The “COLORS OF PROVENCE”

AmaWaterways’ m/s AmaKristina

13 NIGHTS: 3 NIGHTS IN BARCELONA + 3 NIGHTS IN PARIS
7-NIGHT RIVER CRUISE FROM AVIGNON TO LYON CRUISE

April 12, 2021 to April 25, 2021


From romantic cities to foodie havens and artistic epicenters, this itinerary enlivens all your senses.   Spend three nights in Barcelona taking in the top sites, as well as views of the mountains of Montserrat.   Then embark in Avignon where you’ll find yourself in a sprawling commune with an overwhelming array of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, intriguing art museums and historic charm.   Trace the steps of famous artists in Arles and later enjoy an evening illumination cruise.   Savor the beauty of legendary vineyards and imbibe in local vintages like Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône. You can even become an expert in all things culinary: go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles and learn how to pair chocolate with wine.   Conclude your adventure with three nights to discover all that Paris, the “City of Light" has to offer.



DAY   DESTINATION     ACTIVITIES   ~   A Very Quick Overview

    0     Depart the United States     (April 11, 2021)
    1     Barcelona Hotel Check-In   (April 12, 2021)
    2     Barcelona “The Best of Barcelona” tour     (April 13, 2021)
    3     Barcelona “The Mountains and Abbey of Montserrat” excursion   (April 14, 2021)
    4     Barcelona Hotel check-out  (April 15, 2021)
           TGV high-speed train to Avignon
           Avignon EMBARKATION
    5     Tarascon Arles Walking Tour or Bike tour or Van Gogh walking tour   (April 16, 2021)
           arascon Castle visit
           Les Baux and Carriéres de Lumiéres
           Avignon Illuminations Cruise
    6     Avignon Morning walking tour and Papal Palace or Avignon Bike Tour or Tastes of Avignon. Pont Du Gard   (April 17, 2021)
    7     Viviers Grignan Excursion & Truffle Farm   (April 18, 2021)
    8     Tournon Steam Train des Gorges or Red Wine & Chocolate or Hermitage Hike & Wine Tasting or Tournon Bike Tour   (April 19, 2021)
    9     Vienne - Vienne Walking Tour or Vienne Via Rhona Bike Tour or Vienne Hike up to Mount Pipet   (April 20, 2021)
           Lyon Lyon City Tour or Les Halles Market Tour or Lyon Bike Tour
  10     Lyon Beaujolais Excursion   (April 21, 2021)
  11     Lyon DISEMBARKATION   (April 22, 2021)
          Tastes of Lyon
          TGV high-speed train to PARIS
          Paris ~ Hotel check-in
  12    Paris ~ “City of Light” tour     (April 23, 2021)
          Evening Montmartre and illumination tour
  13    Paris ~ Free Day    (April 24, 2021)
  14    Paris ~ Return flight home       (April 25, 2021)


In more detail, your day-by-day itinerary


Day 1,     BARCELONA, SPAIN. Check into your Barcelona hotel for the beginning of your Colors of Provence pre-cruise land program.     (April 12, 2021)

Day 2,     BARCELONA. Barcelona, the bustling capital of Catalonia, is an artist’s, architect’s, foodie’s, historian’s and culturist’s dream. Tour the cobblestoned lanes of the Gothic Quarter in the medieval city center and Las Ramblas. Visit Montjuïc Hill and see some imaginative architectural creations, highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudi,” including La Sagrada Familia. (B)     (April 13, 2021)

Day 3,     BARCELONA. Join an excursion to the mountain Montserrat, which is home to the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat, located about 30 miles from Barcelona. Once there, you’ll ride a scenic funicular to the top of the mountain and experience an indescribable view of the Catalonia landscape. The monastery, officially founded in 1025, soon began to receive pilgrims and visitors who contributed to the spread of stories of miracles and wonders performed by the Virgin Mary. The whole of Montserrat is built around facilitating the worship of the Black Madonna in the Basilica. While here, you’ll see the famous Black Madonna sculpture, which sits at the back of the church, above the altar area. The stairway leading to the statue, plus the room and altar in which the statue sits are ornate, golden and pay tribute to the wonder that is the Virgin herself. (B)     (April 14, 2021)

