Sailing along the Rhône River through stunning southern France—a place where wine and food blend seamlessly for the gastronomical journey of a lifetime—you’re in for a charming French feast for your senses and your soul. Avalon Waterways’ customizable cruises take you deeper into the heart of every location they traverse, with off-the-beaten-path excursions and attractions tailored to your desires and passions. Gourmands, and anyone who just relishes savoring local cuisines and wines from around the world, this trip is for you! Treat yourself to the lands of local patisseries, palate-tempting cuisine, and celebrated wines that flourish beside the wondrous waters of the Rhône.
Flowing from the glacial waters of the Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean Sea, the Rhône River winds its way through the legendary landscapes of sun-washed lavender fields and fabled French vineyards that inspired Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Gauguin. Marvel at medieval hilltop villages that are home to centuries-old Provençal kitchens featuring the epicurean delights of your dreams on this cruise where wanderlust flows around every bend.
All along the way, you’ll experience an elevated journey with only up to 150 guests. That means Avalon Waterways can deliver the personalized attention that the bigger cruise operators can’t. You’ll also find modern amenities and a ship that prioritizes sustainability and hospitality. For Avalon Waterways sustainability means minimizing energy and water use and cutting down on waste so that you can be rest assured that your trip’s footprint is small.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Enjoy a welcome reception on board and then get an entirely different perspective of Lyon on a relaxing evening drive around the illuminated city. You’ll experience the heart of the city in the magical Presqu’île district, admire the grand architecture of the historic buildings lining Place des Terreaux, and see the monumental Bartholdi Fountain, among other delights.
Wake up and prepare to feast! Take a guided culinary walk through Lyon to discover architecture and local specialties in a festival of colors, aromas, and taste. Or join a cooking class to make your own Lyonnaise specialty—and delight your friends and family with your new skills when you’re back home.
Day 3Tain l'Hermitage/Tournon-Viviers
Back on board, join a cooking demonstration and learn how to prepare a Lyonnaise treat while sailing to Viviers. This evening, you’ll discover the haunting history of Viviers—a tiny village lost to the Middle Ages—under the yellow hues of moonlight. Legends, tales, and ghost stories abound on a walk through this small town and its steep, narrow alleyways, lined with centuries-old stone houses. You’ll encounter many architectural treasures from its medieval heyday, including one of France’s oldest cathedrals, which incorporates Romanesque, Gothic, and later elements and houses a collection of Gobelin tapestries.
Day 5 Avignon
Or spend your free time exploring Avignon with a leisurely stroll or a bike ride through the tree-lined streets and leafy squares within its medieval walls. Be sure to visit the Palace of the Popes, Europe’s largest Gothic palace that covers more than 160,000 square feet and boasts many chapels, cloisters, and libraries. And make time to admire the Pont d’Avignon, a landmark medieval bridge that once spanned the Rhône—only four arches of the original 22 still stand today.
Day 6 Arles
In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to shop, stroll, or just relax in a beautiful park along Arles’ Boulevard des Lice.Arles is perhaps most famous for inspiring Vincent Van Gogh, who painted the Café de la Nuit in Café in the Evening—a place that’s still operating today. Another subject of his, the garden of the former Arles Hospital, is preserved to look as it did in Van Gogh’s day. For those who want to try their hand at painting their own Starry Night in the very place that inspired this impressionist master, you can opt for a painting class that will instruct you how to mimic the brushstrokes of Van Gogh and take your own masterpiece home with you.