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A Culinary Experience in Grand France with Aix-en-Provence & Nice 2018
(Southbound)

19 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Fly from $299 per person in economy class from select gateways on select 2018 European river cruises in certain cabin categories. Expires November 28. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Save $2,000 per couple off 2018 Europe cruises. Expires November 28. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Pay no single supplement in certain cabin categories on 2018 river cruises. Expires November 28. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Avalon Journeys Club members save 5% off the cruise/land price. Click here for eligible departures.

Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability is limited. Some discounts are not combinable.

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Paris, France (Embarkation)
Welcome to Paris, France’s capital on the River Seine, the “City of Light,” where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides smoothly out of Paris. (Dinner)
 
NOTE: Flights into Paris must arrive by 2:30 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
 
Day 2 Vernon–Les Andelys
This morning in Vernon, choose between a guided visit of Giverny and a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at GIVERNY from 1883-1926, and viewed his gardens as works of art—just like his paintings. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration. Or, visit BIZY CASTLE, built in 1740 and nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles.” It is known for its famous stables—inspired by those at Versailles—and its magnificent courtyard and water garden. Enjoy an onboard CRÊPES LUNCH and afterwards a PASTRY DEMONSTRATION, during which you will be shown how to make a local specialty. This afternoon, your ship arrives in Les Andelys, situated on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France. Join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK of the town, visiting the PARISH CHURCH OF LE PETIT ANDELY. Alternatively you may wish to join your guide on a hike up to the ruins of imposing Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 3 Caudebec
Today, join a guided excursion along the “NORMANDY ABBEYS ROUTE,” a short drive from Caudebec. More than 100 abbeys once covered this region, which has a microclimate particularly suited to the production of fruit such as apples, pears, plums and cherries. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 4 Caudebec
Make your choice today between an included full-day excursion to the historic NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES—with poignant sites such as Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery—or a “TASTE OF NORMANDY” for a more in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important products are dairy, apples, and grain. Camembert cheese is a specialty, as is CALVADOS, a strong apple brandy that you’ll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. This tour will include a guided visit with lunch at a local cheese farm, during which clients will taste, among other Norman specialties, also some AOP (appellation d’origine protégé) cheeses produced on the farm. And for a touch of history, visit the famous BAYEUX TAPESTRY. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 5 Rouen
Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned, and burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Enjoy the included GUIDED WALK through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take your pictures of the intricate Gros Horloge astronomical clock, dating back to the 16th century. Visit the gothic CATHEDRAL, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. A Master of Wine will join you on board and will introduce you to some of France’s wines and answer any questions you may have. This afternoon, you will be tempted with a TASTING of CHEESE and WINE. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 6 Conflans
After breakfast, you may either join our guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or to Napoleon and Josephine’s CHÂTEAU DE MALMAISON just outside Paris. Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation.” This evening, enjoy a special onboard FOOD AND WINE PAIRING DINNER hosted by our Master of Wine, who has specifically chosen the wines for this occasion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 7 Paris
One of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris delights the senses. Join a GUIDED WALK through historic Île St. Louis with its narrow one-way streets and Île de la Cité, the center of Paris where the medieval city was founded and home to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre or Montmartre with its Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation)–Dijon–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre
This morning, say goodbye to your crew, board the TGV train to Dijon and, from there, drive to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, aging, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centers around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HÔTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years’ War left many of the town’s population destitute. Today, it houses Van der Weyden’s painting of "The Last Judgment" and is one of France’s architectural highlights. Continue to St. Jean de Losne, where your ship awaits. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as you depart for Seurre. (Breakfast, Dinner)
 
Day 9 Seurre–Macon
Enjoy some leisurely cruising this morning. In the afternoon, you might choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as to a Chardonnay wine cellar, before your ships arrives in Macon In the late afternoon, enjoy an ONBOARD CHEESE TASTING. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 10 Lyon
Lyon, France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital, was founded by the Romans in 43 BC. The city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial, and banking activities. Roman remains, excellent museums, and renaissance architecture delight visitors. A LOCAL GUIDE joins you as you survey the city from Fourvière Hill and explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafés, monuments, and the famous fountain often depicted on postcards. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 11 Lyon
Enjoy a free day to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon’s parks, discover some of the murals (there are over 100 of them), or select one of the available optional excursions. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample Beaujolais, the wine of the region; wine connoisseurs know the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. Arriving in Viviers in the late afternoon, an included GUIDED WALK shows you this charming town that developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 13 Avignon
The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region—the most picturesque part of Provence with its intact ramparts encircling the entire city, cobblestone streets and squares, and private mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as the “City of Popes,” it was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. Your GUIDED TOUR includes a visit of the PALACE OF THE POPES, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes’ residency. A photo of the famous Pont Saint Bénezet (Saint Bénezet Bridge), of the popular song Sur le Pont d’Avignon, is a must. Optional outings to Pont du Gard or to the famed wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are available. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 14 Arles
This morning, wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting) before arriving in Arles after breakfast. Located on the northern tip of the Camargue, Arles is capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you’ll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Aix-en-Provence
Leave your Avalon vacation one day early upon disembarkation in Arles, and take the included transfer to Aix-en-Provence to join your Monograms package. Your guided walking tour takes in 17th-century Cours Mirabeau boulevard, a lively area with fountains, elegant homes, and famous cafés. Admire the Mazarin Quarter, City Hall, the Jewish Quarter, and visit the CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY SAVIOUR, known for its interesting combination of architectural styles and The Burning Bush triptych art masterpiece by Nicolas Froment. (Breakfast)
 
