Viviers, France

by John Lane

A dreary day, but great time on the Rhone River

We are floating up the Rhone towards Lyon and enjoying every minute of it.
Avignon was our second stop and the Palais de Papes (Palace of the Popes)
dominates the city.   This walled city dates back to the 14th century and I
always wonder how they built all this stuff so many years ago. Shopping and
sidewalk cafes dot the streets and we enjoyed all.   I enjoyed a typical
french lunch at a local restaurant compliments of Tauck which they gave
each guest 20 Euros to immerse themselves in the local French food…and
we did it was wonderful.

Viviers, Fr

Viviers – unique trees lining the street into the city center

Viviers, a small ancient city of about 4,000 is a maze of small
cobblestone streets and not much life as most of the people have left the
town and moved to the countryside.   We did visit a local potter and
purchased two bowls that would of cost three times the cost in the U.S.   I
will enjoy those and put the chocolate sauce, carmel or basil mustard that I bought in Avignon in them…YUM! Lyon will be our last stop and hoping for better weather but on the river all things are good and relaxing!

Note: John is onboard the Swiss Emerald with Tauck River Cruises this week, sailing from Arles to Lyon, France and will be posting blog updates as his time allows; check back for more!

A Day in Arles

by John Lane

Who would of thought that a Roman Ampitheater would be in the middle of Arles in Southern France?   Arles, the southernArles amphitheater most point of our Rhone River cruise, became a Roman colony in 49 BC when Julius Caesar took over the region.   Arles is also known for Van Gogh.  He settled here in 1888 and entered into his period of uniques light colors of the region.

Camargue, outside of the city, is Western Europe’s largest river delta and home of more than 400 species of birds including the pink flamingo.   The famous Camargue black bull and the Camargue white horse are also found here.

A wonderful walking tour of the city in the morning and a “Tauck exclusive” afternoon at the ranch of the Laurent Family where we dined on a provencal lunch and watched the bulls and horses in action.   It was a truly amazing day in Arles.

Note:  John is onboard the Swiss Emerald with Tauck River Cruises this week, sailing from Arles to Lyon, France and will be posting blog updates as his time allows; check back for more!

Tauck River Cruise – Initial Impressions

by John Lane

Elegant was the first thing that came to mind once I entered the Swiss Emerald of Tauck River Cruises. The two-story reception area with the marble floors, rich woods, and crystal chandelier greet you as if you are in a fine hotel. The dining room and lounge are forward from the reception; the staterooms and bistro are aft.

Tauck interior

Elegant Interior of Tauck Swiss Emerald

My junior suite (cabin 302) is one of the nicest cabins I have ever had.
There is plenty of closet space with a safe, mini bar, and plenty of nice wooden hangers. A queen size bed with nice reading lights, along with a glass top dressing table and then a table and two chairs are situated in front of the french balcony. The marble and granite bathroom are what I would consider one of the best I have had on a cruise. Molton Brown toiletries, thick towels, and blow dryer await you.

I have found a good friend in the self serve coffee/cappucino/espresso machine in the bistro. It is open 24 hours and offers continental breakfast in the morning starting at 6 am and later a light lunch; cookies, tea, coffee are available 24 hours. A bistro dinner is served each evening and you must make your reservation by 2 pm to be one of the lucky ones to dine in this small venue. But more on the food later. Today we will explore Arles, our first port, and learn more about “cultural immersion”, as Tauck calls it.

Note:  John is onboard the Swiss Emerald this week, sailing from Arles to Lyon, France and will be posting blog updates as his time allows; check back for more!

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