The Rhône Valley and the Provençal Rhône

LON

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LYON - CHAVANAY - PILAT MOUNTAIN RANGE - AVIGNON - ARLES - THE ALPILLES - VIVIERS - THE ARDECHE GORGES - VIENNE - LYON

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.

 

For the safety of our passengers, the captain and crew of the boat may decide to modify the navigational itinerary. Alcohol can be harmful to your health. Please drink in moderation.
Transport

Port/port formula, without transfer.

For more information about flights and transfers, please contact our call center by clicking on « Request a quote » and filling out the form, or by calling 1-800-768-7232

More info

Hiking difficulty: level 2 (on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (difficult))

 

The hikes that are proposed during this cruise are short half-day strolls (2 to 3 hrs), implying few changes in altitude (around 150 to 300 m / 490 - 985 feet). Along the hike, you’ll get the chance to see and discover some natural or cultural areas which are on your cruise's program. The durations stipulated in our programs are given as a rough guide and do not take the breaks into consideration. No athletic training is necessary for these hikes, but you should be in good shape and well-rested to fully enjoy this cruise.

Your equipment

Backpack
You'll need to bring a backpack (max 30 liters / 1,830 cubic inches) to carry the things you'll need for the hike: sweater, raincoat, picnic, bottle of water and sunscreen.
It is important, for your comfort and pleasure during the hike, to choose a good backpack. You should take a good-sized and sturdy bag with padded braces and a strong and waterproof fabric. Please note that no porter services are provided.

Shoes
Please note that you should bring a pair of good-fitting, comfortable shoes. It is best that you use these shoes prior to leaving for your cruise as it is important that you feel comfortable wearing them.
Regardless of the level of difficulty of the hike, the sole should always be of a good quality that is to say that they should be well sewn-on and non-slip for wet or uneven ground. It is best to choose shoes that provide ankle support and that have shock-absorbing soles to prevent injury to ankles, and back and joint problems.

Clothes
The equipment for a hike should necessarily include:

  • Undergarments / base layers that are appropriate for the planned hike
  • Lightweight, quick-drying pants
  • Warm sweater or fleece jacket
  • Rain poncho or raincoat
  • Hat or cap
  • Thin gloves and a knit cap for the beginning and the end of the season

Equipment
Do not forget to bring:

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Small personal first-aid kit (refer to the following paragraph)
  • Water bottle
  • Toilet paper
  • Folding knife
  • Telescopic hiking poles if you are used to use them (recommend for the Douro and Croatia cruises)

First-aid kit
Your guide will have a first-aid kit for each hike.
It is yet compulsory to bring a personal first-aid kit, which differs according to the destination but will at least include:

  • Plastic strip bandages
  • “2nd Skin” or similar blister treatment bandages
  • Pain reliever
  • If necessary, mosquito repellent
  • “Collyrium” or similar eyewash product
  • Anti-diarrhea medication, etc.

You should also bring along any of your personal prescribed medication.