Enjoy an ever-changing panorama unfold along the banks, from the vineyards of Burgundy, to the serene landscapes of Van Gogh, the wild nature of the Camargue and the papal city of Avignon. Embark A-Rosa Stella in the gastronomic city of Lyon, a city you will have the pleasure of exploring at the end of your cruise, and enjoy dinner on board as you cruise overnight to Chalon-sur-Saone. In the morning you have the choice of visiting Beaune with its fine Hotel Dieu, passing the wine towns of Burgundy en route, or perhaps a supplementary tour to visit the exquisite 17th century Chateau Cormatin.
This afternoon relax on board as Stella slips past the verdant Maconais river banks to Tournus. Enjoy a late afternoon stroll through the delightful Burgundian riverside town once an important monastic centre, before Stella continues on her way to Macon where she spends the night.
The following morning visit the ruins of the Benedictine Abbey at Cluny, founded in 910 AD. The abbey – the largestchurch in Europe until the building of St Peter’s in Rome six centuries later – became the most famous and powerful abbey in Christendom with over a thousand daughter abbeys throughout Europe. Remain in Macon, with its 6th century cathedral and half-timbered houses, or enjoy a supplementary visit to a winery of the Maconais and – of course – sample some wines! This afternoon relax on the Sun Deck admiring the landscape of vineyards, orchards, terracotta tiled farmhouses and Romanesque churches before enjoying dinner on board as Stella winds her way through Lyon and southwards, overnight, to Viviers.
Disembark the following afternoon to enjoy a scenic drive through the southern Ardeche region, viewing the dramatic Karst gorge and, on our June cruise, enjoy the fragrant scenery of lavender fields in bloom. Alternatively you might decide to discover for yourself the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town of Viviers.
The next morning Stella berths in Arles – once an important city in the Roman Empire, and located at the southernmost point of our river journey. On a walking tour, discover the city’s links with Van Gogh or enjoy a scenic drive through the Camargue in the Rhone delta, known for its salt marshes and lagoons, its bulls, wild horses and rich birdlife.
A short cruise upriver will bring you to Avignon in the early evening for an overnight stay. With its well preserved medieval walls, Avignon became the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in the 14th century when the papacy temporarily abandoned Italy. This morning enjoy a walking tour to visit the vast, fortified Palais des Papes, developed from a bishop’s palace into a fortified religious centre, before setting sail this afternoon for Lyon.
Having enjoyed a night cruising upstream spend an afternoon in Lyon, your final port of call, discovering its Roman heritage, its long association with silk and its reputation as a centre of gastronomy. A walk through Vieux Lyon will introduce you to its narrow streets lined with over 300 medieval and Rennaisance houses, St Jean Cathedral, and the city’s unique narrow passageways known as ‘traboules’. Or you might choose a supplementary full day that includes a visit to Les Halles – the Lyonnaise market halls – learning more about Lyon’s reputation as a centre of gastronomy and sampling some of the region’s specialities. A wonderful conclusion to your Rhone river cruise.