From romantic cities to foodie havens and artistic epicenters, this itinerary enlivens all your senses. Embark in Arles, where you’ll trace the steps of famous artists and later enjoy an evening illumination cruise. Savor the beauty of legendary vineyards and imbibe in local vintages like Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône. You can even become an expert in all things culinary: go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles; learn how to pair chocolate with wine; and discover how olives turn into the Mediterranean’s nectar, olive oil.
EMBARKATION - AVIGNON, FRANCE. Board the ship for your Colors of Provence cruise. Cap the day off with a Welcome Aboard Wine Toast.
TARASCON - AVIGNON. 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 walls of caves. Afterwards, venture to the medieval hilltop village, Les Baux de Provence. Alternately, you can enjoy an excursion to explore the medieval, walled village of Aiges-Mortes. In the evening, enjoy an illuminations cruise around Avignon.
AVIGNON. 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. Depending on your interests, you have three choices of excursions in the morning. 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 through the city. 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. Or, visit a winery in the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region, where viticulture has been promoted since the 14th century. The unique soil composition here has earned the area a reputation for producing distinctive wines that are now popular the world over. Join a specialist from the winery on a private tour of the wine cellars and vineyards, an exclusive opportunity to learn about centuries-old winemaking methods. Following your tour, enjoy a tasting of the vineyard’s specialty wines.
VIVIERS. Visit the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provencal town, go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond,” truffles, with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion. Later in the day, be treated to a delicious pairing of red wine and chocolate at the 15th-century Le Château de Tournon, located on the banks of the Rhône, in the heart of town.
TOURNON. Walk through the steep vineyards as you learn about the history and techniques of winemaking in this area. Following the guided tour, join your host for a tasting of the Hermitage wines for which this region is celebrated. Alternatively, take a train ride past magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux stopping at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where the train maneuvers in preparation for its return journey. For a more active adventure, enjoy a hike through the vineyards of Tain-l’Hermitage, followed by a visit to a local winery where you’ll sample some of the wines, or you can enjoy a bike ride.
VIENNE – LYON. Situated between the wine regions of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône lies Vienne with a Roman past that can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. Take a walking tour to see the amazingly well-preserved Augustus and Livia Temple, the Saint Maurice Cathedral, a Gothic church that took more than 500 years to build, and St. Pierre Abbey—one of the oldest surviving churches in France, and now an Archaeological Museum. For those wishing to be more active, you can either take a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet or guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route. Cruise to to the old town of Lyon and enjoy a guided walk through the St. Jean district, where you will be introduced to the city’s unique covered walkways, known as “traboules.” Or for those more interested in discovering why Lyon is France’s culinary capital, visit the city’s famed indoor food market, which has nearly five-dozen stalls selling countless gourmet delights.
LYON. Enjoy free time in Lyon or travel to the Beaujolais wine region—known as the Pays d’Or or “land of the golden stones." While there, indulge in a wine tasting at a traditional winery and learn about the history and techniques of their vineyard.
LYON - DISEMBARKATION. Disembark the ship and bid farewell to Lyon as you prepare for your flight home.