OPTIONAL: 3-NIGHT PRE-CRUISE TOUR OF PROVENCE
MONDAY, JULY 18 – THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2022
DAY 1: MONDAY, JULY 18
MARSEILLES AIRPORT TO AIX-EN-PROVENCE
You will be met on arrival at Marseilles International Airport and transferred to our hotel in Aix-de-Provence. The remainder of day is at leisure. Tonight meet your fellow Oso Libre group members and enjoy dinner on the hotel’s Atmosph’R restaurant terrace (dining outside, weather permitting).
OVERNIGHT: RENAISSANCE HOTEL AIX-EN-PROVENCE (3 nights)
DAY 2: TUESDAY, JULY 19
AIX-EN-PROVENCE / LES 2 GARCONS DINNER
This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of “Aix”, considered one of the most charming small cities in France. Once the capital of Provence, Aix-en-Provence was a favorite haunt of Cezanne, Emile Zola and Ernest Hemingway. Divided by the broad thoroughfare Cours Mirabeau, bordered by plane trees, picturesque mansions from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries line the streets of old town. The afternoon is at leisure to explore. Tonight enjoy dinner at one of the city’s most popular traditional restaurants. (B,D)
DAY 3: WEDNESDAY, JULY 20
CHATEAU LA VERRERIE – SALON-DE-PROVENCE
This morning journey to Chateau La Verrerie, in the Luberon foothills of the French Alps. Owned by the Descours family, this lovely wine producing estate boasts a magical location and elegant manor house. Tour the cellars and vineyards before joining a masterclass 5-wine & food pairing workshop led by the resident sommelier. Later enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in nearby Salon-de-Provence. This village is known for producing fine soap, exquisite candies called “Calissons” and being the village and final resting place of visionary Michel Nostradamus. It is also an important French Air Force base. After lunch walk “On the Path of Nostradamus”, a guided tour visiting the visionary prophet’s home and museum here, before returning to Aix-en-Provence. This evening is at leisure. (B,L)
DAY 4: THURSDAY, JULY 21
SALON-DE-PROVENCE – CAMARGUE – ARLES
This morning visit the studio museum of Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne, followed by a tour of the Calisson Museum, where some of the finest candies in France are made. Then journey one hour to the Camargue, the wild delta region of the Rhone River where it spills into the Mediterranean Sea. At 360 square miles, this is Europe’s largest delta and one of the continent’s most important wetland regions. Wild horses and cattle inhabit the grasslands, also home to “les gardiers”, French cowboys! Visit the farm of Olivier Fernay, a breeder of horses and fighting bulls. Enjoy an equestrian demonstration in the bull ring, followed by a late lunch. Arrive in Arles at our ship AmaCello by 5pm.(B,L,D)
7 NIGHT ESSENCE OF BURGUNDY AND PROVENCE RIVER CRUISE
THURSDAY, JULY 21 – THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2022
DAY 1, THURSDAY JULY 21
ARLES – EMBARKATION
After 4:00pm, board the AmaCello in Arles. This evening, meet your fellow passengers for the Captain’s Reception and Welcome Dinner. (D)
Planning Your Travel: Once a provincial capital of ancient Rome, Arles is known for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and is located approximately 1 hour’s drive from Marseille.
If booking your own flights: : Marseille (MRS) is the nearest airport and three options are available for travel to Arles.
- Coach Transportation: For those arriving to Marseille on the same day as embarkation AmaWaterways offers two transfers to the ship – 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM. Cost is $130 per person and must be booked with Expanding Horizons at time of final payment.
- Rail: Reservation can be made with RailEurope
- Private Car Transportation: This service is offered by various companies – for example BlackLane Global Chauffeur Services.
Services subject to change without notice.
