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Provence and The Elegant Rhône

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8 days From £1,595 £1,395 per person
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Discover the timeless elegance of France's beautiful Rhône and Saone rivers

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys
Save £200pp

Save £200pp on Cruise 2024 last-minute holidays, when you book by 30th June 2024.

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2024 Tour code: LRR24

About the tour

Discover the timeless elegance of France's beautiful Rhône on board the MS Amadeus Provence. Experience a relaxing cruise, enchanting cities, and many natural wonders. Visit dynamic Lyon, Avignon and charming Beaune, and admire the wonderful Ardèche Gorge as you drift down this peaceful river.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Boarding on the Rhône 

We meet at London St Pancras* where we join the Eurostar to the French capital of Paris, before connecting with the regional service to the dynamic city of Lyon. Here we board our luxurious ship, the MS Amadeus Provence. We have time to settle into our cabins before we enjoy a welcome cocktail, which you may like to take on the sun deck as we admire Lyon's colourful townhouses and lively streets. Later, we enjoy dinner together before setting sail for Chalon-sur-Saône.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Arrival in Beaune and Burgundy wine tasting

We arrive into Beaune this morning. Deep in the heart of the Burgundy wine region, 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. Beaune is one of the most important of France's wine centres and is surrounded by fields bedecked by vineyards growing Pinot noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay grapes. Back on board later, we enjoy a leisurely afternoon cruising back to Lyon.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 – Guided tour of gastronomic Lyon

Arriving in Lyon, we disembark for a guided tour this morning. 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 of Lyon's riverfront give a hint of the city's elegance. On our tour we explore some of Lyon's fantastic highlights and extensive history. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city was historically renowned for its silk weaving industries. However, Lyon has recently deservedly reinvented itself as the capital of French gastronomy. At the centre of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Lyon is perfectly placed to make excellent use of local produce. It was also the location of many restaurants run by iconic chef Paul Bocuse, who was prominent in the development of Nouvelle Cuisine.

We return to the ship for lunch, then 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 and verdant vineyards rise and fall, under the gaze of various châteaux and stately homes.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 – The steam-powered Train de l’Ardèche

Early this morning, we travel by coach to Tournon sur Rhône's railway station to board the wonderful Train de l'Ardèche. We take a memorable journey through the spectacular Gorges du Doux region, as the railway winds through the scenic foothills and valley. Stone bridges criss-cross the brooks and rivers which snake under the trees, and our charming locomotive takes us to sections of the gorges which no other form of transport can access. Later, our ship continues its course to the city of Avignon.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Exploring Avignon, the City of Popes

In Avignon today, we set out on a guided tour of this stately city, known as the seat of the Pope in the 14th century. Its striking white papal palaces and majestic cathedral are just some of the highlights we see walking through Avignon's historic centre, which earned World Heritage status in 1995. We also enter the Pope's Palace, admiring its spectacular interiors and a collection of holy and religious artefacts. 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 6 - Arles, the Camargue Delta or Pont du Gard

We begin the day with a guided tour of pretty Arles, the inspiration for many of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings. Van Gogh produced more than 180 pieces during his time in Arles, including 'Starry Night over the Rhone' and 'Café Terrace at Night', the location of which can be found in the Place du Forum.

This afternoon, you have the choice of two excursions. Your first option is a visit to the beautiful Camargue Delta, where the Rhône opens out into the Mediterranean. This is a treat for nature lovers, as the wetlands and parkland are home to hundreds of bird species, including pink flamingos and wild horses which may be seen roaming freely. Your second option takes you to the iconic arches of the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct which spans the Gardon river, another World Heritage site. Later, we return to our cruise ship and sail for Chateauneuf du Rhône.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – The Ardèche Gorge, ‘Europe’s Grand Canyon’

Today we visit the stunning Ardèche Gorge, also known as the 'Grand Canyon of Europe'. An area of snaking rivers and deep gorges, this is a dramatic example of the natural world. Sheer cliffs rise above waterways of sparkling emerald and deep green forests. Our tour takes us to some of the most impressive sights in the gorge, including the Pont d'Arc. Afterwards, we re-join the ship at Le Pouzin, where we begin our return sailing to Lyon. This evening we are invited to attend the captain's gala dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - London

After breakfast, we disembark and say goodbye to the wonderful crew who have made us so welcome throughout our cruise. We transfer to Lyon's railway station for a journey to Paris, where we catch the Eurostar to London St Pancras International. On arrival in London, we say goodbye to our fellow travellers and new friends with whom we have shared some incredible memories.

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

Ship

MS Amadeus Provence

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