Provence on the Rhone River

Lyon to Avignon

Available Mid-October of 2022 & 2023

Located in the southeast of France, Provence spans from the heavily Roman influenced regions of Lyon and Avignon along the Rhone River through vineyards and fields of  lavender down to the French Riviera.  Provence is known for its rich history and tradition, colorful countryside, sunny weather, and mouthwatering food and wine.  Enjoy the Roman ruins, hilltop villages, and all the culture this dazzling area has to offer.

Day 1, Sunday: Lyon

  • Welcome to beautiful Lyon! Come aboard Le Papillon, your floating home  for the next week,  and have a refreshing glass of champagne while you’re introduced to the crew who’ll be taking care of you. 
  • Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and relax as you settle into your luxurious and comfortable accommodations. This evening, you’ll enjoy a gourmet dinner onboard created by your own personal chef. Don’t worry — you’ll get to enjoy many more delicious meals from your chef this week.

Day 2, Monday: Lyon to Condrieu

  • Lyon sits at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. This morning we head south and begin our journey down the Rhône River to La Pierre-Bénite, the first major lock on the river.
  • Rest and enjoy lunch on the top deck before we navigate towards our mooring spot in Condrieu, known for its white wine production.
  • An afternoon wine tasting of the prestigious Côte-Rôtie wines awaits you at the Chateau de Rozay.
  • You’ll follow this delightful tasting with a drive up into the Pilat Regional Natural Park for picturesque views of the rolling hills and landscape of this mountainous countryside region.
  • Dinner on board tonight is a lovely compilation of the flavors of this wonderfully diverse region.

Day 3, Tuesday: Condrieu to Tain-l’Hermitage 

  • We start early this morning, cruising towards the Hermitage wine region and the birthplace of Syrah, a dark-skinned grape variety used primarily to produce red wine.
  • Relax on the top deck and take in the serene sights as we cruise past the Côtes Rôties and Côtes du Rhône vineyards alongside the river.
  • After a beautiful lunch on the top deck, you’ll step ashore and head off for a taste of the Côte du Rhône and Hermitage wines. Historically, both wines have been favorites of the Tsars of Russia and the Kings of France.
  • A visit to the Valrhona chocolate emporium, internationally known for its luxury chocolate and sustainability practices, tops off the perfect day spent cruising and tasting the delectable flavors of this colorful region. 
  • A relaxing dinner and a nightcap while gazing at the starry skies will complete this peaceful evening.

Day 4, Wednesday: Tain-l’Hermitage to Viviers

  • Take some time this morning to savour a café on the deck before you take the mountain steam railway through the most picturesque part of the Gorges du Doux up to the serene mountain town of Lamastre. 
  • Stop for lunch at Auberge de Retourtour, renowned for creating beautiful, fresh dishes that highlight the specialties of the Ardeche region.
  • Afterwards, the barge’s minibus will return you to Tournon, where you’ll reboard Le Papillon and relax as we cruise downstream, where we’ll moor for the evening at Viviers.
    • You can visit the 12th-century Viviers Cathedral, which overlooks the village, and discover the charming Old Town via a short walking tour.
  • Enjoy the fresh, locally-based dinner your chef prepares for you on board tonight!  

Day 5, Thursday: Viviers to Roquemaure / Châteauneuf du Pape

  • Our morning voyage takes us through the Donzère-Mondragon Gorge, the last narrowing of the Rhône Valley before its course joins the Mediterranean Sea. We’ll carry on to our mooring near the hilltop fortress of Roquemaure.
  • After lunch, you’ll take a quick five-minute drive into Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where you’ll visit Domaine de Beaurenard for a tasting to explore the incredible wines of the region, known for their full-bodied reds.
    • This vineyard has been family-run for seven generations — since approximately 1695.
    • Most well-known is the flavorful and full-bodied GSM blend — which brings together the trio of Ganache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes of the Rhône Valley.
  • Dinner on board tonight is a symphony of Rhône Valley wines paired with the chef’s unique creation of the day.

Day 6, Friday: Roquemaure to Avignon

  • This morning’s cruise takes you past the iconic medieval bridge of Pont Saint-Bénézet, where only 4 of the original 22 arches still stand.
    • This famous stone bridge was at one time 980 yards in length but was abandoned in the mid-17th century due to the arches collapsing when the Rhône flooded.
  • Continuing on, we enter Avignon, where we moor in the shadow of the Palais des Papes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the largest and one of the most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. Take in the beautiful Gothic architecture and marvel at the sheer size of the home of the popes when the papacy moved from Rome to France.
    • An afternoon tour of the Palais des Papes will reveal its magnificent frescoed rooms.
  • Afterward, take a stroll and explore this bustling Provencal city. It can keep you occupied for hours with its abundance of history, architecture, and culture.
  • Tonight’s final dinner of your cruise will be taken on board Le Papillon, and your captain will join you for a lovely evening of stories paired with delicious food and drink.

Day 7, Saturday: Avignon

  • All good things must come to an end. But before you go, indulge in a final café and a scrumptious pain au chocolat before our crew bids you farewell. You’ll be taken care of even after your cruise. Our captain will assist you in your seamless and stress-free transition to your flight home or on to your next destination.
  • After a week of cruising and experiencing the Provence region on Le Papillon, you’ll leave feeling refreshed, relaxed, and wanting to do it all over again!

À bientôt! See you soon!


Price includes:

  • Collection from, and return to Paris, France
  • Accommodation in a double or twin cabin with private facilities
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all cooked by our gourmet chef w/ local seasonal delicacies
  • Restaurant meals where required
  • Wine pairings of finest Burgundian vintages at lunch and dinner
  • Open bar 24/7 stocked with French champagne, fine wines and spirits
  • Use of the on-board library and stereo system
  • All ground transport in air-conditioned mini-bus for local sightseeing visits
  • Entry costs for sightseeing
  • Use of on-board bicycles

Le Papillon was remodeled in 2021 and is our flagship luxury barge.  She carries a maximum of 4 guests with 4 crew members and cruises multiple itineraries through some of the most beautiful wine regions of France.

Le Papillon in detail

More itineraries aboard Le Papillon

Heart of Burgundy
Wild Horse of the Camargue Region

The Nymphea itinerary

The Loire Valley

Thank you for the wonderful week! We will long remember
the food, the wine, the cruising, the tours, the walks,
the lounging on the deck, the conversation and just plain fun!

Jane & Nelson

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