Belle France
From Brisbane To France - 15 Nights

Departing from:
Brisbane
Destination:
France
Duration:
15 Nights
Travel Dates:
23/06/20 to 08/07/20

Package Details

Overview

Discover the beauty of France with us on this gorgeous river cruise aboard Amadeus Provence. Day trips to wineries, villages, monasteries and more, plus long summer evenings cruising the French countryside from the beautiful city of Lyon.  What better way to experience the wine regions and villages of southern France!  Then on to Paris for 5 nights seeing the sights and experiencing the joie de vivre in this capital of romance. Visits to Versailles and Monet’s Gardens to experience the rich history of this country, as well as time to explore modern Paris at its absolute best.  You will love Belle France!

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Details

Highlights

  • Lyon
  • Macon Wine Theme Park
  • Beune
  • Wine Tasting
  • Avignon Papal Palace
  • Arles
  • Camargue Nature Park
  • Ardèche Gorge
  • Paris
  • Monet’s Garden
  • Versailles

Day 1 – Tuesday 23 June 2020

Depart Brisbane

Today we meet our Tour Escort and fellow travellers at Brisbane International Airport for our flight to Lyon via Singapore and Prague.

Day 2 – Wednesday 24 June 2020

Arrive Lyon  (L,D)

Bonjour and welcome to Lyon.  France’s third largest city is the gastronomic capital of France and is situated at the meeting point of the Rhône and the Saône Rivers.  Over 2000 years old and featuring Roman theatres, narrow cobbled streets in Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), secret passages and old basilicas, and of course markets with plenty of stalls selling regional products.  On arrival we will be met and taken to a local restaurant for lunch, before checking into our hotel.   The afternoon is at leisure before we meet tonight for a welcome dinner.

Accommodation:  Lyon Centre Part Dieu Gambetta (or similar) 1 Night

Day 3 – Thursday 25 June 2020

Board Amadeus Provence (B,D)

We have some time at leisure this morning.  Your Tour Manager will discuss with the group what everyone might like to do until transferring to the ship this afternoon.  Perhaps a walk around the streets, stopping for a coffee and a pastry or perhaps venturing a little further afield.

This afternoon, embark on the Amadeus Provence and settle into our cabins. On this premium cruise ship the planning and design provides comfortable room for 140 passengers and offers all the luxuries of a floating 5-star hotel. The extensive restaurant and the Panorama-Bar offer divine views of the passing riverscapes, and the outdoor, glass-shielded River Terrace allows you to relax in the open regardless of the weather. In addition, the Provence is the first ship of the Amadeus fleet to include a pool deck with a swimming pool and the Lido Bar, where you can enjoy relaxing on board in the sun.  Time for a welcome cocktail this evening and then a special dinner on board.

Accommodation:  Amadeus Provence 7 Nights

Day 4 – Friday 26 June 2020

Mâcon (B,L,D)

This morning the vessel arrives in the town of Mâcon, located in southern Burgundy. This wine-producing region produces some of the most expensive wines in the world. With its pastel buildings and tiled roofs, Mâconnais has a Mediterranean charm. From Mâconnais we will tour the Beaujolais and Mâconnais wine regions. We will make our way through the vineyards which grace the area, as well as the castles and stately homes which bear witness to the wealth of the region. A highlight of this excursion is the visit to Georges Duboeuf’s Hameau du Vin. In the unique setting of a 19th-century railway station, you can marvel at the wine making process: the transporting of grapes and wine, the winemaker’s tools and trade, the cellars, the winemaking processes, bottling and corking. Finish the visit with a tasting of Beaujolais wines, in a room housing a barrel organ called a “bouteillophone”.

Near the city of Macon is the Cluny Abbey, dedicated to St Peter. This afternoon offers the opportunity to visit the ‘spiritual heart of medieval Europe’ where our guide will show us around the ancient Benedictine Abbey.   The Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy was the center of a major monastic movement in the middle ages. Its church was the largest Christian building in the world until St. Peter’s Basilica was rebuilt in Rome in the 16th century. Although most of the great Abbey of Cluny is in ruins, you can still see remnants showing the size and glory the abbey possessed at its zenith and imagine it as it once was. Today, one transept of the 12th-century abbey church remains, along with the 15th-century abbots’ residences and 18th-century convent buildings. The site also includes beautiful gardens and a museum with Romanesque artifacts.

Day 5 – Saturday 27 June 2020

Chalon-sur-Saône/Tournus (B,L,D)                                       

Today we continue to explore the wine region with a stop in the town of Chalon sur Saône. Half -timbered houses overlook the square, and it offers art galleries, specialty shops as well as a museum dedicated to photography. The countryside is filled with famous vineyards such as Pommard and Puligny, a wine lover’s delight.

