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10 Days Cooking Vacations & Wine Tours France

  • Paris - Lyon - Arles - Avignon - Beaujolais - Roussillon - Tournon-sur-Rhône - Valence - Viviers

Wine River Cruise Cooking Vacations in France

Focusing on French cuisine and village life, this holiday features a cruise through vineyard country, home to some of the worlds most exceptional wines. Tauck's epicurean delights begin in Paris with a reception and dinner at Fouquets, the celebrity hotspot on Champs lyses, a chocolate demonstration, and a pastry class at cole Lentre. Cruise in search of culinary adventures sipping Beaujolais in Beaujolais, sampling Provenal 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!

Highlights

  • Provenal lunch at a private ranch in La Camargue
  • Chocolate tasting and an epicurean walk through Paris
  • Pastry class designed for Tauck guests at cole Lentre in Paris
  • Gourmet dinner by Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse at his restaurant in Lyon
  • Reception and dinner at Fouquets, followed by a city lights tour of Paris at night
  • Private wine tastings in Beaujolais and Chteaneuf-du-Pape
  • Private Tauck guided shore excursions
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 days with instruction
  • English
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Cabins

Category 1. Situated on the Emerald deck, eight 150-square-foot cabins each feature a marble bath with shower with Molton Brown toiletries, a Tauck exclusive.

Category 2. One spacious, elegantly appointed cabin is located forward on the Emerald deck, measuring 183 square feet and featuring a roomy marble bath with shower.

Category 3. Two 150-square-foot cabins, located on the Ruby deck, feature one floor-to-ceiling French balcony with one sliding door for superior views.

Category 4. Thirty 150-square-foot cabins, all located on the Ruby deck, feature one floor-to-ceiling French balcony with one sliding door for superior views.

Category 5. Set forward on the Ruby deck, two spacious, well-appointed cabins measure 183 square feet and sport one floor-to-ceiling French balcony with one sliding door.

Category 6. Four 183-square-foot cabins, each featuring a floor-to-ceiling French balcony with one sliding door, are situated in the fore and aft corners of the Diamond deck.

Category 7. 14 luxurious 300-square-foot suites on the Diamond deck boast two floor-to-ceiling French balconies with sliding door and large marble baths with full-size tubs.

Intercontinental Paris Le Grand - Paris, France

Located in the heart of Paris, the landmark InterContinental Paris Le Grand overlooks Place de lOpra near the fashionable Rue St. Honore. With floodlit views of the Opera House, this superbly renovated luxury hotel is at the heart of Parisian society. Opened in 1862, it defines historical grandeur, from Caf de la Paix to La Verriere restaurant, set in a winter garden.

Located in the 9th arrondissement, close to the Louvre museum, shopping, theatre and banking districts, InterContinental Paris Le Grand is an icon in the city, successfully blending its impressive history with 21st-century comfort and technology. Amenities range from the world-class I-Spa by Algotherm, featuring relaxing and energizing treatments, beauty cures, and massages, to your view of daily life in Paris from world-famous Caf de la Paix.

MS Swiss Emerald - Rhne and Sane rivers, France

Designed with an open, airy plan that makes great use of natural light, and having just emerged from an extensive refurbishment in 2013, MS Swiss Emerald represents the epitome of luxurious river cruising, operating on the Rhne and Sane rivers exclusively for Tauck. Along with her Jewel Class sister ships, she offers spacious, well-appointed cabins and 14 beautiful 300-square-foot suites equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble baths, flat-screen televisions and walk-in closets.

It also has 7 junior suites, which means Tauck has the most suites on any European riverboat. The cabins, which range from 150 to 183 square feet, provide plush accommodations with plasma TV, terry bathrobes, fine Molton Brown toiletries, large windows and much more; 85% of the cabins have floor-to-ceiling windows with French balconies. A crew of 41 attentively serves a maximum of 118 guests.

The main restaurant, the Compass Rose, offers both an elegant dining venue and a fine dining experience, while the spacious Panorama Lounge in the bow, with its bar, dance floor and entertainment, is a delightful gathering spot in the evenings. The Bistro in the stern has a 180-degree glass wall that opens for an indoor / outdoor cocktail hour (weather permitting), and offers a second dining option featuring lighter fare. Amenities aboard MS Swiss Emerald:

110-volt and 220-volt outlets included in every cabin for small electronics; minibar stocked with complimentary water and soft drinks

Al fresco dining on Sun Deck, weather permitting

Alternate dining venue for classic favorites at lunch and dinner and lighter breakfasts in the morning

American breakfast room service available in category 7 suites

Bicycles available aboard for use ashore

Complimentary internet and email available

Complimentary snacks served from 10:00 until midnight

Fitness center; massages available; putting green on Sun deck; jacuzzi on Sun deck available 24 hours

Laundry service available

Onboard entertainment includes enrichment lectures, piano music nightly, in-room movies, culinary demos, local entertainment and themed fun

Open seating in dining room; flexible dining times; vegetarian meals always available

Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks

Day 1 - Paris

Tauck's delectable culinary Rhne River cruise begins 18:00 at Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. You will be transferred to InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel in the heart of the city.

Join us this evening for our special welcome cocktail reception and dinner at le Fouquets on the Champs-Elyses, an iconic landmark for celebrity dining for over a century, followed by a special tour of the city illuminated in the night sky.

