Belle Époque – London to Monte-Carlo (23 Days)

Cruise Line: Tauck River Cruising
London, United Kingdom to Nice, France
Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
London, United Kingdom

Tour begins: 7 PM, London, England. A transfer is included from London's Heathrow Airport to The Savoy, one of the world's most prestigious hotels, situated on the banks of the Thames in the heart of the city; check-in begins after 4 PM. Settle in at The Savoy, a luxury landmark since 1889; as the hotels boasts, "you'll follow in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Claude Monet, and Katharine Hepburn at this iconic hotel reinvented for the 21st century where an unashamedly old fashioned glamour sparkles with a new lustre". Join us for a Tauck Exclusive at our special welcome reception and dinner this evening – a presentation by acclaimed author and television presenter Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill.

London, United Kingdom

Morning sightseeing gives you a good introduction to the major landmarks, after which you're free to explore on your own. What to do? Your hotel's wonderful central location puts you in easy reach of most of famed sites such as the Tower of London, British Museum, Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square... but if you'd like to see it all in one go, consider a ride on the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel (or as they say in London, "cantilevered observation wheel") which will take you aloft for an aerial view where you can see everything as far as Windsor Castle if the weather is right. Dine on your own this evening in a city where virtually every world cuisine is well represented!

London, United Kingdom
Paris, France

Depart London this morning for passage to France, by way of high-speed train under the English Channel. Within a couple of hours you'll arrive at the Paris Nord station, and from there a transfer takes you to the Seine, where your riverboat awaits. Settle in, then join us for dinner aboard ship.

Paris, France

Take a guided orientation tour of Paris this morning, then have your choice of museum visits (subject to opening times and days): Musée National de l'Orangerie, designed by Monet for display of his large water lily paintings; or the Musée d'Orsay, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works housed in a former railway terminal. Enjoy some free time to explore Paris as you please, then join us tonight for dinner aboard the riverboat.

Paris, France

Visit the palatial War Museum, Musée de l'Armée, with its astonishing collection of military weapons from different time periods; aptly, Napoleon's tomb is here, at the Church of the Invalides. Or you can choose a tour of the exclusive Marais District, with its wealth of medieval and Renaissance architecture, fashionable shops and classic sidewalk cafés. Return to the ship for a chocolate tasting; this evening your riverboat sails to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France
Auvers-sur-Oise, France
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France
Vernon, France

Dock in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, then drive to the town of Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent his last days. The town has hardly changed since, so you'll be able to recognize scenes from his paintings, including the view of the town hall, seen from the upper window of his room at the inn. You can also visit his room, No. 5 at the Auberge Ravoux, which has never been rented since he died in 1890. While you're in town, you'll also visit the Absinthe Museum, dedicated to the legendary green drink which was said to be the muse (and downfall) of so many turn-of-the century poets, painters, and writers; your visit includes an exclusive tasting, of course. This evening, sail for Vernon; arrive after dinner, with time for a guided walk in the city.

Vernon, France
Giverny, France
Vernon, France

Leave your riverboat for a visit to Giverny and Claude Monet's house and exquisite gardens. The gardens were personally designed by the artist as subjects for his paintings, where he could rearrange the composition at will, and they've been maintained as he originally intended – the Japanese bridge, the pond of water lilies, and exotic flora – so that you'll feel like you've entered a Monet landscape. Return to the ship for lunch, then the afternoon is free to explore Vernon as you please – it's a fabulous place for walks. Smaller towns and villages are home to a wealth of cultural treasures, and offer you the chance to immerse in daily life. Half-timbered houses, and wrought-iron shop signs line cobblestone streets that retain their Middle Ages character... the neo-classical architecture charming! This evening, you'll visit Château de Bizy, "the Versailles of Normandy" that was once home to Louis XV, for a Tauck Exclusive reception and dinner with music in a setting of Baroque splendor.

