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Grand France for Wine Lovers
(Southbound)

16 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Save up to $2,000 per couple off 2019 Europe cruises. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Receive a free bottle of wine and box of chocolates in your stateroom on this departure. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Save 5% off all trips when you pay with an AMEX Gold or Platinum card . This discount is combinable with all other promotions. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Travel with Avalon Waterways and receive a Welcome Back Credit of $100 to $250 per person after your trip. The credit can be applied toward a subsequent trip with Avalon Waterways or its sister brands Globus, Cosmos and Monograms. Click here for eligible departures.

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

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 PARIS, FRANCE (EMBARKATION)
Bienvenue en France! Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding.

Flights into Paris must arrive by 2:30 pm.

Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Your day is free to explore the world’s most romantic city before starting your cruise on the Seine. Get acquainted with the City of Lights today with some shopping, strolling, or with a croissant and café au lait to watch the world go by amid the Parisian cityscape.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VERNON (D)

Day 2 VERNON
Monet’s Muses, Castle Courtyards, and Crêpes du Jour

Start the day with a Morning Stretch with your Avalon Adventure Host.

CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of Giverny, home and inspiration of the master impressionist painter Claude Monet. Walk the grounds and see Monet’s charming residence, and the flower and water gardens captured in his masterpieces, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided Visit to Bizy Castle—called “Normandy’s Versailles” for its magnificent courtyard, water garden, and stables.

DISCOVERY While sailing, enjoy a traditional French Luncheon of authentic French crêpes, followed by a Pastry Demonstration.

This afternoon, enjoy cruising to the picturesque town of Les Andelys.

LES ANDELYS

Serenity on the Seine’s Most Beautiful Riverbends

CLASSIC Take a Guided Walking Tour of Les Andelys—one of France’s most picturesque spots on the Seine, OR:

ACTIVE Join a Guided Hike up to the castle ruins of Château Gaillard—historic home of King Richard the Lionheart.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO CAUDEBEC (B,L,D)

Day 3 CAUDEBEC
Churches, Cherry Orchards, and White Cliffs of Normandy

ACTIVE Join your Avalon Adventure Host for a Morning Jog in Normandy’s town of Caudebec.

CLASSIC Take a Guided Trip along the Normandy Abbeys Route—where more than 100 medieval Benedictine and Augustine abbeys and churches were built along the Seine, OR:

ACTIVE Enjoy the natural wonders of the fascinating Marais Vernier wetlands on this half-day Guided Nature Walk on the outskirts of Caudebec.

This afternoon, you may choose a Guided Optional Excursion to the old seaside town of Honfleur.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN CAUDEBEC (B,L,D)

Day 4 CAUDEBEC. EXCURSION TO NORMANDY
Heroic Bravery on Normandy Beaches and French Farming Traditions

CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the WWII landing beaches of Normandy, with a full-day tour of significant U.S. sites, including Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery, OR:

CLASSIC Take a full-day Guided Tour of the British and Canadian commemorative sites, including the British cemetery, Pegasus Memorial, the seaside town of Arromanches, the Juno Beach Center, and the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, OR:

CLASSIC Join “A Taste of Normandy” Guided Tour for an in-depth look at this rich agricultural region. See the famous Bayeux Tapestry, visit the beautiful village of Beuvron en Auge and taste Calvados apple brandy at a local distillery.

Later, enjoy live entertainment on board your ship.

EVENING CRUISE TO ROUEN (B,L,D)

Day 5 ROUEN
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, and a Heroine for France

ACTIVE Join your Avalon Adventure Host for a Morning Walk.

CLASSIC Take a Guided Walking Tour of Rouen—home of the martyred Saint Joan of Arc—and see the medieval quarter with its 16th-century Astronomical Clock, and Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Spend free time this afternoon to explore Rouen’s city markets, shops, and bike paths.

