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Provence and the Elegant Rhone

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Terrific history and some of France’s most treasured views lie ahead when you embark on a week-long rail & river cruise tour down the atmospheric Rhône River.

8 days From $3,395 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2023 Tour code: GR-LRRA-23

About the tour

Connecting the beautiful cities of northwestern France, the Rhône River and its surroundings have captured the hearts of travelers for ages. This waterway is one of the most beloved in the country, and once you set out upon its calm waters aboard the elegant MS Amadeus Provence, you, too, will feel its draw.

Following the river's meandering course takes you to destinations where history bubbles to the surface in ways that you least expect it. Board the ship in Lyon, one of France's culinary epicenters, and enjoy a route that takes you to the north and south to discover the charming destinations along the Rhône. Taste wine in Beaune and marvel at the delights of the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town in Lyon on a guided tour. The holy city of Avignon allows travelers to soak in history dating to the 12th century and beyond. Venturing to Arles gives you a clear impression of why Van Gogh found inspiration here. Enjoy the scenery of colorful villages and forested foothills as we sail, as well as glimpses of vineyards and riverside chateaux. Embrace the opportunity to join optional shore excursions, such as those to the Camargue Delta or the Pont du Gard, to immerse yourself in the Rhône's ambiance in the way that best suits your tastes, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including riding the Train de l'Ardèche and touring the Ardèche Gorge. All the while, our luxurious ship's amenities ensure each moment of the journey has all the comforts of home. Elegance and adventure meet on the Rhône.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Lyon

Our French adventure begins at London St Pancras where we meet at our departure office. From here, we take the Eurostar to the French capital of Paris, before connecting with the regional service to the pretty city of Lyon. Here 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 colourful townhouses and lively streets. Later, we sit down to a splendid 5-course meal before setting sail for Beaune.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Beaune and a wine tasting

We arrive into 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - 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 fl air 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Train de l'Ardèche

Early this morning, we travel by coach to Tournon sur Rhône's railway station to board the Train de l'Ardèche. Offering a memorable journey through the stunning environs of the spectacular Gorges du Doux region, this railway winds up the various foothills and valleys which populate the landscape. Several stone bridges criss-cross 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Exploring Avignon

In Avignon today, we head out on a guided tour of this city famous for being 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 centre, which earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995. Afterwards we enter the Pope's Palace, admiring its spectacular interiors and the range of holy and religious artefacts 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - The Camargue Delta or the Pont du Gard

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- recognisable 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 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - The Ardèche Gorge

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 natural monument is a striking reminder of the enormity of the natural world. Sheer cliff faces rise over waterways of striking emerald and forests of deep green. Our tour takes us to some of the most impressive sights here, including the Pont d'Arc. Afterwards, we rejoin the ship at Le Pouzin, beginning our return sailing to Lyon. We sit down to the captain's gala dinner this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - London

Today, we travel by rail to Paris. On arrival in the French capital, we board the Eurostar service back to London.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Eurostar
TGV

Ship

MS Amadeus Provence
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