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14 Days | Artistic Impressions
Northbound Only


Day 1 | Nice, France. Welcome to Nice and Monte-Carlo. Tauck’s art cruise and tour begins at 5:30 PM at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. A transfer is included from the Nice Cote d’Azur Airport, Nice Ville Train Station and Nice Riquier Train Station to the Fairmont Monte Carlo; guests in Category 7 aboard the riverboat will enjoy sea-view rooms in this world-class hotel on Monte-Carlo's famed waterfront. Join us for an introduction to the art of the Côte d’Azur, highlighting many of the masterpieces you will see during the next two weeks, followed by a welcome reception and dinner overlooking the spectacular harbor. (D)

Day 2 | Monte Carlo. St. Paul de Vence. Nice. Travel this morning from Monte-Carlo to the medieval hilltop village of St-Paul-de-Vence, where one of Europe’s finest modern art museums blends old and new in an artfully inspired setting. Your tour inside the Maeght Foundation Museum reveals works by Chagall and other artists; see a host of interesting sculptures, mobiles, and mosaics outside on the museum's grounds. Have lunch on your own in the village, then head to Nice for guided tours of separate museums featuring works by Chagall and Matisse. Return to Monte-Carlo to spend the evening as you please. (B)

Day 3 | Monte-Carlo. Arles. Embark. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic or sophisticated place than Monte-Carlo; it brings to mind jet setters, mega-yachts bobbing in the harbor, the glittering casino where the rich and famous play, and the fairy-tale legacy of Princess Grace, Prince Rainier and the Grimaldi family who have ruled the Principality of Monaco for over 700 years. You have the choice today of discovering Monte-Carlo's magic – including Monaco’s cathedral, the Place de Palais and more – or taking an excursion to nearby Menton to visit the Musée de Jean Cocteau, showcasing the “dreamy mélange of sophisticated wit, canny observation, gentle self-mockery and joie de vivre” found in the graphic works of Cocteau, among France’s most revolutionary artists. In the early afternoon, enjoy lunch on your own and travel to Arles, where you'll board ms Swiss Emerald to begin the riverboat portion of Tauck's art cruise along the Rhône and Saône rivers. The captain welcomes you aboard with a reception and special dinner this evening. (B,D)

Day 4 | Arles. Aix-en-Provence. Avignon. It may seem strange to encounter Roman ruins in Provence but Arles was, after all, once a Roman city; while the gladiators are gone, the arena they built in the 1st century BC and later left behind – just one of the town's many Roman remnants – still hosts performances and bullfights today. See firsthand what drew artists like Dutch Impressionist Vincent van Gogh to this riverfront town and visit sites they immortalized while they were here. Pass by the café that van Gogh painted in The Café Terrace, the hospital where he recuperated from his ear injury, the surrounding countryside he found so enchanting, and other iconic settings you may recognize. Then continue on to beautiful Aix-en-Provence to learn about the Provençal school of painters from the 17th to 20th centuries – including "Aix" native son Paul Cézanne – before returning to Arles, from which ms Swiss Emerald sails for Avignon, the medieval "city of the Popes," tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Avignon. The fortified city of Avignon was probably a much more peaceful place before Rome became "inconvenient" for the popes who moved the papacy here about 700 years ago. Although they stayed for less than a century, they kept busy during those years... as you’ll see at the impressive Palais des Papes that they built for themselves during this morning’s sightseeing in this medieval city. As well versed in Latin as they all were, they surely understood what "in vino veritas" means, and they all shared a fondness for wine – and the "truth" it brings – which was very convenient, because wine has been grown in the area for over 2,600 years. Taste locally produced wine named for the "new castle of the popes," the world-renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape, on a wine-tasting excursion this afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Viviers. The walled city of Viviers, which retains much of its medieval character, is a delightful stop on your art cruise through France. A walking tour reveals ancient homes and its unusual, mostly 14th-century Cathedral of St. Vincent, high up on the riverbank; with its flamboyant late-Gothic elements, it looks more like a castle than a church in the opinion of some. After some free time to soak up the character of this lovely town on your own, reboard ms Swiss Emerald for lunch, followed by an afternoon and evening cruising along the Rhône. Weather permitting, enjoy a demonstration of the popular French game of pétanque today. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Vienne. Cruising the Rhône. It seems that the Romans were everywhere along the Rhône, and Vienne (which they called "Vienna" in their day) was no exception. During your time on a walking tour here this morning, look for the 13,000-seat theatre and the Temple of Augustus and Livia they left behind, as well as other sights straight out of history, and ride a small train to Mont Pipet for sweeping views of the countryside. Cross the river from the dock and step back in time at the Musée Gallo-Romains, where a city neighborhood from 50 AD has been restored to reveal an urban landscape featuring splendid little palaces, paved streets, public baths and gardens. Return to ms Swiss Emerald for an afternoon cruising the Rhône; take advantage of all that your riverboat offers, or perhaps just settle into a deck chair on the Sun Deck and watch the world along the river, with its vineyards and bucolic villages, go by as your art cruise continues. (B,L,D)