Enjoy onboard entertainment before setting sail this evening.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO CONFLANS (B,L,D)

Day 6 CONFLANS
Walk in the Footsteps of Van Gogh, Bonaparte, and Louis XIV

CLASSIC Join a Guided Visit to Auvers-sur-Oise, home and resting place of Vincent van Gogh, OR:

CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of the opulent Château de Malmaison—home of Napoléon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine.

Perhaps, join a Guided Optional Excursion tour of the Palace of Versailles—home to a succession of French kings.

EVENING CRUISE TO PARIS (B,L,D)

Day 7 PARIS
Cafés, Cathedrals, and Canvases—The City of Lights Truly Shines

ACTIVE Take a Morning Walk with your Avalon Adventure Host to see Paris at first light.

CLASSIC Discover the ancient heart of Paris on a captivating Guided Walk featuring the Palais-Royal, Louvre pyramid, ancient sites on Île de la Cité, the Left Bank, bustling Latin Quarter, and more, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided City Tour, that shows you the iconic sites of Paris, such as the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Opéra Garnier, and the famous Champs-Élysées.

Stroll through Paris on your own, or linger over wine in a literary café on the Left Bank.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN PARIS (B,L,D)

Day 8 PARIS (DISEMBARKATION)—DIJON—BEAUNE—ST. JEAN DE LOSNE (EMBARKATION)—SEURRE
Take a High-Speed Train from Paris to Dijon before driving to Beaune.

CLASSIC Visit the Hôtel-Dieu Charity Hospital, built in 1443, today home of the Van der Weyden’s painting of the Last Judgement, OR:

DISCOVERY Visit one of the biggest cellar in Burgundy, one of France’s main wine producing areas.

This afternoon, travel to St. Jean de Losne to board your Suite Ship® on the Saône for a brief evening cruise to Seurre.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN SEURRE (B,D)

Day 9 MÂCON
Wine and Cheese on the Stunning Saône

Enjoy leisurely cruising en route to Mâcon along the majestic Saône River.

DISCOVERY Onboard lecture hosted by your Master of Wine.

DISCOVERY Take an excursion to a Chardonnay wine cellar.

Enjoy live entertainment while sailing for Trévoux this evening.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN TRÉVOUX (B,L,D)

Day 10 LYON
Adventures in Food and Wine in the Gastronomy Capital of France

Sail for lovely Lyon this morning.

DISCOVERY Enjoy a delicious Wine and Cheese tasting hosted by your Master of Wine on board your ship.

CLASSIC Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour to survey Lyon with its numerous churches from Fourvière Hill. You’ll also explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways, and the lively cafés, monuments, and famed fountain of Place des Terreaux.

Spend free time biking through Lyon’s town squares, over bridges, and along the banks where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet.

Later on board your ship, be our guest for a WWII & French Resistance Lecture, and enjoy live entertainment after dinner.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN LYON (B,L,D)

Day 11 LYON
French Food and Wine—La Vie En Rose in Lyon

DISCOVERY Take an excursion to the lovely Beaujolais area and learn more about its light and pleasant wine.

Enjoy a free day in Lyon, or choose a Guided Optional Culinary Walk through the city to discover why it is known as the gastronomic capital of France! An optional wine blending workshop is also available.

Your day is free to explore, relax, or shop in France’s third largest city. Take a bike from the ship and explore local produce markets and parks, or take a leisurely tour of the city’s more than 100 murals.

DISCOVERY Onboard food and wine pairing dinner hosted by your Master of Wine.

EVENING CRUISE TO TOURNON (B,L,D)

Day 12 TOURNON/TAIN L’HERMITAGE
A Rendezvous with Castle Views and Vineyards

DISCOVERY Take a morning Guided Walking Tour to explore Tournon—one of France’s oldest medieval cities. See its 16th-century castle, and Roman ruins between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage Afterwards, enjoy a wine tasting paired with chocolate at the Cité du Chocolat at Valrhona, OR:

ACTIVE Hike in the vineyards and take in the breathtaking views from the hills (weather permitting). 

