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Mont Blanc Express and Rhône Cruise

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Discover the gems of Switzerland’s southwest before continuing to Lyon for an exquisite 7-night cruise.

11 days From £2,995 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2023 Tour code: FMR23

About the tour

Discover the gems of Switzerland's southwest before continuing to Lyon for an exquisite 7-night cruise. Stay in 5-Star luxury in Montreux, an unbeatable base for exploring the local castles and wineries, sailing across Lake Geneva and riding the Mont Blanc Express.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London and Montreux

We meet at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing by rail to Montreux, in Switzerland. Here, we stay at the 5-Star Fairmont Le Montreux Palace for three nights.

Day 2 – Château de Chillon and Lake Geneva

After a relaxing free morning, we visit elegant Château de Chillon, rising dramatically from the waters of Lake Geneva against a backdrop of breathtaking mountain scenery. Crossing the wooden drawbridge, we meet our guide for a tour of this 13th-century château. Making our way to the waterfront, we take a scenic boat cruise across to Lake Geneva and back to Montreux. The rest of your day is free. You could take a walk along the palm and cypress treelined promenade that runs along the lakefront, linking the town with neighbouring Vevey.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - The Mont Blanc Express

Boarding the Mont Blanc Express, we ride the length of this spectacular line across the French border to Chamonix. The route meanders through rows of vineyards before entering France. Passing through the charming landscapes of the Rhône Valley, the train climbs high into the mountains. Using a rack-and pinion mechanism, the we ascend past snow-capped peaks and deep valleys before reaching the Trient Gorge. On our approach to the Chamonix Valley, we're welcomed by the breathtaking sight of glistening glaciers and majestic Mont Blanc itself. There's some free time in Chamonix before we make the return journey.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Montreux and Lyon

This morning we board our train to Lyon, bidding farewell to the south of France.

Arriving into this colourful 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 colourful townhouses and lively streets. Later, we sit down to a splendid 5-course meal before setting sail for Beaune.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Beaune and 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 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 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 7 - 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 8 - 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 9 - The Camargue or 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
Days 10 - 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 the natural world. Sheer cliff faces rise over waterways of 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 11 - London

Today, passengers either board their flight home or 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

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

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 holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Eurostar
The TGV
The Mont Blanc Express

Ship

MS Amadeus Provence

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Mont Blanc Express and Rhône Cruise

Discover the gems of Switzerland’s southwest before continuing to Lyon for an exquisite 7-night cruise.

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Ashleigh Howe
Ashleigh
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Simon Laverack
Simon