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Uniworld River Cruises | A Portrait of Majestic France

Journey from glittering Paris to the Norman countryside and on to the lush vineyards of Bordeaux.

From the beaches of Normandy to amazing cities like Paris and Bordeaux, and so many places in between, this voyage gives you the best France has to offer. Cruise four noble rivers, the Seine, Garonne, Gironde, and Dordogne, on this grand journey that explores both large cities and charming local towns as you sample the good life—full of world-class art, vibrant culture, and culinary wonders. The perfect itinerary for lovers of life’s finer things.

A Portrait of Majestic France

Paris to Bordeaux 15 Days
Date Range: Mar 2014 - Oct 2014 Ships: River Baroness, River Royale

Paris to Bordeaux 15 Days

Program offerings are subject to change.
Day 1:
Paris MotorcoachEmbark/Disembark
Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship.
Day 2:
Vernon (Giverny), Les Andelys Choice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachMuseumGo Active
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Monet’s Giverny and hike to Château Gaillard or exclusive guided "Go Active" Nordic walking tour

Visit Monet’s home in his beloved village of Giverny, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. When Monet bought the property, most of it was an orchard; he transformed it over the years into the enchanted vision that he painted, essentially creating each work of art twice: once as a living garden and again as a painting. Stroll through the gardens and admire the familiar Japanese bridge and water garden that inspired him. Though the town suffered bomb damage during WWII, you’ll still be able to recognize many scenes from the master’s iconic paintings. Step even further into the past with a hike to Château Gaillard. Your adventure takes you to the dramatic white-stone remains of the English king’s stronghold. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the river and surrounding countryside. Or take a guided Nordic walking tour along the popular trail to Château Gaillard and the cliffs above St. Jaques hospital. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
 
Day 3:
Rouen (Normandy Beaches) Choice Is YoursMotorcoachMuseum
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Full day Normandy Beaches with choice of D-Day Museum at Arromanches or Juno Beach and Canadian Center or Tapestry Museum in Bayeux

Normandy’s proximity to the sea has made it the site of many battles, including the famous D-Day Invasion by Allied forces during WWII. Before visiting the beaches of Normandy, you’ll go to Mulberry Harbor at Arromanches and explore the D-Day Museum. Or choose to visit Juno Beach where the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed, and take in the exhibits at the Canadian Center. Or, after spending time in Arromanches, drive to Bayeux to see the famous 11th-century tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings. Continue to the Allied landing sites at Omaha Beach before visiting a haunting reminder of the Allied forces’ hard fight for freedom—the American Cemetery. Located in Colleville-sur-Mer, near the section of coastline designated "Omaha Beach," the cemetery and memorial honor American soldiers who lost their lives while fighting in Europe. Uniworld guests can participate in a special ceremony during their visit that involves a wreath laying, the American national anthem, and a moment of silence.
Day 4:
Rouen Choice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveGo Active
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Rouen walking tour or exclusive guided "Go Active" bike ride along the Seine River

Rouen, founded in pre-Roman times and the Medieval capital of the region, has managed to preserve many notable buildings despite being invaded, conquered, and bombed countless times over the years. Your visit will take you to the stunning Gothic cathedrals, the haunting Medieval quarter and the Gros Horloge, a Renaissance clock tower. The walk ends at Vieux Marché, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the English in 1431. Or enjoy a bike ride along the Seine with an expert guide. The Seine River banks are popular with locals, and cycling on the docks is part of the art of enjoying Rouen.
 
Day 5:
Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur) Motorcoach
FEATURED EXCURSION: Honfleur walking tour

After crossing the river delta via the majestic Normandy Bridge, travel through the Calvados countryside to Honfleur, a charming French harbor town re-created in paintings by such artists as Monet, Courbet, and the painter who inspired so many others to come to Honfleur: Eugene Boudin. Charles Baudelaire, the French poet, called Boudin’s stormy pictures of the harbor "meteorological beauties." Tour the former smugglers’ harbor of Vieux Bassin—the most frequently painted scene in Honfleur—whose streets reveal the rich history of the port, and St. Catherine’s Church, which was built by shipwrights.
 
