Touring and dining opportunities:
- Kayaking at the Pont du Gard
- Seven-course lunch at L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, the Michelin 3-star restaurant of Paul Bocuse in Lyon
- Bicycling along the Rhone River
- Wine tasting in Burgundy at Domaine Drouhin and Patriarche
- Visit to a family-owned truffle estate followed by lunch nearby in Grignan at la Table de Delice
- Enjoy Gastronomique lunch in Les Baux de Provence at Oustau de Baumanière with their epic wine cellar
- Additional Michelin dining opportunities in Beaune and Avignon
Tentative ship schedule (subject to minor adjustments)
|Date/Port of call||Arrival||Departure|
|Board any time on Sunday||Ship stays in Avignon Sunday night|
|All day||Ship sails from Avignon at 6:30 PM|
|6:00 AM||Ship sails from Tarascon at 6:30 PM|
|2:30 AM||Ship sails from Viviers at 1:00 PM|
|12:00 AM||Ship sails from Tain l’Hermitage at 1:00 PM|
|12:00 AM||Ship sails from Lyon at 8:30 PM|
|3:30 AM||Ship sails from Macon at 5:30 PM|
|1:30 AM||Guests may disembark any time|
Uniworld includes at least one tour per day. Northwest Travel Service, in conjunction with Chef Thierry and participating winemakers, will offer a selection of optional tours along the cruise route. Some of these tours are limited capacity. Your priority to participate in these tours is determined when you book your cruise.
Generally speaking, additional wine cruises and walking tours are priced at cost and would be in the $40-$50 range. Michelin lunches, as you might expect, will be more expensive. Specific costs will be provided at least 6 months prior to the sailing.
Avignon Monday, June 7th
Avignon walking tour and Palace of the Popes
Walking tour through the medieval city of Avignon that will begin at the medieval city fortification wall. Then, stroll to the main square, Place de l’Horloge, with its colorful café terraces, City Hall and the Opera Theater. Next, inside visit to Pope’s Palace. Thorough visit of the palace chambers, galleries and public rooms. Be prepared to climb approx. 100 steps during the tour. After Pope’s Palace, make your way through to the Place Pie and Les Halles covered market. Fresh ingredients are displayed here. Return to the Clock Tower Square. Passengers have the choice to stay in town or return to the ship for lunch.
Exclusive “Off the Beaten Path” Avignon walking tour
Meet local guide. Quiet Vox tour. Walk around the ramparts. Fortifications ordered by the pope in the 14th century during the 100 years’ war with England. Enter Place Crillon, Facing the Rhone River, opens on the new bridge. St Benezet Statue used to stand in the center of the square. Legend of the construction of the bridge.
Hotel du Palais Royal built on this road to Paris. Napoleon visited, Alexandre Dumas. Stendhal refers to it in “Memories of a tourist” the hotel owner, Madame Pierron, friend of Napoleon chose the name. Hotel d ‘Europe. The 200 year old plane tree and inner courtyard give the square a timeless feeling, and illustrious clients have stayed here, Mrs. Jackie Kennedy for example. Walk Rue du Limas, Rue des Grottes, Rue de la Balance. Face the Popes Palace. The grand square is surrounded by the Palace of the popes the petit Palais and the cathedral. In 1300 the Vatican moved the entire headquarters of the Catholic Church to Avignon.
Reach Parc du Rocher des Doms: Beautiful vistas from the small terrace, view over Mont Ventoux, St André fortress at Villeneuve. View over Saint Benezet
Bridge. Ile de Barthelasse. Cross the garden to the steeps staircase Ste Anne. View over the old roofs of Avignon. Place de Jerusalem. Reach the former Jewish quarter and stop at the synagogue. Jews expelled from the kingdom of France, were protected inside Avignon, this annex of the Vatican.
Join Place Pie. The modern green plant wall completes the harmony of the square. Created by Patric Blanc. Market “Les Halles”. Step inside for a sensual experience of organic breads, olives and a festival of mold cheeses. Temple of Provençal foods. Outside, the flower shops. Free time in the pedestrian streets. Fancy boutiques, youthful energy, and urban sophistication or visit the Rue des Teinturiers.
The waterwheels are still present along the canals of the Sorgue River. They used to power the town’s industries at the beginning of the 19th century. Eateries popular with the natives. Youthful and trendy with a canal side atmosphere. Walk back to the ship through Place de l’Horloge and Rue St Agricol
Excursion to Pont du Gard, Roman Aqueduct
The Pont du Gard became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. This magnificent tri-level aqueduct bridge has spanned the River Gardon since 19 BC, when it was constructed as part of the system that carried water from Uzès to Nîmes. An expert guide will explain the history of this engineering marvel and reveal the technological secrets that have enabled it to resist floods and storms for millennia.
