Optional Pre-extension in Paris:
DAY 1 | Arrive in Paris, FRANCE
Arrive in Paris and check-in to your hotel. The balance of the day is yours to start exploring this beautiful city.
DAY 2 | PARIS, FRANCEEnjoy some of Paris’ most famous sights during your guided city tour this morning, such as the Champs Élysées, Place de la Concorde and the Eiffel Tower, plus a visit inside Notre Dame Cathedral. Tonight, an optional “Montmartre & Illuminations” tour is available, with breathtaking and not-to-be-missed views of Paris after dark.
DAY 3 | PARIS, FRANCEYour last day in Paris is free to enjoy at your leisure. This evening, an optional “Parisian Cabaret Dinner Show" is available, featuring excellent French cuisine and a fantastic, high-spirited theatrical performance.
Cruise Only Itinerary:
DAY 1 | LYONIf you join us for the Paris pre-extension, you will check out of your hotel, board the TGV high-speed train that will whisk you through the French countryside to Lyon. Nestled between the Saone and Rhone rivers, Lyon is one of France’s most important cities and its gastronomic capital. Upon arrival, enjoy some free time for lunch on your own before a private cooking demonstration. Later, transfer to your luxurious ship, where you will join the cruise-only guests this evening for a Welcome Dinner.
DAY 2 | LYON, FRANCE Today your panoramic tour of Lyon will take you to Place Bellecour with its equestrian statue of Louis XIV, Place des Terreaux with Bartholdi’s Fountain, and the Town Hall. Afterwards, visit Fourvière, part of the historic region designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the “Hill of Prayers,” Fourvière is famous for its iconic white Basilica of Notre-Dame, ruins of an ancient Roman theater, and majestic views of the city below. The ship departs for Belleville this evening.
DAY 3 | BELLEVILLE - VIENNE, FRANCE This morning’s tour will take you through the Beaujolais wine region, also known as the Pays d’Or (“land of the golden stones,” named for the ochre limestone used to build local homes and castles). Visit the medieval hilltop village of Oingt as well as the home of a local vintner, where you will enjoy a wine tasting, vineyard tour and explanation of the history of the region’s wine production. Return to the ship in the afternoon and continue cruising towards Vienne, where you’ll have a free evening to explore on your own.
DAY 4 | VIENNE - TOURNON, FRANCE
Situated between the wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais, Vienne’s Roman past can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. This morning, go on a walking tour and see an ancient Roman temple, the ruins of a Roman theater, and the medieval Abbey Church of St. Pierre, today an Archaeological Museum. Your ship departs at midday for Tournon.
DAY 5 | TOURNON - VIVIERS, FRANCE Take an exciting ride in a panoramic train car as you discover the magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux. After riding through the gorge, you will stop at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where you can watch the train maneuver in preparation for its return journey. Relax on board today as we cruise to Viviers. After arriving this evening, you may take a “Ghost Walk” tour through this medieval town, with colorful stories brought to life by local residents.
DAY 6 | VIVIERS - AVIGNON, FRANCE After breakfast, enjoy an excursion to Grignan, a hilltop village surrounded by lavender fields. The village’s Renaissance castle provides a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. You will also have the opportunity to visit a truffle farm and learn about truffle harvesting. Return to the ship and cruise to Avignon, site of the bridge made famous by the French children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon” (“On the Bridge of Avignon”). Seven popes once resided in the magnificent Papal Palace, which you will visit during your walking tour. You will also see the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an alternative, take an excursion to the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DAY 7 | AVIGNON - LES BAUX - ARLES, FRANCE This morning, you will arrive in Arles and board a motor coach for an excursion to the village of Les Baux de Provence. The village’s castle has a fascinating exhibit of medieval weapons. Later, visit an olive farm to learn about this age-old Provençal farming tradition. As an alternative, take the “Impressionist Experience” tour to the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Van Gogh once lived and painted such well-known works as The Irises and Starry Night. You will also visit the Carrieres de Lumieres, a stone quarry that projects European artwork on its walls, including many of Van Gogh’s famous paintings. Late this afternoon, a city tour of Arles takes you to the Romanesque cathedral and the Roman Amphitheater.The ship moors overnight in Arles.
DAY 8 | ARLES DISEMBARKATION
Disembark your ship in Arles and, if you choose the Cruise & Land option, continue your journey to Barcelona. Along the way, pass through the eerie Camargue marshland and stop in the medieval town of Perpignan in France, where you will have free time for lunch and some exploring on your own.
Optional Post-Extension in Barcelona:DAY 1 | BARCELONAYour full day in Barcelona begins with a driving tour to the top of Montjuic Hill where you will enjoy glorious views of the city below. Continue along the waterfront to Las Ramblas, an iconic tree-lined boulevard, and explore the Gothic Quarter in the medieval center of the city. Your tour also includes the unique architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, including Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia, the basilica and UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been under construction for over a century. This evening, explore Barcelona by night on your own, or elect to participate in an optional tapas tasting tour.
DAY 2 | BARCELONA
Enjoy a full day at your leisure, or take part in an optional excursion to Montserrat to visit the famous Benedictine Abbey atop Montserrat Mountain.
DAY 3 | DEPART BARCELONA
Bid farewell to Barcelona and prepare for your homeward flight.
From the magic of Paris to the romance of Barcelona, this itinerary is truly captivating. The pre-extension begins with three nights in Paris, then travel in style aboard the high-speed TGV train to board the AmaCello in Lyon, France’s gastronomical capital. From there, cruise through France’s legendary wine growing regions, home to such famous vintages as Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône. Enjoy wine tastings at local vintners, marvel at ancient Roman ruins, stroll through medieval villages and shop for Provencal crafts. Your itinerary includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon as well as Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh spent much of his life. Conclude your journey with a three night post-extension in magnificent Barcelona, one of Spain's most vibrant cities.