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The Leader in Enriching Cultural Experiences since 1958

Worldwide Discoveries Designed for American Travelers

2017 Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d'Azur

Paris • Lyon • Viviers • Avignon • Arles • Nice

ABOARD THE PRIVATELY OWNED 46-PASSENGER M/S PROVENCE DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS
88% Traveler Excellence Rating Read reviews

13 Days from only $3895 including international airfare

Courtesy Michael Gisselere
Château de Versailles

View Versailles’ gilded grounds in this drone-shot film before discovering them on your own during your free time in Paris.

Trip Experience

Watch travelers explore the "City of Lights" and more on this French River Cruise Tour.

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.

FROM
$3895
13 DAYS
$300/DAY
including international airfare
12 DAYS FROM $2795 River Cruise Only
Extend Your Trip
 

Learn about the Roman ruins
medieval castles, and striking
landscapes along Rhône River

 
 

Extend your discoveries and time abroad in Nice
See More Options »

NEW: Activity Level

Our NEW Activity Level rating system ranks our trips on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) to help you determine if a trip is right for you. The information below is a general guide to our rating system, but see our itineraries for much more detailed physical activity information about each trip.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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, and visit ornate papal palaces, Gothic cathedrals, medieval fortifications, and ancient Roman ruins … Finally, we’ve added an extra night in the Cote d'Azur's premier Riviera hotspot—elegant Nice—at no additional cost. You'll have more time to explore the city’s golden sands and opulent casinos without additional costs. In fact, we've reduced prices $200-$300 per person on most 2017 departures.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $645

    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.

  • Arrive in Paris today, where you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You can choose to join your Program Director for a leisurely orientation walk with to get acquainted with the area around your hotel.

    This evening, gather with your Program Director and traveling companions, including those from the Paris, France pre-trip extension, for a Welcome Drink and briefing before enjoying dinner on your own.

  • 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. 

    The afternoon is yours in Paris to pursue your own interests. Head to the Louvre using public transportation, exploring its many galleries at your leisure, or venture out to gilded Palace of Versailles to set eyes on its magnificent Grand Chambers and the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed in 1919.

    This evening, join your fellow travelers at a brasserie for a distinctly Parisian 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.

    Travel through the renowned province of Burgundy today, departing Paris after breakfast for Macon. En route, brush up on your conversational French during an exclusive Discovery Series language lesson.

    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's rich soil produces many of the world's finest varietals and its enchanting landscapes are dotted with vineyards. Stop along the way late this morning for a Burgundy wine experience, during which you'll visit a local chateau 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 dinner aboard the ship.

  • Begin cruising along the Saône River to Lyon early this morning, enjoying a relaxing start to the day as you soak in the passing riverside scenery. Or, perhaps, learn how to prepare—then sample—a few of France's culinary delights as your ship's chef demonstrates cooking techniques during an exclusive Discovery Series event. 

    Arrive after lunch and disembark for a tour of historic Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once the capital of Gaul under the Romans, Lyon flourished as a Renaissance trading center based on its extensive silk industry, and the first automatic loom able to weave complex patterns was invented here in the 1800s. In a country known for its fine cuisine, Lyon is said to be a gastronomic capital.

    After your tour, explore all of Lyon’s delights on your own, from its modern restaurants to its medieval ramparts.

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

  • 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 local 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.

    Following lunch onboard this afternoon, you have free time to continue discovering Lyon on your own.

    Dinner is onboard this evening.

  • As you cruise the scenic Rhône along the way to Viviers, you'll stop in historically-rich Vienne for an included walking tour. This small town has its roots in Gallo-Roman times, and following your tour, you’ll have free time to explore its ancient ruins and narrow, cobblestone alleyways on your own. Or you can join your Program Director in a game of Petanque. Akin to horseshoes, players of this local pastime aim to get hollow metal balls as close to a wooden ball as possible without stepping outside of a marked circle.

