Itinerary Detail

Grand Cruise through France
16 Days

trip overview | detailed itinerary
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Day 1  Sat USA - Marseilles
Board your overnight transatlantic flight to Marseilles
Day 2  Sun Marseilles - Arles
Transfer from Marseilles to Arles, where you will board the luxurious Princesse de Provence river cruise ship. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 3  Mon Arles
This morning, travel through the Provencal countryside, visiting the sleepy town of St-Remy-de-Provence, birthplace of Nostradamus, the famous 16th century seer. Tunnels of shady plane trees, channels of cool running water, and beautiful old houses line the narrow streets of the old city center. Next, drive through the Alpilles and the “Heart of Provence,” to the fortress village of Les-Baux-de-Provence, perched high on a ridge that towers above the scenic Les Baux Valley with superb views of Arles, the Camargues and the Alpilles. There is time to stroll through the village’s narrow lanes to admire the wellpreserved Renaissance facades before heading back to the ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, explore Arles, the quintessence of Provence, and a treasure trove of Roman monuments. See the same sun-drenched vistas and ancient monuments that inspired Van Gogh and Cézanne. Local guides will lead you through the town where you will see the bustling market square and ancient Roman ruins. Leaving Arles, cruise through the famous vineyards and famous landscapes of Provence to Avignon.
Day 4  Tue Avignon - Viviers
Nestled in the lush hills of the Rhône Valley lies the Medieval walled city of Avignon. This morning city tour includes a visit to the impressive 14th century Gothic Palace of the Popes, which housed a succession of nine popes, from 1309 to 1417, the Cathedral and the famous Pont St. Benezet. Back on the ship in time for lunch and a leisurely cruise up the Rhône River through the Côtes-du-Rhône wine region to the picturesque Medieval town of Viviers for overnight. Time at leisure after dinner to explore the main street with its magnificent 18th century residences.
Day 5  Wed Viviers – Tain l’Hermitage
This morning, cruise leisurely up the winding Rhône River. Disembark at Tain l’Hermitage for an exciting excursion to the Ardeche Region and the Doux Valley onboard “The Mastrou, ”a nostalgic steam train, built in 1900. This area is renown for its diverse and extraordinarily beautiful scenery, some of which is only accessible by this historical train - picturesque hill villages, the beautiful Doux Valley, spectacular river gorges, and the tempestuous Ardeche River itself. Rejoin the ship in time for dinner.
Day 6  Thu Vienne
This morning, join our guided walking tour of picturesque Roman Vienne, situated in the peaceful hills of the Rousillon region. Vienne has an extraordinary collection of Roman and Medieval heritage. Join a walking tour through the city and view the lovely cathedral and the Cybele Gardens. In the city center, get a glimpse of the city’s ancient Roman past with the Temple of Augustus and Livia, ordered by Roman emperor Claudius and the spectacular Roman Pyramid Circus. After some free time to wander around and shop, return to the ship for lunch and cruise upstream to Lyon. Your Lyon city tour includes a stop at Fourviere Hill to see Roman Lyon, and a splendid panorama of the Rhône and Saône rivers. We then visit Old Lyon lined with over 300 Medieval and Renaissance buildings. Later, rejoin the ship docked in Lyon in time for dinner. After dinner, there is time to wander around the bustling narrow alleys and streets of Old Lyon.
Day 7  Fri Lyon – Mâcon
This morning, you may want to join our optional excursion to Perouges. This authentic Medieval city is considered a historical treasure with its lavish 13th century timbered buildings. Cruise up the Saône River, past the vine-clad hills of the Beaujolais District to arrive in Mâcon, one of France’s major commercial wine centers.
Day 8  Sat Beaune – Lyon
This morning’s excursion takes you through the sun-drenched vineyards, ancient cities, and tranquil villages of France’s romantic southern Burgundy wine region to Beaune, the former capital of Burgundy, and commercial center of Burgundy’s wine trade. Visit the 15th century Hospices de Beaune, famous for its multicolored pattern-tiled roof and Great Hall, and enjoy lunch at a local winery before rejoining the ship for the cruise back to Lyon.
Day 9  Sun Lyon – Paris
Transfer between Lyon and Paris and board your luxurious floating hotel, the Cézanne, docked near the city center, making it easy to explore Paris on your own.
Day 10  Mon Paris
This morning, join our guided tour of Paris. See all the famous sights including the colorful Latin Quarter, the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées and much more.
Day 11  Tue Paris – Vernon
This morning is free to shop in Paris, relax in a sidewalk café, explore further or visit the famous Louvre Museum. At lunchtime, set sail down the Seine through the picturesque French countryside, arriving for overnight at the charming provincial town of Vernon, gateway to Normandy.
Day 12  Wed Giverny – Les Andelys
This morning, head for Giverny, home to Claude Monet’s beloved residence. Visit the restored home and studio of this famous impressionist painter, and wander through the spectacular gardens full of flowers that have inspired many of its most famous paintings. Wander around the famous waterlily ponds, and across the famous Japanese bridge. Rejoin the ship in time for lunch and continue cruising down the Seine to the small village of Les Andelys. Here, visit the imposing and dramatic ruins of Chateau Gaillard, built in the 12th century by Richard the Lionhearted, when he was Duke of Normandy (note: the castle is only accessible by foot.)
Day 13  Thu Caudebec en Caux – Jumièges
This morning, sail into the small town of Caudebec and visit the 15th century Gothic Cathedral in Caudebec. Then continue to the Benedictine Abbey of Jumieges and the Church of St Peter, arguably the most beautiful ruins in France. The abbey dates back to the Carolingian Period with early example of early Norman architecture from the 10th century. Today, the majestic twin towers of this romantic ruin still stand a proud 170 feet tall. Rejoin the ship for lunch, and continue cruising downstream towards the Atlantic Coast for an overnight in Le Havre.
Day 14  Fri Honfleur
Often referred to as the birthplace of Impressionism, the charming market town of Honfleur is also known as the most picturesque port in France. This morning, local guides will lead you on an interesting walk through the streets including a visit to the town’s unusual 16th century wooden church built in the shape of a ship. After lunch on board, head north for an excursion through Upper Normandy. Drive along the beautiful Alabaster Coast, renown for its spectacular cliffs, to the fashionable resort of Etretat. On to Fécamp, home to the impressive Ste Trinity Monastery, a treasure trove of stained glass, altarpieces, tombs, carved screens, and the tabernacle containing the famous relics of the Christ’s Precious Blood. You then visit the extravagant Benedictine Palace, where the famous Benedictine liquor is made. Learn the secret recipe on a visit to the distillery, and taste this mix of 27 plants and spices gathered from the four corners of the world. Return to the ship in time for dinner.
Day 15  Sat Rouen
This morning, follow in the footsteps of Joan of Arc on a walking tour of Old Rouen. View the Cathedral of Notre Dame with its gargoyles, towers and famous clock, and follow the narrow winding streets past the law courts to the old market square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure in this charming city. Alternatively, an optional excursion to the Landing Beaches of Normandy is also available.
Day 16  Sun Rouen – USA
With fond memories of your cruise through Normandy, disembark and transfer to Paris airport for your flight home.

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