Kayak Tour down the Gardon River
Spend a fun and relaxing afternoon paddling five miles down the clear tranquil waters of the Gardon River. Accompanied by a sound of chirping cicadas, you’ll paddle from Collias to Remoulins, under the arches of the 2,000-year-old, UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard.
Tour Option: Domaine Mousset and Tasting at Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Visit to Domaine Mousset for a tasting followed by free time in the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape to visit the many tasting rooms there. Expect to return to the ship by 6:00 PM.
Michelin Lunch Experience
Dine at Restaurant Christian Étienne, awarded one star by Michelin, this restaurant occupies a 10th century building close to the Palace of the Popes.
Arles/Tarascon Tuesday, June 8th
Arles Walking Tour
Meet up with local guide and walk downtown. Stop for a view from the pier that Van Gogh immortalized in Starry Night over the Rhône. Stop in front of the Roman Amphitheater. Next stop is the Town Hall Square, a complex including the
fountain, City Hall, and St. Trophime Church. Afterward, learn about the hospital where Vincent van Gogh once sought treatment. Stroll through the courtyard.
Free time to shop, go olive tasting or sightsee. On the way back to the ship, cross Forum Square. Motor coach back to ship, docked in Tarascon.
Tour Option: Restaurant l’Oustau de Baumanière
An outstanding country restaurant located a short drive from Arles in the village of Les Baux de Provence. This Michelin 2-star restaurant with a wine cellar stocked with over 50,000 bottles will absolutely amaze you. This small group will travel by coach from Arles, enjoy lunch, then return to the ship which will be docked in Tarascon that afternoon. Once more, Chef Thierry will dine with you. This option includes transportation, lunch with wine pairings.
Tarascon Walking Tour
Depart ship. Walk to the Château Fortress built by the duke of Anjou.
Walk in front of the Château, Walk in front of the Collégiale Royale Sainte-Marthe.
Stroll through the old town. Includes alleys and pedestrian streets with Provençale architecture and mansions. Entrance to the Soleido textile museum, with free time for shopping.
Tour Option: Chateau Valcombe and Chateau l’Ermitage
Visit to Chateau Beaubois and Chateau l’Ermitage, west of Arles in the appellation of Costières de Nîmes. Wine tasting with both producers.
Viviers Wednesday, June 9th
“Village Day” “Intimate Viviers through Music” tour
Viviers climbs a hill above the river, crowned by 12thcentury St. Vincent’s Cathedral. It happens to be the smallest cathedral in France, but it contains a marvelous organ. Take a seat under the soaring vaults and listen while a local organist demonstrates just how fine an instrument it is before you begin wandering down through the town with your guide.
Cobblestone lanes, some so narrow you can stand in the middle and touch the medieval houses on either side, twine around the hill, gradually marking the change from the upper town, once the province of wealthy clergy, to the lower town, where the laity lived. Your local guide will show you the fountain squares in the Old Town, which combines Roman and medieval influences, as well the House of Knights, a handsome 16th-century house built by an unscrupulous tax collector who came to a well-merited bad end. Sycamores line some of these stone-paved streets (planted, so they say, to provide shade for Napoleon’s soldiers) and houses here bear the watermarks of floods over the years.
A walk back to your ship via the winding medieval streets is a fitting end to a charming day.
Tour Option: Truffle Farm and Country Lunch
Join Chef Thierry on a tour of the truffle farm of Didier Chabert and his daughter Audrey, Domaine Cordis, for an enthusiastic and entertaining lesson about the three types of truffle grown in the Drôme region. After the tour, we’ll drive to nearby Grignan for a Provencal meal. La Table des Delice displays “The Michelin Plate” and is well known for locally sourcing fresh ingredients.
Tour Option: Chateau Bizard & Domaine de Montine
Visit the estate and taste the wines at two local producers near Viviers. Transportation, tour, and wine tasting is included. Return to the ship at 12:30 for lunch.
Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage Thursday, June 10th
Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage village stroll with wine tasting
Nestled on opposite sides of the river in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage are an ideal destination for connoisseurs of fine wine. Tournon may be a small town, but stirring events took place here: A castle was raised on the hilltop in the 10th century to protect the region, and new fortifications were added over the centuries, including two “new” towers built to defend against Protestant attacks in the 16th century.
You’ll see the handsome houses constructed by wealthy merchants and garrison officers when you walk through the Rue de Doux area, and you’ll pass the 14th-century church—unusual for the number of houses incorporated in its walls—and the oldest secondary school in France. Cross the pretty flower-decked Marc Seguin suspension bridge to Tain-l’Hermitage to visit local wine cellars, where you’ll taste the region’s famous Côtes du Rhône, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage wines.
