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22 Days | Ultimate Grand France


Day 1 | Paris, France. Embark. Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship.

Day 2 | Vernon (Giverny). Les Andelys. Featured Excursions — Choice of Monet’s Giverny and hike to Château Gaillard or exclusive guided “Go Active” Nordic walking tour.

Visit Monet’s home in his beloved village of Giverny, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. When Monet bought the property, most of it was an orchard; he transformed it over the years into the enchanted vision that he painted, essentially creating each work of art twice: once as a living garden and again as a painting. Stroll through the gardens and admire the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden that inspired him. Though the town suffered bomb damage during WWII, you’ll still be able to recognize many scenes from the master’s iconic paintings. Step even further into the past with a hike to Château Gaillard. Your adventure takes you to the dramatic white-stone remains of the English king’s stronghold. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the river and surrounding countryside. Or take a guided Nordic walking tour along the popular trail to Château Gaillard and the cliffs above St. Jaques hospital. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.

NOTE. Giverny will be closed during the March 16, March 23 and March 30 cruise departure dates. Instead of Giverny, guests will visit Versailles Palace.

Day 3 | Rouen. Normandy Beaches. Featured Excursions — Full day Normandy Beaches with choice of D-Day Museum at Arromanches or Juno Beach and Canadian Center or Tapestry Museum in Bayeux.

Normandy’s proximity to the sea has made it the site of many battles, including the famous D-Day Invasion by Allied forces during WWII. Before visiting the beaches of Normandy, you’ll go to Mulberry Harbor at Arromanches and explore the D-Day Museum. Or choose to visit Juno Beach where the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed, and take in the exhibits at the Canadian Center. Or, after spending time in Arromanches, drive to Bayeux to see the famous 11th-century tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings. Continue to the Allied landing sites at Omaha Beach before visiting a haunting reminder of the Allied forces’ hard fight for freedom—the American Cemetery. Located in Colleville-sur-Mer, near the section of coastline designated “Omaha Beach,” the cemetery and memorial honor American soldiers who lost their lives while fighting in Europe. Uniworld guests can participate in a special ceremony during their visit that involves a wreath laying, the American national anthem, and a moment of silence.

Day 4 | Rouen. Featured Excursions — Choice of Rouen walking tour or exclusive guided “Go Active” bike ride along the Seine River.

Rouen, founded in pre-Roman times and the Medieval capital of the region, has managed to preserve many notable buildings despite being invaded, conquered, and bombed countless times over the years. Your visit will take you to the stunning Gothic cathedrals, the haunting Medieval quarter and the Gros Horloge, a Renaissance clock tower. The walk ends at Vieux Marché, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the English in 1431. Or enjoy a bike ride along the Seine with an expert guide. The Seine River banks are popular with locals, and cycling on the docks is part of the art of enjoying Rouen.

Day 5 | Caudebec-en-Caux. Honfleur. FEATURED EXCURSION — Honfleur walking tour. After crossing the river delta via the majestic Normandy Bridge, travel through the Calvados countryside to Honfleur, a charming French harbor town re-created in paintings by such artists as Monet, Courbet, and the painter who inspired so many others to come to Honfleur: Eugene Boudin. Charles Baudelaire, the French poet, called Boudin’s stormy pictures of the harbor “meteorological beauties.” Tour the former smugglers’ harbor of Vieux Bassin—the most frequently painted scene in Honfleur—whose streets reveal the rich history of the port, and St. Catherine’s Church, which was built by shipwrights.

Day 6 | Mantes-la-Jolie. Versailles. Paris.

Day 7 | Paris.

Day 8 | Paris. Disembark. Bordeaux. Embark. Transfer to Bordeaux via high speed TGV train and transfer to your rivership for boarding.

Day 9 | Cruising the Garone River and Gironde Estuary. Pauillac. FEATURED EXCURSIONS — Choice of Médoc panoramic tour with exclusive winery visit and tasting or exclusive guided “Go Active” vineyard bicycle ride.

Set sail on the Garonne for the pretty town of Pauillac, gateway to the storied Médoc wine route, where you’ll begin a panoramic tour of the heart of the Haut-Médoc AOC (or appellation d’origine contrôlée, a geographical designation that denotes where grapes are grown). Enjoy an exclusive visit to a celebrated winery, Châteaux d’Arsac, where you’ll discover your personal “wine sign” with a special blind tasting. Or experience the terroir in an entirely different way: with a guided bike ride through the beautiful Médoc vineyards. You’ll get an up-close look at the vines and truly take in the atmosphere—the earth, the sunshine—of this famous wine-growing region. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, WD)

Day 10 | Cruising the Gironde Estuary. Blaye. FEATURED EXCURSION — Choice of scenic drive along the Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress or exclusive guided “Go Active” Nordic walking tour of Blaye Fortress.