Rouen, France

This morning, sail to Rouen, which Victor Hugo called "the city of a hundred bell towers". Once the prosperous medieval capital of Normandy, Rouen still bristles with spires and entices with Gothic churches, impeccably restored half-timbered houses, and picturesque cobblestone lanes. Joan of Arc was tried and burned at the stake here in 1431 and her presence is immortalized everywhere in monuments, churches, and even in chocolate-almond confections called "Joan of Arc's tears". On a walking tour you'll see the Notre Dame Cathedral that inspired artists and writers, the Astronomical Clock, and the Saint Joan Tower. Enjoy free time to explore the city's historic center on your own before returning to the riverboat for dinner; tonight you sail for Le Havre.

Le Havre, France
Étretat, France
Honfleur, France
Le Havre, France

This morning, visit Étretat on Normandy's Alabaster Coast, where sheer white cliffs plunge to the blue sea, and the elements have carved astonishing giant arches from the cliffside rock; an orientation tour of the town, once a magnet for artists like Boudin and Monet, is followed by a visit to a chèvrerie, a farm that produces goat cheese and exquisite chocolate. Continue on to Honfleur, an old picturesque trading port where 17th-century houses line the harbor and cobblestone backstreets beckon... a favorite haunt of Impressionist painters. (In fact, the artists drawn to the town, like Boudin, Courbet, Monet, and Jongkind, were the center of the école de Honfleur, which gave rise to the Impressionist movement.) Following lunch, enjoy free time to explore the town's streets, shops and harbor on your own, before returning to the riverboat.

DAY 10
Le Havre, France
Saint-pierre-du-mont, France
Saint-laurent-sur-mer, France
Colleville Cemetery, France
Omaha Beach Golf Club, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain, France
Arromanches, France
Caudebec-en-caux, France

Leave the ship in Le Havre for a tour of the beaches where the D-Day landings occurred on June 6, 1944. See Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc, where American troops scaled sheer cliffs with ropes and fire ladders to reach enemy artillery batteries, and visit the American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer, on a bluff overlooking the beach; the tranquil setting and its history will not fail to move you. Lunch at the Omaha Beach Club; visit the museum at Arromanches, where the remains of an artificial harbor used in the invasion still lie offshore, or spend free time on your own. Then depart for the town of Caudebec-en-Caux, where your riverboat awaits you.

DAY 11
Les Andelys, France

Arrive in Les Andelys, two fishing villages at a scenic bend in the river where the imposing ruins of Château Gaillard rise on a cliff. The castle was built in 1198 by Richard the Lionheart, Duke of Normandy, to defend against an invasion from the King of France; it fell after a siege in 1204. The ruins in their picturesque setting overlooking the Seine are still there to inspire – as they have generations of painters like Nicolas Poussin. Visit a ciderhouse (another Tauck Exclusive) to learn how the many variations of Norman apple cider – and calvados, an apple brandy renowned in this region – are made... and of course enjoy a tasting of both. Ramble in the classic French village, known for its medieval lanes, before returning to the riverboat to cruise to Paris. Tonight, join the captain for a farewell reception and dinner.

DAY 12
Paris, France
Lyon, France

Say au revoir to the River Seine as you arrive in Paris this morning and board the high-speed TGV train to Lyon, home to a bounty of wines produced by local vineyards, locally produced cheeses, spicy sausages, warm-from-the-oven baguettes... You'll return to Lyon in a few days – but today, embark ms Emerald late afternoon for the continuation of your France river cruise, this time along the Rhône. And to make you feel "at home", you'll be in the same cabin on ms Emerald as you were on ms Sapphire! Join us tonight for the captain's welcome reception followed by dinner.

DAY 13
Chalon-sur-Saône, France
Mercurey, France
Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Chalon-sur-Saône on the River Saône lies in the heart of southern Burgundy. Although its history dates back to the time of Charlemagne, it has another significant claim to fame – this is considered the birthplace of photography. You have local inventor Nicéphore Niépce, who produced several photographic firsts right here in the 1820s, to thank for the great photos of the town's Romanesque churches and other monuments you'll take during a walking tour. Then get your taste buds ready for a workout – first, to savor local culinary offerings on a guided tasting tour of some of Chalon-Sur-Saône's noted food shops; then to sip some wonderful wines as you head off to Mercurey, the largest wine-producing area in the Côte Chalonnaise, to sample some of the notable reds and whites produced here in a tasting at one of the 30 local premier cru vineyards.

