Dave, a Grand European Travel Specialist, shares his experience on the 9-Day Burgundy & Provence River Cruise from Uniworld.
I had a wonderful time on our recent river cruise through Burgundy and Provence with my wife. After arriving in Marseilles, we enjoyed the drive to Arles and immediately boarded the ship, checked in and were shown to our cabin. It had wonderful amenities and plenty of storage. We spent the evening with our fellow travelers at the port talk and dinner. The food was excellent, and the pastry chef was a master! After dinner, we went to the top deck to take in the breeze and talk with our new friends. Our first morning began with a walking tour of Arles.
We were docked just a short walk from the city center, which we entered through the old city wall. The many little streets and walkways that run through the city give it a medieval feeling. In Avignon, our next stop, we took a walking tour through the city and got great pictures of blooming lavender along the Rhone River. We also had time to taste local olives during a visit to the great square and central market. We took the optional tour to the Pont du Gard Aquaduct, which was worth every minute!
The next stop was Viviers, a really neat medieval city built high on a hill to avoid the river floods. Some of the original walls remain, as do all of the narrow winding roads. This is a great village to explore on foot. We enjoyed an organ concert at St Vincent’s Cathedral and took lots of great photos on our way back to the boat. That evening, we feasted on a stunning epicurean dinner paired with wine. While I normally do not take pictures of food, the chef outdid himself with dishes that were amazing in both presentation and flavor.
We arrived at our next stop, Tain L’ Hermitage, about 9:30 in the evening and were greeted by the brilliantly lit castle in Tournon, located directly across the river from where we were docked. The next morning we went on a walking tour of both cities, which are surrounded by vineyards. Later, we enjoyed a tour of a chocolate factory and enjoyed the generous samples of their fine treats. Back on board, the chefs gave a wonderful demonstration on how to make crepes Suzette.
Lyon, the third largest city in France, was our next stop. The morning tour began at a large basilica that overlooks the old city and is built on the remains of a Roman town. We took a funicular – also known as an incline railway – up the hillside to visit the Roman Museum. Afterward, we had time to wander through the city, explore some pedestrian-only streets, have a light lunch and easily make our way back to the ship.
Chalon sur Saone and Beaune – surrounded by beautiful vineyards and farms – were our last stops. We had time to stop and enjoy both cities, doing some shopping and wine tasting. Cruising is a wonderful way to travel. Just unpack once, then sail along!