Day 6:
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Auvers sur Oise) Motorcoach
FEATURED EXCURSION: "Vincent van Gogh’s Footsteps" walking tour of Auvers-sur-Oise

Find yourself in Auvers-sur-Oise, following the footsteps of Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh. The ill-fated artist spent just the last two months of his life here, but in that time painted many of its buildings, including the Town Hall, the church, and the home of his doctor, Dr. Gachet. You can see the former inn where he stayed until his death in 1890 and then visit his tomb in the "new cemetery" (inaugurated in 1858). He’s buried beside his brother, Theo, who died a year later. Your guide will transport you to the 19th century and give you a true-to-life sense of the artist’s final days as you stand in the very place where Van Gogh set his easel. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
Day 7:
Paris UNESCOChoice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachInsider Go Active
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Paris city tour or exclusive "Do as the Locals Do" Île de la Cité and Latin Quarter walking tour or exclusive guided "Go Active" Nordic walking tour of parks and Eiffel Tower

Your panoramic city tour includes the most Parisian of sights: the grand Champs-Élysées, where you will pass the Arc de Triomphe before stopping at the Champs de Mars for an opportunity to photograph the Eiffel Tower. Then continue on to the Place Vendôme, Hôtel de Ville, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Latin Quarter. Then it’s on to Les Invalides, the Louvre courtyard, and Luxembourg Gardens, where you can stretch your legs and see a slice of Parisian life. Or, take a more intimate look at Parisian daily life with a walking tour of the Île de la Cité, the historic center of Paris, which is home to the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame. Your tour also includes a stop by a traditional open-air market to shop as the Parisians do for bread, cheese, and other regional delicacies. Or take a guided Nordic walking tour under Paris’s bridges, and along the Seine River to discover many styles of houseboats, the Statue of Liberty, and the Eiffel Tower.
Day 8:
Paris (disembark), transfer to Bordeaux via high speed TGV train (embark) Embark/DisembarkMotorcoach
Today, you’ll disembark the ship and be transferred to the railway station for your TGV transfer to Bordeaux, where you’ll join your next ship and begin the second part of this exciting journey. A host of charming towns and many epicurean delights await you in this ancient and beautiful corner of France. This is one of the world’s most celebrated wine regions, and you can look forward to exclusive tastings of its finest offerings—á votre santé! (BB, L, D)
Day 9:
Cruising the Garone River and Gironde Estuary, Pauillac Choice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachWinetastingGo Active
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Médoc panoramic tour with exclusive winery visit and tasting or exclusive guided "Go Active" vineyard bicycle ride

Set sail on the Garonne for the pretty town of Pauillac, gateway to the storied Médoc wine route, where you’ll begin a panoramic tour of the heart of the Haut-Médoc AOC (or appellation d’origine contrôlée, a geographical designation that denotes where grapes are grown). Enjoy an exclusive visit to a celebrated winery, Châteaux d’Arsac, where you’ll discover your personal "wine sign" with a special blind tasting. Or experience the terroir in an entirely different way: with a guided bike ride through the beautiful Médoc vineyards. You’ll get an up-close look at the vines and truly take in the atmosphere—the earth, the sunshine—of this famous wine-growing region. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, WD)
Day 10:
Cruising the Gironde Estuary, Blaye UNESCOChoice Is YoursUniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachGo Active
FEATURED EXCURSION: Choice of scenic drive along the Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress or exclusive guided "Go Active" Nordic walking tour of Blaye Fortress

Today you’ll sail across the Gironde Estuary to Blaye. The scenic journey through the estuary offers a unique look at the delta, where fishing huts rise above grassy marshlands edged by limestone cliffs. Running along those cliffs is a little road called the Route de la Corniche Fleurie. The road winds through the picturesque hamlets of Pain de Sucre, Marmisson, and Roque de Thau, where you’ll find charming stone houses built by 19th-century ship captains. Upon returning to Blaye, your guide will take you through the 17th-century citadel built by famed military engineer Vauban. Its fortress and tunnels are a UNESCO monument. Then enjoy some free time to explore the town on your own. Or take part in a guided Nordic walking tour of Blaye Fortress. (BB, L, D)
Day 11:
Libourne (Bergerac) Motorcoach
FEATURED EXCURSION: Bergerac city tour

