Burgundy and Provence

We have just returned from a delightful eight-day river cruise aboard Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection‘s stunning S.S. Catherine sailing from Lyon to Avignon. From the moment we boarded, we were impressed with the magnificent Murano chandelier, the glass elevator with a glimmering waterfall cascading down its side, a Murano horse and long stretches of mirrors and marble.

Murano Horse
Murano Horse in s.s. Catherine’s Lobby
Murano Chandelier
Murano Chandelier in s.s. Catherine’s Lobby















Each stateroom is uniquely decorated with rich textiles, lovely French furnishing and handcrafted Savoir of England beds with fine linens. Shimmering marble bathrooms have a glass-enclosed shower, a towel-warmer, and L’Occitane toiletries.

On Monday, in Macon, France, we elected to take a bespoke experience: Southern Burgundy Delights at Chateau de Rully. The Chateau de Rully belongs to the same family from the beginning. The changes of the name over the centuries show that ownership was sometimes transferred through the female line; the main family names have been: Rully, Saint-Leger, Montessus and today de Ternay. Monsieur Le Comte de Ternay welcomed us and guided us through the Chateau. During the tour, we learned about the family history, anecdotes and secrets.

Chateau de Rully

Chateau de Rully Courtyard
Chateau de Rully

Monsieur Le Comte de Ternay
Monsieur Le Comte de Ternay

Our Tuesday port-of-call was Lyon, the culinary capital of France. Our included tour, “Do as the Locals do,” was a Lyon city tour. We discovered why Lyon has been named France capital of gastronomy while we visited Les Halles Paul Boucuse and strolled through Lyon’s historic old quarter, with many spectacular examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture and les traboules, the city’s old passageways.

LyonMarketplace Cheese ShopPuppets








Tain L’Hermitage, France was our Wednesday destination. Our included Twin Cities walking tour with wine tasting. Nestled on opposite side of the river in the heard of the Cotes du Rhone, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage make an ideal destination for wine connoisseurs.

Tain L'HermitageL'Hermitage Landscape

Back on board, we were treated to a Crepe Suzette cooking demonstration and tasting with Pastry Chefs Raluca and Nuno in the Van Gogh Lounge.
Crepes Suzettes

On Thursday, we explored the charming village of Viviers with an organ concert performed in the Cathedral just for Uniworld guests. Viviers climbs a hill above the river, crowned by 12th century St. Vincent’s Cathedral. It happens to be the smallest cathedral in France, but it contains a marvelous organ. Sitting under the soaring vaults, we listened while a local organist demonstrated just how fine an instrument it is. From there we wandered down through the town and were treated to a special visit to our guide’s home!

St. Vincent's CathedralViviersSt. Vincent's Organ











We elected to visit a Truffle Farm and Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine tasting on Thursday afternoon.
Truffle HunterGrape Varieties










Our excursion choice on Friday in Avignon was a walking tour and the Palace of the Popes. It’s hard to believe, looking at the charming cafes and entertaining street performers in the Clock Tower Square, that this lively scene owes its existence to a 15th-century siege. This area was the heart of medieval Avignon~and the site of the original Roman town~crowded with cottages and narrow treets, until a pope had it all demolished in order to give his troops a cleared field of fire!

Avignon cafePalace of the Popes










Arles rounded out the week on Saturday. Van Gogh paid tribute to Arle’s atmospheric beauty in some 200 paintings, including Starry Night Over the Rhone. It’s an ancient city boasting a remarkable collection of Roman ruins. We strolled through the district where medieval houses crowd in among the ancient structures and the city gates date to the 13th century.
Van Gogh CafeArles Roman Ruins










The final verdict? Uniworld’s attentive service, unique decor, wonderful beds and bathrooms, and superb cuisine make the s.s. Catherine a brilliant choice for vacationing in one of France’s most alluring regions.

Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963
  • Avalon Waterways European Rivers

    How about a virtual journey through Avalon Waterways itineraries? Take a peek.
    Moselle River

    Rhone River

    Seine River

    Christmas Cruise

    Rhine River

    Danube River

    Main River

    Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2017 or 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Which River? A First-Time Cruiser’s Guide

    Avalon Waterways® offers European river cruises on the Rhine, Rhône, Moselle, Danube, Seine, Main as well as Christmas Markets cruises. But which rivers do first timers typically choose? Here are the most popular choices along with a short video to help you select one that matches your special interests.

    Rhine River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    As it winds through Europe’s castle-dotted hillsides, dramatic rocky gorges and Old World villages, the Rhine River is the essence of romance.
    The Rhine River is Germany’s longest river. From Roman times through WWII, the Rhine has been the center of ancient empires. A cruise on the Rhine River is going to suit romantics, history enthusiasts, epicures, nature lovers, and wine lovers. You can look forward to little medieval towns, quaint half-timbered buildings, enchanted castles, majestic cathedrals, historic cities, and, of course, the romantic Rhine’s scenic natural beauty. The river also fosters countless vineyards and small farms, making it an oenophile’s dream. A journey on the Rhine is a voyage back through history.

    Rhone River Cruise Vacations | Avalon Waterways®
    Past hillside vineyards and fragrant lavender fields, the Rhône River flows from Switzerland through France before emptying into the Mediterranean at the Golfe du Lion. A journey along the Rhône features sweeping views of rolling hills dotted with castles and vineyards. Enjoy a delightful stay in Lyon, France’s second-largest city and its gastronomical capital.

    Moselle River Cruise Vacations | Avalon Waterways®
    Flowing through France and Germany, the Moselle River is situated in the picturesque Moselle Valley, famous for its striking scenery, charming architecture and exceptional Moselle wines. A Moselle River cruise is ideal for wine lovers. Riesling, Elbling, Müller-Thurgau, and Kerner wines are all produced in this area. View the video!

    Danube River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    The Danube is Europe’s second-longest river. The Danube has inspired artists, poets, and musicians for centuries. Those who love history, architecture, art, and distinct cultures are going to love a voyage down the Danube. Blending Eastern and Western Europe, you can look forward to seeing ancient cities and Roman ruins on the extraordinary Danube River.
    Originating in Germany and flowing eastward through much of Central Europe, the Danube River gives cruise passengers the opportunity to view everything from perpendicular hillsides to small hamlets dotting the landscape to bustling cities situated right along the bank. Stunning cities such as Budapest, Vienna and Prague have intriguing histories and heritages mixed with a modern culture, making a visit to these parts of Central Europe extraordinarily unique. Excursions onshore include visits to imposing castles and majestic basilicas, as well as quiet wineries.
    Start planning your Danube river cruise today!

    Seine River Cruise Vacations | Avalon Waterways®
    At 485 miles, the Seine is the second-longest river in France. It runs northwest from Burgundy, passes through Paris, and eventually empties into the English Channel at Le Havre.
    Whether you appreciate the arts and fine wine or rolling hills and historic structures, the Seine provides a smooth and seamless way to explore France.

    Main River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    Located in Germany, the Main River is one of the more significant tributaries of the Rhine River, flowing all the way to the Danube River. The river has been canalized with 34 large locks to allow ships to navigate the entire length of the river. The lands along the Main River are the epitome of German history and culture. Thanks to the Main-Danube Canal, it is now possible to navigate from the Rhine Delta at Rotterdam, Holland, to the Danube Delta at the Black Sea-a stretch of 2,200 miles. View the video to see medieval villages and ancient castles.

    Christmas Time River Cruises | Avalon Waterways®
    Discover Europe during the joyous holiday season – from a perspective only Avalon can deliver. Freshly baked gingerbread. Trees radiant with twinkling lights. A steaming mug of mulled wine in hand as you meander among quaint stalls filled with one-of-a-kind gifts. Europe’s dearly loved Christmas Markets have captivated holiday revelers for centuries—fall under their spell onboard and in the charming villages. View the video to learn more!