Focusing on French cuisine and village life, A Taste of France features a 7-night Rhône River cruise aboard ms Swiss Emerald through vineyard country that's home to some of the world’s most exceptional wines.
Tauck's epicurean delights begin in Paris with a reception and dinner at Fouquet’s, the celebrity hotspot on the Champs Élysées, a chocolate demonstration, and a pastry class designed especially for you at École Lenôtre.
Ride the high-speed TGV through the French countryside to Lyon to taste your way through Les Halles, Lyon's famed covered food market with its eye-popping vertical garden, and enjoy dinner at L’Abbaye de Collonges, created by the legendary chef Paul Bocuse.
Cruise in search of culinary adventures along the Rhône... sipping Beaujolais in Beaujolais... sampling Provençal specialties for lunch at a private ranch in La Camargue... and learning secrets at a cooking demonstration at an award-winning cooking school in Valence.
Bonjour Paris, Fouquet's & city lights
Arrived Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Gare de Lyon Station, Charles de Gaulle Station or Gare du Nord, you will be transferred to InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel in the heart of the city.
Join Tauck this evening for your special welcome cocktail reception and dinner at le Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysées, an iconic landmark for celebrity dining for over a century and one of 10 best restaurants in Paris, followed by a special tour of the city illuminated in the night sky. Much has been written about the city lights of Paris.
A private pastry class & more Parisian gourmet pleasures
Begin your culinary odyssey in Paris with a walk through the city that inspires with the fragrances and flavors of French food. After indulging your passion for chocolate with a demonstration at a private workshop, learn firsthand the tips of the pâtisserie trade – including how to make macarons and dessert tarts – in a pastry class designed especially for you at École Lenôtre, located in a pavilion next to the French Presidential Palace. This evening is free to explore the dining possibilities in and around your Paris hotel.
Paris at leisure, the fast train to Lyon & a special gourmet feast
Paris is yours to experience as you please this morning. Perhaps visiting one of the city’s lesser-known museums, or an agreeable sidewalk café for some Parisian-watching. Before catching the TGV high-speed train and enjoying the views en route to Lyon, set at the confluence of the rivers Saône and Rhône. There, board the riverboat, ms Swiss Emerald, for your Rhône River cruise and settle into your cabin before joining us for a briefing and welcome reception.
Go ashore for dinner tonight, a true highlight of your trip – a gourmet feast at L’Abbaye de Collonges, located just outside Lyon on the banks of the Saône River, owned by the famous award-winning Michelin-starred chef, Paul Bocuse.
Les Halles de Lyon, a Beaujolais tasting & more
Lyon is considered the "culinary capital of France," which is quite a compliment in a country famed for its cuisine and fine vintages. You’ll discover why during a tasting at the famous Les Halles de Lyon, the celebrated indoor food market that's been a fixture in Lyon since 1850 and offers an unbelievable array of breads, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, sausages, wines, chocolates... the list goes on.
Everything is fresh and delicious, and it's said that the best chefs in Lyon shop here! But Lyon is also a city with a venerable history and considerable charm, as you’ll discover when you also visit Vieux Lyon, the old Renaissance part of the city that is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first protected historic district in France, and the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, built atop the ruins of an ancient Roman forum. This afternoon, it’s off to the celebrated wine-growing region of Beaujolais for a tasting in the countryside before continuing your Rhône River cruise to Viviers.
Medieval treasures in Viviers & tastings along the Rhône
ms Swiss Emerald cruises this morning to Viviers, a walled city with origins in the 5th century on the right bank of the Rhône. If medieval history and authentic period architecture are your thing, Viviers is your kind of place because it’s one of the best-preserved medieval towns that you’re likely to see in all of France.
Its narrow streets and lanes reveal what life might have been like here in the Middle Ages on a walking tour with your local guide; view the 12th-century Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rhône and the richly detailed façade of the Maison des Chevaliers, home to an upwardly mobile salt merchant in the 1500s. Whet your appetite for country life with a wine tasting before boarding the riverboat and setting off for Arles.
