Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin on this exquisite journey through southern France; the same beautiful countryside and culture that inspired the masters will now inspire you.
Cruise the Rhône and Saône rivers, enjoying the region’s incomparable wine and cuisine and discovering its many treasures— from the medieval wonders of UNESCO-designated Avignon to Lyon’s lively Les Halles food market. Stroll the very streets of Arles made famous by Van Gogh. Visit Avignon’s majestic Palace of the Popes. Experience “Village Day” in enchanting Viviers, including a recital of music composed by Bach and Handel.
For those who wish for a more active exploration of the area, you can kayak on the tranquil Gardon River under the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard; hike the steepest vineyards on the Rhône; and pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind while in Lyon. Explore unforgettable “Burgundy & Provence” where tradition is as deeply rooted as the historic grapevines on the hills.
From $6,699 per person, this post conference experience includes:
7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the striking S.S. Catherine
All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water
6 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audioheadset system on all excursions
Use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks
Details of our cruise through France
Day 1 - Avignon (Embark)
Arrive at Marseille International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship docked in Avignon.
Day 2 - Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)
Explore one of two sun-drenched Provençal towns today, each with an allure all its own. Known for its remarkable Roman ruins, Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings there; Tarascon boasts an ancient castle, as well as a local legend about a ferocious dragon. Arles has existed since the sixth century BC, when the ancient Greeks founded it and named it Theline. It was here that the Romans built their first bridge across the Rhône River, creating a vital overland route between Italy and Spain and facilitating the expansion of their empire. Long renowned as one of the region’s most attractive cities, it lured artist Vincent van Gogh, who painted hundreds of works here (including Sunflowers and The Yellow House) in just 15 months. A short distance from Arles is the ancient and charming town of Tarascon.
Its many medieval sites include a 12th-century church and a 15th-century castle that is rich with tales of a beloved ruler. Bask in the warmth of the Provençal sunlight in either of these friendly Mediterranean towns.
Featured Excursion: Choice of Arles walking discovery tour or Tarascon walking discovery tour.
Day 3 - Avignon
The walled city of Avignon is one of the most fascinating towns in southern France, with a host of historic gems to explore—including the fortress residence of rebellious popes who broke from Rome and once lived and ruled here. You’ll see the Palace of the Popes and much more today, and also have a chance to kayak under a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct. Avignon is home to the medieval bridge immortalized in the folk song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon,” as well as the mighty Palace of the Popes. From a distance, the picture-perfect city center looks as though it has been lifted straight from the pages of a history book, but all you need to do is step inside its medieval walls to discover the prosperous heart of contemporary Avignon.
Featured Excursion: Exclusive guided “Let's Go” kayak ride on the Gardon River. Choice of Avignon walking discovery tour with Palace of the Popes or Avignon walking discovery tour with Pont du Gard
Day 4 - Viviers
Meet some new friends today in the village of Viviers; encounters that really get at the heart and soul of the French people and their culture and traditions. No matter whom you get to know—a pottery maker, a dance teacher or a local homeowner—you’ll have an enjoyable and truly authentic experience, something you’ll remember for years to come. An enchanting village where time seems to have stopped centuries ago, Viviers has a long and storied past that goes back more than 1,600 years—and a splendid architectural heritage to match. At one time, Viviers was divided along religious lines—the clergy lived in the upper part of the town, the laity in the lower part. Your exploration of the town will take you through both parts, as you begin at the crest and make your way to the riverbank.
Featured Excursion: Exclusive intimate Viviers “Village Day”
Day 5 - Tournon (Tain-l’Hermitage)
If you love fine wine, you’ll love the twin villages of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage. Whether you opt for a guided walk or a more vigorous vineyard hike, you’ll also have a chance to taste the local specialty—wonderful wines made primarily from Syrah grapes.
Featured Excursion: Choice of Exclusive Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage twin villages stroll with wine tasting or Exclusive guided “Let's Go” Hermitage vineyards hike with wine tasting
DAY 6: Lyon
As the epicenter of French gastronomy, Lyon is a city of tantalizing contrasts. There’s much to explore here, from the work of culinary visionaries to silk weavers’ secret passageways. After your choice of excursions, embrace the locals’ favorite mode of transportation with a patisserie-fueled bike ride—a great way to see the sights. Two rivers: one tranquil, one torrential. Two hills: one for labor, where the sound of the silk weavers’ looms used to echo; the other for prayers, crowned by a spectacular basilica. Two cities, as different as night and day: one boasting colorful Old World façades, medieval mansions and hidden passageways; one with a sophisticated urbanity reminiscent of Paris. Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and with roots stretching back over 2,000 years to the days of Julius Caesar, Lyon is a place of fascinating dualities. Today you have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts: Sample its culinary riches with a visit to its peerless market hall or follow the footsteps of the silk weavers in the old quarter. For a more active option, see the city from its extensive—and lovely—bike paths.
Featured Excursion: Exclusive guided “Let's Go” Lyon peninsula bicycle tour. Choice of Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon walking tour or Exclusive silk weavers walking tour
Day 7 - Mâcon (Beaune)
The pace of life is decidedly more relaxed in Burgundy, where endless rows of grapes hang heavy on the vine. The capital of the region’s wine trade, Beaune, is renowned for its history, beauty and highly prized wine, as well as its medieval-era hospital—the Hospices de Beaune. Located in the southernmost part of Burgundy, Mâcon, a Saône River port, is your gateway to Beaune.
Featured Excursion: Choice of Burgundy wine landscapes, Beaune, Hospices de Beaune with open-air farmers’ market visit or Mâcon walking discovery tour
Day - Lyon (Disembark)
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport for your flight home. Alternatively, you can continue your adventure with an extension to sparkling Paris.