Perhaps becaue Van Gogh lived in Arles and painted 300 paintings here, or perhaps people here just like color, but I found more colorful doors here than anywhere else I have visited in France.
Tag Archives: Amawaterways
One of the excursions on the Amawaterways River Cruise on the Rhone River was to Arles, the place where Van Gogh painted about 300 paintings.
I found Arles particularly interesting, perhaps because I had seen the Van Gogh in America exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts just before leaving for France, and Arles was an important place for Van Gogh.
Cruising the Rhone River
Last month, I went on an AmaWaterways river cruise called Colors of Provence, and we sailed from Lyon to Avignon, with stops in Vienne, Tournon, Tarascon and Avignon.
Previously, I had gone on two large ship cruises (Alaska and Hawaii) and a windjammer sailing cruise off the coast of Maine (with 24 passengers), but this was my first river cruise, so I did not know what to expect.
The AmaKristina was built in 2017 and can hold 156 passengers. Most days offered three excursions (included in the cruise price) and a good variety of sights. I did the daily walking tour option and found the local guides to be very knowledgable.
Morning and afternoon exercise classes were offered most days and other amenities (massage, fitness room, laundry, etc.) were available. An e-postcard was offered through the myAmaCruise app, and I found that an easy way to share my cruise with family and friends back home. Here is the e-postcase I send after our stop in Vienne.
Meals were available in the Main Restaurant, the upstairs lounge (casual dining) and the Chef’s Table, a seven-course meal for a small number of people–I celebrated my birthday in the Chef’s Table, and it was a real treat. Here is my cake:
Nightly, on-board entertainment was, well, entertaining. A pianist/opera singer jouneyed with us, and we enjoyed his musical talents throughout the days.
While we were still in port in Lyon, a representative from a silk company presented the process by which silk is produced and also had silk scarves for sale. And one afternoon, the sommelier played a wine game where we learned about wine regions in France.
One highlight of the trip was a day trip to Les Baux and the Carrieres des Lumieres. Les Baux is a town built high atop a craggy mountain, offering expansive views of Provence and plenty of shops and restaurants.
At the bottom of the hill is an old limestone quarry which has been repurposed as a theater presenting the Carrieres des Lumieres, an immersive light show inside the quarry. We saw a presentation of the art of Venice, and it was amazing.
I learned a great deal during this cruise and appreciated the excellent service on the AmaKristina. Travel usually includes some hiccups, and the staff responded to the unexpected with calm confidence.
As I reflect on those days, what stands out the most were the conversations I had with other travellers. I was traveling with two friends, and we connected with other women travelers, including a mother/daughter duo. Our travel tribe ranged in age from 24 to 86, and I marveled at the level of trust that developed in so short a time.
I was grateful for this opportunity to see a part of France from the vantage point of a river.