Burgundy, the River Rhône & Provence River Cruise
Visit to Beaune, centre of the Burgundy wine region and wine tasting
Cruise the spectacular Rhône valley
Guided tour of Lyon, second city of France and its gastronomic capital
Visit to charming Vienne
Tour of the astonishing Ardeche Gorges
Guided tour of Arles, with its extraordinary Roman remains and home of Vincent Van Gogh
Visit to the Pont du Gard
Tour of superbly preserved, medieval Avignon and the stunning Pope's Palace
Services of an experienced Cruise Director and Concierge
Prices are per person based on one person in a twin cabin for sole occupancy. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, coach travel as mentioned and the services of a Riviera River Cruises cruise director and concierge.
Please note that on-board Wi-Fi speeds may vary.
EMBARK IN LYON
The dedicated English-speaking crew will welcome you on board and help you to your cabin. After settling in to your spacious and tastefully furnished accommodation, there’s time to familiarize yourself with this five-star floating hotel.
After our first splendid breakfast, we’ve a leisurely start enjoying a guided tour of Lyon, one of France’s most fascinating cities. There are many Roman remains to see, but it was the production of silk that brought Lyon to prominence during the Middle Ages, and throughout the city you can see signs of the wealth that poured in – Renaissance buildings, imposing churches and Europe’s largest pedestrian square, Place Bellecour, with a statue of Louis XIV as its focus. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is crammed with antique shops and intriguing traboules – narrow covered passageways enabling silk merchants to transport their wares to the river without getting wet – that today are a joy to amble through.
CHALON & BEAUNE
Rising this morning we’re berthed in Chalon, gateway to Burgundy and home of Nicéphore Niépce, the inventor of photography. On this morning’s tour we see some of the pretty yet surprisingly small villages that produce some of the world’s most sublime wines – Meursault, Volnay, Pommard, Gevrey-Chambertin and many more. Nearby is medieval Beaune, Burgundy’s wine capital, which is wonderful to wander around.
VIENNE & TOURNON
Overnight the ship has cruised almost imperceptibly downstream and we enjoy breakfast in Vienne, first a Celtic settlement, then a Roman stronghold under Julius Caesar. Strikingly located in a narrow section of the Rhône where the river meanders dramatically around a steep bluff, Vienne is a treasure trove of historic remains, including the stunning Roman Temple of Augustus and Livia, and a walk around its streets really brings its heritage to life.
This morning we cruise effortlessly downstream. In the distance you’ll catch glimpses of the Alps and, as we approach Valence, the landscape gradually becomes less green with more ochres and magentas, the houses have sloping terracotta roofs typical of the Mediterranean and the air carries heady aromas of pine and cypress. You can only be in the Midi or – as we call it – the south of France. It’s so relaxing to catch up on some reading or just laze in the sun.
ARLES & PONT DU GARD
You awake under the azure skies of deepest Provence and amid the warm stone colours of Arles, many of whose historic monuments are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Although small in size, it was the key stronghold on the Roman road to Spain, one of the empire’s richest possessions. Seagoing ships could reach here and the city became a regional capital, briefly ruling over Gaul, Spain and Britain. Our guided tour will help you appreciate the finer points of Arles’s magnificent Roman remains, including the splendid amphitheatre, one of the best preserved in the world, the earlier theatre built during the reign of Augustus and the Alyscamps, the ancient necropolis with its extraordinary atmosphere.
After lunch we visit the amazing Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
The light catching the red roofs of Avignon’s majestic skyline is a sight to behold over breakfast, after which we embark on a guided tour of one of the most extraordinary and intriguing cities in France. Avignon’s destiny changed during the 14th century, when the Pope’s court moved here to avoid strife in Rome. Igniting a century of prosperity, the Pontiff commissioned a host of ambitious building projects, and today the city is immaculately preserved, nestling behind its almost-intact 14th-century walls and boasting more remarkable monuments, superbly decorated buildings, churches, chapels and convents than you can possibly count. Most important is the stunning Popes’ Palace, made up of two buildings that together form the largest Gothic palace in the world.
This evening we enjoy the sumptuous Captain’s Dinner, with the chef serving specialities of the regions you’ve visited during your voyage of discovery.
When To Go:
June to Sept