European Luxury River Cruises

EMERALD – Delights of France – Lyon to Arles – 11 days

 

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Introduction

 

Romantic settings, quaint country villages, stunning scenery and rolling vineyards are yours to discover on your river cruise from Lyon to Chalon-Sur- Saône, Avignon and Arles. The region’s wines and gastronomic delights are waiting to be tasted, and France’s impressive architecture – including castles and palaces – there to be explored. Romanesque influences rise from cities’ ruins while castles built by French nobility tell tales of the past lives of the country’s wealthy, providing you with an all-encompassing experience of France’s past and present.

 

Itinerary

 

Day 1 Lyon
Welcome to Lyon – a gastronomic and historical city situated in the Rhône-Alpes region between Paris and Marseille. On arrival, you will be met at the airport or Eurostar by an Emerald Waterways representative and transferred to the A-ROSA STELLA where you will be welcomed by your Captain and crew. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing in your cabin, the Day Lounge or in the heated outdoor pool. Or if you’re feeling energetic, why not play a round on the putting green or enjoy a work out in the gym?
Included meals: Dinner.

Day 2 Tournus
After sailing north overnight, this morning you’ll arrive in the historic Tournus, one of the oldest and most important monastic towns in the picturesque Burgundy region of France. Its centre boasts St Philibert Abbey, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture.
Today’s included excursion takes you to Château de Cormatin – a beautiful castle built by Marquises of Huxelles in the early 17th century to show power and prestige. Surrounding the grand castle is a wide moat and draw bridge, high turrets, gun-ports and stunning gardens, sprinkled with elaborate water features. Inside the castle, its famous Gilded Rooms boast spectacular tapestries, and are painted, carved and gilded ceiling to floor, telling stories of the lifestyle of the French nobility in the 17th century. For a great end to a day of grandeur, you’re invited to enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
EmeraldPLUS: a guided tour of Château de Cormatin. 
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and Welcome Dinner.

