Join us on the Rhone river through Provence in 2020 as we savor exquisite food and wine during the colorful fall wine season in France. From romantic cities to foodie havens loaded with history, this itinerary will econmpass the best of Southern France. We will embark in Lyon, France’s culinary capital, and enjoy an evening illumination cruise. We'll experinece the beauty of legendary vineyards in local vintages like Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône. We'll search for the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles; learn how to pair chocolate with wine; and discover how olives turn into the Mediterranean’s nectar, olive oil. Honoring the medieval and renaissance histories of the region, we'll trace the steps of famous artists in Arles and Carriéres de Lumiéres.
Our rates will be ALL-INCLUSIVE of the cruise, our daily tours and excursions in each port, use of bicycles that will be carried onboard, and chef prepared tasting dinners with perfectly paired wines. We will have a daily social cocktail hour, with open bar each evening, to celebrate each day together. Premium wines and beers will be complimentary during lunches and dinners and sparkling wines complimentary during breakfast. Unlimited wi-fi and an Apple computer in each cabin with connected internet will also be included. We will have lots of additional fun surprises planned to make the journey unforgettable.
Embark your cruise in Lyon, France. Tonight, meet your fellow passengers on board.
Discover dynamic Lyon, starting in Fourvière Hill, part of the city’s historic region that is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the 19th-century basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Continue on to the old town of Lyon, followed by a guided walk through the St. Jean district, where you will be introduced to the city’s unique covered walkways, known as “traboules.” During the afternoon, enjoy leisure time or join a guided bike tour through the city designed with cyclists in mind. In the evening, see the city light up during a romantic illumination cruise.
Travel to the Beaujolais wine region—known as the Pays d’Or or “land of the golden stones.” Indulge in a wine tasting at a traditional winery and learn about the history and techniques of their vineyard. Later, enjoy free time to explore Vienne.
Vienne / Tournon
Situated between the wine regions of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône lies Vienne with a Roman past that can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. Take a walking tour to see the amazingly well-preserved Augustus and Livia Temple, the Saint Maurice Cathedral, a Gothic church that took more than 500 years to build, and St. Pierre Abbey—one of the oldest surviving churches in France, and now an Archaeological Museum. For those wishing to be more active, you can either take a guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route or a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet. During the evening, be treated to a delicious pairing of red wine and chocolate at the 15th-century Le Château de Tournon, located on the banks of the Rhône, in the heart of town.
Walk through the steep vineyards as you learn about the history and techniques of winemaking in this area. Following the guided tour, join your host for a tasting of the Hermitage wines for which this region is celebrated. Alternatively, take a train ride past magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux stopping at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where the train maneuvers in preparation for its return journey. For a more active adventure, enjoy hike through the vineyards of Tain-l’Hermitage, followed by a visit to a local winery where you’ll sample some of the wines.
Avignon, aptly named the “City of Popes,” was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century when its “Palais des Papes” was the equivalent of today’s Vatican. Depending on your interests, you have three choices of excursions. Discover the history of Avignon on a guided walking tour that includes the Papal Palace and the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you can go to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the impressive Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of ancient engineering. Or if you prefer, visit three venues around Avignon to taste regional specialties including macarons, cheese and wine, and tapenades. During the afternoon, you can enjoy free time in Avignon, go on a bike tour, or go to the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provençal town, go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion. In the evening, enjoy an illuminations cruise around Avignon.
Avignon / Arles
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in France, Arles enchants. For art lovers, you’ll wish to visit Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Vincent van Gogh once lived and painted such well-known works as “The Irises” and “Starry Night.” Many people consider Van Gogh’s Arles period to be the most creative of his career. Afterwards, go to the Carrières de Lumières, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular presentation of art, sound and history projected on the walls of caves. Alternatively, venture to the medieval hilltop village, Les Baux de Provence, followed by a visit to an olive farm where you’ll learn about age-old Provençal traditions from a master olive miller as well as sample the olive oil. During the afternoon, you can join a walking tour of Arles highlighting top sights, including the Romanesque cathedral and Roman amphitheater; or take a guided bike tour to the Roman ruins. And for those who wish to delve further into Van Gogh’s Arles, join a special walking tour along with a visit to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, showcasing his legacy.
Disembark the ship in Arles after breakfast. Return home, or join us in a post-cruise adventure for a few days in Nice.
Rates for river cruises are a little more up front than you would pay for an ocean cruise but then include virtually everything, providing a worry-free vacation knowing everything is taken care of. We want to give everyone plenty of notice for this adventure with time to budget and plan.
EARLY BIRD RATES: AMA Waterways is offering a special early booking discount to our group. Book a cabin with us by May 31st, 2019 (or while supplies last) and receive $750 off per person in double occupancy cabins off the regular rates. We also have a handful of discounted solo occupancy cabins available on this sailing.
Rates for double occupancy cabins with the $750 per person discount:
RIVER WINDOW CABINS 160 sq ft:
$3599 $2849 per person (SOLD OUT)
$3898 $3148 per person (SOLD OUT)
FRENCH BALCONY CABINS 170 sq ft:
$4598 $3848 per person (SOLD OUT)
$4798 $4048 per person (SOLD OUT)
$4898 $4148 per person (SOLD OUT)
SUITES 350 sq ft:
$6098 $5348 per person (SOLD OUT)
There are taxes and port charges of $189 per person. Deposits are $400 per person and due at the time of booking. Final payments are due no later than July 31st, 2020. Cancellations prior to 121 days before sailing will incur a $200 per person penalty.
DISCOUNTS: If you are a past guest of AMAWaterways you will receive additional discounts off the listed rates. We have a limited number of discount certifacates that provide an additional 5% discount. Please ask Rick if interested.
River cruise ships have limited cabins, so you'll want to book early. To make a reservation use the online reservation request below, or contact Rick Scadlock by text at 425-501-4206, or send a message on facebook messenger to Rick Scadlock or Jeff Davies. We can't wait to share great french wine with you along the Rhone river in 2020.