Savoring France: Paris, Lyon & Provence

Depart on a 7-night Rhône River cruise aboard ms Emerald through vineyard country that’s home to some of the world’s most exceptional wines. Tauck’s epicurean delights begin in Paris with a reception and dinner at Fouquet’s, the celebrity hotspot on the Champs Élysées, and a pastry class especially for Tauck guests at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Ride the high-speed TGV through the French countryside to Lyon to taste your way through Les Halles, Lyon’s famed covered food market with its eye-popping vertical garden… cruise in search of culinary adventures along the Rhône… sip Beaujolais in Beaujolais… sample Provençal specialties for lunch at a private ranch in La Camargue… attend a memorable evening at the Duchy of Uzès… and learn secrets at a cooking demonstration at an award-winning cooking school in Valence. It’s the ultimate Rhône River cruise to the soul of French haute cuisine!

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Inclusions

  • All gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
  • Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 23 meals; service charges, taxes, porterage, and applicable fuel surcharges

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Pastry class for Tauck guests at Le Cordon Bleu Paris
  • Provençal lunch at a private ranch in La Camargue
  • Reception and dinner at Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysées in Paris
  • Private wine tastings in Beaujolais and Châteaneuf-du-Pape
  • A walking tour of historic Vieux Lyon and a tasting at Les Halles de Lyon
  • Cooking demonstration and a wine and cheese tasting at an award-winning cooking school in Valence

Itinerary

DAY 1
Bonjour, Paris & Fouquet’s

Tour begins: 6:00 PM, InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel.  A transfer is included from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Gare de Lyon Station, Charles de Gaulle Station or Gare du Nord to InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel in the heart of the city. Join us this evening for our special welcome cocktail reception and dinner at le Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysées, an iconic landmark for celebrity dining for over a century.

DAY 2
Parisian gourmet pleasures

Enjoy a culinary odyssey in Paris today with a walk through the city that inspires with the fragrances and flavors of French food, and offers tastings of local bread and macarons; and a lecture on chocolat with, of course, a delectable tasting! You’ll also have free time for lunch and the evening free to explore on your own and discover the dining possibilities in and around your Paris hotel.

DAY 3
Le Cordon Bleu, to Lyon by TGV & embark

Take a pastry class this morning at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, where you’ll learn firsthand the tips of the pâtisserie trade – including how to make an original pastry – before catching the TGV high-speed train and enjoying the views en route to Lyon, set at the confluence of the rivers Saône and Rhône. In Lyon, you’ll board ms Emerald for your Rhône River cruise and settle into your cabin before joining us for a briefing and welcome reception followed by a welcome dinner in The Compass Rose and entertainment in the lounge.

DAY 4
Lyon, Les Halles & a Beaujolais tasting

Lyon is considered the “culinary capital of France,” which is quite a compliment in a country famed for its cuisine and fine vintages. You’ll discover why during a tasting at the famous Les Halles de Lyon, the celebrated indoor food market that’s been a fixture in Lyon since 1850 and offers an unbelievable array of breads, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, sausages, wines, chocolates… the list goes on. Everything is fresh and delicious, and it’s said that the best chefs in Lyon shop here! But Lyon is also a city with a venerable history and considerable charm, as you’ll discover when you also visit Vieux Lyon, the old Renaissance part of the city that is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first protected historic district in France, and the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, built atop the ruins of an ancient Roman forum. This afternoon, it’s off to the celebrated wine-growing region of Beaujolais for a tasting in the countryside before continuing your Rhône River cruise to Viviers.

DAY 5
Medieval Viviers & wine tasting on the RhÔne

ms Emerald cruises this morning to Viviers, a walled city with origins in the 5th century on the right bank of the Rhône. If medieval history and authentic period architecture are your thing, Viviers is your kind of place… because it’s one of the best-preserved medieval towns that you’re likely to see in all of France. Its narrow streets and lanes reveal what life might have been like here in the Middle Ages. Your choices today include a walking tour of Viviers with your local guide including views of the 12th-century Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rhône and the richly detailed façade of the Maison des Chevaliers, followed by a lively game of petanque with the locals; or a drive to Grignan for a walking tour of town and a truffle farm tour and tasting. Back aboard the riverboat, enjoy an onboard wine tasting presentation where you’ll learn about (and sample) some of the region’s excellent local wines; join us for a gala dinner in The Compass Rose this evening as we sail for Arles in Provence.

DAY 6
Arles & a unique day in La Camargue

It may seem that the Romans were everywhere along the Rhône, and Arles is no exception, as is witnessed by the triumphal arch, circus and baths they left behind – and an arena in which gladiators fought and is still a venue for performances and bullfights today – as you explore the city on a walking tour and time on your own. Do take time to look beyond the city walls at the incredible quality of the light here that so enraptured Vincent van Gogh – and the landscapes of yellow rocks, red soil and lilac mountains that inspired in the Dutch artist a newfound creativity, and led to his creating hundreds of paintings while a patient at a nearby asylum, one of the most productive periods of his short life. Lunch today is a real treat, as you visit a private ranch in La Camargue for a private banquet of farm-grown Provençal specialties, a musical serenade, and a chance to see the region’s iconic white horses, fleet-footed gardians (cowboys) and famous black bulls. As you continue your Rhône River cruise to Avignon this evening, try your hand at painting a chocolate art piece during an onboard demonstration before dinner aboard the riverboat.

