Meet me in Paris Optional

Romantic, vain, convivial — France’s capital is home to haute couture, masterpieces of art and architecture, and temples of fine dining, but also cozy bistros, vibrant ethnic enclaves, and bohemian cafés. One of the most visited destinations in the world, the City of Lights glitters brighter than ever.

You are invited to meet your fellow group members in Paris early for a three night pre-cruise program, where you'll stay in a charming art-design hotel on Paris' historic Left Bank. You’ll enjoy a group welcome dinner, a day tour of the French winemaking region of Champagne, and an entire day to explore Paris on your own. From Paris, you'll take a high-speed TGV train to Bordeaux, where you'll begin your river cruise.

Day 1 │ Independent Arrival in Paris & Welcome Dinner [D]

Guests arrive in Paris independently and transfer to the hotel on their own.

Although Paris does grandeur better than any place, its greatest pleasures are its simplest ones: the rustic charm of a small bistro; the crunch of a perfect baguette. All of this comes together along the Left Bank, or the Latin Quarter. This is Paris’ most historical district, where Picasso, Hemingway and so many others found inspiration. Here you’ll find the Musée d'Orsay (home to one of the world’s greatest impressionist art collections), the Sorbonne, the Eiffel Tower, and the Luxembourg Gardens. This is where the city grew up and came of age. Located just off the Boulevard Saint-Germain des Prés, is the five-star L'Hôtel Bel-Ami, our home for the next three nights. This boutique hotel in the heart of Saint Germain-de-Prés combines its warm design with an elegant and friendly atmosphere.

Check into your room and spend the afternoon exploring or just relaxing in your room. Later, meet your Parisian guide Laurence, who will be your host for a special welcome dinner this evening at one of our favorite nearby restaurants, L'Alcazar. This chic restaurant has become an institution of the Left Bank.

Laurence holds Canadian and French citizenship and has called Paris her home for over 20 years. She devotes most of her time to the finer foods and wines of France, and will lead you on an informative walk from the hotel to the restaurant explaining some of the rich history of this neighborhood. You will enjoy a delicious meal paired with some of Laurence's favorite wines before an evening stroll back to the hotel. She will also offer some recommended activities and visits for your free day in Paris tomorrow.

Day 2 │ Independent Day [B]

Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Today is your day to explore Paris on your own. Visit the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, walk along the Ile Saint-Louis, stroll the Champs-Élysées, see the Arc de Triomphe, take a scenic boat ride on the Seine on one of the bateaux mouches, window shop on Rue Saint-Honoré, or visit Paris’ most beloved monument—the Eiffel Tower. The day and evening are yours—so enjoy!

Day 3 │ Champagne Region [B, L]

Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Champagne is the world's single greatest region for sparkling wine and just a little over 60 miles from Paris, the Champagne wine region is a historical province best known for its production of sparkling wine. Your guide for the day was recommended to Food & Wine Trails by Joel Peterson, Ravenswood Winery's President and Winemaking Hall of Famer. “He is among the best wine guides I have ever hired.”

The first stop of the day is at the village of Rilly-La-Montagne. Located in the heart of the prestigious "Mountain of Reims" sub-appellation, this charming village will provide the backdrop for your introduction to Champagne's different vineyard climates. After a brief tour you will visit the family-owned Champagne house of Daniel Dumont. Independent winemaker Jean-Michel Dumont owns 50 acres of vineyards in seven different surrounding villages. Not only does he make excellent Champagne at great value, but he also runs a vine nursery which provides select, grafted vines to many growers. You will enjoy a tasting here before walking a short distance to lunch at a local Champagne merchant. Prise de Mousse is both a restaurant and wne shop that represents the growers in the area and proposes over 150 different Champagnes. Have you ever experienced a meal entirely with Champagne? The locals here do it all the time! Owners Fabrice and Nathalie will host you for a special lunch paired with a selection of their favorite Champagnes.

Following lunch you will transfer into Reims to visit the renowned estate of Taittinger, where you'll taste a selection of their champagnes, including a very special cuvee, their Folies de la Marquetterie, made with grapes that surround the castle, Château de la Marquetterie. You'll also take a tour down into a labyrinth of chalk caves initially dug in the 4th century for construction materials and then used to harbor Christians, Jews and the town folk during WWII. At the end of the day, you will return to Paris arriving at approximately 7:00pm. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own.

Day 4 │ TGV Train to Bordeaux / Embarkation [B]

Place your "checked" luggage outside of your hotel room door no later than 7:00 AM (Retain your carryon luggage), it will be transported directly to the ship.

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will check-out your room and then be taken to the train station to catch the mid-day, high speed TGV train to Bordeaux. Another motorcoach transfer brings you right to the pier where you will board the beautiful SS Bon Voyage to begin your river cruise.

Registration Form

Download Optional Pre-Cruise Program

Download Optional Pre-Cruise & Right Bank Shore Tour eBrochure Details

Per Person Price: $1,949 Single Supplement: $799

Includes: Three (3) nights hotel accommodations in a Superior Room, wine-paired dinner with local guide, three (3) buffet breakfasts, full day tour in Champagne wine region with local guide, two Champagne tastings and one lunch with wine, transportation on deluxe AC motor coach, bottled water on motor coach, hotel porterage, luggage transport to ship, TGV first-class train fare from Paris to Lyon, transfer to ship, and some local taxes.

Not Included: Transportation to the hotel upon arrival, daily hotel city tax of 3.30€per person / per day, gratuities for the drivers and guides, hotel upgrades, additional hotel nights, meals not included in the tour description and all items of a personal nature.

Activity Level: There will be some walking on uneven surfaces to negotiate throughout the tour. Taittinger caves access is by steep stairs and not wheelchair accessible; however the lounge where the tasting is being conducted is accessible. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair and are able to make their own way on and off the motor coach as well as have a companion to assist them.

Note: Times and providers are subject to change. Due to capacity limitations at the wineries in Champagne, the tour will be split into two groups. The groups will alternate day 2 and day 3, with half the group going to Champagne on day 2 and the other half on day 3.

Travel Insurance: F&WT highly encourages protecting your travel investment in case of an emergency requiring you to cancel your trip. Your F&WT’s Travel Advisor can assist you with procuring the appropriate coverage. Please make sure to read the cancellation policy on the registration form outlining our cancellation policy.