Number of nights
Experience the heart of Europe with a river cruise of the Saône, and Rhône Rivers. Romantic settings, historic villages, stunning scenery, French flavours and rolling vineyards are yours to discover along your leisurely cruise of the Saône and Rhône Rivers.
Explore Lyon, France’s second largest city and gastronomic capital. As you cruise the lovely Saône and Rhône, dock in the heart of the beautiful towns of Mâcon, Chalon–Sur–Saône and Tournon, and taste the world-renowned wines of Beaujolais and Burgundy. Marvel at the sheer size of the Palais du Pape in Avignon, one of the most historic and picturesque towns in Europe, and be awe-struck at the splendour of the Roman-era Arles Colosseum.
Day 1 | Highlights:
Welcome to Lyon. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the ship where you will be welcomed by your Captain and crew. Tonight enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board.
Day 2 | Lyon Highlights:
Lyon is France’s third largest city, a former Roman capital positioned at the conference of the Rhone and Saone rivers, which is steeped in history. Your tour starts with a drive to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, Lyon’s hilltop church, with stunning views over the town. Then pass by the recently re–discovered Roman amphitheatre and walk through the cobbled streets of the gastronomic old town including the secret laneways. This evening sail north through the beautiful Beaujolais region.
Discover More: Excursion to the medieval town of Perouges (extra expense)
Day 3 | Chalon-Sur-Saone – Beaune Highlights:
Chalon–Sur–Saone is best known as the birthplace of photography and the centre of Burgundy’s wine region. Travel by road to the quaint village of Beaune, where we visit the Hospices de Beaune, one of the finest examples of French fifteenth–century architecture. Marvel at the multi–coloured roofs of this former hospital, now a museum, which has become one of the symbols of Burgundy. Return to the ship for lunch, and then depart this afternoon for Macon arriving in the evening. Tonight, enjoy local entertainment on board. Emerald Active: Join your guide for a bike excursion from Tournus to Macon while the ship sails (active fitness level).
Day 4 | Macon Highlights:
Arrive in Macon, another important wine region and gateway to the Beaujolais vineyards. Walk the Heritage Trail from Old Saint Vincent to the General Hospital buildings, half–timbered house and Soufflot Chapel, maybe trying some local wines at the many tasting displays in the town. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon.
Discover More: Visit to Benedictine Abbey of Cluny (extra expense)
Day 5 | Tournon Highlights:
Join your local guide for a walking tour of Tournon, which is dominated by the 16th century castle and roman ruins, and is nestled in the valley near the steep slopes of le Massif Central, France's 3rd largest mountain range. The area has a long tradition in wine making, including the renowned wine growing centre of Tain l'Hermitage across the river. Emerald Active: Guided biking tour to Glun. This afternoon EmeraldPLUS: Cheese and olive oil tasting on board.
Discover More: Regional Wine Tasting in Tournon Castle (extra expense).
Day 6 | Avignon Highlights:
Avignon has a rich history from Celtic beginnings to being the residence of the Popes and later central to the French Revolution. Although a fortified town, it is the Papal Palace which stands more secure on a hill in the centre of town; its walls are 17–18 feet thick. Your guided walk with a local guide takes you through this historic centre strolling the cobbled laneways and browsing the shops, overlooking the famous 'Pont d'Avignon'. The rest of the day is at leisure. EmeraldPLUS: Provencal dinner on board hosted by a popular local chef as well as traditional local style concert known as Chanson music.
Discover More: Secrets of the Pope’s Palace (extra expense) or Excursion to Pont du Gard (extra expense).
Day 7 | Avignon - Arles Highlights:
Sail into the Camargue wilderness region to the capital of Provence, Arles where you will join your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city in particular the exterior of the 2000 year old Roman Amphitheatre still in use today, which was originally built to hold 20,000 spectators in the style of the Colosseum in Rome. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax on board and explore Arles further.
Discover More: Excursion to Les Baux de Provence (extra expense) or Tastes of Provence (extra expense)
Day 8 | Arles - Disembarkation Highlights:
After breakfast disembark your river cruise ship in Arles and transfer to Nice (or Marseilles) Airport for your onward or homebound flight. (Please book your flight to depart Nice after 1pm).
Sightseeing in Europe
It is impossible for large coaches to be used for some city sightseeing. Many towns and cities will be visited by way of walking tours and accordingly, a reasonable level of fitness is required. Europe is based on a myriad of old buildings and there are split-levels, steps and uneven surfaces everywhere so please watch your step! Due to the structure of old buildings, access to some establishments may not be convenient for wheelchair use, and facilities for the disabled in general may be limited. High-heeled shoes are not suitable for cobblestone streets and steep inclines in medieval towns and cities. It is essential to have comfortable, rubber-soled walking shoes.
Travel with an Open Mind
During your travels you will encounter new customs and different ways of life. Appreciate and enjoy these differences as this is one of the highlights of travelling. Be mindful that meals on tour will often reflect the local cuisine and delicacies, which may be different to what you are normally accustomed to. Your dining experiences are certain to enhance your tour and introduce you to the local region and culture.
A Few Words of French
Hello - bonjour
Yes - oui
No - non
Please - S'il vous plait
Thank you - merci
Excuse me - excusez-moi
Goodbye - au revoir
Do you speak English? - parlez-vous anglais?
Where are the toilets? - Où sont les toilettes?
How much - combien?
I don't understand - je ne comprends pas