These wines are produced from the Syrah grapes that grow on the steep slopes lining the river. After your wine tasting, you’ll have time to browse through the shops; the Valrhona chocolate factory is always a popular stop.
“Go Active” Hermitage vineyards hike with wine tasting
Are you ready to explore the steepest vineyards on the Rhône? The vines producing the world-famous Hermitage wines grow on precipitous slopes above the river, so steep that terracing is essential. Hike along the paths that parallel the rough courses of stone through the vineyards, each one situated to catch the afternoon sun. After you’ve seen how the grapes—primarily Syrah—are grown, taste the fruit that has been transformed by the vintners’ craft into legendary wine.
Tour Option: TO3 Valrhona Chocolate Tour
We’ll leave the ship at 8:30 for the short stroll to Valrhona. We have an entry to the Cite de Chocolate at 9:00 AM. After a greeting and orientation, we’ll enjoy a self-guided tour of about 90 minutes. You can stay as long as you like, but many of us need to be down the street for wine and cheese at 11:00 AM.
Tour Option: Ferraton & Fils
We’re visiting the winery and cellar of Ferraton & Fils this morning for a tasting of the cellar. The cellar is about 5 minutes walking from Valrhona or about 15 minutes from the ship. Please plan to be there about 5 minutes early to check in.
We’ll have a selection of cheeses to sample with our wine. This visit will last approximately 90 minutes with time to return to the ship for lunch if you desire. Chef Thierry will be with this group.
Lyon Friday, June 11th
“Do as the Locals Do” tour
No one eats better than the citizens of Lyon, a tradition that harks back more than a century, when women opened unpretentious restaurants, called bouchons, to feed hungry workers. The traditional bouchon serves hearty meat-based dishes, but quenelles—luscious dumplings—and a seasoned cream cheese called cervelle de canut are longtime local favorites too.
While explaining Lyon’s important gastronomic history, your guide will show you the city’s bouchons and specialty food shops and take you into the legendary main market, Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. There you’ll find stalls brimming with local produce, fish, game and cheeses, all beautifully displayed on black marble countertops—and you’ll have a chance to taste some of these delectable offerings.
Don’t miss the macarons! On the way to these fabulous culinary destinations, you’ll see some of Lyon’s historic old quarter, with its many spectacular examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture, and les traboules, the city’s old passageways.
Exclusive Silk Weavers walking tour
Lyon’s history is entwined with silk, which dominated the city’s economy for centuries—at one time, almost a third of the city’s population were silk weavers. Jump on a tram and head for Lyon-Perrache station with your guide, who will take you into the historic Saint-Jean Quarter, part of the UNESCO-honored Old Town. The Gothic cathedral is probably the most striking heirloom of the Middle Ages, but the tall rose and ochre buildings dating to the Renaissance pay tribute to the importance of the silk trade with Italy in that era.
Enter the courtyard of the Gadagne Museum, which is housed in an early- 16th-century building, and stroll along Rue Juiverie, which has been occupied since Roman times and was once home to Nostradamus. You’ll see some of the traboules, the old passageways that snake between and through buildings, secret shortcuts that silk weavers took to keep their delicate fabrics out of the rain. You’ll pass cozy bouchons, which serve traditional local dishes, and you’ll have a chance to see a Jacquard loom in use.
Exclusive guided “Go Active” Lyon peninsula bike tour
Get out and about with a bike ride along the river. Lyon boasts a thriving bike-rental scene, which tells you just how popular this mode of transportation is—you will definitely have two-wheeled company as you pedal along the banks of the Rhône on a sunny day.
Your route takes you over the new Raymond Barre Bridge, past the spectacular new Museum of Confluences (so named because it sits at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône) and along the peninsula, a strip of land with the Saône on one side and the Rhône on the other. Here, houseboats tie up along the banks; swans float on the water; and locals take advantage of the lovely parklike setting. You’ll also have a great view of the Old Town on the other side of the river. This outing gives you a little taste of what it is like to live in Lyon, as well as a little exercise.
Tour Option: Morning Market
Join Chef Thierry on a morning shopping excursion to Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse Market, the best-known produce markets in the city of Lyon. We’ll be departing about 8:30 AM for the 1.2km walk to the market. Sample the produce, see exactly how big a kilo is. You’ll return to the ship before 11:00 AM.
Tour Option: Paul Bocuse Lunch
A long lunch at the Michelin 3-Star restaurant of the chef who started it all, Paul Bocuse, l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges. This excursion includes transportation from the ship, Seven Course Lunch, mineral water, and coffee. The restaurant has an extensive selection of wines by the bottle and by the glass. This tour is led by Chef Thierry Rautureau. Lunch is served in the Marie Bocuse Lounge at the restaurant. Transportation, lunch, taxes, and gratuity are included. This was a big hit in 2017.