Bergerac, which is located in the southernmost part of the Périgord and boasts 12 AOCs, and is your jumping-off point for today’s adventure. On your walking tour of the town you’ll explore the popular farmers’ market, hear the fateful story of Cyrano de Bergerac and his Roxanne, and watch the flat-bottom boats glide along the river. Stop at the 16th-century Château de Monbazillac, which offers marvelous views overlooking Bergerac and the Dordogne River. The drive along the Dordogne is an especially scenic one, and you’ll cross bridges to explore charming Bastide villages on both sides of the river.

The "gastronomic meal of the French" is so indelibly linked to the country’s identity that it was added to UNESCO’s list of "intangible cultural heritage"in 2010, and tonight you will discover why during an extra special dinner. World-famous French Master Chef Philippe Etchebest has loaned his gastronomic genius to River Royale’s culinary team. His interpretation of the region’s delicacies will inform a specially crafted onboard dinner menu for Uniworld guests only. Bon appétit! (BB, L, D)
Day 12:
Libourne (Saint-Émilion), cruising the Dordogne River, Bordeaux UNESCOMotorcoachWinetasting
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Saint-Émilion walking tour with wine tasting and private evening tour of Bordeaux

Saint-Émilion offers exceptional historic architecture, and historic vineyards too. The Romans were the first to plant grapes here, and this was the first vineyard region to be protected by UNESCO. The town, built atop limestone hills, offers many interesting shops, but what makes it extraordinary is what exists below the cobbled streets—Saint-Émilion’s Monolithic Church which dates back to the 12th century. After touring Saint-Émilion, you’ll visit the cellars of a Premier Grand Cru estate where you’ll taste some of the world’s most highly rated wines. Once you’re back in Bordeaux, you will enjoy an evening tour. Bordeaux under the stars—what could be more magical? After Paris, Bordeaux has more protected buildings than any other French city. From the alleyways of the Saint-Pierre district to the avenues of the Place des Quinconces, you’ll see why Queen Elizabeth II deemed Bordeaux"the essence of elegance." (BB, L, D)
Day 13:
Bordeaux, Cadillac Uniworld ExclusiveMotorcoachDining OutWinetasting
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Cadillac, châteaux and vineyards of Sauternes with exclusive artisanal lunch and wine tasting at Château d’Arche

During a tour to nearby Cadillac you’ll embark on a study of Sauternes, the sweet wine which is named for the region. Sauternes is made from grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, a fungus that causes a raisin-like decay, resulting in a concentrated and distinctly flavored sweet wine. You’ll meet the winemakers and enjoy an elegant wine-pairing lunch at Château d’Arche. You’ll also see the grounds of legendary Château d’Yquem. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner. (BB, L, FD)
Day 14:
Bordeaux UNESCOChoice Is YoursUniworld Exclusive<img title="Insider" perspective'="" s="" alt="Insider" data-cke-saved-src="http://www.cassidytravel.ie/images/insiders-perspective.png" src="http://www.cassidytravel.ie/images/insiders-perspective.png">Go Active
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of exclusive "Do as the Locals Do" Bordeaux walking tour or exclusive guided "Go Active" bicycle ride along the Garonne River banks

See Bordeaux à pied on a fascinating walking tour of the Golden Triangle, where you’ll encounter the very best the city has to offer. Explore luxury food halls, sample Bordeaux’s famous canelés and chocolates, discover marvelous 18th-century architecture, and visit an elegant wine bar popular with locals. If you’re looking for something more active, consider joining a guided bicycle ride along the scenic banks of the Garonne River. You’ll have plenty of free time to further enjoy Bordeaux on your own. Revisit some of the places you saw on your tour or explore new areas. It’s a great chance to do a little shopping too. (BB, L, D)
Day 15:
Bordeaux (disembark), transfer to the airport Embark/DisembarkMotorcoach
Disembark the ship and transfer to Bordeaux–Mérignac International Airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in Biarritz. (CB/BB)
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Departure date: 26 October 2014

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