    After lunch onboard, get a glimpse into everyday life in this region of the country when you meet a local family for a sweet treat, coffee, and some conversation, during an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit.

    Continue sailing towards Viviers this evening.

  • Arrive in Viviers—the gateway to Provence—early this morning. After breakfast, get a closer look at this charming town during walking tour, followed by free time to explore on your own.

    Return to the ship for lunch, and set off for Avignon. During your afternoon cruise, find a comfortable deck chair and relax as you pass through a lovely stretch of the Ardeche region, an area of ancient villages and spa towns set against the backdrop of a rugged, natural landscape. You'll also learn about Herbs de Provence and its use in the legendary foods associated with this region during an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Enjoy dinner onboard this evening, and dock in Avignon tonight.

  • Explore Avignon, known as the "City of Popes," on a morning walking tour. For most of the 14th century, the popes left the turmoil of Rome and installed themselves in this calm possession of the Catholic Church. Beginning with Clement V (who was born here), they built residences, chateaux, a number of fortified palaces, and churches in Avignon, and you'll have guided exploration of the impressive Papal Palace during your tour.

    The afternoon is yours to make your own discoveries in Avignon. Wend the winding streets of some of the city's ancient neighborhoods, or relax at an outdoor cafe. Or, join an optional Afternoon in Provence to visit Provencal village of Les Baux-de-Provence and the Carrieres de Lumieres, where artwork is displayed on the walls of carved limestone chambers.

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

  • 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 indicating 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 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, more than 20 centuries later. You'll also see the 7,000-seat Antique Theater. 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. You'll visit a gardian's bull farm, where you'll experience traditional daily life while taking in 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.

  • Conclude the river cruise portion of your trip this morning, disembarking after breakfasting to travel through scenic Provence to Nice on the Cote d'Azur (the French Riviera).

    Stop en route this morning in Draguignan to visit to the Rhone American Cemetery, set on twelve acres outside the city. 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.

    Continue on to Nice, arriving in the mid-afternoon. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon to settle in, relax, and get to know the area, with 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.

    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. On your discovery walk with your Program Director this morning, take in the city's unique, seaside spirit as you stroll Vieux Nice (Old Town) and the Promenade des Anglais.

    Experience the city's diverse culinary options during your independent lunch, and the rest of the day to pursue your personal interests in Nice. Perhaps you’ll head over to the Musée Matisse to view works of the famed master artist. Or, unwind on one of the area’s local beaches such as Ponchettes or Centenaire. The Cote d'Azur’s stunning beachfront is comprised of large, uneven pebbles, known locally as galets. Travelers from across the country and beyond, flock to the coast for a little relaxation and sunshine.

    Gather with your fellow travelers this evening for a farewell toast, then enjoy dinner on your own.

    • Meals included:

    This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or continue your discoveries with the Nice, France or Italian Rivieria & the Cinque Terre post-trip extensions.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Nice, France

    3 nights from only $645

    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

    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 $645

    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

    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. 

  • Arrive in Nice today, where you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You can choose to join your Program Director for a leisurely orientation walk with to get acquainted with the area around your hotel.

    This evening, gather with your Program Director and traveling companions, including those from the  Nice, France or Italian Riviera & the Cinque Terre, Italy pre-trip extensions, for a Welcome Drink and briefing before enjoying dinner on your own.

  • 36 Hours in Nice

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

    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. On your discovery walk with your Program Director this morning, take in the city's unique, seaside spirit as you stroll Vieux Nice (Old Town) and the Promenade des Anglais.

    Spend the remainder of the day pursuing your personal interests in Nice. Perhaps you’ll head over to the Musée Matisse to view works of the famed master artist. Or, unwind on one of the area’s local beaches such as Ponchettes or Centenaire. The Cote d'Azur’s stunning beachfront is comprised of large, uneven pebbles, known locally as galets. Travelers from across the country and beyond, flock to the coast for a little relaxation and sunshine.

