Take a wondrous journey through beautiful France along the Rhône and Saône Rivers with guided sightsee-ing in the well-known French treasures and some hidden gems too!Begin with an overnight on the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. On the Rhône Riv-er sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphithea-ter, which hosts plays and concerts to this day. 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, sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône Rivers and is a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Visit the popular Place des Terreaux and stand in front of the famous fountain you’ve seen on postcards. From Paris you’ll sail to Vernon, where you’ll choose between two exciting guided visits—Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or the remarkable Bizy Castle, known as “Normandy’s Versailles.” You may choose to go on an excursion to the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, including Omaha Beach, and the D-Day 75th Commemoration Ceremony at Juno Beach. In Rouen, best known as the home of Joan of Arc, you’ll go on a guided walk through the medieval quarter and visit the gothic Rouen Cathedral—once the tallest building in the world and you will learn the important role played by this city during the French Resistance. Alternatively you will visit the battlefields in the area of Vimy Ridge and Beaumont-Hamel. From Conflans, go on an excur-sion to the quaint and inspiring town of Auvers-Sur-Oise—associated with several famous artists, including Vincent van Gogh—or visit Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison.On this French river cruise, you’ll enjoy wine, cheese, history lectures by an expert travelling with you, beau-tiful scenery along the Seine River, and stops in charming and historical parts of France, but your adventure would not be complete without some time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The “City of Light” has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A guided walk through the historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets, and Île de la Cité where medieval Paris was founded, will be a delight or take a tour focused on WWII and visit the museum of Les Invalides.Fly to Venice to enjoy 3 nights each in Venice & Rome. With expert guided sightseeing and helpful onsite support from expert Local Hosts®, your Italian vacation also includes a flight from Paris to Venice, a high-speed train transfer between Venice and Rome. Your French river cruise, Normandy Beaches tour, and extra tour of Venice and Rome, will be hard to match for the beauty, culture, and new sights to recall for years to follow.
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Day 1 Côte d’Azur: welcome to FranceDay 2 Côte d’Azur–Transfer to Arles (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception; sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting)Day 3 Arles: guided sightseeing, visit the Roman AmphitheatreDay 4 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the PopesDay 5 Cruising–Viviers: guided walk, visit the Old Town and the cathedralDay 6 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Vienne: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in VienneDay 7 Lyon: guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière HillDay 8 Cruising–St. Jean de Losne: day at leisure; cheese tasting on boardDay 9 St. Jean de Losne (Disembarkation)–Beaune–Dijon–Paris (Embarkation): visit the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune; TGV train from Dijon to ParisDay 10 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; onboard history lecture; choice of guided walk, or guided hike in Les Andelys Day 11 Caudebec: choice of full day excursion to Normandy landing beaches, including the Commemoration Ceremony of the D-Day 75th Anniversary, or “A Taste of Normandy” excursion Day 12 Caudebec: choice of excursion along the “Normandy Abbeys Route”, or hike in the Natural Park; lecture on boardDay 13 Rouen: guided sightseeing related to the French Resistance, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral, or full day excursion to Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel. Day 14 Conflans: choice of excursions to Auvers-sur-Oise, or Napoleon and Josephine’s Château de MalmaisonDay 15 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing, or “Heart of Paris” walk, visit Notre Dame Cathedral, or WWII theme tour with visit of the museum of Les InvalidesDay 16 Paris–Venice, Italy: flight to VeniceDay 17 Venice: guided sightseeing, visit St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of SighsDay 18 Venice: full day at leisureDay 19 Venice–Rome: travel by high-speed train (first class) to RomeDay 20 Rome: guided sightseeing, visit St Peter’s Square and Basilica, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman ForumDay 21 Rome: full day at leisureDay 22 Rome: your vacation ends this morning