France's Finest

  Average Ship Rating 5.0 Based on 1 Reviews.
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 Cruise Length
15 Days
 Cruise Starts
Paris
 Cruise Finishes
Avignon
15 Day France's Finest Itinerary (Viking)
Countries Explored: France
Cruise Line:
River Ship
Passengers
168
Crew
53
Launched
2019
Cruise Code
VKFF

Overview

Pay your respects at Normandy's World War II beaches. Walk in Joan of Arc's footsteps at Rouen. Luxuriate in Paris's sophistication. Savor Lyon's culinary heritage. Toast the Beaujolais vineyards. Explore Avignon's Palace of the Popes. Celebrate the Provençal lifestyle. Art, cuisine, style, joie de vivre—if you love everything Français, this is for you: a 15-day journey that combines our popular Paris & the Heart of Normandy and Lyon & Provence cruises into one tour de force.

Itinerary

Arrive in Paris, romance capital of the world. Transfer from the airport in Paris to your ship.*After boarding, take free time to explore Paris, or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and get oriented. (D) *Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.

After breakfast, embark on a tour of this dazzling city and marvel at its most remarkable sights, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. Take in the École Militaire, Orsay Museum and Latin Quarter, and resilient Notre Dame Cathedral. Then drive past the Louvre and Opera House and along the famed Champs-Élysées. Return on board for lunch and start your cruise on the Seine this evening. (B/L/D)

Arrive in La Roche Guyon before breakfast; enjoy free time to explore this charming village that stands on a broad bend of the Seine and is considered one of France’s most beautiful. Its castle dates to medieval times and served as Field Marshal Rommel’s headquarters during World War II. During lunch, cruise to Vernon, where you will take a short ride into the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926.

Visit the beautiful gardens and charming stone farmhouse where he lived and worked; see the water garden with the recognizable Japanese bridge, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas that inspired many of his masterpieces.† (B/L/D) Monet garden not available before March 24 or after November 1; a visit to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, favored by van Gogh and other artists, will be substituted.

Indulge in leisurely morning cruising along the Seine. Spend the afternoon in the medieval city of Rouen, preeminent capital of Normandy. Begin with a walking tour through the center of Old Town, where you see the spectacular Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, often painted by Claude Monet, and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock. As you walk among the half-timbered storybook buildings, allow yourself to be transported back through time; see the 14th-century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and the nearby Market Square where she was martyred. Use your free time to discover more of Rouen or visit one of its museums of art or antiquities. Dine on board or at a sidewalk café. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B/L/D)

After breakfast, begin your full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy. Drive past Gold Beach, Courseulles sur Mer and Juno Beach on your way to visit such World War II landmarks as Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery and Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum. Alternatively, you may take a tour of Bayeaux, where you can admire the magnificent tapestry that chronicles the pre–Battle of Hastings events. Afterward, continue to Normandy’s coast and enjoy some free time at Juno Beach after your visit to the museum; then visit the Pegasus Museum. Return to your ship for dinner and relax on board, or take an evening stroll through Rouen. (B/L/D)

Enjoy a leisurely morning cruise to the small town of Les Andelys, known for its imposing castle, Château Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. After lunch, join a guided walk to this fatally flawed masterpiece of Middle Ages architecture before returning to your ship. (B/L/D)

After breakfast, disembark for a visit to Château de Malmaison, where Napoleon Bonaparte spent his final days in France. Along with the Tuileries, this elegant manor house, purchased by the emperor’s wife Josephine in 1799, served as the seat of Napoleon’s French government from 1800 to 1802. Or, join an optional tour to the luxurious Palace of Versailles , former home of Louis XIV.

After breakfast, disembark and enjoy a leisurely train ride from Paris through the countryside of east central France to Lyon to board your second ship, where a Welcome Dinner is served. (B/D)

After breakfast, tour the city of Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Continue with a guided visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), and use your free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world-famous. (B/L/D)

After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Beaujolais, where viticultural tradition runs deep. See the legendary Moulin-à-Vent, the windmill that gives its name to one of the most prestigious wines of the region, learn about the art of winemaking in a small museum and enjoy a tasting in one of Beaujolais’s famous cellars. Return to your ship for lunch and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. (B/L/D)

This morning take a walking tour of Vienne, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. Visit the Temple of Augustus and Livia, the Roman amphitheater and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice; then spend some time discovering more of this engaging riverside town on your own. In the afternoon, enjoy the rolling vine-clad banks of the river as you sail through its wide meanders to Tournon. After dinner, enjoy a stroll along the riverbanks under the plane trees. (B/L/D)

Board the Train de l'Ardèche this morning for a locomotive ride through the deep gorges of the Ardèche plateau, cut by the Doux River. Return to your ship and enjoy lunch on board as we cruise to Viviers, an engaging little town in a mountainous setting. After dinner, enjoy an evening stroll through Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. (B/L/D)

This morning, set out on a guided walk of Avignon, nicknamed 'City of Popes' because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377. Stroll through the historic center, stop at the picturesque Pont d'Avignon and walk the Place de l'Horloge. Continue to the renowned Palace of the Popes for a guided tour through this rambling maze of Gothic architecture that served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner are served on board. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B/L/D)

Disembark after breakfast and take a walking tour of Arles with its diverse architectural highlights. Experience the city's vibrant colors and striking quality of light that have inspired artists. Arles is also the site of some impressive Roman ruins, including Les Arènes, an arena that seats 20,000 and is still in use, as well as Romanesque monuments such as the Church of Saint-Trôphime, completed in the 15th century. Return on board for lunch followed by an afternoon on your own to explore or shop for handcrafted gifts. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served as you depart. (B/L/D)

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Marseille airport for your return flight.* (B) *Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.

Life Onboard Viking Seine Ships

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Trip Reviews (1) Most Recent 'France's Finest' Reviews

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AVG. RATING 5.00 / 5
1 Review
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1 Star
Traversing France by River with Viking   0 , VIC, Australia, Aug 2022
Firstly, we have travelled with Viking by their river ships and we have driven to the same areas that were on our itinerary. Travelling by river eliminates the parking hazards and the grind in getting to and finding your bearings.
The France’s Finest river cruise actually combines two different river experiences and we did meet two couples who were only doing one week. Vikings product is excellent in both the ship accommodation and service levels. This package includes your transfer from Paris to Lyon (or vice versa ) if you combine the two trips and was seamless. The travellers comprised of about 80 per cent from the US.

The included walking tours had excellent guides in general though one issue which could be common to many such cruise trips is there are a number of individuals whose mobility is restricted and it can be tedious walking in such groups. There was an attempt at one port walk to have a fast group but unfortunately the tour guide was the hold up. We didn’t bother to do the guided walk but chose to explore ourselves in a few destinations. We would advise arriving at least 2 days earlier if flying from Australia whether you start this tour in Paris or Lyon. We found a wonderful boutique Paris hotel which was close to the Eiffel Tower and a short walk to the Viking dock.

We found it easy also to use the airport train and metro to arrive at our hotel. COVID restrictions in general had been removed at the time of sailing. Viking staff all were required to wear masks. The only real COVID issue we faced was 3 weeks prior when our airline changed our flight schedule. We are thankful that we had booked our flights via Viking and together with Hannah from Global Journeys as we were able to resolve this significant problem. We were lucky that we had considerable flexibility to depart early as we are a retired couple. We have used the services of Global Journeys on previous bookings and would recommend the company. They were always ready to respond quickly to your queries.

Availability Click on the cabin prices below to view upgrades and cabin details

Note
Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Viking.

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