This splendid vacation showcases France’s exciting scenery, history, and culture as you sail along its beautiful rivers. Embark in Paris and head northwest along the Seine River up to the picturesque Normandy region. Dock at Vernon and choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or remarkable Bizy Castle. Continue to Les Andelys—home of Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart in 1196. Then, on to Caudebec, where you choose between an included excursion to the poignant Normandy landing beaches or a fascinating “Taste of Normandy.” Visit Joan of Arc’s historic Rouen, and in Conflans, choose between a guided excursion to Vincent van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s elegant Château de Malmaison before heading back to Paris for sightseeing that includes the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. Disembark and ride the TGV train to Dijon, then travel south to fascinating Beaune for a visit of the Hôtel-Dieu. In St. Jean de Losne board your second cruise ship and sail on to Macon, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, Viviers, Avignon, and Arles, as well as France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, where you have time to explore this fascinating city. And because this cruise has a Wine Appreciation theme, you will be joined on board by a Master of Wine, who will share his knowledge of French wines while hosting a tasting of cheese and wine, and chocolate and wine, as well as a food and wine pairing dinner. Your vacation ends with an overnight on the stunning Côte d’Azur.
Cruise: deluxe 14-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSMDay 1 Paris (Embarkation): welcome receptionDay 2 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; guided walk in Les AndelysDay 3-4 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 5 Rouen: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedralDay 6 Conflans: choice of excursions: visit Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de MalmaisonDay 7 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing or “Heart of Paris” walkDay 8 Paris (Disembarkation)–Dijon–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre: TGV train from Paris to Dijon. Motorcoach transfer to Beaune, visit Hôtel-Dieu or take part in a Crèmant tasting in Beuane;; onboard welcome receptionDay 9 Seurre–Macon: leisurely cruising; free time in Macon; included visit to Chardonnay WineryDay 10 Lyon: guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière Hill. Onboard cheese and wine tasting.Day 11 Lyon: a day to explore this fascinating city at leisure. Special onboard food and wine pairing dinner.Day 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral. Onboard chocolate and wine tastingDay 13 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes and visit a winery in Châteauneuf du Pape, wine tastingDay 14 Arles: sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting); guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Côte d’Azur: travel by motorcoach to Côte d’Azur Day 16 Côte d’Azur: your vacation ends this morning
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapésWelcome dinnerDaily Afternoon TeaDaily Night FareFarewell dinnerComplimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
NOTES: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.In the event that the TGV is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the transfer from Paris to Dijon will be operated by motorcoach.