Review of the Viking Burgundy River Cruise Through France by MarijanStefanovic


									Review of the Viking Burgundy River Cruise Through France When I boarded the
Viking Burgundy in Avignon (the reverse cruise), I was impressed not only with the ease
of reaching the port, but with the ship and the efficient staff. After a welcome drink, we
found our spacious upper level cabin, located just a few steps from the dining room. I
quickly learned what makes river cruising so different from ocean cruising. Although
both are stress free, the ease of traveling by river allows you to reach some less known
and authentic countryside. There is nothing to compare with awakening to a new port just
outside your door. The Viking Burgundy docked in the center of town, a convenient way
to stroll though town and return on our own to the ship whenever we chose. This cruise
had it all - good food, vineyards, castles and Roman monuments (The Pont du Gard is so
famous that it is on the reverse of the Euro note.) Avignon is a UNESCO World Heritage
Site, with its medieval walls and historical monuments. The Palace of the Popes was the
highlight. Arles, has a Roman Arena, which is still used for Spanish bullfights. Arles also
inspired more than 200 paintings and 100 drawings by Vincent Van Gogh, who lived in
the city from 1888 to 1890. The Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard was an hour or so by
motorcoach from here, and well worth a visit. We visited Beaune, the capital of
Burgundy's wine country: The Hôtel-Dieu of the Hospices de Beaune, a hospital from
the Middle Ages that was built in 1443 to care for sick and starving residents of the town.
You can still see the rooms and red draped beds where patients received care until the
20th Century, and the building itself is a beautifully preserved Gothic masterpiece with
an arcaded courtyard and a multicolored tile roof. Chalon, where the tour ended, was the
birthplace of photography in 1822. It was easy to reach Paris from here, or to join the
Normandy cruise (which we did not have time to take). Good things: up close docking for
some of the most historically important towns and villages, included shore excursions
with English speaking knowledgeable guides, good and varied menu, interesting table
companions (with freestyle seating, so you meet different people each day) Some things
to consider: I am fond of quiet evenings. However, unlike large cruise ships, there are no
Broadway style shows, or big name entertainment. Evenings are spent participating in
Trivia contests, playing bingo, and listening to a 2 or 3 piece local band. Ellen Mc Nulty
can be found on line at

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