Day 1 Arrive in Paris, France ( Embarkation )
Welcome to Paris, France’s capital on the River Seine, the “City of Light,” where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides smoothly out of Paris.
Day 2 Vernon – Les Andelys.
Included today: Choice of excursion to Giverny or Bizy Castle; guided walk in Les Andelys; visit the Parish church of Le Grand Andely.
This morning, choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s house and stunning gardens at Giverny or a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at Giverny for almost 43 years. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration including the lily pond and Japanese Bridge. Alternatively, visit Bizy Castle, built in 1740 and nicknamed ‘Normandy’s Versailles’. It is known for its famous stable, magnificent courtyard and water garden. After lunch, your ship arrives in Les Andelys, perched on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France. Join a Local Guide for a walk of the town, including a visit to the Parish Church of Le Grand Andely. The imposing Chteau Gaillard overlooks the town. Built by Richard the Lionheart in 1196 fearing an attack from France’s king, the chteau fortress was constructed in just one year and is truly a masterpiece of Middle Ages military architecture. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Caudebec.
Included today: Choice of either the ‘Normandy Villages’ or ‘Normandy Abbeys’ routes.
Either join an excursion along the Route des Chaumires ‘Normandy Villages Route’ to see some of Normandy’s charming and traditional half-timbered houses, with their long sloping thatched roofs, often sporting blue wooden doors and window shutters; or along the ‘Normandy’s Abbeys’ route, a short drive from Caudebec. More than 100 abbeys once covered this region, that has a micro climate particularly suited to the production of fruit such as apples, pears, plums, and cherries. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Caudebec.
Included today: Choice of excursion to Normandy Landing Beaches or A Taste of Normandy tour.
Choose between an included excursion to the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, visiting some of the most poignant sights of World War II such as Juno Beach, Pegasus Museum, and the British and Canadian Cemeteries, or a ‘Taste of Normandy’ tour for a more in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important produce include dairy, apples and grain. Camembert cheese is a speciality, as is Calvadosa, a strong apple brandy that you’ll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. For a touch of history, visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Rouen.
Included today: Guided sightseeing of Rouen.
Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned and was later burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Join the guided walk through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses and intricate Gros Horloge, an intricate Astronomical Clock dating back to the 16th century. Visit the splendid Gothic cathedral, once the tallest building in the world and subject of a series of Claude Monet’s paintings. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Conflans.
Included today: Choice of an excursion to either Auvers-sur-Oise or Napolean and Josephine’s Chteau de Malmaison.
After breakfast, why not join either our guided excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or visit Napoleon and Josephine’s Chteau de Malmaison just outside Paris? Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it ‘the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation’. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Paris.
Included today: Guided sightseeing or ‘Heart of Paris’ walk.
During your included city sightseeing tour of Paris, see the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its contrasting modern glass pyramid and striking Renaissance architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower, a structural masterpiece of its age. Alternatively you may wish to join a guided walk through historic Ile St Louis and Ile de la Cit. In your free time, perhaps stroll the Champs-Elyses, visit the world-famous Louvre or head to Montmartre to enjoy its gleaming white Sacr Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on the Place du Tertre. The city is well known for its colourful nightlife and an optional outing to one of Paris’ famous cabarets might be available tonight. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation) – Dijon – Beaune – St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation) – Seurre
Included today: Choice of visit to Htel Dieu or Burgundy wine tasting in Beaune.
This morning, say goodbye to your crew and board the TGV train to Dijon. From there, drive to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Cte d’Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, ageing, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centres around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years’ War left many of the town’s population destitute. Today, it houses Van der Weyden’s painting of The Last Judgement and is one of France’s architectural highlights. Continue to St. Jean de Losne where your ship awaits. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as you depart for Seurre. (B, D)
Day 9 Seurre – Macon
Included today:Leisurely cruising; free time in Macon; cheese tasting.
Enjoy some leisurely cruising this morning, before arriving in Macon, a city that plays an important role in the wine trade. Free time allows you to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, you may choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as a visit to a wine cellar. Before dinner, enjoy an on-board CHEESE TASTING. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Lyon.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Lyon is France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Founded by the Romans in 43BC, the city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial and banking activities. Today Lyon offers up a wealth of Roman ruins, excellent museums and Renaissance architecture. With a local guide, survey the city from Fourvire Hill and explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafs, monuments and the famous fountain. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Lyon.
Enjoy a free day in this fascinating city to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon’s parks, discover some of the murals or choose from a range of optional excursions. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample the wine of the region: Beaujolais, wine connoisseurs know that the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have plenty of suggestions for things to do. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Tournon & Tain l’Hermitage – Viviers.
Included today: Guided walks in Tournon and Viviers.
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhne River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A local guide will show you Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th century castle and Roman ruins. Cruise to Viviers, arriving late afternoon, where the included guided walk introduces you to this charming town, developed around its Romanesque Cathedral. The Old Town has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Avignon.
Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes.
The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region and one of the most picturesque regions of Provence. Dominated by the grandiose Palace of the Popes, the city is often referred to as the ‘City of Popes’ and was the centre of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. During the guided tour, you can choose to join an included visit to the Palace of the Popes or you may opt for further city sightseeing and either time at leisure or one of the optional excursions to Pont du Gard or to the wine cellars of Chteauneuf-du-Pape. (B, L, D)
Day 14 Arles.
Included today: Sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting) Guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheatre.
This morning wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting), before arriving in Arles after breakfast. In Arles, Located on the northern tip of the Camargue, and Arles is the capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you’ll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. (B, L, D)
Day 15 Arles – Cte d’Azur.
After breakfast, disembark your cruise ship and drive along the Cte d’Azur to the Fairmont Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo (or similar). Also known as the French Riviera, the Cte d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border and is synonymous with prestige and beauty. (B)
Day 16 Cte d’Azur.
Transfer to the airport or station for your journey to the UK. (B)