Discover the immaculate and enchanting charm of Nice and the French Riviera by rail.
About the Tour
The allure of the French Riviera beckons on this rail and cruise vacation. Begin your time in France on the sparkling southern coast in Nice. Spend your time here admiring the beaches, scenery and Greek history before moving onto Monaco for a day of luxury in the Monte Carlo district. Back in Nice, we travel by train to Lyon and board the MS Amadeus Provence for a 7-night cruise on the Rhone River. The first stop on the cruise is Beaune, deep in the heart of Burgundy’s wine country. Sailing south again, we dock back in Lyon for a guided tour of the city, including its UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town. Continuing south, the ship sails to Tournon sur Rhône, where we enjoy a spectacular scenic adventure aboard the Train de l'Ardèche. Stops in Avignon; Arles, whose beauty inspired Van Gogh’s paintings; Chateauneuf du Rhône and the picturesque Ardèche Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Europe are all on the itinerary before you disembark in Lyon. Bidding au revoir will be more difficult than you could imagine.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
- Rail travel on board the high-speed Eurostar and TGV trains
- Scenic rail excursion on the Train de l'Ardèche
- Hotel accommodations for 3 nights
- 7-night cruise aboard the MS Amadeus Provence
- 25 meals
- City tour of Nice
- Excursion to the Ardèche Gorge
- Guided tours of Lyon, Beaune and Avignon
- Dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 - To France
We meet at our London St Pancras departure office before boarding the Eurostar to Paris. From here, we continue by rail to Nice and check into our hotel close to the beautiful Riviera seafront. After dinner, you may wish to head out into for a stroll along the promenade, set against the ocean. (D)
Day 2 - Exploring Nice
Our French Riviera experience begins with a guided tour of Nice, France's glittering jewel on the southern coast of the country. This magnificent city has always been a choice destination for travelers of repute and distinction, as it sits overlooking the Mediterranean coastline. We walk through the enchanting streets, seeing the famously affluent mansions of Mont Boron, the historical Old Town, and the checkered floor of the Place d'Opera. We also discover the history of the city, from the days of Greek settlers who founded Nice, to the modern-day. If you would rather spend your time independently however, perhaps head to the beach and soak in the views and sun. (B)
Day 3 - Monaco
Today we pay a visit to the glamorous city-state of Monaco, famous as a retreat for the rich and famous. Taking a coach, we begin our day in the luxurious district of Monte Carlo, where we stop at the entrance of the iconic casino to admire its palm tree-lined fountains. From here we embark on a guided tour, seeing the fantastic flowers of the Jardin Exotique, the grand windows of the Place de l'Opera, and the beautiful Old Town. On our return to Nice, we pay a visit to the elegant Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, seaside home of the Rothschild banking family. (B, D)
Day 4 - Embarkation
After a free morning to relax on the beach perhaps, we board our train to Lyon, bidding farewell to the south of France. Arriving into this colorful old town, we board your luxurious ship, the excellent MS Amadeus Provence. We have time to settle into our cabins before we enjoy a welcome cocktail, which you might like to enjoy on the sun deck as we admire Lyon's colorful townhouses and lively streets. Later, we sit down to a splendid 5-course meal before setting sail for Beaune. (B, D)
Day 5 - Beaune and wine tasting
We arrive in Beaune this morning. Deep in the heart of the wine region of Burgundy, Beaune is a classic French medieval town with impressive town walls, terracotta roofs, and fascinating historical buildings. We embark on a sightseeing tour, discovering the sights as we wander the enchanting streets. We enjoy a tasting of some delectable wines which make this town, and the Burgundy region so famous. Back on board later, we enjoy a leisurely afternoon cruising back to Lyon. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Lyon on a guided tour
Arriving in Lyon this morning, we disembark for a guided tour. One of France's iconic cities, Lyon sits on the meeting point of the Rhône and the Saône rivers. The beautiful pinks, oranges, reds, and whites of the buildings populating Lyon's riverfront give some indication of the city's elegance. Our tour takes us along the streets and over the bridges to explore some of the fantastic highlights and the extensive history here. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and many of the small shops and traditional businesses lend a truly French flair to our surroundings.After returning to the ship for lunch, we enjoy an afternoon at leisure as we cruise to Tournon sur Rhône. This is one of the most scenic and panoramic sections of the river, and it's well worth taking the time to admire the scenery from the spacious sun deck. Rolling hills, dotted with verdant vineyards rise and fall away under the gaze of various châteaux and stately homes. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Train de l'Ardèche
Early this morning, we travel by coach to Tournon sur Rhône's railroad station to board the Train de l'Ardèche. Offering a memorable journey through the stunning environs of the spectacular Gorges du Doux region, this railroad winds up the various foothills and valleys that populate the landscape. Several stone bridges crisscross the brooks and rivers which snake under the trees, and our charming little locomotive takes us to sections of the gorges which no other form of transport can access. Later, our ship continues its course to the 'White City' of Avignon. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Exploring Avignon
In Avignon today, we head out on a guided tour of this city famous for being the seat of the Pope for a brief period in the 14th century. Its striking white papal palaces and majestic cathedral are just some of the highlights we see walking through the boulevards and squares of Avignon's historic center, which earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995. Afterward we enter the Pope's Palace, admiring its spectacular interiors and the range of holy and religious artifacts collected here. You are then free until early evening to discover the city at your own pace. After dinner tonight, our ship sets sail for Arles. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - The Camargue and Arles
We begin the day with a guided tour of pretty Arles, whose enchanting streets provided the inspiration for many of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings. In the afternoon, you have the choice of 2 excursions. Your first option is a visit to the beautiful Camargue Delta, where the Rhône opens out into the Mediterranean. This is a true treat for nature lovers, as the wetlands and park area are home to nearly 400 species of bird species, including an instantly- recognizable flock of pink flamingos. Also of note are the wild horses which roam freely, including a breed which can only be found in this part of the world - the famous Camarguais. Your second option takes you to the iconic arches of the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct of an astonishing size which spans the Gardon river. Another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pont du Gard is a sight to behold, measuring at least 160 feet, a real feat of engineering considering its age. Later, we return to the ship which sets sail for Chateauneuf du Rhône. (B, L, D)
Days 10-11 - The Ardèche Gorge and home
Today we pay a visit to the stunning Ardèche Gorge, widely regarded as the Grand Canyon of Europe. Nearly 19 miles in length and made up of snaking rivers and gorges, this is a natural monument. The sheer cliff that faces rise over waterways is a striking reminder of the enormity of emerald and forests of deep green. Our tour takes us to some of the most impressive sights here, including the Pont d'Arc. Afterward, we rejoin the ship at Le Pouzin, beginning our return sailing to Lyon. We sit down to the captain's gala dinner this evening. On Day 11, you will travel by rail to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we board the Eurostar service back to London. (Day 10 - B, L, D; Day 11 - B)
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which are arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers traveling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionized train travel and meant that traveling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high-speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long-distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
MS Amadeus Provence
Discover unparalleled levels of luxury, elegance, and tranquility on board MS Amadeus Provence. Spacious and inviting cabins kitted out with all mod cons, quality food flowing almost continuously from the kitchens, and inviting facilitates that vie for your attention during sailing hours; you'll never find yourself at a loss whilst on board.
The ship has capacity for 140 passengers and will be crewed by approximately 40 members of staff. Featuring 62 cabins and 8 suites across 4 decks, the ship offers a comfortable, stylish base from which to explore France's waterways.
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