Day 4,     BARCELONA – AVIGNON, FRANCE – EMBARKATION. Check out of the hotel and board the TGV high-speed train to Avignon, where you’ll board your luxury ship. (B,D)     (April 15, 2021)

Day 5,     TARASCON - ARLES. Provençal town Tarascon is known for its medieval architecture and charming tales – especially the legend of the Tarasque monster. Join a guided walking tour where you’ll visit the Roman ruins of Arles such as its Roman Amphitheater and the Church of Saint Trophime, famous for its Romanesque architecture. Alternatively, you can enjoy a bike ride along the Rhône, through town to the Langlois Bridge, a famous subject from several Vincent Van Gogh paintings. And for those who wish to delve further into Van Gogh’s Arles, join a special walking tour along with a visit to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, showcasing his legacy. During the afternoon, you’ll visit the enchanting medieval fortress, the Castle of Tarascon – a fortress designed to protect but surprises all with its elegant interior, fit for royalty. Delve deeply into the Carrières de Lumières, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular presentation of art, sound and history projected on the walls of caves. Afterwards, venture to the medieval hilltop village, Les Baux de Provence. In the evening, enjoy an illuminations cruise around Avignon. (B,L,D)     (April 16, 2021)

Day 6,     AVIGNON. Avignon, aptly named the “City of Popes,” was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century when its “Palais des Papes” was the equivalent of today’s Vatican. Depending on your interests, you have three choices of excursions in the morning. Discover the history of Avignon on a guided walking tour that includes the Papal Palace and the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy a bike tour through the city, or you can visit three venues around Avignon to taste 2021 COLORS OF PROVENCE     (April 17, 2021)

Day 7,     VIVIERS. Take in the quaint surroundings of Viviers, a charming commune that sidles up to the right bank of the Rhone. From Viviers, travel to the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provençal town, go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion. (B,L,D)     (April 18, 2021)

Day 8,     TOURNON. Admire the hilltop village of Tournon with its imposing castle. You have a choice of four excursions. Take a train ride past magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux, stopping at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where the train maneuvers in preparation for its return journey. Alternatively, lovers of wine and chocolate will want to visit Le Château de Tournon for a presentation and tasting on the pairing of red wine and chocolate. For a more active adventure, cycle through the French countryside or take a hike through the vineyards of Tain l’Hermitage, followed by a visit to a local winery where you’ll sample some of the wines. (B,L,D)     (April 19, 2021)

Day 9,     VIENNE - LYON. Situated between the wine regions of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône lies Vienne with a Roman past that can be seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. Follow the footsteps of the ancient Romans on a walking tour to see the amazingly well-preserved Augustus and Livia Temple, the Saint Maurice Cathedral, a Gothic church that took more than 500 years to build, and St. Pierre Abbey—one of the oldest surviving churches in France, and now an Archaeological Museum. For those wishing to be more active, you can either take a guided bike tour along a portion of the ViaRhôna bike route or a guided hike from the ship to the Monastery at Mount Pipet. Later in the day travel to Lyon, considered the “Food Capital of France.” Take a walking tour that starts in Fourvière Hill, part of the city’s historic region that is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the 19th-century basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Continue on to the old town of Lyon, followed by a guided walk through the St. Jean district, where you will be introduced to the city’s unique covered walkways, known as “traboules.” You can also visit the famous indoor market hall Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse, named after the late chef renowned for his Michelin-starred l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges restaurant. There you’ll have a chance to sample of the delicacies offered by butchers, bakers, chocolatiers and cheesemongers while taking in the colorful sights and enticing aromas around you. (B,L,D)     (April 20, 2021)

Day 10,     LYON. Visit a traditional Beaujolais winery and learn the history and techniques of their vineyard. Plus, enjoy a tasting of their specialty. (B,L,D)     (April 21, 2021)

Day 11,     LYON – DISEMBARKATION – PARIS. Disembark the ship and enjoy tasting some local Lyon specialties before boarding your high-speed train to Paris and checking into your hotel. (B)     (April 22, 2021)

