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Grand France – Northbound ea

Grand France – Northbound

16 Day River Cruise Côte d’Azur to Paris

Vacation overview

This river cruise highlighting the best of France is certainly grand! Begin your adventure on the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh—and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater. On a guided tour of historical Avignon, see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards, and you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon—a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle.

Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, is a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. On the Seine River, you’ll have the choice of seeing the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery; the delightful Les Andelys, Joan of Arc’s Rouen, Vincent Van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise, or Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison.

On this French river cruise, you’ll enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery, and stops in the most charming parts of France. And your adventure would not be complete without a stay in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! Discover its true heart on a guided walk through the sites of Paris’ rich history, or take a tour showing you the iconic sites of the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and more.

Walk in the footsteps of the great master artists, enjoy the delectable cuisine of France, and stand where heroes fought for freedom on the beaches of Normandy. This and so much more is waiting for you on your French cruise on the Seine!

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WLP Map

Itinerary

 

Day 1   CÔTE D’AZUR, FRANCE

Bienvenue en France!

Take free time today to admire Côte d’Azur-with its enchanting yachts, glamorous villas, and famous events. Known also as the French Riviera, the spectacular Côte d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the border of Italy.

Day 2   CÔTE D’AZUR—ARLES (EMBARKATION)

The Camargue National Park

This morning enjoy free time to explore. In the early afternoon, you’ll drive to Arles to board your Suite Ship®. Before dinner sail toward the mouth of the Rhône for a taste of the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting).

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN ARLES

Day 3   ARLES

Inspiring Sights and Avant-Garde Lights

CLASSIC Enjoy a Guided Walking Tour of Arles—the captivating city of the Provence region. You’ll visit the Roman Amphitheater in this visually stunning city that inspired the works of Vincent van Gogh, OR:

DISCOVERY Attend a Painting Workshop to learn the style and techniques of Vincent van Gogh. You’ll create your own painting in the style of the classic master who took inspiration from the Provence light and landscape in Arles.

Consider a Guided Optional Excursion to the Carrières de Lumières (Cathedral of Images) to immerse yourself in a truly unique experience of art, sound, and light in the old quarries of Val d’Enfer.

Take advantage of any free time remaining with a stop in Le Café Van Gogh for a glass of wine, to relax and watch the world go by.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN AVIGNON

Day 4   AVIGNON

The City of Popes in Picturesque Provence

CLASSIC Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of the fortress city of Avignon—with its ramparts encircling the city—and a visit to the amazing Palace of the Popes.

Guided Optional Excursions include a visit to the ancient Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard, or a trip to the famed wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a true taste of the Rhône wine region.

Explore Avignon on your own for the city’s art and culture, theatre, and museums. Be sure to snap photos of the captivating countryside, historic monuments, and the medieval Pont Saint-Bénézet.

Later, enjoy onboard live entertainment.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN AVIGNON

Day 5   VIVIERS

World History in a Charming French Country Village

CLASSIC Explore the pale-stone buildings of Viviers on a late afternoon Guided Walking Tour of this charming village. You’ll see its Romanesque cathedral and Old Town with a mix of historical Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO TOURNON

Day 6   TOURNON/TAIN L’HERMITAGE

A Rendezvous with Castle Views and Vineyards

CLASSIC Take a morning Guided Walking Tour to explore Tournon—one of France’s oldest medieval cities. See its 16th-century castle, and Roman ruins between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage.

In the late morning cruise to Vienne

VIENNE

Roman and Middle Age History

CLASSIC Join a Guided Walking Tour of Vienne and discover this charming little town surrounded by steep hills.

Enjoy live entertainment while sailing to Lyon.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN LYON

Day 7   LYON

Adventures in Food and Wine in the Gastronomy Capital of France

CLASSIC Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour to survey Lyon from Fourvière Hill with its numerous churches. You’ll also explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways, and the lively cafés, monuments, and famed fountain of Place des Terreaux.

Spend free time riding a bike through Lyon’s town squares, over bridges, and along the banks where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO ST. JEAN DE LOSNE

Day 8   ST. JEAN DE LOSNE

Wine and Cheese on the Stunning Saône

Enjoy a leisurely cruising day along the majestic Saône River. Consider a Guided Optional Excursion to a Chardonnay wine cellar, or to the Castle of Cormatin.

DISCOVERY Later, enjoy a delicious Cheese Tasting on board your ship.

Enjoy live entertainment on board this evening.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN ST. JEAN DE LOSNE

Day 9   ST. JEAN DE LOSNE (DISEMBARKATION)—BEAUNE—DIJON—PARIS (EMBARKATION)

Drive to Beaune and take a High-Speed Train from Dijon to Paris.

