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8 Day AmaWaterways River Cruise from Lyon to Avignon 2022
River Cruise DescriptionFrom romantic cities to foodie havens and artistic epicenters, this itinerary enlivens all your senses. Embark in Lyon, France’s culinary capital, and enjoy an evening illumination cruise. Savor the beauty of legendary vineyards and imbibe in local vintages like Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône. You can even become an expert in all things culinary: go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles; learn how to pair chocolate with wine; and discover how olives turn into the Mediterranean’s nectar, olive oil. Trace the steps of famous artists in Arles and Carriéres de Lumiéres before your return flight home.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 LyonBoard the ship for your Colors of Provence cruise. (D)
Day 2 LyonDiscover 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.” Alternately, join a guided bike tour through the city designed with cyclists in mind. In the afternoon, enjoy the rest of your day at your own leisure to explore the city. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Villefranche-sur-SaoneTravel to the Beaujolais wine region—known as the Pays d’Or or “land of the golden stones." Indulge in a wine tasting at a traditional winery and learn about the history and techniques of their vineyard. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Vienne — TournonSituated between the wine regions of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône lies Vienne with a Roman past that can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. Take a walking tour to see the amazingly well-preserved Augustus and Livia Temple, the Saint Maurice Cathedral, a Gothic church that took more than 500 years to build, and St. Pierre Abbey—one of the oldest surviving churches in France, and now an Archaeological Museum. For those wishing to be more active, you can either take a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet or a guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route. During the evening, be treated to a delicious pairing of red wine and chocolate at the 15th-century Le Château de Tournon, located on the banks of the Rhône, in the heart of town. (B,L,D)
Day 5 TournonWalk through the steep vineyards as you learn about the history and techniques of winemaking in this area. Following the guided tour, join your host for a tasting of the Hermitage wines for which this region is celebrated. Alternatively, take an exclusive private train ride past magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux stopping at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where the train maneuvers in preparation for its return journey. For a more active adventure, take a hike through the vineyards of Tain l’Hermitage, followed by a visit to a local winery where you’ll sample some of the wines. (B,L,D)
Day 6 TarasconProvençal town Tarascon is known for its medieval architecture and charming tales – especially the legend of the Tarasque monster. Join a guided walking tour where you’ll visit the Roman ruins of Arles such as its Roman Amphitheater and the Church of Saint Trophime, famous for its Romanesque architecture. Alternatively, you can enjoy a bike ride along the Rhône, through town to the Langlois Bridge, a famous subject from several Vincent Van Gogh paintings. And for those who 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. During the afternoon, you’ll visit the enchanting medieval fortress, the Castle of Tarascon – a fortress designed to protect but surprises all with its elegant interior, fit for royalty. Or venture to the medieval hilltop village, Les Baux de Provence and then delve deeply into the Carrières de Lumières, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular presentation of art, sound and history projected on the former limestone quarry walls of caves. In the evening, enjoy an illuminations cruise around Avignon. (B,L,D)
Day 7 AvignonDepending on your interests, you have three choices of excursions for the morning. Avignon, aptly named the “City of Popes,” was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century when its “Palais des Papes” was the equivalent of today’s 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. You can visit three venues around Avignon to taste regional specialties including macarons, cheese and wine, and tapenades or you can enjoy a bike tour. During the afternoon, you can go to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the impressive Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of ancient engineering. Alternately, you can go to the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provençal town, go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion. Or, visit a winery in the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region, where viticulture has been promoted since the 14th century. The unique soil composition here has earned the area a reputation for producing distinctive wines that are now popular the world over. Join a specialist from the winery on a private tour of the wine cellars and vineyards, an exclusive opportunity to learn about centuries-old winemaking methods. Following your tour, enjoy a tasting of the vineyard’s specialty wines. (B,L,D)
Day 8 AvignonBid farewell to Avignon and prepare for your flight home. (B)
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