Roadrunners cruised the rivers of France in April

Sheilah Ross

On April 15, 32 Roadrunner members and friends, accompanied by Toby and Gary Kronik from Brandt Travel, departed for three days in Paris, France prior to the eight-night Portraits of France river cruise. The majority of our group stayed at the Pullman Eiffel Tower Hotel just 300 feet from the famed Tower. Our first night in Paris we had a cocktail party hosted by Brandt Travel. We enjoyed an included bus tour of Paris highlights and a comprehensive walking tour of the Marais, the oldest area of Paris. Some members chose to also visit the Normandy Beaches, others toured Versailles and Monet’s Gardens at Givenchy. Many were content to stay in Paris to see the museums and wonderful sights of Paris in depth. We also had a wonderful evening tour by boat on the River Seine with champagne then went up to the second and third levels of the Eiffel Tour for a beautiful view of Paris at night. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful weather and great dining experiences Paris has to offer.

On Sunday, April 19, we boarded our luxury coach for the four-hour journey through the Burgundy wine country to Dijon for lunch and then to meet our beautiful riverboat, Viking Hermod, at Chalon-Sur-Saone. After settling in our staterooms it was into the Aquavit Lounge for a briefing by Program Director Jerome, cocktails and wine and then into dinner. Throughout our week aboard Hermod, the food was excellent and the wine flowed. We were a happy group!

Monday morning we departed Chalon and started our journey on the Saone River stopping at Beaune for a delightful walking tour and wine tasting in a beautiful underground wine cellar. The scenery along the river was beautiful and the weather spectacular. We reached Lyon where the Saone River meets the Rhone, had an informative walking and bus tour of Lyon, then on down the Rhone river to Vienne, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. We visited the Temple of Augustus and Livia, The Roman Amphitheater and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice. The next towns were Tournon and Viviers, and then our arrival in the wonderful medieval walled city of Avignon where we spent our last two nights. We took a short bus trip the Arles, called the Rome of Gaul with its amazing Gallo-Roman ruins, including a Roman Coliseum still in use. Saturday we had a wonderful day in Avignon enjoying the ambience, sights and shopping. Avignon at one time was the home of the Pope and has a beautiful Papal Palace in the city center.

Our last night on board our elegant riverboat was highlighted by a fabulous cocktail party hosted by Brandt Travel. We were joined by all of the Viking officers. Thank you to Toby and Gary for the arrangements and great service throughout our trip. They were there whenever we needed them. Sadly, Sunday morning we were all up very early to drive to the Marseille Airport to catch flights home. A few lucky travelers extended their trip with a three-day visit to the French Riviera. Viva la France!