Paris to Cote d'Azur Wine Cruise - Avalon River Cruise

Grand France for Wine Lovers – Cruise Only 2017

15 Day River Cruise from Paris to Arles

2017 Information

This splendid vacation showcases France’s exciting scenery, history, and culture as you sail along its beautiful rivers. Embark in Paris and head northwest along the Seine River up to the picturesque Normandy region. Dock at Vernon and choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or remarkable Bizy Castle. Continue to Les Andelys—home of Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart in 1196—and enjoy a guided walk. In Caudebec, choose between several excursions: an excursion along the Thatched Cottages or Normandy Abbeys routes, and an excursion to the Normandy landing beaches or “A Taste of Normandy.” On to Joan of Arc’s historic Rouen, then in Conflans, choose between a guided excursion to Vincent van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s elegant Château de Malmaison before heading back to Paris for guided sightseeing or a “Heart of Paris” walk. Disembark and travel south to fascinating Beaune for a visit of the Hôtel-Dieu. In St. Jean de Losne, board your second cruise ship and sail on to Macon, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, Viviers, and Avignon. Sail into the picturesque Camargue region (daylight permitting) before disembarking your ship in Arles for the conclusion of your vacation. And because this portion of the cruise has a Wine Appreciation theme, you will be joined on board by a Master of Wine, who will share his knowledge of French wines while hosting a tasting of cheese and wine, and chocolate and wine, as well as a food and wine pairing dinner.


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Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 14-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM

Day 1 Paris (Embarkation): welcome reception

Day 2 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; guided walk in Les Andelys

Day 3-4 Caudebec: choice of excursion along either the “Normandy Villages Route” or the “Normandy Abbeys Route”; choice of excursions to Normandy landing beaches or “A Taste of Normandy”

Day 5 Rouen: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral

Day 6 Conflans: choice of excursions: visit Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de Malmaison

Day 7 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing or “Heart of Paris” walk

Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation)–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre: Transfer to Beaune, visit Hôtel-Dieu or take part in a Crèmant wine tasting; onboard welcome reception

Day 9 Seurre–Macon: leisurely cruising; free time in Macon; included visit to Chardonnay Winery

Day 10 Lyon: guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière Hill. Onboard cheese and wine tasting.

Day 11 Lyon: a day to explore this fascinating city at leisure. Special onboard food and wine pairing dinner.

Day 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral. Onboard chocolate and wine tasting

Day 13 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes and visit a winery in Châteauneuf du Pape, wine tasting

Day 14 Arles: sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting); guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater

Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning

Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

Meals

  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

NOTES:

  • 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.
  • In the event that the TGV is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the transfer from Paris to Dijon will be operated by motorcoach.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive 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. (Dinner)

NOTE:
Flights into Paris must arrive by 2:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2Vernon–Les Andelys

This morning in Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Giverny and a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at GIVERNY from 1883-1926, and viewed his gardens as works of art—just like his paintings. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration. Or, visit BIZY CASTLE, built in 1740 and nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles.” It is known for its famous stables—inspired by those at Versailles—and its magnificent courtyard and water garden. This afternoon, your ship arrives in Les Andelys, situated on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France. Join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK of the town, visiting the PARISH CHURCH OF LE PETIT ANDELY. Imposing Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196, is seen above the town. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3Caudebec

Today, join either a guided excursion along the Route des Chaumières, “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 ABBEYS ROUTE,” a short drive from Caudebec. More than 100 abbeys once covered this region, which has a microclimate 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4Caudebec

Make your choice today between an included full-day excursion to the historic NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES—with poignant sites such as Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery—or a “TASTE OF NORMANDY” for a more in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important products are dairy, apples, and grain. Camembert cheese is a specialty, as is CALVADOS, a strong apple brandy that you’ll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. And for a touch of history, visit the famous BAYEUX TAPESTRY. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5Rouen

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 burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Enjoy the included GUIDED WALK through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take your pictures of the intricate Gros Horloge astronomical clock, dating back to the 16th century. Visit the gothic CATHEDRAL, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Conflans

After breakfast you may either join our guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or to Napoleon and Josephine’s CHÂTEAU 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.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Paris

One of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris delights the senses. Included CITY SIGHTSEEING shows off the must-see attractions: Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Alternatively, you may wish to join a GUIDED WALK through historic Île St. Louis with its narrow one-way streets and Île de la Cité, the center of Paris where the medieval city was founded and home to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre or Montmartre with its Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is known for its colorful nightlife, and an optional outing to one of the cabaret shows makes the perfect finale to the Seine portion of your cruise. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Paris (Disembarkation)–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre

This morning, say goodbye to your crew and travel to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, aging, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centers around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HÔTEL-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 Judgment and is one of France’s architectural highlights. Alternatively, enjoy a TASTING of different Crèmant wines. Continue to St. Jean de Losne, where your ship awaits. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as you depart for Seurre. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 9Seurre–Macon

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. A master of wine will join you on board and will introduce you to some of France’s wines in the coming days. He/She will be happy to answer any questions you may have. After lunch, we will take you to visit a WINERY and TASTE the Chardonnay wine of the region through which you are cruising. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10Lyon

Enjoy some relaxing time on board before arriving in Lyon, France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Founded by the Romans in 43 BC, the city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial, and banking activities. Roman remains, excellent museums, and renaissance architecture delight visitors. A LOCAL GUIDE joins you as you survey the city from Fourvière Hill and explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafés, monuments, and the famous fountain often depicted on postcards. This evening enjoy an onboard CHEESE AND WINE TASTING, hosted by the Master of Wine. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11Lyon

Enjoy a free day 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 (there are over 100 of them), or select one of the available optional excursions. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample Beaujolais, the wine of the region; wine connoisseurs know the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. And tonight there’s a special FOOD AND WINE PAIRING DINNER to look forward to! The Master of Wine has specially chosen the wines for this occasion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers

The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhône 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. As you cruise this afternoon there’s a treat in store for chocaholics (and the lovers of wine): an onboard CHOCOLATE AND WINE TASTING to delight the palate! Here too, the Master of Wine will guide you through this wonderful experience. Arriving in Viviers in the afternoon, an included GUIDED WALK shows you this charming town that developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13Avignon

The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region—the most picturesque part of Provence with its intact ramparts encircling the entire city, cobblestone streets and squares, and private mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as the “City of Popes,” it was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. Your GUIDED TOUR includes a visit of the PALACE OF THE POPES, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes’ residency. A photo of the famous Pont Saint Bénezet (Saint Bénezet Bridge), of the popular song Sur le Pont d’Avignon, is a must. This afternoon an excursion takes you to the famed wine cellars of CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE to learn about and to taste the wine. Optional outings to Pont du Gard. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14Arles

This morning wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting), before arriving in Arles after breakfast. Located on the northern tip of the Camargue, Arles is the capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you’ll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. This evening, sail toward the mouth of the Rhône for a taste of the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 15Arles (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

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 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)

No Excursions are available at this time.

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