Fall in love with the South of France on this gentle cruise that takes in the highlights of the Rhone. Spot flamingos on the Camargue delta, cruise along the scenic Rhone Valley, and watch a bull fight in an ancient amphitheatre in Arles.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
Travel to Lyon and transfer to A-ROSA STELLA for embarkation.
Located in the stunning Ardeche, Viviers is a small walled city that sits on the banks the Rhône and is home to the historic Cathedral of Saint-Vincent, which is in the centre of the old town. The city retains much of its medieval character and charms.
You've probably heard of the famous bridge in the song "Sur le pont d'Avignon". This bridge actually exists, or at least part of it does; wars and floods reduced the bridge's original 22 arches to four. In 1660, after yet another flood, the bridge was abandoned. Aside from the bridge, you're likely to be most delighted by Avignon's palaces, wines and culture. The Papal Palace is monumentally impressive, particularly in the evening when it is illuminated by a light show. Rue des Teinturiers, the former textile dyers' street, is one of the most beautiful streets in Avignon. By a small stream with old water wheels, you'll find numerous charming cafés to relax, watch the world go by and quietly hum the old children's song.
A pretty 15-minute walk takes you from the dock to the ancient amphitheatre, where you can relax and watch the torero. The bullfights here (called “course camarguaise”) are not bloody affairs. The bullfighter simply tries to snatch the tassel that’s wrapped around the animal’s horns. The bulls come from the Camargue, and after the fight they return to their fields there. In Arles, past and present are one. The city features a mixture of modern urban development and historical buildings. If you dig deep enough, you end up in the sixth century. Or even in the second. You can see the discoveries unearthed during numerous excavations in the archaeological museum. Next to the amphitheatre, the Foundation Vincent van Gogh preserves the heritage of the Dutch artist, for whom Arles was like a second home. Information panels mark the locations where van Gogh created his works. We recommend that you simply sit down and try seeing the intense colours of Provence with his eyes.
The ship sails on in the direction of the Mediterranean, you'll notice the landscape around you changing. It becomes freer and wilder. The Rhône forks here, taking with it 20 million tonnes of debris, sand and clay every year and flushing it into the Mediterranean. Black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos are the star attractions of the Rhône Delta. Watch out for the flamingos between salt marshes and paddy fields, where you can see them filtering water. Herons and a wide array of other birds, dragonflies and lizards are to be spotted at literally every turn. Mosquitoes too, so we advise you to apply repellent. In 1970, the majority of this 120,000-hectare marshland - the only one of its kind in France - was appointed a nature reserve. It's the perfect place to go roaming, to take great pictures and to discover little villages.
Cruise the scenic Rhône Valley en route to Tournon. The attractive village of Tournon is home to quaint alleyways, a historic quarter and an imposing castle, built between the 14th and 16th centuries. Tournon has plenty of spectacular views for you to enjoy.
This old silk-trading city amazes visitors with its labyrinth of covered passageways called "traboules". These were originally created to ensure that the silk was kept dry as it was being transported. Today, you'll experience a world that's simultaneously old and modern, as Lyon's residents go about their daily lives surrounded by centuries-old architecture. Even beyond Vieux Lyon, there are great places to shop and go out in France's third-largest city. And after all that, you can take a breather amid the greenery of Parc de La Tête d'Or, discover Lyon's rich cultural offerings, or climb to the top of the basilica to enjoy the view and the rich mosaics decorating the walls. Getting hungry? Lyon is famous for its simple but exquisite cuisine focusing on regional products, which has earned Lyon the nickname "la ville de gueule" ("the city of the mouth").
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Lyon Airport for your return flight to the UK or extend your stay in Lyon.
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