ARRIVE PARIS, FRANCE
Arrive in Paris, where you are met and transferred to your elegant boutique hotel for check-in. This evening, meet your Resident Tour Director — exclusive to Connections guests — for dinner atop Tour Montparnasse.
Set out with your group for a tour of the city, including stops at the iconic Eiffel Tower and the lovely Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. After lunch, try your skills as a baker during a hands-on class at a traditional boulangerie.
After a morning at leisure in Paris, travel with Connections guests by private vehicle to the winelands of Beaune. Visit the Hôtel-Dieu before settling into your boutique accommodations, a collection of connected 14th-through-16th-century buildings that epitomize the historic town, complete with period furnishings and trompe-l’oeil and Renaissance sculptures.
BEAUNE / Wine Capital of Burgundy
Travel to a traditional, family-run mustard mill for a private small-group tour and opportunity to make the piquant condiment. Join a local expert sommelier in his home for a tutored tasting of memorable vintage wines, followed by lunch. Next, travel to Lyon for priority embarkation aboard ‘Amadeus Provence.’ Take time to settle into your premium cabin or suite with an open-air French or walk-out balcony. Then, gather this evening for a welcome cocktail and dinner.
Arrive this morning in Mâcon. Travel privately by small group to Cluny to tour the abbey. After lunch, continue to Chardonnay on a Connections-only excursion. Sample its namesake grape for yourself at a private wine tasting.
Dock in picturesque Chalon-sur-Saône. Your Resident Tour Director shares an orientation before you set off on a morning at leisure to explore this delightful riverside town with its graceful cathedral. After lunch on board, visit medieval Brancion, continuing to the 17th-century Château de Cormatin. See its turrets; gilded rooms; and ornate, English-style gardens. Half in ruins, it remains under the same private ownership today.
Arrive in Lyon to tour its old quarter, walking the charming, centuries-old streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site by small group, with insight from your Resident Tour Director and local guide. See the traboules (hidden passageways) of Croix-Rousse Hill. Proceed to the Gallo-Roman amphitheater, and visit the famous Les Halles de Paul Bocuse markets. Later, cruise the Rhône River and enjoy a private pre-dinner cocktail party in the ship’s Amadeus Club, hosted by your Resident Tour Director. End the evening at an exclusive Chef ’s Highlights dinner with fellow Connections guests.
Meet your intimate group and embark on a full-day excursion, starting at the Pont du Gard, a towering Roman aqueduct. Enjoy a Connections-exclusive lunch in its shadow before taking a fascinating tour of Avignon. Its center, surrounded by medieval stone ramparts, features the prominent Palais des Papes and the remains of Saint-Bénezet bridge (Pont d’Avignon). After visiting the Palais des Papes, explore the city at your own pace, with time at leisure. This evening, step ashore to experience the flavors of the South of France during a Connections-only dinner at a specially chosen restaurant.
SÉNANQUE & ARLES
Begin your exclusive, day-long Connections excursion at the Cistercian Abbey of Sénanque, famous for its fields of lavender. In Saint Paul-de-Mausole, see the asylum where Vincent van Gogh was voluntarily interned for a year, taking note of the gardens that inspired some of his famous paintings. Then, stop at Mas de la Pyramide — a family-run Provençal farm — for a lunch brimming with fresh-plucked, home-grown produce. Talk with your hosts as you gain an inside perspective on rural life. Complete the day in Arles, a city settled since 800 BC. Discover its massive Roman amphitheater, beautiful basilica and the Place du Forum, where Van Gogh painted his Café Terrace at Night. You have the chance to stand in the exact spot where the master artist set up his easel.
Arrive this morning in Viviers, a small walled city steeped in history and nestled on the Rhône River. Travel by Connections vehicle to meet locals and learn about — and play — a traditional game of pétanque. Tonight, gather a final time with fellow guests and join the captain for a celebratory gala dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the Lyon airport, where you board your homebound flight for departure.