Today you’ll sail across the Gironde Estuary to Blaye. The scenic journey through the estuary offers a unique look at the delta, where fishing huts rise above grassy marshlands edged by limestone cliffs. Running along those cliffs is a little road called the Route de la Corniche Fleurie. The road winds through the picturesque hamlets of Pain de Sucre, Marmisson, and Roque de Thau, where you’ll find charming stone houses built by 19th-century ship captains. Upon returning to Blaye, your guide will take you through the 17th-century citadel built by famed military engineer Vauban. Its fortress and tunnels are a UNESCO monument. Then enjoy some free time to explore the town on your own. Or take part in a guided Nordic walking tour of Blaye Fortress. (BB, L, D)

Day 11 | Libourne. Bergerac. FEATURED EXCURSION — Bergerac city tour. Bergerac, which is located in the southernmost part of the Périgord and boasts 12 AOCs, and is your jumping-off point for today’s adventure. On your walking tour of the town you’ll explore the popular farmers’ market, hear the fateful story of Cyrano de Bergerac and his Roxanne, and watch the flat-bottom boats glide along the river. Stop at the 16th-century Château de Monbazillac, which offers marvelous views overlooking Bergerac and the Dordogne River. The drive along the Dordogne is an especially scenic one, and you’ll cross bridges to explore charming Bastide villages on both sides of the river.

The “gastronomic meal of the French” is so indelibly linked to the country’s identity that it was added to UNESCO’s list of “intangible cultural heritage”in 2010, and tonight you will discover why during an extra special dinner. World-famous French Master Chef Philippe Etchebest has loaned his gastronomic genius to River Royale’s culinary team. His interpretation of the region’s delicacies will inform a specially crafted onboard dinner menu for Uniworld guests only. Bon appétit! (BB, L, D)

Day 12 | Libourne. St. Émilion. Cruising the Dordogne River. FEATURED EXCURSIONS — Saint-Émilion walking tour with wine tasting and private evening tour of Bordeaux. Saint-Émilion offers exceptional historic architecture, and historic vineyards too. The Romans were the first to plant grapes here, and this was the first vineyard region to be protected by UNESCO. The town, built atop limestone hills, offers many interesting shops, but what makes it extraordinary is what exists below the cobbled streets—Saint-Émilion’s Monolithic Church which dates back to the 12th century. After touring Saint-Émilion, you’ll visit the cellars of a Premier Grand Cru estate where you’ll taste some of the world’s most highly rated wines. Once you’re back in Bordeaux, you will enjoy an evening tour. Bordeaux under the stars—what could be more magical? After Paris, Bordeaux has more protected buildings than any other French city. From the alleyways of the Saint-Pierre district to the avenues of the Place des Quinconces, you’ll see why Queen Elizabeth II deemed Bordeaux“the essence of elegance.” (BB, L, D)

Day 13 | Cadillac. Bordeaux. FEATURED EXCURSIONS — Cadillac, châteaux and vineyards of Sauternes with exclusive artisanal lunch and wine tasting at Château d’Arche.During a tour to nearby Cadillac you’ll embark on a study of Sauternes, the sweet wine which is named for the region. Sauternes is made from grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, a fungus that causes a raisin-like decay, resulting in a concentrated and distinctly flavored sweet wine. You’ll meet the winemakers and enjoy an elegant wine-pairing lunch at Château d’Arche. You’ll also see the grounds of legendary Château d’Yquem. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, FD)

Day 14 | Bordeaux. FEATURED EXCURSIONS — Choice of exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Bordeaux walking tour or exclusive guided “Go Active” bicycle ride along the Garonne River banks.

See Bordeaux à pied on a fascinating walking tour of the Golden Triangle, where you’ll encounter the very best the city has to offer. Explore luxury food halls, sample Bordeaux’s famous canelés and chocolates, discover marvelous 18th-century architecture, and visit an elegant wine bar popular with locals. If you’re looking for something more active, consider joining a guided bicycle ride along the scenic banks of the Garonne River. You’ll have plenty of free time to further enjoy Bordeaux on your own. Revisit some of the places you saw on your tour or explore new areas. It’s a great chance to do a little shopping too. (BB, L, D)

Day 15 | Bordeaux. Disembark. Marseille. Avignon. Embark. Fly to Avignon where you will be transferred to your rivership for boarding.