Tour Option: Cote Rotie
A thirty-minute drive south of Lyon to the town of TUPIN ET SEMONS in the Cote Rotie appellation for a visit at the tasting rooms of two producers. Visiting Vidal Fleury and Chateau Corps de Loup for a tour of their production and wine tasting.
Tour Option: Beaujolais
We’ll depart Lyon for the 50 minute drive to Beaujolais and a wine tasting at two of the producers in the town of Moulin-à-Vent. We expect to return to the ship by 6:00 PM. Visiting Chateau des Jacques and Chateau du Moulin a Vent.
Exclusive Lyon “Illumination” tour following dinner
What can creative lighting designers do with historic buildings? You will fall in love with Lyon tonight as you take in the view from the top of Fourvière Hill. The city spreads out below you, perfectly chosen lighting illuminating the splendid face of the cathedral and the magnificent façades of Renaissance houses.
You’ll get a sense of how the city developed, growing from Roman roots to encompass the peninsula and the eastern bank of the Rhône, before you ride through the streets to the riverbanks, where light and shadow paint the bridges and shimmer on the water.
You may want to stroll along the quays back to the ship; this area really comes alive at night, when the old barges tied up along the river throw open their doors and reveal vibrant bars and restaurants inside.
Macon/Beaune Saturday, June 12th
Tour: Beaune, Hospices de Beaune
Beaune may not be a large town, but it brims with history, a wealth of splendid regional architecture and incredible food. Nestled inside medieval ramparts, Beaune was the seat of the warlike dukes of Burgundy until the 16th century. It is best known for two magnificent sights: the Hospices de Beaune and the open-air market.
You’ll recognize the Hospices de Beaune (also known as Hôtel-Dieu) immediately by its fabulous multicolored-tile roof—it’s a symbol of Burgundy. Founded as a charitable institution by the duke’s chancellor in 1443, the hospital became a model for charitable giving in southern France, one with a unique fundraising tradition that continues to this day. Over the centuries, the hospice monks were given wine and vineyards, and they began selling the wine at auction in order to support their charitable work. The wine auction is now world-famous, and the institution remains a working hospital for the poor, with modern facilities standing alongside the historic Hôtel-Dieu.
Take advantage of one of the many delightful sidewalk cafés for lunch.
Tour option: Drouhin Oenoteque
Guests will be taken directly to the cellar, located at 1 Place du Général Leclerc, 21200 Beaune.
Tour and tasting of Joseph Drouhin Oenoteque and tour of the ancient cellars.
Here is an example of the vintages sampled at this visit:
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2012, Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Saint Jean 2011
Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières 2012, Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Damodes 2008, Beaune 1er Cru Champimonts 2009
Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches 1996
Tour Option: Patriarche Cellars
Morning tour will be dropped at the cellar, located at 5-7 Rue du Collège/r Paul Chanson, 21200 Beaune. This tour and tasting will run from 10:00 am to shortly before noon. You are 10 minutes (600m) from the center of town.
In the heart of a 17th century convent, let our sommelier guide you and discover the largest cellars in Burgundy. Eight appellations have been selected for you, including 2 grands crus, which illustrate the know-how and appeal of Burgundy wines. You will discover them while tasting wine by the glass.
Tour Option: Lunch at Ma Cuisine 12:00 PM
Join Chef Thierry Rautureau at Ma Cuisine Bistro for a 4-course lunch in Beaune.
Wine is on your own. You should be at the restaurant a few minutes before noon to be seated. The address is Passage Saint-Hélène, 21200 Beaune. Lunch should last a little under 2 hours.
Tour Option: Louis Jadot
A visit to the cellars and tasting room of storied producer Louis Jadot. It’s a bit far to walk from the center, so coach transportation is provided.
Tour Option: Chateau de Pommard
This cellar is located about 5km out of town, so transportation will be provided. This group will depart from Ma Cuisine a few minutes before 2:00 PM to arrive at the cellar for the 2:15 PM start. Presentation of the wine estate. Visit at the outskirts of the vineyard
Tour of the cellars and Wine tasting of the wines of the Château (4 wines). Sale of the wines of the Château.
There is a part of our wine estate that can be seen by yourself, so you will continue your visit by discovering the old kitchen of the Chateau, the wine tools museum and its press dating from the 17th century and the French gardens. At the end of the visit, you will have the opportunity to purchase wines of our estate from our wine advisor.
This is a selection of tours that were offered for the 2017 Rhone cruise event. This tour list will be dependent upon availability and timing. If a particular wine producer or restaurant is not available, a similar tour will be offered. Tours will be open to book approximately 6 months prior to sailing.