Ship Details | Cote d'Azur to Paris Cruise - Avalon® France River Cruise

Grand France – Northbound 2017

16 Day River Cruise from Côte d’Azur to Paris

2017 Information. Switch to 2018 »

This fantastic cruise vacation showcases France’s breathtaking scenery, amazing history, and exciting variety. Your adventure begins on the stunning Côte d’Azur, then travel to Arles to board your ship and sail into the peaceful Camargue area during dinner (daylight permitting), before returning to Arles. Then, sail north up the scenic Rhône and Saône Rivers. Along the way, explore Arles, Avignon, delightful Viviers, medieval Tournon, charming Vienne, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as St. Jean de Losne, and fascinating Beaune. Take the TGV train from Dijon to Paris, embark your second cruise ship, and begin your journey along the Seine River into the picturesque Normandy region. In Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or magnificent Bizy Castle. Continue to Les Andelys, home of dramatic Château Gaillard, then on to Caudebec, where you choose between an included excursion to Normandy’s historic landing beaches or an interesting “Taste of Normandy.” Next up: Joan of Arc’s historic Rouen. In Conflans, it’s your choice of excursions to either Vincent van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s elegant Château de Malmaison. Return to Paris for guided sightseeing, taking in the most famous sights of this magnificent city—a fitting conclusion of your magnificent cruise vacation.


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Highlights & Sightseeing

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

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: guided sightseeing, visit the Roman Amphitheater

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

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

Day 10 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of guided excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; guided walk in Les Andelys, visit the Parish Church of Le Petit Andely

Days 11-12 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 13 Rouen: guided walk, see the Gros Horloge astronomical clock and visit the cathedral

Day 14 Conflans–Paris: choice of guided excursions to Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de Malmaison

Day 15 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing or “Heart of Paris” walk, visit Notre Dame Cathedral

Day 16 Paris (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning

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

Learn from a local expert about D-Day, and attend an onboard “les guitares de camargue” musical presentation.

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:

  • The Seine section of departure April 17 is offered as an exclusive Culinary Cruise, including special lectures and tastings at no additional cost. Enter a food-lover’s paradise in northern France. At a special dinner, a local chef will dazzle you with regional specialties and food preparation tips. If you participate in our “Taste of Normandy” excursion, there’ll be cider and wine tastings, a visit to a distillery, and you’ll even come away with easy-to-make recipes. Bon Appétit!
  • The Saône/Rhône section of departure June 26 is offered as an exclusive Jazz Cruise, including special music features at no additional cost. On our Jazz Cruise, attend the annual Jazz Festival in Vienne, France and enjoy lively entertainment as local jazz musicians come on board your ship at several ports.
  • The Seine section of departure April 21 is offered as an exclusive cruise with Canadian Entertainer Jann Arden. Cruise through France in the company of award-winning Canadian entertainer, Jann Arden! This special departure sails along the Seine from Paris to the scenic and historic Normandy coast, where you will spend the day with Jann while learning about Canada's involvement on the battlefields of Europe. You will also enjoy a seperate photo op with Jann, a CD signing session, and a private concert on board.
  • In the event that a high-speed train is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the route will be operated by motorcoach.
  • 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.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Côte d’Azur, France

Welcome to France! Located between the mountains and the deep-blue Mediterranean Sea, the Côte d’Azur is synonymous with prestige and beauty with its enchanting yachts, glamorous villas, and famous events. Time at leisure lets you get acquainted with this amazing place.

Day 2Côte d’Azur–Transfer to Arles (Embarkation)

This morning, enjoy free time to explore further or join an optional excursion. In the early afternoon, transfer by motorcoach to Arles in the Provence region, where you’ll board your river cruise vessel. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception, then sail toward the mouth of the Rhône for a taste of the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting). (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 3Arles

In Arles, capital of the Provence, join your LOCAL GUIDE for a tour of the city. See the church of St. Trophime, dating from the 12th century, and visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, the amphitheater dates to the 1st century, and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. Vincent Van Gogh was inspired by the special light of the Provence and spent a very productive year in Arles. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4Avignon

On your GUIDED TOUR you may choose to join an included visit of the PALACE OF THE POPES, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes’ residence. With a living space equivalent to four gothic cathedrals, it is the largest gothic fortress in the world. Alternatively, you may opt for only city sightseeing and more free time to explore on your own, or to join an optional outing to Pont du Gard or to the famed wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5Cruising–Viviers

A leisurely morning on board to relax and enjoy the passing scenery. After lunch, join your LOCAL GUIDE for a walk around the charming town of Viviers, which developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Vienne

