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Ultimate France 2019

22 days with Uniworld  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!

  • Past passengers of African Travel, Brendan, Contiki, Insight, Trafalgar and Uniworld save an additional $100 to $700 per person on this vacation. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Receive free unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as free prepaid gratuities for onboard and onshore services, on any Europe river cruise. Click here for eligible departures.

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

River Cruise Itinerary
DAY 1: Bordeaux (Embark)
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. Your ship is conveniently docked right in the heart of the city, so if time allows, why not stroll to the nearby food markets or take the tram to the popular Saint-Michel flea market, which is just a few stops away? 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.
DAY 2: Cadillac
The French phrase “la douceur de vivre” is an accurate description for your time in Cadillac, known for its deliciously flavored dessert wines. Meet a local Sauternes producer and also enjoy a delectable wine-pairing lunch at a 14th-century fortress.   Vous êtes arrivé à Cadillac, the area known for producing sweet dessert wines under the celebrated Cadillac AOC designation. You’re in for a treat!

Featured Excursion:
Cadillac, cha^teaux and Sauternes vineyards with exclusive artisanal wine-pairing lunch at Cha^teau de Cazeneuve
DAY 3: Cruising the Garonne River and Gironde Estuary, Pauillac
The legendary Médoc region abounds with prestigious wine châteaux in a dizzying array of architectural styles, as well as miles of grapevines seemingly stretching to infinity. Take a scenic drive to the tip of the peninsula or join a guide for a vineyard bicycle ride, 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 and the prestigious “châteaux road.” Visit a celebrated winery for an exclusive special tasting. Or take a guided bicycle ride through the Médoc vineyards.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Me´doc cha^teaux route with exclusive wine tasting or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” vineyard bicycle ride with wine tasting
DAY 4: Blaye, Bourg-sur-Gironde, Cruising the Dordogne River, Libourne
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, with exotic flowers (brought here by local sea captains) all along the way.   Sail across the peaceful waters of the estuary, where fishing huts rise above grassy marshlands edged by limestone cliffs, as you make your way to the town of Blaye. A visual feast awaits you on a storied road named for the many flowers that line it.

Featured Excursion:
Scenic drive along the Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress
DAY 5: Libourne (Saint-Émilion)
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 premier Grand Cru estate.   With Libourne as your base, travel to nearby Saint-Émilion and immerse yourself more deeply in the region’s history and wine culture.

Featured Excursion:
Saint-Émilion walking discovery tour with wine tasting
DAY 6: Libourne, Cruising the Garonne River, Bordeaux
The French insist that the key to their superb wines is the soil in which they’re grown—the terroir. That same terroir also makes for extraordinary produce—the foundation for France’s acclaimed cuisine—as you’ll discover today at a local farmers’ market.

Featured Excursion:
Libourne “Village Day” with farmers’ market
DAY 7: Bordeaux
For Francophiles who are all Eiffled out, the city of Bordeaux is a delightful find, as elegant and sophisticated as big sister Paris, but with a younger and hipper vibe. Discover its many charms today, either on foot with a local expert or on two wheels, the locals’ preferred way to navigate the city’s charming back streets.   How to spend your last day in Bordeaux? You have a wonderful selection of exclusive opportunities to see this magnificent place, whose seamless blend of classical and neoclassical architecture led to its being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Do as the Locals Do” with a walking tour of the city, or venture out on a bicycle ride through the city. Either way, you’ll have an up-close and personal view of one of the world’s most bustling and dynamic cities.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Bordeaux walking tour or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” bicycle ride through the back streets of Bordeaux
DAY 8: Bordeaux (Disembark), Transfer to Paris via High-Speed TGV Train (Embark)
Disembark the breathtaking River Royale 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.
DAY 9: La Roche-Guyon, Vernon (Giverny)
Today is a celebration of Northern France’s natural beauty, with an excursion to a splendid chateau 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 Chateau La Roche-Guyon, surrounded by beautiful gardens and offering sweeping views over the Seine. Later, you can visit the home and gardens of Impressionist master Claude Monet—the inspiration for many of his most beloved works. Or, take in the beautiful French countryside in a more invigorating way, with a guided bike ride from Vernon to Giverny.

Featured Excursion:
Château La Roche Guyon
Choice of Monet’s gardens at Giverny or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” bicycle ride to Giverny
DAY 10: Rouen
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 to spot where Joan of Arc was martyred, Rouen is a treasure trove for the culturally curious.   The medieval capital of Normandy, Rouen has managed to preserve much of its historic core, despite being turned into a battlefield numerous times. 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.

Featured Excursion:
Rouen gourmet walking discovery tour
DAY 11: Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur or Étretat)
Golfing? On a river cruise? This delightfully unexpected excursion—a Uniworld exclusive—features a dramatic links course set atop Normandy’s Alabaster Coast. In a word, magnifique. Not into golf? Stroll through seaside Honfleur, captured on canvas by generations of artists.   Caudebec, a lovely little town on a serene loop of the Seine, 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.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Honfleur walking discovery tour or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” golfing in Étretat
DAY 12: Rouen (Normandy Beaches)
The Normandy coast will forever be associated with the Allies’ D-Day invasion, a day that will come vividly to life on an excursion to the beaches of 1944. Or travel even further into the past with an up-close look at the thousand-year-old Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the Norman conquest.   Immerse yourself in the tactics, desperate courage and horrendous human cost of the 1944 Allied invasion of France, the first step in the ultimately victorious land campaign against the Third Reich. It began here, on these Norman beaches, each of which was assigned a code name by the Allies as they planned their attack.

