In May 2012, I hosted 20 Marriott Vacation Club owners on a trip to Paris and then on an AMAWaterways River cruise through Provence. Although the weather was a little rainy and overcast, we all had a great time.
Using Marriott Rewards points, I booked all of us into the Marriott’s Champs Elysees Hotel. This is one of the best Marriott hotels in Paris due to its central location. It is easy to walk to all of the sites or catch the subway just down the street. The staff are very accommodating and friendly. Many of us enjoyed sitting in the large, open lobby sipping wine or having a light meal after a long day of sightseeing.
For the group, I arranged visits to Versailles and Claude Monet’s house and also to Normandy. These full days were packed with lots to see. I personally did not go to Normandy but those who did said it was well worth visiting the area. I also arranged a 1/2 day walking tour to Montmartre with a private guide who was very entertaining. It is a very rewarding experience to see these areas with a guide since you learn so much more about the culture and life in Paris then just walking on your own.
After spending 5 days in Paris, we all took the fast train to Lyon to meet the river cruise ship.Before heading to the ship, we had a quick stop for a french cooking lesson.
Our itinerary included visits to Trevoux, Vienne, Tournon, Viviers, Grignan, Avignon and Arles. The french countryside was beautiful and many of the towns were elevated offering breathtaking views.
Wine tasting was a highlight of several day trips.
Black truffles are a highly prized delicacy found in the area of Southern Provence. We visited a Truffle Farm where we learned how specially trained dogs are used to locate the hidden truffle.
The Provence region has a rich historical past. Avignon was an important center of the Catholic Church and was the home to the papacy from 1309 to 1377. Seven popes resided in the magnificent Gothic Papal Palace below.
Most days were spent touring in the morning and sailing in the afternoon. The relaxed pace allowed us to enjoy the ship and take in the sites from the top deck (weather-permitting).
AMAWaterways offers a great vacation experience offering friendly, helpful staff, excellent food and unlimited wine at dinner.
Our group had a great time as usual. I invite you to join us in Sept 2013 for an Oceania cruise through Eastern Canada and the USA or in April 2014 for a Vietnam/Cambodia adventure.