Rhone River Cruise: Spectacular South of France

Discovery starts in Paris during this luxury river cruise along the Rhone River. Experience the art, culinary delights, music and history of France.

12 Days
Paris to Lyon
From (NZD)
$ 9,675
$ 8,075
Dates & Pricing

2020 Paris > Lyon

Tour Map
Tour Code:
FRCR
Duration:
12 days
Departure City:
Paris
Return City:
Lyon

Selected Itinerary

Stephen Alvarez

Meet National Geographic Photographer, Stephen Alvarez

Departure date: 29 July, 2020
Stephen Alvarez is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker covering stories on archaeology, exploration, culture, and adventure. He has published more than a dozen feature stories for National Geographic magazine,travelling on assignment from the highest peaks in the Andes to some of the planet’s deepest caves. His latest National Geographic story, “The Origins of Art” (January 2015), led from early human sites on the southern coast of Africa to Paleolithic art caves in Europe, including Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc in southeastern France. Moved by the power of humanity’s earliest artworks, Alvarez founded the non-profit Ancient Art Archive, which is dedicated to using the photography and the newest image-based VR technology to explore, preserve and share humanity’s oldest artworks.Stephen is also a frequent consultant and commentator on how new photographic technology is changing the world; in 2016, he set out to photograph the seven natural wonders of the world using Microsoft smartphones. His images have won awards in Pictures of the Year International and Communication Arts, and have been exhibited at Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan, France.

12 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Welcome to Paris

    Celebrate the start of your journey at one of our luxurious city central hotels.

  2. Day 2 - Paris > Lyon

    Board the TGV train to Lyon. Upon arrival transfer to the Scenic Sapphire where your friendly crew await to welcome you on board.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Tournus

    This morning, cruise north on the Saône River towards Tournus, a charming town known for its Romanesque abbey. As we sail, get to know our onboard National Geographic Expert and National Geographic photographer, as they share insights into the regions we’ll explore in the days ahead. Upon arrival in Tournus, choose from a variety of experiences to begin your experience in Burgundy. Opt to try your hand at the craft of tonnellerie or barrel making; for those drawn more to the gastronomic tradition of Burgundy, enjoy at cooking class with the staff of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Alternatively, visit Château de Cormatin, a 17th-century castle featuring exquisite gardens and sumptuous gilded rooms; or join a group of hounds and their owners on a truffle-hunting expedition in a nearby village.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Chalon-sur-Saône/Beaune

    As we navigate further upriver today, choose from three unique experiences in the heart of Burgundy. Visit the renowned Nicéphore Niépce photography museum in Chalon with our National Geographic photographer, where the world’s first photograph was captured in the 1820s. Alternatively, explore Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. Admire the delightful Flemish architecture and colorful tiled roofs of the Hospices de Beaune, a museum and wine estate, and stroll through its 15th-century wine cellars. Or, visit an esteemed local chateau, set amongst rolling vineyards, and taste some of the region’s acclaimed Pinot Noir.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Tournon

    Sail down the Saône and along the Rhône River on your way to the enchanting medieval town of Tournon. Upon arrival, set out on a guided walking tour of Tournon’s “twin city,” Tain-l’Hermitage, set on the opposite side of the river. The French gourmet chocolate manufacturer Valrhona is based here, and we’ll have the opportunity to visit their interactive museum and chocolate shop—an experience capped off with a sampling of their mouthwatering confections. You may also opt to embark on a bike excursion outside the village, or climb up the scenic terraced slopes of Hermitage hill, enjoying a tasting of local wines at the end the hike.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Avignon

    Continuing south to Provence, learn to prepare classic French dishes and regional delicacies with our ship’s chef as we sail. Disembark in Avignon and tour the city’s architectural landmarks on foot, including the Popes’ Palace—the seat of the Catholic church in the early 14th century, and the largest medieval Gothic palace in the world. Alternatively, taste the celebrated wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape at a Côtes du Rhône vineyard. This evening, return to the Popes’ Palace for an unforgettable experience: after the doors of the palace close to the public, enjoy an exclusive gala dinner and concert.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Avignon/Luberon

    Enjoy an opportunity to shop with our ship’s chef at an Avignon market, then cook up a delectable French feast in our ship’s kitchen. Or, choose to explore the picturesque hilltop villages of the Luberon region. You may also venture to the quiet, romantic town of Uzès, nestled among olive groves and cypress trees, and visit the Pont du Gard, an impressive ancient Roman bridge-aqueduct. Relax onboard this evening, sipping a cocktail and sharing stories with fellow travelers.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Tarascon/Arles

    Today, we anchor at Tarascon, a red-roofed Provençal town that exudes medieval charm. Choose to spend your last day in the region in a variety of ways. Explore Roman history in nearby Arles, a thriving trading center in Roman times. Visit the Museum of Ancient Arles and Provence with a local expert to view a recently unearthed 2,000-year-old Roman cargo boat; and discover the city’s magnificent Roman amphitheater. Or, take a stroll through the stunning coastal wetlands of the Camargue alongside a naturalist. Alternatively, venture to the hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence before touring a family-run olive farm, or choose to visit the Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery, the mental health institution where Vincent van Gogh committed himself and created many of his celebrated works. Enjoy Tarascon at your leisure this afternoon, or opt to remain onboard for a lecture or workshop with your National Geographic Expert or National Geographic photographer.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Viviers

    Cruise to the dreamy village of Viviers, where we’ll be treated to an organ recital at the Cathedral of St. Vincent. You have several options for the rest of the day: explore the lava cliffs of Monts d’Ardèche Regional Natural Park, by navigating the Ardèche canyon—one of Europe’s largest canyons—by kayak, or visit the fascinating Pont-d’Arc Cavern, a replica of the renowned Chauvet Cave, home to some of the world’s best preserved prehistoric drawings. Alternatively, stop by the aromatic Lavender Museum in St.-Remèze to observe the process by which lavender oil is extracted from the flower.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Lyon

    Take in the vistas of the Rhône River as you sail towards the gastronomic heart of France, Lyon. Cap off your day with an a capella choir performance in the 17th-century Trinity Chapel, one of Lyon’s most beautiful baroque buildings.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Lyon

    Enjoy a wealth of activities to choose from: Venture outside the city to explore the fascinating Roman ruins of Saint-Romain-en-Gal in Vienne, including a well-preserved Roman town and amphitheater; or explore historic Lyon, traversing its hidden traboules—centuries-old passageways that were used by silk workers to transport their goods—and climbing up to the neo-Byzantine Notre Dame Basilica for a panoramic view.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Lyon

    After breakfast, disembark our ship and transfer to the Lyon airport for your fight home.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Pricing & Availability