This seven-night river cruise through Burgundy and Provence up to Paris on The Avalon Scenery, is one of the most spectacular river cruises that you will ever take, especially if you are a lover of good food, superb wines and are attracted to arts, history, and the gastronomy of this wonderful part of France.
Burgundy is known for its vineyards that produce some of the world's best wines, while Provence offers beautiful countryside, stunning coastline, medieval towns, and markets flush with fresh produce—in short, an authentic taste of rural France.
We embarked in Port St. Louis in the mouth of the great Rhone, between the sea and the river. Our bags were taken to our cabins, and we were escorted to our welcome reception.
The typical day on a river cruise can be as fast-paced or slow as you wanted it to be. You can choose to take part in any or all of the included tours, or you may wish to remain in the ship and relax or take an alternate optional excursion.
The day always begins with a hearty breakfast, from 7am to 9am. The walking tours begin between 9am and 10am and go on for about 2 to 3 hours.
The return to the ship is around 12pm to 1pm, just in time for lunch.
It’s worth mentioning that breakfast and lunch are buffet style serving, with an omelette bar in the mornings and a pasta bar for lunch, these amongst other wide variety of foods that they have on display for you to enjoy.
Dinners are all sit-in dinner. There are choices of beef, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian. Wine is included with dinner and there is always light entertainment, from piano music to local entertainers and performers.
After the included daily walking tour, guests have the option to return to ship for lunch while others like ourselves in Lyon, opted to stay in town and have lunch at one of the local restaurants, I mean, you cannot come to Lyon and not taste some of the local specialties being the queen of all gastronomies.
After lunch, guest have the option of relaxing on the ship’s top deck, while others wish to go back into town and revisit some places that they saw during the walking tour.
Depending on the day’s itinerary, the ship sometimes departs the current port while we are eating dinner and sometimes it departs around 10pm to 11pm and when you wake up the next morning, you find yourself in another town and the day begins all over again.
After a flavourful welcome dinner, the ship sailed during the night and the next morning we were in Arles.
Arles is a beautiful little town in The Provence Region of France and the place that Vincent Van Gogh lived some of his best years as a painter as it said that he painted well over 300 paintings.
We visited the place where he lived. We walked through the garden with fields of lavender all around, with an old shack in the back, where he used to sit in and paint.
Avignon was an interesting touristy, colourful city. We took a couple of bikes from the ship and went bike riding rather than take the walking tour with the group. We rode all over the city streets, went up to the Palace of the Popes and admire the city from above.
Viviers, Guided walking tour through this little town where time seems to have stopped and held all its charm from years past. We visited the Old Town with its cathedral and walked the cobble-stone streets.
We did a walking tour through Tournon was very interesting. We saw the walled fenced vineyards on the hill atop the old buildings on the edge of the road.
In Lyon, on our guided sightseeing tour, we took a stroll on Fourvière Hill with its beautiful panoramic views that offer a different perspective of Lyon’s cityscapes. We walked into the tourist area and stayed in and had lunch at one of the many side-walk restaurants.
At the end of our river cruise, we took the high-speed train from Dijon to Paris and that was a spectacular treat. We saw on the side of the train tracks the immense fields of lavender throughout the ride; it was quite a sight to see.
Upon arrival in Paris, they gave a choice of a walking sightseeing of ‘Heart of Paris’ guided tour to see Paris’ historic sights. Or a free day to do as one pleases. We took the tour!
But that will be another story