A River Cruise through Provence
View the enchanting landscapes, glorious gardens, and historic cities of Burgundy and Provence on a cruise along the Saône and Rhône Rivers aboard the Amadeus Symphony, featuring visits to Avignon and the world-famous Côtes du Rhône wine region.
- Insights from the West of Ireland
- Fabulous shots from Smithsonian Journeys Expert Kirt Kempter
- Visiting Mount Fuji, by way of rural Japan
- Saturday in Pamplona
Save $1,000 per person when you book by March 3, 2015!
Join this exclusive French sojourn featuring a two-night stay in deluxe accommodations in the enchanting city of Paris, travel from the sun-drenched Rhône Valley through the heartland of France aboard the famous Train à Grande Vitesse—TGV high-speed train, and cruise through the best of the world-famous Burgundy, Beaujolais and Provence wine regions. Cruise aboard the exclusively chartered M.S. Amadeus Symphony, one of the finest ships to ply the waterways of Europe. Visit the wonderfully preserved Roman Amphitheater in Arles, the historic Papal Palace of Avignon and the Roman city of Orange; experience the world-famous Côtes du Rhône wine region, the landscape of which inspired the great Impressionists Cézanne and Van Gogh; and spend a day in Lyon, France’s gastronomique gateway. An Aix-en-Provence Pre-Program Option is offered, and the carefully designed London Post-Program Option travels from Paris aboard the Eurostar train through the marvelously engineered Chunnel. Departing at the best time of year, this comprehensive itinerary is an excellent value, and you have the opportunity to travel from the heart of Provence into London.
Days 1-2 — U.S., Marseille, France, Arles
Depart from the U.S. Arrive in Marseille and transfer to Arles. Few places on Earth can match the distinctive joie de vivre of Arles. Upon arrival in this archetypal Provençal city, embark on the M.S. Amadeus Symphony and enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board before dinner. (R,D)
Day 3 — Arles, Avignon
Arles is home to one of the most majestic Roman monuments in France, the Amphitheater, built in the first century B.C. It is the largest constructed in France and second only to Rome’s Colosseum in magnificence and grandeur. Arles’ 12th-century Cathedral of St. Trophime has a fascinating Last Judgment-themed portal, one of the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture. Between 1888 and 1889 Vincent van Gogh lived in Arles and the subject of his famous Night Café painting is still open for business on the lively Boulevard des Lices.
During the 14th century, Avignon became the center of western Christendom when Pope Clement V arrived here after fleeing the turmoil of Rome in 1309. The next six pontiffs enlarged the city into one of the richest and most powerful in Europe, until the Great Schism with Rome in 1378 led to the eventual end of the Avignon papacy in 1405. The walking tour visits the grandiose Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), one of the largest châteaux-forts built in Europe during the Gothic era, the primary reflection of Avignon’s golden age and one of the most famous landmarks in France. Walk to the nearby splendid Garden of the Popes and the Rocher des Domes, which offers panoramic views of the Rhône River Valley. At the river’s edge see the remaining four arches of the famous Pont d’Avignon one of the most beautiful bridges constructed during the Middle Ages. You can stroll along the well-preserved, 14th-century ramparts, one of the finest surviving examples of medieval fortification still encircling Avignon. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Châteauneuf-du-Pape for Orange
Experience the stunning beauty of Provence’s aged stucco dwellings painted peach, raspberry, rose, or green – and accented by shutters in every hue of blue. Arrive in Châteauneuf-du-Pape for an excursion to the World Heritage sites in the Roman city of Orange. Visit the well-preserved, ancient Roman Theater, still hosting performances today, and see the Roman Triumphal Arch, built in the late first century as a tribute to Augustus and a symbol of Roman imperial glory.
Continue to Pont du Gard, also a World Heritage site. This exquisitely built 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct until recently supplied over 40 million gallons of water daily to the city of Nîmes. Its magnificent structure was constructed of stones made to fit together seamlessly without mortar and makes clever use of arches to support the weight. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Trevoux for Beaujolais
From the lovely vineyards of the province of Beaujolais des Pierres Dorées, the land of the “golden stones,” come France’s youngest and fruitiest wines. In some seasons, this internationally recognized wine region along the Saône produces more red wine than the Burgundy regions of Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Châlonnaise and Mâconnais combined. Travel over verdant rolling hills into the heart of the church-spired Beaujolais region to enjoy a private tour of the historic Château de Montmelas and savor the château’s wines and a tasting of local cheese and charcuterie while an internationally recognized recording artist, Marcia Hadjemarkos, performs a specially arranged, private fortepiano concert. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Chalon-sur-Saône for Beaune
Visit the enchanting medieval Château de Rully, a 12th-century fortress-turned-manor house that has remained in the same family since its construction. The owner, Monsieur Raoul de Ternay, will welcome you and help tour you around his family home. (schedule permitting)
Continue to nearby Beaune, a bustling community founded in the fifth century B.C. in the famous Côte d’Or département and the longtime capital of Burgundy wines, for time at leisure. A stroll through this city of art reveals historic mansions and medieval half-timbered houses, and its exquisite 15th-century Hôtel-Dieu is a quintessential example of Burgundian Renaissance architecture, distinguished by its dazzling, multicolored glazed roof tiles.
The Captain’s Farewell Reception and dinner is on board the ship this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Day 7 — Lyon, Paris
Sunday, disembark in Lyon, a World Heritage site, the dramatic gateway to Provence located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. From lofty Fourvière Hill (Praying Hill), see the ornate 19th-century Basilica of Notre Dame and the restored Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), where almost 300 elegant Gothic and Renaissance mansions attest to the wealth of Lyon’s long-standing silk industry. Walk through the ancient quarters of St. Jean, St. Paul and St. Georges, which are linked by charming traboules—narrow, covered pedestrian passageways.
Enjoy lunch in one Lyon’s oldest brasseries. Then, board the TGV (“Train à Grande Vitesse”) high-speed train to Paris. Its aerodynamic, sleek design enables it to reach speeds of 200 miles per hour, making the TGV one of France’s greatest technological achievements.
Check into the deluxe WESTIN PARIS VENDÔME hotel in the heart of the city. Enjoy the evening at leisure in magnificent Paris, an artful mélange of rich history and contemporary treasures. (B,L)
Day 8 — Paris
What began as a small, isolated Celtic farming settlement on an island in the Seine River grew over the centuries into one of the greatest cities in the world. Its Latin motto Fluctuat nec mergitur (“It is tossed about, but does not sink”) sums up Paris’ colorful and dramatic history. Today, this truly cosmopolitan city, where past and present coexist in harmony, welcomes visitors from all over the globe.
After breakfast, see Paris’ most legendary monuments and sites. Admire the soaring grace of the Eiffel Tower’s black iron lace, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889; imposing Notre Dame, a World Heritage site located on Île de la Cité, a small natural island in the historic Seine River; and the lovely, bustling Place de la Concorde.
From Leonardo da Vinci to Sandro Botticelli, the artists’ works come to life in the legendary Louvre Museum. Experience one of the preeminent collections of art from around the globe in this iconic palace museum.
This afternoon is at leisure to further explore the treasures of Paris at your own pace or join the optional excursion to visit fascinating Montmartre and the Romanesque and Byzantine Sacré Coeur. Enjoy a guided tour of the bohemian artist village and lively Place du Tertre and see the stunning, white Sacré Coeur basilica.
This evening, enjoy a Farewell Reception. (B,R)
Day 9 — Paris, U.S.
Continue on the London Post-Program Option or transfer to the airport in Paris for your flight home. (B)
Pre- and Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.
All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.