Featured Excursion:
Arromanches and the American Cemetery
Choice of Utah and Omaha beaches with Sainte-Mère-Église or Juno Beach or Bayeux
DAY 13: Mantes-la-Jolie (Versailles)
How did France’s rulers live over the centuries? Step into the private rooms of either the Palace of Versailles, the lavish palace built by the Sun King, or Château de Malmaison, home to Napoleon Bonaparte’s empress Josephine, to find out.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Palace of Versailles or Château de Malmaison
DAY 14: Paris
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.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Paris city tour or Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Île de la Cité and Latin Quarter walking tour or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” Left Bank bicycle ride
DAY 15: Paris (Disembark), Transfer to Lyon via High-Speed TGV Train (Embark)
Disembark the S.S. Joie de Vivre and transfer via high-speed, first-class TGV train to Lyon for the fantastic final leg of your French adventure, where you’ll find the striking S.S. Catherine waiting to carry you through Burgundy and Provence.
DAY 16: Mâcon (Beaune)
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, natural beauty, highly prized wines and rich bounty of the land—as well as its medieval-era hospital, the Hospices de Beaune.   Located in the southernmost part of Burgundy, Mâcon, a Saône River port, is your gateway to Beaune.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Burgundy wine landscapes, Beaune and Hospices de Beaune or Ma^con walking discovery tour
DAY 17: Lyon
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 patisserie-fueled bike ride—a great way to see the sights.   Two rivers: one tranquil, one torrential. Two hills: one for labor, where the sound of the silk weavers’ looms used to echo; the other for prayers, crowned by a spectacular basilica. Two cities, as different as night and day: one boasting colorful Old World façades, medieval mansions and hidden passageways; one with a sophisticated urbanity reminiscent of Paris. Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and with roots stretching back over 2,000 years to the days of Julius Caesar, Lyon is a place of fascinating dualities. Today you have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts: Sample its culinary riches with a visit to its peerless market hall or follow the footsteps of the silk weavers in the old quarter. For a more active option, see the city from its extensive—and lovely—bike paths.

Featured Excursion:
Exclusive guided “Let's Go” Lyon peninsula bicycle tour
Choice of Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon walking tour or Exclusive silk weavers walking tour
DAY 18: Tournon (Tain-l’Hermitage)
If you love fine wine, you’ll love the twin villages of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage. Whether you opt for a guided walk or a more vigorous vineyard hike, you’ll also have an opportunity to taste the local specialty—wonderful wines made primarily from Syrah grapes.   Spend the day in the midst of Côte du Rhône wine country, exploring storied vineyards and picturesque villages.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Exclusive Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage twin villages stroll with wine tasting or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” Hermitage vineyards hike with wine tasting
DAY 19: Viviers
Meet some new friends today in the village of Viviers, encounters that really get at the heart and soul of the French people and their culture and traditions. No matter whom you get to know—a pottery maker, a dance teacher or a local homeowner—you’ll have an enjoyable and truly authentic experience, something you’ll never forget.   An enchanting village where time seems to have stopped centuries ago, Viviers has a long and storied history 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. You’ll see both parts today on your walking tours; its picturesque rooftops and cobblestone streets always delight visitors.

Featured Excursion:
Exclusive intimate Viviers “Village Day”
DAY 20: Avignon
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 have a chance to kayak under a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct.   Avignon is home to the medieval bridge immortalized in the folk song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon,” as well as the mighty Palace of the Popes. From a distance, the picture-perfect city center looks as though it has been lifted straight from the pages of a history book, but all you need to do is step inside its medieval walls to discover the prosperous heart of contemporary Avignon.   Choose between two different ways to explore this intriguing and ancient city.

Featured Excursion:
Exclusive guided Let's Go kayak ride on the Gardon River
Choice of Avignon walking discovery tour with Palace of the Popes or Avignon walking discovery tour with Pont du Gard
DAY 21: Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)
Explore one of two sun-drenched Provençal towns, each with an allure all their own. Renowned for its Roman ruins, Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings there; Tarascon boasts a lovely castle, as well as a local legend about a ferocious dragon!   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 and facilitating the expansion of their empire. Long renowned as one of the region’s most attractive cities, it lured artist Vincent van Gogh, who painted hundreds of works here (including Sunflowers and The Yellow House) in just 15 months. A short distance from Arles is the ancient and charming town of Tarascon. Its many medieval sites include a 12th-century church and a 15th-century château that is rich with tales of a beloved ruler. Bask in the warmth of the Provençal sunlight in either of these friendly Mediterranean towns.

Featured Excursion:
Choice of Arles walking discovery tour or Tarascon walking discovery tour
DAY 22: Avignon (Disembark)
Disembark the ship and transfer to Marseille International Airport for your flight home.
Tour Map
All This Included
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 exclusive 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.

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 21 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 21 dinners
  • 3 Captain’s Welcome and 3 Captain’s Farewell Receptions
  • 3 Welcome and 3 Farewell Gala Dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water
  • 18 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • Guided “Go Active,” “Do as the Locals Do,” “Village Day” and “Gentle Walking” programs
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks
  • 21-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the breathtaking River Royale, magical S.S. Joie de Vivre, and striking S.S. Catherine.
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
  • 1 country: France
  • 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • All transfers on arrival and departure days
  • All gratuities, both onboard and onshore
  • First class TGV train between Lyon and Paris, and Paris and Bordeaux
  • Captivating onboard local entertainment
  • Cultural enrichment, including 3 Signature Lectures
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard River Royale , S.S. Catherine and S.S. Joie de Vivre 
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
  • Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
  • Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
  • Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
  • Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
  • The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
  • Prices exclude additional port charges of $510 per person
  • 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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