Embark on a remarkable journey through the South of France with National Geographic and Scenic. Sail along the Rhone and Saône Rivers as you journey on a round trip to Lyon, visiting Tournus, Chalon-sur-Saône and Avignon along the way. Celebrated for its many vineyards, this wine region is perfect for sampling world-famous wines and delving into the historic landmarks. Discover the fascinating architecture, explore age-old castles and fortified towns during your river cruise. Relax onboard the luxurious 5* Scenic Sapphire and enjoy the marvellous vistas this region beholds.

Trip highlights

Visit some of Southern France’s most famous wineries and vineyards where you can sample wines and take in the picturesque views.

Enjoy an exclusive night in the majestic Palais des Papes where you will enjoy a private classical concert in one of the grandiose rooms.

Enjoy a unique opportunity to go truffle-hunting with locals and their intelligent hounds where you will be able to sample classic French truffles straight from the ground.

Itinerary - 11 Days

1 Lyon

Upon arrival in the city of Lyon, transfer to the Scenic Sapphire, your river cruise vessel for the next 11 days. Your friendly crew will be awaiting your arrival to begin your river cruise of Southern France. (D)

2 Lyon > Tournus

As you smoothly sail along the Saône River towards Tournus, relax onboard and make the most of the luxurious facilities on offer. Enjoy a unique cookery lesson from the expert chefs in the Scenic Culinaire where you will learn how to cook speciality dishes using local ingredients.
Freechoice: Experience the marvellous, 17th-century Château de Cormatin or alternatively head out truffle hunting with locals and their intelligent hounds in a nearby quaint village where you will be able to sample classic French truffles. (B,L,D)

3 Chalon-sur-Saône

The riverside town of Chalon-sur-Saône is situated in the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise wine region. Boasting classic architecture, Chalon-sur-Saône is a treasure trove of historical significance.

Freechoice: Explore Beaune, including a visit to Les Hospices de Beaune. Alternatively, visit the estate of Château Meursault and taste some of its acclaimed wines or, visit the photography museum and learn the history of photography in the town where it was first invented. (B,L,D)

4 Tournon

Begin your day by making the most of the onboard facilities and join a stretching class onboard the sun deck or sit back and enjoy the picturesque riverside panoramas. If you are feeling more active, explore the local area a bit more and cycle from Andance to Tournon.

Freechoice: Enjoy wine tasting at a local vineyard or alternatively join a guided walk of Tain l’Hermitage including a tasting at Valrhona Chocolates. You could also enjoy a hike to Hermitage Hill. (B,L,D)

5 Avignon

As you sail into Avignon, a fortified town bursting with sightseeing opportunities, enjoy a unique cooking class in the Scenic Culinaire where our expert chefs will teach you how to make a delicious dish using local and fresh ingredients.

Freechoice: immerse yourself in the city of Avignon and partake in a walking tour. Alternatively, sample the celebrated wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape at a Côtes du Rhône vineyard.
Enrich: Enjoy a truly unforgettable experience at the prestigious Palais des Papes. After the doors close to the general public, be treated to an exclusive classical concert in one of the grandiose rooms. (B,L,D)

6 Avignon

Spend another day in the intriguing city of Avignon, taking in the sights and exploring the rich history.

Freechoice: Take the opportunity to shop with a chef at a local food market and cook up a storm in Scenic Culinaire. Alternatively, drop into the villages of the Luberon region including Gordes and Sénanque Abbey, or take an excursion to Uzès and Pont du Gard.

Sail past the famous Pont d’Avignon with a drink in hand and take in this beautiful location on board the luxurious Scenic Sapphire. (B,L,D)

7 Tarascon

Sometimes referred to as Tarascon-sur-Rhôn, explore this fortified town situated between Avignon and Arles. Wander around the cobbled streets and discover the many medieval buildings including the Château de Tarascon castle.

Freechoice: Explore the artistic heritage of Arles, and visit Arles Arena, or stop in at the pretty hilltop village of Les Baux before touring an olive farm. Alternatively, pay a visit to Saint-Rémy and Saint-Paul de Mausole Monastery where Van Gogh was held for a year or take an active walk through La Camargue National Park.

Later, enjoy time at leisure to explore the medieval charm of Tarascon, or simply stay on board for a Provencal Soap making workshop. (B,L,D)

8 Viviers

The town of Viviers sits on the right-hand bank of the River Rhône. Partake in an intriguing walking tour of Viviers that including getting an up-close view of the organ recital.

Freechoice: Explore the Ardèche National Park including the Caverne du Pont-d’Arc Museum, or visit the aromatic Lavender Museum. Alternatively, kayak through one of Europe’s largest natural canyons, or drop into the town of Grignan. (B,L,D)

9 Lyon

Set sail along the Rhône River as you head back towards Lyon to complete your river cruise experience. Enjoy the stunning vista’s and make the most of the luxurious facilities onboard including the Scenic Culinaire where you can enjoy one last lesson from the chefs. (B,L,D)

10 Lyon

Lyon is Fence’s second city and the oldest in the country. Famed for its historical significance, Lyon boasts a UNESCO World Heritage site in Le Vieux Lyon and a host of reputable museums.

Freechoice: Discover Lyon’s historic significance by traversing its hidden secret passageways, and visit Notre Dame Basilica or, traverse Lyon by foot, set on the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers, explore the city sights by the river. Alternatively, walk the cobblestone paths in the medieval hilltop town of Pérouges. Or visit the exclusive culinary school of Paul Bocuse for a cooking demonstration. (B,L,D)

11 Lyon

After breakfast, disembark the Scenic Sapphire and transfer to Lyon airport for your journey home. (B)

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