Day 16 | Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon). FEATURED EXCURSIONS — Choice of Arles walking tour or Tarascon walking tour or exclusive guided “Go Active” hike to Dukes of Anjou Fortress.

nchanted by the light and the vivid colors of Provence, Vincent van Gogh produced more than 300 paintings and drawings in just 15 months, including Starry Night. During your walking tour, discover Van Gogh’s Arles as well as a wealth of fascinating Roman monuments, among them the Amphitheater and the Baths of Constantine, which were built in the fourth century for the emperor’s personal use. Or opt instead to explore the historic heart of Tarascon, with its charming Provençal architecture, Medieval church, and King René’s beautifully preserved Renaissance palace. If you are entranced by Provence’s distinctive printed fabrics, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about them at the Souleiado Museum. Or climb to the fortress of the Dukes of Anjou with a guide for a beautiful view of the Rhône. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala dinner. (BB, L, WD)

Day 17 | Avignon. Featured Excursions — Choice of Avignon walking tour and Palace of the Popes or exclusive “Off the Beaten Path” walking tour or exclusive guided “Go Active” kayak ride on the Gardon River.

Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, brims with history, culture, art, and life, and you will capture all of that on your walking tour of the “City of the Popes.” Start at the Medieval ramparts and continue to Clock Tower Square, where colorful café terraces face the magnificent City Hall, the Opera Theatre, and the classic mansions. Then 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, where seven fourteenth-century popes resided during a turbulent period in church history. Or opt instead to discover Avignon’s picturesque hidden alleys and secret squares on an exclusive guided tour that takes you “off the beaten path.” Alternatively, spend a fun and relaxing afternoon paddling the clear, tranquil waters of the Gordon River. You’ll paddle from Collias to Remoulins, gliding under the arches of the 2,000-year-old UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard. (BB, L, D)

Day 18 | Viviers. Featured Excursion — Choice of Viviers village day with organ concert or exclusive guided “Go Active” Nordic walking tour.

Lovely Viviers, which developed around its 12th-century cathedral, retains much of its historic charm. Founded in the fifth century, Viviers was once an important regional capital; stone houses, dating to the Middle Ages, still line the tiny lanes. Your tour starts in this historic area. Visit an artisan shop where you can enjoy the traditional pottery of the region. You will take the Rue Chévrerie to Porte Riquet, then climb Rue du Château to reach St. Vincent Cathedral, where you will hear an organ concert. Finally, walk through the Medieval streets of this delightful village back to the ship. Or take a Nordic walking tour in the countryside with a local expert. (BB, L, D)

Day 19 | Tournon/Tain l'Hermitage. Lyon. Featured Excursion — Choice of Tournon walking tour with wine tasting or exclusive guided “Go Active” Nordic walking tour.

Nestled among famous vineyards, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are an ideal destination for true connoisseurs of wine. Visit Tournon and its historic castle, then cross the Marc Seguin suspension bridge and indulge in some mid-valley Côtes du Rhône wines from the Hermitage, a wine-growing district credentialed by Louis XIV. If you love chocolate, you might want to stop by the Valrhona shop too. Or take a guided Nordic walking tour along the city ramparts. (BB, L, D)

Day 20 | Lyon. FEATURED EXCURSIONS — Choice of Lyon city tour or exclusive “Do as the Locals do” Lyon walking tour or exclusive guided “Go Active” bike ride along the Rhône River banks.

Lyon is France’s lively and creative capital of gastronomy. The city’s origins date to the first century (when it was founded by the Romans), but it didn’t become an economic power in the region until the 15th century, when it was the center of France’s printing industry. A couple of centuries later, Lyon’s silk looms employed half the city’s population and produced textiles that were famous the world over. Now France’s second- largest conurbation, the city is a commercial powerhouse and the proud possessor of a UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Town. 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 on foot, venturing into the alleyways, courtyards, and traboules (historic passageways) of the St. Jean old quarter, and strolling along the waterfront to experience the modern-day life of this pedestrian-friendly city. Or bike along the banks of the Rhône with an expert guide. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, FD)

Day 21 | Macon. Beaune.

Day 22 | Lyon. Disembark. Transfer to the Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport for your return flight home, or extend your stay with a visit to Paris, the “City of Light.” (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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