Burgundy Provence France Rhone Saone rivers

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; Tasascon 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.

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 centre 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.

Choose between two different ways to explore this intriguing and ancient city.

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.

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.

Spend the day in the midst of Côte du Rhône wine country, exploring storied vineyards and picturesque villages.

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.

Day 7: Macon (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. 

Day 8: 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.

Day 1: Lyon (embark)

Arrive at the Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Macon (Beaune)

FEATURED EXCURSIONS:

Beaune, Hospices de Beaune

Beaune may not be a large town, but it brims with history, a wealth of splendid regional architecture and incredible food. You’ll recognize the Hospices de Beaune immediately by its fabulous multicolored tile roof—it’s a symbol of Burgundy. Learn about Burgundy’s celebrated wines on an excursion here, where monks have been making and selling wine to support their charitable work since the 15th century. Celebrate the evening at the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.

Day 3: Lyon

FEATURED EXCURSIONS:

Choice of exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon tour OR exclusive silk weavers walking discovery tour OR exclusive guided “Go Active” Lyon peninsula bike tour, and exclusive Lyon “Illuminations” tour

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. You have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts. Foodies will want to delve into France’s capital of gastronomy with a guided tour of Les Halles, Lyon’s world-famous food market, taking in a tantalizing array of elaborate food stalls, bars and restaurants. In addition to being known for its culinary heritage, Lyon is also known for its history with silk—at one time, almost a third of the city’s population were silk weavers—so for those who enjoy this dignified fabric, you’ll be delighted to discover its heritage, and you’ll even have a chance to see a Jacquard loom in use. For a more active exploration of the city, pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind. Cap the day off on an evening tour showcasing the best way to see the city’s architectural heritage, with over 100 sites illuminated.

Day 4: Tournon, Tain l'Hermitage

FEATURED EXCURSIONS:

Choice of Tournon and Tain-I’Hermitage village stroll with wine tasting OR exclusive guided “Go Active” Hermitage vineyards hike with wine tasting

Nestled on opposite sides of the river in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage are an ideal destination for wine connoisseurs. Experience this famous wine district in one of two ways. Explore Tournon and its historic castle, then cross over the suspension bridge to Tain-l’Hermitage to taste Côtes du Rhône wines. If you prefer to explore the Hermitage vineyards more actively, then take a guided hike through the steepest vineyards on the Rhône, where the world-famous wines are produced. After you’ve seen how the grapes are grown, taste the fruit that has been transformed by the vintners’ craft into legendary wine.

Day 5: Viviers

FEATURED EXCURSIONS:

Exclusive intimate Viviers “Village Day”

Viviers retains much of its medieval character and charm, with narrow lanes and historic structures. See the sights on foot, then climb Rue du Château to take in the view from the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. Afterwards, you can go inside the cathedral to hear a recital of music by Puccini, Bach and Handel. Before returning to the ship, spend time enjoying some local activities. You have a choice to learn the art of clay pot making at a demonstration, and then be treated to an aperitif of the local favorites, such as olives, rosé wine and apricot juice, or you can enjoy your aperitif at a private mansion in the village.

Day 6: Avignon

FEATURED EXCURSIONS:

Avignon walking discovery tour with choice of Palace of the Popes OR Pont du Gard OR choice of exclusive “Off the Beaten Path” Avignon walking discovery tour, and exclusive guided “Go Active” kayak ride on the Gardon River

Avignon—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is endlessly inviting; cafés and boutiques line tree-shaded squares enlivened with street performers. Discover the city built by the Avignon papacy with your guide, including the vast Palace of the Popes, or visit the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard built by the Romans 2,000 years ago. If you prefer to see a different side of the city, join a local expert to venture “off the beaten path.” Discover the city’s picturesque hidden alleys and secret squares, strolling from enchanting Place Crillon to the Jewish quarter, and end at Place Pie, in the old city centre, home to Avignon’s famous market hall. Here you’ll want to stroll through, as there is a treasure trove of Provençal delicacies on display. Later in the day, you can also “Go Active” by paddling a kayak on the tranquil Gardon River. Note: The kayak ride on the Gardon River is only available for May through September departure dates.

Day 7: Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)

FEATURED EXCURSIONS:

Choice of Arles walking discovery tour OR Tarascon walking discovery tour

Vincent van Gogh found inspiration in Arles and you will, too. Under the spell of the Provençal light and the vivid colours of nature, he spent a period of impassioned work under these bright sunny skies. As you explore the capital of the Camargue region with your local expert, see Van Gogh’s Arles, as well as a fascinating wealth of Roman monuments, such as the Amphitheatre and Constantine’s baths. You can also explore the city's expansive open-air food market, where you will find plenty of local delicacies, including Burgundian and Jura cheeses, heirloom vegetables, honey, and sausages. For those who wish to discover another wonderful town along the Rhône, visit Tarascon, home to the oldest producer of French-made indiennes, Souleiado, established in 1806. In the evening, enjoy a festive Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. Note: The open-air food market visit will take place in Beaune on the onward direction cruise (Avignon to Lyon).

Day 8: Avignon (disembark), transfer to Marseille Airport

Disembark the ship and transfer to Marseille International Airport for your flight home.