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10 Days | French Escapade


Day 1 | Nice, France. Arles. Embark. Transfer to Arles, where you'll board your riverboat and begin one of the most enjoyable France river cruises along the Rhône and the Saône. The Captain welcomes you aboard with a reception and special dinner this evening. (D)

Day 2 | Arles. Camargue Region. 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 left behind – just one of the town's many Roman remnants – still hosts performances and bullfights today. Explore Arles' medieval streets and city walls and be sure to look out across the surrounding countryside to what van Gogh found so enchanting. It's off to La Camargue, France’s "wild west," where cowboys tend to herds of bulls destined for bullfighting rings in Spain. Visit a working farm to see what these cowhands and their charges do during a demonstration – not something usually experienced on France river cruises – followed by lunch featuring traditional Provençal fare and entertainment. (B,L,D)

Day 3 | 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 4 | Viviers. Tournon. The walled city of Viviers, which retains much of its medieval character, is a delightful stop on Tauck’s France river cruises. A walking tour reveals ancient homes and its unusual cathedral, which looks more like a castle than a church in the opinion of some, high up on the riverbank. 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. As you glide past the scenic shoreline bound for Tournon-sur-Rhône, enjoy a demonstration of the popular French game of pétanque on deck (weather permitting). (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Tournon. Tain-l’Hermitage. Vienne. Once upon a time, feudal rulers looked down on the town of Tournon-sur-Rhône from the castle you’ll see perched on a rock high above the city; its pre-Renaissance roots are evident during a walking tour and time at leisure to poke around as you please. Following lunch aboard the riverboat, we’ll be off to Tain-l’Hermitage, known for its excellent Côtes du Rhône wines; you'll understand why after you sample some of what it produces during a tasting! An afternoon spent on the river leads to Vienne, where we’ll arrive in time for a nice evening stroll… it’s the perfect way to end the day. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Vienne. Chalon-sur-Saone. 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 here this morning, look for the theatre and temple they left behind, as well as other sights straight out of history. Then it's another languid, lazy and perfectly wonderful afternoon of cruising as ms Swiss Emerald leaves the Rhône and charts a course for Chalon–sur–Saône on the River Saône. 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. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Burgundy Region. The Sâone River flows through the southern part of France’s famous Burgundy region, home to some of the world’s finest wines. But Chalon-sur-Sâone should be world famous for an entirely different reason; this is considered the birthplace of photography. So, as you’re lining up great shots of the town's sights in your viewfinder, whisper a little "thank you:" to local inventor Nicéphore Niépce, who achieved several photographic firsts right here back in the 1820s. Now... ready to give your taste buds a workout? First, join us to savor local culinary offerings on a guided tasting tour of some of Chalon-Sur-Saône’s noted food shops. Then come with us to Mercurey to sample its noted reds, born here in the largest wine-producing area of the Côte Chalonnaise, at a tasting at one of the region's 30 local premier cru vineyards. (B,L,D)

Day 8 | Macon. Lyon. In Mâcon on the Saône, follow the Heritage Trail as you explore the town’s rich history and traditions. Continue on to visit the Abbey of Cluny, the center of a major monastic reform movement in the Middle Ages after its founding in 910 AD by Benedictine monks, and the largest Christian building in the world until St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was erected in the 16th century. Later, tour France’s renowned Haras Nationale, the country's esteemed national riding school, where the horse and everything about them is the centerpiece, before reboarding the riverboat and cruising back down the Saône to gastronomic Lyon. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Lyon. If you’re still hungry after all the great meals you’ve eaten aboard ms Swiss Emerald, Lyon is the place for you! Regarded as France's culinary capital, there are more restaurants here per capita than anywhere else in the country; for lunch, you get to sample the best of Lyon's gastronomic largesse on a tasting tour of the historic Les Halles de Lyon indoor food market – where the city's best chefs shop – with samplings of the freshest breads, cheeses, meats, produce and more paired with local wines! Your day also includes visits to the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, built in the 1870s with exquisite marble work, stained glass windows, colorful mosaics and gilt galore; and Vieux Lyon, the city's medieval center. And you'll have a chance to sample local Beaujolais at a wine tasting in that famed region today. 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 10 | Lyon. Disembark. This most memorable of France river cruises ends in Lyon. Fly home anytime. A transfer to the airport is included. Please allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in. (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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