Burgundy & Provence (Avignon to Lyon)
8 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Rating:
Day 1 – Avignon
Arrive at Marseille International Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship docked in Avignon.
Day 2 – Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Arles walking discovery tour OR Tarascon walking discovery tour
Vincent van Gogh found inspiration in Arles and you will, too. Under the spell of the Provençal light and the vivid colors of nature, he spent a period of impassioned work under these bright sunny skies. As you explore the capital of the Camargue region with your local expert, see Van Gogh’s Arles, as well as a fascinating wealth of Roman monuments, such as the Amphitheatre and Constantine’s baths. For those who wish to discover another wonderful town along the Rhône, visit Tarascon, home to the oldest producer of French-made indiennes, Souleiado, established in 1806. In the evening, enjoy a festive Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
Day 3 – Avignon
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Avignon walking discovery tour with choice of Palace of the Popes OR Pont du Gard OR choice of exclusive “Off the Beaten Path” Avignon walking discovery tour, 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 center, 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 4 – Viviers
FEATURED EXCURSION: 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 5 – Tournon, Tain l'Hermitage
Choice of exclusive Tournon and Tain-I’Hermitage village 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 6 – Lyon
Choice of exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon tour OR exclusive silk weavers walking discovery tour OR exclusive guided “Go Active” Lyon peninsula bike tour, and exclusive Lyon “Illuminations” tour
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. You have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts. Foodies will want to delve into France’s capital of gastronomy with a guided tour of Les Halles, Lyon’s world-famous food market, taking in a tantalizing array of elaborate food stalls, bars and restaurants. In addition to being known for its culinary heritage, Lyon is also known for its history with silk—at one time, almost a third of the city’s population were silk weavers—so for those who enjoy this dignified fabric, you’ll be delighted to discover its heritage, and you’ll even have a chance to see a Jacquard loom in use. For a more active exploration of the city, pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind. Cap the day off on an evening tour showcasing the best way to see the city’s architectural heritage, with over 100 sites illuminated.
Day 7 – Macon (Beaune)
FEATURED EXCURSION: Beaune, Hospices de Beaune, and open-air food market visit
Beaune may not be a large town, but it brims with history, a wealth of splendid regional architecture and incredible food. You’ll recognize the Hospices de Beaune immediately by its fabulous multicolored tile roof—it’s a symbol of Burgundy. Learn about Burgundy’s celebrated wines on an excursion here, where monks have been making and selling wine to support their charitable work since the 15th century. Afterwards, check out the farmers’ market, which spills from street to street in the Old Town. Cheeses, fruits, vegetables, local sausages, breads—all are on colorful display here. Celebrate the evening at the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. Note: The open-air food market visit will take place in Arles on the reverse direction cruise (Lyon to Avignon).
Day 8 – Depart Lyon
Disembark the ship and transfer to the Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport for your flight home, or extend your stay with a visit to Paris.
All This Included
A journey of exquisite pleasures.
Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin on this exquisite journey through southern France; the same beautiful countryside and culture that inspired the masters will now inspire you.
Cruise the Rhône and Saône rivers, enjoying the region’s incomparable wine and cuisine and discovering its many treasures—from the medieval wonders of UNESCO-designated Avignon to Lyon’s lively Les Halles food market. Stroll the very streets of Arles made famous by Van Gogh. Visit Avignon’s majestic Palace of the Popes. Experience “Village Day” in enchanting Viviers, including a recital of music composed by Bach and Handel. And for those who wish for a more active exploration of the area, you can kayak on the tranquil Gardon River under the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard; hike the steepest vineyards on the Rhône; and pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind while in Lyon. Explore unforgettable “Burgundy & Provence” where tradition is as deeply rooted as the historic grapevines on the hills.
Who will enjoy this cruise
Travelers wishing to walk through the lands that inspired Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin. History buffs, gastronomes and wine connoisseurs.
Connoisseur Collection (select sailings): Lyon is France’s culinary capital and home to Chef Paul Bocuse, considered an ambassador of modern French cuisine. Experience some of the Bocuse magic at l’Institut Paul Bocuse. Go in search of the “black diamond” at a truffle farm, where you’ll walk through the truffière with the owners and their trusted dog, learning how they cultivate the “black diamond.” Celebrate the tradition of winemaking at an induction ceremony by Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage Winemakers Brotherhoods. Wine, truffles and a taste of history are only a few of the highlights of your culinary journey.
Cruising: Cabin onboard S.S. Catherine
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.