Day 12,     PARIS. Enjoy taking in the signature sites of Paris in your guided city tour, including the awe-inspiring Arc de Triomphe and iconic Eiffel Tower. You’ll also stroll the Champs Élysées with its cinemas, sidewalk cafes and luxury specialty shops. In the evening, visit Montmartre, long known as the city’s premier artist's enclave. During the mid to late 1800s, artists also began calling Montmartre home. Pissarro and Jongkind were two of the first to live there, followed by other notable artists, including Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pablo Picasso. You’ll be taken on an evening illumination tour, discovering why Paris is renowned as the “City of Light.” (B)     (April 23, 2021)

Day 13,     PARIS. Spend the day at your full leisure exploring such landmarks as the Louvre museum with its famous glass pyramid, or sampling a fresh, flaky croissant at one of the city’s legendary cafes. (B)     (April 24, 2021)

Day 14,     DEPART PARIS – Bid farewell to Paris and prepare for your flight home.     (April 25, 2021)





Our exclusive group rates are based on double occupancy and INCLUDE:

3-night pre-cruise land/hotel extension in Barcelona

7-night cruise from Avignon to Lyon

3-night post-cruise land and hotel extension in Paris

$196.00 taxes, fees and port charges

Your Barcelona, Paris ~ and ~ daily cruise excursions

$250 per person discount are all INCLUDED 13 days


                                         AB  Suite-Fr Balcony&Outside Balcony,   235 Square Feet:   $10,014
                                         AA  French Balcony & Outside Balcony,   235 Square Feet:     $8,614
                                         AB  French Balcony & Outside Balcony,   235 Square Feet:     $8,414
                                         BA  French Balcony & Outside Balcony,   210 Square Feet:     $8,214
                                         BB  French Balcony & Outside Balcony,   210 Square Feet:     $8,014
                                         CA  French Balcony                                     170 Square Feet:     $7,414
                                         CB  French Balcony                                     155 Square Feet:     $7,114
                                            D  Fixed Window                                       160 Square Feet:     $6,714

                                                                                                Prices and schedules are subject to change



Le Relais de Venice Restaurant son Entrecôte

271 Pereire, 75017 Paris, France
+33 1 45 74 27 97
https://relaisdevenise.com/locations/paris.php?lang=en


Steak et Frites en Paris ........ by Philippe Cousteau, son of Jean-Michel Cousteau, and grandson of Jacques Cousteau

"My love for this gastronomic paradise goes back for as long as I can remember.  In fact, it has been a favorite of my family’s for three generations.  My grandfather Jacques Cousteau would frequent it and his son, my father, started going as a young man.  My mother told me that when she arrived in Paris for the first time to visit my father (they were not yet married) he took her to the restaurant straight from the airport before they even went home for the first time...and I have been going since before I can remember. Clearly, this place had been a Cousteau favorite for decades.

"Now, one might expect that such adulation would be reserved for the Grand Dames of the French culinary tradition, Parisian restaurants like La Tour D’Argent, Taillevent, or Jules Verne, but not so for us.  Our epicurean mecca is a small restaurant in a region of Paris called Porte Maillot, not far from the Champs Elysee.  Here stands a restaurant that takes no reservations and only serves one dish - steak and frites or French fries as they are known elsewhere.

https://relaisdevenise.com/locations/paris.php?lang=en

"Indeed, that is the nickname we gave this restaurant when we were little, ‘steak frites’ which was easier to say than its formal name Le Relais de Venise son Entrecôte (entrecôte is the cut of beef known as rib-eye in the United States).  They are open for lunch and dinner every night of the year except a few holidays and the month of July.  And yes, that is all they serve, steak and frites - at least for the main course.  Dessert features a full menu headlined by their famous and delicious profiteroles, as well as cheese plates, tarts, fresh fruit and more.

"It was founded in 1959 by a Frenchmen who had little experience in restaurants.  He purchased an Italian restaurant called Le Relais de Venise, left the name and the Italian décor as it was, added the word Entrecôte and decided to keep the meal simple and straightforward.

"Steak frites takes no reservations, and is packed every night, thus there is always a line, but it’s one everyone is willing to tolerate.  Standing under the faded red awning is like the beginning of a ritual and only adds to the experience.  After about 10-20 minutes a table comes available and upon being seated at the table, the waitress asks simply “how would you like your meat cooked?”

