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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

2016 Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d'Azur

Sold out in 2016 , Join us in 2017

ABOARD THE PRIVATELY OWNED 46-PASSENGER M/S PROVENCE DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS

Paris • Beaune • Lyon • Tournon • Viviers • Avignon • Arles • Nice

Courtesy Michael Gisselere
Château de Versailles

Revel in the splendor on display within Versailles' lush and gilded grounds in this special drone-shot film.

Trip Experience

Watch travelers meet a local vintner and taste a sampling of his wines in Beaujolais.

Courtesy Small World Productions
France’s Burgundy and Loire Regions

Revel in the art of good living as travel expert Rudy Maxa explores the legendary Burgundy region.

Trip Extension: Paris

Visit Paris's iconic sites via Metro or savor the tastes of France in a local restaurant on our optional extension.

Courtesy BBC.com Travel
In Paris, The Drink That Drove Van Gogh Mad

Toast to the legendary (and infamous) Green Fairy with this in-depth examination of absinthe.

Sold out in 2016 , Join us in 2017
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Itinerary Overview

Come marvel at the lights of Paris, the capital of romance ... then explore France by River Cruise Tour, where you'll sail throughout the French countryside aboard one of Grand Circle’s private French river cruisers—which offer a more intimate cruising experience, with a maximum of just 46 American travelers. Along the way, you'll discover the lovely landscapes and enchanting villages that inspired the great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries ... revel in picturesque scenery, like gently sloping hills and vineyards that sustain one of the greatest wine industries in the world ... visit ornate papal palaces, Gothic cathedrals, medieval fortifications, and ancient Roman ruins ... and cap off your explorations in the elegant Cote d’Azur, with its golden sands and opulent casinos.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $695

    Often referred to as the "City of Light," the French capital is one of Europe's most stunning and influential metropolitan centers, featuring renowned landmarks and world-famous art museums—combined with romance, style, and a certain je ne sais quoi that make it one of the world's leading travel destinations.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart today on your overnight flight to Paris, France.

  • Discover the many famed sights of Paris

    Arrive today in Paris. You are met at the airport by a Grand Circle representative and transferred to your hotel. During the afternoon, you may want to participate in a leisurely orientation walk with your Program Director to get acquainted with the area around your hotel.

    Gather in the early evening with your Program Director and traveling companions for a Welcome Drink and briefing. (If you began your discoveries early with our pre-trip extension to ParisFrance, you will join the main group today.) You dine on your own this evening; you can choose to relax over dinner at your hotel or ask your Program Director for restaurant suggestions in the area.

  • Discover the many famed sights of Paris

    Get to know the famed "City of Lights" this morning, starting with a panoramic tour of its highlights. Witness the metropolis from different perspectives as you travel along the notable Champs-Elysees—and as it ends at the large central roundabout, where twelve elegant tree-lined avenues converge, see the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and completed in 1836. You'll also drive by the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame and iconic Eiffel Tower. Then, get a sense of daily life in Paris during a walking tour of one of the city’s residential neighborhoods. 

    Or, join us on an optional afternoon tour to the Palace of Versailles. Your excursion includes a guided tour through the palace's Grand Chambers and the Hall of Mirrors (where the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed in 1919). You'll also enjoy time to visit the expansive French gardens at your leisure. PRE-SOLD ONLY: Due to limited space, this optional tour must be reserved at least 30 days prior to departure and cannot be booked onsite.

    This evening, gather at a local restaurant for a savory Welcome Dinner.

  • France’s Burgundy and Loire Regions

    Revel in the art of good living as travel expert Rudy Maxa explores the legendary Burgundy region.

    Today is free for independent exploration. If you like, you can go to the Louvre using public transportation. Stroll around on your own through gallery after gallery of works by the likes of Michelangelo. Linger in front of your favorites as long as you wish.

    Or, join us on a half-day optional tour into the countryside to see the lovely landscapes that inspired Monet.

    The unique light of the area's Seine Valley in Normandy kept Monet in residence for 43 years after he “discovered” the village of Giverny while looking out a train window in 1883. He stayed here until his death in 1926, and his grave is in the family vault at the town's Romanesque church. You'll travel to Monet's beloved village of Giverny, and explore the artist's home and gardens, now a museum dedicated to the great painter. The house is furnished as it was when the leader of the Impressionist School lived here, including his precious collection of Japanese engravings. The gardens have been replanted, and as you stroll through them, you'll see with your own eyes the landscapes that have graced countless Monet paintings. Here are the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden shaded by weeping willows, with its pond still full of the water lilies that so inspired his work. Please note: This optional tour is only available on departures from late-March through October.

