Special Offer

  • $500 discount per person on select departures through 2021

*Special offers cannot be combined with other discounts

Colors of Provence

Voyage through France's Spectacular Wine Growing Regions Aboard a Premier River Vessel

Overview

Cruise through France’s legendary wine growing regions, home to such famous vintages as Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône. Enjoy wine tastings at local vintners, marvel at ancient Roman ruins, stroll through medieval villages and shop for Provencal crafts. Your itinerary includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon as well as Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh spent much of his life. You can add on a pre- and post-cruise land program that explores these lovely cities even further. Reverse departures are also offered.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

CRUISE PROGRAM
Lyon to Arles Itinerary

Day 1
Lyon, France / Embarkation

Board your cruise in Lyon. Gather this evening on board for a Welcome Dinner.

Day 2
Lyon

Today, you will visit Fourvière Hill, part of the city’s historic region that is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. After some free time to see Notre Dame Basilica and take in majestic views of Lyon, you will join a panoramic tour that will take you past the Place Bellecour with its equestrian statue of Louis XIV, Place des Terreaux with Bartholdi’s Fountain and the Town Hall. Later, enjoy a walking tour of Old Lyon. The afternoon is free to enjoy however you wish.

Day 3
Villefrance

This morning’s tour will take you through the enchanting Beaujolais wine region, also known as the Pays d’Or or “land of the golden stones,” named for the richly colored limestone used to build local homes and castles. You will visit the medieval hilltop village of Oingt as well as the home of a local vintner who will invite you for a wine tasting and vineyard tour as he shares the history of the region’s wine production. Return to the ship in the afternoon and continue cruising towards Vienne. Upon arrival, make the most of your free time and venture about on your own or simply unwind on board.

Day 4
Vienne

Situated between the wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais, Vienne’s Roman past can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. This morning, choose from one of three options to explore Vienne this morning. Your first option is to take a walking tour and see an ancient Roman temple, the ruins of a Roman theater, and the medieval Abbey Church of St. Pierre, today an Archaeological Museum. Your second option is a guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route. Your third option is a guided hike from the ship up to the Monastery at Mount Pipet and back. Your ship departs at midday for Tournon.

Day 5
Tournon

You have one of three options in which to enjoy your morning in Tournon. Your first option is an exciting ride in a panoramic train car as you discover the magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux. After riding through the gorge, you will stop at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where you can watch the train maneuver in preparation for its return journey. Your second option is a visit to Le Chateau de Tournon for a very special presentation and tasting with a local expert on the paring of red wine and chocolate. Your third option is a hike followed by a wine tasting in the village of Tain Hermitage.

Day 6
Tarascon

Provençal town Tarascon is known for its medieval architecture and charming tales – especially the legend of the Tarasque monster. Join a guided walking tour where you’ll visit the Roman ruins of Arles such as its Roman Amphitheater and the Church of Saint Trophime, famous for its Romanesque architecture. Alternatively, you can enjoy a bike ride along the Rhône, through town to the Langlois Bridge, a famous subject from several Vincent Van Gogh paintings. And for those who wish to delve further into Van Gogh’s Arles, join a special walking tour along with a visit to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, showcasing his legacy. During the afternoon, you’ll visit the enchanting medieval fortress, the Castle of Tarascon – a fortress designed to protect but surprises all with its elegant interior, fit for royalty. Or, delve deeply into the Carrières de Lumières, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular presentation of art, sound and history projected on the former limestone quarry walls of caves. Alternately, you can enjoy an excursion to explore the medieval, walled village of Aiges-Mortes. Then, you'll drive to the beautiful Camargue National Park, a protected natural territory that lines the Mediterranean Sea south of Arles. Afterwards, venture to the medieval hilltop village, Les Baux de Provence. In the evening, enjoy an illuminations cruise around Avignon.

Day 7
Avignon

Depending on your interests, you have three choices of excursions for the morning. Avignon, aptly named the “City of Popes,” was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century when its “Palais des Papes” was the equivalent of today’s Vatican. Discover the history of Avignon on a guided walking tour that includes the Papal Palace and the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit three venues around Avignon to taste regional specialties including macarons, cheese and wine, and tapenades or you can enjoy a bike tour. During the afternoon, you can go to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the impressive Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of ancient engineering. Alternately, you can go to the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provençal town, go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion.

Day 8
Avignon / Disembarkation

Disembark your ship in Arles.

REVERSE CRUISE PROGRAM
Arles to Lyon Itinerary

Day 1 Avignon, France   
Day 2 Tarascon        
Day 3 Avignon       
Day 4 Viviers       
Day 5 Tournon       
Day 6 Vienne       
Day 7 Lyon       
Day 8 Lyon

Additional 3-night Paris pre-cruise, 3-night Barcelona post-cruise

from $2,670 (2021 & 2022)

PRE-CRUISE
Day 1
Arrive in Paris, France

Arrive in Paris and check in to your hotel. The balance of the day is yours to start exploring this beautiful city...B

Day 2
Paris

Today, you’ll visit Notre Dame and then enjoy some free time to explore the “City of Light.” Afterwards, you’ll see some of the most famous sights on a panoramic city tour, followed by a photo stop at Champs de Mars for views of the Eiffel Tower...B

Day 3
Paris

Today is yours to enjoy however you wish. Explore Paris’ multitude of landmarks, museums, cafes and shops...B

Day 4
Paris / Lyon / Embarkation

After checking out of your hotel, you will board the TGV high-speed train that will whisk you through the French countryside to Lyon. Nestled between the Saône and Rhone rivers, Lyon is one of France’s most important cities and its gastronomic capital. Upon arrival, enjoy some free time for lunch on your own before an exclusive hands-on cooking lesson. Later, transfer to your luxurious ship, where you will gather with your fellow travelers at tonight’s festive Welcome Dinner...BD

Days 4-11
Cruise-Only Program

The Cruise-Only Program begins with embarkation on Day 4 in Lyon and disembarks in Arles on Day 11.

 

POST-CRUISE
Day 11
Arles / Disembarkation / Barcelona, Spain

Disembark your ship in Arles and transfer to Barcelona via the TGV high-speed train...B

Day 12
Barcelona

Your full day in Barcelona begins with a driving tour to the Gothic Quarter in the medieval center of the city. Next, you will go to the top of Montjuic Hill where you will enjoy glorious views of the city below. During your tour, you will see some of Antoni Gaudi’s unique architectural works, including Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia, the basilica and UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been under construction for over a century. The evening is yours to explore Barcelona on your own...B

Day 13
Barcelona / Depart

Your last day in Barcelona is yours to explore at your leisure...B

 

Highlights

Highlights

Visit the Rhone Valley, the renowned wine region with exceptional vintages
Discover charming villages and fascinating ruins
Arles, where Van Gogh once lived and painted
The medieval village of Les Baux de Provence, Avignon, "City of Popes"
Optional extensions to Paris and Barcelona

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $2999  
Arrive: Paris, France (or reverse)
Depart: Barcelona, Spain (or reverse)
Lodging: 7 nights aboard a premium river vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: Walking, River Cruising, Cultural Adventures, Photography
Trip Level:

8-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
Cruise collection 2021 brochure

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