An introduction to river cruises along the Rhone

Posted by admin | Posted in Europe | Posted on 30-06-2011

The river Rhone presents an excellent route through France for the discerning traveller.  The increasingly popular river cruises offered by operators like Avalon cruises – which commonly travel either up the Rhone from the Côte d’Azur to Paris, or alternatively start in Paris – are a great way to sample the sights and sounds of life on the banks of one of France’s major rivers.  Perhaps most importantly, river cruises along the Rhone are a great way to sample some of the best wine and food regions in the country.  Here are some of the highlights you can encounter with on river cruises along the Rhone.

The city of Arles in the south of France features several important remains from the Roman Empire.  These include an impressive amphitheatre, Roman theatre, and necropolis, as well as numerous remains of Roman fortification scattered throughout the city.  In (relatively) more recent history, the cathedral of Saint-Trophime was constructed, between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, and is today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Just up the river is the place that was the refuge for the Papacy forced to flee Rome in the 14th Century, the city of Avignon.  Le Palais des Papes, or the Palace of the Popes, is the largest Gothic edifice in the world, and presents the opportunity for some striking holiday snaps.  The medieval ramparts of Avignon have also been fantastically well preserved, as has the much of the historic centre of the old city.  The Rocher des Doms sits right on the banks of the Rhone, a well maintained botanical garden that offers great views of the Rhone valley.

Lyon is France’s third city, and a renowned gastronomic centre of excellence, as well as being home to a wealth of historical points of interest.  Lyon is a city best explored though a walking tour, and through guided sightseeing you can ensure that you take on some of the architectural highlights before you settle down to the serious business of consuming some gourmet comestibles!  Every meal can be standout event in Lyon, as city so serious about food that it hosts the premier world cooking competition, the Bocuse d’Or.

River cruises on the Rhone generally involve a leisurely passage along the river by day, with stops made in the evening.  This mode of travel provides a constantly moving scenery which is both pleasing to the eye, and an education in the way life on the banks still revolves, in large part, around the energy of the river.

The Most Luxurious Ways To See Europe

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-06-2011

Once you’ve decided you want to visit Europe, one big questions still remains: how will you travel? There are countless ways to get around the continent, each one a little different than the last. Whether you have a luxury holiday budget for taxis and flights, or you want an affordable coach tour, there is an ideal way for you to travel throughout Europe.

The quickest way to get from city to city across Europe is to fly. If you only have a few key destinations you would like to visit, this may be perfect. The downside, of course, is that flights are often the most expensive means of transportation. If you’re on a budget, book flights online well in advance and take advantage of some of the budget airlines. Keep in mind that several cities have more than one airport. Paris, for example, is known for it’s huge international Charles de Gaulle Airport. But if you want to save some cash for sightseeing, try a smaller carrier operating out of the nearby Orly Airport instead.

Many people think of rail travel as the original way to get across Europe. Out your train window, the scenery will often be mountain ranges and lakes, rather than miles of highway or simply clouds. You really can sightsee as you travel! Try a Eurorail pass if you want to travel spur of the moment–one upfront cost means you can hop on a train whenever you like, and head to whatever destination sounds good at the moment. Traveling overnight by rail can also save you money on a night of accommodation.

Coach tours are available from most European countries, but need to be organized in advance. While travel by bus means a much longer travel time overall, it can be often be the cheapest way to get around. An organized tour means you also get a guide’s services built into the overall price. The guide can give you information about the area you’re driving through, or prepare you for the next city on your stop. Most tours only visit the bigger capital cities or popular tourist destinations, so they may not be the best option if you want to experience the real culture of an area. Coach tours can make travel much simpler, as destinations and often accommodation are already selected for you. Not a bad idea if you want to avoid getting lost in a foreign country!

If you want absolute freedom from bus, flight, or train timetables, driving a car is your way to get across Europe. Keep in mind that gas can be quite expensive in some countries, and the roads are not always in ideal conditions, especially in some Eastern European countries. Traffic in the heart of cities like Paris or Rome can be horrible, and navigating systems of narrow one-way streets might prove too difficult. If at all possible, save the driving for smaller towns or getting across the country, and opt for public transportation where it is possible in the largest European cities. Rental cars are available all over Europe, but they may be cheaper to rent in some cities than others.