    Later this afternoon, enjoy free time on your own.

  • View Burgundy's Cathedral in Beaune

    Travel through the renowned province of Burgundy today, departing Paris after breakfast for Macon.

    France is renowned for its legendary wine—a deeply ingrained part of its heritage and source of national pride. One of the country's eleven major wine regions, Burgundy boasts rich soil that produces many of the world's finest varietals, as well as enchanting landscapes dotted with vineyards. Stop late this morning for an exclusive Discovery Series Burgundy wine experience, during which you'll visit a château to learn more about this famed region and enjoy a light lunch.

    Continue your journey this afternoon with a scenic ride along Burgundy's Route des Vins (Wine Road), arriving in Macon late this afternoon and embarking your ship.

    This evening, savor your first onboard dinner.

  • View Macon while cruising the Saone River

    Your ship will start cruising the Saône River this morning. Perhaps you'll settle into a comfortable deck chair and view the passing riverside scenery. Or, find a favorite spot onboard to sip coffee and unwind with a book before docking in Lyon in the early afternoon.

    After lunch, disembark for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since its tenure as a Roman capital in the 1st century B.C., the city has been one of France’s most influential cultural and financial hubs. Lyon’s international silk industry flourished throughout the Renaissance, only to be brought to its knees by civil war. Fortunes changed once again in the 1800s with the invention of the first automatic loom. Today, France’s third-largest metropolis is considered a gastronomic capital—impressive in a country known for its exceptional cuisine. 

    This evening, gather for a Welcome Drink, followed by your Captain's Welcome Dinner.

  • Explore local French markets while touring Lyon

    Start the day with an exclusive Discovery Series French market experience, which takes place both onboard and off. First, explore a local market in Lyon, taking in the scenes of everyday life and varied sweet and savory items for sale. Then return to the ship to learn more about—and sample—regional specialties, including the many kinds of French breads, from the long, thin baguettes to the plumper loaves.

    The afternoon is yours to continue discovering Lyon on your own. Return to the ship this evening for dinner, followed by a live musical performance onboard.

  • Discover the local French culture during a Home Hosted Visit in Vernon

    Enjoy a relaxing morning cruising along the Rhône, taking in scenic views of vineyards, farmhouses, sleepy villages, and emerald-green wooded hillsides.

    Along the way to Tournon, you'll stop in Vienne to get to know a local family during an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit.

    Following lunch onboard, you’ll have the opportunity to partake in two Discovery Series events. First, learn how to prepare and taste several of France's culinary delights as your ship's chef demonstrates cooking techniques. Later, brush up on your conversational French during a language lesson.

  • Explore the charming town of Viviers during a walking tour

    This morning you'll arrive in Viviers—the gateway to Provence—where you’ll enjoy a closer look at this charming town on an included walking tour. Then you'll have free time to explore on your own.

    Return to the ship later for an onboard lunch before setting off for Avignon. You might want to find a comfortable deck chair and relax as you pass through a lovely stretch of the Ardeche region. It is an area of ancient villages and spa towns set against the backdrop of a rugged, natural landscape.

    During your cruise, you'll participate in two exclusive Discovery Series events: First, learn about the herbs of Provence, and their use in the legendary foods associated with this region. Later, your ship's chef will demonstrate some French cooking techniques. You'll also get the chance to sample the resulting fare.

    Later this evening you’ll enjoy dinner onboard, and your ship will dock in Avignon, where it will remain docked overnight.

  • Explore the Papal Palace and the streets of Avignon

    When you awaken this morning, you'll find yourself in Avignon. Set off on a walking tour to discover the "City of Popes." For most of the 14th century, the popes left the turmoil of Rome and installed themselves in this calm possession of the Catholic Church. In Avignon, beginning with Clement V (who was born here), they built residences, chateaux, a number of fortified palaces, and churches. Your tour includes a guided exploration of the impressive Papal Palace.

    Then you'll return to the ship for lunch onboard, and you'll have the afternoon to make your own discoveries in Avignon. Perhaps you'll explore the winding streets of some of the city's ancient neighborhoods, or relax at an outdoor cafe.

    Or, join an optional tour, An Afternoon in Provence. You'll discover the Provencal village of Les Baux de Provence during a walking tour, then visit the “Carrieres de Lumieres," where artwork is displayed on the walls of carved limestone chambers.

