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Grand France for Wine Lovers 2018
(Paris to Côte d'Azur)

16 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Save $1,500 per couple off 2018 Europe cruises. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Pay no single supplement in certain cabin categories on 2018 river cruises. 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. (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 Route des Chaumières, “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. 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. (B,L,D)

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. Alternatively, you can join a TASTING of some of the region’s famous Burgundy wines. Continue to St. Jean de Losne, where your ship awaits. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as you depart for Seurre.(B,D)

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. A Master of Wine will join you on board and will introduce you to some of France’s wines in the coming days. (B,L,D)
 
Day 10 Lyon
A leisurely morning on board to relax and enjoy the passing scenery. As you cruise, our Master of Wine will tempt you with a tasting of CHEESE and WINE. In the early afternoon, arrive in Lyon, France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital, 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. And tonight there’s a special FOOD AND WINE PAIRING DINNER to look forward to! The Master of Wine has specially chosen the wines for this occasion. (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. As you cruise this afternoon there’s a treat in store for chocaholics (and the lovers of wine): an onboard CHOCOLATE AND WINE TASTING to delight the palate! Here too, the Master of Wine will guide you through this wonderful experience. Arriving in Viviers in the 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. In the morning an optional outing to Pont du Gard is available. In the afternoon, an excursion takes you to the famed cellars of CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE to learn about and to taste this famous wine. (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)–Côte d’Azur
After breakfast, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the Côte d’Azur for a last night in France. Also known as the French Riviera, the Côte d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border and is synonymous with prestige and beauty. (B)
 
Day 16 Côte d’Azur
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Paris (Embarkation): welcome reception
  • Vernon–Les Andelys: choice of excursions to Giverny or Bizy Castle; 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”
  • Rouen: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit the cathedral
  • Conflans: choice of excursions: visit Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de Malmaison
  • 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 or wine tasting; onboard welcome reception
  • Seurre–Macon: leisurely cruising; free time in Mâcon
  • Lyon: on board cheese and wine tasting; guided sightseeing; picture stop on Fourvière Hill
  • Lyon: a morning to explore this fascinating city at leisure: excursion to Beaujolais; on board food and wine pairing dinner
  • Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon; on board chocolate and wine tasting; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral
  • Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes; excursion to Châteauneuf du Pape
  • Arles: cruise into the Camargue region (daylight permitting); guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater
  • Arles (Disembarkation)–Côte d’Azur: travel by motorcoach to Côte d’Azur
  • 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 charming and historical parts of France.

The second part of this cruise focuses on wine, and a Master of Wine will join you on board and share his expertise during lectures and tastings. Set out on the Seine River and see 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 Bizy Castle, and between 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 and vibrant cities. A guided walk through historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets, and Île de la Cité, where medieval Paris was founded, will be a delight. Take the TGV train to Dijon, then stop in Beaune for a chance to taste some Burgundy wines. Before reaching Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, enjoy a cheese and wine tasting; and during your stay in the city, enjoy an excursion to taste Beaujolais wine before you prepare your taste buds for an onboard exclusive food and wine-pairing dinner hosted by our Master of Wine. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards and you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon, a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. Chocoholics will delight in a chocolate and wine tasting on board as you sail to Avignon, home of the 14th-century Palace of the Popes, and where you’ll pay a visit to the famous Châteauneuf du Pape wine cellars. Arles, on the Rhône River, is famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and for its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater, which hosts plays and concerts to this day.

As a perfect finale to your France river cruise vacation, spend some time on the captivating Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.
 

  • 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.
  • Panoramic windows throughout.
  • Elegant, contemporary design.
  • Remarkable service.
  • Included excursions with Certified Local Guides; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship.
  • 24-hour self-serve beverage station.
  • Premium coffees, cappuccinos & lattes.
  • Upscale bar serving premium spirits.
  • Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM.
  • Premium L'Occitane bath products.
  • Large bathrooms - showers with glass doors.
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with movie channels.
  • Spacious 3-door closets for ample storage.
  • Complimentary bottled water daily.
  • Choice of regional, Western and vegetarian dishes.
  • Daily early- and late-riser breakfasts.
  • Full buffet breakfast with sparkling wine.
  • Complimentary juices with breakfast.
  • Made-to-order egg station at breakfast.
  • Daily full breakfast buffet with hot/cold menu items.
  • Complimentary soft drinks with lunch.
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta and carving stations.
  • Alternate grill fare at the Sky Bistro (weather permitting).
  • Chef-inspired regional recipes.
  • Four-course dinners with open seating.
  • Nightly choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, desserts or cheese.
  • Complimentary wine (including regional) at dinner.
  • Complimentary soft drinks or beer with dinner.
  • Night Fare served at 10:30 pm.
  • Well-stocked library with books, cards and games.
  • Headsets for shore excursions.
  • Professional Cruise Director.
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew.
  • Non-smoking interior.
  • Light dinners and wines in the Panorama Bistro on Suite Ships®.
  • And, much more.
Accommodations on this Tour
Paris: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Cruising: Outside stateroom aboard Avalon Tapestry & Poetry II
Cote d'Azur: Carlton Intercontinental or Fairmont Monte Carlo
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 Côte d’Azur:
in single room from $290 to $695, in twin room from $165 to $355
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades available.
  • Port charges of $336 per person are not included.
  • Prices and itineraries are subject to change.
  • 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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