Immortalized by the Beatles poetic phrase, “lavender fields are forever,” a river cruise though Burgundy and Provence can truly be a trip of a lifetime. The two rivers, the Saone and the Rhone, respectively, combine to create your liquid highway through the very heart of France’s majestic Burgundy and Provence culinary and wine regions.

For those who have never enjoyed such rich and rewarding experience, a word to the wise. Of all the many river cruises available in Europe, this particular itinerary is the most demanded of them all. Traditionally, for peak season dates of May and June and September, these intimate [140 passengers] destination intensive river cruises sell out almost a year in advance. You can save a few bucks if you book in August or October and the weather is still great.

This cruise appeals to anyone of 50 who wants to see Burgundy and Provence in depth as it allows you to visit the heart of the area in one fun-filled week. Even better, extend your trip for a bit before the cruise in Paris or Lyon and at the end, on the French Riviera.

The cruise offers unimaginable wine tasting and culinary opportunities as well as history back to the time of the Romans, the art of Van Gogh and Cezanne and Monet, and of course, those extraordinary French cities of Beaune, Tournon, Viviers, Vienne, Avignon home of the Papal Palace and Arles to mention but a few.

It’s easy to understand why this is the most desired of all European river cruises. You cruise begins or ends [cruises operate in both directions] in Chalon-sur-Saone, located on the Saone, a small and charming medieval town in the middle of the Burgundy region. Your journey will culminate in the provincial capital of Provence, several hundred enthralling miles to the south in another awe-inspiring, 2500 years medieval town of Arles. Arles is this incredible little town with cobblestoned streets, shops and cafes that you would only normally see in the movies, it’s a fairytale area you just will not believe and one to visit soon.

Provence is also steeped in history and rich culinary traditions due in no small way to the worldwide success of its most noted chef, Paul Bocuse [some trips dine at one of his restaurants]. It is also known for its incredible architectural landmarks, medieval villages, and yes wines. It is after all one of the most well known wine growing regions in the world, Beaujolais in the north, and the CeĀ“tes du Rhone varietal wines in the South

For art lovers, you will be as they say in “hog heaven” as you are immersed in the works of van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet and Gauguin in more museums than you can count on two hands. And for the lovers of the grape, need you say anything more than, Burgundy? This is also a region in France where the great chefs have their roots in places like the food capital of the world, Lyon.

A cruise to Provence allows you to enjoy the essence of France at its best, from the history and traditions of the monarchy, to the cuisine, art and wines of one of the most picturesque places on earth and there’s no easier or more relaxing way to take it in than on a luxurious and un-crowded river ship with other like-minded travelers.

There are significant differences among the cruise lines and ships and the worst mistake that unsophisticated travelers make is buying this river cruise based solely on price. While price is important, there are many other elements of the cruise selection that come into play. Most Provence river cruises are similarly priced, but it is important to get the product that best suit your own personal lifestyle and taste and you don’t always do that when you buy based on price alone.

Buying this type of cruise is somewhat similar to buying a pair of shoes. If it’s a bad fit, you’re not only going to be uncomfortable, but you may waste a lot of money.

All the major river cruise lines including: AmaWaterways, Avalon, Tauck, Uniworld, and Viking Cruises offer exceptional early booking values on most 2013 Burgundy and Provence cruises.

If this is your first river cruise, don’t just rely on surfing the Internet; speak with one of the experienced river-cruise experts at Premier River Cruises. They know how to match you to the RIGHT ship, the RIGHT itinerary and get the BEST value for your travel dollar.

Luxury Cruising