    Tonight, celebrate your journey with your travel companions at the Captain's Farewell Dinner.

  • View ancient Roman ruins in Arles

    In the early morning hours, begin cruising to Arles. Arrive after breakfast and set off on a walking tour of the town beloved by Vincent van Gogh—and find signs of places rendered in his works. See the Cafe l'Alcazar, the still-standing establishment where van Gogh stayed and used the manager, Madame Ginoux, as his model for his painting l'Arlesienne.

    One of the most distinctive towns in enchanting Provence, visiting Arles is like journeying back to Ancient Rome. The town is filled with landmarks and ruins dating from its periods of Roman domination that began in 30 BC. Witness the exterior of a colossal hilltop Roman amphitheater. Groups of spectators were thrilled during gladiator fights there in the first century—and bullfights are still held today, more than 20 centuries later. You'll also see the 7,000-seat Antique Theater, and enjoy  a bit of time on your own to continue exploring the cobbled lanes.

    After lunch onboard, head into the Camargue region—Europe's largest delta, a dramatic landscape caught between land and sea—for an exclusive Discovery Series visit to a bull farm. The keepers of this land are its gardians, akin to our cowboys. They live here with their families, often several generations together, carving out lifestyles in sync with the land, following the rhythms of nature and the needs of the livestock they tend. Experience traditional daily life at a gardian's bull farm, and the friendliness of their down-to-earth hospitality. You'll also climb aboard a farm truck to see the bulls in their natural environment.

    Tonight, savor a Provencal-themed dinner onboard the ship.

  • 36 Hours in Nice

    Witness the unique confluence of French and Italian cultures—the best of both worlds—on display in coastal Nice.

    After breakfast, disembark and transfer through a scenic part of Provence to the French Riviera's Cote d'Azur. En route you'll stop in Draguignan for a visit to the Rhone American Cemetery. Established just days after Allied troops landed and began an offensive against the German Army in southern France and the Rhone Valley, the cemetery commemorates one of the important battles that followed the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. Today, 861 American soldiers are buried at the memorial site, comprising twelve acres near the city of Draguignan.

    After visiting the cemetery and commemorating the battles that liberated France, continue on and arrive around mid-day in Nice. Drop your luggage off at your hotel close to the Old Town and get lunch on your own. Nice is the Cote d'Azur's premier Riviera resort—a city of art and theater known for its lush gardens and superb setting on the Mediterranean's Bay of Angels. This afternoon join your Program Director for a relaxing walk around the environs of your hotel, including a visit to the lively Cours Saleya markets.

    Enjoy a Farewell Drink with your fellow travelers, after which dinner is on your own and your evening is at leisure.

    • Meals included:

    This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or take advantage of our extension to Nice, France and explore the French Riviera, or our extension to the Italian Rivieria & the Cinque Terre.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Nice, France

    3 nights from only $695

    Elegant hotels, fashionable seaside promenades, an opulent casino, and famous sunny beaches—Nice more than merits her title as the grande dame of the Cote d'Azur. Stroll the ancient lanes of this city, where the French Riviera phenomenon began more than a century ago.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Italian Riviera & the Cinque Terre

    4 nights from only $1095

    Extend your trip with a stay in Santa Margherita, Italy. This lovely seaside resort town is home to several medieval relics, like a 16th-century castle, and the Abbazia della Cervara (Abbey of Cervara), which was erected in the late 1300s, and features an expansive garden overlooking the sea. Santa Margherita is a charming place to relax and sample the town's vintages.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 3 nights from only $695

    Elegant hotels, fashionable seaside promenades, an opulent casino, and famous sunny beaches—Nice more than merits her title as the grande dame of the Cote d'Azur. Stroll the ancient lanes of this city, where the French Riviera phenomenon began more than a century ago.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 4 nights from only $1095

    Extend your trip with a stay in Santa Margherita, Italy. This lovely seaside resort town is home to several medieval relics, like a 16th-century castle, and the Abbazia della Cervara (Abbey of Cervara), which was erected in the late 1300s, and features an expansive garden overlooking the sea. Santa Margherita is a charming place to relax and sample the town's vintages.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart today on your flight to Nice, France. 

