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Explore More - 2019

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Vive la FRANCE Traveling

Vive la FRANCE Traveling through one of the most picturesque destinations of the world, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing our favorite stop-offs. Here are our top ten 1. Explore a pope’s palace Nicknamed “City of Popes” because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377, Avignon, the southeastern city in France’s Provence region, is a feast of culture and history. The renowned Palace of the Popes is a rambling maze of Gothic architecture that served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. 2. Enjoy world-class art The ancient capital of Gaul, Lyon is not only the food center of France, but also a cultural hub with an exciting arts scene. Explore the city’s galleries, including Musée des Beaux-Arts, otherwise known as the “Mini Louvre,” with its fine collection of masters, including Rubens, Rembrandt, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Degas and Cézanne. Unlike the Louvre, you will not have to line up for long. 3. Let off some steam Sit back, relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Ardèche Plateau from on board a historic vintage steam train. The Train de l’Ardèche takes you through deep gorges, past steep cliffs and through some of France’s most dramatic natural landscapes—just the ticket. 4. See the city through a painter’s eyes Arles, which boasts a Roman amphitheater, is the city where Vincent van Gogh lived between 1888 and 1889, and where he painted many of his masterpieces. You can follow in the Dutch artist’s footsteps as you wander the cobblestone streets of this historic, UNESCO-listed city. Pause for a refreshing drink at the yellow café at Place du Forum that featured in his work, Café Terrace at Night. 5. Visit the D-Day beaches Gold Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Juno Beach are well-known historic beaches of Normandy. Immerse yourself in the events of WWII on your way to visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum. This is an unforgettable and moving experience, but is highly recommended for people of all ages to learn of the past in the hopes that we might avoid such terrible events in the future. 6. Take a walk in Monet’s garden Giverny is where artist Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926. Visit the beautiful gardens and charming stone farmhouse where he lived and worked; see the lovely water garden with the instantly recognizable Japanese bridge, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas that inspired many of his masterpieces. 7. Meander through a wine-lover’s paradise Known for its Grand Cru wine, picturesque Saint-Émilion is actually one of Bordeauxs largest wine-making appellations. The town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with beautifully preserved medieval streets and buildings, has churches dating back to the 12th century, combining history, exquisite food and world-renowned drink in one location. 8. Discover a medieval castle The small town of Les Andelys is known for its imposing castle, Château Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. Take a walk to explore this fatally flawed masterpiece of medieval architecture on its splendid Seine-side site. 9. Try the newest Beaujolais The Beaujolais vineyards that stretch from Mâcon down toward Lyon enjoy their 15 minutes of fame on the third Thursday of November every year. To a fanfare of expectation, the latest batch of Beaujolais Nouveau is launched across the world. But you can take the opportunity to “drink” in the atmosphere of the area any time, and if Beaujolais is not your thing, the wine list is pretty exhaustive in these parts. 10. Walk in the sacred footsteps of a saint Situated amid the chalk cliffs along the Seine and filled with half-timbered houses and exquisite Gothic architecture, Rouen is known for its role in the heroic tragedy of Joan of Arc, patron saint of France. Tried and condemned for heresy, she was burned alive at the stake in the city’s Place du Vieux Marché in May 1431. Visit viking.com for more information about our selection of river cruises in France 90 VIKING.COM | EXPLORE MORE 2019

FRANCE HIGHLIGHTS EXPLORE MORE 2019 | VIKING.COM 91