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16-Day The Grand Exploration of France

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 16 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 10 people
Destination(s): France  
Specialty Categories: Barging  
Season: April - October
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 3255 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4935 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: USA - Lyon. Depart from your US gateway for an optional overnight flight to Lyon.

Day 2: Lyon. Embarkation. Welcome to Lyon, France's gastronomic capital. After embarkation, enjoy time to stroll the quaint streets of Lyon or relax onboard before the ship sails for Tournus.

Day 3: Tournus - Chalon sur Saone. Morning visit to the quaint village of Tournus, and its well-preserved Romanesque church of St. Philibert. In the afternoon continue to Chalon-sur-Saone, the departure point for a visit to the wine village of Beaune and the Hotel Dieu, with its extraordinary multi-colored tile roof.

Day 4: Macon - Trevoux. Pass a leisurely morning cruising through the terraced hillsides of Beaujolais grapes to the town of Macon, where an optional tour to the Cluny Abbey begins. Continue in the afternoon to Trevoux for a leisurely tour through the countryside of stone villages and lush vineyards. Sample wines from a local producer.

Day 5: Tournon. The Ardeche region, just to the north of sun-drenched Provence, is a land of picturesque cliffs, meandering rivers and lush green gorges. Board an old-fashioned steam train for a journey back in time as you pass through the pleasing landscapes. Enjoy a cool glass of Kir and refreshing snacks before returning to the ship.

Day 6: Arles - Avignon. Your arrival this morning into Arles will coincide with the rising sun, recalling the subtle light that so captivated Van Gogh. Explore the charming town of Arles and its Roman amphitheatre on your own and after lunch, follow "In the Footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh", through the delightful countryside to the village of St. Remy and the perched village of Les Baux.

Day 7: Avignon. With its stone towers and imposing ramparts, the Palace of the Popes dominates the skyline of the Provencal city of Avignon. The Pope moved here in 1309 at the behest of King Phillipe, and the Papacy remained here for over 70 years. Spend the day at leisure in Avignon sightseeing and enjoying the sights of the Place d'Horloge. In the afternoon, opt for an excursion to the Pont du Gard, the immense Roman aqueduct bridge that can still carry water to this day!

Day 8: Vienne - Lyon. Enjoy breakfast this morning as you glide by the beautiful sights of southern France on the way to the ancient Roman town of Vienne and your sightseeing destination of Lyon. Begin with the Fourviere Hill, a highpoint overlooking the confluence of the Saone and Rhone Rivers, where the Romans decided to construct the city of Lyon. Afterwards your walking tour will take you through Lyon's lovely old town of Gothic and Renaissance buildings, and its covered walkways, called Traboules.

Day 9: Lyon - Paris. Embarkation. Disembark the ship this morning in Lyon and enjoy a smooth ride by TGV to Paris, where you will be met and transferred to the MV Cezanne, awaiting your arrival in the heart of Paris. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the grand boulevards, cafes and renowned museums of the capital.

Day 10: Paris. This afternoon, an included tour of Paris will show you the famous sights and landmarks including the Arc de Triumph, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde.

Day 11: Les Andelys. Well known for its association with Richard the Lionhearted, who built the Chateau Gaillard to protect his territory from the French Armies, Les Andelys is a small village offering perhaps the finest view over the Norman landscape. Enjoy a guided tour of the old village and chateau before you depart for Le Havre.

Day 12: Le Havre - Honfleur. This beautiful seaside village and seafaring community of Honfleur has been an inspiration to such Impressionist artists as Monet, Renoir and Sisley. Enjoy a guided walking tour through the harbor and village, then on to the unique 16th century wooden church in the shape of a ship.

Day 13: Caudebec en Caux. Morning arrival into Caudebec where you enjoy free time on your own, or opt for a visit to the town to see the stunning Gothic cathedral, featuring most of the original stained glass from medieval times and over 300 statues adorning its facade. This afternoon enjoy the scenery.

Day 14: Rouen. A visit to Rouen is a study in contrasts as its splendid cathedral of Notre Dame, celebrated in a series of painting by Monet, and characteristic half-timbered houses sit aside more modern examples of 20th century architecture. Enjoy a guided walking tour through the Old Town, the lively shopping street, Rue du Gros Horlage, and the old market square, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

Day 15: Vernon (Giverny) - Les Andelys. This morning, the ship arrives in Vernon, our starting point for a visit to the beautifully restored home and studio of Impressionist artist, Claude Monet. Tour the fabulous gardens, famous Japanese Bridge and home where Monet lived and painted from 1883 until 1926.

Day 16: Paris. Disembark the MV Cezanne and transfer (optional) to the airport for your flight to the US (not included).

- Beaune and Northern Burgundy excursion included
- Beaujolais tour Included
- Mastrou tour included
- Vincent Van Gogh excursion included
- Avignon city walk included
- Lyon city tour included
- Paris city tour included
- Chateau Gaillard excursion included
- Honfleur tour included
- Rouen city tour included
- Monet House tour included.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Transfers (as described in itinerary)
- 7-night cruise on the MV Princesse de Provence and 7-night cruise on the MV Cezanne
- All meals included aboard ship, including Captain's welcome and farewell champagne receptions
- Nightly light entertainment on-board, including traditional and folkloric performances
- 11 Shore excursions (as described in itinerary)
- TGV train service between Lyon and Paris.

- All fares are per person, double occupancy (single fares on request)
- Airfare is not included in the cruise-tour rates
- No refunds/substitutions for unused portions of the cruise-tour
- Port charges of $220 per person are additional.