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. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh—and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater, 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–and, later on join an excursion to the wine region of Châteauneuf du Pape. 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. Take then a guided tour to Beaujolais and the following day to Chardonnay, where you will have the opportunity to taste local wines. After disembarkation, taste some of Burgundy wines before reaching Paris. A Master of Wine will travel with you on this first portion of the cruise and will hold lectures, tastings and will introduce you to food and wine pairing.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. After Paris, 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; scenic cruising in the Camargue region (daylight permitting)Day 3 Arles:Choice of guided sightseeing, visit the Roman Amphitheatre, or painting workshopDay 4 Avignon:Guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes; guided tour to Châteauneuf du PapeDay 5 Cruising–Viviers: Onboard lecture; guided walk, visit the Old Town and the cathedralDay 6 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Vienne:Guided walk in Tournon; onboard chocolate and wine tasting; guided walk in Vienne; onboard food & wine pairing dinnerDay 7 Lyon:Guided sightseeing, picture stop on Fourvière Hill; guided tour to Beaujolais Day 8 Cruising–St. Jean de Losne: Chardonnay excursion; wine & cheese tasting on boardDay 9 St. Jean de Losne (Disembarkation)–Beaune–Dijon–Paris (Embarkation): Choice of visit the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune or visit a wine cellar; TGV train from Dijon to ParisDay 10 Vernon–Les Andelys:Choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; choice of guided walk, or guided hike in Les AndelysDay 11 Caudebec:Choice of excursion along the “Normandy Abbeys Route”, or hike in the nature; lecture on board Day 12 Caudebec:Choice of full day excursions to Normandy landing beaches, or “A Taste of Normandy” excursionDay 13 Rouen:Guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral 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” walking tour to see Paris’ historic sightsDay 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 leisure.Day 22 Rome: Your vacation ends this morning.
Avalon makes it easy to experience vacation your way with seamless extension options before and after your cruise. Your Way offers added nights in a selection of locales. From Budapest to Barcelona, you can spend a little or a lot more time getting to know more on shore with Your Way custom itineraries.