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. See the Temple of Augustus and Livia, and visit 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 enjoy a leisurely train ride from Lyon through the countryside of east central France to Paris to board your second ship, where a Welcome Dinner is served. (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, embark on a tour of this dazzling city and marvel at its most remarkable sights, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. Take in the École Militaire (Military School), Orsay Museum and Latin Quarter, and resilient Notre Dame Cathedral. Then drive past the Louvre and Opera House and along the famed Champs-Élysées. Alternatively, you may join an optional tour to explore one of the world's most celebrated collections of art at the Louvre. Return on board for dinner and start your cruise on the Seine this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Arrive in La Roche Guyon before breakfast and enjoy a morning at your leisure to explore. The village is officially classified as one of France's most beautiful; you will see why as you stroll through the town's narrow streets lined with picturesque houses with wood-paneled facades. After lunch, join an included tour to the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926. Visit the beautiful gardens and charming stone farmhouse where he lived and worked; see the water garden with the recognizable Japanese bridge, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas that inspired many of his masterpieces.† Dinner is served on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)† Monet gardens not available before April 1 or after November 1; a visit to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, favored by van Gogh and other artists, will be substituted.
Indulge in leisurely morning cruising along the Seine. Spend the afternoon in the medieval city of Rouen, preeminent capital of Normandy. Begin with a walking tour through the center of Old Town, where you see the spectacular Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, often painted by Claude Monet, and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock. As you walk among the half-timbered storybook buildings, allow yourself to be transported back through time; see the 14th-century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and the nearby Market Square where she was martyred.
Use your free time to discover more of Rouen or visit one of its museums of art or antiquities. Dine on board or at a sidewalk café. Your ship remains docked overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, begin your full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy. Drive past Gold Beach, Courseulles sur Mer and Juno Beach on your way to visit such World War II landmarks as Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery and Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum. Alternatively, you may take a tour of Bayeaux, where you can admire the magnificent tapestry that chronicles the pre–Battle of Hastings events. Afterward, continue to Normandy's coast and enjoy some free time at Juno Beach after your visit to the museum; then visit the Pegasus Museum. Return to your ship for dinner and relax on board, or take an evening stroll through Rouen. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Arrive this morning in the small town of Les Andelys, known for its imposing castle, Château Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. Join a guided walk to this fatally flawed masterpiece of Middle Ages architecture before returning to your ship. Enjoy scenic sailing this afternoon as you cruise toward Paris. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, disembark for a visit to Château de Malmaison, where Napoleon Bonaparte spent his final days in France. Along with the Tuileries, this elegant manor house, purchased by the emperor's wife Josephine in 1799, served as the seat of Napoleon's French government from 1800 to 1802. This afternoon, join an optional tour to the luxurious Palace of Versailles, former home of Louis XIV. This evening, you can take in the illuminated sights of Paris during a panoramic drive and cruise. Your ship remains docked in Paris overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your time in France's romantic capital with a 3-night Paris extension. (Breakfast)* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
0 DaysPort Charges: Included on all itineraires
At his was our second Viking River cruise and it was excellent. Highly recommend.
We chose France's Finest on Viking based on the itinerary and because our anniversary is on Bastille Day and we wanted to be in France one year for our anniversary. Viking is very service oriented and always rate above average in my opinion. We took the included tours which gave an overview of the places we were docked. I especially enjoyed the small towns where we were docked and could walk from the boat. To get from the Rhoen river to the Seine river, we took the TGV fast trains. Viking took our luggage by truck and it was waiting in our stateroom when we boarded the second ship. The whole train trip was seamless as Viking reserved 1st class seats and their representatives guided the group from the ship to train and they were waiting for us in Paris. Entertainment was good as they brought groups on for evenings, food was also very good with selections for even the picky eaters but we are not foodies so for us it was very good. Viking is not upscale which suits us but if people like dressing up they should look at other ships. I guess you could says we like the Viking brand as this was our 5th & 6th Viking River cruises.
Viking always proves to be a pleasant experience. I feel they are on top of every situation and truly make everyone feel comfortable.
Viking did a great job of taking care of the guest on this cruise. Food was excellent, service fantastic and the crew(s) were attentive to your every need. Our two Program Directors did a great job of keeping everyone informed and engaged in each day's activities or excursions.
The local tour guides and trip directors for the tour and cruise portions of the trip were informative and personable. We enjoyed all parts of the trip - cruise food, personnel, airport transfers, excursions. Everything seemed well planned.
Everything on the trip went well. Planning was good; information received in a timely manner.
This was our second experience with Affordable Tours and Viking Cruises. Everything that both agencies did was perfect. We can't wait to use Affordable's services again. Looking forward to our next Viking journey also.
Post cruise to Paris was in a lovely hotel, Saint James Albany, perfectly located to walk to the major museums - Louvre, d'Orsay, Orangerie. Hotel was across the street from Tuileries Garden.
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