The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. Enjoy a GUIDED WALK of Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. Arriving in Vienne in the late afternoon, a GUIDED WALK shows you the charming little town surrounded by steep hills. Explore the town center to see the Roman Theater, which once held 13,000 spectators, and the Augustus and Livia Temple, built around 20 BC and converted into a church in the Middle Ages. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Lyon

Lyon is 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, many excellent museums, and much renaissance architecture delight visitors. You are joined by a LOCAL GUIDE as you survey the city from Fourvière Hill—with its splendid views over the city—and explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 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. Be sure to sample Beaujolais, the wine of the region. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Cruising–St. Jean de Losne

A leisurely day today as your final day on board. If you prefer to stay busy, a choice of optional excursions is available, including a visit to a wine cellar. While sailing to St. Jean de Losne, enjoy an onboard CHEESE TASTING. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9St. Jean de Losne. (Disembarkation)–Beaune–Dijon–Paris (Embarkation)

After breakfast, disembark and head by motorcoach to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Or area and Burgundy’s wine capital. Although life here centers around wine, Beaune offers much more with its ramparts, medieval houses, cobblestone streets, and historical monuments. 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. After lunch, continue to Dijon and board the TGV train to Paris, the “City of Light,” where your ship is docked on the River Seine. Meet your crew at a welcome reception; before dinner, your ship glides smoothly out of Paris. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 10Vernon–Les Andelys

This morning in Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Giverny and a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at GIVERNY for almost 43 years (1883-1926) and viewed his flower and water 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 11Caudebec

Today, join either a guided excursion along the “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 12Caudebec

Today, choose 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 13Rouen

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 GUIDED WALK through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take your pictures of the Gros Horloge, an intricate astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century. Visit the splendid gothic CATHEDRAL, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of Claude Monet’s paintings. The afternoon is free for you to explore on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14Conflans

After breakfast you may either join our included 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 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 15Paris

Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your included CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative 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 gleaming white Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is also well known for its colorful nightlife and an optional outing to one of the world’s most famous cabaret shows might make the perfect finale to your vacation. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 16Paris (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

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Hotels

Cote d'Azur
Paris

Cote d'Azur

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Parking/Valet
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ATM
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Coffee Maker
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Television
Window Opens
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Carlton Intercontinental

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This glamorous hotel is a true landmark overlooking the Mediterranean Sea that has been enjoyed by prestigious guests for over a century. Facilities include a Belle-Epoque style restaurant, a private sandy beach with a summer restaurant (open April - Oct) and pier, the legendary Carlton Bar and Terrace as well as a fitness center. Free Wi-Fi internet access is avilable in all public areas, access in guestrooms is subject to a fee (payable locally).

Hotel Amenities

Free WiFi
Bar/Lounge
Fitness Room
Concierge desk
Gift Shop
Dry Cleaning
Beauty Salon
Business Center
Parking/Valet
Hot Tub
Luggage Storage
Restaurant On-Site
Elevator
Currency Exchange
Room Amenities

Room Service
In-Room Safe
Alarm Clock
Pay Movies
Hair Dryer
Complimentary Newspaper
Climate Control
Iron/Ironing Board
Wake-Up Calls
Desk
Complimentary Toiletries
Air Conditioning (Seasonal)
Mini-bar
Smoking Rooms
Window Opens
Internet Access
Phone
Voicemail
Disabled Access / Rooms
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Television
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Le Meridien Beach Plaza

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Hotel Amenities

Business Center
Pool
Gift Shop
Restaurant On-Site
Currency Exchange
Free WiFi
Concierge desk
Dry Cleaning
Ice Machine
Fitness Room
Parking/Valet
Bar/Lounge
Luggage Storage
Elevator
Room Amenities

In-Room Safe
Cable/Satellite
Non-smoking Rooms
Window Opens
Disabled Access / Rooms
Mini-bar
Alarm Clock
Pay Movies
Wake-Up Calls
Phone
Room Service
Air Conditioning
Television
Voicemail
Air Conditioning (Seasonal)
Climate Control
Hair Dryer
Desk
Iron/Ironing Board
Complimentary Toiletries
Internet Access

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Hotel Amenities

Bar/Lounge
Business Center
Luggage Storage
Free WiFi
Fitness Room
Parking/Valet
Restaurant On-Site
Ice Machine
Elevator
Currency Exchange
Concierge desk
Dry Cleaning
Room Amenities

Iron/Ironing Board
Wake-Up Calls
Air Conditioning (Seasonal)
Non-smoking Rooms
Coffee Maker
Hair Dryer
Room Service
Mini-bar
In-Room Safe
Alarm Clock
Air Conditioning
Complimentary Toiletries
Phone
Pay Movies
Disabled Access / Rooms
Television
Complimentary Newspaper
Desk
Internet Access
Voicemail

 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)

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