Cruise Provence & Burgundy

Cruise Provence & Burgundy

Savor Burgundy wines, lavender-scented foothills, culinary traditions and world-renowned landmarks as you cruise the Rhône and Saône Rivers in Southern France. Unpack once and travel with ease as you enjoy seven nights on an exclusively chartered first-class ship. Visit the Palais des Papes in the medieval walled city of Avignon and follow in the footsteps of gladiators in Arles. Explore Beaune, the winemaking capital of the Burgundy region, and delight in Lyon, replete with scenic parks and riverside paths. Discover the beauty and wildlife of Camargue National Park. Plus, in several ports, choose from a selection of included excursions. This delightful journey in Southern France includes an extensive meal plan, plus wine and beer with lunch and dinner. There is no single supplement for solo travelers.

Trip Itinerary:

October 3 Depart Gateway City

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Marseille, France. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: MRS.

October 4 Marseille, France | Arles

Arrive at Marseille Provence Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the pier and embark the MS Van Gogh.

Gather this evening for an onboard Welcome Reception and Dinner to kick off your river journey.

Please note, embarkation begins from 3 p.m. Your cabins will be available from 4 p.m.

Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Dinner

October 5 Arles

Enrichment: The History of Provence and the Rhone River. Join a local speaker for some perspective on the importance of the Rhone River and its influence on the development of Provence.

Discovery: Arles Walking Tour.
Activity level: Moderate
Extraordinary Roman and Romanesque monuments fill the city of Arles, which has been recognized with World Heritage status. Les Arènes, the ancient amphitheater, testifies to the city’s status within the Roman Empire. Audiences still gather there today, but plays, concerts, and bullfights instead of gladiator battles. See the ancient Roman theater, the ruins of the impressive Baths of Constantine, and the Place du Forum, which was the center of Roman Arles and the subject of Vincent van Gogh’s “Café Terrace at Night.” Admire the Cathedral of St. Trôphime and its 12th-century portal, a masterpiece of Romanesque style. The church is one of the stops along the Arles route of the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, the famous pilgrimage route to Spain.

Return to the ship for lunch.

Elective Activity: Camargue Nature Park.
Activity level: Moderate. (Available at additional cost.)
Explore Camargue Regional Nature Park, one of the most beautiful spots in Provence. Encompassing the Rhone River delta, these wetlands are a protected habitat for more than 270 species of birds, including flamingos, egrets, and herons. The varied habitats include fresh water and salt water marshes, ponds, grasslands, beaches, and woods. The Camargue also is famous for its white horses that have lived in this region for thousands of years. This region has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of its diverse flora, fauna and landscapes.

The ship departs for Avignon.

Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

October 6 Avignon

Enrichment: The Avignon Papacy. Delve into the 68-year period during the 14th century when Roman Catholic popes abandoned Rome for Avignon. A local expert explains the political and religious tensions of the time that led to this remarkable event.

Discovery: Avignon and the Palais des Papas.
Activity level: Moderate
Take a walking tour through Avignon, a walled city nestled on the banks of the Rhone River. Admire the façade of the Chapelle de l’Oratoire, a church built in the 17th century by a community of Oratorians. Consecrated in the 18th century, it fell out of use as a church during the French Revolution. Today it is part of the Museum of Fine Arts and is a conference and exhibition venue. Continue to Saint-Agricol Church. Built in 680, it is the oldest church in the city. Its grand staircase, however, was added to the church in the 15th century. Stroll through the Place de l’Horlage, the central square, where you will see the City Hall and 19th-century theater. Just east of the square is the imposing Palais des Papes, the Palace of the Popes. Two distinct buildings compose the palace: the austere Old Palace, built by Pope Benedict XII, and the ornate New Palace, built by Pope Clement VI. The immense palace is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. Explore the immense staterooms and the private papal apartments. Step outside onto the terrace for a view of Avignon and the Rhone River. Look down to the river to see the Pont Saint-Benezet, the medieval bridge that stretches only halfway over the river. Completed in 1185, it once a major route into the city of Avignon and part of the Camino de Santiago, the bridge was an important river crossing. At the time, it was the only bridge across the Rhone between Lyon and the Mediterranean Sea, a stretch of river more than 200 miles. Avignon’s city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Orange.
Activity level: Moderate
This pretty city boasts rich UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the well-preserved Antic Theater that features an intact stage wall.

• Pont du Gard.
Activity level: Moderate
See the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct in the Provençal countryside, a true testament to Roman engineering prowess.

Rejoin the ship in Chateaneuf-du-Pape and cruise to Viviers this evening.

Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

October 7 Viviers | Lyon

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Cotes du Rhone.
Activity level: Moderate
Witness France’s second largest appellation, a sun-kissed landscape steeped with rich history and a storied wine culture.

• Gorges de l’Ardeche.
Activity level: Moderate
Delight in a panoramic tour to this spectacular deep canyon, a scenic wonder of unspoiled beauty with a natural arch gateway.

Return to the ship and sail to Lyon.

Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

October 8 Lyon

Personalize Your Cruise | Choose one of the following excursions.
• Panoramic Lyon.
Activity level: Mild
Get to know Lyon, one of France’s most vibrant cities, on a panoramic tour. See many of the sights that have earned the city its UNESCO World Heritage status.

• Guided Bike Tour of Lyon.
Activity level: Active
Take a leisurely bike ride through Lyon while your guide regales you with legends, and enjoy a tasting of Lyon’s famous products.

Free Time: Discover Lyon on your own during leisure time this afternoon.

Enjoy the sites of Lyon and its historic monuments during a nighttime cruise on the Saône and Rhône rivers.

Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

October 9 Macon | Cluny | Chalon-sur-Saône

Discovery: Cluny Abbey.
Activity level: Moderate
Travel to the walled town of Cluny, a quintessential Burgundian town known for its Benedictine abbey. Delight in its storybook atmosphere as you continue to Cluny Abbey, founded in 910 by the Guillaume d’Aquitaine, also known as William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and William the Pious. This abbey was home to more than 10,000 monks and it also was the mother abbey for more than 1,200 priories across Europe, wielding tremendous influence over the church and government not only in France, but also in Italy and Spain.

Rejoin the ship for lunch and continue to Chalon-sur-Saône. Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

October 10 Chalon-sur-Saône | Beaune

Disembark the ship in Chalon-sur-Saone and take a scenic drive to Beaune.

Discovery: Beaune Walking Tour.
Activity level: Moderate
Journey by motor coach through the Côte de Beaune, a wine growing region known for producing delicious and complex white wines. In Beaune, stroll along cobbled streets, passing ramparts, inviting squares and intimate cafes. Visit the Hôtel-Dieu, or the Hospices de Beaune, a medieval hospital for the indigent. Today, care is provided in modern buildings while the historic, half-timbered building is a museum. The 15th-century building features an intricately designed, multicolored tiled roof and inside, the halls brims with treasures: tapestries, statues, furniture and paintings. The hospital also owns nearly 150 acres of vineyards that produce excellent wine, and it holds an annual wine auction to support its charitable mission and to maintain the medieval structure. Held the third Sunday of each November, the auction is one of the most vaunted charitable auctions in the world. Enjoy a tasting of these famous wines.

Tonight, celebrate an enriching week of exploring this beautiful region at a Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – MS Van Gogh
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

October 11 Depart for Gateway City

After breakfast, bid farewell to France and disembark the ship. AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Marseille Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast

NOTE: Itinerary may change due to local conditions.

Map:


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