8 days cruising the beautiful Rhone and Saone Rivers
Enjoy the fascination of a cruise on the French rivers Rhône and Saône through one of Europe's most beautiful countryside with almost innumerable highlights: world famous wine-growing regions such as Cote d' Or, unique landscapes such as that of Burgundy, the splendid view on the historic towns and monuments. The cruise on your floating hotel is without doubt the best way to savor the matchless French savoir vivre by exploring the sunny South of France.
Cruise Dates 2014
Your Cruise Itinerary:
You embark at the port of Lyon in the afternoon. Once you have found your way round your ‘floating
hotel’ there’ll be a welcome cocktail party before dinner is served on board. The ship leaves Lyon in
the course of the evening.
in the morning you arrive at Macon, a town set in the lovely countryside adjoining the river Saône in
the south of Burgundy. After breakfast there’ll be our “Macon and Beaujolais” tour (€ 45). The
romantic Beaujolais scenery, with its castles and vineyards, unfolds as we drive along the wine trail.
The highlight of this excursion is visiting an unusual museum dedicated to all aspects of Beaujolais as
a world-famous brand. How could a wine-tasting session not be included at this juncture?! After
lunch back on board there’ll be a trip to Cluny abbey (€ 40). In the early Middle Ages Cluny was
Europe’s most influential monastery, controlling several hundred monastic foundations throughout
Europe, as far afield as Scotland and Poland. Cluny’s abbey church was the world’s largest Christian
structure until the building of St. Peter’s in Rome. Unfortunately only a few remnants of Cluny
survived the French revolution but they are nonetheless impressive.
After dinner the Amadeus Symphony continues its journey to Chalon-sur- Saône.
Once we have docked in Chalon-sur-Saône, those who have booked the “Burgundy vineyard regions”
(€ 45) excursion drive to Beaune, the wine-growing centre. In addition to visiting the Hôtel-Dieu,
which was an alms-house dating back to the 15th century, this trip guides you through the history of
viniculture and includes a wine-tasting session at a famous tavern. After lunch on board there’ll be a
drive to the medieval villages of Brancion and Cormatin (€ 45). Take a pleasant stroll though
Brancion, with its old castle towering above, and then visit the magnificent castle of Cormatin with its extensive gardens. If you prefer not to go on this excursion, you can stay on board and just watch
the lovely Burgundian landscape passing by. The vessel stops briefly in the evening in Tournus,
where those who have been on the trip rejoin us.
The Amadeus Symphony docks back in Lyon early in the morning. Our guided tour of Lyon (€ 40)
enables you to absorb the city’s most important sights. The centre of the city has an impressive
wealth of elegant squares and ancient buildings (those in the central Place des Terreaux being
particularly splendid). The old quarter on the bank of the Saône has been a World Heritage Site since
1998. There will be plenty of time in the afternoon for you to explore on your own before our ship
continues its voyage south.
We arrive at Avignon after lunch. The folk-song about its old stone bridge has made this city’s name
familiar to people all over the world. Avignon is one of the few cities whose medieval walls have
been almost completely preserved. The Popes who resided in Avignon were responsible for building
its vast imposing Palais des Papes, whose steeply rising façade bears witness to their hegemony. It
can be visited in the afternoon in the course of our guided walk round the city (€ 40). There will be
time after dinner to savour the hustle and bustle in the narrow streets and squares of Avignon’s old
In the morning you can join our trip to the Pont du Gard and Uzès (€ 40). The perfectly preserved
Pont du Gard ranks as one of the architectural masterpieces of the ancient world. For more than two
thousand years this Roman aqueduct supplied water to vast tracts of the Roman provinces in
southern France. This trip includes time to stroll through the picturesque little town of Uzès with its
narrow streets and sleepy squares before we return to the ship. After lunch there’s a choice of
excursions to the unique coastal scenery of the Camargue (€ 45) or to the Roman city of Nîmes (€
45). Land and sea seem to merge in the marshlands of the Camargue, where nature reigns and – if
you are lucky – you might see some of its famous wild horses and flamingoes. The history of Nîmes goes back over two thousand years, with many buildings dating back to the Romans having survived. The city’s main sights include the Les Arènes amphitheatre, the Maison Carrée (a temple from that era still standing), the cathedral and the picturesque old quarter. Passengers preferring not to take either of these excursions can relax on board the Amadeus Symphony as it proceeds from Avignon to Arles. Arles has plenty of historical buildings and Roman remains for you to explore on your own. Van Gogh left his mark on this town too. The vessel travels upstream again overnight.
From Viviers you can visit one of France’s most interesting geographical features, the Ardèche gorge
(€ 45). Over several millennia waterpower has carved this very romantic gorge out through
limestone. The coach will follow the river as it meanders through the gorge, which is 300-m deep in
places, and you will see the famous Pont d´Arc – a natural stone bridge that has become an icon for
the Ardèche region. Meanwhile the Amadeus Symphony lingers briefly in Viviers and then continues
to La Voulte, where those who have been on the coach trip rejoin it.
The last stretch starts in the afternoon as the vessel returns to Lyon. On this final evening of your
cruise, the captain welcomes everyone to a special dinner and the splendid ship’s orchestra, which
has been entertaining you in the bar throughout the cruise, will do its best to persuade you to take a
turn on the dance floor.
Disembarkation is after breakfast in Lyon. End of the cruise.