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15 Days | Grand France
Northbound (WLP0)


Day 1 | Port St. Louis, France. Embarkation. Welcome to the Provence! This afternoon board your river cruise vessel between 4 pm and 5 pm. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception and enjoy tranquil scenes as you gently sail through the Camargue Regional National Park northward to Arles. (D)

Day 2 |
Arles. On the northern tip of the Camargue, Arles is the capital of the Provence and was once known as the “Little Rome of Gaul.” See the church of St. Trophime; “Les Alyscamps,” the remains of the Gallo-Roman burial road; and visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Vincent Van Gogh was inspired by the special light of the Provence and spent a very productive year in Arles. The “Foundation Vincent Van Gogh” is a tribute to the artist. (B,L,D)

Day 3 |
Avignon. The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region, the most picturesque part of Provence. Also referred to as the “City of Popes,” it was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century, and the city landscape is dominated by the grandiose PALACE OF THE POPES. A photo of the bridge of the popular song is a must, and optional outings to Pont du Gard or to the famed wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are available this afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 4 |
Cruising. Viviers. A leisurely morning on board to relax and enjoy the passing scenery as you glide gently by. The charming town of Viviers was developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL, and the OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (B,L,D)

Day 5 |
Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage. Vienne. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the River Rhône and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. Tournon, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins, is one of France’s oldest medieval cities. This afternoon, enjoy Vienne, another charming little town surrounded by steep hills. (B,L,D)

Day 6 |
Lyon. Lyon is France’s second-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, many excellent museums, and much renaissance architecture delight the visitor. Survey the city from Fourvière Hill; explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World heritage site with its maze of medieval alleyways; Place des Terreaux, and beautiful Place Bellecour. Beaujolais is the wine of the region and wine connoisseurs will know that the grapes must be hand picked. Tradition dictates that the “Beaujolais Nouveau” is tasted for the first time on the third Thursday of November each year. (B,L,D)

Day 7 |
Mâcon. Tournus. Chalon-sur-Saône. Wake up this morning on the River Saône in Mâcon, a city that plays an important part in the wine trade. There’s some free time for exploring after breakfast, then enjoy a short cruise to Tournus. Here the cloister of St. Philibert or the Burgundy Museum’s folklore collection, located in an old family mansion, are worth a visit. A choice of optional excursions, including a visit to a wine cellar, is available. Before dinner, arrive in Chalon-sur-Saône. (B,L,D)

Day 8 |
Chalon-sur-Saône. Disembark. Beaune. Paris. Embark. After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew on the Avalon Scenery and head for Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Or area, which produces the Burgundy region’s finest vintages. Its most famous historical site, the Hôtel-Dieu charity hospital, houses Van der Weyden’s painting of the Last Judgement and is one of France’s architectural highlights. After lunch, continue north past the forest of Fontainebleau to Paris, the “City of Light,” where you board the Avalon Creativity docked on the River Seine. This evening, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B,D)

Day 9 |
Paris. Paris’ famous sights are living history. Your included city sightseeing shows you magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, Champs Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower, a structural miracle of its age. The city is well known for its colorful nightlife, including some of the world’s most famous cabaret shows. (B,L,D)

Day 10 |
Paris. Conflans. After breakfast, enjoy a relaxing morning on the Sky Deck as your ship slips its moorings and glides gently down the River Seine, passing through suburban Paris. This afternoon, dock at Conflans—and now the choice is yours: either join our guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or Napoleon and Josephine’s CHÂTEAU 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 11 |
Vernon. This morning, choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s house and stunning gardens at GIVERNY or a visit of BIZY CASTLE with its magnificent courtyard. There’s still time to stroll through this delightful city on your own before your ship departs for Rouen. Relax on board this afternoon or take in a pastry-making DEMONSTRATION. (B,L,D)

Day 12 |
Rouen. Rouen is the capital of Upper Normandy and an important commercial city. It is 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 guided walk through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and the Gros Horloge, an intricate Astronomical Clock dating back to the 16th century. The splendid gothic CATHEDRAL was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of Claude Monet’s paintings. The afternoon is free for you to explore on your own, or you can join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur or to the busy port city of Le Havre with its contemporary architecture. (B,L,D)

Day 13 |
Rouen. Make your choice today between an included 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. Thoroughbred horses are also reared here. (B,L,D)

Day 14 |
Les Andelys. The most dramatic sight along the Seine is imposing Château Gaillard at Les Andelys. Built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart in 1196, the château is truly a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. Explore on your own and enjoy this last day in France in this delightful small town. (B,L,D)

Day 15 |
Paris. Disembark. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Departure flights should not leave before 8 am. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

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