Discover the best that France has to offer on a 21 day journey from Paris to Lyon. Cruise the Seine and Rhone rivers past vineyards, castles & villages.
Itinerary also travels in reverse.
Enjoy a welcome dinner before cruising out of Paris with the beautiful city as a backdrop.
Freechoice: Join a hike with a difference and visit King Richard the Lionheart’s Château Gaillard, or journey to Lyons la Forêt, one of the most beautiful villages of France, and visit a local farm to sample cider, the region’s specialty. Alternatively, join your local guide for a walking tour of the quaint village of Les Andelys, or take a bicycle tour through this beautiful village, set on the banks of the Seine.
Freechoice: Enjoy a walking tour of Rouen, the capital of the Normandy region. Take in the famous sites relating to Joan of Arc, and admire the city’s half-timbered houses and the historic Rouen Cathedral. Or learn about the Viking Warlord Rollo ‘the Walker’, who will host a guided walking tour through the medieval laneways of Rouen.
This region is also the gateway to the historic Western Front, and this afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to gain fascinating insights into the Somme battlefields and learn about what life was like for a soldier during WWI with a fascinating lecture.
After dinner, a local pâtissier will come on board with a selection of their finest desserts for your dining pleasure.
Freechoice: Get a glimpse of what the Somme battlefields might have been like for those caught up in this terrible World War I battle, which claimed the lives of more than 150,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers. You may choose to visit the Australian National Memorial, containing the Sir John Monash Centre as well as the Caterpillar Valley Memorial, dedicated to the New Zealand citizens who perished during the Battle of the Somme. Or, you may choose to visit the Lochnagar Crater, the Newfoundland memorial park and the Thiepval memorial. Alternatively, stay in Rouen and explore the collection of impressionist paintings, including masterpieces by Renoir and Monet, at the Museum of Fine Arts which was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Rouen > Honfleur
Relax on board this morning as you cruise toward the open waters of the English Channel.
Freechoice: Explore Honfleur on a guided walking tour, with its quaint architecture, relaxed coastal atmosphere and colourful fishing boats bobbing on the water, or visit charming Norman villages and discover their traditional Cheeses and Calvados. The small town of Pont l’Eveque is renowned for producing a cheese of the same name, and you will get to sample this and more during your guided tour.
Freechoice: Visit the historic Normandy beaches, the site of the D-Day landings that took place in June 1944. Here you have three equally fascinating options to choose from. Explore the involvement of the British forces as you visit the Bayeux War Cemetery, Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the Landing Museum in Arromanches, finishing at the British Normandy memorial, or learn about the US contribution to the battle at Utah Beach and Memorial before a visit to the Normandy American cemetery and visitor centre or view the battle through the eyes of Canadian forces as you visit Juno Beach Centre, a museum that focuses on the Canadian war effort as well as the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian cemetery and Pegasus Bridge & Museum. Alternatively, learn about history of a different era and visit Bayeux including its famous Tapestry, a hand embroidered masterpiece that depicts the tales of the Norman conquest of England and dates back to the 11th century.
Honfleur > Caudebec-en-Caux
Freechoice: Visit Fécamp and its mighty palace. Situated in spectacular surrounds, the city’s natural setting contrasts perfectly with its architectural centrepiece, the Benedictine Palace. Afterwards visit the beautiful seaside town of Étretat, sitting proudly between dramatic rock faces. Or travel to the hilltop village of Bolbec and view fabrics at the fascinating Textile Museum before visiting a traditional Normandy farm nearby. For the more adventurous, join a guided cycling tour to the charming village of Villequier and visit the Victor Hugo Museum to learn more about the famous French writer.
In a location rich in visual treasures, it’s easy to understand why this region of France inspired many of history’s most famous artists.
Freechoice: Visit Giverny and Monet’s former residence and gardens. Many of the artists most famous art works were inspired by this impressive location, or get your heart pumping on a self-guided cycle through Vernon to Giverny where you have the opportunity to visit Monet’s garden. After exploring these spectacular gardens you may feel inspired to join a painting class on board this afternoon
Built into a steep rock face overlooking the Seine River and the small village bearing the same name, Château de La Roche-Guyon is a sight to behold. Experience the opulence and grandeur of yesteryear as you enjoy a classical concert performed by the region’s most reputable musicians. The Château dates back to medieval times and you’ll be sure to have fond memories of this experience for many years to come.
Conflans > Paris
Freechoice: Discover the charms of Auvers-sur-Oise and see Vincent van Gogh’s room, or step inside the magnificent Chantilly Castle for a guided tour of this remarkable château, set amidst beautiful parklands. Alternatively, visit the great stables on the grounds of Chantilly. The stables also house a museum dedicated to the relationship between man and horse throughout time.
Today it’s your choice to either spend time exploring France’s most celebrated city, or embark on a discovery beyond the city limits.
