Grand France - Paris to Côte d'Azur

  • 16 Days

  • France

A European cruise that showcases France’s scenic beauty and rich history. From Paris to the Côte d'Azur, journey on the Rhône and Saône Rivers and enjoy stops in medieval towns and vibrant, bustling cities along the way. Sample French cuisine at its finest in Lyon and stand in the atmospheric Roman amphitheatre at Arles. In Vernon, choose between a visit to Claude Monet's gardens at Giverny or magnificent Bizy Castle; and in Conflans, a choice of excursions to either Van Gogh's Auvers-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine's elegant Château de Malmaison.

Your journey starts here

Highlights

VIP private home pick-up service
Flights
Transfers
Services of a cruise director
Accommodation
Selected meals
Wine & beer with lunch and dinner
Excursions
Gratuities on cruise
All airport and port taxes
  • Overview

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

  • Day 3

  • Day 4

  • Day 5

  • Day 6

  • Day 7

  • Day 8

  • Day 9

  • Day 10

  • Day 11

  • Day 12

  • Day 13

  • Day 14

  • Day 15

  • Day 16

of 16 days

Your detailed itinerary

Cruise departing on 17th October 2017

Meals included: 15 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 14 dinners

Overview

At a glance

Vernon Choose between a guided visit to Claude Monet's stunning gardens at Giverny and the grand Bizy Castle.
Rouen Join a guided walked to explore the town’s medieval quarter and see its 16th century Astronomical Clock.
Paris Explore the iconic sights of France’s capital city on a ‘Heart of Paris’ guided walk.

Day 1

Paris (Embarkation)

Welcome to Paris, France's capital on the River Seine, the "City of Light," where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides smoothly out of Paris.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 2

Vernon - Les Andelys

Included today: Choice of excursion to Giverny or Bizy Castle; guided walk in Les Andelys; visit the Parish church of Le Grand Andely. This morning, choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet's house and stunning gardens at Giverny or a visit to Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at Giverny for almost 43 years. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration including the lily pond and Japanese Bridge. Alternatively, visit Bizy Castle, built in 1740 and nicknamed 'Normandy's Versailles'. It is known for its famous stable, magnificent courtyard and water garden. After lunch, your ship arrives in Les Andelys, perched on a bend of the Seine and one of the most beautiful places in France. Join a Local Guide for a walk of the town, including a visit to the Parish Church of Le Grand Andely. The imposing Château Gaillard overlooks the town. Built by Richard the Lionheart in 1196 fearing an attack from France's king, the château fortress was constructed in just one year and is truly a masterpiece of Middle Ages military architecture.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 3

Caudebec

Included today: Excursion to 'Normandy Abbey Route' . Join an excursion along the Route des Chaumières 'Normandy Villages Route' to see some of Normandy's charming and traditional half-timbered houses, with their long sloping thatched roofs, often sporting blue wooden doors and window shutters. The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 4

Caudebec

Included today: Choice of excursion to Normandy Landing Beaches or A Taste of Normandy tour. Choose between an included excursion to the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, visiting some of the most poignant sights of World War II such as Juno Beach, Pegasus Museum, and the British and Canadian Cemeteries, or a 'Taste of Normandy' tour for a more in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important produce include dairy, apples and grain. Camembert cheese is a speciality, as is Calvadosa, a strong apple brandy that you'll have the chance to taste at a local distillery. For a touch of history, visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 5

Rouen

Included today: Guided sightseeing of Rouen. Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned and was later burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Join the guided walk through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses and intricate Gros Horloge, an intricate Astronomical Clock dating back to the 16th century. Visit the splendid Gothic cathedral, once the tallest building in the world and subject of a series of Claude Monet's paintings. The afternoon is free to explore on your own.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 6

Conflans

Included today: Choice of an excursion to either Auvers-sur-Oise or Napolean and Josephine's Château de Malmaison. After breakfast, why not join either our guided excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or visit Napoleon and Josephine's Château de Malmaison just outside Paris? Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it 'the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation'.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 7

Paris

Included today: Guided 'Heart of Paris' walk. Join a guided walk through historic Ile St Louis and Ile de la Cité. In your free time, perhaps stroll the Champs-Elysées, visit the world-famous Louvre or head to Montmartre to enjoy its gleaming white Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on the Place du Tertre. The city is well known for its colourful nightlife and an optional outing to one of Paris' famous cabarets might be available tonight.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 8

Paris (Disembarkation) - Dijon - Beaune - St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation) - Chalon-sur-Saône

Included today: Choice of visit to Hôtel Dieu or Burgundy wine tasting in Beaune. This morning, say goodbye to your crew and board the TGV train to Dijon. From there, drive to Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Côte d'Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, ageing, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centres around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HÔTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years' War left many of the town's population destitute. Today, it houses Van der Weyden's painting of The Last Judgement and is one of France's architectural highlights. Continue to St. Jean de Losne where your ship awaits. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as you depart for Chalon-sur-Saône.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 9

Chalon-sur-Saône- Macon

Included today: Leisurely cruising; free time in Macon; cheese tasting. Enjoy some leisurely cruising this morning, before arriving in Macon, a city that plays an important role in the wine trade. Free time allows you to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, you may choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as a visit to a wine cellar. Before dinner, enjoy an on-board CHEESE TASTING.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 10

