Cruising on the Rhone River
For food and wine lovers, a river cruise on the Rhone is especially ideal. The only major French river to empty in the Mediterranean, it stretches for 505 miles, flowing through the gastronomic heart of France and two of its top wine-making regions. Witness the sun-drenched landscapes that inspired artists like Cezanne and Van Gogh, along with the world-famous vineyards of Burgundy and the French food capital, Lyon. You’ll pass breathtaking scenery, including lavender-filled fields and the wild Camargue region with its flamingos, bulls, and horses. Typical itineraries cover around a 150-mile stretch, starting in Tarascon northwest of Marseille, with stops like Avignon, Vienne, and Macon, concluding in Lyon.
While there aren’t any direct, non-stop flights from North America, you’ll find many options to reach Marseille with just one connection from cities like New York, Miami, and Washington, D.C. If you want to combine your cruise with a visit to Paris, from there Marseille is easy to reach by train or an inexpensive flight followed by taking the train or bus to Tarascon.
Excursions in Vienne typically visit the 25 B.C. remains of a temple and amphitheater built in honor of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia. You might also see the walled city of Viviers and the monastic town of Tournus. From Macon, travel to the Beaujolais region to enjoy a tasting of its famously delicious wines or tour 17th-century Chateau de Cormatin with its gorgeous gardens. Upon arrival to Lyon, you’ll be smack dab in the middle of the country’s gastronomic heart. Not only can you indulge your ultimate food fantasies, but it’s a great place to shop and explore museums. You might start by visiting Notre Dame Basilica for a spectacular view over the city. After dark, there’s a thriving nightlife scene with bars and clubs for every style.
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