DAY 2, FRIDAY JULY 22
ARLES – TARASCON – AVIGNON, FRANCE
Arles is considered one of the most beautiful cities in France. Let your experienced guide lead you to the top sights, including the Romanesque cathedral and Roman amphitheater. Or, if you wish to delve further into Van Gogh’s Arles, join a special walking tour along with a visit to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, showcasing his legacy. Alternately, you may take a guided bike tour through town. Later in the day, bike from Tarascon to Avignon, aptly named the “City of Popes. Or enjoy a walking tour that includes the Papal Palace and the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a more flavorful experience, visit three venues around Avignon to taste regional specialties including macarons, cheese and wine, and tapenades. During the evening, enjoy an Illuminations cruise. (B,L,D)
DAY 3, SATURDAY JULY 23
Valence is a designated “City of Art and History,” where you can see such sites as its 11th-century Cathedral of St. Apollinaris or perhaps its House of Heads (named for the carved heads of its façade and courtyard) on your city tour. If you prefer a more relaxing excursion, taste the Northern Rhône’s red Cornas wines. For a more active adventure, pedal through this bicycle-friendly city. (B,L,D)
DAY 4, SUNDAY JULY 24
VIENNE – LYON, FRANCE
Vienne boasts a Roman past that can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. There you can ride the charming mini train around the city. For those wishing to be more active, you can either take a guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route or a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet. Later in the day, discover dynamic Lyon, starting in Fourvière Hill, part of the city’s historic region that is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the 19th-century basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Continue on to the old town of Lyon, followed by a guided walk through the St. Jean district, where you will be introduced to the city’s unique covered walkways, known as “traboules.” If you’re a self-described foodie, our Lyon tasting tour is for you, during which you’ll have a chance to taste some of Lyon’s local delights. Or get active a guided bike tour through the city designed with cyclists in mind. In the evening, sit back to see the city illuminated during a scenic nighttime cruise. (B,L,D)
DAY 5, MONDAY JULY 25
MÂCON – TOURNUS, FRANCE
Join a guided tour through the “South Burgundy City” of Mâcon, learning about its local vineyards, museums, historical sites and perhaps its famous son, the poet and minister Alphonse de Lamartine. Or venture somewhat off the beaten path to Cluny, known for its large abbey, and the nearby castle Berze-le-Chatel, a well-preserved fortress perched on a rocky hill offering stunning views below. Alternately, you can enjoy a guided bike tour to Berze-le-Chatel. Should architecture or religion be one of your main interests, perhaps choose the excursion to the Royal Monastery of Brou, built in the 16th century and boasting a glorious white façade as well as a beautifully tiled roof. Later in the day, enjoy a panoramic view from the Sun Deck as you sail to Tournus, or opt for a bike ride from Mâcon to Tournus. Or, enjoy a delicious tasting of the region’s famous white Mâconnais wines. (B,L,D)
DAY 6, TUESDAY JULY 26
Today you have a choice of a number of excursions as you explore Tournus. Let your knowledgeable guide lead you through Tournus and to its magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Saint Philibert. Or choose instead to visit the moated Château de Cormatin, which dates back to the early 17th century and features ornate apartments as well as a beautifully manicured garden. As an alternative, venture to the medieval village of Brancion with its preserved gateway, church and market hall. Later in the day, enjoy scenic cruising as you sail toward Chalon-Sur-Saône, or opt for a bike tour if you’re feeling adventurous. (B,L,D)
DAY 7, WEDNESDAY JULY 27
Located in southern Burgundy at the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise wine region, Chalon-Sur-Saône whispers the secrets of its medieval past which you will discover on your historic city tour. You’ll also stop at a local market where you can see and taste some of the local fare. Alternatively, choose an excursion in Beaune, a walled town nestled in the heart of Cote d’Or vineyards where you’ll stroll the cobblestone streets and take in such sights as the mosaic-tiled roof of the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune, founded in the 15th century as a hospital for the less fortunate. Or, visit the storybook Château de Couches, a medieval fortress enveloped in idyllic hills and greenery that once served the Dukes of Burgundy. Later in the day, treat your palate to a tasting of Chalonnaise wines. (B,L,D)
DAY 8, THURSDAY JULY 28
CHALON-SUR-SAÔNE, FRANCE – DISEMBARKATION
Disembark your ship in Chalon-sur-Saône and prepare for your return flight home. (B)
Planning Your Travel:
- Transportation to the Lyon Airport (LYS) for onward flights can be arranged on board your cruise ship with the cruise manager. If you are planning on using this service, AMA waterways has requested that flights departure from Lyon Airport (LYS) be after 12:30 PM.
Services subject to change without notice.
A reasonable degree of mobility is required for all passengers on this program. Most of the guided tours provided on your cruise are walking tours. Many historic villages in Europe are located on hilltops, where it is necessary to walk up and down hilly, cobblestone streets that may have narrow passageways. Ships docked in port are often rafted side-by-side to another river ship. Passengers are then required to ascend and descend flights of 12 or more stairs to walk up to observation deck, down to gang planks to enter or exit the rafted ships. To participate in tours and get on and off the ship, travelers must be able to walk unaccompanied.
Disabilities and Wheelchairs
Persons with a walking disability or an injury, or who require a wheelchair/scooter or other mobility device, must have another dedicated person traveling with them to assist/push etc. The ship’s crew and other cruise guests are not available to assist persons with limited mobility. On customized pre or post cruise land programs, the Expanding Horizons tour manager is authorized to remove, or ask to leave from the tour, any traveler incapable of, unwilling to, or impeding the overall movement and progress of the tour group.