France River Cruises
France is one of the most diverse countries in Europe, with its landscapes ranging from forests and woodlands, to stunning beaches along the coastline and mountains in the south and east. It is also home to a number of rivers including the enchanting Seine and the picturesque Rhône.
All Avalon’s French itineraries either begin or end in the ‘City of Love’ Paris. Situated on the river Seine it is the most visited city in the world and is home to some of the world’s most famous attractions. On an Avalon cruise you’ll visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum and the striking Notre Dame, considered one of the finest pieces of French gothic architecture and one of most famous churches ever built.
Further along the Seine is Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy. Rouen is famous for its connection with Joan of Arc who lived, was imprisoned and later burnt at the stake in the town’s marketplace in 1431. Today an important commercial city in France, it still retains it medieval charm with half timbered, glazed-tile houses in the medieval quarter. Rouen also boasts the Gros Horlage, an intricate Astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century and a spectacular gothic cathedral that was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of several Claude Monet paintings. Not far from Rouen is the famous Normandy landing Beaches, where thousands of graves, countless bunkers and many more remnants of D-Day surround the beaches. You’ll have the option to visit the some of the most poignant sights from World War II. Alternatively you can join a ‘Taste of Normandy’ tour sampling the delights and delicacies that Normandy is renowned for such as camembert cheese and Calvados a delicious apple brandy.
Travelling further South of France is the Rhône River. Located at the top of the Rhone just a little after where the river Saone and Rhone combine is Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France. Founded in 43 BC by the Romans, it is known for its historical sights of interest as well as its gastronomic delights. Explore the Roman ruins including the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, the Odeon of Lyon, the Gallo-Roman Museum, and ruins of the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls. For those who want to have a clear view of the city, Fourvière Hill is the place to go, offering panoramic views of the whole of the city. Lyon has copious museums to explore: a particularly famous one is Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon, one of the largest art galleries in France. Discover the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a network of medieval alleyways, the spectacular Place des Bellecour and Place des Terreux. Be sure also to sample some of the beautiful full-bodied Beaujolais, the wine of the region.
Cruising south visit include the honey-hued towns of Arles and Avignon. Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region and one of the most picturesque regions of Provence. Dominated by the grandiose of the palace of the popes, the city is often referred to the ‘City of the Popes’ and was the centre of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. From Avignon you can visit the famous wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape where you’ll be able to learn about and of course taste the delicious blend that creates the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine. Heading further up towards the mouth of the Rhône and on the northern tip of the Carmargue is Arles. Once known as the ‘Little Rome of Gaul’, you’ll join an excursion to the awe-inspiring Roman Amphitheatre. Still used today, it dates back to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over an incredible 20,000 spectators.