Day 16 Aix-en-Provence
Your Local Host can suggest some wonderful options for your day at leisure in Cézanne’s hometown—like a visit to the artist’s studio; a French cooking lesson; where to sample Côte-de- Provence wine and boeuf-en-daube; and the best places to shop for faience pottery and colorful Provençal cloth. (Breakfast)
 
Day 17 Aix-en-Provence–Nice
Travel by HIGH-SPEED TGV TRAIN (first class) to Nice. Your guided sightseeing features the PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS, originally built in the second half of the 18th century and the most famous boulevard in Nice. Walk through the OLD TOWN to admire fine examples of the Belle Époque. See Cours Saleya with the Kings of Sardinia Palace and flower market; and lovely Palace Square with Palais de Justice and PALAIS RUSCA. (Breakfast)
 
Day 18 Nice
Your Local Host has recommendations for your full day at leisure on the beautiful Côte d’Azur, such as an excursion to picturesque Êze and Monaco, a round of golf in beautiful Cannes, a visit to the Marc Chagall Museum, or the best place to relax on the beach. (Breakfast)
 
Day 19 Nice
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Paris (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
  • Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; onboard crêpes lunch and pastry demonstration; guided walk in Les Andelys, visit the parish church of Le Petit Andely
  • Caudebec: excursion along the “Normandy Abbeys Route”; choice of excursions to Normandy landing beaches or “A Taste of Normandy, including visit and lunch at a local cheese farm
  • Rouen: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral; onboard cheese and wine tasting
  • Conflans: choice of excursions: visit Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de Malmaison; onboard food and wine pairing dinner
  • Paris: “Heart of Paris” walk, visit Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Paris (Disembarkation)–Dijon–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre: TGV train from Paris to Dijon. Motorcoach transfer to Beaune, visit the Hôtel-Dieu; onboard welcome reception
  • Seurre–Macon: leisurely cruising; onboard cheese tasting; free time in Mâcon 
  • Lyon: guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière Hill
  • Lyon: a day to explore this fascinating city at leisure
  • Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral
  • Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes
  • Arles: cruise into the Camargue region (daylight permitting); guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater 
  • Arles (Disembarkation)–Aix-en-Provence: travel by motorcoach to Aix-en-Provence
  • Aix-en-Provence & Nice: 4 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast; Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guides with city maps; guided sightseeing, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; high-speed TGV train (first class) from Aix-en-Provence to Nice; transfers from ship to Aix-en- Provence hotel and to/from train stations.
All This Included
This splendid river cruise vacation showcases France’s exciting scenery, history, and culture as you sail along its beautiful rivers.

Embark in Paris and head northwest along the Seine River up to the picturesque Normandy region. Dock at Vernon and choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or remarkable Bizy Castle. Continue to Les Andelys—home of Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart in 1196. Then, on to Caudebec, where you choose between an included excursion to the poignant Normandy landing beaches or a fascinating “Taste of Normandy” tour. Visit Joan of Arc’s historic Rouen; and in Conflans, choose between a guided excursion to Vincent van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s elegant Château de Malmaison. Then, head back to Paris for sightseeing that shows you the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. Disembark and travel to fascinating Beaune for a visit of the Hôtel-Dieu. In St. Jean de Losne, board your second cruise ship and sail on to Macon, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, Viviers, Avignon, and Arles, as well as France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, where you have time to explore this fascinating city.

Disembark your cruise ship and transfer to Aix en Provence for two nights and the start of your Monograms extension. Enjoy guided sightseeing with an expert Local Guide, walking along the 17th-century Cours Mirabeau, a lively area with fountains, elegant homes, and famous cafés, and visit the Cathedral of the Holy Savior, known for its mishmash of architectural styles. This was Cézanne’s hometown, and in your free time, you may want to take a tour following in his footsteps. Perhaps take an excursion to Cassis with an included cruise, soak in Aix-en-Provence's healing thermal baths, or shop for lavender and other local specialties. Finally, we’ll whisk you via high-speed train to Nice for your final two nights in France. Here, guided sightseeing with a local expert includes a walk through the Old Town and the Promenade des Anglais—Nice’s most famous boulevard. In your free time, you may want to take an excursion to Monaco, to St. Tropez, or to Cannes, known for its famous film festival. In both cities, we provide the services of Local Hosts®—a "friend in the city" to answer questions, share inside information, help arrange your activities and excursions, and more. Transfers to and from your hotels and train stations, as well as hotel reservations with daily breakfasts, are included.
  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés; Welcome dinner; Daily Afternoon Tea; Daily Night Fare; Farewell dinner; Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
  • Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
  • Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
  • Headsets for shore excursions
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Personalized room options & excursions
Accommodations on this Tour
Paris: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Tapestry and Poetry II
Aix en Provence: Grand Hotel Roi René
Nice: Aston La Scala
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Paris:
in single room from $400 to $440, in twin room from $200 to $225

Extra nights per person in Nice:
in single room from $105 to $206, in twin room from $61 to $112
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades available.
  • Port charges of $336 per person are not included.
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
  • Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • In the event that the TGV is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the transfer from Paris to Dijon will be operated by motorcoach.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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