OPTIONAL: 3-NIGHT PRE-CRUISE TOUR OF PROVENCE
MONDAY, MARCH 28 – THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2022
DAY 1: MONDAY, MARCH 28
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.
OVERNIGHT: M-GALLERY ROY RENE in AIX-EN-PROVENCE (3 nights)
DAY 2: TUESDAY, MARCH 29
AIX-EN-PROVENCE / LES 2 GARCONS DINNER
This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of “Aix”, 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 Aix.
Tonight enjoy dinner at one of the city’s most popular traditional restaurants. (B,D)
DAY 3: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30
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, MARCH 31
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, MARCH 31 – THURSDAY, APRIL 7, 2022
DAY 1, THURSDAY MARCH 31
ARLES – EMBARKATION
Between 3-5pm board your cruise in Arles.This evening, meet your fellow passengers for the Captain’s Reception and Welcome Dinner. (D)
DAY 2, FRIDAY APRIL 1
AVIGNON – ARLES, FRANCE
Aptly named the “City of Popes,” Avignon was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century during a period of unrest in Rome.The “Palais des Papes” here became the equivalent of the Vatican. Discover the history of Avignon on a guided walking tour that includes the Papal Palace and the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternately, you can visit three venues around Avignon to taste regional specialties including macarons, cheese and wine and tapenades. Or, take a bike tour down the Rhône from Avignon to the provençal town of Tarascon.This afternoon cruise to Arles, considered one of the most beautiful cities in France. Your experienced guide will lead you to the Romanesque cathedral and Roman amphitheater; or take a guided bike tour to the Roman ruins.Acclaimed artist Vincent Van Gogh spent many years in Arles. Join a special walking tour of Van Gogh’s Arles, with a visit to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation.(B,L,D)
DAY 3, SATURDAY APRIL 2
VIENNE – VALENCE, FRANCE
Enjoy coffee on your balcony or the Sun Deck as we cruise to Valence, designated “A City of Art and History.”See the 11th-century Cathedral of St. Apollinaris or perhaps its House of Heads (named for the carved heads of its façade and courtyard) on this morning’s city tour. For a more active adventure, pedal through this bicycle-friendly city. Or indulge your culinary experience with a specialized excursion to a local French cooking school. There is also a scheduled tasting of the Northern Rhône Valley red Cornas wines. (B,L,D)
DAY 4, SUNDAY APRIL 3
LYON – VIENNE, FRANCE
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.” For the more active there is a guided cyclist’s tour through the city. Lyon is considered to the gastronomic center of France, a country that prides itself on fine dining. If you’re a self-described foodie join today’s Taste of Lyon tour and sample of Lyon’s specialty dishes. Later in the day sail to Vienne, where this town’s Roman past is omnipresent with marvelously preserved ruins. Ride the charming mini train around the city.As is the case every day, there is a guided bicycle tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route or a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet.(B,L,D)
DAY 5, MONDAY APRIL 4
MÂCON – VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-SAÔNE – LYON, FRANCE
Join a guided tour through the “South Burgundy City” of Mâcon, learning about its local vineyards, museums, historical sites and 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 with 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. Return to the ship and head to the Sun Deck to enjoy a light lunch and the passing landscapes on the way to Villefranche-sur-Saône. For those traveling by ship, enjoy a tasting of Beaujolais wines once you arrive. During the evening, enjoy a special highlight, an Illuminations cruise as we enter the city of Lyon. (B,L,D)
DAY 6, TUESDAY APRIL 5
TOURNUS – MÂCON, FRANCE
Today there are a number of excursions to explore the cities of Tournus and Macon. Walk through Tournus town to its magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Saint Philibert. Or choose instead the Château de Cormatin, a castle surrounded by a moat dating to the early 17th century. The chateau features ornate apartments and a beautifully manicured garden. As an alternative, venture to the medieval village of Brancion with its magnificently preserved gateway, church and market hall, or bicycle through this charming town. Cyclists can also continue riding to Macon.Most of us will return to the ship and enjoy a scenic cruise to Mâcon while tasting Chalonnaise wines. (B,L,D)
DAY 7, WEDNESDAY APRIL 6
CHALON-SUR-SAÔNE – TOURNUS, FRANCE
Located in southern Burgundy at the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise wine region, discover historic Chalon-Sur-Saône on a city tour. Alternatively, choose an excursion in Beaune, a walled town nestled in the heart of Cote d’Or vineyards. Stroll the cobblestone streets and seethe 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, we sail to Tournus. There is also the option to pedal from Chalon-Sur- Saône to Tournus on an exhilarating guided bicycle tour. In Tournus, sample the region’s famous white Mâconnais wines. (B,L,D)
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.