  • View the Mediterranean while touring Nice

    Arrive today in Nice, known for its superb setting on the Mediterranean's Bay of Angels. You'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

    This evening, meet up with your Program Director and those travelers who took the pre-trip extension to Nice, France, or Italian Riviera & the Cinque Terre, Italy for a Welcome Drink and briefing. Your Program Director can provide suggestions for dinner on your own tonight.

  • 36 Hours in Nice

    Witness the unique confluence of French and Italian cultures—the best of both worlds—on display in coastal Nice.

    After breakfast, check out of your hotel and join a discovery visit of a local flower market with your Program Director. You have the remainder of the morning at leisure to further explore Nice and enjoy lunch on your own.

    This afternoon, we transfer to Arles to embark our ship, which will mark the start of your France River Cruise Tour. Along the way, we'll stop in Draguignan for a visit to the Rhone American Cemetery. Established just days after Allied troops landed and began an offensive against the German Army in southern France and the Rhone Valley, the cemetery commemorates one of the important battles that followed the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. Today, 861 American soldiers are buried at the memorial site, comprising twelve acres near the city of Draguignan.

    The crew will welcome you aboard before you enjoy your Provencal-themed dinner onboard this evening. The ship remains in Arles overnight.

  • View ancient Roman ruins in Arles

    Arles will be forever associated with the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. Disembark for a tour of the town so beloved by the artist. As you explore, you'll encounter signs indicating places rendered in Van Gogh's works. Here you'll find still standing the Cafe l'Alcazar, the establishment where the artist stayed and used the manager, Madame Ginoux, as his model for his painting l'Arlesienne.

    Visiting Arles, one of the most distinctive towns in enchanting Provence, is like journeying back to ancient Rome. The town is filled with landmarks and ruins dating from its periods of Roman domination that began in 30 BC. Here, you'll view the outside of the colossal hilltop Roman amphitheater, where 21,000 spectators thrilled to gladiator fights in the first century and where bullfights are held today—20 centuries later. You'll also view the 7,000-seat Antique Theater during your tour of this ancient, cobbled city. Then you'll have some free time to explore on your own.

    This afternoon, you'll embark on an excursion into the Camargue. Lined with sandbars and reed-covered marshes, the Camargue is Europe's largest delta, a dramatic landscape caught between land and sea. The keepers of this land are its gardians, akin to our cowboys. They live here with their families, often several generations together, carving out lifestyles in sync with the land, following the rhythms of nature and the needs of the livestock they tend. You'll visit a gardian's bull farm, where you'll enjoy lunch with them, revel in the friendliness of their down-to-earth hospitality, and experience traditional daily life. You'll also climb aboard a farm truck to visit the bulls in their natural environment.

    Return to the ship this evening to begin your cruise to Avignon. You'll join your fellow travelers onboard for a Captain's Welcome Reception and Port Talk, followed by the Captain's Welcome Dinner.

  • Explore the Papal Palace and the streets of Avignon

    This morning you'll set off on a walking tour to discover Avignon, the "City of Popes." For most of the 14th century, the Popes left the turmoil of Rome and installed themselves in this calm possession of the Catholic Church. In Avignon, beginning with Clement V (who was born here), they built residences, chateaux, a number of fortified palaces, and churches. Your tour includes a guided exploration of the impressive Papal Palace, followed by some free time in Avignon before returning to the ship for lunch.

    You have the afternoon free to make your own discoveries in Avignon. Perhaps you'll explore the winding streets of some of the city's ancient neighborhoods, or relax at an outdoor cafe.

    Or, join an optional tour, An Afternoon in Provence. You'll discover the Provencal village of Les Baux de Provence during a walking tour, then visit the “Carrieres de Lumieres,” where masterpieces are displayed on the walls of carved limestone chambers.

    Enjoy dinner onboard with your fellow travelers tonight.

  • Explore the charming town of Viviers during a walking tour

    Arrive in Viviers—the gateway to Provence—early this morning. After breakfast, get a closer look at this charming town during a walking tour.

    Return to the ship before lunch and spend the rest of the day cruising toward Lyon. During today’s journey, enjoy three exclusive onboard Discovery Series events. First, learn about Herbs of Provence and its use in the legendary dishes associated with this region. This afternoon, see how to prepare and sample several of France's culinary delights as your ship's chef demonstrates cooking techniques. Then, brush up on your conversational French during a language lesson.

  • Explore the historic town of Lyon

    Enjoy a relaxing morning cruising to Lyon along the Rhône, taking in scenic views of vineyards, farmhouses, sleepy villages, and emerald-green wooded hillsides.