Take a scenic drive along France’s Burgundy wine route through Pommard, Volnay and Meursault. In Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, you will enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful Hôtel-Dieu, founded as a hospice in 1443. Today, it covers a large area of the town with its museum, three courtyards, outbuildings, 15th-century bastion and hundreds of meters of cellars, which are notable for containing the personal reserve of the Hospices. The four buildings open to the public are situated around the Court of Honor and represent the Hôtel-Dieu of former times.

The great Salle des Pauvres (”hall of the poor”), is decorated with multi-colored beams which are unique.  The rooms overflow with treasures: statues, furniture, pottery, paintings, tapestries and more. The kitchen has been restored to look exactly as it did in the 19th century. The polyptych of “The Last Judgement”, a masterpiece by the Flemish painter Rogier Van Der Weyden, is particularly well presented. Later, enjoy a wine tasting experience at one of Beaune’s famous cellars.

This afternoon you have the option to take an additional tour (own expense) to Brancion and the Castle of Cormatin – one of the most sumptuous castles in Burgundy and which boasts a Renaissance garden.

 Day 6 – Sunday 28 June 2020

Lyon (B,L,D)

Today we return to the beautiful city of Lyon.   This UNESCO World Heritage city is known for its cuisine as well as historical and architectural landmarks such as the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere and the Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) which is the Renaissance area along the bank of the Saône.

Lyon’s rich, ancient history includes Roman ruins and early Christian sites. The city tour begins with a coach trip to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The well-known pilgrimage church stands on a hill, offering an unforgettable view of the city. After you’ve had a look around on your own and enjoyed a drive along the banks of the Sâone, with views of various sights including the Cathedral of St. John and the Palace of Justice, you will have the opportunity to explore Lyon’s Old Town.

Take a gentle stroll through the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the famous Roman theatre and buildings showing the influence of the Italian Renaissance.

We leave Lyon at lunch time and you can relax this afternoon as the vessel sails through the picturesque French countryside.

Day 7 – Monday 29 June 2020

Avignon (B,L,D)

The Provencal city of Avignon is home to the Papal Palace, once the seat of Western Christianity in the 14th century. Today’s excursion is a guided walk through Avignon, also known as the “City of Popes” due to the role the city played in the Avignon conspiracy of the 14th century, when a pope abandoned Rome and fled to the city. Avignon’s lavish Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), is a fortress, church and palace all in one and was considered the center of the Christian world during the 14th century. From 1309 to 1377, seven popes resided in this impressive building, one of the world’s most fascinating examples of Gothic architecture. Another must-see is the Pont d’Avignon, a ruined 12th-century bridge that once spanned the Rhône and is immortalized in a folk song about dancing on the bridge.

This afternoon you have the option of an additional tour (own expense) to The Pont du Gard, a three-level aqueduct constructed over 2000 years ago by the Romans and is one of the architectural masterpieces of the ancient world.    Our vessel remains in Avignon this evening.

Day 8 – Tuesday 30 June 2020

Arles (B,L,D)

Arles boasts a rich history. It was founded by the Gauls, who made it their capital. During the course of centuries, Arles was home to archbishops, became part of the Kingdom of the Franks and, later on, capital of the Kingdom of Burgundy. During our two-hour city walk, pass many ancient or Roman sights and monuments and see why UNESCO has chosen to declare Arles a World Heritage Site. A visit to the Roman arena is a must while in Arles. Why not take a break in the café that served as the model for Vincent Van Gogh’s “Café Terrace at Night”?

Outside of Arles, the Camargue Nature Park is located. In 1970, the whole Island of Camargue (the delta of the Rhône River) was listed as the Regional Nature Park of Camargue. It is home to an astonishing range of wildlife, including the renowned Camargue bulls and horses that live in semi freedom, and many hundreds of species of birds.  You will also visit Saintes Maries de la Mer, located on the Mediterranean Sea where the Rhône joins the ocean. This village is steeped in history and boasts stunning beaches which meet the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 9 – Wednesday 01 July 2020

Chateauneuf du Rhone/Le Pouzin (B,L,D)

This morning offers the opportunity to view the Ardèche Gorge, another natural wonder of the area. The Ardèche Gorge is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Europe, its spectacular limestone cliffs tower up to 1,000ft above the meandering river below. The entrance to the Ardèche Gorge is through the famous Pont d’Arc near Vallon which, at 192 feet is, according to the Natural Arch and Bridge Society, “the largest natural bridge in Europe”. You will take the famous Gorge Trail, from which you can see the harmonious meanderings of the river. Beautiful viewpoints such as the Pont d’Arc and Serre de Tourre offer the greatest views onto the canyon and the river Ardèche. This evening is the Captain’s Gala Dinner.