CLASSIC Visit the Hôtel-Dieu Charity Hospital in Beaune, built in 1443, today home of the Van der Weyden’s painting of the Last Judgment and is one of France’s architectural highlights.

This afternoon, take a high-speed train from Dijon to Paris to board your Suite Ship®.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VERNON

Day 10   VERNON

Monet’s Muses, Castle Courtyards, and Crêpes du Jour

Start the day with a Morning Stretch with your Avalon Adventure Host.

CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of Giverny, home and inspiration of the master impressionist painter Claude Monet. Walk the grounds and see Monet’s charming residence, and the flower and water gardens captured in his masterpieces, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided Visit to Bizy Castle—called “Normandy’s Versailles” for its magnificent courtyard, water garden, and stables.

DISCOVERY While sailing, enjoy a traditional French luncheon of authentic French crêpes, followed by a Pastry Demonstration.

This afternoon, enjoy a beautiful cruise to the picturesque town of Les Andelys.

LES ANDELYS

Serenity on the Seine’s Most Beautiful Riverbends

CLASSIC Take a Guided Walking Tour of Les Andelys—one of France’s most picturesque spots on the Seine, OR:

ACTIVE Join a Guided Hike up to the castle ruins of Château Gaillard—historic home of King Richard the Lionheart.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO CAUDEBEC

Day 11   CAUDEBEC

Churches, Cherry Orchards, and White Cliffs of Normandy

ACTIVE Join your Avalon Adventure Host for a Morning Jog in Normandy’s town of Caudebec.

CLASSIC Take a Guided Trip along the Normandy Abbeys Route—where more than 100 medieval Benedictine and Augustine abbeys and churches were built along the Seine, OR:

ACTIVE Explore Boucles de la Seine Normande with a Guided Nature Walk of Normandy’s vast regional nature park in a region rich in apple, plum, pear, and cherry orchards.

This afternoon, you may choose a Guided Optional Excursion to the old seaside town of Honfleur.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN CAUDEBEC

Day 12   CAUDEBEC. NORMANDY EXCURSIONS

Heroic Bravery on Normandy Beaches and French Farming Traditions

CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of Normandy’s WWII landing beaches, visit significant U.S. sites, including Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery, OR:

CLASSIC Take a full-day Guided Tour of the British and Canadian commemorative sites, including the British cemetery, Pegasus Memorial, the seaside town of Arromanches, the Juno Beach Center, and the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, OR:

CLASSIC Join “A Taste of Normandy” Guided Tour for an in-depth look at this rich agricultural region. See the famous Bayeux Tapestry, visit the beautiful village of Beuvron en Auge and taste Calvados at a local distillery.

Later, enjoy live entertainment on board your ship.

EVENING CRUISE TO ROUEN

Day 13   ROUEN

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, and a Heroine for France

ACTIVE Join your Avalon Adventure Host for a Morning Walk.

CLASSIC Take a Guided Walking Tour of Rouen—home of the martyred Joan of Arc—and see the medieval quarter with its 16th-century Astronomical Clock, and Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Spend free time this afternoon to explore Rouen’s city markets, shops, and bike paths. Enjoy onboard entertainment before setting sail this evening.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO CONFLANS

Day 14   CONFLANS

In the Footsteps of Van Gogh, Bonaparte, and Louis XIV

CLASSIC Join a Guided Visit to Auvers-sur-Oise, home and resting place of Vincent van Gogh, OR:

CLASSIC Take a Guided tour of the opulent Château de Malmaison—home of Napoléon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine.

Perhaps, join a Guided Optional Excursion to the Palace of Versailles—home to a succession of French kings.

EVENING CRUISE TO PARIS

Day 15   PARIS

Cafés, Cathedrals, & Canvases—The City of Lights Truly Shines

ACTIVE Take a Morning Walk with your Avalon Adventure Host to see Paris at first light.

CLASSIC Discover the ancient heart of Paris on a captivating Guided Walk featuring the Palais-Royal, Louvre pyramid, ancient sites on Île de la Cité, the Left Bank, bustling Latin Quarter, and more, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided City Tour, that shows you the iconic sites of Paris, such as the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Opéra Garnier, and the famous Champs-Élysées.


