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Grand France with Aix-en Provence & Nice
(Southbound)

19 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

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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. (D)

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. 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. Imposing Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196, is seen above the town. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. (B,L,D)

Day 3 Caudebec.
Today, join either a guided excursion along the “NORMANDY VILLAGES ROUTE” to see some of Normandy’s charming and traditional half-timbered houses with their long, sloping thatched roofs, often sporting blue wooden doors and window shutters, or 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. (B,L,D)

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. And for a touch of history, visit the famous BAYEUX TAPESTRY. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

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.” (B,L,D)

Day 7 Paris.
One of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris delights the senses. Included CITY SIGHTSEEING shows off the must-see attractions: Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Alternatively, you may wish to 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. Paris is known for its colorful nightlife, and an optional outing to one of the cabaret shows makes the perfect finale to the Seine portion of your cruise. (B,L,D)

Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation)–Dijon–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation).
This morning, say goodbye to your crew and transfer 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 Chalon-sur-Saône. (B,D)

Day 9 Chalon-sur-Saône–Macon.
Enjoy some leisurely cruising today. In the late afternoon, arrive in Mâcon, a city that plays an important role in the wine trade. Free time allows you to explore on your own. Alternatively, you may choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as a visit to a wine cellar. Before dinner, enjoy an ONBOARD CHEESE TASTING. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

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. (B,L,D)

Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Aix-en-Provence.
Disembark your Avalon ship for your included transfer to Aix-en-Provence to join your Monograms vacation. 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. (B)

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. (B)

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. (B)

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. (B)

Day 19 Nice.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 14-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Day 1 Paris (Embarkation): welcome reception
  • Day 2 Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; guided walk in Les Andelys, visit the parish church of Le Petit Andely
  • Day 3-4 Caudebec: choice of excursion along either the “Normandy Villages Route” or the “Normandy Abbeys Route”; choice of excursions to Normandy landing beaches or “A Taste of Normandy”
  • Day 5 Rouen: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral
  • Day 6 Conflans: choice of excursions: visit Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de Malmaison
  • Day 7 Paris: choice of guided sightseeing or “Heart of Paris” walk
  • Day 8 Paris (Disembarkation)–Dijon–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation): transfer from Paris to Beaune, visit the Hôtel-Dieu; onboard welcome reception
  • Day 9 Chalon-sur-Saône–Macon: leisurely cruising; onboard cheese tasting; free time in Macon
  • Day 10 Lyon: guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière Hill
  • Day 11 Lyon: a day to explore this fascinating city at leisure
  • Day 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral
  • Day 13 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes
  • Day 14 Arles: sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting); guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater
  • Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Aix-en-Provence: travel by motorcoach to Aix-en-Provence
  • Aix-en-Provence & Provence: 4 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B); 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.
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Learn from a local expert about D-Day, and attend an onboard “Les Guitares de Camargue” musical presentation.
All This Included
This splendid 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.” 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 before heading back to Paris for sightseeing that includes the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. Disembark and travel south 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 for 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 TGV 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 you arrange your activities and excursions, and provide you with suggestions for the best places to sample the local specialties, as well as be there to help you feel comfortable in each city. Transfers from/to your hotels to/from the train stations, and hotel reservations with daily breakfast, 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
  • Buffet breakfast daily while in Provence
  • Ship Amenities - Avalon Poetry II:
    • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
    • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs and shade awnings
    • Non-smoking interior and staterooms
    • Elevator
    • Elegant, contemporary design
    • Outside viewing deck
    • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
    • Friendly, English-speaking crew and Cruise Director
    • Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
    • Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
    • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
    • Sky Deck whirlpool
    • Complimentary computer use in public areas
    • Hair salon
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
    • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Breisach
    • Bicycles available onboard for complimentary check-out
    • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Avalon Choice® cruising experience
    • Behind-the-scenes galley tour
    • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
    • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
    • Local FavoritesSM onboard experiences to bring the customs, cultures and tastes of your destinations to life, including local entertainers, artisans & experts
    • English-speaking TV channels with over 100 free movie options
    • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
    • Delectable petite portions of regional specialties, with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
    • Sky Deck game area
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Well-stocked library
    • Fitness Center
    • Fresh fruit 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
    • Captain's reception with sparkling wine & canapés
    • Welcome dinner
    • Five-course farewell dinner
    • Spacious, open-seating 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
    • Sky Bistro lunch option on the Sky Deck
    • 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
    • Delectable regional & Western cuisine with all onboard meals
    • Four-course dinners with choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrées and desserts or cheese
    • Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner
    • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
    • Upscale bar serving premium spirits
    • Night Fare served at 10:30 pm
    • Healthy meal options
    • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Delectable petite portions of regional specialties, with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
    • Tastings - sample the destination's famous delicacies
    • Coffee or tea after dinner
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Poetry II, Avalon Tapestry II
Aix-en-Provence: Grand Hotel Roi Rene
Nice: Aston La Scala 
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Paris:
in single room from $303 to $777, in twin room from $251 to $404

Extra nights per person in Nice:
in single room from $103 to $261, in twin room from $60 to $139
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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