Lyon

Included today: Guided sightseeing. Lyon is France's third-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Founded by the Romans in 43BC, the city's prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial and banking activities. Today Lyon offers up a wealth of Roman ruins, excellent museums and Renaissance architecture. With a local guide, survey the city from Fourvière Hill and explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafés, monuments and the famous fountain.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 11

Lyon

Enjoy a free day in this fascinating city to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon's parks, discover some of the murals or choose from a range of optional excursions. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample the wine of the region: Beaujolais, wine connoisseurs know that the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have plenty of suggestions for things to do.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 12

Tournon & Tain l'Hermitage - Viviers

Included today: Guided walks in Tournon and Viviers. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l'Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A local guide will show you Tournon, one of France's oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th century castle and Roman ruins. Cruise to Viviers, arriving late afternoon, where the included guided walk introduces you to this charming town, developed around its Romanesque Cathedral. The Old Town has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 13

Avignon

Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes. The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region and one of the most picturesque regions of Provence. Dominated by the grandiose Palace of the Popes, the city is often referred to as the 'City of Popes' and was the centre of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. During the guided tour, you can choose to join an included visit to the Palace of the Popes or you may opt for further city sightseeing and either time at leisure or one of the optional excursions to Pont du Gard or to the wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 14

Arles

Included today: Sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting) Guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheatre. This morning wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting), before arriving in Arles after breakfast. In Arles, Located on the northern tip of the Camargue, and Arles is the capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you'll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 15

Arles - Côte d'Azur

After breakfast, disembark your cruise ship and drive along the Côte d'Azur to the Fairmont Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo (or similar). Also known as the French Riviera, the Côte d'Azur stretches along France's Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border and is synonymous with prestige and beauty.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 16

Côte d'Azur (Disembarkation)

Transfer to the airport or station for your journey to the UK.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Notes

Your ship

Avalon Affinity

Accommodating a maximum of 138 passengers for an intimate cruise experience, the Avalon Affinity reflects the uniqueness of the rivers it cruises. On board, there are 65 generously sized staterooms and four Junior Suites, each equipped to hotel room standards. All suites and most staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows, with a French balcony to enjoy the changing landscape from the comfort of your stateroom. With plenty of space to stroll, take photographs or simply sit and soak up the scenery, the Sky Deck also has a whirpool bath, so you can take a soothing dip, relax and admire the views as you cruise. Guests have the use of a lift to access the staterooms.

Amenities
  • Smoking
  • Adults only
  • Childrens facilities
  • Nursery
Ship facts
  • Style: Luxury
  • Class: Suite ship
  • Size: Boutique
  • Number of crew: 39
  • Number of cabins: 69
  • Number of wheelchair cabins: 0
  • Number of large cabins: 0
  • Capacity: 138 passengers
  • Main language on board: en
  • Currency on board: EUR
  • Number of decks: 4
  • Length (m): 110
  • Width (m): 11.45
  • Speed in knots: 13
  • Launch year: 2009
Available cabins on this cruise
Avalon Suite

Avalon Suites feature floor to ceiling sliding glass doors with French balcony, spacious living area, Comfort Collection Beds, featuring premium mattress covers, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens and European-style duvets, choice of soft or firm pillows, extra blankets, choice of bed configuration - two twin beds or one queen-size bed, nightly turn-down service, bedside tables with reading lamps, large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer and premium L'Occitane bath amenities, spacious 3-door wardrobes with shelves for ample storage, easy under-bed luggage storage, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channels, alarm clock, writing desk/vanity with mirror and comfortable chair, complimentary Wi-Fi access, direct-dial telephone, bathrobes and slippers, well-stocked minibar, complimentary bottled water, in-room safe, individual climate control, continental breakfast and beverage room service available (service charge applies).

Details

  • 258 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Deluxe Stateroom (Cat P, A, B)

These staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with French balcony, flatscreen satellite TV with film channels & radio, comfortable, hotel-style beds, Comfort Collection Beds, featuring premium mattress covers, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens and European-style duvets, choice of soft or firm pillows, extra blankets, choice of bed configuration - two twin beds or one queen-size bed, nightly turn-down service, bedside tables with reading lamps, spacious 3-door wardrobes with shelves for ample storage, writing desk/vanity with mirror and comfortable chair, easy under-bed luggage storage, large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer and premium L'Occitane bath amenities, bathrobes and slippers, alarm clock, complimentary Wi-Fi access, direct-dial telephone, well-stocked minibar, complimentary bottled water, in-room safe, individual climate control, continental breakfast and beverage room service available (service charge applies).

Details

  • 172 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Deluxe Stateroom (Cat E)

These staterooms have Comfort Collection Beds, featuring premium mattress covers, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens and European-style duvets, choice of soft or firm pillows, extra blankets, choice of bed configuration - two twin beds or one queen-size bed, nightly turn-down service, bedside tables with reading lamps, spacious 3-door wardrobes with shelves for ample storage, writing desk/vanity with mirror and comfortable chair, easy under-bed luggage storage, large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer and premium L'Occitane bath amenities, bathrobes and slippers, alarm clock, complimentary Wi-Fi access, direct-dial telephone, well-stocked minibar, complimentary bottled water, in-room safe, individual climate control, continental breakfast and beverage room service available (service charge applies).

Details

  • 172 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Life onboard

A modern and well-equipped river cruise ship, Avalon Affinity embodies a relaxed sense of space and light.

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