    Enjoy lunch and dinner on your own to experience the city's diverse culinary options.

  • Enjoy time on your own in Nice this morning before traveling by motorcoach through scenic Provence in the afternoon, as you make your way to Arles.

    Stop en route this afternoon in Draguignan to visit to the Rhone American Cemetery, set on twelve acres outside the city. 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.

    Continue on to Arles, arriving late this afternoon to embark the ship. Tonight, enjoy a Provencal-themed onboard dinner.

  • Discover Arles on a morning walking tour of the town beloved by Vincent van Gogh—and find signs indicating 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 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, more than 20 centuries later. You'll also see the 7,000-seat Antique Theater. 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. You'll visit a gardian's bull farm, where you'll experience traditional daily life while taking in their down-to-earth hospitality. You'll also climb aboard a farm truck to see the bulls in their natural environment.

    Return to the ship this evening and begin cruising to Avignon. Join your fellow travelers for the Captain's Welcome Reception and Port Talk, followed by the Captain's Welcome Dinner. The ship arrives in Avignon late tonight.

  • Explore Avignon, known as the "City of Popes," on a morning walking tour. For most of the 14th century, the popes left the turmoil of Rome and installed themselves in this calm possession of the Catholic Church. Beginning with Clement V (who was born here), they built residences, chateaux, a number of fortified palaces, and churches in Avignon, and you'll have guided exploration of the impressive Papal Palace during your tour.

    The afternoon is yours to make your own discoveries in Avignon. Wend the winding streets of some of the city's ancient neighborhoods, or relax at an outdoor cafe. Or, join an optional Afternoon in Provence to visit Provencal village of Les Baux-de-Provence and the Carrieres de Lumieres, where artwork is displayed on the walls of carved limestone chambers.

    Begin cruising to Viviers this evening, arriving late tonight.

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

    Return to the ship before lunch onboard, and spend the rest of the day cruising toward Vienne, where you'll arrive this evening. During your cruise today, enjoy three exclusive Discovery Series events. First, learn about Herbs of Provence and its use in the legendary foods associated with this region. Then this afternoon, see how to prepare (and sample) a few of France's culinary delights as your ship's chef demonstrates cooking techniques. Early this evening, brush up on your conversational French during a language lesson.

  • Disembark after breakfast in historically-rich Vienne for an included walking tour. This small town has its roots in Gallo-Roman times, and following your tour, you’ll have free time to explore its ancient ruins and narrow, cobblestone alleyways on your own. Or you can join your Program Director in a game of Petanque. Akin to horseshoes, players of this local pastime aim to get hollow metal balls as close to a wooden ball as possible without stepping outside of a marked circle.

    After lunch onboard, get a glimpse into everyday life in this region of the country when you meet a local family for a sweet treat, coffee, and some conversation, during an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit.

    Begin cruising towards Lyon, where your ship will dock overnight. Arrive in the evening, followed by dinner onboard.

  • 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.

    After your tour, explore all of Lyon’s delights on your own, from its modern restaurants to its medieval ramparts.

    Dinner is onboard this evening.

  • 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 your Captain's Farewell 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.

  • France’s Burgundy and Loire Regions

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

    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's rich soil produces many of the world's finest varietals and its enchanting landscapes are dotted with vineyards. Stop along the way late this morning for a Burgundy wine experience, during which you'll visit a local chateau to learn more about this famed region and enjoy a light lunch.

    Continue your journey to Paris, arriving this evening. The evening is yours to settle in, relax, and enjoy dinner on your own.

  • 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. 

    The afternoon is yours in Paris to pursue your own interests. Head to the Louvre using public transportation, exploring its many galleries at your leisure, or venture out to gilded Palace of Versailles to set eyes on its magnificent Grand Chambers and the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed in 1919.

    Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a Farewell Dinner.

    • Meals included:

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

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Paris, France

    3 nights from only $645

    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

Read Travel Planning Guide