VIVIERS 

World History in a Charming French Country Village

CLASSIC Explore the pale-stone buildings of Viviers on a late afternoon Guided Walking Tour of this charming village. You’ll see its Romanesque cathedral and Old Town with a mix of historical Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.

EVENING CRUISE TO AVIGNON (B,L,D)

Day 13 AVIGNON
The City of Popes in Picturesque Provence

CLASSIC Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of the fortress city of Avignon—with its ramparts encircling the city—and a visit to the amazing Palace of the Popes, OR:

DISCOVERY Enjoy a trip to the famed wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a true taste of the Rhône wine region. 

Alternatively take a guided Optional Excursions to the ancient Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard or explore Avignon on your own for the city’s art and culture, theatre, and museums. Be sure to snap photos of the captivating countryside, historic monuments, and the medieval Pont Saint-Bénézet.

Later, enjoy onboard live entertainment.

EVENING CRUISE TO ARLES (B,L,D)

Day 14 ARLES
Inspiring Sights and Avant-Garde Lights

CLASSIC Enjoy a Guided Walking Tour of Arles—the captivating city of the Provence region. You’ll visit the Roman Amphitheater in this visually stunning city that inspired the works of Vincent van Gogh, OR:

DISCOVERY Attend a Painting Workshop to learn the style and techniques of Vincent van Gogh. You’ll create your own painting in the style of the classic master who took inspiration from the Provence light and landscape in Arles.

Consider also a Guided Optional Excursion to the Carrières de Lumières (Cathedral of Images) for a truly unique experience of art, sound, and light in the old quarries of Val d’Enfer.

Take advantage of any free time with a stop in Le Café Van Gogh for a glass of wine to relax and watch the world go by.

OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN ARLES (B,L,D)

Day 15 ARLES—(DISEMBARKATION)—CÔTE D’AZUR
Spectacular Seascapes of the French Riviera

After breakfast this morning, you’ll drive to the Côte d’Azur for your last night in France. Known also as the French Riviera, the spectacular Côte d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the border of Italy. (B)

Day 16 CÔTE D’AZUR
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Day 1 Paris (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
  • Day 2 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; choice of guided walk, or guided hike in Les Andelys
  • Day 3 Caudebec: choice of excursion along the “Normandy Abbeys Route”, or hike in the nature; lecture on board
  • Day 4 Caudebec: choice of full day excursion to Normandy landing beaches, or “A Taste of Normandy” excursion
  • Day 5 Rouen: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral
  • Day 6 Conflans: choice of excursions to Auvers-sur-Oise, or Napoleon and Josephine’s Château de Malmaison
  • Day 7 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing or “Heart of Paris” walking tour to see Paris’ historic sights
  • Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation)–Dijon–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre: TGV train from Paris to Dijon. Motorcoach transfer to Beaune, visit the Hôtel-Dieu or join a wine tasting in a local cellar; onboard welcome reception
  • Day 9 Seurre–Mâcon: leisurely cruising; onboard lecture about wine; free time in Mâcon or Chardonnay excursion
  • Day 10 Lyon: onboard wine and cheese tasting; guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière Hill
  • Day 11 Lyon: a free day to explore this fascinating city at leisure, or excursion to Beaujolais; onboard food & wine pairing dinner
  • Day 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon with wine and chocolate tasting, or hike in the vineyeards (weather permitting); guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral
  • Day 13 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes and excursion to Châteauneuf du Pape
  • Day 14 Arles: choice of guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheatre, or painting workshop; cruise into the Camargue region (daylight permitting)
  • Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Côte d’Azur: travel by motorcoach to Côte d’Azur
  • Day 16 Côte d’Azur: your vacation ends this morning
All This Included
This river cruise highlighting the best of France is certainly grand! Enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery, and stops in the most charming and historical parts of France.

