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15 Days | Grand France


Day 1 | Paris, France. Embark.  Transfer to your ship. (D)

Day 2 | Vernon (Giverny). Les Andelys. Visit Monet’s home in his beloved village of Giverny, where he lived for 43 years. Stroll through the gardens, where you will see the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden that so inspired this master’s work. Note: Giverny may be closed during your cruise departure dates. Instead of Giverny, guests will visit Versailles Palace.

Les Andelys was of considerable strategic importance during the Middle Ages, prompting King Richard the Lionheart to build a fortified castle to protect the Duchy of Normandy from the French King Philip II in the 12th century. Your adventure takes you on a hike to the English king’s stronghold to admire the remains of the impressive Château Gaillard. In the afternoon, take in the enchanting beauty of the Seine’s lovely countryside. (BB, L, Captain’s Welcome Gala)

Day 3 | Rouen. Normandy Beaches. Normandy’s proximity to the sea has made it the site of many battles, including the famous D-DayInvasion by Allied forces during WWII. Before visiting the beaches of Normandy, you’ll be taken to Mulberry Harbor at Arromanches. Spend time understanding the logistics of the Allied forces invasion when you visit the D-Day Museum, or drive to Bayeux, where you can appreciate the Medieval depiction of the Battle of Hastings on a tapestry from the 11th century. You’ll stop at the Allied landing sites at Omaha Beach before visiting a haunting reminder of the Allied forces’ hard fight for freedom—the American Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer. (BB, D)

Day 4 | Rouen. Your visit to Rouen will take you to the stunning Gothic cathedral; the haunting Medieval quarter; and the Gros Horloge, a Renaissance clock tower that arches overhead. The walk ends at Vieux Marche, where Joan of Arc was punished for her defiance. Later, set sail for the white cliffs of Caudebec-en-Caux. (BB,L, D)

Day 5 | Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur). After crossing the majestic Normandy Bridge spanning the river delta, travel overland to Honfleur, a charming French harbor town recreated in numerous paintings by such artists as Monet. You’ll be taken on a tour from the former smugglers’ harbor of Vieux Bassin—the most frequently painted scene in Honfleur—through the pedestrian streets to St. Catherine’s Church. (BB, L, D)

Day 6 | Mantes-la-Jolie (Auvers-sur-Oise or Conflans-Sainte-Honorine). Choose the excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or to Conflans, a riverside town whose unique culture reflects its status as a local hub for barge transportation along the Seine and its tributaries. (BB, L, D)

Day 7 | Paris.
Climb Montmartre’s picturesque little hill, which is surrounded by a labyrinth of extraordinary tiny streets and crowned by the Sacré Coeur. Take in the gorgeous views from this perch above the rooftops of Paris. Many fabulous figures have made this village their home, and you will understand why as this area of Paris provides the perfect setting to inspire. Or choose to take an intimate look at Parisian daily life with a “Heart of Paris” walking tour of the Île de la Cité, the epicenter of Paris and home to the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame. (BB, L, Captain’s Farewell Dinner)

Note: The Paris city tour is offered for cruise-only passengers.

Day 8 | Paris. Disembark. Transfer to Lyon via high-speed TVG train. Embark.

Day 9 | Chalon sur Saône (Beaune). Located in the heart of Burgundy, Chalon sur Saône is an important center for France’s wine trade. From here, you will journey to nearby Beaune to visit the famous Hospices de Beaune, a charitable hospital founded by the Chancellor of Beaune in 1443. Marvel at the multicolored roofs of this architectural jewel, which has become one of the symbols of Burgundy. The hospice monks were given some vineyards in the tradition continues. Sample local delicacies for lunch on your own at the open air market. (BB, Captain's Welcome Gala)

Note: The open-air food market visit will take place in Arles on reverse direction cruise (Chalon surSaône to Arles).

Day 10 | Lyon. Lyon is the country’s lively and creative capital of gastronomy. Your tour starts with a drive to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, Lyon’s hallmark church, for a dramatic view of the town, which was built at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. From the motorcoach, you will view Terreaux Square, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, and the Opera House. Or opt for an intimate exploration of Lyon’s Heritage on foot. From Fourvières Hill, take the funicular down to the Saint Jean old quarter, where you’ll venture into the maze of alleyways, courtyards, and traboules (historic passageways). (BB, L, D)

Day 11 | Tournon. Tain l'Hermitage. Nestled among famous vineyards, the twin cities of Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage are an ideal destination for those who are true connoisseurs of wine. Celebrate the region by indulging in some Côtes du Rhône mid-valley wines. Then cross the Marc Seguin suspension bridge and visit Tournon and its historic castle. (BB, L, D)

Day 12 | Viviers. Avignon. Lovely Viviers, developed around its Romanesque cathedral, retains much of its historic charm. Your tour of Viviers starts in Old Town with an introduction to the city. You will take the Rue Chévrerie to Porte Riquot, then climb Rue du Château to reach St. Vincent Cathedral, where you will enjoy an organ concert. Finally, you will walk through the Medieval streets of this delightful town on your way back to the ship. (BB, L, D)

Day 13 | Avignon. Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of history, culture, art, and life, and you will capture all of that on your walking tour of the “City of the Popes.” Your tour starts at the fortification walls and continues to Clocktower Square. In truly Provençal style, under the shadows of the sycamores, the colorful café terraces face the magnificent architecture of City Hall, the Opera Theatre, and the classic mansions. Next, it’s on to Popes’ Palace Square for an inside view of the maze of galleries, chambers, and chapels that make up the grand Palace of the Popes. Or opt for a tour of Avignon’s secret gardens, with an invigorating walk through parks and orchards, secret squares and fountains, and the flowermarket. You will have leisure time to enjoy more of this magical city on your own. (BB, L, Captain's Farewell Dinner)

Day 14 | Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon). Vincent van Gogh found inspiration in the charming town of Arles and you will, too. Under the spell o fthe Provençal light and the vivid colors of nature, he spent a period of intense and impassioned work under these bright sunny skies. In fact, he produced more than 300 paintings and drawings in 15 months, including Starry Night. During your walking tour, discover Van Gogh’s Arles as well as a fascinating wealth of Roman monuments, such as the Amphitheater and Constantine’s baths. Afterwards, visit open-air market and sample some of its delicacies. (BB, L, D)

Day 15 | Avignon. Disembark. Disembark the ship in Avignon and transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or extend your stay in Aix-en-Provence. (CB,BB)

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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