Solo Burgundy, Rhone & Provence Riviera Travel River Cruise
From the lush slopes of the scenic winelands to the sun-baked hills of Provence and the wild beauty of the Ardèche Gorges to the medieval splendour of Avignon, enjoy a fascinating cruise to one of the most picturesque corners of France.
Arrive for your flight to Lyon, Marseille or Montpellier, or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord, where you will be met by a guide and escorted on a coach transfer to Gare de Lyon to board a high-speed TGV to Avignon. On arrival transfer by coach to your ship moored in Avignon’s historic centre. 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 familiarise yourself with this five-star floating hotel.
The light catching the red roofs of Avignon’s majestic skyline is a sight to behold over breakfast, after which you'll embark on a guided tour of one of the most extraordinary and intriguing cities in France. After lunch you’re free to explore as you wish, perhaps visiting the nearby Petit Palais, the former home of the archbishops of Avignon, to cast a critical eye over the remarkable collection of over 300 paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including works by Botticelli and Carpaccio. Or take a stroll on the iconic Pont d’Avignon, which, dramatically, ends halfway across the river, made famous by the melody we all recall from our first French lessons. You may wish to do some shopping, or just find a quiet café in a shady Provençal square to watch the world go by. Perhaps though, return to the luxurious surroundings of our ship, finding a quiet spot to contemplate the many wondrous places you’ve seen and experienced over a quiet cup of tea.
Returning on board for dinner, the ship sets sail towards your next destination, Arles arriving later that evening.
You awake under the azure skies of deepest Provence, amid the warm stone colours of Arles, many of whose historic monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Your guided tour will help you appreciate the finer points of Arles’ 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. The disturbed but great genius of an artist, Van Gogh, lived in Arles for just over a year, from February 1888. It was his most prolific period and, inspired by Arles and the light and beauty of the Provençal countryside, he produced around 300 works, including The Night Café, The Sower and, of course, Sunflowers. After lunch visit the amazing Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Re-joining the ship in Avignon, cruise towards Viviers during dinner.
This morning disembark after breakfast and whilst your ship effortlessly cruises upstream towards Le Pouzin, you will explore one of France’s most outstanding landscapes – the Ardèche Gorges, whose scale is a fitting reminder of Mother Nature’s awesome power. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon on board – perhaps catching up on some reading or just lazing in the sun as the temperature rises, before you arrive in the pretty provincial town of Tournon with its lovely tree-lined avenues. Across the river, you’ll see the vine-covered hillsides producing Hermitage, yet another of the world’s most revered wines – a fitting view as you enjoy another exquisite dinner in the ship’s excellent restaurant.
During breakfast this morning, you’ll slip our moorings and cruise north through one of the most spectacular sections of the Rhône Valley, as the river squeezes and twists pasts Condrieu, Saint-Rambert-d’Albon and Saint-Vallier, with wooded cliffs rising high on both sides. Traditionally these stretches were the most dangerous due to fierce currents and varying water levels but, with the waters now tamed by a series of locks whose complex mechanisms never cease to fascinate, you can relax on the Sun Deck taking in the exceptional views. After lunch arrive in the ancient Roman stronghold of 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.
You will also have some free time to explore at your leisure before returning to the ship for dinner, during which you commence your cruise towards Chalon-sur-Saône.
Overnight you have made steady progress north and mid-morning you arrive in and berth in Chalon, gateway to Burgundy and the home of Nicéphore Niépce, the inventor of photography. On today’s tour you 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. At its centre is the Hospices de Beaune, also known as the Hôtel-Dieu. Originally built in the 15th century as a hospital for the disadvantaged, it’s a jewel of High Gothic architecture, instantly recognisable for its colourful glazed roof tiles arranged in dazzling geometric patterns. A prestigious annual wine auction takes place here each November, with proceeds going to benefit the Hospices and its charity work. Of course, you can’t visit Burgundy without sampling its amazing wines, so we visit the cellars of a leading traditional winemaker for a tour and tasting.
Later return to ship and as you slip your moorings once again, enjoy an aperitif with newly made friends in the convivial bar before tonight’s dinner.
One of river cruising’s great pleasures is the fascination of waking in a completely different location and on waking this morning, the ship arrives in Lyon. After your last splendid breakfast, we’ve a leisurely start enjoying a guided tour of Lyon, one of France’s most fascinating cities. It’s your final afternoon in which you are free to explore Lyon further or perhaps though, return to the sumptuous surroundings of your ship, head up on to the Sun Deck and just contemplate the wondrous places you have seen and experienced over a quiet cup of tea. This evening the Captain’s dinner takes place, serving specialities of the regions you have visited during your voyage of discovery through this fascinating country.
After breakfast this morning you must reluctantly leave the ship and the dedicated crew as you transfer to the airport for your flight home.
|3 November 2020^||£1,879|
- Return flights from the UK - regional airports/Eurostar are available but may carry a supplement
- 7 Nights on board your choice of River Cruise Ship
- All Meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day. Including Welcome Cocktails & Dinner & Captains Dinner
- Guided tours in Lyon, Arles, Avignon & the stunning Pope's Palace, visits to Vienne and Beaune and excursions to the Ardeche Gorges & Pont du Gard.
- 5 Star service from English-speaking crew & knowledgeable local guides
- Complimentary WIFI on board
- All Port charges, airport taxes & overseas transfers
- Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager
- For all departures you can now purchase a drinks package, at a cost of £109
- Draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rose house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu are included with lunch & dinner.
- The drinks package must be purchased prior to departure. Ask the team for more information