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Chamonix, Mont Blanc & Five-Star Rhone Cruise

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Be whisked away to the soaring mountains of the French Alps and cruise down the Rhône in style

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2019 Tour code: CIR19

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Itinerary

Day 1 - To Chamonix

Meet your group and Tour Manager today at our dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras where you board the Eurostar to Paris. From here, we join the local sevice to Lyon before transferring by coach to the beautiful resort of Chamonix. Hidden away far up among the peaks of the French Alps, this charming town sits against a backdrop of pure majesty, featuring ancient mountains and verdant valleys. We check into our hotel here before dinner tonight.

Includes
  • Dinner
Chamonix
Day 2 - At leisure in the French Alps

You have a free day today to explore this wonderful region and its many charms. There are numerous mountain walks available to you of varying difficulty which wander across meadows, past babbling mountains streams and through ethereal forests, granting spectacular panoramas at each turn. The nearby Aiguille du Midi cable car is another option, carrying its passengers up and over the magnificent Les Pelerins glacier, ascending the north face of the Aiguille du Midi Mountain as it goes.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Aiguille du Midi
Day 3 - The Mont Blanc Express

The French Alps are a sight to behold all year round, and their tallest mountain, and indeed the tallest in Europe, is the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc which rises above all the other peaks and up into the low cloud above. We are in a fantastic position to admire its striking beauty today as we embark on a journey on the Mont Blanc Express.

We board the train at Chamonix's train station to begin our journey across the Alps into Switzerland. The small red train winds its way down through the peaks, curling under dense forests as it goes. The trees give way to some remarkable scenery of deep valleys and shimmering rivers as the train descends through the Alps. Reaching the enormous Argentière glacier, we make our way down against a stunning back drop to the Col des Montets mountain pass which opens up to us in all its Alpine glory. Finally, our journey terminates in the pretty town of Martigny on the Swiss side where you have time for lunch and to admire the traditional chalets before making your return journey on the Mont Blanc Express.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Mont Blanc Express
Day 4 - Boarding the MS Amadeus Provence

Your time in Chamonix comes to an end today as you transfer to your ship, the 5-Star MS Amadeus Provence, for a marvellous 7-night cruise.

Includes
  • Dinner
Lyon
Day 5 - Mâcon

We arrive in Mâcon before breakfast this morning. Enjoying an attractive location near the Beaujolais hills. You may choose to join an optional shore excursion here, exploring the region's wine-making heritage with a tour of the Mâconnais and Beaujolais vineyards, concluding in a visit the Le Hameau du Vin, a winemaking museum housed in a 19th century railroad station.

This afternoon there is an included visit to the Benedictine monastery at Cluny, where we admire the grand abbey. This Romanesque masterpiece was built from the 4th century to the 12th, and is made up of three separate churches.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mâcon
Day 6 - Châlon-sur-Saône

In the early hours of the morning we moor in Chalon-sur-Saône. Today there is an optional excursion to picturesque Beaune. Explore the medieval center and sample regional wines on this delicious optional tour. Beaune itself is a charming old French town, with incomparable architecture harking back to the days of rustic French architecture. The medieval hospices here remain an important French monument. They are delightful to look at, with beautiful diamond patterns set into the room, and a wide airy courtyard. We return to the ship in time for lunch and set sail again.

In the afternoon you can join an optional excursion to Cormatin. A typical rural village, Cormatin is home to a magnificent chateau with immaculate gardens and a classic exterior inspired by the Chalon citadel. The insides are made up of fantastic rooms of pillars and gilded gold.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Châlon-sur-Saône
Day 7 - Exploring Lyon

Today we moor in Lyon, an important port and a vital gateway between the north and south of France since ancient times. As the center of so much commerce, Lyon has enjoyed many centuries of wealth and influence - and today the city boasts an array of beautiful architecture and cultural monuments from its vibrant past.

The historic Old Town of Lyon has been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Set in the heart of the city, this area of narrow alleyways is home to more than 300 lovingly restored buildings all pre-dating the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved Renaissance complexes in all of Europe. We explore more of this wonderful heritage on an included guided tour of the city.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lyon
Day 8 - Avignon, the City of the Popes

This morning we sail into charming Avignon, where we take an included walking tour of the UNESCOlisted city. Notable for its history as the home of the Pope during the Papacy's move from Rome to France, Avignon's ecumenical heritage is instantly apparent through the grand churches spread across the town. This afternoon, there is an optional excursion to Pont du Gard, the remains of an incredible Roman aqueduct, and then to Uzès, a delightful medieval town.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Avignon
Day 9 - The Camargue and Arles

Today we cruise along the Rhône to Arles, arriving early this morning. The scenery here is stunning, as we pass rural villages and tranquil green countryside. On arrival, you may opt to join a walking tour of Arles in the morning or perhaps enjoy an excursion to the Camargue river in the afternoon.

Arles as a city is notable for a number of things. The first sight on any visitors list ought to be the superbly well-maintained Roman Amphitheatre, which has stood the test of time admirably. Arles was also famously the home of Vincent Van Gogh for a period, and much of his finest paintings can be found in Arles' Vincent Van Gogh Foundation.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Avignon to Arles
Days 10-11 - The Ardèche Gorge and home

This morning you can join an optional excursion to the incredible Ardèche Gorge, sometimes known as the 'Grand Canyon of Europe.' Winding through sandy beaches and dusky forests, under natural rock bridges and past leaning white cliffs, the natural beauty of this area is breathtaking and well worth experiencing.

On Day 11 we arrive back in Lyon, where we disembark the ship and travel by rail to Paris. Here we join the Eurostar to London. Upon arrival, your tour concludes.

Includes
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 11 - Breakfast
Ardeche