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GRAND FRANCE (WINE THEMED CRUISE) - CATEGORY E - 2018

This river cruise highlighting the best of France is certainly grand! Enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery, and stops in the most charming and historical parts of France.

Set sail on the Seine River and go on an excursion to the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. Visit Joan of Arc’s Rouen, and choose between Claude Monet’s Giverny or the Bizy Castle, nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles”; Vincent Van Gogh’s Auver-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. Before you depart the beautiful Seine River, you’ll spend time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic cities! The “City of Light” has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. Go on a guided walk through the historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets and Île de la Cité where medieval Paris was founded. Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, is the third-largest city and a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards. Go on a guided walk of Tournon, offering plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. On a guided tour of historical Avignon, see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. Situated on the Rhône River, Arles is famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater, which hosts plays and concerts to this day.

As a perfect finale to your river cruise holiday, spend time in the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Wine Appreciation Themed Cruise
This departure operates as a special Wine Appreciation themed cruise at no extra cost. Your palate will applaud as you learn what to look for in a good wine. A distinguished wine authority will teach you the ropes as you visit a wine village and attend tastings to test your newfound talent.

Inclusions

15 breakfasts
15 lunches
15 dinners
Tour Provider Avalon Waterways
Number of Days
16
Price From
AUD $8,187
Start Location
Paris, France
End Location
Cote D'azur, France
Age Range
Avg. 40+
Group Size
20 to 44
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Small Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
20 Oct 201804 Nov 2018On RequestAUD $8,187
ItineraryExpand
Day 1: ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE (EMBARKATION).
Welcome to Paris, France's capital on the Seine River, the "City of Light," where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides out of Paris. (NOTE: Flights into Paris must arrive by 2:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.) (D)
Day 2: VERNON-LES ANDELYS.
This morning in Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Giverny and a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at GIVERNY from 1883-1926, and viewed his gardens as works of art-just like his paintings. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration. Or, visit BIZY CASTLE, built in 1740 and nicknamed "Normandy's Versailles." It is known for its famous stables-inspired by those at Versailles-and its magnificent courtyard and water garden. This afternoon, your ship arrives in Les Andelys, situated on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France. Join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK of the town, visiting the PARISH CHURCH OF LE PETIT ANDELY. Alternatively you may wish to join your guide on a hike up to the ruins of imposing Chateau Gaillard, built by England's King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. (B,L,D)
Day 3: CAUDEBEC.
Today, join a guided excursion along the "NORMANDY ABBEYS ROUTE," a short drive from Caudebec. More than 100 abbeys once covered this region, which has a microclimate particularly suited to the production of fruit such as apples, pears, plums and cherries. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur. (B,L,D)
Day 4: CAUDEBEC.
Make your choice today between an included full-day excursion to the historic NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES-with poignant sites such as Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery-or a "TASTE OF NORMANDY" for a more in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important products are dairy, apples, and grain. Camembert cheese is a specialty, as is CALVADOS, a strong apple brandy that you'll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. And for a touch of history, visit the famous BAYEUX TAPESTRY. (B,L,D)
Day 5: ROUEN.
Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned, and burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Enjoy the included GUIDED WALK through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take your pictures of the intricate Gros Horloge astronomical clock, dating back to the 16th century. Visit the gothic CATHEDRAL, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. (B,L,D)
Day 6: CONFLANS.
After breakfast you may either join our guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or to Napoleon and Josephine's CHATEAU DE MALMAISON just outside Paris. Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it "the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation." (B,L,D)
Day 7: PARIS.
One of the world's most romantic and lively cities, Paris delights the senses. Join a GUIDED WALK through historic Ile St. Louis with its narrow one-way streets and Ile de la Cite, the centre of Paris where the medieval city was founded and home to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysees with its lavish cafes, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre or Montmartre with its Sacre Cur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. (B,L,D)
Day 8: PARIS (DISEMBARKATION)-DIJON-BEAUNE- ST. JEAN DE LOSNE (EMBARKATION)-SEURRE.
This morning, say goodbye to your crew, board the TGV train to Dijon and from there, drive to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Cote d'Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, aging, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centres around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HOTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years' War left many of the town's population destitute. Today, it houses Van der Weyden's painting of The Last Judgment and is one of France's architectural highlights. Alternatively, you can join a TASTING of some of the region's famous Burgundy wines. Continue to St. Jean de Losne, where your ship awaits. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as you depart for Seurre. (B,D)
Day 9: SEURRE-MACON.
Enjoy some leisurely cruising this morning. In the afternoon you might choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as to a Chardonnay wine cellar, before your ships arrives in Macon. A Master of Wine will join you on board and will introduce you to some of France's wines in the coming days. . (B,L,D)
Day 10: LYON.
A leisurely morning on board to relax and enjoy the passing scenery. As you cruise, our Master of Wine will tempt you with a tasting of CHEESE and WINE. In the early afternoon, arrive in Lyon, France's third-largest city and its gastronomic capital, founded by the Romans in 43 BC. The city's prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial, and banking activities. Roman remains, excellent museums, and renaissance architecture delight visitors. A LOCAL GUIDE joins you as you survey the city from Fourviere Hill and explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafes, monuments, and the famous fountain often depicted on postcards. (B,L,D)
Day 11: LYON.
Enjoy a free day to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon's parks, discover some of the murals (there are over 100 of them), or select one of the available optional excursions This afternoon an excursion takes you to sample BEAUJOLAIS, the wine of the region; wine connoisseurs know the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. This evening enjoy a special onboard FOOD AND WINE PAIRING DINNER hosted by our Master of Wine, who has specifically chosen the wines for this occasion. (B,L,D)
Day 12: TOURNON/TAIN L'HERMITAGE-VIVIERS.
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l'Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhone River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you Tournon, one of France's oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. . In the afternoon, while cruising to Viviers, enjoy a tasting of CHOCOLATE AND WINE. Here, too, our Master of Wine will guide you through this wonderful experience. Once in Viviers, an included GUIDED WALK shows you this charming town that developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (B,L,D)
Day 13: AVIGNON.
The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region-the most picturesque part of Provence with its intact ramparts encircling the entire city, cobblestone streets and squares, and private mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as the "City of Popes," it was the centre of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. Your GUIDED TOUR includes a visit of the PALACE OF THE POPES, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes' residency. A photo of the famous Pont Saint Benezet (Saint Benezet Bridge), of the popular song Sur le Pont d'Avignon, is a must. In the morning an optional outing to Pont du Gard is available. In the afternoon an excursion takes you to the famed cellars of CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE to learn about and to taste this famous wine. (B,L,D)
Day 14: ARLES.
This morning, wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting) before arriving in Arles after breakfast. Located on the northern tip of the Camargue, Arles is capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you'll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. (B,L,D)
Day 15: ARLES (DISEMBARKATION)-COTE D'AZUR.
After breakfast, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the Cote d'Azur for a last night in France. Also known as the French Riviera, the Cote d'Azur stretches along France's Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border and is synonymous with prestige and beauty. (B)
Day 16: COTE D'AZUR.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)