The best holidays are when you meet nice people - and yourself. The perfect setting for a rendezvous: a city full of winding lanes and Renaissance façades watched over by a lofty basilica. The Saône and the Rhône meet in Lyon before heading off on their honeymoon - to the Mediterranean, of course. You are welcome to join them. The sun sets into the river as you sip your Côte du Rhône. Medieval Viviers is waiting for you, as is the Ardèche, which brings a special element to the ambience: it has dug magical caves up to 300 m deep into the limestone. Above ground the halls of the monumental Papal Palace await you in magnificent Avignon, while in Arles you have your pick of sunny spots on romantic corners. But no fairy tale is complete without white horses. Voilà! Here they are: in the wild Camargue.
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.
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.
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. Wine connoisseurs, however, are advised to take part in a tasting session in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This is an informative and inexpensive way to sample famous wines.
Overlooking the Rhône, the town of Vienne was once Rome's major wine port. With visible Gallo-Roman heritage and spectacular Roman ruins, this divine riverfront city is full of photo opportunities. This morning, enjoy free time to explore the Roman monuments and medieval churches. And in the afternoon join Lyon, where 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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