Springtime in Provence

Travel with alumni and friends from May 15 - 23, 2019, on a nine-day sojourn in Provence, and the wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais. 

CREDITS : ' Atout France/Jean François Tripelon-Jarry

Almond and cherry blossoms bloom white and blush and the crimson poppies, colorful primrose, and purple irises herald the return of spring. Travel with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from May 15 - 23, 2019, on this nine-day sojourn in Provence and the Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions. Cruise for seven nights from Provençal Arles to historic Lyon along the fabled Rhône and Saône Rivers aboard the specially chartered, deluxe Amadeus Provence, launched in 2017.

During your intimate small ship cruise, dock in the heart of each port town and visit six UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the wonderfully preserved Roman Amphitheater in Arles, the medieval Papal Palace of Avignon and the Roman city of Orange. Tour the legendary 15th-century Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, famous for its intricate and colorful tiled roof, and picturesque Lyon, France’s gastronomique gateway. Enjoy an excursion to the Beaujolais vineyards for a private tour, world-class piano concert and wine tasting at the Château Montmelas, guided by the châtelaine. Visit the Burgundy region for an exclusive tour of Château de Rully, a medieval fortress among the vineyards that has belonged to the family of your guide, Count de Ternay, since the 12th century.

A perennial favorite, this travel program is the quintessential Provençal experience and an excellent value featuring a comprehensive itinerary through the south of France when its abundant flora blooms back to life. Shared with cosponsoring alumni associations, it’s sure to fill quickly. Please contact the CAA Travel Study Program office at 1-866-325-8664 or travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details and to book now while early booking savings and choice accommodations are available!

Dates and Prices:

Trip Dates: May 15 - 23, 2019

Prices: from $TBA per person based upon double occupancy.

We anticipate final pricing and brochures to be available approximately 9 1/2 months in advance of the trip. Please contact us at 866-325-8664 or travelstudy@columbia.edu if you'd like to be added to our early invitation list.

Program Itinerary:

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.
Depart the US on individually scheduled flights to Marseilles, France.

Day 2 — Marseilles, France
Upon arrival in Marseilles, transfer to the Amadeus Provence. Enjoy an afternoon tour of the city, named the 2013 European Cultural Capital. See the vibrant Vieux Port (Old Port), where Greek settlers first landed and set up a trading post in 600 B.C.; visit the ancient, colorful Panier district and walk its small cobblestoned streets and alleyways; and tour the neo-Byzantine Notre Dame de la Gare basilica, located on a hilltop promontory providing breathtaking panoramic views across the city and harbor. The evening is at leisure.

Day 3 — Marseilles / Arles / Avignon
Admire the bucolic French countryside en printemps (in springtime) as you travel to the archetypal Provençal city of Arles, where the distinctive joie de vivre is like nowhere else on Earth. On the walking tour, see one of the world’s most majestic Roman monuments—the magnificently restored 20,000-spectator Amphitheater—built in the first century B.C., and visit the 12th-century Cathedral of St. Trophime with its fascinating Last Judgment-themed portal, a superb example of Romanesque sculpture and a World Heritage site. Enjoy time at leisure to explore this charming city, perhaps stopping by the subject of Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting, The Café Terrace at Night, which is still open for business on the Place du Forum.
Embark the deluxe Amadeus Provence and enjoy the captain’s welcome reception this evening before dinner. The ship cruises to Avignon tonight. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 — Avignon / Châteauneuf-du-Pape for Orange and Pont du Gard / Saint-Étienne-des-Sorts
The center of Western Christendom from 1309, when Pope Clement V moved the papal capital here until the Great Schism with Rome (1378), Avignon, a World Heritage site, is an ancient city built on the banks of the Rhône. On the walking tour, visit the grandiose Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), the largest château-fort built in Europe during the Gothic era and the primary testament to Avignon’s golden age. Stand at the river’s edge to see the remaining four arches of one of the finest surviving examples of medieval fortifications, the Pont St-Bénezet (Pont d’Avignon), the only bridge built across the Rhône during the Middle Ages.

Return to the ship for lunch and cruise to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Traverse the beautiful Provençal countryside, dotted with vibrantly hued stucco houses accented by blue shutters, en route to the Roman city of Orange and its awe-inspiring World Heritage sites. Visit the well-preserved ancient Roman Theater, still hosting performances today, and see the Triumphal Arch, built in the late first century as a tribute to Augustus and a symbol of Roman imperial glory. Visit the World Heritage site of Pont du Gard, an exquisitely built 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct that once supplied over nine million gallons of water daily to the city of Nîmes and was constructed of stones made to fit together seamlessly without mortar, cleverly using arches to support the weight.
Enjoy a pleasantly crisp springtime evening as you cruise along the Rhône River. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Tournon / Vienne
Facing one another across opposite shores of the Rhône River, visit the twin cities of Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval sites, and Tain-l’Hermitage, surrounded by the vineyards and granite slopes of Hermitage. In Tournon, encounter impressive examples of architecture dating from the 11th-, 14th- and 16th-centuries, and the 16th-century Lycée Gabriel-Faure, the oldest secondary school in France. This region of the Ardèche département is known as the birthplace of Syrah and for its vineyards that produce both red and white Hermitage, the finest and most expensive of all Côtes du Rhône wines. Cruise to Vienne, a delightful river town located at a scenic bend in the Rhône and enjoy a guided walking tour. From exquisite Roman ruins to an ornate medieval cathedral, few towns in southern France can offer a trove of architectural treasures equal to that of Vienne. The Romans highly valued the town’s strategic location and endowed it with some of the finest Classical antiquities in France, including the nearly perfectly preserved Temple d’August et Livie, built in 25 B.C. in honor of Rome’s greatest emperor, and the Théâtre Romain, a beautifully restored amphitheater at the foot of Mont Pipet that seats up to 13,000 spectators. The town’s most notable medieval landmark is the impressive Cathédrale de St-Maurice, which was constructed between the 12th- and 16th-centuries and combines classic elements of Romanesque and Gothic design. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Lyon
This morning, arrive in Lyon, a World Heritage site located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers. From lofty Fourvière Hill (Praying Hill), enjoy views of the ornate 19th-century Basilica of Notre Dame, and then walk the tree-lined streets—just now coming into full bloom—of the restored Vieux (old) Lyon, where well-preserved Gothic and Renaissance mansions attest to the wealth of Lyon’s long-standing silk industry. Stroll the ancient quarter of St. Jean and explore the unique, often hidden traboules—narrow, covered pedestrian passageways. The afternoon is at leisure in Lyon. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Chalon-sur-Saône for Beaune
Amidst the idyllic Burgundy countryside, visit the enchanting Château de Rully, a picturesque medieval fortress surrounded by vineyards. Count Raoul de Ternay will take you on a private tour of the estate, his family's ancestral home since the 12th-century.

