Day 1 UK - Lyon - Arles
Today you will fly to Lyon and on arrival we will transfer you to your river cruiser. After time to settle into your cabin, meet your fellow travellers and the crew over a welcome cocktail. This evening we'll get together for dinner and enjoy an evening of entertainment on board. The ship will cruise through the night.Meals included: D
Day 2 Arles - The Camargue
Sit back, relax and enjoy the view as we spend this morning cruising through the gorgeous French countryside. We'll glide by Valence and Montélimar on our way to Arles and when we arrive, you can join an optional excursion to the Camargue. This beautiful area of wetland, salt flats and small saltwater lakes is home to some exceptional wildlife, including pink flamingos, black bulls and white Camargue horses. The tour also includes a visit to a manade - a farm that breeds bulls and trains horses.
This evening, why not step ashore and take a walk around Arles with your travelling companions. This delightful city was the inspiration behind many of Van Gogh's paintings.
Day 3 Arles - Avignon - Viviers
Early this morning, the ship will cruise towards Avignon. Join us for an optional guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Papal Palace, an imposing fortress and luxurious palace which symbolises the power of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. It is one of the largest and most important Gothic buildings in Europe and the city's most famous attraction. Take a step back in time as you stroll through the immense halls, contemplate the beauty of the chapels and visit the papal apartments.
As an alternative to the Papal Palace, you could join our excursion to Gordes, a hilltop village in the heart of the Provençal countryside. Described as one of the most beautiful villages in France, its cobblestone streets and dry-stone houses are typical of the region, and the church and castle dominate the surrounding scenery. You'll also visit Sénanque Abbey, where a community of Cistercian monks has been living since 1148. The abbey is known for its lovely lavender fields, and products made by the monks, which include lavender honey, can be purchased from the shop.
There's time to relax on board as we cruise to Viviers this afternoon, and later you can join an optional guided tour of the city. Highlights include the smallest cathedral in France, the House of Knights with its superb Renaissance-style façade, Saint Michel Tower and the Great Seminary. You will also make a stop to take in stunning views of the city at night.
Day 4 Viviers - Gorges de l’Ardèche - Tain-l'Hermitage
Join us on an optional visit to the Gorges de l'Ardèche this morning and prepare to be amazed by the spectacular sight of the 18-mile-long canyon's steep cliffs, plunging valleys and stunning limestone rock formations. You'll see the Pont d'Arc, a natural arch almost 100-feet high carved out by the Ardèche River, its namesake village and make a stop to take in the splendid views.
After the tour, we'll re-join the ship in La Voulte and continue cruising towards Tain-l'Hermitage, the home of French chocolate maker Valrhona. When we arrive, there's an option to walk to and tour the Cité du Chocolat, a discovery centre where you can learn the secrets of chocolate production from bean to bar, and discover the techniques used to make and bake a host of chocolatey treats. We'll also indulge in a tasting of course!
Back on board, we'll enjoy a gala dinner this evening.
Day 5 Tain-l'Hermitage - Vienne - Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or
Relax on board as the ship cruises to Vienne this morning. When we arrive, you'll have some free time to step ashore and explore the city, which is rich in Roman history, before we set sail once again towards Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or.
As we cruise, we'll sail alongside Lyon and catch a glimpse of the city's splendour. Landmarks here include Fourvière Hill and its beautiful white basilica, the modern Musée des Confluences, the old district of Vieux Lyon, and the curious Homme de la Roche statue. We'll then join the Saône River and head towards our next port of call, Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or.
This evening, you can choose to enjoy an extraordinary French gastronomic experience at Paul Bocuse's Abbaye de Collonges. Paul Bocuse was a triple Michelin-star chef who was known for his innovative approach to cuisine and his love of fresh, high-quality ingredients. On this optional experience, you will savour an array of delicious dishes prepared by renowned chefs in a truly exceptional setting.
Days 6 - 5 Lyon - UK
After breakfast on board, we will transfer to the airport for our return flight back to the UK.Meals included: B
TAILOR YOUR TRIP
MS Rhone Princess: Cabin Upgrade
Upper Deck cabins are available at a supplement for the duration of your stay. Please speak to a Holiday Advisor for details.