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Beautiful Sensations of Southern France

Starting At:
$2,995 per person
Romantic settings, quaint country villages, stunning scenery and rolling vineyards are yours to discover on your river cruise through Lyon, to Chalon-Sur-Saône, Avignon and Arles. The region’s wines and gastronomic delights are waiting to be tasted, and France’s impressive architecture including castles and palaces – there to be explored. Romanesque influences rise from cities’ ruins while castles built by French nobility tell tales of the past lives of the country’s wealthy, providing you with an all-encompassing experience of France’s past and present.

Itinerary Information

Day 1: Lyon

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

Lyon is France’s second largest city, a former Roman capital positioned at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, 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 see the recently re–discovered Roman amphitheatre and walk through the cobbled streets of the gastronomic old town including the secret laneways. This evening enjoy a Captain Welcome dinner as you sail north through the beautiful Beaujolais region. Boston Wine School Enhancement: Wine & History Comparative tasting class.  Did you know that Burgundy is important because it is home to two of the most famous, most widely planted, most expensive and sought after collectible wine grapes on the planet: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir? Pinot to the people! 

Day 3: Chalon-Sur-Saône - Beaune

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–colored 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: Mâcon

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) Boston Wine School Enhancement:  Meet The Wine Maker! Today we’ll enjoy a Tasting Class curated just for our group by Jonathon. Plus we’ll be joined for lunch by wine makers from Louis Latour, a premier Chardonnay producer in southern Burgundy. Please visit to learn more about the wines that await! Let’s explore Wine Tasting by Color…today’s theme: White Heat! Red wine gets all the attention and all the respect, but Latour proves that the noblest of the white grapes, ripe Mâcon Chardonnay, is a white wine that drinks and ages with the reds. 

Day 5: Tournon

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

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 de 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). Boston Wine School Enhancement:  Vineyard tour and cellar tasting class at Château Gassier in Sainte-Victoire, a hillside town outside Aix-en-Provence followed by a deluxe wine dinner in Châteauneuf-du-Pape at superstar Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes Today’s theme: Southern Stars! On the wine timeline, Provence is about 800 years older than the rest of France. Greeks grew wine centuries before the Romans established their first province - Provence. The wines, blended from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and more, show how much history matters to wine. Let’s taste history together as we sample wines from this rich region! 

Day 7: Avignon - Arles

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 Amphitheater 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) Boston Wine School Enhancement:  Optional online Exam. The Boston Wine School Certi ficate Exam has 25 questions and lasts for one hour. You may complete the test on your cell phone, laptop, tablet, or pen and paper.  All group participants will receive a certificate. If you choose to take the exam, you will receive TWO certificates — one of participation and one Certificate of Examination. 

Day 8: Arles

After breakfast disembark your river cruise ship in Arles and transfer to Nice (or Marseilles) Airport for your onward or homebound flight.