Cruise from Burgundy wine country to picturesque Provence along the Saône and Rhône Rivers aboard an elegant river ship, exploring charming villages, World Heritage sites such as Lyon’s Old City and the Papal Palace in Avignon, and the wine regions of the Rhône Valley and Burgundy. 

Starting at: $5,490 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Avignon with the St. Benezet Bridge
 The Roman amphitheater in Arles
 The portal of the Romanesque Church of St. Trophime, Arles
 Palais des Papes, Avignon
 The Pont du Gard
 Roman theater, Orange
 The Roman Triumphal Arch, Orange
 View of Lyon and the Rhône River
 The city of Lyon, along the Rhône River
 The Benedictine Abbey of Cluny
 The 15th-century Hôtel Dieu, Beaune
 Vineyards in Burgundy
 Landscape of sunflowers in Provence

A River Cruise through Burgundy and Provence

9 days from $5,490

Cruise from Burgundy wine country to picturesque Provence along the Saône and Rhône Rivers aboard an elegant river ship, exploring charming villages, World Heritage sites such as Lyon’s Old City and the Papal Palace in Avignon, and the wine regions of the Rhône Valley and Burgundy. 

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by April 5, 2024!

No Single Supplement for solo travelers! (Limited availability, book early to ensure your space)

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Visit the Tour Details tab and click on "Special Air Rates/Services" drop down. 

Overview

Experience the allure of Burgundy and Provence on a voyage along the Saône and Rhône Rivers that begins and ends in the gastronomic capital of Lyon. Follow the wine routes of Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, stopping for tastings at renowned wineries. Venture into the labyrinthine old city of Lyon, known for its secret passageways, and explore the legacy of the Romans in Provence as you tour ancient ruins of Orange or the Pont du Gard. Hear tales of medieval popes in Avignon and dukes in Beaune, trace the footsteps of van Gogh through Arles, and discover unique landscapes from the Camargue to the gorges of Ardêche.

Highlights Include

  • World-renowned Wine Regions:  Follow the Burgundy wine route, visiting the wine-growing villages of the Côtes de Beaune. Sample sought-after vintages of the Beaujolais, Mâcon, and Côte du Rhône appellations on visits to wine cellars and vineyards. 
  • Beaune and Cluny: Admire the hospice of Beaune, a 15th-century hospital for the needy known for its glazed tile roof, and tour the stunning Cluny Abbey, once the largest church in the world.
  • Lyon: Begin and end your cruise in this gastronomic capital of France, and discover the secret passageways and historic highlights of its Old Town, a World Heritage site.
  • World Heritage Sites of Provence: Encounter numerous World Heritage sites including the historic center of Arles, the Papal Palace in Avignon, and the Roman ruins of Orange or the Pont du Gard aqueduct.
  • The Camargue: Travel through the protected marshlands and lagoons of the Rhône River delta to the seaside town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, spotting native white horses and black bulls, and learning about the cowboy culture of the Camargue.
  • Small Ship Experience: Cruise aboard an upscale small river ship that features sophisticated staterooms and public spaces, superb amenities and excellent cuisine, and an informal ambiance. See more information about the ship on the Tour Details page. Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience.

2024 & 2025 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Lyon, France

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Lyon, France.

Day 2 — Lyon

Arrive in Lyon and transfer to the quay to board the MS Amadeus Provence, your home for the next week. Meet fellow travelers this evening at a welcome reception and dinner onboard. The ship departs for Mâcon this evening. (R,D)

Day 3 — Mâcon / Cluny

After breakfast on board, journey into the vineyards of the Beaujolais and Maconnais wine regions and visit a winery for an in-depth look at the history and production of Burgundy wines. End the tour with a wine tasting before returning to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon, pay a visit to Cluny Abbey, founded in 910 by William of Aquitaine and once the center of a powerful monastic empire.  Built in the Romanesque style, the abbey was the world’s largest church until St. Peter’s Basilica was constructed in Rome. It is comprised of three churches, built in succession from the fourth to the early 12th-century. At its pinnacle, the abbey was home to over 10,000 monks. Return to the ship docked in Mâcon. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Beaune/Cormatin/ Tournus

Dock in Chalon-sur-Sâone and embark on a scenic drive along the Burgundy wine route, passing through the wine-growing villages of the Côte de Beaune, long favored by France’s monarchs. Stop in Beaune, once the seat of the Dukes of Burgundy.  On a short walking tour, admire the colorful, tiled roof of the Hospices de Beaune, a charitable almshouse founded in 1443 as a hospital for the poor. Later, drive along the Route des Grands Crus, the “Road of Great Wines”—one of the oldest and most celebrated wine routes in France. Return to the ship in time for lunch. Travel to the medieval town of Cormatin to visit the opulent Chateau de Cormatin, and continue to Tournus to visit its remarkable Church of Saint-Philibert, a Romanesque masterpiece. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Lyon

Sail south to Lyon, arriving in the early morning. Set at the confluence of the Sâone and Rhône Rivers, France’s third largest city is a capital of gastronomy with a rich history. Experience the city on your choice of tour.