Much has been written about the city lights of Paris. You'll see why on this fabulous tour of the city as it twinkles under the stars. Meal plan for today is dinner.

Day 2 - Paris

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 ptisserie trade including how to make macaroons and dessert tarts in a pastry class designed especially for Tauck guests at cole Lentre, 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. Meal plan for today is breakfast.

Day 3 - Paris, Lyon

Paris is yours to experience as you please this morning, perhaps visiting one of the citys lesser-known museums, or an agreeable sidewalk caf 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 Sane and Rhne. There, board the riverboat for your Rhne 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 LAbbaye de Collonges, located just outside Lyon on the banks of the Sane River, owned by the famous award-winning Michelin-starred chef, Paul Bocuse. Meal plan for today includes breakfast and dinner.

Day 4 - Lyon

Lyon is considered the culinary capital of France, which is quite a compliment in a country famed for its cuisine and fine vintages. Youll 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, and 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 youll 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-Fourvire, built atop the ruins of an ancient Roman forum.

This afternoon, its off to the celebrated wine-growing region of Beaujolais for a tasting in the countryside before continuing your Rhne River cruise to Viviers. Meal plan for today includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 5 - Viviers

MS Swiss Emerald cruises this morning to Viviers, a walled city with origins in the 5th century on the right bank of the Rhne. If medieval history and authentic period architecture are your thing, Viviers is your kind of place because its one of the best-preserved medieval towns that youre 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.

Visit the 12th-century Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rhne and the richly detailed faade 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. Meal plan for today includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 6 - Arles

It may seem that the Romans were everywhere along the Rhne, 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 Provenal specialties, a musical serenade, a chance to see the regions iconic white horses and a demonstration by fleet-footed gardians (cowboys) and the famous black bulls they raise here. Continue your Rhne River cruise to Avignon this evening, arriving in time to go ashore later tonight after dinner aboard the riverboat. Meal plan for today includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 7 - Avignon

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 (Chteauneuf-du-Pape) 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. Meal plan for today includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 8 - Roussillon

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 Chteauneuf-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 chteaux for a wine tasting before returning to the riverboat for dinner and onboard relaxation en route to Tournon-sur-Rhne. Meal plan for today includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 9 - Tournon-sur-Rhne and Valence

Tournon-sur-Rhne is a perfect spot to start the final day of your Rhne River cruise with a guided walking tour. Youll 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 caf.

From here youll 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 youll be privy to a chefs demonstration and a wine and cheese tasting that features the superb products crafted in the area.

But do save an appetite for the captains farewell reception and dinner tonight as your riverboat begins its return voyage to Lyon! Meal plan for today includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 10 - Lyon

Your inspiring culinary Rhne River cruise ends in Lyon. Fly home anytime. Please allow 3 hours for flight check-in. Tauck wishes you a safe and pleasant journey home. Meal plan for today includes breakfast.

  • Arles tour
  • Avignon tour
  • Beaujolais countryside wine region
  • Cruise to Chteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Les Halles de Lyon indoor food market
  • Pont du Gard - Roman aqueduct
  • Roussillon in Luberon region
  • TGV high-speed train ride to Lyon
  • Tournon-sur-Rhne guided walking tour
  • Valence
  • Viviers guided walking tour

This retreat will take place in Paris, Lyon, and along the Rhne river, France.

Most meals are included as specified in the itinerary. On board the riverboat, an ample buffet breakfast, both hot and cold, is served in the spacious restaurant. At lunch, you are presented with a choice of entre with several courses or a delicious buffet. Pre-selected international wines and beers are available with lunch and dinner. Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks.

A continental breakfast of muffins, pastries, fruit and yogurt is served here daily, as well as a light lunch of soup, salad and sandwiches. Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship now include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks. All guests may order complimentary snack baskets to their room. Room service breakfast is complimentary for category 7 cabins.

  • Explore Paris
  • Ride a bike at one of the ships docking stations
  • 3 wine tastings
  • 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 8 dinners
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • A gourmet dinner by Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse at his restaurant l'Abbaye de Collonges in Lyon
  • A hands-on pastry class
  • Admissions on tourist sites
  • Airport or train station transfers
  • Captains farewell reception
  • Chefs demonstration at a gourmet cooking school
  • Entertainment
  • Land excursions
  • Motor coach transportation, port charges
  • Porterage
  • Services of the directors, the cruise director, hotel and ship staff, local guides, drivers
  • Sightseeing
  • Special dinners, wine with dinner and all-day soft drinks while on the riverboat
  • TGV high-speed train ride to Lyon
  • Welcome cocktail reception at Le Fouquets on Champs Elyses
  • Airfare
  • Airline excess luggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, alcoholic and other beverages not specifically included, laundry, dry cleaning (at hotels)
  • Other optional or incidental extras
  • Vaccinations
  • Visa fees and services

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airports for arriving at the location are Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) and Paris Orly airport (ORY). Depart from Lyon Saint-Exupry airport (LYS).

Arrival by train

The nearest train stations for arrival are Charles de Gaulle station or Gare du Nord in Paris. Depart from Gare de Lyon-Perrache station or Gare de Lyon Part-Dieu station.