Explore the scenery of the Rhône
Let the gentle currents of the Rhône transport you through Burgundy and Provence. Discover the region's verdant vineyards and absorb the atmosphere of its historic towns, soaring cathedrals and half-timbered houses.
After meeting at our exclusive St Pancras Departure Office, join the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Lyon by high-speed rail. Here you join our floating hotel for seven nights, the splendid A-Rosa Stella. After settling in, enjoy our dinner on board. Later, take a panoramic cruise through the heart of Lyon, taking in its enchanting Old Town.
You arrive in Mâcon before breakfast this morning. Enjoying an attractive location near the Beaujolais hills, Mâcon is Burgundy's southernmost town and a major name in the local wine trade, thanks to the glorious expanse of nearby vineyards. There is an optional guided walking tour of Mâcon taking in the sights of this historic town. Alternatively you have the option of a visit to the Benedictine monastery at Cluny, where you can admire the grand abbey that stands on the site, and discover the grand remains of the great medieval buildings.
In the early hours of the morning you moor in Chalon sur Saône, which shot to fame in 1827, when the world's first durable photograph was produced here. From here you can join an optional excursion through Burgundy's wine towns to picturesque Beaune. Explore the medieval centre and visit the famous Hospices de Beaune, a 15th century hospital with distinctive patterned tiles adorning its roof. Otherwise you may wish to simply explore Chalon sur Saône. The beautiful town has much to recommend it; not only its attractive clutch of authentic, half-timbered houses, but also the mighty neo-classical Cathedral of St Vincent, which dominates the town's skyline. Return to the ship in time for lunch and set sail again. In the afternoon you can join an optional excursion to Dijon. The city's prosperous past is reflected in its architectural splendour.
Today you moor in Lyon, an important port and a vital gateway between the north and south of France since ancient times. As the centre of so much commerce, Lyon has enjoyed many centuries of wealth and influence - and today the city boasts an array of beautiful architecture and cultural monuments from its vibrant past. The historic Old Town of Lyon has been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Set in the heart of the city, this area of narrow alleyways is home to more than 300 lovingly restored buildings all pre-dating the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved Renaissance complexes in all of Europe. You can explore more of this wonderful heritage on an optional guided tour of the city.
This morning is spent on board as you navigate the different locks on the river. You sail into charming Avignon at lunchtime. In the afternoon take an optional walking tour of the UNESCO-listed city, admiring landmarks such as Pont St Bénezet, Avignon's famous broken bridge. The four surviving arches of the medieval bridge have become an emblem of the city. You also have the chance to visit the spectacular Palais des Papes - Palace of the Popes - which was the seat of the Papacy for six successive Popes during the 14th century.
Following a leisurely morning in Avignon, cruise along the Rhône to Arles, arriving mid-afternoon. The city boasts a glorious Roman heritage, and with its grand Mediterranean-influenced houses, was the inspiration for much of Van Gogh's work. You can explore Arles at leisure, or opt to join an excursion to the Camargue river delta, where over 400 species of bird, including the flamingo, can be seen along with herds of white horses and black bulls.
This morning is spent on board as you sail along the Rhône. The landscape here is dominated by terraced chestnut woods and orchards, fortified villages and farmsteads. During the day you can join an optional excursion to the striking Southern Ardèche and the numerous grottoes in the area. This trip continues to a lavender producer to learn about the different types, all grown in abundance in the area. On Day 8, arrive back in Lyon, where you disembark the ship and travel by high-speed rail to Paris. Here, join the Eurostar, before arriving in London.
Optional shore excursions are not included in the price of your tour and are payable on board the ship.
Palais des Papes
The spectacular Palace of the Popes is Avignon's most important landmark and was the former seat of the Papacy during the 14th century.
This optional excursion travels to one of France's most ecologically diverse region. Here, over 400 bird species including flamingoes make their home and can be watched from one of the many hides.
Join this optional excursion and tour the beautiful area, dotted with many grottoes and extravagant cave networks. Later, continue to a local lavender producer and learn about the production process on these fragrant farms.
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.
Explore the scenery of the Rhône