DAY 1: LYON
Passengers are welcome to board our ship in Lyon at 6.00 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail. You’ll learn more about our hiking program before dinner followed by an evening of entertainment on board.
DAY 2: LYON - CHAVANAY
Breakfast on board as we set sail from Lyon early in the morning towards Chavanay. We’ll cruise through the magical Rhône Valley, passing Givors, Vienne and Condrieu at the foot of the Côtes Rôties vineyards. After lunch on board, we’ll arrive in Chavanay early in the afternoon.
Hiking program: hiking in the Pilat mountain range. We’ll discover amazing vistas from the granite ledge set high above the Rhône river and facing the Alps as we hike through this beautiful mountain range. (Duration 2 hours 45 minutes, 7 km (4.4 miles), with around 200 m (656 feet) of elevation gain)
Non-hiking program: visit of Chavanay, a delightful medieval market town.
We’ll return on board late in the afternoon. Dinner followed by a free evening.
DAY 3: CHAVANAY - AVIGNON
Our ship will start sailing late at night and will continue cruising through the morning. We will pass through the great Bollène lock before reaching Avignon mid-afternoon. The town was already of great importance as early as the 12th century, due in no small part to the famous Pont d'Avignon (Avignon Bridge), which made crossing the mighty River Rhône much easier for the inhabitants. Soon afterwards, Avignon became a second Rome. Join us on a guided walking tour of the Papal Palace, overlooking the bridge, set high on a rocky outcrop and surrounded by city walls. The Palace is a major feat of Gothic architecture dating from the 14th century and the formal residence of the sovereign pontiffs. Tonight, we’ll have a Provençal dinner and folklore evening on board. Our ship will remain in port overnight.
DAY 4: AVIGNON - ARLES - VIVIERS
Arrival in Arles early in the morning. We’ll set off by coach for Les Baux de Provence.
Hiking program: hike in the Alpilles and Les Baux de Provence. The Alpilles are a small chain of limestone hills, probably the most famous and the most visited in Provence, thanks to Van Gogh, Cézanne and other Impressionist painters. (Duration 2 to 2½ hours, distance of 5 km (3 miles), with about 150 m (492 feet) of elevation gain).
Non-hiking program: visit of Les Baux de Provence. The village of Les Baux-de-Provence has a spectacular location in the heart of the Alpilles mountains, set atop a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 245m (804 feet), and crowned with a ruined castle. From its high vantage point, there are breathtaking, panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes to the South, including Arles, the Camargue and the Alpilles mountains themselves. The superb ruins of the stone fortress at Les Baux are truly breathtaking, and one of the “must see” sites in Provence. In addition, the village of Les Baux is listed as “one of the most beautiful villages in France”.
We’ll return on board for lunch. This afternoon, join us on a excursion by coach through the Camargue where you’ll get to discover the villages of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and typical landscapes with wild horses, pink flamingos, rice-fields and salt marshes. Return to Arles in the evening and cruise towards Viviers. Tonight is our festive Gala dinner followed by dancing as we cruise gently through the night.
DAY 5: VIVIERS
Arrival in Viviers early in the morning and departure by coach for our excursion to Vallon Pont d'Arc.
Hiking program: hike in the Nature Reserve of the Ardèche Gorges. All those who love walking in the great outdoors will surely be enchanted by the Ardèche Gorges, with their quite unique and wondrous scenery, combined with amazing, breathtaking views. (Duration 2 hours, 6 km (3.75 miles), with around 250 m (656 feet) of elevation gain)
Non-hiking program: visit to the Pont d'Arc Cavern, a replica of the Chauvet Cave, which will plunge you at the heart of the prehistoric rock art.
Return to Viviers for lunch. This afternoon, enjoy a guided walking tour of Viviers. This medieval city has been an Episcopal seat since the 5th century and is still to this day the see of the Bishop of Ardèche. The town is full of architectural masterpieces and is often likened to an open-air architectural museum where each page of history is inscribed in stone. Return on board at the end of the afternoon. Cruise towards Vienne. After dinner tonight, we’ll enjoy an evening of entertainment on board.
DAY 6: VIENNE - LYON
Arrival in Vienne early in the morning. Join us on a guided walking tour of the town which was the capital of the “Viennoise” Roman province and a religious capital until the 15th century. Return on board later in the morning and cruise towards Lyon. Arrival around 3.00 p.m. End of our services.