Stroll through Paris on your own, or linger over wine in a literary café on the Left Bank.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN PARIS

Day 16   PARIS (DISEMBARKATION)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Vacation Highlights

Day 1 Côte d’Azur: welcome to France

Day 2 Côte d’Azur–Transfer to Arles (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception; sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting)

Day 3 Arles: choice of guided sightseeing, visit the Roman Amphitheatre, or painting workshop

Day 4 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit the Palace of the Popes

Day 5 Cruising–Viviers: guided walk, visit Old Town and the cathedral

Day 6 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Vienne: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Vienne

Day 7 Lyon: guided sightseeing, picture stop on Fourvière Hill

Day 8 Cruising–St. Jean de Losne: day at leisure; cheese tasting on board

Day 9 St. Jean de Losne (Disembarkation)–Beaune–Paris (Embarkation): visit the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune; TGV train from Dijon to Paris; onboard welcome reception

Day 10 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; choice of guided tour, or guided hike to the castle in Les Andelys

Day 11 Caudebec: choice of excursion along the “Normandy Abbeys Route”, or walk in the Natural Park; lecture on board

Day 12 Caudebec: choice of full day excursions to Normandy landing beaches, or “A Taste of Normandy” excursion

Day 13 Rouen: guided tour, see the Astronomical Clock and visit to the cathedral

Day 14 Conflans: choice of excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise, or excursion to Napoleon and Josephine’s Château de Malmaison

Day 15 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing or “Heart of Paris” walking tour to see Paris’ historic sights

Day 16 Paris (Disembarkation): vacation ends this morning

  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.

Excursions


Arles
Avignon
Viviers
Lyon
Tournus
Caudebec
Conflans
Paris
Packages

Arles

Arles

Olive Oil Tasting in Les Baux de Provence

Olive Oil Tasting in Les Baux de Provence

Travel into the heart of Provence on this exciting half-day guided visit of an olive farm and olive mill with a tasting of locally produced olive oil!

Price Range: $$

From the Cathedral of Images to Saint-Rémy de Provence

From the Cathedral of Images to Saint-Rémy de Provence

Stimulate your senses on this unbelievable excursion to Carrières de Lumières, the world-famous Cathedral of Images in a former limestone quarry, past the fantastical rock formations of Hell Valley, and then to charming Saint-Rémy in the heart of Provence.

Price Range: $$

Avignon

Avignon

Pont du Gard, Ancient Engineering Wonder

Pont du Gard, Ancient Engineering Wonder

Visit the masterpiece of ancient engineering that supplied water to Nîmes during the Roman Empire -- towering, triple-tiered Pont du Gard -- on this incredible half-day guided tour.

Price Range: $$

Tasting the Wines of Châteauneuf du Pape

Tasting the Wines of Châteauneuf du Pape

Wines from Châteauneuf du Pape have become icons among French wines. Join us for a delightful half-day guided excursion into the famous wine region for a visit of a traditional winery and a tasting of its incomparable wines!

Price Range: $$

Viviers

Viviers

Château Grignan & the Lavender Fields of Provence

Château Grignan & the Lavender Fields of Provence

Awaken your senses on this guided excursion into the stunning Provence countryside. Travel through stands of truffle oaks and past vast, fragrant lavender fields to the prestigious pleasure palace of Renaissance-style Château Grignan.

Price Range: $$

Lyon

Lyon

Medieval Pérouges

Medieval Pérouges

Discover one of the most beautiful medieval walled towns in France on this half-day guided tour of Pérouges, idyllic movie set from the 1973 version of "The Three Musketeers"!

Price Range: $$

Beaujolais: A Discovery of the Region & Its Wine

Beaujolais: A Discovery of the Region & Its Wine

Explore the beauty of the Beaujolais wine region, learn the magic behind its wine, and enjoy an included wine tasting on this enriching half-day guided excursion.

Price Range: $$

Lyon Culinary Journey: Les Halles de Paul Bocuse

Lyon Culinary Journey: Les Halles de Paul Bocuse

Discover just what makes Lyon cuisine so famous around the world on this delicious guided foodie walking tour.

Price Range: $$

Tournus

Tournus

Fairytale Château de Cormatin

Fairytale Château de Cormatin

Step right onto the pages of a fairytale during this half-day guided excursion to Château de Cormatin with its drawbridge, moat, exquisite gardens, and extravagantly adorned interior.

Price Range: $$

The Mâconnais Region & Its Chardonnay Wines

The Mâconnais Region & Its Chardonnay Wines

Travel into the rolling landscapes of the Mâconnais region to learn about its world-famous Chardonnay vineyards, the wines produced here, and to attend a wine-tasting in the cellars of a real medieval castle!

Price Range: $$

Caudebec

Caudebec

Honfleur, Jewel of Normandy

Honfleur, Jewel of Normandy

Visit the place where the Seine River begins and where artists have flocked for centuries: Honfleur with its captivating old harbor, medieval Old Town, and coastal charm.

Price Range: $$

Conflans

Conflans

Versailles, Palace of the Sun King

Versailles, Palace of the Sun King

Spend part of your day like a French aristocrat, strolling through the halls and gardens of Louis XIV's opulent Palace of Versailles.

Price Range: $$$

Paris

Paris

 Paris on Two Wheels: City Highlights

Paris on Two Wheels: City Highlights

Awaken your inner Parisian as you explore the city as only a local would: by bicycle! This active guided excursion has it all -- the City of Light's most incomparable sights, mesmerizing history, and incredible ambiance.