DAY 14
Tournus, France
Cormatin, France
Tournus, France

This morning, head out to explore the beautiful wine producing region of southern Burgundy, where history lies around every corner (this was a major crossroads during Roman times), and vineyards are everywhere. Picture in your mind what a typical French vineyard looks like... and then picture the most amazing landscape that surrounds you for miles and miles. Vineyards, gently rolling hills, orchards, red-tiled farmhouses, medieval cathedrals... and historic country estates like the 17th-century Château de Cormatin, which you'll explore on a visit today. With its moat, drawbridge, turrets, gilded rooms, and parklike grounds – including the mazes and fountains of its completely restored "pleasure garden" that's now among the finest in France – this classic Burgundy château takes you back through the centuries. Return to the riverboat for lunch, and continue your cruise to Mâcon.

DAY 15
Mâcon, France
Cluny, France
Mâcon, France

Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, France experienced hundreds of years of unstable government; the only constant was the church. And so during the reign of Charlemagne (742 - 814), monastic influences inspired a great revival in art, education, and culture. Today you'll visit one of the great monasteries of the period when you tour the great Benedictine abbey of Cluny; founded in 910, it was at the center of this major monastic reform movement and was also the largest Christian building in the world until the construction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. You'll also visit Haras National de Cluny (France's national equestrian center), which dates back to the 19th century, to learn about its high-quality thoroughbred stallions. The history of wine production in this area dates back to the 14th century; visit a local château today, which delights with locally produced wines and a countryside setting. Have lunch off the ship today; reboard ms Swiss Emerald, and Tauck's France river cruise heads to Lyon.

DAY 16
Lyon, France

Ahh, Lyon. If you're a serious foodie, Lyon is the place for you! Regarded as the culinary capital of France, there are more restaurants here per capita than anywhere else in the country. But of course there is more to this 2,000-year-old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, than food. Begin your exploration with a panoramic view of Lyon from the district of Fourvière, set high on a hill. Check out the town's winding passageways and the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, with its 19th-century astronomical clock. Your day also includes the stunning Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière – built in the 1870s, featuring exquisite marble work, stained-glass windows, colorful mosaics, and gilt galore; and a tour of medieval Vieux Lyon. Depart Lyon and enjoy dinner onboard while continuing your France river cruise to Vienne this evening.

DAY 17
Vienne, France

It seems that the Romans were everywhere along the Rhône, and Vienne (which they called "Vienna" in their day) was no exception. During your time on a walking tour here this morning, look for the theatre and temple they left behind, as well as other sights straight out of history. You'll also travel to Mont Pipet for extensive views of the surrounding countryside. Some free time, then a return to ms Swiss Emerald for a cruise to Viviers – and a barbecue dinner on the Sun Deck, weather permitting.

DAY 18
Viviers, France

In the Middle Ages, the town of Viviers on the banks of the Rhône had two distinct parts which reflected the equally distinct social divide of the time. "Common folk", artisans, and trades persons lived in the Lower City on the river plain, while the bishop and his circle lorded over them from the hilltop Upper City. Go back a thousand years as you explore this well-preserved medieval city, crowned by the Cathedral of St. Vincent. Largely built in the 14th century, the cathedral boasts flamboyant late-Gothic elements that were added in the 16th century and carved choir stalls and lovely tapestries from the 18th century. Weather permitting, join the locals for a friendly game of pétanque, played in village squares throughout France, before an afternoon cruising towards Avignon. If the weather is good, enjoy shipboard commentary on the Sun Deck during this afternoon's cruise and join us for a tasting of French chocolate hosted by our riverboat chef. After dinner, relax to the tunes of our guest accordionist.

