The perfect journey for travelers seeking the crème de la crème of France.
This triumvirate of France brings you the very best of each region—Paris and the Normandy coast in the north, vineyard-rich Bordeaux in the southwest and the sun-drenched Mediterranean delights of Burgundy and Provence. You’ll tour glamorous capital cities in leisure and style, explore ancient villages still unspoiled by modern life and walk in the footsteps of famous artists such as Monet and Van Gogh. With Uniworld’s extraordinary excursions, you’ll visit the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, taste incomparable wines in Bordeaux, stroll the charming medieval lanes of Viviers and peruse the famed farmers’ market in Lyon before seeing the city spectacularly illuminated at night. All the while, savor the renowned wines and cooking traditions that have made French cuisine the most revered in the world.
Who will enjoy this cruise? Those who want to experience all that France has to offer, from decadent food and wine to breathtaking scenery and world-famous art and architecture.
Ultimate France is a combination of Paris & Normandy, Brilliant Bordeaux and Burgundy & Provence.
Arrive at Bordeaux-Mérignac International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Blaye, Bourg sur Gironde
The Route de la Corniche Fleurie…could this be the most beautiful road you’ve ever traveled? Find out today on the drive to Blaye Fortress, passing through one impossibly picturesque hamlet after another. Once you arrive, you’ll find your center with a unique and expertly led yoga session in the heart of this historic fortress, a UNESCO-designated citadel that once protected Bordeaux from attacks by sea.
Cussac Fort Médoc, Pauillac la Fayette
The legendary Médoc region abounds with prestigious wine châteaux in a dizzying array of architectural styles, as well as miles of grapevines stretching to infinity. Take a scenic drive through the storied Médoc wine route, followed by a wine tasting at a beautiful wine estate. Enjoy the waters of the Garonne River and the Gironde Estuary before heading to the pretty town of Pauillac, gateway to the storied Médoc wine route, the Atlantic coast and remnants of the Atlantic Wall erected during WWII.
The French phrase “la douceur de vivre” is an accurate description for your time in Cadillac, known for its deliciously flavored dessert wines. Visit Château Royal de Cazeneuve, site of Henry IV’s and Queen Margot’s tempestuous love. Meet the owner around a glass of Sauternes in the reception hall.
The medieval town of Saint-Émilion is an ideal place to linger. Wander its cobblestone lanes lined with wine shops and bakeries, and stop to admire the amazing rock-hewn church that extends beneath the city’s streets. Another treasure awaiting you underground? A wine tasting in the cellars of a Grand Cru estate. With Libourne as your base, travel to nearby breathtaking Saint-Émilion and immerse yourself more deeply in the region’s history and wine culture.
France’s rich agricultural tradition is the heart and soul of the region’s exquisite cuisine—and what better way to get a taste for the freshest vegetables, cheeses, breads and fruits than with a visit to Libourne’s lively farmers’ market?
Discover Bordeaux’s many charms today, either on foot with a local expert or on two wheels—the locals’ preferred way to navigate the city’s charming backstreets. You have a wonderful selection of active opportunities to see this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bordeaux (Disembark), Transfer to Paris via High-Speed TGV Train (Embark)
Disembark the breathtaking S.S. Bon Voyage and transfer to Paris via high-speed, first-class TGV train. Your next ship, the magical S.S. Joie de Vivre, waits to carry you along the Seine on the next leg of your adventure.
Note: Ship schedule and order of sightseeing may change throughout the itinerary. Tour to port of destination by motorcoach and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to the impact of water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors.
La Roche-Guyon, Vernon, Giverny
Today is a celebration of northern France’s natural beauty, with an excursion to a splendid château and gardens situated in an equally grand setting, plus a chance to immerse yourself in the very landscapes that inspired Impressionist master Claude Monet. Visit the hilltop Château de La Roche-Guyon, surrounded by beautiful gardens and offering sweeping views over the Seine. Later, you can visit the home and gardens of Claude Monet. Or take in the beautiful French countryside in a more invigorating way, with a guided bike ride from Vernon to Giverny.
Walk in the footsteps of greatness in Normandy’s medieval capital, a city with a historic quarter that remains amazingly intact. From the cathedral Monet painted dozens of times to the cross marking the spot where Joan of Arc was martyred, Rouen is a treasure trove for the culturally curious. The roll call of famous people who lived or died in Rouen is long and varied—Richard the Lionheart, Joan of Arc, Gustave Flaubert and Claude Monet are among them.
Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur or Étretat)
Caudebec-en-Caux, a lovely little town on the right bank of the Seine Estuary, is your base for one of two very different excursions. You could drive through the beautiful Calvados countryside to Honfleur, a delightful seaside harbor and city of painters, or head to the windy cliffs of Étretat for a game of golf.