Historic Arles & Provençal pleasures in La Camargue
It may seem that the Romans were everywhere along the Rhône, and Arles is no exception, as is witnessed by the triumphal arch, circus and baths they left behind – and an arena in which gladiators fought and is still a venue for performances and bullfights today – as you explore the city on a walking tour and time on your own. Do take time to look beyond the city walls at the incredible quality of the light here that so enraptured Vincent van Gogh – and the landscapes of yellow rocks, red soil and lilac mountains that inspired in the Dutch artist a newfound creativity, and led to his creating hundreds of paintings while a patient at a nearby asylum, one of the most productive periods of his short life.
Lunch today is a real treat, as you visit a private ranch in La Camargue for a banquet of farm-grown Provençal specialties, a musical serenade, a chance to see the region’s iconic white horses and a demonstration by fleet-footed gardians(cowboys) and the famous black bulls they raise here. Continue your Rhône River cruise to Avignon this evening, arriving in time to go ashore later tonight after dinner aboard the riverboat.
A taste of southern France in Avignon & the Pont du Gard
Although the fortified city of Avignon was undoubtedly a pleasant place before they arrived, the 14th-century popes, who spent less than a century here when Rome became "tedious" for them, really put it on the map, and cultivated the local wine industry (Châteauneuf-du-Papee) and an appreciation for good food.
Take a walk through the city with your local guides, and explore the fortress-like home that the pontiffs built for themselves, the Palais des Papes. Later, visit the Pont du Gard – a famous Roman aqueduct over the River Gardon. ms Swiss Emerald is docked in Avignon this evening.
Colorful discoveries in Roussillon & Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Venture deeper into Provence today on a visit to the yellow-and-brown town of Roussillon, in the Luberon region. This place is all about color, from the ochre cliffs surrounding the town to the purple of the lavender during its blooming season and the lush, green pine forests, as you'll discover for yourself on a brief orientation tour.
Have lunch on the riverboat as you cruise to Châteauneuf-du-Pape; over 200 days of sunshine per year and rain-bearing mistral winds enable the soil to store water for the long summer, meaning that vineyards thrive here. Since medieval times, the life of this hillside village has centered around growing and producing wine of the same appellation; its residents have benefitted from the proceeds of flourishing vineyards as early as the 13th century, when the village was adjacent to a summer palace for the popes of Avignon.
Visit one of the area's acclaimed châteaux for a wine tasting before returning to the riverboat for dinner and onboard relaxation en route to Tournon-sur-Rhône.
Savory secrets of the Rhône Valley in Tournon & Valence
Tournon-sur-Rhône is a perfect spot to start the final day of your Rhône River cruise with a guided walking tour. You’ll find remnants of ancient stone fortifications, lovely fountains, and a castle built into rock that overlooks the town and river – and picture-perfect views to enjoy during your stop at a local café.
From here you’ll head to Valence, a town known for its markets offering produce from the surrounding countryside – including delicacies like truffles and asparagus – and as home to a gourmet cooking school where you’ll be privy to a chef’s demonstration and a wine and cheese tasting that features the superb products crafted in the area. But do save an appetite for the Captain’s farewell reception and dinner tonight as your riverboat begins its return voyage to Lyon!
Your inspiring culinary Rhône River cruise ends in Lyon. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the ms Swiss Emerald to Lyon Airport or Perrache or Part Dieu train stations.
DetailsEnquire about this itinerary
- Day 1 and Day 2
- InterContinental Paris Le Grand
- Day 3 to Day 9
- ms Swiss Emerald
Special Solo Traveler Savings
- On all departures, the single price in Category 1 is the same as the double price.
- Gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
- Tauck’s private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions
- Pastry class designed for Tauck guests at École Lenôtre in Paris
- A gourmet dinner by Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse at his restaurant l'Abbaye de Collonges in Lyon
- Provençal lunch at a private ranch in La Camargue
- Reception and dinner at Fouquet’s, followed by a city lights tour of Paris at night
- Chocolate tasting and an epicurean walk through Paris
- Private wine tastings in Beaujolais and Châteaneuf-du-Pape
- A walking tour of historic Vieux Lyon and a tasting at Les Halles de Lyon
- Cooking demonstration and a wine and cheese tasting at an award-winning cooking school in Valence
- Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks.
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
- 23 meals (9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners); beer and wine with lunch and dinner on the riverboat; service charges, taxes, porterage, and applicable fuel surcharges
Charlotte Travel Exclusives
- Complimentary One Night Pre & Post Cruise Hotel Stay