Day 10 – Thursday 02 July 2020

Lyon – Paris (B,L)

This morning we disembark from the Provence and we’ll be met by our coach to make the drive to Paris.  En route today we’ll stop at Lons Le Saunier and have lunch in this picturesque spa town.  Driving through Burgundy we’ll be in Paris late this afternoon where we’ll check into our hotel and the evening will be at leisure. Paris is considered to be the world’s most romantic city.  With its opulent history and an abundance of landmarks, museums and cathedrals this city is on most people’s ‘must visit’ list.    Your Tour Manager will make evening plans with the group for anyone wanting to join in.

Accommodation:  Ibis Paris 17 Clichy Batignolles (or similar) 5 Nights

Day 11 – Friday 03 July 2020

Paris City Tour (B,D)

After breakfast this morning we’ll take public transport and explore some of the sights of Paris using our Paris Visite cards.  (These cards also give you unlimited use of public transport during your stay).  From the instantly recognizable wrought-iron Eiffel Tower, to the Arc de Triomphe guarding the avenue des Champs-ÉlyséesNotre Dame Cathedral and the beautiful bridges spanning the Seine.  The guide will be with you until lunch-time and from there you are free to explore at leisure.  Your Tour Manager will be on hand to make plans with the group for the afternoon.  Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.

Day 12 – Saturday 04 July 2020

Monet’s Garden (B,L)

This morning we’ll travel to Giverny to visit the house and the gardens of Claude Monet, the well-known Impressionist painter.  The painter and gardener Claude Monet lived here for 43 years, with his family of eight children, from 1883 until his death in 1926. Passionate about gardening and colour variations, he designed his flower garden, fruit tree orchard and water garden as if they were works of art. As you visit the gardens at Giverny, you will see the central pathway leading up to the house, bordered by different varieties of nasturtiums and roses, as well as the multi-coloured flower beds full of tulips, narcissi, daffodils, irises and peonies. Stroll through the Clos Normand Flower Garden, which is home to many plants of Eastern origins, until you reach the lavish water garden, so famous for its water lilies, weeping willows and green-painted Japanese Bridge (bridges like this are traditionally red in Japan). Be captivated by Giverny’s unique atmosphere, its light and the reflection of clouds on the water.

Lunch today will be at a local restaurant before returning to Paris this afternoon.  Dinner tonight is at leisure and once again your Tour Manager will be on hand to see that everyone who wants to join in does so.

Day 13 – Sunday 05 July 2020

Versailles (B,D)

A leisurely start this morning and some time at leisure after breakfast.  Today our French guide will be with us as we take the Metro to Versailles. The Palace of Versailles has been listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years and is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art. Louis XIII’s old hunting pavilion was transformed and extended by his son, Louis XIV, when he installed the Court and government there in 1682. A succession of kings continued to embellish the Palace up until the French Revolution in 1789, Louis XVI was forced to leave Versailles for Paris. The Palace would never again be a royal residence and a new role was assigned to it in the 19th century, when it became the Museum of the History of France in 1837 by order of King Louis-Philippe, who came to the throne in 1830. The rooms of the Palace were then devoted to housing new collections of paintings and sculptures representing great figures and important events that had marked the history of France.  Situated to the west of the palace the gardens occupy around 800 hectares landscaped in the classic French Garden style.

Day 14 – Monday 06 July 2020

At Leisure/Farewell Dinner (B,D)

Today is our last day and we are free to explore.  You don’t need to be on your own (unless you want to be) and your Tour Manager will arrange with the group what everyone would like to do for this last day in Paris?  More sightseeing?  Or shopping?  A bargain at the markets or perhaps something more high end.  The choice is yours.  The group will gather tonight for a farewell dinner at one of Paris’s lovely restaurants, as we spend our last summer evening in Paris.

Days 15 & 16 – Tuesday 07 & Wednesday 08 July 2020

Paris – Brisbane (B)

This morning we’ll have breakfast before transfer to the airport for our flight.  Happy memories and new friends as we make the journey home. Au revoir la belle France!

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Inclusions

Includes

  • Return Economy class airfares including taxes*
  • Private single rooms in quality accommodation
  • Meals as per itinerary – 15 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • Sightseeing tours and transfers by private vehicle
  • Tour Manager – travels with group from/to Brisbane
  • Local Guides
  • Tipping
  • Visa

Excludes

  • Any meals, tours, flights, excursions or transfers other than mentioned above or in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature i.e. laundry, drinks, phone calls, internet, etc
  • Travel Insurance

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