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Ultimate France 2020
(Avignon to Bordeaux)

22 days with Uniworld  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Save up to 10% off 2020 river cruises. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Save an additional $500 per couple off this cruise. This offer is combinable with other promotions. Expires August 31. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Past guests of Uniworld, Trafalgar, CostSaver, Insight, Luxury Gold, African Travel, Brendan and Contiki save an additional $500 to $600 per person off this trip. Click here for eligible departures.

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

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: Avignon (Embark)
Arrive at Marseille 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 docked in Avignon.
(Dinner)

Day 2: Tarascon
Explore one of two sun-drenched Provençal towns today, each with an allure all its own. Known for its remarkable Roman ruins, Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings there; Tarascon boasts an ancient 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 castle that is rich with tales of a beloved ruler. Bask in the warmth of the Provençal sunlight in either of these friendly Mediterranean towns.

A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Welcome Dinner)

Day 3: 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 also have a chance to kayak under a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4: 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 remember for years to come. 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.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5: Tournon (Tain-l’Hermitage), Lyon
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 a chance to taste the local specialty—wonderful wines made primarily from Syrah grapes.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6: 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.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7: 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, beauty and highly prized wine, 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.

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
(Breakfast Buffet, Farewell Dinner)

Day 8: Lyon (Disembark), Transfer to Paris via High-Speed TGV Train (Embark)
Disembark the striking S.S. Catherine 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.

This evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.
(Welcome Dinner)

Day 10: Rouen (Normandy Beaches)
The Normandy coast will forever be associated with the Allies’ D-Day invasion, a day that comes vividly to life today on an excursion to the beaches of 1944. 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.

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 at the windy cliffs of Étretat .In a word, magnifique. Not into golf? Stroll through the beautiful Calvados countryside to seaside Honfleur, captured on canvas by generations of artists.

Day 12: 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.

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 Marie Antoinette’s hamlet to find out.

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

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, or join a local expert for a walk through two much-loved neighborhoods.

Day 15: Paris (Disembark), Transfer to Bordeaux via High-Speed TGV Train (Embark)
Disembark the magical S.S. Joie de Vivre and transfer to Bordeaux via high-speed, first-class TGV train. Your next ship, the breathtaking S.S. Bon Voyage, is conveniently docked right in the heart of the city. 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.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 16: Blaye, Bourg sur Gironde

(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Welcome Dinner)

Day 17: Cussac Fort Médoc, Pauillac la Fayette

(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 18: Bordeaux, Cadillac, Libourne

(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 19: Libourne
A full day in Libourne means you’ll have plenty of time to explore the majestic landscape of villages and vineyards. Nestled along the confluence of the Isle and Dordogne rivers, the quaint town is as pretty as a postcard. On the outskirts of Libourne, you’ll find neighboring Saint-Émilion. Discover the wine-making town by foot on a tour of its most picturesque sights, such as the magnificent Monolithic Church, all capped by a wine tasting at a beautiful château.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 20: Libourne, 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 the country’s acclaimed cuisine—as you’ll discover today at a local farmers’ market.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 21: Bordeaux
There’s so much to discover with a full day in Bordeaux’ port of Quai des Chatrons. The architecture is impressive, the wine is exquisite and the shopping is to die for. Explore La Cité du Vin, a one-of-a-kind cultural center and museum that brings the heritage of wine to life through interactive exhibits, shows, academic seminars and more. Do as the locals do and uncover Bordeaux’ unique heritage on a walking tour or choose to traverse the city by bike. Celebrate the end to a spectacular trip with a farewell dinner onboard.
(Breakfast Buffet, Lunch, Farewell Dinner)

Day 22: Bordeaux (Disembark)
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 Bordeaux-Mérignac International Airport for your flight home.
(Continental Breakfast)


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 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.

Dining

  • 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, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water

Excursions

  • 18 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • Guided “Let's Go,” “Do as the Locals Do” and “Village Day” programs
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks

Accommodations

  • 21-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the breathtaking S.S. Bon Voyage, the magical S.S. Joie de Vivre and the striking S.S. Catherine
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® Beds of England, high thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access

Experiences

  • 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 Signature Lectures
  • Exclusive Connoisseur Collection and Generations Family Program on select summer departures
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising cabin onboard: S.S. Bon Voyage, S.S. Joie de Vivre, S.S. Catherine
Pre and Post Add-ons

Paris

Included in your 3-day stay:

• 2 nights at the Hôtel du Louvre (or similar)
• Breakfast daily and all gratuities, service charges, taxes and porterage
• Opera Garnier Discovery Walk
• English-speaking expert
• All transfers

Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov Pricing:

$949 per person (for 2 guests)

For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $499.

May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep Pricing:

$999 per person (for 2 guests)

For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $499.

Note: This extension is for cruises that begin in Bordeaux.

Day to Day:

  • 2019 Paris Pre-Cruise Extension: Day to Day
  • DAY 1: Paris
    Once you’ve made your way through customs, collected your baggage and exited the secured area, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the hotel. Once you reach the hotel, you will be greeted by your local host, who will show you the neighborhood. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish. Unwind at the hotel or go out and explore the city. There are so many fabulous things to see and do in Paris; your host can offer suggestions to help you make the best use of your time. You might visit Montmartre to watch the artists working in the Place du Tertre or go for a stroll down the famed Champs-Élysées.

    During the evening, you’ll gather with your fellow travelers for an informative briefing at the hotel. Please ask your local host for dinner recommendations.

    DAY 2: Paris
    FEATURED EXCURSION: Opera Garnier discovery walk
    Put on comfortable walking shoes and plan to spend a couple of hours strolling through the geographical heart of Paris. Begin in the 9th arrondissement and the Opéra de Paris Garnier, also known as Palais Garnier. Work on this extravagant opera house began in 1865 and continued for 15 trouble-filled years, which included the discovery of an underground lake beneath the construction site. (It’s still there, incidentally—confined to an enormous cistern where carp swim and rescue divers train.) Your guide will take you inside to explore this glorious tribute to Second Empire opulence, complete with dazzling chandeliers, red-velvet wall coverings and draperies, gold-leafed cherubs, marble friezes—and a spectacular 20th-century ceiling by Marc Chagall. Then head out through the 8th arrondissement, exploring the wide avenues and arcades designed by Baron Haussmann when he modernized Paris between 1852 and 1870. As you walk toward the river and the 1st arrondissement, you’ll come to the Palais-Royal, built by Cardinal Richelieu in 1629 (Louis XIV lived here as a child). The palace itself now houses government offices, but the garden offers a lovely breath of fresh air and greenery. Your next destination, just a block or two away, is the Comédie-Française, the only state theater to have its own troupe—it specializes in the work of Molière— before you loop back toward your hotel, passing the National Library and the Paris Bourse.

    DAY 3: Paris
    Today you embark on your river cruise. Guests headed to Provence will be transferred to their ship, the S.S. Catherine, in Lyon by TGV this morning. Guests going on to Bordeaux will be transferred to their ship, the S.S. Bon Voyage, in Bordeaux, also by TGV this morning. And guests staying on in Paris for the start of their cruise will be transferred to their nearby ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre, by motorcoach later today.

Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Prices exclude additional port charges of $510 per person.
  • Single supplement applies for single accommodation.
  • The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.
  • 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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