Continue to Beaune, founded in the fifth century B.C. in the famous Côte d’Or département and the longtime capital of Burgundy wines. Tour the legendary 15th-century Burgundian Renaissance-style Hôtel-Dieu, famous for its tiled roof pattern and once a charitable hospital. The meticulously restored chambers provide a fascinating glimpse into medical science across six centuries and house an impressive collection of period art, including the brilliant Last Judgment by Rogier van der Weyden.

Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon in the historic, quintessential wine-producing town of Chalon-sur-Saône. Explore lively Place Saint-Vincent, dominated by the Romanesque cathedral and lined with quaint cafés, specialty shops and local wine cellars populated by chic patrons out enjoying the warm spring weather. Visit the museum dedicated to the inventor of the photograph, Joseph Nicéphore-Niépce, or stroll across the picturesque Saint-Laurent bridge. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Mâcon for Cluny / Montmerle for Beaujolais / Trévoux
From Mâcon, travel through Burgundy’s Saône-et-Loire département amid green vineyards, growing lusher at this time of year between bud break and flowering, to the distinguished Benedictine Cluny Abbey (A.D. 910), one of the great centers of medieval Christianity. The beautiful and austere remnants of the sprawling abbey complex still provide a fascinating glimpse of what was, until the construction of St. Peter’s in Rome, the largest Christian basilica in the world. Reboard the ship for lunch.

From the lovely vineyards of Beaujolais, the “land of the golden stones,” France’s youngest and fruitiest wines are cultivated. Located along the banks of the Saône River, this internationally acclaimed wine region has been known to produce more red wine than the Burgundy vineyards of Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Châlonnaise and Mâconnais combined. In the verdant heart of Beaujolais, visit the 10th-century Château de Montmelas. Châtelaine Blandine de Sonis will greet you upon arrival and guide your exclusive tour through her home. Experience a private, specially arranged performance of fortepiano music by an internationally recognized pianist living in Burgundy, and enjoy a wine tasting with local canapés.

Rejoin the ship in Trévoux this evening for the captain’s farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart Lyon for the U.S.
Disembark and continue to Geneva for the post-program option, or transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Included meals - B=Breakfast, L+Lunch, D=Dinner, R=Reception


  • Seven-night cruise aboard the specially chartered, deluxe M.S. AMADEUS PROVENCE from Aries to Lyon with port calls at Avignon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape for Orange andPont du Gard, Tournon, Vienne, Chalon-sur-Saone for Beaune, Macon for Cluny and Montmerle for Beaujolais, France.Panoramic tour of the historic Vieux (Old) Port including the fully restored Panier district, France's most ancient quarter, with lunch.
  • Deluxe, river-view, air-conditioned Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • All meals while cruising served at single seatings-early-risers' coffee, buffet breakfast and lunch, afternoon tea, four-course dinner and late-evening snack featuring fine continental cuisine.
  • Complimentary wifi throughout the ship.
  • Complimentary wine and beer are served with lunch and dinner.
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Specially arranged wine and chocolate tasting with a local expert.
  • Visit to the Neo-Byzantine-style Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral.
  • Walking tour of Aries, highlighted by visits to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Roman Amphitheater and Cathedral of St. Trophime.
  • Walking tour of Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring the imposing Papal Palace and the famous medieval Pont d'Avignon.
  • Visit to the Roman City of Orange featuring the ancient Roman theater and the famous Pont du Gard aqueduct, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Visit to the twin towns of Tournon and Tain-I'Hermitage, the birthplace of the Syrah-grape variety.
  • Walking tour of Vienne, featuring its impressive architectural treasures, including ancient Roman ruins and an ornate medieval cathedral.
  • Full day in historic Lyon with walking tour of Old Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated town of Beaune, known for its Burgundy wines and the iconic Hotel-Dieu, one of the best examples of 15th-century French architecture in the world.
  • Private, specially arranged tour of the medieval Chateau de Rully amidst the Burgundy vineyards, hosted by Count de Ternay, ancestral owner of the estate.
  • Visit to 10th-century Cluny Abbey, once the largest structure in the Christian world.
  • Excursion to the vineyards of Beaujolais for a private tour, exclusive fortepiano concert and wine tasting hosted by the chatelaine, Madame d'Harcourt in her personal residence, the Chateau de Montmelas.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Hospitality desk aboard ship.
  • The services of professional Program Directors throughout the program.
  • Complimentary use of a state-of-the-art audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.