"That’s it, no choice of cut or sauce or anything, just the same perfect steak and frites they have been serving for over 50 years.  The decoration, the chairs, the uniforms - everything is as it always has been.  We always order the house wine and then wait for a simple green salad followed by the most heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth, steak and crispy-perfect fries in the world.   By Philippe Cousteau, son of Jean-Michel Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau. "Now the key to the whole deal is the sauce; a secret for decades that many have tried to replicate but none have been able to. Impossible to do justice to in words, there is most certainly a dash of mustard, some herbs, butter, cream and more that combines into a perfect sauce.

"I admit this is lofty praise and no doubt much of this adoration is linked to my happy memories of dinners with friends and family; sitting with my mother, sister and grandfather under the faded paintings of venetian canals that adorn the walls, talking about life, my grandfather’s countless adventures, our mutual love of wine (when I got older) and of course global conservation.

"There is some irony I will admit that one of the conservation actions I now advocate is to limit the consumption of meat.  I, for one, strive to be a weekday vegetarian and avoid meat most of the time; however, my French heritage encourages the occasional indulgence as well as a blissful stroll down memory lane."

https://relaisdevenise.com/locations/paris.php?lang=en



Kirby Allison's Le Relais de Venice Restaurant son Entrecôte recommendation:   https://youtu.be/Qf5vmhaumJ0

(Fast forward to 1-hr. 44-minutes ~ then, advance to a photo at 1-hr. 51 minutes).

Kirby Allison helps the well-dressed care for their wardrobes while exploring the world of quality, craftsmanship, and tradition. Kirby has a penchant for timeless luxury and old-world traditions, having made tremendous inroads into the luxury goods market and has been endorsed by The Wall Street Journal and Esquire magazine.

Kirby Allison recommends Le “Relais de l’Entrecote” 12, rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris, France   “We went here for lunch.  They have a fixed price menu and they only serve one thing: beef prepared in their “secret sauce.”  https://youtu.be/Qf5vmhaumJ0


From the World Wide Web

https://relaisdevenise.com/locations/paris.php?lang=en


• “House wine is decent and fresh raspberries and cream for desert (if you have room) is the perfect light option after all those frites!” “The steak was grilled to order with a perfect char and a green sauce so good I wanted to bathe in it.” “On hint is to either come early at opening which is noon, or 7pm; or late which is 2pm, and 11pm.”

• 9/29/2012 YUM great steak frites. No menu, no stress deciding what to eat, rare medium is the only option. Dinner is salad, steak fries. My suggestion is to order a bit under your desired temperature as the meat continues to cook in the hot plate while you eat your first serving. House wine is decent and fresh raspberries and cream for desert (if you have room) is the perfect light option after all those frites!

• 4/22/2015 We found this place on Yelp our first night. We weren't sure where to go and the reviews said to expect a line out the door. We figured any place with a line out the door must be good.

The house wine was good, food and portions were great. We thought about going back again before we left, but never found time. I would highly recommend this place to anyone.

• 9/19/2014 It's been a tradition for over half a century. They don't take reservations. They won't even take your name or give you a number. There are no fancy pagers or buzzers. You stand in line to wait for your table. At any time of the day or night that they are open, whether it's rain or shine, scorching hot or freezing cold, there'll be a line. And the line can stretch around the block. We went there on a Monday night at around 9:15PM and waited for about 30-40 minutes. Not bad. There is no menu. You don't need one. Everybody eats the same thing - steak frites (steak and fries). All you need to order is how well you want your steak done. There's a limited wine list but the quality was good and the prices were very reasonable. We ordered a half bottle of the house wine, which was a 2012 AOC Saint-Emilion, and it was a great value. Our dinner started with a salad which was tossed in a light vinaigrette which we liked. It was then followed by half of our steak frites. Yes, they only serve you half the steak and the other half is kept warm over a chafing fire. However, it didn't appear to work for us as our second half of the steak was not really warm at all. Maybe it was just a one-time glitch. And they only serve you half the fries. When they bring you your second half of the steak, they also bring you more fresh fries. The second serving of fries for us were good - literally fresh from the fryer. The steak was tender, juicy and flavorful. Their famous "secret sauce", was good but that is of course a personal taste, as I saw diners in neighboring tables soaking up all the sauce with bread. The place is crammed and tables are very close to each other and you will be seated inches from your neighbors (but this is almost the norm for many restaurants or cafes in Paris). You will literally be rubbing elbows. So if you are looking for personal space to engage in an intimate conversation, you won't find it here. Our server has been really wonderful. Overall, a solid 4-star experience and I highly recommend any Paris visitors who like steak frites to give it a try. It is easily accessible and is right at the Porte Maillot station of the Metro line 1 or RER line C.

