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Portraits of Southern France

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. C’est magnifique!

Celebrate the Season with Thanksgiving Cruises: With a nod to a home-cooked meal, a traditional Thanksgiving feast of roast turkey and all the trimmings will be served on select November departures in Europe.
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World Map Cruise FAQ Ship FAQ Recommended Reading Detailed Itinerary Longship Deck Plan
Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Day 1 | Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Fly to Lyon. Transfer from the airport to your ship docked in Chalon-sur-Saône.* After boarding, take free time to explore this quaint town, or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and get oriented. (D)

Beaune, France

Day 2 | Beaune, France & Burgundy Wine Tour

After breakfast, take a scenic drive 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 enjoy a wine tasting at one of Beaune’s famous cellars. Return to your ship for lunch and enjoy this afternoon's scenery as you sail along the Saône River, arriving in Tournus in the early evening. Or, take an optional excursion to the picturesque Burgundy town of Cluny. Return aboard for dinner. (B, L, D)

Lyon, France

Day 3 | Lyon, France

After an early morning cruise through the picturesque countryside, you’ll arrive in Lyon during breakfast, then take a morning tour of this city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for marvelous views. Visit the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. A walking tour is next, through the cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), where you’ll have free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world famous. Dinner served aboard. (B, L, D)

Lyon Basilica Notre Dame, France

Day 4 | Lyon & Vienne, France

The morning is free to further explore this remarkable 2,000-year-old city in the heart of France. Depart just before lunchtime. This afternoon, 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 engaging riverside town on your own. Dine aboard and depart this evening. (B, L, D)

Tournon, France

Day 5 | Tournon & Viviers, France

Awaken in Tournon. During a guided tour of the area, learn about the region’s wine-making traditions and taste some famous regional red wines. Then visit the Musée de Tain l’Hermitage located in the oldest house in the region. Lunch is served aboard as we cruise through the afternoon; arrive after dinner in Viviers, an engaging little town in a mountainous setting. Join your Program Director for an evening stroll through Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Enjoy free time before retiring for the evening. (B, L, D)

Arles Arena, France

Day 6 | Arles, France

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)

Palace of the Popes, Avignon, France

Day 7 | Avignon, France

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 that served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner are served aboard. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B, L, D)

Avignon, France

Day 8 | Avignon, France

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Marseille airport for your return flight.* (B)

The following meals are included: B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner

* Airport meet & greet transfers included when air is purchased from Viking River Cruises

Portraits of Southern France - 2015 Chalon-Sur-Saône to Avignon - Cruise Itinerary