Panoramic Lyon: Visit historical and architectural landmarks such as the Roman theater, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière,and the Palace of Justice. In the World Heritage-listed Old Quarter, discover the cathedral and unique secret passages and covered walkways called traboules.

Lyon Bike Hike: Take a guided bike ride along the banks of the Sâone and Rhône Rivers to the gardens of Parc de la Tête d'Or, or Golden Head Park. Your local guide will provide a narrative about Lyon, its history, and people. Admire the views of the Old Town from a hilltop. Golden Head Park, landscaped in the 1860s, features a shimmering lake, botanic gardens with greenhouses, rose gardens, and a zoo. Stop for refreshments at a local café.

Early this evening, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal discussion with your expert as you cruise south on the Rhône toward Avignon. (B,L,R,D)

Day 6 — Avignon/Orange or Pont du Gard

Your first stop in Provence is the walled city of Avignon, the capital of Christendom for nearly 70 years when Pope Clement V fled Rome in the 14th century. Discover the legacy of the ancient Romans in the surrounding region on your choice of morning excursion.

Roman Heritage of Orange:  Venture to the city of Orange in Provence's Vaucluse region, and tour its World Heritage-listed Roman ruins: the Triumphal Arch and the Antic Theatre. The latter is one of the world's best-preserved ancient Roman theatres, with a stage wall that is still intact. 

Pont du Gard: Journey to the Gardon River to see another World Heritage site: the three-level Roman aqueduct known as the Pont du Gard. Built in the first century to supply fresh water to the city of Nîmes, the acqueduct is a stunning feat of engineering that once stretched 31 miles.

Return to the ship for lunch and a lecture by a local expert on the papacy in Avignon.

In the afternoon, take a guided walk through Avignon’s historic center, a World Heritage site. See the legendary Pont d’Avignon, the last standing segment of a 12th-century bridge that once spanned the Rhône in 22 graceful arches. Tour the old and new sections of the remarkable Papal Palace, a fortified church and palace from which a succession of seven popes reigned in the 14th century, after Pope Clement V fled Rome. Gain insight into this tumultuous period of history as you venture into state rooms where elaborate ceremonies and feasts once took place and view chapels and the Pope's private apartments. From the palace’s terraces, take in panoramic views of the city and the Rhône. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Arles / Camargue Nature Park / Saintes Maries de la Mer

Arles was a major trading port in the Roman Empire, and the vestiges of this era are incorporated into the modern city—and have been excavated by archaeologists from the bed of the Rhône. On a walking tour of the walled Old Town, delve into many layers of history, visiting the spectacular Roman Arena and the city’s Romanesque monuments. Follow in the footsteps of van Gogh, who produced some of his greatest paintings here, and visit the café he rendered in Café Terrace at Night. At Arles, the Rhône splits, creating a delta known as the Camargue, France’s “cowboy” country. Venture south to the marshlands of this protected area, home to wildlife such as the renowned Camargue bulls, wild white horses, and numerous bird species—from glossy ibis to flamingos. Visit the charming seaside village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, poised where the Rhône River delta meets the Mediterranean. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Châteauneuf-du-Rhône / Le Pouzin

As the ship makes its way back north along the Rhône, it passes between the scenic regions of Ardêche and Drôme. Enjoy your choice of excursions.

Wines of the Côtes du Rhône: Tour Côtes du Rhône wine country, stopping for a wine tasting near the riverside town of Tain l’Hermitage, known for its Syrah wines.

Ardêche Gorge: Explore dramatic gorges and rock formations carved by the Ardêche River, creating a canyon that runs for nearly 18 miles. Nearly 2,000 caves have been found in the gorge, many once inhabited and some of them painted. A highlight is the Pont d’Arc, a remarkable natural bridge.

Spend your final afternoon at leisure, then gather for a festive farewell dinner as the ship approaches Lyon. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Lyon

Disembark the ship in Lyon after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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