    En route, you'll stop in Vienne to get to know a local family during an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit.

    Dinner is onboard this evening, followed by a live musical performance.

  • Explore local French markets while touring Lyon

    Disembark in Lyon after breakfast for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since its tenure as a Roman capital in the first century B.C., the city has been one of France’s most influential cultural and financial hubs. Lyon’s international silk industry flourished throughout the Renaissance, only to be brought to its knees by civil war. Fortunes changed once again in the 1800s with the invention of the first automatic loom. Today, France’s third-largest metropolis is considered a gastronomic capital—impressive in a country known for its exceptional cuisine. 

    Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for the Captain's Farewell Dinner.

  • View Macon while cruising the Saone River

    Start the day with an exclusive Discovery Series French market experience, which takes place both onboard and off. First, explore a local market in Lyon, taking in the scenes of everyday life and varied sweet and savory items for sale. Then return to the ship to learn more about—and taste—regional specialties, including the many kinds of French breads, from the long, thin baguettes to the plumper loaves.

    Following lunch onboard, begin a leisurely cruise along the Saône River to Macon, soaking in charming riverside scenery as you pass.

    After dinner this evening, arrive in Macon and go ashore for a discovery walk of this charming city with your Program Director—considered the entryway to the Burgundy region and the end of the Beaujolais region.

  • View Burgundy's Cathedral in Beaune

    Travel through the renowned province of Burgundy today, disembarking the ship in Macon after breakfast for Paris with scenic ride along Burgundy's Route des Vins (Wine Road).

    France is renowned for its legendary wine—a deeply ingrained part of its heritage and source of national pride. One of the country's eleven major wine regions, Burgundy boasts rich soil that produces many of the world's finest varietals as well as enchanting landscapes dotted with vineyards. Stop late this morning for an exclusive Discovery Series Burgundy wine experience, during which you'll visit a local chateaux to learn more about this famed region and enjoy a light lunch.

    Continue your journey to Paris. Upon arrival this evening settle in, relax, and enjoy dinner on your own.

  • France’s Burgundy and Loire Regions

    Revel in the art of good living as travel expert Rudy Maxa explores the legendary Burgundy region.

    Get to know the famed "City of Lights" this morning, starting with a panoramic tour. Witness the metropolis from different perspectives as you travel along the notable Champs-Elysees—and as it ends at the large central roundabout, where twelve elegant tree-lined avenues converge, see the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and completed in 1836. You'll also drive by the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame. Then, get a sense of daily life in Paris during a walking tour of one of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

    Or, join an optional afternoon tour to the Palace of Versailles. Your excursion includes a guided tour through the palace's Grand Chambers and the Hall of Mirrors (where the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed in 1919). You'll also enjoy time to visit the expansive French gardens at your leisure.

    PRE-SOLD ONLY: Due to limited space, this optional tour must be reserved at least 30 days prior to departure and cannot be booked onsite.

    Dinner tonight is on your own, and your evening is at leisure.

  • Discover the many famed sights of Paris

    Today is free for independent exploration. If you like, you can go to the Louvre using public transportation. Stroll around on your own through gallery after gallery of works by the likes of Michelangelo. Linger in front of your favorites as long as you wish.

    Or, join us on a half-day optional tour into the countryside to see the lovely landscapes that inspired Monet. The unique light of the area's Seine Valley in Normandy kept Monet in residence for 43 years after he “discovered” the village of Giverny while looking out a train window in 1883. He stayed here until his death in 1926, and his grave is in the family vault at the town's Romanesque church. Travel to Monet's beloved village of Giverny, and explore the artist's home and gardens, now a museum dedicated to the great painter. The house is furnished as it was when the leader of the Impressionist School lived here, including his precious collection of Japanese engravings. The gardens have been replanted, and as you stroll through them, you'll see with your own eyes the landscapes that have graced countless Monet paintings. Here are the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden shaded by weeping willows, with its pond still full of the water lilies that so inspired his work. Please note: This optional tour is only available on departures from late-April through October.

    Later this afternoon, enjoy free time on your own. 

    Gather tonight with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

    • Meals included:

    This morning, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your explorations with our post-trip extension in Paris, France.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Paris, France

    3 nights from only $695

    Often referred to as the "City of Light," the French capital is one of Europe's most stunning and influential metropolitan centers, featuring renowned landmarks and world-famous art museums—combined with romance, style, and a certain je ne sais quoi that make it one of the world's leading travel destinations.

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d'Azur

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