Set sail on the Seine River and go on an excursion to the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. Visit Joan of Arc’s Rouen, and choose between Claude Monet’s Giverny or the Bizy Castle, nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles”; Vincent Van Gogh’s Auver-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. Before you depart the beautiful Seine River, you’ll spend time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic cities! Discover the true heart of Paris on a guided walk through the sites of Paris’ rich history, or take a tour showing you the iconic sites of the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and more. Taste some of Burgundy wines onboard your ship. Take a lovely excursion to the Chardonnay wine area. Then reach Lyon, a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Visit the popular Place des Terreaux and stand in front of the famous fountain you’ve seen on postcards, or opt for a wine blending workshop optional excursion! You might choose to visit the Beaujolais region and enjoy a tasting of its famous wines. Beautifully nestled among vineyards, you’ll find the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, where you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon, a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. The walk will be followed by a wine and chocolate tasting. Alternatively, you can join a guided hike in the vineyard. Continue your river cruise to historical Avignon and see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Chateuneuf du Pape wine region and taste some of its wines. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater, which hosts plays and concerts to this day.

In the second portion of your cruise a Master of Wine will travel with you on this cruise and will hold lectures, tastings and introduce you to food and wine pairing.

As a perfect finale to your river cruise vacation, spend time in the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Ship Amenities - Avalon Poetry II:
    • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
    • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, shade awnings, & outdoor deck game area
    • Non-smoking staterooms & ship interior
    • Convenient Elevator Service
    • Elegant, contemporary design
    • Outside viewing deck
    • Headsets for guided shore excursions
    • English-speaking friendly crew, staff & professional Cruise Director
    • Sightseeing with Expert Local Guides
    • Onboard lectures, activities & entertainment
    • Complimentary room service for Continental breakfast
    • Sky Deck whirlpool
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
    • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Breisach
    • Onboard Adventure Center with active gear, bikes, Nordic walking sticks, watercraft & maps
    • Casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Avalon Choice® cruising experience
    • Behind-the-scenes galley tour
    • Choice of Classic, Active or Discovery excursions so that you can experience your cruise your way
    • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
    • Onshore & Onboard experiences with regional customs, cultures & tastings with local artisans, experts & entertainers
    • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
    • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
    • Linger over several selections from the Panorama Bistro's tasting menu for a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Well-stocked library with books, cards, and board games
    • State-of-the-art fitness center
    • Complimentary bottled water, fresh fruit, and cookies available throughout the day
    • Full-size closet mirror
  • Ship Dining - Avalon Poetry II:
    • Avalon FreshSM healthy cuisine options at every meal
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine & canapés
    • Spacious, open-seating Panorama Dining Room
    • Daily early-riser breakfast
    • Daily late-riser breakfast
    • Full buffet breakfast with sparkling wine and made-to-order egg station
    • Lunch buffet with carving and pasta stations
    • Al fresco lunch in the Sky Grill
    • Cocktails with a view on the Sky Deck
    • Healthy Corner options including low calorie, low fat, high fiber, low cholesterol, and high energy choices
    • Vegetarian options at every meal, as well as vegan and allergy-free selections
    • Afternoon Tea featuring tea, coffee, and sweet treats
    • Happy Hour every evening including featured drink specials
    • Seasonal cuisine featuring the freshest local ingredients
    • Chef-prepared onboard meals with regional cuisine and familiar favorites
    • Four-course dinners with choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrées and desserts or cheese
    • Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner
    • Complimentary room service for Continental breakfast
    • Panorama Lounge & Bar with premium spirits, cozy seating, panoramic windows & dance floor
    • Healthy meal options
    • Casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Linger over several selections from the Panorama Bistro's tasting menu for a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere
    • Tastings - sample the destination's famous delicacies
    • Coffee or tea after dinner
    • Light lunch in the Panorama Lounge
    • FlexDining flexible dining times with menu & venue options
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Poetry II, Avalon Tapestry II
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Paris:
in single room from $315 to $433, in twin room from $187 to $246

Extra nights per person in Cote D'azur:
in single room from $242 to $541, in twin room from $152 to $295
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are 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 becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
  • Port charges: $364
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
  • Triples not available.
  • 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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