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Colors of Provence (2018)

From romantic cities to foodie havens and artistic epicenters, this itinerary will enliven all your senses. Begin with three incredible nights in Paris, then take the high-speed TGV train to Lyon, the culinary capital of the world. Savor the beauty of legendary vineyards and imbibe in local vintages like Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône. Marvel at ancient Roman ruins, medieval villages and quaint Provençal shops. Trace the steps of famous artists as you live out the Artists Experience and visit Arles, where Van Gogh lived and worked and painted Starry Night. Then conclude with three nights in vibrant Barcelona.

  • Price starts at: $5329
  • Tour length: 13 Days
  • Trip Type: River Cruise

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Itinerary & Activities

Itinerary Map
(click for larger version)
Itinerary map of Colors of Provence (2018)>

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.

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. (B,D)

Day 5

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. (B,L,D)

Day 6

COLLONGES – VIENNE 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. (B,L,D)

Day 7

VIENNE – TOURNON 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. (B,L,D)

Day 8

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. (B,L,D)

Day 9

VIVIERS – AVIGNON This morning, you'll have a choice of one of three different activities. Your first option is to travel by motor coach to Avignon, site of the bridge made famous by the French children's song "On the Bridge of Avignon." Seven popes once resided in the magnificent Papal Palace, which you will visit during your walking tour. You will also see the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your second option is to take an excursion to the impressive Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of ancient engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your third option is a Provencal cooking lesson with a local chef where you will learn how to prepare a savory local dish. Later, enjoy an excursion to Grignan, a hilltop village surrounded by lavender fields. The village's Renaissance castle provides a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Afterwards, you will visit a truffle farm and learn about truffle harvesting. (B,L,D)

Day 10

AVIGNON – LES BAUX – ARLES This morning, you will arrive in Arles and board a motor coach for an excursion to the village of Les Baux de Provence. The village's castle has a fascinating exhibit of medieval weapons. Later, visit an olive farm to learn about this age-old Provençal farming tradition. Alternatively, take the Artist Experience tour to the the Carrières de Lumières, a stone quarry that projects artwork on its walls, and then Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Van Gogh once lived and painted such well-known works as The Irises and Starry Night. Later this afternoon, you have your choice between a city tour of Arles that will show you the city's top sights, including the Romanesque cathedral and Roman amphitheater, or a guided bike tour through to the Roman ruins. The ship moors overnight in Arles. (B,L,D)

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

Day 14

DEPART BARCELONA Bid farewell to Barcelona and prepare for your homeward flight. (B)


Things to Know

Preparing For Your Trip
  • Make Sure to Bring All of Your Important Documents: Passport, Foreign visa (if applicable), Itinerary, Trip confirmation, Airline ticket, Drivers license, Credit cards, Travel documents.

  • Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) can provide you their recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.

  • Are You Taking Any Prescriptions or Other Medications? Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you are unexpectedly delayed.

  • Insurance: Purchase travel insurance to cover yourself against unexpected situations. You never know when something might happen, so always be prepared.
While Traveling
  • Keep an eye on your belongings. Do not leave your belongings unattended in public spaces

  • Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards.
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