DAY 19
Avignon, France
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France
Avignon, France

The fortified medieval city of Avignon was probably a much more peaceful place before Rome became "inconvenient" for the popes who moved the papacy here about 700 years ago. Although they stayed for less than a century, they kept busy during those years... as you'll see at the impressive Palais des Papes that they built for themselves during this morning's sightseeing. As well versed in Latin as they all were, they surely understood what "in vino veritas" means, and they all shared a fondness for wine – and the "truth" it brings – which was very convenient, because wine has been grown in the area for over 2,600 years. Taste locally produced wine named for the "new castle of the popes", the world-renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape, on a wine-tasting excursion this afternoon.

DAY 20
Arles, France
Camargue, France
Arles, France

It may seem strange to encounter Roman ruins in Provence but Arles was, after all, once a Roman city. While the gladiators are gone, the arena they left behind – just one of the town's many Roman remnants – still hosts performances and bullfights today. Explore Arles' medieval streets and city walls and be sure to look out across the surrounding countryside to what van Gogh found so enchanting. After lunch, it's off to La Camargue, France's "wild west", where cowboys tend to herds of bulls destined for bullfighting rings in Spain. Visit a working farm to see what these cowhands and their charges do during a demonstration – not something usually experienced on a river cruise – followed by lunch and traditional Provençal entertainment. Join us this evening for the Captain's farewell dinner.

DAY 21
Arles, France
Nice, France
Monte Carlo, Monaco

The France river cruise portion of your journey ends as you disembark ms Emerald in Arles, and bid farewell to the captain and crew. Explore this lovely city on a walking tour, followed by some free time. Travel on to marvelous Monaco and the Fairmont Monte Carlo, your home for the next two nights. Guests who occupied suites in category 7 during the France river cruise will enjoy sea-view accommodations at this world-famous hotel.

DAY 22
Monte Carlo, Monaco

Mega-yachts from around the world bobbing in the bay... the rich, the famous, the jet setters... a casino world-renowned for its glamour... a real-life royal fairy-tale romance... it's all part of Monte-Carlo's magic spell. Get the lay of the land during an orientation tour this morning and then spend the rest of the day exploring as you please. What a wonderful place it is to conclude your river cruise vacation with a farewell dinner tonight at your premium hotel in the heart of it all.

DAY 23
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Nice, France

London, France, Monte-Carlo... your sensational river cruise ends in Monte-Carlo. A transfer from Fairmont Monte Carlo to the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, Nice Ville Train Station, and Nice Riquier Train Station is included. Fly home anytime, but be sure to allow 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport.

Belle Époque – London to Monte-Carlo map

What's Included


    • All gratuities to the Tauck Directors & Tauck Cruise Director, ship staff, drivers, and local guides / experts

    • All private Tauck shore excursions led by Tauck Directors – they are often accompanied by local experts and guides

    • “Insider” guided sightseeing highlighted by Tauck Exclusives

    • Exclusive Tauck experiences such as special dinners and cultural performances, held at special venues ashore

    • Cultural performances by local artists

    • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted

    • Hotel accommodations in Europe’s top cities – handpicked for their city center locations

    • Most meals, including dining opportunities at local restaurants and special venues

    • All-day soft drinks, wine and beer with lunch and dinner aboard the riverboat

    • Welcome & farewell cocktail parties, special evenings with local entertainment, cooking demonstrations and more

    • Port charges, all taxes, luggage handling and more

    • No hidden surcharges or costs

Not Included

  • Contact Supplier

About Us

The art of personalized river cruising meets the heart of history aboard Tauck's signature river cruises. Tauck's uncommon access and exclusive cultural experiences ashore along European waterways – the Rhine, Danube, Main, Rhône and Moselle rivers – connects you with each place you visit... and ancient civilizations take on new meaning on our Egypt and China trips along the River Nile and the Yangtze River. River cruises – and river cruising – at their best...

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