Price Range: $$

Eat Your Way Around the City of Light like a True Parisian

Eat Your Way Around the City of Light like a True Parisian

Immerse yourself on our food and cultural tour of Paris where you will find out why the French food and culinary tradition has been even added to the UNESCO heritage list!

Price Range: $$

A Ride on the Paris Metro to Le Marais

A Ride on the Paris Metro to Le Marais

Feel like a true Parisian on this guided excursion as you ride the Metro to the chic Le Marais district to explore its ancient architecture, fascinating Jewish Quarter, and hub of cafés, galleries, and boutiques!

Price Range: $

Packages

Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$$$


Travel Terms & Conditions
The purchase of any travel services offered by Avalon Waterways, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you (the Traveler) and Avalon Waterways, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking. These Terms & Conditions cover Deposit & Final Payment information, Air-Inclusive Deposits & Final Payment, Revisions & Revision Fees, Air Arrangements, Participation, Travelers Who Need Special Assistance, Young Travelers, Smoking, Price Policy, Visas and Passports, Hotels & Accommodations, Baggage Allowance, Travel Documents, Not Included in the Land Price, Refunds, Service Inquires After the Vacation, Holidays, Safety, Photos & Pictures, Optional Excursions, and Responsibility.
View full Terms & Conditions

Important Notes

  • Vacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change.
  • A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required for Avalon Waterways to reserve space for you. View Terms & Conditions for limited exceptions.
  • The following charges are not included in the land/cruise vacation price unless otherwise noted: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; intra-vacation air, unless specified in the itinerary; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; Federal inspection fees for the Federal U.S. Customs and Immigrations; International Air Transportation tax; agricultural tax; other per person taxes imposed by government entities; airport taxes and fees, including the September 11th Security fee up to $11.20 per person, passenger facility charges up to $18 per person, Federal domestic flight segment fees up to $4.10 per segment, and U.S. and international arrival and departure and other government-imposed added by the airline and applicable at time of booking; port taxes; passports; visas and vaccinations; tips to your Cruise Director, Local Host, driver, Local Guides, and/or ship's crew; gratuities on ferries, trains, and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; minibar; alcohol, beverages, and food outside of the contracted Avalon menu as presented at a hotel or restaurant or onboard your vessel (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel, ship, or restaurant); airport transfers on non-qualifying flights; optional excursions; additional activities and excursions purchased online; porterage at airports and train stations; Travel Protection; and all other items of a personal nature.
  • Additional airline-imposed fees for seat assignments may apply and are not included in your total package cost. Please refer to carrier websites for seat assignment policies and applicable pricing.

Booking your Vacation with Air
Our volume buying power saves you money. We may be able to provide you with flight arrangements from your gateway city. Avalon Waterways offers 2 air options: Flex Air and Instant Purchase Air. Early Airfare Price Guarantee locks in a price that is guaranteed not to increase. Air pricing and schedules are available approximately 330 days prior to last travel date in the itinerary. At that time the best air price will be utilized and a new invoice with the air cost and confirmed schedule will be sent. The identity of the carrier, which may include the carrier’s codeshare partner, will be assigned and disclosed at this time. If the guaranteed price is the lowest, the schedule with the lowest fare per contracted classes of service will be booked. Any voluntary change to the confirmed flights negates the guaranteed price and is subject to air pricing at the time of the change.

Guaranteed air-inclusive prices - air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and only available when booked in conjunction with a land vacation. An additional non-refundable air deposit of $300 per person is required for Flex Air booked in conjunction with any land vacation (i.e. air-inclusive vacation). Air can only be booked by Avalon in conjunction with a vacation package. Instant Purchase Air requires air payment in full at time of booking (i.e. air-inclusive vacation) plus a non-refundable per person service fee of $30 (North/Central America), $50 (Europe/Middle East) or $80 (all other international destinations). Once booked, Instant Purchase Air is non-refundable, and non-changeable. Some vacations may only offer one Air type option. However, once your airfare is confirmed and Avalon has received your full air and land deposit, your air-inclusive vacation price is guaranteed.

Air-Inclusive Vacations — Applicable Taxes & Fees
Air-inclusive vacations include government-imposed taxes and fees applicable at the time of booking and will be shown as a Total Amount. Additional airline fees for baggage may apply. At the time of booking your air-inclusive vacation online, carrier Websites will be provided to check baggage fees, or you can visit www.iflybags.com for up-to-date baggage pricing/restrictions. For return travel from some countries, international travelers are required to pay entry and/or exit fees at the airport. These fees will be collected by the local government and are payable by the traveler at time of travel. Your confirmation booking information will contain information about these fees.

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