European River Cruises - Sensations of Southern France & The Riviera

Whether it be food, art, history, or simple culture, nowhere on earth can compare to the offerings of France. Start your journey in the French Riviera, the perfect start to take in the sights and float in the crystal blue waters.  Set sail on a luxury river cruise from the bustling city of Lyon down through provincial France, stopping to take in medieval architecture, Roman ruins, and meals so delicious you’ll remember them forever. Your cruise includes some of the major landmarks that shaped Western history, alongside charming cobbled alleyways, and scenic river vistas, all sure to come together to create the ultimate escape to France. 

Degree of Difficulty - Two Paws

Slightly active. May involve some walking and climbing of stairs.

Weather Reports - When to Go

The three cruises we offer generally operate April through October and we have varying pricing depending on departure date. The weater in Europe is pleasant during that time of the year (although summers can be hot), perfect for navigating the diverse rivers and seeing the beautiful countryside, hsitoric sites, vineyards, castles, and palaces. Emerald Waterways is an award-winning cruise liner with new ships that are relatively small since all take less than 200 people. With their innovative design, all-inclusive packaging, expert guides, and fabulous itineraries, travelers will want for nothing.

Days 1/2 USA/NICE

Your journey begins as you board your plane from the USA for your flight to Nice where you will be met and escorted to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour in Nice, including Castel Park overlooking the Bay of Angels and Old Town, site of the trading town founded by the Greeks 2,700 years ago. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight.  MERCURE NICE PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS.  (Meals Aloft, D)


Depart for Eze this morning to visit this magnificent village perched on a rocky peak overlooking the sea. Then head towards the principality of Monaco to tour the Oceanographic Museum with its remarkable aquarium of more than 400 species of fish. Discover the cathedral and the changing of the guard in the Palace Square, try your luck at the Monte Carlo casino and have some leisure time for luxury shopping and to feast your eyes on the mega-yachts in the harbor. Return to Nice and enjoy dinner.  Next day is at leisure to discover the shopping, beach, and local restaurants on your own. MERCURE NICE PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS.  (B,D Daily)


Transfer to Lyon, a gastronomic and historical city situated in the Rhône-Alpes region between Paris and Marseille, and board your deluxe river cruise ship, where you will be welcomed by your Captain and crew. The beautiful EMERALD LIBERTE launched in April, 2017 and carries 138 guests and 43 crew.  Your stay aboard includes tours daily, wine, beer and soft drinks with meals, gratuities and so much more!  Get settled and watch the countryside slide by you, and as the sun sets, enjoy a welcome aboard buffet dinner.  (B,D)

Day 6 LYON

Lyon is France’s third largest city, a former Roman capital positioned at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Your tour starts with a drive to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, Lyon’s hilltop church with stunning views over the town. Then see the recently rediscovered Roman amphitheater and walk through the cobbled streets of the gastronomic old town, including its secret laneways. A Discover More excursion to the medieval town of Perouges is available (at additional cost.) Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Welcome reception and dinner.  (B,L,D)


You’ll travel by coach to the quaint village of Beaune, situated in the heart of prestigious vineyards, like Pommard, Corton-Charlemagne, and La Romanée-Conti. Enjoy a guided tour of the Hospices de Beaune, formerly a charitable almshouse, now a museum possessing many artistic treasures, including the famous altarpiece, “The Last Judgement” by Rogier van der Weyden. The fabulous multi-colored roofs of this former hospital have become one of the symbols of Burgundy. Return to the ship for lunch, then depart for Mâcon.  If you’re active, a guided bike excursion to Macon while the ship sails is available. (B,L,D)


On your guided tour, walk the heritage trail from Old Saint Vincent to the General Hospital buildings, past half-timbered houses and Soufflot Chapel. Along the way, there’s often a chance to sample local wines and taste the many displays of regional fare produced in the town. This afternoon you’ll have free time to spend at your leisure in Mâcon. Alternatively, you can book a Discover More trip to the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny – one of the most influential forces in Medieval Christian history (at additional cost.) (B,L,D)


Join your local guide for a walking tour of Tournon, which is dominated by the 16th century castle and Roman ruins, and is nestled in the valley near the steep slopes of le Massif Central, France’s third largest mountain range. The area has a long tradition in winemaking, including the renowned wine growing center of Tain l’Hermitage across the river. A Discover More regional wine tasting in Tournon Castle is available (at additional cost.) For the active, enjoy a guided biking tour to Glun. (B,L,D)


Avignon has a rich history from Celtic beginnings to being the residence of the Popes and later central to the French Revolution. The Papal Palace stands on a hill in the center of town, with walls 17-18 feet thick. Your guided walk with a local guide takes you through the cobbled laneways and browsing the shops overlooking the famous “Pont de Avignon.” A Discover More excursion to Pont du Gard is available (at additional cost.) Tonight, enjoy a Provencal dinner on board hosted by a local chef and traditional local style concert known as Chanson music.  (B,L,D)


Sail into the Camargue wilderness region to the capital of Provence, Arles. You will join your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city, in particular the 2000-year-old Roman Amphitheater, still in use today, which was originally built to hold 20,000 spectators in the style of the Colosseum in Rome. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax on board or explore Arles further. A Discover More excursion is offered to the Hilltop village Les Baux (at additional cost.)  (B,L,D)


After breakfast, disembark the Emerald Liberte back in Avignon and transfer to Nice Airport for your flight home, full of the wonders of this amazing journey. (B, Meals Aloft)


Take in the ‘City of Light’ with this post-extension to Paris. Tour the iconic sights of this incredible destination, with guided tours of places like the Arc de Triopmphe, Palais de Chaillot, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Of course, you’ll also stop by the Eiffel Tower, and ride it all the way to the top. Take a day trip to the Palace at Versailles, the magnum opus of the Sun King and one of the most beautiful places in the world. End your tour of France in its most brilliant city.

Prices starting at $5,495 to $5,995. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.