• 9/7/2013 A group of work colleagues arrived about 7:15 and were fortunate to be immediately seated. It was crowded, but timing has us sitting without a wait. Not long after, there was a distinct line forming out front. (During this time of the year [August], many businesses here are closed for vacation). The menu here is easy: you can have your steak rare, medium or well. For wine you have the choice of the House wine or a bottle of Beaujolais. We went for the Beaujolais. Shortly after you sit down, you'll be greeted by a squad of friendly waitresses assign to briskly serve your dinner. First to the table is a light salad with a light vinegar and Dijon dressing. Soon afterwards, the big platters of sliced beef begin to arrive to the adjacent prep table. There the waitress serves up your portion ensuring it is bathed in the well noted sauce. The sauce is a herb, Dijon base. Very rich and delicious. The meat itself alone is quite flavorful, very tender and perfectly cooked (medium is rather red...sort of like medium rare). I am a medium rare steak person and medium was right on the money. Alongside that are placed a heap of salted frites. Along with the steak and sauce, the fries are amazing. The servings of the beef are (I'm guessing) about 8oz. The waitress will arrive again with another serving of beef (and fries). Coffee offered at the conclusion. Service is friendly & efficient, but brisk around the bustling tables and room. With a line out the front door, I can imagine the staff hurrying you along if you linger too well past your dining time. All in all, the place is a treat. Great genius for simplicity of the menu and the delicious servings.

• 11/29/2013 Everything a good Parisian meal should be. Although there's no menu, you can think of it as a two-course prix fixe for 27 EUR per person. The first course is a light walnut salad with house vinaigrette. The second course - why you go here - is steak frites. It's served in two portions, so you don't have to rush eating before it all gets cold. The fries are almost as good as the steak. When allowed to soak up the unbelievably good pepper sauce, they're even BETTER. The house wine is dirt cheap. While it's not my favorite, once it's been allowed to breathe for a few minutes it has a pleasant bite. Half bottles (which are really mini full bottles) are exactly half the price of the full ones, so there's no penalty in opting for a few less glasses. A half bottle of the house red was only 7.50 EUR. Two meals plus wine came to 61.50 EUR, which included the service charge. The only way you could hit 90 EUR for two people (as some other reviewers have) is if you get at least one full bottle of wine, and everyone gets both desserts -AND- coffees. And even then you'd have to get the most expensive wine and desserts. It's not listed here on Yelp, but they're also open for lunch from 12-2:30pm. I went on a Thursday at 1:30pm and only waited about 5-10 minutes. We finished our meal around 2:45pm, at which point the place was still packed, but no new diners were being seated.

• 3/6/2015 Simple menu ( one choice ) so you don't have to wait for everyone to decide what they want. The steak is great with the sauce the make. The house wine is decent for the price also. Usually a big line if you show up at prime dinner time.

• 8/27/2014 A Parisian favorite. If you like steak, a great sauce and fries; then this place is it. No reservations and there is always a line out the door. Go at 7pm to get into first seating. Fast service! House wine is good choice. Profiteroles for dessert is #1 choice.

• We went to Paris and loved this restaurant so much we ended up eating here two days in a row!!! The sauce on the steak is amazing!!! And it's all you can eat, so if you finish and your still hungry they will serve you more. I will definitely come back here one day! Their house wine is delicious, we brought several bottles home.

• Everything was good. The service and the meal. We drank the house wine with the best Steak and Frites of the world. The steak green sauce is awesome. For dessert: profiteroles (filled with vanilla ice cream inside)

https://relaisdevenise.com/locations/paris.php


Tom Taffel

415.566.7673

Tom@TomTaffel.com

www.TomsGroupCruises.com

…Because some experiences in life are simply better when shared with others