Freechoice: Walk through the trendy Marais district with a resident expert and hear tales that only the locals know, or admire the extravagance and grandeur of the famous Opera Garnier on a guided tour. Alternatively, see the highlights of Paris during a city tour and marvel at the many iconic sights of the city, or you may wish to explore beyond Paris and tour the 17th century estate of Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, Louis XIV’s inspiration for Versailles Palace.
Paris > Lyon
Board your included flight from Paris to Lyon where you will embark the Scenic Sapphire for your 10 night cruise along the Rhône and Saône Rivers.
Lyon > Tournus
Relax on board as you cruise the Saône River towards Tournus. Perhaps sharpen your skills on French cookery at a lesson in Scenic Culinaire.
Freechoice: Explore Château de Cormatin, admire the castles gilded rooms, surrounding moat and water features, as well as the perfectly manicured gardens. Or, join highly trained hounds and their owners in a nearby quaint village locating and sampling French truffles. Alternatively, visit the restaurant of three star Michelin chef, Georges Blanc for a cooking demonstration.
Freechoice: Explore Beaune, including a visit to Les Hospices de Beaune. The former hospital is a prime example of traditional 15th century Burgundian architecture and now houses a fascinating museum. Alternatively, visit a local château and taste some of the acclaimed wines from this premium estate located in the heart of the Burgundy region, or visit the photography museum in the town where it was first invented. The museum is home to over three million photographs and objects, which you will have the opportunity to observe with your local guide.
Perhaps start your day with a stretching class on the Sun Deck, or simply enjoy a leisurely morning as you take in the picturesque riverside panoramas.
Freechoice: Enjoy wine tasting at a local vineyard, or join a guided walking tour of the village of Tain l’Hermitage, including a tasting at Valrhona Chocolates. Alternatively, join a guided cycling tour along the Rhône to neighbouring villages.
Freechoice: Take a walking tour of the magnificent city of Avignon, including entrance to the Popes’ Palace and famed St. Benezet Bridge also known as the Pont d’Avignon. Alternatively, join an excursion to Pont du Gard, an engineering masterpiece dating back to the middle of the first century which was designed to carry water to the city of Nîmes, or paddle along the Gardon River underneath the spectacular Pont du Gard by kayak.
Enjoy a truly unforgettable experience at the prestigious Palais des Papes. After the doors close to the general public, be treated to an exclusive dinner and classical concert in one of the grandiose rooms.
Freechoice: Shop with a Chef at a local food market and cook up a storm in Scenic Culinaire with your fresh ingredients. Alternatively, drop into the villages of the Luberon region, including Gordes and Sénanque Abbey, or sample the celebrated wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape at a Côtes du Rhône vineyard. If you’re feeling more active, you may choose to visit one of the most beautiful villages of France, Roussillon for a guided tour and a visit to the Lavender museum.
Freechoice: Explore the artistic heritage of Arles, and visit the striking Arles Arena, or stop in at the pretty medieval hilltop village of Les Baux and visit Carrières de Lumières, a former quarry that now houses an impressive art installation. Alternatively, tour a charming family-run olive farm followed by a cooking class where our host will divulge local recipes, or take an active walk through La Camargue National Park. This afternoon you may wish to enjoy the medieval charm of Tarascon. It is the perfect city to cycle around so why not jump on an e-bike and cycle the riverside paths along the Rhône, or simply stay on board and take a painting class.
Freechoice: Enjoy a walking tour of Viviers. Admire the many monuments and architectural treasures of this beautiful town before you are treated to an organ recital, or learn about the history of the French Resistance. Hear stories of heroism and daring missions as you explore the town.
Freechoice: Explore the Ardèche National Park including the Caverne du Pont-d’Arc Museum, a replica museum depicting the collection of engravings, paintings and drawings found in the nearby Chauvet Cave, or visit Bollene Hydroplant and dive into the world of renewable energies. Learn about the hydro power plant, wind farm and the two solar power plants located here. Alternatively, drop into the beautiful provincial town of Grignan for a guided tour and a visit to the Château, before enjoying some time at leisure to explore on your own.
Take in the vistas of the Rhône River as you sail towards the gastronomic heart of France, Lyon.
Tonight admire the beauty of one of the city’s greatest baroque buildings, Trinity Chapel. Built in the 17th century, the interior is decadently covered in Carrera marble. As an exclusive experience with Scenic, join your fellow guests for a breathtaking acapella
choir performance in this wonderful setting.
Freechoice: Discover Lyon’s historic significance by traversing its hidden secret passageways dating back to the 4th century, and visit Notre Dame Basilica for magnificent views across the city. Or explore Lyon on foot and view famous sights along the waterways. Alternatively, learn about Lyon’s rich heritage in silk production during a silk painting workshop, or walk the cobblestone paths in the medieval hilltop town of Pérouges.
This evening enjoy one final indulgence when a local pâtissier comes on board with a selection of their finest desserts for your dining pleasure.
Depart after a wonderful farewell breakfast. Lyon is the end of your cruise, but it will be the start of a lifetime of wonderful memories.
This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions.