Fly to Marseille. Transfer from the airport to your ship, docked in Avignon.* After boarding, take free time to explore this quaint town on the scenic Rhône River, or join our "welcome walk” to stretch your legs and get oriented. (Dinner)* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
Disembark after breakfast and take a walking tour of Arles with its diverse architectural highlights. Experience the city's vibrant colors and striking quality of light that have inspired artists. Arles is also the site of some impressive Roman ruins, including Les Arènes, an arena that seats 20,000 and is still in use, as well as Romanesque monuments such as the Church of Saint-Trôphime, completed in the 15th century. Enjoy free time to explore Arles on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, set out on a guided walk of Avignon, nicknamed "City of Popes” because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377. Stroll through the historic center, see the picturesque Pont d'Avignon and walk the Place de l'Horloge. Continue to the renowned Palace of the Popes for a guided tour through this rambling maze of Gothic architecture that served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. After the tour, enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring Avignon. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner are served on board your ship. We depart for Viviers this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning join a walking tour of Viviers' Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Once a 5th-century Roman settlement, today the cobblestone streets are dominated by the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. This afternoon, we set sail to Tournon. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Board the Train de l'Ardèche this morning for a locomotive ride through the deep gorges of the Ardèche plateau, cut by the Doux River. Return to your ship and enjoy lunch on board as we cruise past dramatic landscapes. Arrive in Vienne this afternoon, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. Visit the Temple of Augustus and Livia, the Roman amphitheater and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice on a walking tour before dinner on board the ship. We remain docked in Vienne this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, disembark in Lyon for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Continue with a guided visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), with free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world-famous. Your ship remains docked overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Beaujolais, where viticultural tradition runs deep and enjoy a tasting in one of Beaujolais's famous cellars. Return to your ship for lunch and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Lyon airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your time in France with three exciting nights in Paris, one of the world's most romantic cities. (Breakfast)* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
8 Days 7 Guided Tours / 1 Countries
Daily Shore Excursions: 7 included guided tours
Port Charges: Included on all itineraires
Found southern France a very beautiful and interesting place. Mid August is a great time to visit since the area is less crowded-many people are away on holiday, university students are not back yet. The weather was warm but not as hot as it had been earlier. Loved Lyon-very comfortable exploring with guide and then by ourselves. Interesting old city center, a river port and silk weaving center. Vineyards on the hillsides all around. Great shore excursion to Beaujolais winery, even better visit to a truffle farm whose owner is so passionate about his work and his animals, and a farm that makes goat cheese. Loved the night time tour by flashlight through Viviens (the Lyon to Avignon direction has this tour at night-much better than the day tour going the other direction). It was like stepping into a history book and walking through a medieval town of narrow cobbled streets, houses and the seat of the bishop. The cathedral is closed at night. Many places to see Roman ruins. So much history. We chose this tour specifically because we wanted to see Avignon and were not disappointed. It is a completely walled city. The palace of the 14th century popes is amazing. The local guides are the stars of the Viking cruises-that\'s why we choose Viking. Their service and organization is excellent. The people in the area, on the ship and the guides were so friendly and we learned so much from them.
Viking cruises are wonderful. They offer numerous excursions to accommodate all guests and the tour guides are very knowledgeable. The food is excellent.
the trip is great, incredibly well organized, food was great, excursions were very interesting, program manager Mike was absolutely fantastic, staff was excellent. Absolutely positive experience.
Viking service was excellent. While the food was good and a French menu was provided, it was not great and only vaguely French. Some items were fantastic. Pasta Carbonnara, minestroni soup - delicious but not french. Tours were very well organized. Guides were excellent.
In our opinion, Viking is not quite as good as it was. Perhaps they have overextended into the ocean cruise market? We noted lower staffing, more "optional tours", and itinerary changes from prior years.
This trip was absolutely wonderful.
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