Take your pick from our French itineraries and discover Normandy, Paris, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence and more. Each region of France boasts its own charms and every season brings its own delights. From the blossoming flora of spring to the glimmering winter Christmas Markets, here are the itineraries that we recommend for each season of the year.
Springtime in Paris
(March through May)
Take advantage of spring break vacations and invite every generation of your family along to experience spring in Paris & Normandy along the Seine River. Springtime in Paris is all about reawakening and renewal after the long, cold winter. With blooming cherry blossoms, longer hours of sunshine and comfortable temperatures, spring is a perfect time to journey to the City of Light.
During a visit to Giverny, wander through Claude Monet’s famed gardens. See the stunning grounds that stirred Monet to create paintings such as Giverny in Springtime (1903). With the fresh, bright green of new foliage and the vibrantly colored flowers, the Giverny gardens promise to awe and inspire.
Embrace the Summer Sunshine in Burgundy and Provence
(June through August)
Be mesmerized by the lovely sight of sunflowers and lavender growing as you make your way through Provence in the summertime – and come home with some lavender-scented souvenirs from our Essence of Burgundy & Provence river cruise! Be sure to sample some of the heaps of fresh produce in the public markets while in the South of France. Haricots verts (green beans) are in peak season in the summer months and mouth-watering fruits such as framboises (raspberries), pêches (peaches) and figues (figs), are the perfect sweet snack for warmer days. You can’t miss out on Provençal melons – a quintessential French summer fruit!
If you are cruising through Avignon in July, you may have the chance to see the city come to life with the annual Festival d’Avignon. This world-renowned performing arts festival, which runs over four weeks, is the oldest existent festival in France and has grown to become one of the world’s greatest.
We recommend adding our brand-new optional post-cruise land package in Nice, during which you can discover the French Riviera, the azure waters of the Mediterranean and the beautiful beaches lining the coastal city. Endearingly referred to as “Nice la Belle,” or “Nice the Beautiful,” the city’s nickname is certainly well-deserved. The sea stays at an enjoyable temperature in the summertime and is a perfect place to join the locals for a swim. If you happen to visit Nice in July, look out for the festivities of the Nice Jazz Festival, referred to as the first jazz festival of international importance. Hosting musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and, more recently, Erykah Badu, the festival attracts musicians and jazz enthusiasts from all around the world.
Autumnal Riches in Bordeaux
(September through November)
Visit Bordeaux on an AmaWaterways Taste of Bordeaux river cruise in autumn, and enjoy not only the vibrant foliage, but also the region’s famed Left and Right Bank wines during the fall harvest. Bordeaux is one of the world’s most iconic wine regions and the autumnal vineyards and golden light make it a beautiful place in France to visit in the fall.
As you sail along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, visit Libourne and embrace the tantalizing fragrances and flavors of spices, wines and cheeses in open-air markets. Stop in the medieval village of Bourg for an exclusive wine festival where you can meet local wine growers, taste the fruits of their labor and enjoy live music and dancing.
Autumn is a perfect season for hikes and bike rides in the Bordeaux countryside. Step into the cooling air and venture through many of the region’s picturesque landscapes, rich vineyards and historic towns, overcome with the crimson and gold of the season. Visit many of the region’s châteaux and wine estates – including Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Léoville Poyferré – and indulge in the exquisite wine and gastronomic experiences.
Winter Magic in Provence
Immerse yourself in Provençal holiday traditions as winter falls upon the region, marveling at Christmas crèches, or nativity scenes, and intimate markets on our Colors of Provence (Christmas) cruise on the award-winning AmaKristina. With the smells of mulled wine and cinnamon wafting through the crisp air, the shining sun and holiday cheer, Provence is a magical winter destination. Visit Lyon, Oignt and Avignon and learn about the region’s deep-rooted Christmas traditions. If you journey to Lyon around the 8th of December, watch the city sparkle during the Fêtes des Lumières, the annual lights festival.
While in Grignan, embark on an included truffle excursion. Learn about these culinary “Black Diamonds” and observe truffle-hunting dogs in action. The harvest season runs through the winter, so it is the perfect season to enjoy this unique experience. While winter in Provence tends to be sunny and rarely gets uncomfortably cold, be sure to bundle up to counter the winter chill in the air!
Welcoming You Year-Round
The four seasons in France offer different joys and opportunities and our itineraries in France highlight the enchanting nature of each season that they sail. Whether you are traveling in spring, summer, autumn or winter, France will be waiting with open arms.
Contact your preferred travel advisor and join us on one of our enchanting French itineraries to experience the country’s seasonal splendors. Extend your journey through France with our Combination River Cruises and savor the delights each season has to offer.