Join Sommelier Crystal Cameron, owner of Crystal Palate on this unique and elegant cruise on a Viking Long Ship through the south of France the week of October 4, 2015. Arrive in Marseille and be transported to your ship. Cruise from historic Avignon on the scenic Saône and Rhône Rivers to Chalon-sur-Saône. The 8 day cruise will take you through the regions of Burgundy and Provence. You will enjoy regional wine and cuisine prepared by expert staff aboard the Viking Buri. Sommelier Crystal Cameron will be your consummate host, working closely with the ship staff to help you “drink outside the box” while you cruise in classic comfort.
Crystal has partnered with Cruise Planners, Dial Family Travel, in order to provide full service travel support. Booking information for this October 2015 cruise has just been released and is open for your deposit to guarantee your stateroom. A $500 deposit is required to hold your room. Pre and post cruise packages to Paris and air are also available.
Your cruise will take you to the heart of seven cities along the Rhône River will you will enjoy 6 guided tours and visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites. You will sample the cuisine and wine of the region including varieties of French cheeses and region wines. Your itinerary will include opportunities to make your own fondant au chocolate; enjoy lively French accordion tunes; attend lectures on current affairs and painters of Provence. You will have ample time to find local herb de Provence to bring home to continue to savor after your trip.
Crystal hopes to inspire you by exploring new varietals, regions, cultures and pairings in the heart of the French wine regions.
Sail along France’s scenic Saône and Rhône Rivers past some of the most beautiful vistas the French countryside has to offer. During your 8-day journey, explore the famed region of Burgundy and the colorful fields of Provence. Visit Gallo-Roman ruins in both Vienne and Arles; walk the cobbled streets of Arles to see how it inspired Vincent van Gogh. And visit the historic Papal Palace in Avignon, “City of Popes.” Learn about the region’s time-honored winemaking traditions, sample Burgundy varietals and try the world-famous regional cuisine in Lyon.
Day 1 Avignon
Fly to Marseille. Transfer from the airport to your ship docked in Avignon.* After boarding, take free time to explore this quaint town on the scenic Rhône River—or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and start getting oriented. (D)
Day 2 Arles
Arrive during breakfast and take a walking tour of Arles with its diverse architectural highlights. Experience the city’s vibrant colors and striking quality of light that have inspired artists. Arles is also the site of some impressive Roman ruins, including Les Arènes, an arena that seats 20,000 and is still in use, as well as Romanesque monuments such as the Church of Saint-Trôphime, completed in the 15th century. Return aboard for lunch followed by an afternoon on your own to explore or shop for handcrafted gifts—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served as you depart. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Avignon & Viviers
This morning, set out on a guided walk of Avignon, nicknamed “City of Popes” because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377. Stroll through the historic center, stop at the picturesque Pont d’Avignon and walk the Place de l’Horloge. Continue to the renowned Palace of the Popes for a guided tour through this rambling maze of Gothic architecture, which served as papal residence, fortress, church, and palace. After the tour, enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring Avignon. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner are served aboard. Arrive after dinner in Viviers, a quaint town in a mountainous setting. Join your Program Director for an evening stroll through the Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Enjoy free time before retiring for the evening.
Day 4 Tournon
After a scenic morning cruise and lunch aboard, take a tour through Tournon to Tain l’Hermitage, a region known for its wine and gourmet chocolate. During a guided tour of the area, learn about the region’s winemaking traditions and taste some famous regional red wines. Then visit the Musée de Tain l’Hermitage, located in the oldest house in the region. Dine aboard and cruise through the evening.
Day 5 Vienne & Lyon
This morning, take a walking tour of Vienne, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. Visit the Temple of Augustus & Livia, the Roman amphitheater, and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice; then spend some time discovering more of this charming riverside town on your own. Return to your ship for lunch and an afternoon departure. Later, this afternoon, arrive in Lyon. Enjoy free time to explore this remarkable 2,000-year-old city in the heart of France. Dinner is served aboard and your ship remains docked overnight, so you may choose to take an evening stroll.
Day 6 Lyon
After breakfast, tour Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Continue with a guided visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), with free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world-famous. Return to your ship for an afternoon departure.
Day 7 Burgundy Wine Tour & Beaune
Early this morning, sail toward Tournus, arriving over breakfast. Take a short walk through this quaint medieval town before sailing on to Chalon, or take an optional excursion to the picturesque Burgundy town of Cluny. Rejoin your ship in Chalon for lunch, then ride along France’s Burgundy wine route through Pommard, Volnay and Meursault. Arrive in Beaune, wine capital of Burgundy, for a guided tour of beautiful Hôtel Dieu, founded as a hospice in 1443. Learn about local viticulture and indulge in a wine-tasting at one of Beaune’s famous cellars. Dine aboard; this evening, relax aboard or take a walk by the scenic Saône River.
Day 8 Chalon-sur-Saône
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Lyon airport for your return flight.*
Or, extend your time in France with 3 delightful nights in Paris, one of the world’s most romantic cities. (B)
For more information, contact Crystal at firstname.lastname@example.org