.

Afternoon: The coach will transfer you back to Aix via the crest road. As you travel along, your guide will discuss the Mediterannean environment and the impact of civilization on the landscape. Upon your return, take the rest of the afternoon to explore Aix.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
The Camargue Landscapes and Traditions
Martigues
B,L,D
CroisiEurope MS Van Gogh

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, the coach departs Aix with luggage for Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Today you will learn about the traditions and history of the Camargue: "France's Wild West." Explore the manade and learn about daily life on the ranch, with its roots in the traditions and history of the Camargue.

Lunch: At Manade Cavallini, a typical ranch or bull farm located in the heart of the Camargue serving local specialties.

Afternoon: This afternoon, explore Saintes Maries de la Mer with her mythical church and have some free time there. Then we board the coach to Pont de Gau. At the Ornithological Park you will have a chance to glimpse the wealth of marine birds that call this area home and perhaps even sight the elusive pink flamingo. The coach will then transfer us to Martigues for embarkation of the ship. Dinner and orientation will take place in the evening. The orientation will cover all safety aspects during the cruise, as well as drink cards, deposits for the TV remote, and a welcome dinner.

Dinner: Welcome cocktail and leisurely dinner and evening on the barge. Drinks included are: mineral water, fruit juice, tea, coffee, house wine and beer. Champagne and wines on the special wine list are available for an additional charge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Arles' Roman Roots
Avignon
B,L,D
CroisiEurope MS Van Gogh

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning there will be a lecture about Arles: France's Roman Roots in the South of France. A coach will transfer you to Arles to learn about the games enjoyed by the Romans in the amphitheater, a splendid and complex piece of architecture which still remains standing in the middle of the city. You will then have some free time to explore the market or other sites of interest in Arles.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: This afternoon you have some free time to explore Arles on your own and perhaps take a moment to appreciate the Romanesque architecture represented in Saint Trophime church. For those of you who prefer to remain with the group, you can join your local expert for a walking discovery of Arles, which includes some of the sites that inspired Van Gogh.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Avignon and the Palais des Papes
Viviers
B,L,D
CroisiEurope MS Van Gogh

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning we will explore the medieval city of Avignon on foot. Enjoy a walking discovery of the austere and imposing Palais des Papes, where we will learn about the history of papacy in Avignon. You may even get a chance to visit the Saint Benezet Bridge, known as "Le Pont d'Avignon," made famous by the children's song.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: As we cruise toward Viviers, enjoy a discussion about Provence through the centuries, revealing a melting pot of civilizations.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: Enjoy an optional evening stroll in Viviers with your Group Leader.

DAY
8
Rural Villages and the Essence of Provence
Tain l'Hermitage
B,L,D
CroisiEurope MS Van Gogh

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning you will have the opportunity to visit rural Provence and breathe in the country air at the beautiful family gardens of la Garde Adhemar. En route to rejoin the boat in La Voulte, you will stop in Cliousclat, a town specializing in traditional pottery.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: This afternoon, there will be an on-board discussion about the Wine Regions along the Rhone and the Origin of Wine. Later, we will take a field trip to a small wine cellar in Tain l'Hermitage where you will taste some of the regional wines paired with local specialties.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
The Northern Rhone and Historic Lyon
Lyon
B,L,D
CroisiEurope MS Van Gogh

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning, we will take a short walk along the bridge that connects Vienne to visit the Roman Temple of Augustus. We will then take the coach to the Gallo Roman museum. There will be a lecture about Roman Vestiges of the Northern Rhône. Explore the Saint-Romain-en-Gal museum and archaeological site and learn about the everyday life of the ancient Romans. Then continue on to the Chaponost Aqueduct where you will marvel at the amazing beauty and technology created more than 2,000 years ago. Later on, the coach will depart for Lyon.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, go back in time and look at urban development in the Middle Ages and Renaissance as we explore Lyon, a world UNESCO heritage city. Lyon sits at the confluence of two great rivers: the Saône and Rhône. Long at the center of European trade due to its strategic location, the city serves as a midway point of France. Next, we will take the funicular down to Old Lyon for further exploration of the architecture, hidden traboules and alleyways of one of the greatest Renaissance sites in France. Later, enjoy some free time to explore Lyon.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Monastic Tournus and the Vineyards of Burgundy
Chalon sur Saône
B,L,D
CroisiEurope MS Van Gogh

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Your Group Leader will present a lecture on the history of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy and the history of France from the fall of the Roman Empire to 1477.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: You will explore the monastic city of Tournus and learn about the role of monasteries in the wine trade. Then travel to a family vineyard where you will have the opportunity to taste the great wines of southern Burgundy and talk with a cellar master about his work.

Dinner: Farewell dinner and evening celebration on board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
The Fortified City of Beaune
Paris
B,D
Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning, leave your ship behind and head towards Paris, driving past some of the world's most renowned vineyards. Stop in Beaune for an educational stroll of the fortified city, capital of the Burgundy wine trade, and enjoy an on-site lecture at the famous Hospices de Beaune.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: As the coach travels to Paris, your group leader will talk about life as a French immigrant.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Medieval Paris and Île de la Cité
Paris
B,D
Best Western Premier Opera Faubourg

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, accompanied by an expert lecturer and Paris resident, you will explore medieval Paris and the Île de la Cité.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: The coach will transfer those who wish to return to the hotel. Those who desire to continue exploring the city may do so, but must make their own way back for dinner.

Dinner: The coach will transfer you to the farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Enjoy a monument ride by bus around Paris after dinner to enjoy the "City of Light."

DAY
13
Departure from Paris
Paris
B

Breakfast: Buffet at hotel.