Rouen (Normandy Beaches)
There are moments when we travel that move us on an otherworldly level—experiences that stir a profound emotional connection. The Normandy beaches certainly have that effect. On your full-day outing, you’ll visit Normandy’s beaches, including Utah Beach and Ste-Mère-Église, with a choice to venture to either the American, British and Australian or Canadian beaches. After, you’ll go to the American cemetery and partake in a private ceremony at the Omaha Beach Memorial—a sentimental remembrance of Operation Overlord.
How did France’s rulers live over the centuries? Step into the private rooms of the Palace of Versailles, the lavish palace built by the Sun King, to find out.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the “City of Light” or you’ve been here many times before, there’s something for everyone today in Paris. Enjoy a panoramic overview of the city, join a local expert for a walk through two much-loved neighborhoods, or pedal your way along the Left Bank, a fresh and fun way to take in the sights.
Paris (Disembark), Transfer to Lyon via High-Speed TGV Train (Embark)
You’ll transfer from the magical S.S. Joie de Vivre in Paris to the striking S.S. Catherine in Lyon via high-speed, first-class TGV train for the final leg of this fabulous grand tour. Once you’ve settled into your new home, you’ll have some time to explore delightful Lyon, which is nestled alongside the Saône River.
The pace of life is decidedly more relaxed in Burgundy, where endless rows of grapes hang heavy on the vine. The capital of the region’s wine trade, Beaune is renowned for its history, beauty and highly prized wine, as well as its medieval-era hospital—the Hospices de Beaune.
As the epicenter of French gastronomy, Lyon is a city of tantalizing contrasts. There’s much to explore here, from the work of culinary visionaries to silk weavers’ secret passageways. After your choice of excursions, embrace the locals’ favorite mode of transportation with a bike ride—a great way to see the sights.
If you love fine wine, you’ll love the twin villages of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage. Tournon may be a small town, but stirring events took place here: A castle was raised on the hilltop in the 10th century to protect the region, and new fortifications were added over the centuries, including two “new” towers built to defend against Protestant attacks in the 16th century. You’ll see the handsome houses constructed by wealthy merchants and garrison officers when you walk through the Rue de Doux area, and you’ll pass the 14th-century church and the oldest secondary school in France.
An enchanting village where time seems to have stopped centuries ago, Viviers has a long and storied past that goes back more than 1,600 years—and a splendid architectural heritage to match. At one time, Viviers was divided along religious lines—the clergy lived in the upper part of the town, the laity in the lower part. Your exploration of the town will take you through both parts, as you begin at the crest and make your way to the riverbank.
The walled city of Avignon is one of the most fascinating towns in southern France, with a host of historic gems to explore—including the fortress residence of rebellious popes who broke from Rome and once lived and ruled here. You’ll see the Palace of the Popes and much more today, and also have a chance to kayak under a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct.
Explore a sun-drenched Provençal town today with an allure all its own. Known for its remarkable Roman ruins, Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings there. Arles has existed since the sixth century BC, when the ancient Greeks founded it and named it Theline. It was here that the Romans built their first bridge across the Rhône River, creating a vital overland route between Italy and Spain.
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Marseille International Airport for your flight home.
We are excited to welcome one of our newest Super Ships to the rivers of Bordeaux—the S.S. Bon Voyage— designed to immerse guests in French culture, art and wine, from its stunning lobby clad in polished wood, subtle brass details and hand-crafted balustrade, to the stylish emerald tones found in bar Le Salon Champagne, inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s personal abode, Villa Majorelle.
The dining venues also capture the essence of France. The quintessential La Brasserie, with its natural green and pops of yellow décor inspired by the famous Bouillon Pigalle, serves traditional bistro fare. Le Grand Fromage offers menus reflective of the local cuisine, prepared from locally-sourced ingredients. La Cave des Vins is an intimate space where connoisseurs can gather for expert food and wine pairing dinners upon request.
The stunning Soleil Deck, awash in vibrant fabrics, features the only infinity pool on the rivers and spectacular views of the French countryside. Poolside service at Le Café du Soleil offers casual French cuisine as well as open-air cooking demonstrations from our chefs.
In addition to the public spaces, the S.S. Bon Voyage features four new spacious suites, and every stateroom has received an exquisite redesign with cool marble bathrooms and unique features.
Uniworld is committed to building a fleet of ships that represents the absolute best in luxury river cruising, combining quality craftsmanship with high-tech innovations and custom-designed interiors. Our second Super Ship, S.S. Catherine, continues this proud tradition of excellence with sumptuous materials and meticulous attention to detail. The vessel’s opulent interiors include a two-story lobby with a specially commissioned Murano glass chandelier and whimsical life-size glass horse.