Day 3 Chalon-Sur-Saône – Beaune
Welcome to Chalon-Sur-Saône – best known as the birthplace of photography and the centre of Burgundy’s wine region where famous wines such as Mercurey, Givry, Montagny and Rully were created. You’ll travel by coach to the quaint village of Beaune, situated in the heart of prestigious vineyards, like Pommard, Corton-Charlemagne and La Romanée-Conti. Here you’ll be taken on a guided tour of the Hospices de Beaune. Formerly a charitable almshouse, it is now a museum possessing many artistic treasures including the mural paintings of the 17th century in the Salle St Hugues, and an altarpiece, The Last Judgment, painted by Rogier van der Weyden. The fabulous multi-coloured roofs of this former hospital have become one of the symbols of Burgundy, and make it one of the finest examples of French 15th century architecture.
After enjoy lunch back on-board your ship you’ll enjoy the afternoon at your leisure to explore Chalon. The Cathedral square is home to many cafes and speciality shops for you to browse.
And you could always visit the cathedral itself.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Beaune and the Hospices de Beaune. 
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4 Mâcon
This morning you’ll enjoy breakfast while gently sailing along the Saône River to arrive in Mâcon
– a French town with a distinctly Mediterranean feel due to its buildings painted a pallet of burnt sienna, buttermilk and rose. Every year Mâcon holds a wine fair to celebrate its famous white wines coming from the Chardonnay grape with Pouilly-Fuissé, St-Véran and Mâcon-Villages Blanc being the most famous.On your guided tour you’ll walk the heritage trail from Old Saint Vincent to the General Hospital buildings, past half-timbered houses and Soufflot Chapel. Along the way, there’s often the chance to sample local wines and taste the many displays of regional fare produced in the town. This afternoon you have free time to spend at your leisure in Mâcon. Alternatively you can book an optional trip to the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny – one of the most influential forces in medieval Christian history. Founded in 910, the Abbey at Cluny was the centre of a monastic reform movement that would spread throughout Europe.
Included excursions: a guided walking tour of Mâcon. 
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 5 Lyon
Today you’ll visit Lyon – an acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its array of historical and architectural landmarks. France’s second largest city and a former Roman capital, Lyon is beautifully positioned at the conference of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Your tour begins at Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. Designed by architect Pierre Bossan of Lyon, who also designed the city’s Église Saint-Georges, and built between 1872 and 1876, Lyon’s hilltop church offers stunning views over the town. You’ll then visit the Roman amphitheatre which was rediscovered when the mayor of the city, Edouard Herriot, commissioned what turned out to be an extensive 46-year archaeological project that ultimately unearthed everything from the remains of public squares and streets to homes and stores. Afterwards you’ll take a walk along the cobbled streets of the gastronomic old town and discover the secret laneways. This afternoon you can choose to further explore Lyon at your leisure or book an optional excursion to the medieval town of Perouges.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Lyon.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 6 Vienne – Tournon
After breakfast you’ll arrive in the former Roman provincial capital of Vienne, founded by Julius Caesar over 2,000 years ago. On your included tour you’ll get to explore the many remnants including Vienne’s own truncated pyramid and the Imperial Temple of Augustus and Livia. Back on-board your ship this afternoon you’ll be treated to a cooking class and cheese tasting before arriving in Tournon in the evening.
EmeraldPLUS: a cooking class and cheese tasting on-board your ship.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Vienne
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 7 Tournon – Viviers
Today you’ll join your local guide for a walking tour of Tournon which is dominated by a magnificent 16th century castle and Roman ruins, and nestled in the valley near the steep slopes of le Massif Central – France’s third largest mountain range. With a renowned wine growing centre of Tain l’Hermitage situated across the river, the area has a long tradition in wine making.
After your tour you’ll have time to explore Tournon at your own pace before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon sailing through the vineyards to Viviers. To replace today’s included excursions, you can book an optional wine tasting excursion to sample some of the region’s finest.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Tournon.  
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 7 Vienne – Tournon
After breakfast you’ll arrive in the former Roman provincial capital of Vienne, founded by Julius Caesar over 2,000 years ago. On your included tour you’ll get to explore the many remnants including Vienne’s own truncated pyramid and the Imperial Temple of Augustus and Livia. Back on-board your ship this afternoon you’ll be treated to a cooking class and cheese tasting before arriving in Tournon in the evening.
EmeraldPLUS: a cooking class and cheese tasting on-board your ship.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Vienne
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 8 Viviers
Viviers is a charming town nestled on the banks of the Rhône River. On your included walking tour, you’ll be taken back to the Middle Ages as you explore the windy streets and Renaissance architecture. Following your tour, you’ll have free time to enjoy the Mediterranean climate, which has been preferred by fruit farmers and wine makers for centuries. Back on-board your ship you’ll enjoy lunch as you set sail for Avignon.
Included excursions: a guided walking tour of Viviers.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 9 Avignon
Welcome to Avignon – a town with a rich history that stems from Celtic beginnings to being the residence of the Popes, and later being central to the French Revolution. With walls up to 18ft thick, Papal Palace stands securely on a hill in the centre of town. Your local guide will take you through this historic centre and to explore the rambling maze of gothic architecture inside the Palace.
You can spend the rest of the day strolling the cobbled laneways and browsing the shops, or admire the famous stone bridge, Pont d’ Avignon. If you’d prefer, you can swap your included tours for an optional trip to Châteauneuf-du-Pape with wine tasting, or an excursion to Pont du Gard – an ancient Roman bridge that crosses the Gardon River in Vers-Pont-du-Gard near Remoulins.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Avignon and the Papal Palace. 
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 10 Avignon – Arles
This morning you’ll sail into the Camargue wilderness region to the capital of Provence, Arles where your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city. As you explore, you’ll discover the 2,000 year old Roman Amphitheatre still in use today, which was originally built to hold 20,000 spectators in the style of the Colosseum in Rome. You’re then free to spend the rest of the day in Arles or relaxing on-board your ship. Alternatively, you can book an optional trip to the hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence or an excursion to St Remy to fill your free time this afternoon. To mark the final night of your cruise, this evening you will enjoy a Farewell Dinner.
Included excursions: a guided tour of Arles.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch and Farewell Dinner.

Day 11 Arles – UK
After breakfast you’ll say your goodbyes before you’re transferred to Marseille Airport for your journey home.
Included meals: breakfast.

 

 

 

 

2015 Departure Dates
C
Fixed Window – Deck One
B
French Balcony – Deck Two
A
French Balcony – Deck Three
13 Jun
£2,745
£2,245
£3,190
£2,690
£3,340
£2,840
23* Jun
£2,845
£2,345
£3,290
£2,790
£3,440
£2,940

Please note: Although we regularly update the website, it does not display live availability. Please contact us on 0800 612 5677 for up-to-date availability of your preferred cabin.

* These departures operate in reverse from Arles – Lyon.

Exceptional Emerald Value

With Emerald Waterways, you don’t have to worry about your daily budget or mounting costs. So you can really look forward to your river cruise, we’ve made sure that you won’t be surprised by any hidden extras, just amazed at what our holidays include.

  • Return travel from the UK
  • 10 nights in a cabin of your choice
  • 11 shore excursions, either on foot or by First Class coach
  • 2 EmeraldPLUS activities including a guided tour of Château de Cormatin
  • 29 on-board meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners, and 2 highlight dinners, including a Welcome Dinner
  • Complimentary tea and coffee available on-board at all times
  • Complimentary bottled water in your suite or stateroom, restocked daily
  • A variety of on-board evening entertainment
  • First-class service from English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
  • Complimentary WiFi on-board
  • All port charges, airport taxes and transfers within Europe

We include even more…

  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks to accompany lunch and dinner
  • Fly from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow & Edinburgh  at no extra cost
  • All tips, saving you up to £235 per couple
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