DAY 7
Avignon, Palais des Papes & Uzès evening

Although the fortified city of Avignon was undoubtedly a pleasant place before they arrived, the 14th-century popes, who spent less than a century here when Rome became “tedious” for them, really put it on the map, and cultivated the local wine industry (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) and an appreciation for good food. This morning, choose a bicycle excursion in Avignon or a visit to the fortress-like home that the pontiffs built for themselves, the Palais des Papes. Later, visit the Pont du Gard – a famous Roman aqueduct over the River Gardon. Join us this evening ashore for a sparkling Tauck Exclusive event – a special evening including a tour, reception and dinner at the restored château and grounds of the medieval Duchy of Uzès.

DAY 8
Roussillon & Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Venture deeper into Provence today on a visit to the yellow-and-brown town of Roussillon, in the Luberon region. This place is all about color, from the ochre cliffs surrounding the town to the purple of the lavender during its blooming season and the lush, green pine forests, as you’ll discover for yourself on a walking tour. Have lunch on the riverboat as you cruise to Châteauneuf-du-Pape; over 200 days of sunshine per year and rain-bearing mistral winds enable the soil to store water for the long summer, meaning that vineyards thrive here. Since medieval times, the life of this hillside village has centered around growing and producing wine of the same appellation; its residents have benefitted from the proceeds of flourishing vineyards as early as the 13th century, when the village was adjacent to a summer palace for the popes of Avignon. Visit one of the area’s acclaimed châteaux for a wine tasting before returning to the riverboat for dinner and onboard relaxation as your cruise continues.

DAY 9
Culinary tips in Valence & Tain l’Hermitage

The riverboat docks in Tain l’Hermitage for the final day of your Rhône River cruise. From here you’ll head to Valence, a town known for its markets offering produce from the surrounding countryside – including delicacies like truffles and asparagus – and as home to the gourmet cooking school of award-winning chef Anne-Sophie Pic, where you’ll be privy to a chef’s demonstration and a wine and cheese pairing class and tasting that features the superb products crafted in the area. Your day also includes a visit to a chocolate shop in Tain l’Hermitage and a mini-train ride through the renowned Heritage vineyards before you reboard the ship for tonight’s farewell reception followed by dinner as ms Emerald begins her return to Lyon.

DAY 10
Homeward bound

Tour ends: Lyon. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the ms Emerald to Lyon Airport or Perrache or Part Dieu train stations. Please allow 3 hours for flight check-in. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey home.

 

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AIRFARE: Airfare to and from this destination is not included in the journey cost. If purchasing your air elsewhere, it is very important to provide Tauck with your confirmed arriving and departing flight information no later than 3 weeks before your arrival date. Flight information can be submitted to Tauck (or verified, if you’ve already provided it) in My Account.

PLEASE NOTE: We regret that this Tauck itinerary cannot accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters. Likewise, we regret that we’re unable to provide individual assistance to guests with walking difficulties or other personal needs. The responsibility of the Tauck Director who accompanies your trip is to ensure that the larger group enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing individual assistance to any one guest. Guests requiring such individualized assistance must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who can provide it.

TRAVEL GEAR: We have partnered with New Headings, an experienced online provider of travel gear, to assist you in selecting the appropriate gear for this destination. Their Tauck-exclusive website is accessible at necessarygear.com. Please note that while Tauck has an affiliation with New Headings, this is only one option for travel gear. You may wish to look into other outfitters for your travel needs.

SPECIAL DIETARY REQUESTS: The restaurants, hotels, caterers and numerous other partners we work with all do their best to accommodate special dietary requests from Tauck guests. However, given the diverse nature of those food providers (from small wineries to grand hotels to world-famous restaurants in more than 70 countries worldwide), some of our partners are better able than others to accommodate such requests. We therefore cannot guarantee that all dietary requests can be accommodated at every meal. Also, please note that where dietary requests can be accommodated, choices will frequently be limited.

ITINERARY CHANGES and FLEXIBILITY: Tauck pledges to make every effort to operate all tours as advertised. Travelers should be flexible as situations may arise that necessitate changes or exceptions to the itinerary. Tauck reserves the right to alter or curtail the itinerary and substitute hotels, sightseeing and/or conveyances as it is deemed necessary. Any savings realized by these changes will be refunded to guests. Any resultant expenses will be covered by Tauck.

AIRLINES and CHECKED LUGGAGE: Due to space limitations during your Tauck journey, we ask that you please limit your checked luggage to one average-size suitcase per person. Besides complying with the Tauck restriction noted above, you should also be sure to research and comply with all airline baggage restrictions relating to your flights to and from your Tauck journey. Airlines have become much more strict in enforcing size and weight limits in recent years, and are free to revise luggage policies without notice. Researching and complying with airline luggage restrictions is the responsibility of the guest, and Tauck cannot be held responsible for any costs or disruptions to travel caused by the failure to research and comply with airline policies. PLEASE NOTE that if you are booked on a tour that includes on-tour flights, the checked luggage weight restrictions for these flights may be lower than the weight restrictions for your international flights.

TAUCK AIRPORT TRANSFERS are included at the start and end of the journey between the airport and the Tauck hotel. Airport transfers are available for any pre tour or post tour hotel stays immediately consecutive to the tour, providing flight information is received in the Tauck office no later than three weeks in advance. Details on locating your transfer upon arrival to the tour start city will be included in your final documents.

TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN AS A GUARDIAN: If you are traveling as the guardian of a child/children, we strongly suggest that you carry a letter from both parents of the child authorizing emergency treatment in the event of illness or accident. For travel abroad, many foreign countries have specific entry requirements for children under 21 who are traveling internationally without BOTH parents. (These requirements are in response to the increased incidence of children being abducted and taken abroad.) PLEASE NOTE THAT TAUCK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for the disruption of travel caused by improper documentation for children traveling without both parents.