French Art Voyage: Paris, the Rhône and the French Riviera

Discover French artistry from the Mediterranean to Paris, reveling in museums, sculpture gardens, vineyards and the timeless landscapes that inspired many of Europe’s masters.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22040RJ
14 days
Starts at
Flights start at
2 Reviews
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5 Average

"French Art Voyage..." is impressive for the amazing amount of important places and artist-related sites in French art history we visited, and the number of scenic French cities and towns included. I'd been to Paris, Normandy, and Brittany before, but not the south of France. This program revealed the beauty and history of this area and the Rhone River Valley. The MS Van Gogh (where most nights are spent ) was the right size (54 cabins) with a friendly, efficient staff, and meals with a French flair. We visited so many towns and villages along the Rhone and Saone Rivers that I had to make a list when I returned home. All were beautiful and several had significant Roman ruins. The highlight of the trip for me was the art of the Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave, discovered in 1994 with the replica opening in 2016. That was truly taking an "art voyage" - looking at 38,000 year old cave art which showed a beauty and sophistication I will always remember. Other highlights included looking through the hospital room window from which Van Gogh viewed the landscape to paint Starry Night and seeing Cezanne's studio with the props he used in his painting. Of course I wish we could have spent more time at Lyon and some other places, but we saw so much. I recommend the trip highly.


We had thoroughly wonderful time on this program. Our leader, Kate, was first rate and kept things organized, interesting, and fun. We saw some amazing art, and our local guides helped us understand it at a deeper level. Since we started in southern France, there was a strong emphasis on the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, but other art movements were explored as well. The food was absolutely delicious, even everyday meals were special. The architecture was fascinating, from ancient Roman ruins to Gothic cathedrals, to a Russian Orthodox church, to a modern Matisse-designed chapel, to small village houses, every location was different and a new adventure. Our personal favorite location was the small fortified hilltop city of St. Paul de Vence, full of lots of twisty passages all different. The cruise on the Rhone River far exceeded our expectations. The ship, MS Van Gogh, had just had a total retrofit and was surprisingly roomy and fresh - the perfect balance of luxury and casual feel. The crew worked hard to ensure that we were comfortable. This was our first riverboat cruise, but won’t be our last. There is always something to see, you dock right near the sites, you travel without have to unpack each night, and the food was the best I have had on a RS trip. RS always seems to attract interesting people to their programs, and we enjoyed spending time and exchanging stories with our fellow travelers. RS had an exclusive booking of the MS Van Gogh and we shared the ship with three other RS programs. It was fun getting to know the other travelers and the other leaders. If you love art, if you love gourmet food, if you love ancient buildings, if you love French culture, if you love riverboat cruising, then this is a great program to choose. And if you don’t currently know much about those things, you will learn to love them by the time your trip ends.

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