Day 8| Dijon. Beaune. The art of food – especially mustard and gingerbread – usually comes to mind when one thinks of Dijon. But the center of this venerable French city is also a vision of architectural splendors and a treasure trove of artwork – as a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, with its collection of European paintings from the 14th to the 19th centuries, will bear out. After lunch, travel to the nearby town of Beaune, where back in the 1400s, an almshouse and hospital for the poor was established. Six hundred years later, the Hospices de Beaune still exists, and its Musée de l’Hôtel-Dieu – a jewel inside and out, and one of the finest examples of 15th-century French architecture – preserves the heritage of this charitable work, now carried on in modern facilities. You'll get an extraordinary look at the art of medicine from the Middle Ages on your visit today. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Tournus. Burgundy. Macon. Swiss Emerald docks the previous evening along the banks of the river Saône in Tournus, huddled below one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in all of Europe. It's the perfect place to begin a drive through the landscapes of southern Burgundy – past vineyards, gently rolling hills, orchards, red-tiled farmhouses and medieval cathedrals – to the 17th-century Château de Cormatin. Sporting towers, turrets and a drawbridge over a wide moat, this noble castle was built to impress, and exudes prestige and power as you tour its famous “gilded rooms” and pleasure garden. Then it’s back to the riverboat in Tournus for lunch as your French art cruise continues to Mâcon. (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Cluny Abbey. Lyon. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, France experienced hundreds of years of unstable government; the only constant was the church. And so during the reign of Charlemagne (742–814), monastic influences inspired a great revival in art, education and culture. Today you'll visit one of the great monasteries of the period when you tour the great Benedictine Abbey of Cluny; founded in 910, it was at the center of this major monastic reform movement and was also the largest Christian building in the world until the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. You'll also visit Haras National de Cluny (France's national equestrian center), which dates back to the 19th century, to learn about its high-quality thoroughbred stallions. The history of wine production in this area dates back to the 14th century; a visit to a local château today includes a wine pairing lunch. Later today, reboard ms Swiss Emerald as Tauck's France art cruise heads to Lyon. (B,L,D)

Day 11 | Lyon. Ahh, Lyon. Serious foodies know it as France's culinary capital, but art and architecture are also prominent in this 2,000 year-old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin your day with a visit to the impressive Musée des Beaux-Arts. Then get a panoramic view of the city from the hilltop district of Fouvière, where you'll visit "the hill that prays" – the stunning Museum Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière; built in the 1870s, it features exquisite marble work, stained glass windows, colorful mosaics and gilt galore. Your day also includes a tour of medieval Vieux Lyon, the city's historic center, and the Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, with its accurate 19th-century astronomical clock. As ms Swiss Emerald spends the night docked in Lyon, join us aboard ship for the Captain’s farewell reception and dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 12 | Lyon. Disembark. Paris. The onboard portion of your French art cruise ends today as you bid a fond farewell to ms Swiss Emerald. Board the TGV (a high-speed train) for two nights in the capital city of Paris, where today's artistic pursuits include visits to the Musée d’Orsay, housed in a grand turn-of-the-20th-century railway station (or other museums due to weekly closures), and an artist’s studio... they promise to inspire and impress, from some of the finest paintings in the world to a look at today's art. Tonight is free to enjoy on your own in amazing Paris; your hotel is a few minutes walk from the Arc de Triomphe and the many shops and cafés along the elegant Champs-Élysées. (B)

Day 13 | Paris. If this is your first visit to Paris, you’ll find it fits just about any romantic vision... and if you’ve been here many times, you know that with every visit you discover something new... Begin the day with a choice of Parisian art experience – a sightseeing trip through the city to seek out the city’s undiscovered “art” – or you can visit your choice of Musée du Louvre or Musée National de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens (subject to weekly closures). Tonight, everyone comes together for a farewell dinner and a night to remember at chic Fouquet’s, the quintessential Paris brasserie on the Champs-Élysées; elegance and classic cuisine have made it a celebrity favorite for more than a century. (B,D)

Day 14 | Paris. Tauck's memorable French art cruise and tour ends in Paris. Fly home anytime. A transfer from the The Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Gare de Lyon Station, Charles de Gaulle Station and Gare du Nord is included. Please allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey home. (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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